Wednesday, 18 November 2009


"The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment." -Pema Chodron

On Monday night I went to my Sangha, as per usual. I made it in time for soup, which was great as it also gives me a chance to chat with my friends there. When I saw my Buddha Brother, Al, he smiled, looked at me and said, 'So, are you feeling ready for the race?'. I replied, 'Uhm.....' The hesitation was long enough that he said 'So, have you started placing expectations on yourself yet?'.

We then both burst out laughing. Seriously, am I THAT much of an open book?! I replied that yes, I had started down that slippery slope, but then caught myself. Kind of.

It can be so hard before a race not to place expectations on oneself or how the race should go. The life lessons I go by, though, teach me that expectations lead to suffering. I seem to have a good amount of experience in this area, so really, you'd think I should know better. Alas, we are creatures of habit and I did find myself starting to set some expectations.

The biggest one is probably around time. I know, I know, I say that I don't have time goals. And really, I guess I kind of don't in that I'm not setting out to achieve a particular time. Like I'm not gunning for a placing overall or in my age group. And I'm certainly not trying to qualify for Kona. However, that said, I would SO love it if I were between 14 and 15 hours. The main reason for that is being out there longer than that is just really friggin hard.

The secondary reason is that this will be my fourth IM in three years. I'm realtively new to this sport so perhaps I shouldn't have many expectations (there's that word again) regarding speed, but still I seem to. Two of my races were really challenging, in the sense of things going wrong, and my times were 16:05 (IMC 2007) and 15:47 (IMC 2009). I had a super race and had a time of 15:05 (IMCDA 2008) as well. So in my mind, having the expectation of getting in under 15 hours doesn't really seem like an expectation...right? Yes, I'm totally justifying my thoughts here.

Of course I know setting a time goal even one as loose as that may lead to major disappointment. I don't think I've trained hard enough to get faster. It's not that I didn't want to, well, sometimes I didn't want to, it was more there was other stuff happening that made it so I couldn't. Or wouldn't. So if you don't train harder, then how can one expect to get faster, right?

So what if I don't come in under 15 hours? Is that such a bad thing? Likely no one is going to care anyways except maybe me.

Okay, so I'm letting go of my time expecations. Or at least I am telling myself I am every time I think about it and hopefully by November 29, the expectation will actually be gone!

The other expectations I have revolve around my process goals. I expect that if I follow through with my process goals all will be well. In theory, this would likely be true. Of course, reality is a different beast and who knows if I will be able to achieve all the process goals. So maybe I'll just think to myself I HOPE to achieve my process goals.

Hope. Now there is a word I struggle with. If I say 'I hope' to accomplish something does that mean I'm not really trying, or don't really want something? And if that's the case, will that mean I'm predestined NOT to achieve something. Should I be saying 'I will' accomplish 'fill in the blank'? Hmmm...

You know, the more that I think about what I'm thinking and the more that I write about what I'm thinking, I think that I am thinking WAY too much.

Okay, so bottom line then is this...

No expectations. The day is going to be whatever the day is going to be. I don't need to worry about times or this or that. The only thing I need to do is show up on the morning of the race with the attitude that I'm going to enjoy this race for whatever it will be. Afterall, I will be one of 1500 particpating in the very first Ironman Cozumel!!

Now I just need to repeat that as a mantra for the next 10 days...just to make sure it's firmly embedded in my brain.

Peace out my lovely friends!


  1. Repeat with me: "The only thing I need to do is show up on the morning of the race with the attitude that I'm going to enjoy this race for whatever it will be."

    Your words are so wise, you truly need to believe them.

    You are participating in the inaugural IM Cozumel – you should enjoy every minute of it. You are a strong woman, a smart athlete and a fantastic inspiration to others. Stay present and stay focused. The rest will fall into place.

  2. Getting the gerbil done in would be far more effective than any mantra. But somehow, I think he's an essential part of you.

  3. You are totally allowed to have goals. You also are not allowed to melt if you realize that you're not going to hit those goals part way through the race. Give it your best always, whatever your best may be at that moment.

  4. It is so hard to verbalize expectations because once they're stated, we are accountable to them. But if we don't meet them, it doesn't mean we have failed, it just means that something outside the box caused a divergence from that expectation or goal. And that fuels the motivation for a "next time." Whatever the outcome, you have worked hard and will be successful in some capacity (and hopefully many). If not, you're still a badass and I love ya!

  5. when you do the best with what you have then you have won your race :)

    also, let go of the dragon.... get out there, smiles, enjoy the day and you will look back on that IM as a favourite because when you think back you will remember being happy and enjoying your time out there. Then when things are going well - you do the best with what you got!!

  6. Your going to warm mexico.....enjoy the the experience, stay taught me that!



    It was wonderful talking with you yesterday, Susi! I could have talked to you all day -- have a great time at your Search and Rescue thing this weekend, and I am wishing you all the best for Cozumel too!

    Miss you, babe. :) :) :) :)

  8. Those process goals are a great thing, so much better than time goals! Because at the end of the day if you had fun and raced your best than that is all that matters, right?

    I hope you have an absolutely wonderful and amazing race in Cozumel - and how fantastic that it will be the inaugural one too!!

  9. You think too much Susi, hee hee. Just do the best you can on the day, the rest will take care of itself. I really think there's nothing wrong with expectations, just be prepared to adapt. Ironman never goes exactly the way we want it to. The key to success is being able to take what is given to me and deal with it!!! You'll do grrrrrrrrrrreat!!

  10. We are built to have expectations on ourselves. Maybe have a plan A, B and C...everyone knows the day can go in so many directions so what you have on paper likely will be very different than what actually happens...Do your best with what you have and you will have a fantastic day!!!