Thursday, August 4, 2022

How Crazy Can You Get?

 How crazy can you get?  Can you believe I am seriously thinking of signing up for Ironman Texas yet again?  Don't I know this can only end badly and expensively?  Yes, I know, but I read about this ironman stuff and see the pictures, conjure up the memories, and I am like a moth drawn to a flame.  How crazy can you get?  

But what do you do about this inherent weakness of mine to follow the ironman memories and hype off into the abyss?  Supposedly I have a heart rate that is too low.  Supposedly, I have AFIB.  Certainly, I am an asthmatic and certainly I will be racing as an 80-year-old.  How crazy can you get?  

Truth is, this could kill or cripple me.  So, what am I thinking?  I am thinking I would rather be living like I have nothing to lose, than settling in, looking for a place to waste away and die.  Old age for me are desperate times.  I fight the urge more than ever to cave in and go for a life of rest and ease until I die.  I thought it would be easier by now but it harder.  

Finally, I am a frontiersman.  It took me awhile, but I am blazing paths where few have gone before at my age.  But thanks be to God I still live as a child of hope.  I am still standing with my hand in the Father's and my face into the wind, knowing my eternal finish line is sure.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

The Triathlon Life: Would I Do It All Over Again?

 I see that the ironman folks I followed and appreciated so much are now gone from the ironman scene as participants.  And much of the gloss I had over the ironman event has dulled somewhat.  The challenge of it is inside me more  than ever now.  Maybe I have lost my way and then again maybe I have found my  place?

It makes me wonder if all this is winding down for me.  Are my present paltry training efforts but a few final spits and sputters before the engine dies?  If so, would I go this way again.  Would I walk this same road if presented again with the fork in the road where I chose triathlon?  I think so.  

Over the years I have collected photos and dialogue about each race I did - 53 in all.  I have used a few ink cartridges to print a couple copies of this book called, "My Triathlon Life."  Revisiting the stories and the photos make me smile and warm my heart.  Even though I am just inspiring myself, you might say.  It works.  And who knows but that those who come behind me might get inspiration from it as well.

I would do some things differently but mostly; I wouldn't change much.  The experiences as a novice were quite exciting and inspiring as well as the times, I got it all right. Yes, I would do it all over again.  

Yeah, I am probably getting a bit old to expect too much more, but I still do - just greedy for the good times I guess - but I am grateful to God for all that is my: "Triathlon Life"  book, and all that was in my heart and in my life, that brought me unto today.

Saturday, July 16, 2022

It's Not My First Choice - But That's Life

 I sometimes catch myself wondering why I don't have many friends anymore.  Seems like I am a nice enough guy to me.  But maybe that is not how others see me?  But, upon closer inspection I find that I do have a lot of friends.  Unfortunately, most are deceased, and several are disabled in various forms.  I haven't replaced these friends as I went along.  So, I am left without many friends, it seems.  

As I approach 79 years old it is hard to find friends my age who do what I do.  Younger people admire old coots that do what I do.  But, they admire from a distance.  What young person wants to be around an old geriatric just trying to keep up.  Nice they give you kudos, but that's not what one would call a relationship. So here I am still feeling vital having trouble being comfortable around people my age or even 10-20 years younger.  Their many limitations, ailments, and lack of activity, and age bemoaning self-talk bring me down.  So, I find myself wanting to be around the younger folks who don't want me around.  

A line from the movie "Rocky Balboa:"   "The older I get the more things I gotta leave behind.   That's life."  So true.  It's life.  Get over it.  Move on. Stay the course; one step then another, though it be without a lot of friends.  Friends can't gut out the run for you in the last miles of the run on the end of an ironman.  Friends can cheer you on and give you kudos, but they can't loan you fresh legs.

That's life but I do miss those days of a group of us younger men all going off to some huge event together and sharing our stories and hopes for future events.  That's life but I sure miss that part of it, like you miss a departed loved one.  But those days are gone and cannot be relived, only grieved and appreciated.  So, I smile and am so very thankful for those memories as I prepare for making more memories in a different social environment:  alone.  It is not my first choice but "that's life" and it's still great. Thanks God

Saturday, July 9, 2022

The Dog Days of Summer; Wasted Moments Whining

 The dog days of summer are upon us.  Down here, this is about as bad as it gets as far as weather. Sometimes we have some unusually nasty cold spells in winter, but often outside bike riding can be done during the teeth of wintertime.  So here we are, like cattle on the bank of river wondering how to get to the other side.  

There is only one way as it is in endurance sports as it is in life.  You just have to get in the water and get started for the other shore. The other bank will not look like it is getting any closer.  But it is.  You think this could go on forever.  But it won't.  One swim stroke, one more step in the right direction with the faith that it will all be worth it, and you are reaching closer to the other side all the time.  Just keep moving forward.

Of course, we could stay on the bank and moan around about how hot it is and how far it is to the other side.  I see people doing that all the time.  I have done it myself.  But for all the wasted moments whining about the heat and the distance, it didn't bring us one foot closer to the other side.  There is no easy way around it. We just have to get  in the water and get our feet wet.  Whining doesn't work. In fact, nothing works until we do.

The Bible says we are to "run with perseverance that is set before us."  We are to keep on, keeping on, though the other side of the river doesn't seem to be getting any closer. Swim on.  Even though the dog days of summer bear down upon us and nice weather training days seem so far away.  Move forward.  We will learn and grow through the effort and the journey.

Monday, July 4, 2022

My Training Self-Deception

 There have been two pretty good training weeks and I woke up very tired this morning.  So, I am confronted with the problem I always have with training and exercise:  taking some time off.  When I think about taking a day off, my mind immediately goes to all the push-pull stuff I could do around here. And these tasks would be as taxing  and fatigue perpetuating as training itself.  I am  caught in a trop; my own worst enemy.  

Why do I worry about my numbers and the way the training progress will look, when I am brain-fogged with fatigue?  Maybe if I just get out there and run or bike, I will feel less fatigued, and I won't have to miss a day?  So, with all this self-deception going on, for the most part, I live tired. 

I can see through myself on this but don't do much to correct it..  Maybe today?  After all it is a holiday.  Maybe confronting this area of self-deception my lead to me realizing and correcting other areas of self-deception in my life.  I can't do this on my own.  I will pray. Like the scripture says, "Search me and try me." 

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Faith in the Dark

 Today is one year since I faced the question to have or not to have a pacemaker.  I was not symptomatic for anything, but my resting heart rate was in the 30s and the cardiologist thought it quite dangerous.  I could just pass out any time, even while driving or more or less just fall off the cliff so to speak and die.

In the beginning I had researched this and pretty much knew where this was going.  To be or not to be., more or less. No more splitting wood.  Open water starts in triathlon should be avoided.  This all came after I was told that a pacemaker was not a limiter, and I could lead a normal life. Normal for whom?  Not for me, I thought.  But if I might be in danger to myself and others, I should consider this.  

So, I prayed, and God was silent.  There didn't seem to be that connection.  So, I just asked for a sign, something to know the right direction.  I was sort of in the dark on what I should do.  I needed an answer.

After all the tests, the doctor came in a told me I did great on all my tests, my cholesterol was low, but my resting heart rate was in the 30s.  Scary stuff he more or less said, and you need a pacemaker.  He went through when, where, and all the protocol before and after a which I said, "I will have to pray about this." 

"You don't need to pray.  It won't do any good.  You need a pacemaker."  I was sort of stunned and then it hit me.  This is my sign.  Thank you, Lord.  So, I left the office not to return and followed my faith off into the dark guided only by the one true Light.  If I die. I die.  I was at peace about it all. 

Now a year later, I am still standing. I am still not symptomatic of anything.  Haven't been back to any doctor for anything.  I eat a whole food plant-based diet and take no medications.  I am quite active, and I never felt better, and I am 78 years old.   But if I do die in my sleep this very night, God can handle that too.  I have reservations so to speak

Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Choice

 Ironman training is brutal and scary.  It takes so much out of me and my life.  I miss a lot of things going on around me. I am half-conscious in some conversations.  Why would anyone go through all this? In the late stage of ironman training, I often question my motives and my sanity. 

But there is a flip side to it.  The training itself is disciplined enduring and it adds a structure to life that I don't have when I am "taking it easy" like I seem to be doing now. Since time and energy are valued assets more in ironman training, a more judicious use of those assets is required. A lot of sort of "junk mail" activities get let go for the greater plan.  That practice bleeds over into ordinary life make it more efficient as well. 

And if I need a reason to stay with endurance sports or some serious and consistent exercise program, all I have to do is go shopping.  It seems America is eating and resting its way into physical care oblivion.  How can health care keep up with the demand this lifestyle  is placing and will place on our society?  And I wonder, when I look at the men my age:    is this the new normal, a lifestyle of physical erosion  into obesity and poor health  

Often I have looked at all the bikes and equipment in a transition area and thought how many thousands of dollars are represented there.  I look at the  men going in and out of stores and think how many thousands of dollars in medicines and health care are represented there as well.   And for all their normalcy, do they live any better, any less painful, than I do in the worst of ironman training?  I don't see happy on those faces.  I do see that on ironman participants.  It's my choice