Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Time After Time, After Time, After Time

 Is there any other good choice but to try?  Doesn't failure to try begin and end with failure already?  Why choose failure without trying first?  Why give up until totally defeated?  My view is that the spirit is broken long before the body is. 

"A man is never defeated until he is defeated in spirit."  Protect the spirit as one of the most vital assets we have for fulfillment.  It must be guarded against the outside influences. You know:  the chicken little, the sky is falling panic cries of the news media trying to sell you something. It must be guarded against doomsday prophets we sometimes find are our friends and families.  It must be guarded against our own laziness and lack of courage to take a stand for hope in our lives and refuse to buckle under the surf of cascading waves of negativativity the world sometimes heaps upon us, time after time after time. 

And so, time after time after time, after time, we must put our faces into the winds of misfortune and negativity, grit our teeth, looking to the heavens and say "NO."  

And time after time, after time, I have failed at my ironman quest.  The demons of negativity remind me unmercifully that I am too old.  My former failures are spotlighted before me to break my spirit but this time after time, I put my face into the winds, looking to heaven and between clinched teeth say "NO."  I will try again. The spirit of Hope is still intact.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Just One More War

 "You never miss the water until the well runs dry."  Simple.  Homespun, but solid logic. There is so much I miss about my former life.  I miss the war. In Rocky III, the character Apollo Creed said  to Rocky when Rocky talked about it being  time to get civilized.  

"We are the warriors," he told Rocky.  "We don't have a choice."  I indelibly remembered that line the first time I heard it.  It resonated with everything inside me.  It brought me to a more honest self evaluation then, as it does now in reflecting upon it.  

So what does a "warrior" do when the only war to fight is to get to the dentist's office on time or how to correctly wear the face mask?"  I'll tell you what I do during these times:  I simmer inside.  There is a me trying to keep it all stuffed itself inside but I know that sooner or later it will escape.  

At the same time there is a gratitude felt for the culling protocol forced upon me by this extended incarceration.  I have found that  productive and meaningful relationships have deepened while the ones shallower than I thought they were have dropped off the back.  

Another good thing is that now I vividly know that, as Apollo said, "I have no choice."  I have vividly come to realize there is no way I can live with myself other than by being myself.  Being myself won't be normal so I have to give that up.  After reaching 76 years of age you would think by now I would have realized I will never be normal.  Thank God for that. 

Thank God...that's another good thing.  I have grown closer partly because I need Him more to help me navigate through this bog.  I spend a lot of time holding on to  His hand plodding through the heavy muds of this seemingly hopeless and unending swamp.  But He is there as He said He would be, never to  leave me or forsake me.  I smile.  I love that.  

But God, you made me an old warrior.  Free me for the war.  Bring back the ironman for me and in me.  Just one more chance.  Just one more war.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Preface Thoughts on a Triathlon Life

This is the preface of the book I just put together containing words and photos on each of the 53 triathlons I have done.  It is more or less written for myself - but.


My Triathlon Life in Words and Pictures

 

 Probably this work will mean little to anyone other than myself and perhaps a few family members. That’s OK.  These photos were collected, and events recalled so that in a hazier future, I might revisit and relive these moments of challenges and experience.  And, who knows?  There is always the chance that someone might read this and become inspired to go on and pursue whatever it is that lights their fire. 

 

My story started with running.   As a lifelong asthmatic, I had the benefit of being able to amaze myself when I began to be able to run and breathe at the same time.  The amazement grew and grew, and my athletic achievements blossomed with the blessing of being able to do marathons.  Amazing I thought; as good as gets; the end game.  But God had something more.

 

One day photos in a magazine of fit, bodied- marked triathletes caught my eye.   They looked a little more peaked out than I felt like I was.  Intrigued, I read about what they did and how they trained.  A vision was born.   I knew I wanted some of that, someday.   I did not know how to swim distances nor was I familiar with the bike, but something inside wanted to one day be counted among those that get body marked.   

Praise God, I have lived almost all that dream.  Only the full Ironman distance has eluded me.  Perhaps, this is my “thorn in the flesh” put into my life to keep me humble?

 

So, in humble gratitude to God, I submit these stories and photos of a life well-lived.   When this is all over, I can look back and see that I did the work, paid the price to live the life I would have imagined for myself:  I have been body-marked.  I am a triathlete.  

 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Rolling With the Punches

 Soon to be  two weeks into this knee problem following another fall while running on these trails here.

I landed on that bad knee I have fallen on, probably, a dozen or more times.  The knee cap is covered in scar tissue and the knee joint is misshapen from previous falls. Doctors said that knee was done over ten years ago.  At the moment it looks like they may be finally right.  Took them a while.  It was pretty humiliating having to use a walker to get to the bathroom.  Maybe this time the knee has said, "enough."  

Of course getting a new bike trainer with live participatory video didn't help the healing.  I couldn't stand up on the hills and grinding them out all sitting really punishes that knee.  But it is so much fun!  And, I think that smiling in pain, finding joy amidst the disappointment, seeing something to hope for in the presence of dreams dying, all are what God wants of me.  "I can do all things through Him that strengthens me," is not just a rah-rah, "you can  do it" motivational moment verse. Hard times play hard ball and sometimes God says, "roll with the punches.  Through Me you can take this."  

I took the weekend off completely except for some wood cutting Saturday morning.  That hurt the knee a bit  but the rest is making it better.  Heal and hope is my agenda. If my knee doesn't come back and my running days are over;  well then, "I can do that too - through Him that strengthens me.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Because, There is God

A new month but no relief from the uncertainty,  The pandemic goes on, events keep getting cancelled, gatherings are limited, relationships grow distant or become  relegated to  electronic intimacy.  And we are called upon now to exercise all the resiliency we are capable of.  All of our strength of character will be required.  All  we might have learned from enduring in marathons or ironman events must now be brought to bear as weapons of war against this foe.

Is there even going to be any ironman events or triathlons in the future or is this all there is; a life of distancing, running scared?  Is this a time of enforced realignment, even one of unique opportunity?  Nevertheless----Because, there is God; there is tomorrow.  Because, there is God, there are other roads and journeys to embark upon.  Because there is God there there are new chances and places to   show His love  Because there is God, we can face tomorrow.  Because there is God there is hope; eternal Hope built upon an eternal promise.  Let us prepare for but not fear the future.  Emanuel, God is with us and we don't have to social distance or wear a mask.

Monday, July 13, 2020

The Venues May Be Different But the Race is Still the Same

Exactly a month since my last blog entry.  It is sort of like a winding down to nothing; a road seemingly to nowhere. The Corona Virus has all of us by the throat and it is getting worse.  The heat obviously has no effect on it as some had hoped. Event after event gets cancelled.  Nothing remains safe to look forward to, but yet, we must go on.  The heat and humidity here are oppressive which makes isolation and apathy that much easier to bear.   I would have  hoped for something more vigorous in the last years of my life.

It has given me time to work on my stories and my books I want to publish before I depart.  One book is entitled, Bends in the River depicting  early adventures along a large river and and those influences upon my life embracing nature in all its beauty and power.   One other book is called, A Day Unlike Any Other Day, which follows my triathlon and ironman attempting career to that final day of ultimate testing.  These are complete except for the editing and book design.

I will probably do hard copy and electronic publishing.  What seems interesting to me at least is the vast distances in those two subjects.  Digging deeper it might be said that there aren't that many differences at all.  The venues may different but the race is still the same for the participant.
So, it seems I have dramatically changed but in essence, remained the same.  I hope that makes sense as I hope these books do.  At this stage of life as I embrace the nearness of my  eternal future  in the presence of an uncertain,  foreboding future, on this earth, I feel closer to myself and to God in writing and editing them.    If for no other reason experiencing this peace within the storm  is all worth it.  It has been worth it all along.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Days of the Dead Zone


Almost a month since I posted.  So much negative has gone on.  There is so much anger, resentment and lack of understanding that a goal like an event just withers on the vine.  This are the days of the dead zone.  Even prayer is getting harder to accomplish and of course I wonder how God can let us get like this.  But, I come to realize we came to this on our own without putting God in the equation.

And of course this is the time of the sweltering summer heat which beats me down every year at this time.  To make it worse my bum knee started swelling up, acting up, making my running in the dog days of summer painful with almost every step.  Then looking at all the cancelled events there is no clear path to participate again; to train for again.

It reminds me of the time we were anchored in a cut just off the Gulf of Mexico, far away from anything.  We were sleeping in our boat when in the middle of the night a storm came in .  Our puny anchor was being dragged mercilessly and we were being pushed out to see by the wind.  There was no other real choice but to start the motor and try to find our way back to shore in the dark and pouring rain.  What a wake up that was.

Right now me and my anchor are dragging  but now I am fully awake, awake enough to  have faith that God  has  got this in spite of the storm.  We are not so far out to sea that He can't show us the way back even in the dark and pouring  His motor will start. Though it might look grim, I know that whatever happens, come morning, I will find myself safely on His shore.