Race Impressions no.2

Brrr, it’s freezing. I check the time: 3:30 in the morning, time to
get up anyway. So, I turn off the alarm clock, jump out of my
sleeping bag and jump into my clothes as fast and as quiet as I can,
not to disturb the others. Right, I am not at home, I am at the 10-
day-race in NY and get ready for another day. For me this is like
eternity because time stands still in a way and you have the great
opportunity to just live in the very moment. I am here not as a
runner, but as a handler – a personal helper of a runner. I want to
give you a little insight in a handler’s day:

I exit the dormitory – it is a clear cool morning – brush my teeth
quickly and get some tea for Ingrid, my dear runner-friend and wake
her up after a few more minutes. Half an hour later, after dressing,
putting aloe on her feet and fixing the bandages against shin splin
on her ankles she is “back on the track” and I am back in the camp
kitchen to prepare her first breakfast, warm grits with butter and
maple syrup, just ready to eat after she finished her first lap.
After that I clear our table, make fresh tea and put some poems as
inspiration for the new day.
5:45, I go back to the dormitory to find it empty, all the runners
are running now and I am lucky to be alone, so I can sing my morning
songs before I go back to sleep for another two hours. This is the
time of the day where Ingrid needs me the least.
8:30 time for breakfast, I get something from the camp kitchen (there
is so much to eat that you can really get fat here ;-) and sit down
at our table to eat. Soon Ingrid passes by just to have a drink and
continue with a smile – everything is fine so far, great. I am
grateful, it seems that we have less problems every day and find a
nice routine in doing things.
So, what about the other runners? When “my runner” is fine, I always
like to use the time to help others, especially those who do not have
a handler and have an eye on them and their needs. I really enjoy to
be out here and help in every possible way, even if it is just a
little smile.
10:00 now it is warm enough for a shower and washing my hair. We are
blessed with another sunny day. Shortly after I am finished, I soak
our laundry in 2 buckets, always having an eye on Ingrid passing by
and providing her what she needs.
She now announces that she wants to take a shower after 2 laps. So, I
get her things from the dormitory and put use the time to tidy up
everything, putting away the warm jackets and pullovers for the
night. One of my main tasks is carrying staff and saving Ingrid
unnecessary ways to get the things she needs.
11:45 After her shower Ingrid enjoys a break with a foot massage in
the medical, I get a drink for her and sit quietly next to her. It is
lunch time soon but she prefers to do some more laps before, so I
bandage her ankles again and there she goes.
Before having my lunch I decide to finish our daily laundry. I am
still rinsing everything when someone tells me that Sri Chinmoy just came.
Ok, I finish this work quickly but leave everything in the buckets,
fetch my lunch – which is separately prepared for every helper – and
go to see Guru. This time he came almost every day and stayed for a
long time riding his chariot and bike on the track with the runners.
Ingrid comes and sits down too to watch Sri Chinmoy, and I get her something
to eat. This is a perfect break. After riding, Sri Chinmoy gives prasad and
then leaves. I rush back to hang up the wet clothes and Ingrid and
the other runners continue their journey.
After that I make fresh lemon juice, cook apple sauce and get some of
the brownies and other little things from the runners kitchen for
Ingrid – homemade of course, food is really excellent here!
My afternoon is full with little things and services for others and
some nice chats to other helpers or runners who are resting for a
while. In between I sometimes look at the board to see how many miles
they are doing and to talk to the counters.
At 5 pm I take another nap, knowing quite well that the night sleep
will be short again. Shortly after I get up, Sri Chinmoy comes again – we
are really lucky – and we get ice cream as prasad. Although I think
it is a little bit too cold for ice cream I enjoy it.
7:30 already, dinner is waiting, but first I get changed for the
cooler night and get the warm jacket and gloves for Ingrid which she
will soon need, too. I am right: Shortly after that she takes a break
for dinner and continues with the warmer clothing.
It is nearly dark now, I fetch the dry clothes and store them away
before I make fresh tea and sit down. Puh, now I realize how much I
ran during the day, I am really exhausted. I enjoy to sit now, having
tea and soup alternately against the coldness and inspire my runner
and all the others every lap. I like this time of the day and also
use it for writing poems and reflect on some things, and of course to
talk to others or discuss how we can solve runners` problems.
11.00 p.m. I start preparing everything for the night, opening the
sleeping bags, getting fresh clothes for the next day, putting hot
water bottles in the sleeping bags, , etc.
12.30 a.m. Ingrid is ready to go to bed, we take of the bandages and
she decides to get up an hour earlier tomorrow – I knew it will be a
short night ;-)
1.00 a.m. finally I fall asleep, after a wonderful day full of little
things and much more than I could write about here.

This is really eternity, just to live in the eternal here and now,
doing the things that are needed now. I enjoy to be here, although it
is cold during the night and beds are not too comfortable. Eternity
is only 10 days long – I wish, it could last longer, or that I could
bring this spirit here to my daily routines. I am still far away from
this, but one day, … one day I am sure I will …

Full of hope and gratitude
Claudia

Originally posted on Sri Chinmoy Inspiration Group