20 December 2007

Run and Become

A few weeks ago, I bought a copy of Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes and also Extreme Running. Laziness had really begun to lose its charm and I was looking for something to kick start my running career again. A bit of inspiration if you will. Extreme Running is a coffee table compendium of some of the most intense races in the world.

But it doesn’t include the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race held annually in the borough of Queens, New York. Perhaps this is because the 900 metre or so loop that the competitors run around - for at least 15 hours a day - for around 50 consecutive days, lacks glamour. The field for this race is of course composed of a select few and many have completed the event multiple times.

Rathin, who I share lodgings with, has completed, ‘The 3100,’ three times. Surely anyone who has run over 10,000 miles in the last 4 years should be considered a Running God? Why didn’t I just turn to him for inspiration in the running world, instead of buying a few books? Who knows? Anyway, I’m sure glad that we can do races together or train at the same time on rare occasions.

There are a couple of cool things in Dean’s book, like when he meets an American Indian on his first ultra trail race at an aid-station. The Indian tells him, “Suffering is the price that the body pays to rid itself of weakness.” I like it. It's so hard to get good shamans these days!

Here is an interview that Dean did. It is quite long, but very interesting. Check out the part where he talks about his attitude to training or running in general. His advice is: “Don’t consider it a chore. Enjoy it. Love it.” I’m paraphrasing a bit of course, but that is the lesson I am taking, the experience I am making, of my running lately. It took me a while to appreciate it in this way. Like 10 years.

Here is a poem I wrote on my 2 mile loop Wednesday night:

Every run is a chance
To trample the face of

16 December 2007

Tour de Mountain

Rathin and I ran the Tour de Mountain this Sunday morning.

It was hilly.

We were both pretty happy to finish.

It was just the start and finish which were on the road, mostly it was Canberra Nature Park.

I took lots of photos on last weekend's training run to Mt Stromlo, but I had a busy week so I am just publishing them now.

I took my little camera and took lots of shots to begin with. I dropped my camera in the mud which was lucky, because mud is soft. Once it got really hot, I had to keep moving or the flies would swarm. The mist only lasted until the sun came up and it was really humid.

I ran with a Camelbak for the first time. It was good and handy but it needed a fair bit of adjusting to make it comfortable.

In approximate chronological order. It's a bit of a jungle out there.

I am thinking of making a t-shirt out of the below.

03 December 2007


I am so glad that the Labor government was sworn in officially today after Australia's recent Federal election. For me it is the difference between darkness and light. It is so great to have some vision and imagination in policy again. Now when someone says 'the Prime Minister,' I don't have to squirm anymore.

Recent filmic viewing:

Pirates of The Caribbean: At World's End. Is this the worst movie of the year? Yes, in my experience. Don't watch this film. It takes an age for nothing to happen and then it doesn't make any sense. Special effects means that it is now more expensive than ever to make a bad movie these days.

The Lost Boys
. Scary! Good fun. I loved this film when I was a kid and it was pretty cool to watch it again. This is kind of a horror version of The Goonies. Corey Feldman plays the same role as his dude in The 'Burbs. Another fine piece of 1980's nonsense.

Bridge to Terabithia. A tale of childhood, the power of imagination and hope. Very nice; the ending surprised me a bit, especially the bank robbery. That's called a red herring.

Into The Wild
. I haven't watched this yet, so what can I say? The book was enthralling. I remember as a callow youth once, wandering in a nature park, imagining the ultimate test: being alone with nature. Facing the self without artifice. Confronting the essence of the wilderness to discover truth. I was yet to realise that philosophy is good for selling breakfast cereal. According to one review I read, the directorial vision of Sean Penn has blossomed and this film is his message to American youth today. That message being: "Get off the couch!" I therefore have high hopes.

A friend told me once that the real challenge is to tame the self and this is like riding a tiger. This is not easy, it will be difficult and makes for a pretty rough ride. The alternative is to remain at the mercy of the tiger, under its control, which is really no fun at all.

02 December 2007

Deep Space

Sorry if you thought I was going to write about Star Trek.

No, this morning Rathin and I drove 60km from home to Namadgi National Park. The Deep Space Mountain Marathon was held near the defunct Honeysuckle Creek Deep Space Tracking Station. (Remember when NASA was still a celebrity?) We chose to tackle the 18km run instead of the marathon itself or even the 25km which both started at 0530 as opposed to our 0730 start.

It was a selection event for the Aussie team for the 2008 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championship. Sorry guys, I didn't make the cut, but I'm just telling you it was seriously hilly.

I loved it. You can learn a lot about rhythm and persistence on hills. You can learn a lot about yourself too. You can't learn much about rebuilding car engines on the other hand.

Being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature, it was tempting to stop and just enjoy the joie de vivre, but I had forgotten my French-English dictionary! Sacrebleu, I had to keep running.

Here is me a short time after crossing the finish line. I really like wearing towels on my head. A lot. See how happy I am. I can't remember when this first began.

My t-shirt had an aphorism by Sri Chinmoy printed on the back:

"When we are propelled
By the power
Of inner faith
We can do the impossible."

I know that it really inspired everyone because they all ran straight past me.

Here is Rathin crossing the line.

See you next time.