Admittedly life would feel much easier if perspective was always effortlessly attained…but, (at least in my world), it takes hours of refocusing, reformatting, re-contextualizing and sometimes simply a little bit of time to achieve the most accurate and/or productive perspective. Finally, a few weeks later- my IM Lake Placid that wasn’t, has become a race that “was,” and one that despite not finishing, has given me enormous insight into myself as an athlete and as a person.
My long build to IM Lake Placid was tough, committed, impassioned, driven, and decidedly successful, even “training” through racing a few halfs which was challenging physically and on the egoJ, but that all went well and I was eager to see what I could do on the hills of Keene. However, while race day itself didn’t yield the opportunity to fully showcase my preparation, it did yield the chance for me to see that I can swim far faster than I have been, coming out of the water in second place and sticking with Suzanne Serpico who raced an incredibly gutsy and inspiring race all day. She rocked it out there.
Although I hit some mechanical issues going into the second loop of the bike which I allowed to get to me far more than they ever will again, I started out with a strong first loop during which I felt confident, strong and really comfortable riding in second. Those are certainly 2 bodily memories I will take into my next race. Before leaving Toronto for Placid I learned that the foot issues I have been navigating for the last few years will require surgery and that, well that too, I let get the better of me. Something else that won’t happen again! Instead, I’m working on a plan of action for the quickest most successful recovery.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about my Placid experience was how much it reminded me of the power of sport to connect–its ability to link, to join, to unite across all kinds of divides. As we stood on the shore of Mirror Lake, nervous and anticipatory, staring at the buoys, awed at how far the turn-around appeared, fellow pro and gorgeous spirit Erin Spitler (http://erinspitler.blogspot.ca/) gave me a good luck hug, and it was one of the those hugs that goes right to the core because it was one that in that very moment “understood” –despite only having met a few times… and though we both had tough days out there, I’m so grateful for the chance to get to know Erin more. The sport attracts such strong, powerful, talented and lovely women …who thrive on thriving. Awesome!! I also had the privilege of being well-looked after by my friend Brandon Whitby and the NRG coaching (www.nrgpt.com) crew Nigel Grey and JJ (thank you fellow pro mom-to-be Fiona for lending out your hubby and brother for the weekendJ). Seriously, they made me feel at ease, answered my million questions, and kept me smiling all weekend. Finally, my own super coach Tara Norton (www.taranorton.com), Bruce, and baby Maya were the perfect cheering squad and med tent rescue. I love you guys.
In my many years of reading the modernist masters, I recall somewhere coming across a reference to William Faulkner’s yearly practice of reading James Joyce’s almost 1000 page Ulysses (…every year!?!) and certainly Joyce’s text can be seen throughout Faulkner’s work. Similarly, I have a very dear friend who reads Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One about that much…and that fact has sent me back to the book many times myself (think Chariot’s of Fire or Rocky or Once a Runner laced with the political strife of South Africa, racism and survival). Every once and while I open the book at random and fall upon precisely the message I need to hear. This is what I came upon today:
“I was seldom concerned with winning a particular fight; instead I was cultivating the habit of winning. Winning is a state of mind that embraces everything you do, so I found I won in other things as well.”
That’s what I aspire to: a winning state of mind. To be sure there are wins in imagined losses…it’s a shift in perspective. Such is my current quest, my reformatting, re-contextualizing.
Next up: long seaside rides in Newburyport Mass, stand up paddle boarding, maybe a ride in my friend’s plane over the sea, my twin sister’s wedding, and a visit with my soon to be nephew (my sister is expecting) !! I can’t wait.