I have been thinking about racing and competition, whether I could achieve a podium finish. Wanting to win. And thinking No Chance! What's this about? When I think about wanting to win, instantly, in my mind's eye thoughts appear about what would keep me from winning, from being first across the finish line. These are fantasies that distract from the task at hand. A construction of my ego and my own assessment of what I think of as my limiting conditions. Age, weight, physical condition, personal history, mental state. Station in life. Me against them. Me against me. Competition. Only one winner. Then I hit on a paradigm shift. What if it's Us Together, not Against. And we're all winners.
What if the race is about all of us who join up at the starting line to race together, trying to harness our individual power and sweep the course as one human race? I can draw a circle around all the entrants, from the first across the finish line to the last to cross. We're all winners in that sense. We will harness the power within ourselves at that moment and express it with grace and courage. A team that converges at an appointed time and place to fan out over the course, striving to be our individual best.
What if my race day performance is simply an expression of my humanity at that moment, my readiness to exert myself and release the speed that I carry from within. I will race with heart. Unleashing the very best of myself at that moment. Within that bubble of competitors, moving as one group of winners, I add what I bring to the race.
Throughout my training, I have been in love with the practice sessions. I have felt joy every morning ride or run. I have felt excitement and determination in every swim. I have felt courage in the sea. I will take all these experiences with me to the race. Rather than fear of failure, of not "achieving" success or "beating" the other competitors, I will feel delight and celebrate, just as I would at a holiday meal that has required lots of advance preparation. When I celebrate Thanksgiving, I don't sit at the table with fear in mind. I have spent hours in preparation and have confidence that I have put together my best. It is with pleasure that I dine. And it is with pleasure that I will race.
I read this morning about an athlete who raced the Ironman at Kona only five months after being diagnosed with ALS. And I read about another Ironman triathlete who now races in a wheelchair after he crashed his bike while training. He says, every setback is an opportunity to fight back. And that we can do more than we think we can. So, I feel inspired to race with the field and contribute my best as part of this unique field. And to find the best of myself out there on the race course.