Carpe Diem

I am lazy. My running partners laugh when I say that, but my husband wouldn’t. I like to get by with the minimum effort, to avoid big work. So when I woke up yesterday, I thought I’d defer doing the 1000-yard swim test I’d planned.

But there I was at the pool later that morning, telling myself, “I’ll just warm up and see how I feel.” My longtime client Julee was in the lane with me. I thought, “Carpe diem, Rountree. Don’t wuss out in front of Jules,” and launched into my set.
40. 39. 38. I swam HARD, taking a new approach, being in the moment of each lap without thinking ahead to the next one. 27. 26. 25. Form. Form. Form. Are my goggles leaking? No. Can I keep this up? I hope so. 14. 13. 12. Here’s the work. Form. Form. Form. 9 more. 8 more. 4 more. 2 more. !!!
Julee thought I’d cramped because I draped myself over the pool’s edge. Nope, just gave an honest, in-the-moment hardest sustainable effort, lap by lap. It turned out to be more than 30 seconds faster than my last test. What changed? Some new stroke technique? No. Focus.
Why am I surprised? My yoga practice shows me that being in this moment, and this one, and this one—this lap, and this one, and this one—is the richest approach. I fought my inherent laziness, my conservative approach to expending my energy, and for 15 minutes and 11 seconds, I was present.

3 Responses to “Carpe Diem”

  1. Robyn says:

    Nice!

  2. Ed says:

    It’s way too easy to think about the next lap, or mile, or th e next whatever … in my sport (ultrarunning) this can not only slow you down, it can wreck a race. I’m sure it’s the same for tris.

    My Zen practice and my yoga practice (thanks to your book and DVD) have helped me to improve my concentration tremendously, step-by-step. Thanks!

  3. Sage says:

    Good point, Ed. The trick in triathlon is thinking ahead enough that you’ll be present when the time comes to change shoes and disciplines, but not so far ahead that you detract from your present experience. The longer the race, the trickier it gets!

    I’m so glad you like the book and DVD. You have made my day.