Monday, July 21, 2014

I Lied

Never venture on that Ironman road again. It is over. Right. Sure. Giving it up. Last blog. Oh? With those kind of misrepresentations, I should go into politics, maybe. But, no. I am just a regular folk; nothing special. Not going to put a spin on this; and so I say it right out: I lied.

Basically, I am not naturally a "giver-upper." I knew that when I said I was giving up on ironman. Sure, I knew that once the pain of personal defeat subsided, the phrases, "maybe," or "perhaps try again," would have to be dealt with if I were to be successful with giving up.

Trying my best to give up was sort of bizarre, it made me different; a different I didn't like as much; a person I didn't like as much. And, the people around me probably didn't like me that much either. Bless them for puttting up with me. Life took the color of grayscale print. It was a deep funk trying to do something that seemed terribly unnatural; something like amputation of a part of my spirit. I felt disabled.

And so I prayed and prayed. Day by day it got easier. Easier to give up? No. It became easier to accept myself and all my ironman failures; to come face to face with the realization that I had been lying not just on my blog, not just to those who support me, but ultimately to myself. There is no other good choice because I truly believe NOT giving up is God's first choice. So, I am convicted. OK. I lied. I repent and: I am going to give up giving up.

Ironman Texas in 2015.

Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Moments: A Hundred Years Old

Moments: A Hundred Years Old: Ellen Dittfurth – Age 100 Born 7/18/14 – a few weeks before World War I and about six years before women had the right to vote. She was...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

How Much is a Picture Worth?

A picture is said to be worth a thousand words. That’s great, unless it is a picture you don’t necessarily want to see. If it is a self-revealing picture, perhaps a few words would suffice and we could go deeper into denial and self-delusion.
That is particularly true with weight and body shape. I think that because the scales say I weigh about ten to fifteen pounds more, than I should and my pants fit a lot tighter, it is simply me putting on muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat: tired, tired, very tired and lame excuses.
But there was no denying the truth in my photos from the triathlon I did last weekend. I am close to being fat. It is no wonder my running suffers and going up hills on the bike is harder than it once was. Probably, my swimming improvement was enhanced by my increased ability to float because of all those fat cells. Oh it not muscle and it is not only aging up. It is not all that complicated. I eat too much. Sure eat good foods: enormous quantities of them.
My wife took a movie of me finishing up the run. My guppy-like appearance is hard to take. So, I have a plan. Every night, when I shouldn’t be eating anymore (but I have in the past), I will watch that movie of me looking like I am pregnant. It is easier to say yes when there is a burning yes inside.
And, it isn’t good use of the body God gave me. It isn’t good use of the opportunities God has placed before me. So, I will be watching my fat moving and praying for strength to resist and overcome my poor eating habits. Perhaps through having to choke down my own dose of personal reality, I can be more patient and understanding of others who yield themselves and lessen their lives, giving in to other temptations?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Don't Think. Jump

A fellow triathlete training for a big event wrote that it was hard to adapt to getting out early to train. It was good to hear that because that is probably my number one problem in training. And now with summer on us it is even more important to get out early. There seems to be an inertia to be overcome. There are tendencies and downtime habits that have permeated my own response to the morning. I want another cup of coffee. I want to watch the birds feed or that deer. I like the time to be at peace in a peaceful setting. to rummage through my thoughts like going through a cluttered closet. It’s fun. It is satisfying, but it is killing my training time in the cooler part of the day. All that peace and tranquility in the morning is good stuff, but as Stephen Covey wrote, “the enemy of the best is the good.”

The first week into training and I haven’t even set my alarm clock yet. I am still doing normal things until ten or ten thirty at night; and if I ever hope to get out of the bed earlier, I must get in the bed earlier - no-brainer. My Dad was a fireman and he told me of a saying at his firehouse about getting to fires: “You can’t make up the time on the road that you lost in the firehouse.” Point is: it is hard to recover from a bad start on a day.

I know what has to be done. I know how to do it. Set the alarm. When it goes off: get out of bed. Have the gear ready from the night before. Get moving, get myself and everything together, and get out of the house. “Don’t think. Jump!”
Funny but that is same thing I told my granddaughter as I encouraged her to jump off the edge of pool into the water. “Don’t think. Jump.” I had told her as she hesitated. “you’ll never learn to swim up there out of the water. I am right here to catch you."


“Then, don’t think. Jump”

And I have been served the same lesson in getting out the door in my training as well as in my faith walk. When I know God is in it: when I know He wants me to go on and get in the game and get wet: why I am hesitating?

"I am right here to catch you. Don’t think. Jump”

"Yes, Lord."

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Waiting to Hear From Heaven

No more, I said. The game was over. Time to be a normal person. Do regular stuff. You are too old. You have too many other family obligations. You have worn out knees. You weren't that good to start with. Maybe God has taken me right where He wanted me to go.

It is hard to believe I am even thinking about getting back on the ironman training wagon. And perhaps ironman is not what He is taking me to. Perhaps, God knows that the ironman failures - despite my best heart and effort -have seasoned me sufficiently to follow some other calling He has for me. I am praying about this.

But, ironman keeps coming back. Seldom a day goes by without reading some report on Ironman Texas or researching training or nutrition tips. There is a quote that goes something like --never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about. If that quote is the standard, then I should do the ironman. Ironman haunts me like a live-in ghost. I pray and pray---for others, for discernment, for honesty with myself, for strength, for courage, and for the will to go for the ironman.

So I wait to hear from heaven. Dear God: is the journey really over? Or, do you want me to go on?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"You Are NOT An Ironman!!"

Toward the end of the movie, “Saving Private Ryan” the character played by Tom Hanks was lying in the road, wounded, and shooting his pistol until empty at an approaching German tank? That fruitless, heroic , yet pathetic effort, made my heart wrench. He was doing all he could, but the tank was impervious to his efforts to stop it.
After a year and a half of struggling against the tank of my own personal injuries and enemies; after firing all my rounds at the approaching ironman distance event; after all that: I lay on the ground, spent, empty, impotent. Today, I feel that same heart-wrench that I felt in watching that movie scene.

The Miles of the Journey to my ironman effort have lead to failure – one might call it a heroic and courageous effort , but the tank still rolls past me and my dream. Sure I paid the price. Day after day, week after week, month after month, I was out there, battling the self, taking the pain, pushing past, and overcoming. Yet, at the end of the day - today - I am at the end of my journey. Today, the last vestige of hope oozed out of me despite all the “never quit” platitudes, the great plans, the high hopes, the prayers, the vision of a finish line in tears of gratitude to God, the ironman tattoo with a cross over it - no, not to be. I am out of bullets, out of energy, tired of fighting, tried of swimming upstream, and I just want to lie down and let the ironman tank go on past me.

Who knows where I went wrong. I have made a lot of mistakes; failed at this so many times over the years. (see It’s hard to tell where the final damage came from . It takes a pretty special person to make it to the ironman starting line. Perhaps , quite simply, I am not an ironman; never cut out to be one. Perhaps, I was overmatched to begin with: the enemy had a tank and I had a handgun. As surely as a finisher is told at the finish line, “you are an ironman,” I am being reminded that I am NOT an ironman. It is a bitter pill to swallow, but It is the truth.

No more wars for me- that is - no more ironman quests. The stinger has been taken out of the bee, meaning ; I am not sure what this defeat will leave me or what future is down the road. But I doubt I will ever again possess that wonderful passion that my ironman hopes had. So there it is. This is where the Miles of the Journey have taken me. This will be the last past on this blog.
Yet, there is a certain satisfaction even in failure. I made mistakes but I know I truly did my very best. My best just wasn’t good enough, but it was all I had. And perhaps God is not as disappointed about all this as I am? No doubt He knows how much I poured into this. No doubt he saw me shoot my last bullet at the approaching ironman tank. Perhaps, He will say after all, “well done my good and faithful servant. You gave all you had. “

"I fell hard because I reached high."

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Humbled Yet Again

A couple days ago I made it upstairs without knee pain. That was the first time in six months, yet I didn't notice the gift-at first. Of course, the thought went to WOW! Thanks God. And my running is improving - longer runs, faster paces.

It is amazing what we can learn to accept. Now I am excited to run a 15-16 minute mile. From my smile after those runs, you would think I just broke the world record or something. And The fact is pleasantly ignored that my running is still not good enough to get me to the finish line before the time cut-off. At these times it is easy to forget that each morning I hobble and stumble when I first get out of bed every morning.

However, the other morning I could not ignore the truth. My surging confidence must have lead me to get out bed too quickly. The bad knee wouldn't hold me. I started down; fell into my bike on the trainer and careened back across the bed, face down.

And I am going to do an Ironman? Yeah, sure. In almost a metaphor of this whole process, I slowly pulled myself up and cautiously stood; slowly walked. I had been humbled yet again. Perhaps that is part of the process; part of learning experience of this journey. Ah, there are so many lessons being taught in these Miles of the Journey. Thank you God. I managed a patient seven mile run that morning...and I didn't fall.