Sunday, February 28, 2021

I Know That

 

Am I in an ironman rut?  I keep signing up.  It seems I am incurable of this ironman addiction.  What can I say?  Moving on would be a good option.  Why not? Hasn't there been enough time, energy, and resources expended on this ironman stuff?  

Despite all that, I find myself still in the ironman game; theoretically at least.  Recently I deferred Ironman Texas to Ironman Texas 2022. Of course, I will be too old then.  I'm too old now.  I have too old for ironman for a few years now.  Old guys like me trying to do an ironman are an anomaly, not having the self-respect not to go out and make a fool of oneself trying to outlive your time.  Just an old fool trying vainly, desperately, and pathetically to hang on to the shreds of athletic life.  I know all that.  But I trudge on unsure now that I have the drive to complete all the training, unsure my wife, who is older than I, will have the health to support me in yet another Ironman quest.   But yet, I keep going on, acting out the senility that comes with this age, I suppose. Like a robot, I just numbly keep signing up as if I were some robust thirty-year-old with all the energy and rah-rah necessary for this beast of a quest.

Maybe too,  my malady is an indication of an personal life vitamin deficiency, an indication of an incompleteness; a life that needs an ironman future to give purpose and fulfillment to it?   I don't know.  We all need a reason to get out of bed and go at whatever makes us purposeful and come alive, don't we? But,if that is true wouldn't you think that  I have  about used this ironman purpose thing up?  I don't know.   

Do I really want to go at it again with all that goes with that?  Do I want the dead-legged feeling in my life for a few months next year?  I don't know.  Do I want that brain-dead foggy mental feeling that comes from the long training?  Is the price too high for me this late in my game?  Can't I find, and be satisfied with some other purpose, some other  reason to get out of bed and have a go at life; something besides Ironman?  I don't know.

If things remain the same in family and personal matters, I could conceivably do the ironman training.  If things go really, really well, I might have a chance to finish.  If I finish it would be seriously been  a crowning achievement in my life.  And if others note that achievement, see my faith, my perseverance, they might become inspired to assume the risk and try to become all God intended them to be ; whatever that might me.   It's not impossible.  I know that.



Wednesday, January 27, 2021

There Is Still An Ember

 

We are burning a stump out on the place.  A fire of varying magnitude has been kept going on it for a couple of days and nights now.  This morning there was no sign of fire or embers.  Had the fire gone out?

A few leaves thrown on the ashes told otherwise.  It wasn't much but the fire was still there to be rekindled and be about the business of burning out the stump.

So it seems with the rocky year we have had in the year 2020.  Sometimes it seems there is no fire left in me or others.  But God has another plan.  Embers still beneath the ashes - though small right now - will bring the fire to our lives again.  Good is not through here.   Amid all the problems and conflict coming with the election and the COVID pandemic, there are still embers put there by God, that we might fan ourselves to flame yet again.

This may seem too optimistic to some, but  I envision a big roaring fire going on and in our lives in the future.  I see smiling, happy people, crowds, people  hugging one another fearlessly; laughing out loud, going places, doing things, and feeling more grateful than ever for the simple privileges of life that we practically took for granted before

May our embers be fanned to flame to become a catalyst that makes us one in joy.  



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 from outside influences. You know:  the chicken little, the sky is falling and subsequent  panic crys of the media using any opportunity to scare you into staying tuned until perhaps they can sell you something.  Be careful.  You have the money and they want it.  Besides doomsday prophets out to make a buck, we  must be on guard ourselves  againt naysayers that can  often be  friends and families.  Additionally,  we must be guard against our own laziness and lack of courage and take a stand for hope in our lives. We have to make the choice to be ourselves and refuse to buckle under the surf of that cascading waves of negativativity  the voice of the world sometimes heaps upon us, time after time after time. Negativity won't quit.  We can't either.

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

As an example, time after time, after time, I have failed at my ironman quest. The sky is not just falling, it has fallen on me several times already.  My life is cluttered up and covered with broken sky pieces.  Common sense would say it is time to "stay down." Don't get up to take another beating.  The demons of negativity spotlight all my former failures and whisper in my ear, mercilessly  reminding  me  that I am too old for this.  Their winds of misfortune discourse  blows  hard against the spirit the demons try so hard to break.   

Somehow, from that everpresent Somewhere, I find the Hope within and without. Somehow, I still put my face into those winds, look toward  heaven  between clinched teeth and say "NO."  I will try again. God's still got it. The spirit of Hope is still intact and it will be - time, after time, after time. 

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, body- 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.  Praise God for it.

 

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.