As we're finishing up our third mother runner book, we're going green this summer and recycling some of our blog posts. This post originally appeared on our site on August 9, 2010
I know I sound like a broken record, but it's been an unsmooth few weeks around here. One dog—the one we just dropped big bucks on to get her ACL fixed—ate half of an area rug, which landed her at the vet (read: more $); Amelia got into a charter school, which I applied to on a whim this winter—and had forgotten I had until I got a call that said one seat was open in 2nd grade (read: huge decision to make in 48 hours, with no schools in session or teachers around to consult); then her week-long, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. daycamp was "canceled", when, in fact, four different employees didn't mention that it might be in an adjacent, different building, which it was. I didn't learn about the locale issue until 2 p.m. last Monday though, after firing off a very out-of-character e-mail for me to the director. But I.was.pissed.
So when Friday rolled around, and I had a sprint triathlon on Saturday morning, I really was not psyched. I made my way through gridlock to grab my goodie bag (best part: two different samples of cheese puffs!), beelined for Chipotle and then for my couch. At 5:30, I teed up four episodes of Entourage—the other three members of the fam had already headed to the mountains, where I planned to meet them after the race—cracked open a beer, ate too much oversalted rice and guac, and drooled over Vincent Chase for two hours. 8:00, I half-heartedly pinned my race number on a tank, looked over the schedule, dusted off my wetsuit and went to bed. Only to get up a few times to throw more gear in my bag (yes, goggles would be good, Dimity.). I was asleep by 8:45, and as I drifted off, I thought to myself: this feels like camping. You go to bed when the sun goes down and your body demands it--not when the clock says you should. I should do this more often.
Fast forward to the race. The last 30 seconds of the countdown before the swim goes off, I spend talking to a mom of a kid who goes to Ben's preschool about school stuff. I am not nervous. But I am not super interested in doing this either. I squeeze to the front of the pack--my long limbs make me a capable swimmer by default--and keep four buoys on my left until I'm back at the algae-covered boat ramp. That wasn't so bad, I think, and suddenly, I'm way more into the race. I Velcro up my shoes, surprise myself by running in my bike cleats, and get in the saddle.
Wet from the swim, being dried by the sun above, pushing the pedals harder than I should, watching the pavement unfurl below me like a ribbon knowing most people have to catch me, I can't help but smile. I've got speed, I've got climate control, and I've got goose bumps. I've played everything from softball to tennis, skated, skied, rollerbladed and rowed, but nothing--nothing--rivals that delicious mix of fresh anticipation and pedal power when you transition from the swim to the bike.
So I'm running. The run has always been my Achilles heel in tris, and today is no different. A couple of short, swift women blow by me like they're spriting on a flat people-mover and I'm parked, weighed down by bags and whiny kids, on the right side. But I honestly don't care. This isn't about them. It's about me, learning to run correctly even when I'm wiped. Feet quick, Dimity, head up, Dimity, wide back, Dimity. I started the run somewhere around 53 minutes on my watch, so I knew that I'd be done in the 1:23 range: I counted on 10-minute miles, even though I was wishing for 9-minuters.
I hang in there, even though the mostly unprotected, basically flat concrete path makes 30 minutes feel like 300. Crossing the line, I don't have that never-gonna-do-it-again feeling I usually have when I take on a longer distance, nor do I have those did-you-really-push-yourself questions that often haunt me when I've focused on an event for months. Instead, I just felt—sorry this sounds so Minnesota—good.
Good that I followed through and showed up. Good that I picked a relaxed, big-fish/small-pond scenario to ease myself and my ego back into the scene (total number of racers in The Creek Streak: less than 200; last week's Tri For the Cure, also a sprint tri and my other option had about 2,700). Good that my body felt decent for most of the race. Good that I didn't immediately mentally quit when the speedsters zoomed by me. Good that I stayed on task with my running form. (Well, I think I did: Brightroom pics might beg to differ.) Good that I bookended a couple of tough weeks with a notch in the W column.
Well, not exactly a W; I'd need, um, six-minute running splits, not the 9:37's I ended up with. But a personal win. Saturday reminded me that life doesn't have to be exhausting or exhilarating. Black or white. Amazing or abysmal. Aiming for simply good is, more often than not, simply good enough.