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

1 Mile Race, Budva, Monte Negro, December 2017



Ah, the Christmas Trip! All those amazing 1 & 2 mile burn ups by the sea or in the jungle, usually somewhere exotic and always among friends. Well, that's the expectation but I have a habit of arriving incapable of running after overdoing it in the weeks or months leading up to the trip. On this occasion I had pulled up with a calf strain only 2 weeks before, but a rest and a trip to The Medical for a deep tissue massage had revealed no serious problems. It was still stiff and sore, so I made my only aim at race #1 to give it a gentle workout and see if I was able to run. The plan was just run-walk, but after walking down to the sea front at Becici (part of the Budva neighbourhood in Monte Negro) I started to warm up and it felt surprisingly good. So, no racing, but I resolved to try and at least run the mile and some good warmup and cooldown yards as well to see how things turned out.

The pic shows some cold but happy runners from Sri Chinmoy Centres all over the world - lots of Balkan locals but Ozzies and Americans too, even a couple of Brazilians. We held a long silence before the start, getting on for a minute (that seems long at the start line of a race, believe me) then we headed off on the out and back course, perfectly flat and pretty straight on a deserted promenade.

I started near the back and ran behind Prachar, Pulak and Sundar. I took it easy but it was more than a slow jog. No protest from the calf so I pushed on, reminding myself every few seconds not to go crazy and push it too far. Unlike in my relative youth, I managed to stay on task and just run the race in 8.20 or so. It was great to see the three senior disciples just ahead of me running so well, and a relief that I was disciplined enough not to try and race them.

After the race prayer and prasad I ran another couple of miles on deserted lanes away from the sea towards the arc of mountains that fringe Budva bay. I'll have to fix up a hike or a run up there before the trips is over, I told myself.

This was the first time I'd seen yellow "age group" numbers appear at a Christmas Trip race - a great move as it gives the 50+ runners a chance to compete. Kanala & Bharu both won a banana. I began to think about next year's races when I'll be 50+ myself - if I stay in shape I'll be in with a decent chance of finishing "in the fruit". Oh well, who knows, anything could happen. Back in December 2017 I was relieved and happy to have run the race and some extra miles with no repercussions.


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