Monday, November 20, 2017

Terminal Sanity

No, just old, not terminal.  Not yet. Hope still courses in my veins buoyed by the passion for the kind of experience not normally sought for one this old:  I want to do an ironman.  It's crazy.  Yes, of course.  And it's crazy too to think that God is behind it; wants me go for it; will bless me even in likely failure. 

Oh yes, times I really think this is crazy myself.  Times I really want to lay this journey aside.  The temptation to quit this altogether haunts me like a ghost, And maybe someday I will buckle and go under, but not today.  Tomorrow I will wake up and fights the demons again that say quit this silliness and become terminally sane. Do the sane thing here:  live, follow the beaten path, check all the proper boxes, and die quietly without too much noise or trouble. 

There is only quiet in the cemetery; dreams lay silent with us there.  What is to be lost in failing at something far over our heads?   What do we have to lose  that won't be lost ?  And  how much hope, passion, and life itself  might have been squandered if our end finds us  in a state of terminal sanity.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Close to the Ditch Yet Again

After six years this is still true: still going on. It seems that we repeat ourselves.  Or it could be too that things that matter repeat themselves in our lives giving us the opportunity to readdress, and reconstruct ourselves to our betterment. 

October 2011
It seems to be coming apart. Ever since signing up for Ironman Texas, it seems like I have incurred the wrath of God. The schedule this week is in disarray and I feel like I am coming down with something myself. What a rotten way to start!

Life is like that sometimes. The Bible says, "In the world you shall have tribulations----" It doesn't say you "might" or that it is a "possibility," it says "you shall." So, like in the last miles of the marathon, I just try to keep moving forward, knowing as long as I do that, I will not be yet defeated, and each step forward takes me closer to the finish.

"All of life runs unsettlingly close to the ditch."
Joseph M. Stowell
"The Upward, Inward Look," Decision Magazine 1/09

Friday, October 6, 2017

Called to Be

An outdoor ride was refreshing yesterday.  I did 30 miles without too much difficulty and on the trip did a hill several times to get the feel.  What feel?  The feel of the overpasses on the toll road which is the ironman bike course. And, I did it into the 5-10 mph wind; not like the more severe wind speed it will probably be, but it is race specific training, nonetheless.  This felt right; like a slipped into the groove and caught my pace. 

Is it unreasonable to think I have reconnected - in one sense - to myself, to  who I am and who I am called to be>

Sunday, September 10, 2017

How Do You Respond?

Went to a sprint triathlon today (Rose City Triathlon in Tyler, Texas)- my 51st triathlon - and it was quite revealing. Not revealing in the limitless possibilities out there, but in revealing a lot of truths about myself. Today was a sprint triathlon for enhanced self-awareness.

For one, in looking at race photos, I became aware that I don't look as good as I thought I did. In fact, I could be labeled fat without departing too far from the truth. In addition, I  am not as thorough and into preparedness as I had perceived myself to be. My bike computer didn't work - I should have know that. My front skewer was loose on my bike and the headset was loose - where have I been? My T-2 transition wasn't all that long but terribly sloppy and disorganized. And my run, in a word: stinks; absolutely the worst 5k I have ever ran in my life - and I thought I was holding it together pretty good; reality says "no way." I  thought all my run training was on target and doing some good: how wrong was that? There was an overweight guy, walking with a bad limp up ahead of me and I couldn't catch him.  There he  was up ahead,  walking, limping, overweight, and he was pulling away from me while I was  allegedly running. My heart sank.

Time for some reality therapy here. Oh sure, people are all amazed that I can do all this stuff at my age, but God isn't amazed. He gave me this window of opportunity and it seems I have not lived up to His or my own expectations. So, tomorrow, when I might be thinking more clearly, I will indulge in some serious reality therapy about my endurance sports life. Today has been most humbling and perhaps now I am ready for God to use me in whatever reality I am given.

So, I wrote down all the reasons I shouldn't even think about doing Ironman Texas on April 28, 2018.  Below are the reasons:  reality to either   accept and give this crazy stuff up, or accept, put my face into the wind, and "Face the Giants." 

1.     The “Bad Leg”
2.     My awful run speed
3.     Wife’s physical problems
4.     Financial expense
5.     Lack of motivation
6.     Lack of a consistent place to swim
7.     Asthma
8.     Present level of deep fatigue
9.     Present overweight problem
10.   Time away from family
11.   Time away from work to be done here on the place
12.   Time and mind to write
13.   Urinary tract problems.

Now put  all those good reasons up against the one overarching reason to keep trying;  in spite; to keep on trying though I might look like a fool yet again attempting this at this age (74).  How does all this  stack up?  I knew the answer before I asked. 
How do you respond when you sense the Lord is calling you to a task that seems beyond your abilities? Do you list all the reasons you can't possibly do it? God already knows everything about you and the situation. He's not asking your permission to proceed; rather, He is calling you to move forward with faith and obedience. He didn't make an error in choosing you for the task, but you will make a huge mistake if you refuse to do it.
God will equip you for whatever He calls you to do. Because the Holy Spirit dwells within every believer, we have all we need to fulfill the Lord's mission. Instead of letting inadequacy hinder you from obeying, let it drive you to your knees so you can arise with renewed insight and power.
Charles Stanley

God doesn't require us to succeed; he only requires that you try. -Mother Teresa

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Go On

There is just no end to the ups and downs in this training business. Keeping training on track and keeping life on track simultaneously can be a real tightrope walk. And, what of the times like today when the want to is hiding out in the woods here somewhere, and my body seems like it has been in an auto accident? Lots has been going on, not the least of which is three deaths of friends and loved ones and a hurricane here in the last few weeks. Disaster seems everywhere and my body feels like a disaster as well. And, my heart just cant' get into much but mourning.

A doe whitetail deer just walked out of the woods and a bouncy fawn followed her. Squirrels are chasing each other in these trees. It is the first cool front. Animals are feeling it. The world is still alive. All those I've lost would tell me to go on, be like the bouncy fawn and the chasing squirrels, go on while the first air of fall is in the air; go on while the spirit to bounce and chase is within you; go on and embrace the life God gave. Go on: for them, who have suffered; for them who have lost; go on, not in mourning but in celebration and thankfulness. God is still good. Go on!

Sunday, August 6, 2017


Again into the fray. Again the huge time, energy, and resource commitment; again, I have begun training for Ironman Texas.

It has been over three months since I participated in this event(I finished the swim and bike). But strangely, I don't have that "unfinished business" vendetta thing. It is more like a "peaceful, easy feeling" when I consider my last ironman attempt. I I am good with it so why go at it again, then. As strange as it might seem, I am at peace about this so it is tempting to stop right here and be content to savor that wonderful experience.

However, something different happened at that ironman effort a little over three months ago. I guess I didn't realize the amount of ego I had involved until I lost a healthy portion of it. This ironman thing has taken me down and has taken me up to a whole new platform and perspective that I can't really put into words.

Perhaps it was somewhere out there on that windy bike course of Ironman Texas, when I was stopped, exhausted, in pain, leaning over my handlebars in prayer. Perhaps it was the pervasive love and support I received from friends and family. Perhaps it was the intimate feeling of God being with me? Perhaps I lost something I did not need and received something I don't want to live without? Perhaps there is more? So, bring on the quest - Again.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Somebody Is Watching

The doldrums: "a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression." I was there. Nobody knew. I went three days without any training for the first time in several years. I prayed. The doldrums continued. I became more concerned about my motivation to endure than my physical ability to do so. Oh sure, it is hot, humid, and lots going on with regular life. There was lots to take my focus away but I have faced those demons before and gotten back up and gone on. This time was really tough. I didn't share this with anyone except God. Who else could help?

Then one day without provocation, an old friend sent me a message of hope and inspiration; a reminder that God is in this and God is with me. I am not really sure what or how he might have known about my ironman training, but it was obvious from the message that he had been watching me and my journey, perhaps for hope and inspiration of his own.

A day or so later my daughter wrote that she had been running and had gotten up to four miles. Shortly thereafter, my son asked me when ironman training would officially begin. A relative who had just got through open heart surgery wanted to know all about my training and racing plans. He seemed inspired by it all. Then he remarked about some detail from a story from a book I have written. I was surprised that someone had read my little book and more surprised that someone could remember something from it. Somebody has been watching me. I guess I had thought I had been doing all this in a dark closet. I had been watched all along. I was convicted and a little bit ashamed.

God has granted me health and vitality beyond normal years. May I use those gifts to provide hope and inspiration, to show God in human effort and commitment. God has sent others to lift me up out of my doldrums. So, I sense He sends me to "run the race that is set before me." Yes, Somebody is watching. It is God.