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Good Enough

August 9, 2010

The first image that comes up when I Google "good enough" and "triathlon." Teri Hatcher being pre-race patriotic with her daughter. Good enough.

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.

30 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2010 5:46 am

    Love Entourage! Good for you, I’ve thought a great deal about trying a “tri” but haven’t worked my courage up. So for now I’m sticking to just running.

    • August 9, 2010 8:36 am

      Hey Shannon–the post got too long, but I’d encourage anybody who is interesting in giving a tri a go to go for a it. The sprint distance is so doable–if you can run a 10k, you can easily do a sprint with some focused training. But I understand the courage thing, especially w/regard to the swim. Let it simmer in your brain a bit: you’ll get out there when you’re ready!

  2. August 9, 2010 5:49 am

    9:37 when your goal is 10 is GREAT!!!! WAY better than good enough!! Great race recap. I’m already signing up for my local sprint tri and keeping this in my “inspiration” file.

  3. August 9, 2010 6:30 am

    Can’t take the Minnesota out of the girl, huh? You’re right, sometimes good is just what you need, but Saturday and Friday night sound just GREAT! Well done! And to end it in the mountains with your family–almost like being at a cabin “up north” in MN :>

  4. August 9, 2010 6:57 am

    Nice picture of Teri Hatcher there she is awesome…:D

  5. August 9, 2010 7:01 am

    A definite personal win – nice post!

  6. Jay permalink
    August 9, 2010 8:18 am

    Thanks for putting into words what I can’t! I had a sprint tri this weekend and really was not in the mood to be there. And after the first 5 minutes, I found the groove and it kept getting better until the end. And, now, I’m left with the awe of completion and great times and it is enough to keep my crazy girl-emotions strong and happy for a couple more weeks. Now if we could just figure out how to get cheese puffs in our goody bag.

    • August 9, 2010 8:38 am

      Congrats, Jay: nice job. Love the “awe of completion” phrase. Totally get that. Here’s something else to lobby for: great breakfast burritos after the race. Seriously, eggs and ‘tatoes have never tasted so good. Especially because somebody else cooked them!

  7. Tryna permalink
    August 9, 2010 8:24 am

    Thanks for the post Dimity. I’ve got a triathlon on my life list and you actually make it sound fun AND doable. Especially on those “I don’t wanna” days.

  8. August 9, 2010 8:28 am

    It’s the showing up that’s the best part of good. The rest is gravy. Yum…gravy…

  9. August 9, 2010 8:33 am

    Way to go! Sounds like you ended up having a good time. 🙂

    I’m jealous of the kid-free night you had before the race…

    • August 9, 2010 8:37 am

      Honestly, that was the best part of the whole experience. I haven’t had the house to myself in…I don’t know. To have silence, and then go to bed without having to put two others to bed…nirvana. Pure nirvana.

  10. August 9, 2010 8:45 am

    Sweet race report, Dimity!!!! I love it from a mom’s perspective. I think, secretly, I would love to try a tri, but I know at this point in time, it’s not the right time for me. I am waiting on the Houston Marathon lottery on Aug 17 to tell me if I’m a “winner” or not! I feel like I’m waiting on the birth of a baby! I think any mom who gets out there for any race, starts & finishes, is a winner in my book. Way to rock it!

  11. Amy permalink
    August 9, 2010 8:59 am

    OK, loading this post on my phone, I honestly thought that was a picture of you and couldn’t figure out who the girl was on your arm. I had to get my reading glasses out to read your comment underneath.
    Good for you for the big W! The swimming part of the tri scares me the most, all the bodies on top of each other in the murky lake water (in Minnesota, BTW) = not good. If I could ever get over that I think I would try a tri. Did I just say that?

    • Becca permalink
      August 9, 2010 3:00 pm

      Awesome recap of an excellent race! You capture (again) what goes through the minds of so many of us! I’ve done the Lifetime Tri in Mpls, Amy, a few times and you are right…. The lake is pretty murky, especially on a hot July day. But don’t let that stop you! If swimming is not your thing, a run bike run duathlon might be worth a try. Team Ortho in Mpls has a new duathlon coming up this month. Maybe next year?

      • Amy permalink
        August 9, 2010 3:29 pm

        Thanks for the tip! I have never done a Team Ortho event though I hear good things about them. Just something about the lake water that grosses me out…. I need to get over the wimpiness, I know.

  12. August 9, 2010 9:28 am

    You are so right! So glad I came by today. I was feeling cranky, and totally not wanting to go out for my run today, thinking it was going to be ugly. But hey, it’s not always about coming up with a new PR. THANK YOU! And awesome report on the tri. You go you!

  13. August 9, 2010 12:12 pm

    A personal win is always a win. Nice finish!

  14. Ruthie permalink
    August 9, 2010 3:10 pm

    Just discovered this blog. Excellent! Just finished my second tri of the season. Thanks Dimity for putting into words the blissfulness of getting on the bike wet and feeling the elements. I’m surprised to hear that the run is your Achilles heel. I struggle with the run and this season my goal is to never stop. So far I’ve met it. I have one more sprint this season. Next year my goal is an Olympic length. My kids are a great support during the transitions however my oldest, who is five, recently told me that he is “kind of done with triathlons.” I think I’ll let them stay home for the next one.

    • Jackie permalink
      August 10, 2010 3:18 pm

      Dimity, you make me laugh! And I’m right there with you Ruthie. In between half & full marathons this year I took on my first sprint tri in five years. I’m hooked again, and am gunning for an olympic distance next year as well…

  15. August 9, 2010 3:29 pm

    I got your name off another blogers list…as it said mom in there!
    I noticed that you are a mom also…and if you go to my above blog…I have a link to my other website in which i’m writing a book…and need mom’s inputs…….hope you can take a moment of your time and contribute..thanks ,I would appreciate it!

  16. Robin permalink
    August 9, 2010 3:42 pm

    Great job Dimity! Very funny — but maybe that is because I am also a midwesterner. Also love the message to all that whether it is our sporting goals or our mommy goals or something else, “good enough” can feel pretty darn good.

  17. August 9, 2010 7:25 pm

    Woohoo! Congrats on your tri! Just be careful though b/c as a triathlete, I know how easy it is to catch the tri bug! You’ll be picking out your next one in no time!

  18. August 9, 2010 8:04 pm

    Love this phrase – “nothing–nothing–rivals that delicious mix of fresh anticipation and pedal power when you transition from the swim to the bike.” So, so true! I remember feeling it when I did my first tri, and I thought it was just a first-timer’s thing, but then found myself feeling that same exhilaration when I did my second (at 17 weeks preggo!) and third triathlons, too. Like you said, nothing quite compares….

    Congrats on a fabulous race!

  19. August 9, 2010 10:10 pm

    Thanks for reminding me of why I love triathlons. It’ll keep me going for another week of workouts:)

  20. Noelle Frost permalink
    August 10, 2010 6:27 am

    Congrats on the race and even more so for getting. out. the door. And getting the dog to the vet. And the child to camp. So often a bad week creates a “I don’t give a —” attitude towards a race that if overcome – i.e. you get yourself to the start line! – translates into pre-race calm and feel-good performance. Glad to hear you finished happy.

  21. August 10, 2010 8:15 am

    Congratulations! I love reading your blog, and can relate to the feeling of not really wanting to do an event, but then being so glad you went once you let your body get into it and appreciate your surroundings.

  22. Terry permalink
    August 10, 2010 3:15 pm

    The run is always the hardest for me too even though I run more throughout the week/year than I swim or bike. I can’t help but go really HARD on the bike which doesn’t help. Thanks for the inspiration. I’m doing my first trail run/mtn bike/lake swim race in about a month and in this case I’m NOT feeling very confident on the bike. Do you have any tips on not falling when clipped in? Lol!

  23. August 11, 2010 12:49 pm

    Vincent Chase!? I love Eric! But either way I guess I’d say you have great taste 😉

  24. August 11, 2010 1:14 pm

    Needed this today. Thank you.

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