I tossed my hat into the ring after some rehab/therapy on the bionic ankle for 18 months.... and raced IMCDA 2010 (yes, this was some time ago, but I have been somewhat in denial about some parts, but I'm getting ahead of myself).
Prior to the race, I'd been listening to an eastern-spiritual-type person and his take on living with principles of Wisdom, Virtue, and Meditation. One learning -- separating the three, where in meditation, thoughts come through and pass without judgement or action. Virtue (how one behaves in the world) has different 'constraints', but meditation requires acceptance, letting go, flowing. I don't sit still well, so I used my new knowledge to help me release thoughts that I had during the race (and focus on others... maybe that's not what he said, but I had to punt).
So, here are the thoughts that filtered through my mind:
"I'm just going to peek..." (loop 1 of the swim, I stole a glance at the Timex Race Trainer
to see if the severe pummeling I took helped me or not.) "That's just a number, early in the day, enjoying the experience."
(Digression: Rachel swears by starting too close to the front... which I tried and almost drown for the first 800 meters, but I had a solid even swim split - 1 09, which make me think in my non-meditation: "oooh, good for Juls; near drowning a plus - I didn't think about the cold.")
"Woop woop, I'm pedaling smooth, with solid watts, gorgeous day, doing the passing."
"You have a flat? really? me?.... well, thank goodness I decided to ride clinchers, since I can't change a tubular in the next hour.... oh, but I only brought a tube that's like, 80mm, and it doesn't fit in a disc.... oh, it's hard to get the wheel out of these horizontal dropouts... excuse me, does anyone have a spare tube
what a nice guy who will have good karma... Chrissie won the 09 IMWC with a flat... My hands are shaking so badly... breathe... a 15 minute stop will put me in at 5 30 instead of 5 15ish, I am doing this..."
"I'm right here, right now, riding my bike, which I love --- and how cool of my college friend Remy to make me a sign."
"Time to get off the bike and run. How many age-groupers are up on me? That thought is passing like a cloud, moving through the sky; control what I can."
"I'll feel better at the top of this hill." "Oooh, I feel better."
"I WILL feel better at the corner/aid station/post/etc" (repeat repeat repeat --- meditation starting to crack.)
"Hmmm, Desiree is pale and couldn't talk to me. Hope she sticks it. Janelle looks great. Oh, there's Roger. Wow, Michael L felt good enough to almost have a conversation with me." (attempt at distraction)
"I can run 10k more. I've run 10k like a million times. This freaking hurts. I feel like $%^. I feel better. I feel like %^&*. I'm letting go of the hurt." (meditation cracking)
"I'm so not doing this until I can run a marathon under 4 hours. So there." (meditation cracking)
So, after a 1 09 solid swim (yes, that's good for me), a flat-inspired 5 30 bike (15 minute flat with a 5 15 goal, ok), and an erratic running experience..... dropping me from 2 to 12, no IM until I have confidence on the run.
As Mr. Schaning put it in his Kona video, "You can bike as hard as you want, if you can't finish with a strong marathon, you've got nothin'."
As my cd-therapist says -- meditation is about letting thoughts that come into your head go without judgement or analysis. I'm working on it.