Winning 407th Place

We did it! Yesterday Team “Comfort Is Over-Rated” competed in the Sudbury Sprint Triathlon! And, I am very proud to announce that out of the 464 competitors… I was the 407th finisher with a grand-total time of 1 hour 22 minutes and 28 seconds. (Congratulations to Kerry, Chris, Erica, Denise and our grand-winner Lina for the stupendous job they all did!).

Team Comfort Is Over-Rated:  Queen Lina, Kerry, Erica, Chris, Art, and Denise

Team Comfort Is Over-Rated: Queen Lina, Kerry, Erica, Chris, Art, and Denise

The past few weeks have been very busy, and I found myself getting grumbly about this whole endeavor…. my feet hurt… it is taking too much time… I am never really “done”… blah blah blah. I realized that I was definitely losing sight of the bigger picture.

And so yesterday, as I swam and then biked and then ran, I kept asking myself: “What is this really about? If this isn’t just about swimming, biking, and running… what is it really for the sake of?”

I wanted for some great and wise inspiration to zap me like a lightening bolt of electric insight, but that didn’t seem to happen. What I did notice was how alive and joy-filled I felt as I ran (well, shuffled) along…

I noticed how much — even at this ripe age of almost-50 — what a egotistical judgment machine of comparison I am. “Hmmm… where are the fat people who might be more slow than I am?” I wondered…. “Oh! Good… that women is 72 years old… I think I might be able to do this faster than she can!“ “Wow…. that guy over there REALLY looks like a loser…. I think he might be more of a loser than me!…..” “I wonder if my gut is flabbier than that one over there?!“”“

Honestly… it is a bit embarrassing to admit how much of that chatter of comparison was going on in my head. And, then… I would notice it and it would subside and I’d return to being more present.

Rider 383...finished 392nd in the biking chunk.

Rider 383...finished 392nd in the biking chunk.

It made me realize that when people see me shuffling along, there is nothing about my appearance that would tell them that I have coronary artery disease… and how we (I) constantly judge others for all sorts of things… not good enough, too rich, not rich enough, overly smart, stupid, and on it goes.

And, the truth is, we do not have a clue what is going on with them, who they are, or what circumstances they might be navigating in their life. We are human, and guess what — each of us has circumstances at one time or another that challenge us to the bone — that make it hard to get through the day, that fill us with fear, or that make it difficult to get to the top of the hill.

As I realized that, I noticed that the judgments subsided, and I felt intimately connected with all these other humans that were moving along in this race with me, each at their own pace, some fast and some slow. Instead of noticing that I was ahead of them or behind – I noticed that in some way I felt connected to them. A certain “we are in this together” sort of kinship. My inner voice shifted to ”We did this!“ instead of to ”I did this better (or worse) than you did….“

I was fortunate as a kid to learn to swim at an early age, and I was on one swim team or another from the time I was 7 years old until high school. Taking it slow, it is a relatively comfortable part of the triathlon for me. (Woo-hoo… I came in 331st in the swimming chunk….) But more importantly, as I watched my heroic team-mates swimming their laps in the pool yesterday, I noticed how difficult the swimming part was. For some it was a struggle and at times frightening. And I thought…. ”Wow… look what they are willing to put themselves through to train for this event for me.“ I feel so deeply, profoundly grateful for them — when I hit my low points and want to quit, they are the ones I think of most; bringing them to mind rallies me. I know that they are both doing this to support me, and they each have their own aspirations and challenges for doing this that are their own. And so, Lesson #1: An essential ingredient in my capacity to change is my relationship with my key allies, friends, and teammates… I do not need to go it alone.

The other lesson that was reinforced today was, quite simply, ”yes I can…“ That wherever we are in our lives… whatever my own circumstances might be…. that is the place from which to embark. To be faced with challenges and obstacles is not a reason to say ”no“ and disengage from life — it is the place from which to say ”yes“, to embrace support, and to ask what is the next step.

So, it is now full-steam ahead for the Falmouth (real) Sprint Triathlon on July 19th. My training plan is set. My bigger challenge is to lose at least 10 pounds by then — that is the steepest hill I need to climb.

With gratitude —


~ by Art on May 11, 2009.

9 Responses to “Winning 407th Place”

  1. Art as summer approaches I had to check in to see you were at in your triathalon training. You are an inspiration. keep up the great work!

  2. Hi Art,

    Wow…I am moved by your post. The accomplishment of you and your team is awesome and your journey from separateness to connection during the race brings tears to my eyes. What a wonderful reminder that when we do feel separate there is a place of competition and/or comparison. While when we come from a space of connection we can wonder about that person we pass in the race or in the office beside ours or in the bed next to us.

    With love,

  3. Hi Art:

    For some reason, I felt called to re-read this post tonight before going to bed. I was struck all over again by the elegance and vision and wisdom of this post. It’s. ..well, it’s WELL WRITTEN is what it is and great writing is not all that common and worthy of notice and celebration.

    So while I’m thrilled at your success and excited for your upcoming triathalon (Gooooo, Art!) it’s who you are becoming that I most want to celebrate. What a journey you’ve been own. .. away from judgement. Returning to wholeness. Thank you for sharing the journey with me, Art. You are so funny and wise and smart and dear and you contribute to me in countless ways.

    I love you!

  4. Hey Art,
    Yes, CONGRATULATIONS on completing the Sudbury Sprint Triathlon! (applause, applause, loud cheering) I admire your commitment and dedication. Yes, you can! You have what it takes. Love you and am cheering you on.

  5. Hey Art,

    Congratulations to you and your Comfort is Over-Rated team! I like your thoughts about allowing more ease in doing the race and presto! You “melted” from one transition to the next! So Falmouth in July . . . feel like coming up to Orillia, Ontario in August (Sunday the 23rd)? Check out
    Orillia is about one and half hours north of Toronto. How about the rest of team Comfort is Over-Rated? Kerry, Erica, Chris and Lina?

    Love to you,

  6. Hi Art:

    Congratulations! You are a champion of persistance and Stay. ..and you are my hero! I love you,


  7. Congratulations on your WIN! With staying the course and completion. Love the mini-wins you had too (331 in swimming, cool). It all adds up to the big one. You are a mighty strong man. Power to you as you make your way to July 19th.

  8. Hey Sweet Art:

    I am so PROUD of you!!!!!! Of what you are doing and who you are being in meeting this challenge. YOu GO buddy!
    I love you!


  9. Woo hoo YOU did it! Yeah! Your face is absolutely radiant – looking at the collective joy of your team brings a smile to my face and heart. Wow, this is very cool!
    On a different note, I recently read a book you might enjoy, “The War of Art” by Pressfield. It is all about recognizing and dealing with the resistence we encounter when doing what is most important to our soul and life purpose. The title seems perfect too.
    While I am not competing in any atheletic events, I continue to honor the commitment I made to both of us and I am much healthier now as well.
    Love and hip hip hooray for you! Susan

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