If you read my last post and think the fact that two men in the last two years wrecked me emotionally the day before a race was lost on me, it was not. I was able to immediately make the connection last weekend and quickly alter my pre-race checklist to look like this:
1-Check weather and lay out race outfit the night before.
1-Avoid men, especially men romantically involved with, the day before.
2-Set out on counter race fuel (Shot Blocks, Clif bar) and mix electrolyte drink.
3-Race gear (bike, wetsuit, goggles, running hat, sunglasses, etc) by front door.
And the very long list goes on to include everything imaginable.
Actually, this list-making obsession was the old me. I had an emotionally-driven compulsion with list making. Everything was mapped out and there was such comfort derived from simply completing the list. I never worried about the impossibility of completing 732 items on the list in a mere 2 hours. All that mattered was that I knew what needed to happen. I was the most tightly-wound, Type-A person and my lists were my daily marching orders. These lists helped to keep me together in very difficult times in my marriage; it was something I could have control over and brought order to my world.
Since the break-up of my marriage, I don’t live like that anymore. I don’t have a nervous breakdown if a throw pillow on the sofa is positioned at the wrong angle and I certainly don’t make lists. Well, except a few days before vacation. Those lists become a compilation of everything I should have done in the last 6 months. My kids even ask the morning of a trip, “Mom, are we going to 3 banks, the post office, dry cleaners, and Starbucks before we leave?” I feel like saying, “No, Smarty Pants. Mom has made tremendous progress with her life so we only have to go to 2 banks, the post office, and Starbucks!”
With the revelation on April 16th, I was not in the best emotional state before my race on the 17th. Add to this that I am not the compulsive list-maker anymore, it made planning everything necessary for this race a tough one. As I went to bed without even checking the weather for the next day, I tried to reason with myself that it was a duathlon, one sport less than a triathlon. I could throw it together in the morning, attach the bike to the back of my car, and I would be fine.
OF COURSE IT WAS NOT FINE.
Let’s start with the most embarrassing things:
- I lined up minutes before the horn was blown without my race bib number on my body. I frantically hopped over the mesh barrier surrounding the transition area to grab it.
- I left my bike helmet in the bathroom so I had to race back to get it right before lining up without the bib.
- I forgot my sports watch so I would have no idea of pace and overall time.
- I didn’t make it in time to hear race instructions in the pre-race meeting and had not even looked at the course map.
- I didn’t bring the appropriate clothing for the temperature that morning.
There’s more, but you get the idea.
The moment I was lined up ready (wearing the race bib) to run, I was able to release the rattled feeling I had from being wholly unprepared for this race. Being a single mom has meant letting go of my attempt at perfection. I am being gentler with myself now and I am happier as a result. Letting go of the lists, learning to be spontaneous, and relaxing more has been essential for my own happiness.
To let go on race day and not feel the pressure was a good feeling. I raced that morning simply to enjoy the experience. I was also able to laugh at myself for being so unprepared.
You know what? I actually did well in the race. However, enjoying the experience was my greatest accomplishment that day.