Friday, April 10, 2015

It Looks Bad for the Home Team

My Dad had a saying: “It doesn’t look good for the home team.” He probably heard it on a radio broadcast of a baseball game. But, it seemed to fit some “in over our heads” situations that we sometimes got ourselves into. The old saying still brings a smile to my face, but it also aptly applies to my Ironman Texas effort.

After all this training for Ironman Texas and after all the nursing and stretching and strengthening that bad leg; after all of my best efforts, still my times over endurance don't seem fast enough for long enough time for me to make the cut off. Chances are I will have to face failure and “it doesn’t look good for the home team.”

But I have gone too far to go back. I’ve put myself through too much; put others through too much; prayed too much to give it up now. It is disheartening to think that I won’t be able to finish in time. But it has been a great journey; a great experience in self-revelation.

No, I am not turning around. This time I am taking it in. This time, I will be at the swim start; this time, like the song says, “you can face the future even if you fail.” Like I have written before: if I just make the starting line, it will be a victory. The bike cut-off will be difficult but if I make that, wow! Another victory. And if, just if, on an outside chance I make the midnight cut-off for the event, there will be no containing my joy. Tie a rope to my ankle that I don't fly away. (thank you Elizabeth Thompson for that concept)

I will do my best and, who knows. The ability doesn’t seem to be there, and I am fully cognizant that only God can push me through to the finish line within the cut off time. I am in over my own head. So, I will do my best and the rest is just up to Him. And there is a degree of peace in that. Perhaps that is the purpose of this marvelous journey to begin with: to get me to point where I could faithfully just do my best and leave the rest to Him. That can’t be all bad; win or lose.

"-for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.-----------------I can do all things through Christ who Strengthens me." Perhaps it doesn’t look that bad for the home team after all.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Training Week: Trying to Feed the Good Wolf

What a week this has been? Rain, bike problems, other logistical problems with getting my training all has come against me and I must confess I have lost a few rounds, but I have punched my way out of the corner a time or two. It was not a great week, but if overcoming is part of the training, it should be considered quite educational.

And, the race draws near: fear and hope battle in my heart for supremacy and right now it is touch and go as to who will win. It is like the tale of the two wolves fighting inside us; the bad wolf and the good wolf. Which one will win? The one you feed. I like the saying that is something to the effect of "feed your faith and your fears will starve to death." In my greater moments, I choose to feed my faith. God will get me through this; succeed or fail, "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me." And so I go on trying to feed the good wolf.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Week That Was- I Give Thanks

This is the week the last two years where I dropped out of Ironman Texas. This year: no substantial injury...I ran 14 miles today - longest run in two years. Could it be I might make the training? Could it be that I might be getting into the water May 16th to begin my attempt to finish an ironman? Can it be? Holding my breath; trying to be so careful about everything. And, I must be careful to give thanks. Truly, I am a non-talent person, way past the prime I never knew I had. So today, now, I give thanks to God. If I don't make it any farther than tomorrow: I give thanks. If I don't make it on the swim cut-off time; I give thanks. If I don't make the bike cut off...thanks--not finishing before midnight--thanks. At this point I am thankful for the chance to try, the chance to fail, and the opportunity to succeed - Thanks God!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Remaining a "Restless Warrior"

Below is a repost of a blog entry of mine from over 5 years ago. Much has changed but much has remained the same. I am still "restless" for life. Over those 5 years I have been knocked down several times, yet somehow got up again. Through it all I would like to think I have grown from all this: that I am more accepting of myself and others; more trusting in God, and happy with my place with Him. But, one thing hasn't changed and I wouldn't want it to: the call of adventure to come to the edge of myself still flickers a flame in these aged eyes. I am still a restless warrior.
The surgeon told me those years ago that my shoulder was so badly damaged that repairing the tear may not hold more than 5 years. It has held past that time, and I have have held too; relying on a Strength far above my own to remain a "Restless Warrior."

Yesterday the MRI report came in describing that I have tendon ruptures in a couple places in the shoulder. It looks like surgery and rehab are under my Christmas tree this year.
This is not the vision I had for the new year but it is the vision I am dealt.

The challenge will be not to give in to the ease, comfort, and passive lifestyle of a health care recipient but to remain a "restless warrior," seeing this setback as an opportunity to heal and regroup rather than a place to just lay it down; to become a fat old man.

So today I am fasting, more or less to implant a discipline against the seductive lifestyle of which I will be forced to partake. And I will be praying for a Strength that is far above my own.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Fighting the Good Fight on the Journey

It is piling up on me; the miles and hours on the indoor bike, the abysmal weather limited outdoor training, a hundred year old mother who has needed attention and pervaded my thoughts, the grandchildren and the constant temptation of candy and chips laid temptingly everywhere. On top of that - if I can admit it - I think I am afraid. Motivation to do this thing at all has ebbed and flowed. What can I say but the journey just got real; the course got rocky, and I got beaten down to an extent. Looking at all this through a vision and will that was clouded with fatigue and concern, I just wanted to go out the back door of this whole journey, slip off the course to a rest station and stay there for a long time.

Monday morning the sun is out. Sleep was good. And in the arm wrestling match with all that would weaken my resolve and end my journey, I can feel my strength pushing my hand and arm up again, in spite of the strong resistance. Yeah, I think I am back to even again; ready to put in another hard week on the journey. Through the smoke and haze of what I have been through I find that, indeed, I want to finish this journey. I want to "fight the good fight," even if I can't finish the race in time.....I promised God I would try.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. II Tim 4:7

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Good Week: Taking the Next Step

What made this past week so successful? Good weather? No, most of the training was indoors. Just felt great all the time? No, I had some really worn-out moments. Lots of people urging me on? No, not the case.

I really don't know what it was, but I would guess I turned a corner on this mile of the journey in my thinking. Boundaries were transgressed in spite of fatigue, repetition, soreness, and lack of motivation. It was done by just doing it: taking the next step out the door, or on that indoor bike, getting into the vehicle to drive for the swim. Just doing it. And the fact is, that is what I have faced on my other long endurance sports events. It gets down to overcoming by just moving forward. All the rah-rah, all the frills and such part away like the Red Sea did for Moses And there is only one way across: try not to look to the right or the left and keep moving forward until you reach the other side.

As a result of this week, I have more hope and confidence than ever for my ironman effort. And, if I get injured before the event; get sick, or whatever, and just can't get to the starting line, I will have had these moments, these weeks of the journey to draw from in my life and for my next journey. Thank you God for the great week of training that I experienced. May I have another?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

More Miles of the Journey - Giving Life to Life

Great block of training. Over three hours of running today, several miles of the journey done: my best week so far. So what does it mean? Not much, I am afraid; not in the long run that is. Years will pass over me, the miles, and the journey will disappear from all memory. Nothing will remain. So why? Because this life, this quest, is a journey. It doesn't exist to become the inscription on my headstone, but the journey for the moment is the destination, serving the purpose of being a worthy purpose. To me, a purposeless, passionless life is not life at all.

The miles of the journey, whatever that journey might be, gives life to life. And when that life is as dead and obscure as last years campfire, only God will remain. All that will matter will be purposes served for Him, through Him on this life on His journey.