Somewhere behind a mid-week depression and into a soft-centered urge to cry, I doggie paddled out to Saturday’s starting line.
Forget about wetting myself. I did that on the shoreline.
The adrenaline buzzing through my veins was unappreciated. A caffeine-like quick start burns out fast. I needed some sort of high-octane, sustaining fuel.
Last week (as you may have read in the August 19th posting) I let go of a hundred pounds of expectation, and replaced that weight with an intention to fall into flow and see what would happen. Seconds before the race I needed to plug into that wisdom so I accessed council given to me from three sources:
- Mark Twight, my mentor from Gym Jones said it like this: “Lyn, smooth is fast.”
- My loving partner reminded me to be fully present in my body and feel the flow running through my center. “That’s where you want to swim from.”
- A spiritual guide, Juliette, encouraged me to blend my intense capacity to focuswith a higher consciousness and, “…fall back into the arms of this calming stream.”
These words were the fingers that turned off the noxious switches trying to fire in my brain. These were my anchors rooting me back into my hard-trained endurance. These were faith lines plugging into the power that leads my soul. So out in the water, treading away, I blended them into a freshly made mantra:
“Today I trust in flow. I simply desire to finish with a sense that I have done my best.”
Then the fog horn blew and the race began. Within the first 25 yards it took full throttle awareness to get both mind and body to shift together intoa sustainable pace which in my case is comparatively slower than most of the competition. I wasn’t afraid of drowning. I was concerned about an over abundance of adrenalin. Intent on finding a sense of stability I slowed into flow before the first marker. And then it slipped out. I found it again. I worked on my sightings, checked in on flow again and made sure I could feel it from head to toe. I kept an eye on other athletes flailing or straying along my side. It took persistence to focus on breathing and to trust my goal – simply finish centered and grounded in a good effort. And I persisted around the course and up out of the water. For me, coming out of the swim healthy and whole is enough of a win for any tri event.
Once on the bike my heart stoked confidence as my partner called out the swim time – the best I’ve ever had. In that exact moment my legs pushed into place clicking with a sure sense of the power invested there. Within 15 seconds I had passed the first racer ahead in my age division. From there on I stayed in the groove – streaming cooperative levels of air to lungs, strength to legs, and remained unattached to outcomes.
I passed several people; a 44 year-old men, a 28 year-old women, and a couple of teenagers (racer’s ages are painted on the back of the left calve). I maintained the steady, strong flowing pace right back to the 5k transition.
And then I started to run. Each extremity below my waist seemed like cement. What had pushed hard on the bike was joining gravity and pushing back on my core. I pulled a half-chewed shot block from my mouth and threw it in the reservoir. I yanked my hat down low, concentrated on finding a way to get the lines of communication moving down my leg hoping to find a strand of lucid energy. Again the hours of training came into play. They helped me trust that I’d get a healthy stride, just like I usually do after the first mile marker. The heat turned up a notch and tried to convince me otherwise.
“Keep moving, just sustain,” my heart whispered. “You’re going for a finish. You only need to find your stride and ride this out.” I calmed myself into this thought as a pesky little voice rushed up intent on pushing my buttons, “Hope for at least placing fifth.” I instantly swiped the thought from my mind.
I talked back, “I don’t need to place. I came here to experiment with finding flow and staying with it.” I kept a tight grip on that thought and passed the second mile marker. This is where I found myself measuring the distance between my energy and the finish line. I wanted to keep up the pace and be able to kick in at 100 yards out. That marker came and went. I decided I needed to stay in the flow I had going. I sensed I had enough kick for the last 50 yards. And when that mark came I shifted. The fuel was there, the flow was too. I moved across the finish line with a strong final surge.
What we do matters so much less than who we become from the doing. As I write this entry tears tangle in a knot at mid throat. For having put myself out there to sustain flow no matter what, I am forever changed. There are new and more sustainable patterns emblazoned in my being. I have a fresh map for success. The energy in my life and work increased in voltage. I now know how to meld with a divine spark.
The experience has been golden and I stand humbly in disbelief with a medal to remind me of such.