Monday, May 18, 2015

Ending With a Whimper: Beginning With Prayer

It wasn't what I worked for but it was what I got. Ironman week was a stress fest on several levels and got worse when I jerked my bad leg avoiding traffic, twisted on my bad knee, and pulled that leg from hip through hamstring to heel. My chances for finishing got even slimmer.

A walk to the finish line area the night before was the clincher. I would never see it. I knew it. There was a tightness in my chest. My breathing was restricted. My chest felt like it was full of fizz or something. I felt out of control. Back at the room, it became even worse: belching constantly; Excedrin did no good at all for the throbbing headache and I could not sit still. I was a mess.

All night long I wrestled with the shortness of breath, the tightness in my chest, and a few times I broke out into a heavy sweat. My wife cooled me down with wet towels and I tried to sleep. What is wrong with me? Finally, the wake up call, but I did not get up. I was sick, tired, and scared. I did not start.

After all I have been brought through, this is how it ended: sort of with a whimper. My heart and head down, I went to get my bike and gear bags. Coming back a nice lady saw me going the wrong way to participate and she asked what was wrong. Sick, I told her. She asked was I going to be OK and I told her I hope so.

"What is your name? I will pray for you." In the midst of my worst day, God is still in my life; God is still God. God still cares. I had met His messenger and she had prayed for me: I could feel the prayers. It will be OK.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ironman Texas Getting Close - Doing the Best I Can Do

Packet pick up today at Ironman Texas. Oh, it is getting so close. So much doubt. After years of training, why so much doubt? I didn't do enough 100 mile plus bike rides. I didn't run enough. I didn't do long enough runs. All I could do just doesn't seem to be enough. If I don't make this, it will be a brand new experience for me. I've done all I could with the hand that I have been dealt. If it isn't enough: it was the best I could do.

And, I think that is all God requires of me; requires of all of us: the best we can do. We are human. We fall short. We fail. But the pursuit of excellence is what I think is really required of us. This Saturday I will be in hot pursuit of doing my best. The results I will leave to God.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Journey Continues - Last Week Before Ironman Texas

And the journey continued today when I took my bike in for a tune up. After being on this taper for three to four days, something is coming back. I want to ride. I want to swim. I want to run. I want to pour myself out. I want to even fail to finish, if that is the case. Whatever—I want to begin the end of this marvelous journey.

This has been a three year journey over personal mountains and minefields, but I am still standing and I am here prepared as best I can for Ironman Texas. Praise God. I’m not that talented, or dedicated, or persistent, or consistent on my own to have come through all that. I had help, leadership, and strength. I had God and He had me. And, I have God now for my event- win, lose, succeed, or fail; “nevertheless not my will but Thine be done.” This event in my life is because God got me to it, so-this event is for God, no one else: this ironman effort is for God.

When I enter the water it will not be by my own courage and determination but by the God who gives me that courage and determination to begin. I cannot fail even I can’t complete the event; finish the course. This is my hope and through that hope and faith may I give it all I can, and to God be all the glory.

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.