Saturday, October 29, 2022

Going to Sea, Again?

 I wish I could stop thinking about it.  At night the answer is no.  I see all the personal, practical reasons not to try this very clearly.  Waking up, it is pretty much resolved:  no, I am not going to do Ironman Texas or train  for it.  As the day wears on,  my good sense seems to erode and I think "maybe" yet again.

It is so hard to give up. This is one of the hardest things I have every tried to do. It is like accepting a death in a sense,  but there does come a time for everyone.  

There are so many demons out there just waiting to devour me if I make a serious move toward making another attempt.  For one, I am not sure I can do the training.  I am not sure my wife's health will hold up.  I am not sure I can be there for her as I might need to be if I am all trashed out with ironman training.  I don't know if my bad wrist from the bike wreck will make it through all the training.  I don't have a good place to swim or run and so on. And then there is the bum knee that has plagued me for years now.    I have reservations to overcome about outdoor bike riding after my bike wreck.  There are a lot of offs with this hand.  

So  before too much more time passes I am going to make a determination as to what side I am on. I guess this isn't too big of a problem to have.  And, in another sense, I feel blessed. Right now I just want to get on with it and put my face into the wind and "damn the torpedoes." But, I am gonna check with God first before I go to sea again.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

I'm Gonna Have to Talk to God

 Stuff still hurts from the bike wreck.  It will be a while before I am near ready to seriously train.  Nights of limited sleep due to the pain in various body parts, had left me resolute that I should try other pursuits, What?  The answer never came. There was no resolution there.  Am I to just piddle around and wander from this little thing to the other?  Is the age of challenge in my life finally over?   Yes, I had resolved, and it was reaffirmed by every pain from every movement. 

I had almost successfully given way to the fact that I am too old for this. And I had gotten to the point that this endurance thing wasn't thought about that much anymore.  And it felt pretty good not to have that monkey on my back.  However, in quiet times it felt shallow, sort of as if, I had relegated my swimming to wading in the kiddie pool.  It will go away like these pains I endure, I told myself.  Be glad you had a good run of it and be glad it is over.

Sometime back I had made an order for merchandise from Ironman. Today it arrived to trouble my day. Just when I was almost on top of this giving up thing, my "Training for Ironman Texas" T-shirt arrived. It is beautiful and sad too. 

I type this with a sore hand and wrist, but the T-shirt stirred me inside.   I can't help but think "just maybe."  After all the time and effort and trouble I have put into giving in and giving up this mess.  So, the question is, "Am I in too deep in walking away from this stuff to walk back into the fray.?  At best it would be a long shot to even train for this event.  Why go in for another desperate, probably futile attempt?  That's seems wise to me but. 

There is no resolution in this post.  I am just going to have to talk to God.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Bike Wreck

 Last Sunday my son and I were on a bike ride.  I was following and we touched bikes and I went down hard on pavement.  My head hit but thankfully the helmet took the blow for my head. I was bleeding from several spots on my body and felt terribly shaken.  My son went to get the vehicle while I waited on the side of the road.  

A nice woman pulled up in a vehicle and asked if I needed any help.  I told her no, that my son was gone to get our vehicle,   However, she would not leave me there and she  stayed  and talked to me until my son came with the vehicle.  The world is not all what the news reports it to be.  There are concerned, caring, people out there, quietly going about doing good.  It was no surprise she is  a Christian.  

Now 72 hours later I am still sort of in a state of shock.  Parts of my body hurt but I don't think I have any broken bones, amazingly.  But, sleeping is pure horror trying to get into a position that is not painful.  Consequently, I haven't gotten a lot of sleep this week.  

This time I think I really did it.  This time I think I will require a very long recovery time and my athletic endeavors are pretty much over with for a while. And all the plans, purposes, and hopes have ended in a moment on a piece of pavement. Such is life.  Health and life is only for today.  The Lord's Prayer says, "Give us THIS DAY our daily bread."

I don't know where to take it from here right now.  I have no plans except to get through recovery.   So, I am grateful for all the great experiences I have had and the things I have accomplished.  And I am thankful for this day's bread whatever that may be.  The rest of the story? I have just have to leave the rest to God, whatever that may be. Nevertheless, thy will be done.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Life Is Richer Shared

 Mike Reilly is retiring at the end of the year.    Ironman is changing.  Maybe it has been changing all along, but the effects have just now surfaced?  I guess I have changed too along the way, because I understand all this more than I would have a decade ago.  I seems I am peaceful and more acceptable than I once was.  If that is so, that's a good thing. 

I guess it is firmly imprinted now that there is more to life than single minded focus to attain a personal goal.  I can see from Mike Reilly's resignation speech the conflicting emotions over doing the job he loves and  properly attending to the people he loves.  And the truth, - in my mind - is that if you gain the whole world of personal goals; if you kill the courses of every ironman out there, if you set a PR on every ironman you enter, and loose the richness of relationships with those you love, then, you have lost the race.  You have failed to finish.  I have lived long enough to know that these accomplishments and goals we achieve have a short shelf life, good relationships don't. 

So, what does that all mean to an old creaky codger that just hopes he can get through the training.  It means, enjoy the experience and bring those that love you along.  After losing so many people out of my life, I have regrets that I could have come closer to so many that are long departed.  I come to the conclusion that life is richer - shared.  

So, choose wisely those you bring close, but those that are close, bring them closer, include them in the joy of the process so there is no conflict of interest or purpose, but the joy of shared experience.   

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's 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 that however this turns out; finish or not, live or die, 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