The Self-Transcendence Six and Ten-Day Races, 2013
What Happened At the 2013 Race...
What Happened At the 2013 Race...
|Runner||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7||Day 8||Day 9||Day 10|
|21||Frederick Davis III||80||135||159||185||255||300||301||361||400||402|
|Runner||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6||Day 7||Day 8||Day 9||Day 10|
Notes and Observations from the Race Course- by Arpan De Angelo
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Yesterday it was quite chilly but the cold winds died down compared to the weekend. When the sun comes out and the wind dies down it is more comfortable for the runners and they can spend more energy running without having to struggle keeping warm. Also the general lack of rain this year has been a blessing for the runners as rain can make life a bit miserable and more challenging out on the open and exposed race course.
Working in the medical tent can be an eye opener into the lives of the runners. The problems and the joys of running most of the day and night are revealed more readily when the runners are resting or being treated in the comfort and warmth of the medical tent. Some of my stories will be derived from excerpts of runners’ comments as they are resting or being treated in the medical tent.
When I have time I also try to do a few laps with some of the runners to keep them company and let them express themselves a bit about their experiences. It may get a bit lonely out there for some of the runners although most seem quite content going around on their own most of the time. But when they do have someone to talk to some of the runners offer interesting words of wisdom as they freely offer tales of their experiences here.
One person who is quite fluent in expressing himself about his race experiences here is our great friend and runner Mark Dorion. He is an American runner from El Paso, Texas who comes here every year to run or to help with the Ten Day Race. He has run and raced at all distances for over three decades and has run in many of our SCMT races over that time span as well. (Photo by Prabhakar).
As a ‘senior’ runner who has slowed down quite a bit since his speedy days of yore, Mark still embodies the enthusiasm and energy of a dedicated runner who understands and manifests the principle of self-transcendence.
Having had serious operations and procedures on his foot in the past few years Mark has to struggle with keeping pace to stay in a race as long as this one. He is doing the Ten Day race as a personal challenge to keep in shape and stay in the racing spirit even though he has had to walk most of the time this year.
While walking with me for a few laps Mark has offered some brilliant observations about the course here. One of the things that one usually does not see on the race reports is the activity of animal life in and around the course as the runners spend most of their days and nights going around the one mile loop in this large park in the middle of Queens, New York City.
Mark was telling me about the animals that he has observed ‘sharing’ the park with all of the runners. Some of them are more common than others and are expected to be seen in a park like this. Squirrels, raccoons, ducks, dogs and all kinds of birds are plentiful here this time of year. Other unexpected animals that have been spotted are skunks, porcupines, muskrats and rats. It could be quite shocking for a runner, especially at night, to encounter one of these more unusual animals. But since the animals are used to seeing people and are foraging for the leftover food from picnickers, etc., they just go about their own business usually unafraid and non-threatening if they not provoked by people.
Mark also related that he sees more animals in this park than when running on trails out West. He said, “In a trail race people are making noise as they are running and they just focus on the trail as the animals hide in the bushes trying to avoid them. Here in the park they are all out because they go for the trash and the muskrats go back and forth to the lake.”
John Geesler also offered an observation on the movement of the animals here. John is one of the Six Day runners who have won the Six Day race here a few years ago. He also was the American record holder of the 48 Hour Race until a year ago when Phil McCarthy, another runner in this year’s Six Day Race broke his American record. (Photo: Prabhakar).
John was saying that this is a flyway at this time of year and the birds heading north see this giant greenbelt and they come down to the lake. Cardinals, robins, geese, ducks and other birds come here a lot especially this time of year to share the park with these human beings who play games here as well as those who are ‘strangely’ circling around and around a one mile loop in this beautiful setting.
I would like to end with a few personal observations about Monday, April 22 here a the park, which was the end of the fifth day and beginning of the sixth day for the Ten Day runners and the end of the first day and beginning of the second day for the Six Day runners.
Sunday’s start was sunny but chilly for the Six Day runners. A whole day and night have gone by and this new group of runners have begun to tire and slow down from their faster and more energetic pace of the first few hours. Most of the Ten Day runners who have been on the course four more days than the newer runners have gotten used to the slower pace and the more frequent intervals of rest breaks and medical stopovers.
The medical tent is a great place for some runners to get out of the cold or wind or rain, although today it was not raining nor was it as windy as it had been a few days ago. It is more comfortable there than in most of the tents or dormitory facilities, so it is a place where runners get a quick break, a massage and check the status of their feet, legs, etc.
Working in the tent allows me and others who help the runners to get a really good feel for what is happening in the race. Although I have run this and other multiday races a number of times, it is more revealing to see what others are going through by working in the medical tent and spending time with each runner.
Today I spent nine hours there off and on as I would also accompany some of the runners around the course for a lap as well to see how they are doing. In that time span I, as well as other masseurs, doctors, chiropractors, etc. had seen many runners. Most of the runners so far do not have any serious problems or injuries or else they would not be allowed to stay in the race. Only one person had to drop out due to health problems. But there are always minor aches and pains and slight injuries that should be dealt with as they keep on schedule to cover as many miles as they can.
Most of the problems are muscle soreness and things such as blisters, tightness, tiredness and other temporary discomforts. Sometimes we may have to deal with a few mental problems such as lack of motivation, but in general the runners all seem to really want to enjoy the race.
As time goes on in both races now the frequency of runners stopping into medical is increasing. Yet all the runners seem in good spirits and are excited about getting back out on the course and moving forward towards their goals.
I will offer more accounts and observations from ‘medical’ as the race proceeds.
List of Runners as of March 30, 2013. Total runners in 6 & 10 Day Races is 78. The maximum numer of participants is 80.)
|1.||Lynn||Dharbhasana||35||Auckland, New Zealand|
|3.||Oberkehr||Bob||58||Northvale, NJ, USA|
|5.||Rios||Luis||65||Brooklyn, NY, USA|
|7.||Ward||Ken||55||Corvallis, OR, USA|
|9.||Hanes||Steve||56||Westfield, PA USA|
|19.||McCarthy||Philip||44||New York, NY, USA|
|20.||Swenson||Alex||48||Vashon, WA, USA|
|21.||Stringer||Pete||71||Osterville, MA, USA|
|22.||Wilson||Salil||48||Jamaica, NY, USA|
|24.||Fountain||Daulot||56||Seattle, WA, USA|
|25.||Zincarini||Sandro||27||Porto Sant Elpidio, Italy|
|26.||Martel||Roger||56||Wickham, Quebec, Canada|
|27.||Limbu||Kumar||39||Flushing, NY (Nepal)|
|28.||Jakelaitis||Rimas||58||Brooklyn, NY (Lith.)|
|30||Winkley||Don||75||Corpus Christi, Texas|
|1.||Cunningham||Dipali||54||Jamaica, NY, USA|
|4.||Stebneva||Mattali||56||St. Petersburg, Russia|
|5.||Morison||Karnayati||66||Ottawa, ON, Canada|
|16.||Kamalan||Subala||28||Brisbane, Qld, Australia|
|Last Name||First Name||Age||City/Country|
|1.||Fryer||Martin||51||Weston, ACT Australia|
|6.||Andreev||Andrey||47||St. Petersburg, Russia|
|7.||Somov||Andrei||33||St. Petersburg, Russia|
|8 .||Tolstopyatenko||Upakaraka||45||Moscow, Russia|
|9.||Davis III||Frederick||65||Cleveland, Ohia USA|
|13.||Pliva||Ales||35||Prague, Czech Republic|
|16.||Kuzmin||Sergey||40||Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia|
|17.||Cordeiro||Patanga||29||Sao Paolo, Brazil|
|19.||Gouin||Michel||52||Drummondville, Quebec, Canada|
|20.||Dorion||Mark||53||El Paso, Texas, USA|
|21.||Caslava||Chakradhara||38||Zlin, Czech Republic|
|2.||Nemcova||Ilvaka||32||Prague, Czech Republic|
|6.||Plyavinskaya||Yashasvati||47||St. Petersburg, Russia|
|7.||File||Niribili||67||Auckland, New Zealand|
|9.||Schmidt||Sara||33||Den Haag, The Netherlands|
|11.||Egger||Bigalita||72||Culver City, CA USA|
6 and 10 Day-Tales From Medical and Other Comments
I usually arrive at the Six and Ten-Day races around 5:00 pm after the runners have spent a full morning and afternoon of running/walking/eating/resting since I last saw them. When I leave to go home around 1:00 a.m. after offering massages to the men who are about to go to bed for the night there are very few runners or helpers out on the race course. Most of those late-nighters are usually walking or running quite slowly. The contrast in the energy and excitement on the course between those two times is quite remarkable.
The runners have had mostly sunny days in this race. When there were clouds covering the sky most of the time it did not rain as in past years. So having a relatively dry race is one boon that the runners can really appreciate and feel grateful for. The nights do get very cold though, and sometimes it is very windy. This can make running and walking quite uncomfortable and difficult, especially near the lake, which offers no protection from the cold, harsh winds.
Coming into the medical tent after a full day and long evening on their feet as they struggle with the weather, tiredness and their own bodies’ limitations and aches and pains, some of the runners feel a great relief and joy. Besides the fact that the medical tent is usually the warmest place on the racecourse, they know they will be cared for as they lie down in a protected and comfortable environment.
I have been working off and on in medical tents at our multiday races since they began in 1985. When I say ‘off and on’ I mean that I have also run in these races so I have developed a good appreciation of the medical tent from the runner’s perspective.
Although I am not a certified masseur, doctor or chiropractor, I have been doing massages for over forty years and have also learned how to treat certain running ailments and health problems related to running.
One of the most important things to observe when a very tired and sore runner comes into the tent is how they are walking, breathing, talking and if they seem faint or disoriented. Most of the time they just come in to lie down, get a massage or take care of blisters.
Lately though I have also been treating some inflamed muscles and tendons such as shin splints and Achilles problems.
In normal day to day life if a runner would have some of these problems you would tell them to stop running for a few days or weeks until they healed. In most cases in this race if the injury is not too serious we will take care of the problem enough so they can at least keep walking. Some of them eventually do start running again after some time.
One night the medical tent was really busy with ‘patients’ and three and sometimes four of us were taking care of them as they came in and out in a steady stream for hours. Dr. Sakhshat Flowers, a good friend, member of the SCMT and an M.D. with his own practice and clinic in New Jersey, was in the tent diagnosing problems and helping to treat the more acute ones. He had a special laser device to facilitate tissue healing and circulation and whatever else it does. The rest of us who were ‘less technical’ did our usual massages, taping, blister treatments, etc.
One runner from Germany had a very inflamed shin splint. Dr. Sakshat worked on it with the laser and then I massaged it to drain out some of the fluid or lymph, which naturally rushes to an injury to help promote healing in that area. I also iced it and taped it to support it when he walks, but at this point it was very late and we just wanted him to elevate it and rest it.
He had been resting for a few hours lying down and finally needed to get up and go to sleep in his own tent. As he sat up he turned white and started to faint and we then took care of that somewhat scary condition by elevating his legs and lowering his head. We gave him some water to drink when we saw that he was not unconscious and after checking his temperature, pulse, etc. let him rest some more. By then it was 1:30 a.m. and I had to leave so we made sure he drank water regularly and had someone check up on him regularly. One has to be very careful of dehydration when involved in so much physical exercise even after stopping.
The next day when I came back in the late afternoon I knew that he was all right. I saw him walking quite briskly looking very energetic and strong. He had walked over a marathon that day already and was looking forward to running into the night. I did get to see him again in the medical tent later that evening and worked on his shin splint once more. After a short rest he was out on the course again moving quite well.
This kind of story is similar to many of the multiday runners who are strong enough to endure these kinds of physical and mental challenges. Of course those with more ultra marathon experiences as well as those who have trained properly will not experience problems that are debilitating and can rebound from their ailments quickly. Some runners’ problems may become too intense or severe so they are first recommended to take longer rests and then to drop out of the race if it is too serious and a risk to their health and well-being.
Surprisingly of the 82 or so runners who started both races only two that I know of had to leave the race due to health or injury problems. With less than two days to go until the end of the race most of the runners have adapted to the aches and pains of these challenge and are quite happy as they overcome each obstacle. Outwardly they make look tired and not be smiling all of the time, but there is a certain and real contentment inside the runners who are able to endure until the end. This becomes more obvious as the goal fast approaches.
Surprisingly some of the runners are now actually getting stronger. This amazing phenomenon occurs in races as long as these when the body seems to adapt quickly after the initial shock of the long days of movement on their feet. The runners who do not adapt and just have to struggle with their weaknesses are usually those with less experience, background and training. But their achievements, as well as those who have had to stop altogether before the end of the race, never goes unrewarded.
The heroic attempts of all of the runners who make it to the starting line are greatly appreciated by others. Their own efforts, whatever the result, will make them stronger not only as runners but also as individuals who wholeheartedly devote themselves to a worthy goal and strive with all of their effort to achieve those goals, whether they fall short sometimes or not.