Category Archives: Spirituality

The Spiritual life

Rest Is Over

Tomorrow I’m going to run again. Well, make the attempt anyway. At least half an hour in the morning and then hopefully walk some as well.

This week off has let me focus on transcribing interviews that have been hanging around for ages. An interview with Tarit Stott that’s two years old is finally being worked on. Also I’m working on redesigning the Ultrarunning World magazine into the Multiday Running magazine format as that’s what works or has done in the past however slow that’s been at least it’s happened. I’m renaming the magazine Multiday and Ultrarunning World and I hope I get it finished before I leave Colombia.

But I’m not holding my breath and neither should anyone else… Some people have been waiting for ages for the last magazine. Its kind of hard to stay on top of everything when I live such a transient life. I have my magazines spread across five different hard drives and three different computers and I only have access to one of them right now.

Easy Times

After the long run and my pulled muscle on Sunday, this week has been one of rest with a little walking but no running. I took it as a message that last week was a big week that needed an easy period to recover – so that’s what I’m getting this week, like it or not. I seem to have been very fortunate with injuries and haven’t really happened that much though I do recall doing something in Bristol last year. That was from pushing too hard and fast on a 2 hour run along the Bike path. It’s pretty amazing that I don’t get any really serious injuries in the 3100. There seems to be something that acts as a brake on my speed, especially this last year I felt a delimiter. I guess my slowness protects me from too much damage. I hope I can raise that threshold this year.

Journey to Salento

Sunday morning arrived bright and warm and David, riding his bike and I set off toward Salento, some 24km distant according to my official guide. Not speaking the language is a disadvantage when it comes to knowing whats going on and I was surprised when we took a turning up a track, leaving the road behind. The track was actually marked on the map, however the words used to describe it were not in my dictionary. So now I know what ‘interveredal’ means and why the only means of transport along the road was horse, mountain bike, jeep or trucks hauling away the trees.

However what it lacked in vehicle-friendliness was more than made up for by the beautiful scenery that has made Quindio a national treasure. The road followed the river valley to the village of Boquia where it met the paved road going to Salento. Without cold weather to contend with, the year is a total growing season and the lush vegetation is home to many birds and insects –  not too many mosquitoes which is a blessing considering how many New York has.


The sun hasn’t been too much of a problem though I have been caught out once or twice and got burnt. After a few hundred meters this morning the sun came out and immediately I could feel it and I wasn’t wearing a hat. I had thought about it earlier when I was rummaging around in my bag  or the thought came to me when I saw a hat. Marvellous I thought, however the route was shaded enough for me to survive and when I got home I found that I had in fact put the hat in my bag. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Usually in the morning there is a little cloud cover and the low angle of the sun is gentle enough not to be a problem. When its overhead though it’s really intense and will burn very quickly.


It took 2 hours to get to Boquia and there was a shop where we got some water. We sat for a few minutes, relaxing in the mid morning warmth. A man sat nearby told us that it was about 5km to Salento, 5 km uphill so it would be a run walk strategy as the altitude has an affect even though not great, the body still has to work a bit harder. We stopped several times on the way up and I took a few photos. We turned around at the top of the hill where the outskirts of the town begin and enjoyed our descent, restocked with water after we stopped by the river where there was a zip-line that people were having fun on and I took some more photos before we headed back along the rough road. Every now and again I would see a moth or brightly coloured butterfly I have never seen before and then we disturbed a small cloud of butterflies that rose spinning and floating before settling again in the warm sunshine.


It’s a boon to be here now when New York is coming to the end of a prolonged cold spell and in the UK it’ll be cool at best and its 22-25 degrees here which also means I’m drinking a lot of water. I don’t go anywhere without a water bottle.


There’s lots of colourful birds as well, sometimes it’s like being in an exotic aviary.

Leaving the country road we headed back into Armenia and with about a km to go I stopped to refill my water bottle and as I began to runagain I felt a tight pain above the back of the knee. I don’t know the name of the muscle but the pain came very suddenly and even though I tried stretching it and running again, it wasn’t having any of it and so I walked back home, satisfied enough with the duration of the run. My watch showed 5:15 when we got back and that probably gave a net running time of a good 4½ hours.

El Linea

This morning we had planned to go to Corcora and were to leave at 7:30 but when I emerged at 7 my host said there was a problem because of the rain it – began about 4 or 5. We talked to another friend and from our conversation I understood that we were postponing the trip until next week when hopefully it would be dry.
So I decided to go for a run despite the rain and I took a few pesos and set off toward Calarca. The River Quindio was in a flood state and even as I watched for 5 minutes I could see it was still rising very quickly. Later I was told that the bridge was called Maria. I have to ask why.
From there it’s a fairly steep climb up the valley side to the top where there is a junction that goes to Pereira and Calarca. Calarca direction is a busy road as Calarca is at the foot of the mountain where the road from Bogota descends and is a junction for Cali to the West and North to Pereira. This was 45 minutes from home so I continued up the mountain road. At first I had thought about making it a 2 hour run but quickly thought that 3 would be better and by the time I got to the 1½ hour point I decided to make it a four hour run, turning round at the 2 hour point. 15-20 mins before I turned around I saw some pine trees and almost simultaneously I felt the temperature drop a few degrees and I felt I had arrived at the alpine level.
On the way back down I had to refill my water bottle at a small roadside shop and that would be enough for another 1½ hours home.
When we came this way last week, the return journey was slightly different from our outward section and this had caused me a little confusion when I was looking for the Calarca road off the road I ran along from where I began my route and because we had stopped at this roundabout on the way back, I thought that I had to take the right-hand turn so it began to get quite hot at this point but only thinking I had 45 minutes to go felt ok. However the road quickly became unfamiliar and worse seemed to go on and on and it was very quiet. After ½ an hour I began to get concerned as my water was getting low and there was no sign of a road heading into Armenia from the North. I finished my water and still no road and I knew I still had to climb some hill off to my left as the road I was on was low down in the valley. Finally after about an hour I came to a junction and gratefully started heading South again but was still a way away from home. Found a small bakery that had some water and finally got in at 4:29:03.

Plans and Rucksacks

 This morning I planned to be brave and try and run to Calarca, a nearby town and venture some way up the long steep road which winds through the mountains to Bogota – a seven hour ride away. I didn’t get very far when the backpack I am using started chafing severely around the neck. It will need a little re-designing before I will be able to use it.

So instead I went back to my normal route and added a stretch of road that heads up to the north of Armenia and back which took me over the two hour mark for the first time.

The weather is humid here and relatively comfortable – it must be in the 70’s to early 80’s in the morning but its often cloudy so doesn’t get too hot. Pretty much ideal conditions.

My hosts are taking me to the mountains for the day so I may not get to run tomorrow but if I can maintain 2 hours plus a day next week, I will be approaching the Golden Gate for the first time in ages. Fingers crossed.

The New Year – Training In Colombia 2008

I have had the opportunity to stay with friends in Colombia and I’m using this as a means to get into shape over the next few weeks for this years Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race. I have been running fairly consistently over the last three months so I’m hoping that more time will enable me to reach fitness levels I have not really achieved before.

I’m pretty sure that physical fitness is only a part of the puzzle. The mental and spiritual aspects are also essential to reaching the goal. How that will be now that our inspiration and Guru, Sri Chinmoy has passed beyond the curtain of eternity, as he used to say, I don’t know. It is our next challenge.

As in the past the goal has always been to complete the distance and if possible complete it within the time frame of 51 days. This year it seems the Australians have an even bigger project – the World Harmony Run will run around Australia so Rathin and Grahak will probably be otherwise engaged. As far as I know, the field has no t been finalised yet and there’s a good chance there will be a new face on the course again this year.

Sri Chinmoy Races

World Harmony Run

3 Weeks Later

Today it’s been 3 weeks since the race ended and I’m just getting back up to speed on the sites. As far as the race goes it was my best experience so far. It’s not so easy understanding what made it so, as there are so many variables involved. However I’m sure actually doing some training helped. That period in Bristol, running on the Cycletrack helped build the foundation there can be no doubt and I look forward to getting back there again.

I’m really inspired to train harder in the coming months and to try and get into a good enough shape to  reach the goal next year in the race – finish within 51Days.

Next race on the schedule is the 24 Hour Self-Transcendence Race in Tooting Bec in October. The RD, Shankara Smith, said that there were still a few spots left before the store closed for their annual August break. Looking forward to being there.

The Unknown

Part of the charm of the 3100 is  dealing with the Unknown.

6 Days Already

It’s been really tough. Since the first day I have had problems with my intestinal tract, knee pain and back pain and today progress was made on all three fronts and consequently have been able to run  today to cover the minimum 50 miles. Yesterday all the issues plus interrupted sleep led to me taking lots of sleep breaks and, as a consequence, didnt get the miles in yesterday.

Smarana has has another walking day as did Vlastimil yesterday and Petr was walking tonight with sore shins.  Lets hope he’s OK soon .

The Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race 2007

As Chanakhya said in his post, yesterday was hot. I was OK until 4:30 and then it began to unravel. I rarely have stomach problems but yesterday my boy was having trouble dealing with vast quantities of lquid and a steady flow of food and it felt like everything began to stack up  and for the next4-5 hours I felt like I lost my way.

We had some visitors on Sunday – Shishaldin of who ran in the 6 day as did Glen Turner who leaves today to take part in a running camp with Jesper Olsen in preparation for their North to South World Run in 2008. Also dropping in to say hi was Leitha Cruthirds from North Texas Trail Runners. Leitha is planning on running Hardrock in July

TodayI began the day with the benefit of Rego Nocte. I took it again tonight and will continue to do so and we will see what transpires. I felt the benefit of it for the first 2 hours and then reality returned and I had sore quads all day.

So todays big issue was a pain in my back just to right of my left shoulder blade. I think it stems from some abdominal weakness that makes me lean forward and has overstrained something out back. It wasnt quite so bad when I ran faster so thats what I did but that put extra strain on my quads and by the time i finished tonight my knees were sore. I put some Arnica on tonight so we will see how the morrow goes – cooler by all accounts.