Go Team Go…. Learning from the 1st Brick

Team “Comfort Is Over-Rated” had its first real trial training today, with great success!

Art, John, Lina, Kerry B., and Denise gathered in Sudbury at 10:00 this morning to test out the biking and running routes of the May 10 race. And then…. Lina, Kerry, and Denise continued on and did the swimming….wooo hoooo!!!!!!

Denise, John, Kerry B., Lina, and Art -- Go Team!

Denise, John, Kerry B., Lina, and Art -- Go Team!

At the moment, I am…. well…… SORE, and satisfied.

The bike route is just 7.5 miles, and the running route is 2.3 miles. Both of which are reasonably short — significantly shorter than the Falmouth Spring Triathlon will be in July. And, the swimming is shorter at 400 yards and is in a pool. So, it serves as good preparation.

It was a beautiful sunny chilly morning. I popped a nitro-glycerin tab under my tongue and headed out of the Anderson Community Center entrance onto Fairbank Road. I pulled out to lead our little pack, knowing that my loyal team-mates all had some mix of apprehension and concern for how I would do. I know that it must be tricky for them to know how much to just stick with me, and how much to go at their own pace. We decided that we’d stick together on the first lap (the bike route is a 3.7 mile route and you cycle it twice….) and that anyone who wanted to pull out on their own would do that on the 2nd lap. And so, I set the pace for the first lap. I always have the most difficulty at the beginning, and is usually the case a mild amount of chest pain crept up, along with the pounding headache that comes from taking the nitro tab. I reminded myself of my previous lessons…. that I could simply ease up a bit and get more present to the beautiful day, and great feeling of being outside. I noticed the familiar pull toward pushing… the undertone message of “you can push yourself just a little harder….”

I have been noticing and reflecting lately on the impulse that I consistently have to STRUGGLE. Gosh, I just never want to pass up a rich opportunity to have something be a bit painful and difficult! Really…. when else can I evoke as much sympathy and attention from others as when I must overcome uncomfortable challenges to succeed? There is some twisted badge of honor that I just relish pinning on my chest that comes from enduring through tough odds. Please… read this and chuckle as I tell on myself a bit, rather than hearing any tiny violins playing in the background. We all have these rather upside-down ways of navigating, don’t we? Part of my challenge on this Quest is to playfully become a bit more conscious of my own… and to experiment a bit with different ways of experiencing my circumstances. For me, to just ease up a bit and be more present takes away…. or at least reduces…. the struggle. What would life be like if I just allowed more ease?

We finished our bike ride…. John and Lina sailed on ahead for the 2nd lap… and then changed our gear for the run. This was my first time attempting a run outside this year, and it was a rather sobering and challenging test. The team seemed aligned around their plan to stick with me on the run rather than to move on ahead. Running is a challenge — I have to shuffle along pretty slowly and take frequent walking breaks to recover my breath. I felt like the President with his posse of secret service…. they were all around me and each time I stopped to walk they immediately stopped with me. As soon as I shifted gears into a “shuffle” they were right there with me.

In all honesty – it was really hard for me to have my team slow down for me, and walk with me, and do what for me felt like giving up their own run for my sake. This may well be the very biggest challenge in this whole pursuit. Everything inside of me screams “Please! Go on ahead! Don’t wait for me!!!” but I know that that’s not the right thing. I tell myself “Just breath…. and allow these team-mates to just support you…. JUST LET THEM! Have it be alright that you go at whatever pace you go, and just let these people hold you and support you….”

It feels so very vulnerable. It feels, well…. it feels so WEAK. And yet, as I allow that opening to happen —- that “melt” as my fabulous Dog Soldiers would say — I feel my connection to them solidify and a certain form of strength emerge. It is the kind of strength that only comes from opening our hearts to others; that springs from a more honest expression of what is true in any given moment.

I’m not yet very good at this, but I can feel a new awareness beginning to awaken. And, I can feel at the center of my being that it is a new muscle that is important for me to breathe more life into, and one that will serve me down the road.

Practice, practice, practice.

~ by Art on April 19, 2009.

8 Responses to “Go Team Go…. Learning from the 1st Brick”

  1. I love the surrender. Beautiful!

  2. Congrats to all

    GO TEAM!

    best wishes

  3. Hi Art,

    Ah, the wonders of a TEAM! It’s not about how fast, how slow, how hard, who’s leading, who’s lagging—-it’s about the relationship. Lean into them and let them hold you. They’ve got your rope. And don’t get caught up in thinking that you are the only receiver here. If asked (maybe you could), I bet that each of them are receiving joy and love and satisfaction in taking this journey with you.

    Ride ON!


  4. Hi Sweetie:

    I thought about you today on my own little shuffle walk/run (or shuffle run/walk if one is into being kind) this afternnon. ..and then I got home to your beautiful post and WHAT A GREAT PCTURE. ..Go teaam” Comfort is Over Rated”.

    I loved reading your post and laughed until I cried at the image of you surrounded by your pack who were responding to your every move. COOL!

    I don’t know what it’s like to have headaches from nitro tablets or chest pain when I run. ..and I do know first hand the deep challenge of letting in that kind of service, attention and love. The biking and the running. ..well, they’re just a way to give the love shape.

    Go Art!

    I love you

  5. What a gorgeous picture! Thanks for the post, Art. I AM chuckling, and so appreciating your perspective. This sounds like your own personal trust fall–but sustained, aerobic, and involving the Secret Service.

    Shuffle on!


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