Whether we race "against" others or race "against" the clock, the race is always "against" our selves. Our bodies, our minds, our ability to push through self-imposed pain barriers that limit human performance . Other racers and event records are simply there to challenge us to do our best, to explore our limits, to push the extreme boundaries of our own minds and bodies.
Some people claim to get in touch with their mind/body connection in yoga or meditation. Some of us can only "connect" by taking our bodies and minds to the edge of what is possible and then going a little beyond that. La Petit Mort is a French expression for "little death." Perhaps racers deliberately push themselves to la petit mort so they can better connect with the greatness of being alive and some undefined power greater than themselves...
Whatever the reasons, racers need to race and we are racers. On Sunday, Naty and i decided to do our first 500 meter race "against" the Concept 2 SkiErg Record Books. We died !!!
Anyone who has done battle with the SkiErg intuitively understands that it is one of the most unforgiving, objective and comprehensive tests of systemic stamina, power and biomechanical efficiency. No body part is spared and the all encompassing metabolic demands are off the charts. Since 2009, Concept 2 has diligently kept track of the thousands of athletes from all over the globe who have done battle with the SkiErg 500 meter and 1,000 meter events in an effort to be the best SkiErg slayers in America and the World.
Despite getting crushed by the indomitable SkiErg and dying a few dozen la petit morts we managed to temporarily rewrite the record books. Records are meant to be broken, but for this moment in time Naty is the SkiErg 500 meter World Record holder (40-49 age), and I am the 500 meter American Record Holder for the 50-59 age group.
While these records are completely meaningless in the grand scheme of things and have no real "value", the meaning and value for racers is the validation that at one time, on one day, "your" very best was "the" very best. Your best effort defined the limit of human performance in that event, on that day, under those circumstances.
There's nothing more valuable and meaningful in life than doing your best. Even if your best is never measured, or acknowledged, or never "the" best it has value and meaning because you know, deep down, that you have given your all, your everything, your personal best. Whether it pertains to your life, your family, your friends, your career, or your sports, all that matters is doing your best