Purpose Statement

Exploration -> Experience -> Feeling -> Awareness -> Understanding -> Transformation -> Liberation

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pre Race Meditations

3PM Friday. Checked in with Ironman Arizona at Tempe Town Lake park. Ten minutes to sign all sorts of waivers promising not to sue anybody, and then stood in line for an hour and a half for body marking. No longer do they magic marker your race number on your arms on race morning. The procedure now is to impress a more permanent ink on your arm with a stamp. Standing in line is normally a drag, but this is Ironman and the energy of the place is buzzing and everyone is happy and excited. There was a witty Aussie and a quiet Canadian in front of me and the Aussie and I had a good time trying to be more clever than each other. At one point, the Aussie commented on the water bottle the Canadian had mounted on her aerobars. In the aero position, she will spend considerable time looking at her water bottle and the Aussie suggested that she should print some sort of motivational slogan on the water bottle. The conversation then pursued what that slogan should be. Before too many witticisms had been offered, the Aussie asked me what my motivation would be on race day. After a short moment of reflection, I offered the following:

This will be a bit heavy, but a decade ago, a 40 year old friend died in an accident. Three years ago when I did this race, I found myself think of him halfway through the bike course. I was 40 years old, it was a glorious sunny day, and I was competing in an Ironman. I was alive and healthy. I had such leisure and luxury in my life that I spent considerable time swimming, cycling and running. I was blessed, and I knew I was blessed because my friend's death had given me perspective.

The Aussie asked me what that perspective was and I explained that when Arjan died, by most anybody's yardstick I was quite successful, but even though I had achieved financial and material success, I really had not done anything that was meaningful or fulfilling to me. The perspective that came to me through Arjan's death was the realization that:

1. I was going to die and it could happen at any time.
2. The comfort, convenience and security I had spent my life pursuing was empty of any meaning.
3. I couldn't clearly and concisely state what would be meaningful and fulfilling to me.
4. If someday I was able identify what was meaningful and fulfilling, I must relentlessly follow my bliss.

The Aussie turned to the Canadian and said, "There you go. Put that on your water bottle."

I do Ironman triathlons not so much for the competition. It is more of a lifestyle than a race. It is a lifestyle that apparently I find meaningful and fulfilling.
We are out exploring.

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