Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Seeing the End from the Beginning

Last night I signed up for the half ironman. It is on. No more "maybes" and no more being tentative. If integrity is the willingness to keep promises, then so to the promises we make to ourselves. A financial commitment is a notary seal for me. The deal is done and now to the business of staying focused, committed,staying healthy, motivated. The goal is to find myself at dawn on the edge of Walter Long Lake on October 17th, fit mentally, physically and most of all spiritually for the day I have ventured for.

"Only that day dawns but to which we are truly awake." Henry David Thoreau

Friday, March 26, 2010

Overcoming the Insects

When warm weather comes and I turn my porch light on at night, it is not long before the place is full of insects swarming around. Starting over, turning on my light seems to draw out all the bugs that hinder the journey. As I seem to get stronger and more focused, the more demanding the other things in life that I have to attend seem to become. Perhaps, if I were to just live life in a low hum and not make noise or challenge things would go more smoothly?

However, as someone has said, "If it were easy, everybody would be doing it." The event begins when we declare to go to one. All the land mines thrown in our path are part of the process, part of the course, part of our journey. In overcoming them, they will become part of that ultimate joy at the finish line.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Failure Isn't Final

Last Fall I had completed 35 weeks of training for a half ironman when my Mother was hospitalized for an operation. Things went from bad to worse and when things leveled out, I had to have rotator cuff surgery. Now, with that behind me and my recovery almost complete, I have found the will to begin again. Today, I begin my training plan for the same half ironman I had to cancel last year. There is a song that goes, failure isn't final with the Father. Failure opens doors to start again. And falling only hurts for a season, and starting over brings new life again.

Today, I embark. My hope, my faith, brings new life again.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Training Against the Wind

Yesterday, As I left on my bike ride, I noticed that the wind was strong at my back. Fifteen miles out but the same fifteen back against the wind. I wanted to go and thought to myself, "good training." It was. I saved myself as best I could going out but sometimes the downhills with the wind at my back just begged for speed. It was fun. At the turnaround, I took down a gel a big drink and faced up to it. Whew ! Enough to take your breath away. Now the easy gears seemed like I was pedaling up a big hill.

About halfway through this gear pounding, I saw a rider coming my way. He stopped and we had a good conversation during which I found out that his wife had brain cancer and there was nothing much could be done except try to control it now.

When we parted and I thought about this man, his wife and all they faced, the wind didn't seem so bad after all.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Knowing When to Say "No"

Getting back into a regular training regimen is not the smooth transition I hoped it would be. Over the months of limited and sporadic training, habits, ways of thinking, perceived priorities have crept into life. Now is appears as if I have relegated training to something to be done when all other tasks are done, all other people are satisfied. Training has become a "spare time" enterprise. The world has spun its web to make me believe that all that stuff is more important. So, it appears my body is more in shape for training already than my mental process is.

Thoreau wrote something to the effect that "our life is frittered away by detail." It has been my experience that the best way to stop or mitigate the slippery slope slide is firm resolution and understanding of purpose and true importance. With that firm resolution will come the ability to move on through the noise of protest to live out our own best life and not let our training time be "frittered away by detail."

Friday, March 12, 2010

300 yd swim - 13.8 mile bike - 5k run

It had been 16 days since the doctor released me following rotator cuff surgery. Athens is an event I have done four times previous. Just wanting to get back in it. Maybe I can see more or less where I was at. I prayed. A thought came to me that drafting on the bike is illegal but for me to get through this respectably I will have to be drafting on God.

I was careful on the swim with my shoulder and surprisingly my time was about what it has been before at Athens.
The bike was typical for me; start slow and build. As I built into the bike, I passed rider after rider. My strength on the bike was surprising.

My total running mileage for the year was only a little over twenty miles and I really didn't know what was in my legs after that bike leg. But I ran surprisingly well and never stopped. My overall time was not great but not all that bad either. I had finished respectably. Thankful beyond words, I almost teared up. At a large oak tree I thanked God for blessing me that day.

I went to the awards ceremony though I really had no expectations of winning a trophy. There were five of us in the 65-69 age group. When the third place was called and my name wasn't, I knew that I was out of the picture. The best I could have done would have been third...and they were really nice trophies too....number two was called and I clapped for him. Then, a time was called and the words rang out, "And first place goes to Marvin Dittfurth." I almost teared up again. After 31 triathlons I have never won first in my age group. I walked sort of dazed through the crowd, shook hands, and picked up my trophy. Coming back from surgery, wondering how able I was, yet claiming a prize I would have thought impossible that day. Maybe I was humble enough in this endeavor to be exalted?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A First First.

First in my age group for the first time in 31 triathlons at an event I was not prepard for. One that I only wanted to complete respectfully. I am still in awe over this

Friday, March 5, 2010

Going to An Event...

Today, I am readying to go to Athens, Texas for the 25th Athens Triathlon. This has to be one of the oldest events and from four prior races, this is a good one. Lance Armstrong supposedly did this one many years ago. It is especially a good event for first-timers. It is a pool swim which I am never fond of. There is nothing like the adventure of a race start in open water. However, that aside, the Baptist Church has a free pasta dinner for participants and their families each year...really nice touch.

But I come to this event as sort of a first timer although it will be my 31st event if I complete it. It is the first real test of that shoulder operation eight weeks ago. From this experience I will get a benchmark on which to direct the rest of the triathlon seasn. May God bless my effort..

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Staying the Course

Today, I was doing an hour plus training video on my indoor training bike. The video shows the clock counting down to the end of the workout. At about thirty minutes into it, I was tired and looking for a good place to quit plus a fool proof excuse to get me out of pushing through the last half hour of this workout. No excuse seemed adequate and while I pondered how I could get off this bike and still feel good about myself, I just kept going. And I just kept going on until the entire workout was done. Thank God, I was unsuccessful in finding something that would cover my personal weakness. Thank God indeed, for there are many times in training and in our faith walk that we want to quit and get comfortable and let our lives be controlled by our weaknesses. Thank God, He has the power to lift us up beyond ourselves to finish the course; to finish the training video.

"When you think you can’t keep going, you can. When you think God is not that big; He is - and bigger. When you think He can’t; He can; He will and more."