Monday, May 14, 2012

Race Peace

The event had begun. My swim wave moved into the water, readying for our start. I moved into the deeper water to await the horn that would sound the beginning of my race. And so I prayed: prayed for peace in the impending open water swim, peace in the transition, on the bike, and in the run. In the midst of whatever happens out there, let be still; be at peace. The horn sounded. We were off. Almost from the start I felt the velcro strap and timing chip coming loose from my ankle. Finally, I stopped swimming, and reached down to my ankle. The strap came off into my hand. That was close. Three times the strap started coming loose, and three times I had to stop and reattach it. At last, I snugged the strap up so tight that it felt like it was cutting the blood off to my foot. But, it didn't come loose this time. In all this, there was the peace I had prayed for. I had lost time but was not flustered. The strokes became strong and rhythmic as I began to pass swimmers. Somehow,I had found the zone that I try so hard to achieve. It was my slowest swim ever at this event, but it was a wonderful swim, perhaps the best ever. Transition went smoothly, and there was a feeling of freedom running with my bike to my bike mount line. Out on the road, builidng momentum, I looked down to see my bike computer wasn't working. Bikers passed me one after another as I fiddled with my bike computer; pushing buttons, moving the receptor: nothing. The computer was broken, but the peace I had prayed for wasn't. Standing up building speed, there was a race to be run. The rhythm came; pedaling circles, passing people who had passed me while I was in repair mode. What a great ride! It felt so good that I probably pushed a little too much on the bike. When I got off the bike, I realized that I was winded. It was worth it. My legs seemed to be on strike when I started the run, but I caught a pace and stayed there. It was going well. My heart was light as I tried to thank every volunteer I came to. Less than a half mile to go, a man in my age group passed me. "Dig down," I thought, but the fire would not ignite. As hard as I tried to push myself, the man kept putting distance on me. I crossed the line about fifteen seconds behind him. Yet, there was still a peace. And, as it turned out, we were only racing for fifth place in our age group anyway. What a great event! It wasn't my greatest peformance, but certainly one of my best races: best, not from a measureable perspective, but best in that "peace that passes understanding."