The Race Becomes my Practice

By Diane Clement on April 13, 2014

My quads were still in recovery from a trail race, and so the story began. I don’t know if I can even compete. I can’t believe I did that trail race. Why didn’t I opt out at the half-way point. Ego. I raced against my own ego! When Ego fires up, I am reminded to take my seat and listen up. Among the many take aways from my Baptiste training, one that comes up on a regular basis, is to pause pause the story in my head so that real life has a chance to land.

I recently competed in a ½ Ironman: a (1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim, a 56-mile (90 km) bike ride, and a 13.1-mile (21.1 km) run in Monterrey Mexico. I signed up back in October and as most goals go, the real pursuit happened along the way. But with close to one hundred races under my belt, I still learn something new at every single event. Before Baptiste training, the race used to be a competition, an exertion for bragging rights; an obstacle to be overcome. But now it’s much more. The attitude and approach that I was left with after Level One and Level Two Trainings have allowed me to embrace the race as much more than mindless motion against time.  Instead now, it’s a platform to grow, to share, to lift and to learn.  Here’s how I’ve taken my training “off the mat” and “into the world” of a ½ Ironman:

IMG_01191. Fear is a choice. When I toe the water’s edge during a race, I can either feel the swells in my chest, or simply turn down the fear-o-meter. I turn up my breath and open my eyes and ears to the sights and sounds around me. This is one of the most profound moments where my yoga off the mat comes into play. I am full; equal parts excitement and anticipation – normally dwelling in the future until I make the choice to get real and get present. When I’m present, I’m able to smile and enjoy that precious one-minute of race energy before the horn blows.

2. Fighting and Keeping Score Doesn’t Work . The wind is still going to blow no matter how far I lean in. The bike section was gusty. Wind from the side and wind from the front but never wind at our back.  Three hours of biking against the wind can either make or break me. All the while, my Ego has me hunting, and keeping track of points as I pass. When I approach the bike (or life) keeping score, it’s a seetup where someone must be cast as the ‘loser.’ And that is a scenario where we all lose.

3. Even though the stone in your shoe was once part of something much bigger, it’s not anymore. Little things are little things. Period. I did have a stone in my shoe on the run and it gnawed away at my big toe until I decided to stop and take a look. I removed the “rock’ (Law number 8: 40 Days to Personal Revolution) and I continued. I dedicated my race to a dear friend who is competing in a greater race. She has just started chemotherapy for an aggressive form of breast cancer. There are so many trivial aspects of life that can be so easily be used to self-sabotage. Sometimes it’s just time, to take your shoe off, and remove that little stone so that you can get to what’s really important in life.

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4. Competition is costly. Dollars and cents aside, a mind of competitiveness and comparison can suck away the  happiness and enjoyment. In the race, it’s getting passed or never catching my competition. I race against with my boyfriend.  We are as close as competition can get and last weekend, that meant that I lost by 18 seconds. The best version of me is proud of our accomplishments, and my ego replays the entire race finding pockets of 18 seconds everywhere (the rock-in-shoe-phenomenon).  It is up to me to choose the path of character or ego.

During Baptiste Level Two Teacher Training in Tulum, Mexico, I found myself perplexed with the idea of “giving something up.” I thought that I would be a fraud if that “something” crept its way back in my life. Every so often, the lesson seeps in . Letting go is process. Letting go of fear, letting go of the fight, letting go of the little things and letting go of competition. Experience has taught me that letting go isn’t linear. It is indeed circular; to be practiced, not perfected.