"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own"   Sri Chinmoy

Nusa Dua 2 Mile Race - Feb 2023 - Bali

One of the main challenges I faced in Bali was not measured in terms of speed, distance or terrain but in terms of health. I picked up a really persistent bug on arrivan in Nusa Dua and wasn't sure if I'd be well in time to race. I sat out the 1 miler, having started a course of antibiotics, but the days passed and I just wasn't getting any better. I had a false dawn of sorts where I thought I was over the worst and went out for a swim and a couple of bike rides, but soon I realised I was only getting through these activities thanks to the temporary relief of immodium and it's not healthy to take that for more than a couple of days.

The night before the 2 miler I had an awful bout of illness but woke feeling like I had finally got things out of my system. So - why not try the 2-miler and see if I could start slowly and see how it went?

I did not expect to achieve another 4th place, or a decent time despite the switch from the sands of Seminyak to a perfectly flat road, but I was game to give it a go nonetheless. The morning was damp but not really wet, temperatures were mid twenties which is as low as you can hope for here and humidity was brutal as usual!

The gathering at the start was upbeat and I soon picked up on the positive energy as I did a cut-down warmup. I realised just before the start that I hadn't slipped on my precautionary calf-sleeve that I usually race with, so that also showed I wasn't out to run seriously.

After peaceful, meditative silence on the start line we ran along the beautifully smooth ashphalt to a tight U-turn and I found myself coming back the other way in a pack with Prachar, Ales, Andrea, Ricardo and Pramodan. Ahead of us the big three - Shamalya, Sadanand and Sanjay - were burning it up and pulling away rapidly. It's incredible how the peace and poise of meditation and the dynamism of running at race pace go together so seamlessly and perfectly, it amazes me every time.

I was consciously running well within my limits, because of the ilness I knew was still affecting me, but even so I began to move slowly up the pack, until only Andrea and Ricardo - battling it out between themselves, exchanging places every so often - remained the unattainable goal ahead of me. Oh well, maybe I could hang on to 6th and that would be pretty good going considering the ravages my body had been through over recent days!

I kept running smoothly and without over-exerting, and for some reason everything just seemed to glide and the yards passed more easily than I'd expected. I remembered running this same course around 20 years before, when we had stayed at this same hotel with Sri Chinmoy. I found myself in a bit of a dream and woke up to realise I was gaining on Ricardo and Andrea. First the italian then the portuguese came back to me and once again I finished 4th, to my astonishment, in a time of around 12:25. Garmin had me running over-distance with the session clocking 2.07 miles and some handly lap speeds of 6.14 through to 5.54. And that faster time was for the last half mile.

Sadly my feeling that the illness was pretty much worked through turned out to be false - later in the day I suffered terribly on the bus ride back from Ubud and by the evening I was in a hospital waiting room, getting tests to see why the medicines I was taking just would not shift the illness. It turned out to be viral rather than bacterial, hence the ineffective antibiotics, but the prognosis was for it to fade out in a day or three. So I'm writing this from my hotel, confined to headquarters, the day after the race. I might make it to the evening function? For now though I need to give my body some time and space to heal and purge itself of the virus, after having put it through a race while under that stress.


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