Monday, December 28, 2009

Thinking New Year--Is This the Year?

It has been my experience that I don't do as well on the flats but I am better at fighting uphill battles. This year starts off with rotator cuff surgery. Maybe this is just what I need: a serious setback to provoke me to finally step up to the plate and take a swing at the full ironman. Just go on in; don't think; don't waffle, don't be so rational. What is the worst that can happen: I could get really injured in the process and be sidelined. Newsflash ! I am already injured and sidelined without ever trying for an ironman. No, I haven't even had the pleasure of failing successfully yet at the ironman.

So, the new year is soon upon me. What do I do with the gift? Perhaps only to have the courage to use it.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Have Nothing to Say

There is a quote that says, "When you have nothing to say, say nothing." So, it is with this blog. I wish there was wisdom or experience or the passion of time on the road. However, all I have tonight is an upset semi-bloated stomach from all the Christmas eating and I feel like a beached whale that once felt like a triathlete. It seems we try to discipline ourselves to pursue the accomplishment of the extraordinary. All it seems I have pursued was another piece of pumpkin pie. Tonight I feel quite ordinary; not the least like I have done or will do anything extraordinary. Sorry I didn't have anything to say.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Go With It

One thing this shoulder injury and impending surgery have shown me yet again, is that when we have it, when it is working right; go with it! Don't wait until there may be better time or an easier venue; just get up and go with it. Health and ability are ticking clocks...of such a stuff life itself is made of. May we never be accused of saving ourselves to death.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rolling Again

Today, I went on an outdoor bike ride; the first one in a while; the weather and opportunity finally permitting it. It could be the last outdoor ride in many months and there was an awareness that I should savor this like the last piece of candy in a bag.

There was some difficulty and a certain amount of pain in getting the bike out of the back of the truck with my bad shoulder. Thankfully, there was little pain as I leaned onto my bars and started the ride. The strong wind was blowing dry brown leaves onto the road. When the tires rolled over them it sounded like tortilla chips being crushed. The wind in my face refreshed the feeling of freedom that had laid dormant in my soul. The beauty of the fall colors on this country road, the movement, the wind in my face, the absence of vehicular traffic just made me smile. I was rolling again; getting close again. The big hill - about a mile long - into the wind was welcomed. Standing to pedal, I could not but smile. Uncertainty overcome - The power was still in the legs. And the the power of God was still in control, through the warmth, the peace, the love often unseen until revealed by special times, special places, such as this. Though impending surgery on my shoulder loomed like dark clouds on the horizon, nothing could interrupt this union, this communion; sort of a Last Supper, out on a country road out rolling again.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunshine On My Shoulder

Sun is shining today. Memories of watching the 2009 Ironman at Kona yesterday are still simmering pleasantly in my mind. What inspiration! Somehow the trivia pursuit, we find ourselves so often embroiled in pales so dramatically in the light of the essence of what this sport can be all about. And I am thankful, oh so thankful, to have found this, experienced it, can share it, can live fully. Thank God! and thank those ironmen and ironwomen for there efforts and their courage. I want more than that. Who wouldn't.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pictures of the Past and the Future

There will be a shoulder surgery the first week of the year. There will be downtime. Keeping any serious degree of fitness will be difficult. There will be many hours of waiting, healing, pain, and some disappointment. Thank God for pictures and stories I have written. Maybe this will give me a chance to promote my book more? Read more? Write more? But, no doubt it will mean train less and race not at all. Passion will have to be replaced with patience.

The pictures of the past are the same ones I want back for the future. Perhaps that is some indication of a successful life. I truly would do it all over again. There is this picture of me after a long and eventually hot bike event, with the sweat obvious on my face. Oh, how many wonderful hot rides have I been on? Answer: about half as many as I would like to go on again in the future.

I feel blessed and thank God for all I had been allowed to do and for the hopes I have for the future.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Good Choice--Hope

Facing a possible shoulder surgery, facing the down time, the lost opportunities and events; I rise the morning yet in hope.

With my fast yesterday there seemed to come a certain peace and knowing that there needed to be a different plan and perspective. We cannot build the future with the bricks of regret. The fasting was difficult and I became very hungry, especially with all the Christmas goodies already lying about. The hunger became the overriding thought and concern for that moment and regrets had to take the back seat. All I could seem to think of was those fresh roasted almonds in the pantry. Surprisingly, I awoke this morning not all that ravenous and feel I could go on in the fast for a couple more days, but I won't. The purpose is served.

I do endurance sports for the good life it gives me, the thrill, the discipline, the hope. But ultimately I do this for the glory of God. In this new event called surgery and rehabilitation may I make Him proud and glorify Him in this as well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

To Remain a "Restless Warrior"

Yesterday the MRI report came in describing the fact that I have tendon ruptures in a couple places in the shoulder. It looks like surgery and rehab are under my Christmas tree this year.
This is not the vision I had for the new year but it is the vision I am dealt.

The challenge will be not to give in to the ease, comfort and passive lifestyle of a health care recepient but to remain a "restless warrior," seeing this setback as an opportunity to heal and regroup rather than a place to just lay it down; to become a fat old man.

So today I am fasting today, more or less to implant a discipline against the seductive lifestyle of which I will be forced to partake. And I will be praying for a strength that is far above my own.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Enduring: Lesson in Living

This morning the shoulder is in pain. Last night sleep was done in fits and starts. The endurance mindset or skills acquired through endurance sports serves me well here today. And today, I find out about what is going on in the shoulder and consequently my season will be directly impacted.

Hope and faith are summoned in my behalf: hope for good results and a healthy, hopeful start of a new training regimen and the prospects of a new season. Faith, that regardless of the results, regardless of the prospects of this immediate future; I can and will endure in whatever season I am called into because God's got my back.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Night Run

It was a cold, damp, dark night for my first night run in a very long time. Back then most of my miles were done after dark. But, I had given up on night running several years ago after continued verbal warnings like "you are older now,", and "lots of stuff can happen to you out there running after dark" and "you know, you are not getting any younger." I guess I listened to the voices of imminent doom rather than picking up my light and getting on the road.

Of course, most of it all is true. Lots of stuff CAN happen to you at night and most of it is wonderful. There is the star-speckled night sky, the lessened traffic, and the eloquence of silence, except an howl hooting, coyotes yipping or the sound of your own footsteps and the brush-brush of the winter clothing. Additionally, there is a sense of adventure to night running that heightens the senses and enhances appreciation for the blessing of being alive. And, as far as the second argument, that I'm not getting any younger: Well, who is getting any younger anyway? Not even infants are getting any younger. So, I need to find my light, while I am still young enough; go out and greet God's handiwork and the inspiring experience that is night running.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Humbled and Exalted

This cold, damp, overcast week has me looking at the event listings for next year. It is like I am burrowing out of myself into the sunshine little by little. And, I looked at that half ironman distance event to be held in Galveston, April 25th. Probably be windy then. Will have to wear a wetsuit because the water will be a little cold. Could be foul weather about then. With this bad shoulder, I doubt I could do a half by then. I checked the participant list: those who have already registered in spite of all the negatives. A much larger number of folks have registered than I would have expected. Fools! Don't they know the water might be cold, the weather bad and the course windy? But oh my, on that list I found a man my age. Then the cruncher: there was a man 79 who had signed up. And I thought of part of that quote by Theodore Roosevelt and how aptly it so aptly applie at this point: "----------if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold timid souls who have never tasted victory of defeat."

Thank God for brave souls of all ages who humble us with their courage. Perhaps, with enough humility I will indeed be exalted.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Little Off Dead Center

Sometimes it seems that this lifestyle is a little counter-culture; a little off dead center. I have always been a little different so being in the "little off dead center"sub-culture seems appropriate; it is where the action is. It might even be considered that it is called "dead" center because it is not very lively there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Who Cares?

There is a song with the words: "May the footsteps that we leave, lead them to believe and the life we live inspire them to obey." On my birthday I was talking to my doctor arranging my MRI and I noticed this picture here in his file. All these years I had no idea he had even more than a casual professional interest in what I do. Are there others? I think so. On my birthday card my son wrote how much he admired the training discipline that I had shown and how he would like to be able to emulate that discipline in his own life.
Sometimes things get me down in this lifestyle. Sometimes the fatigue is oppressing. Sometimes I just want to quit and take up watching television, and become as old as my years. But, to whom much is given; much is required and I have been given much and consequently there is much required of me. Those blessings I have been given exact a responsibility that should not be shirked just because things get tough. And so it is with the rest of our lives and our faith life as well. It is incumbent upon us as recepients of the gift that "those who come behind us find us faithful."

Check Spelling

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Writing this blog has already had some good results. After posting my experience in capitulation to adverse conditions this morning, I felt convicted. Self-examination is not easy and is most often painful but that is also the ingredients to the recipe of growth.

I got my warm clothes on this time and went to the same place and this time, got the run completed. Yes ! It is not much but perhaps something to learn from and build upon.

A Time I Did Not Overcome

Today, I drove out to do a five mile run. On the way it started raining. I wasn't dressed for that and the wind was blowing when I got out of the truck. Out on the road I was quickly wet and cold. After a mile I shut it down. Perhaps, I should have continued in spite? Perhaps, like when I was training for an event, I should have soldered on, no matter. I have before; lots of times. Why not today?

There is no event in my near future. There is no goal to strive through adversity for. And so it is with our faith. Without the purpose and guidance of God in our lives, we can be lead to bow to that which with God's purpose and guidance, we once overcame.

"Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets us and run with patience the race that is set before us" and not quit because the weather is damp and cold.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I Do Believe

It is cold and raining outside. Weather has been cold and damp for a while. Training has been limited and unmotivated. My shoulder hurts all the time, and physical therapy doesn't seem to be doing any good. There is the likely prospect of a future operation. All of this is a far cry from the hope and prospects six months ago when the training was going full steam.

However, it is my birthday and wishes for a happy birthday abound; I am loved. I do believe that I am loved by God as well. And, I believe that as deeply in the face of present disappointments. As low as the moment may seem, I believe I will be taken higher through His power and His Grace. Beyond this winter; beyond my winter, there is spring; there is hope; eternal Hope. I want to be like the bird who sings before dawn while it is still dark. This I do believe.