Sunday, June 27, 2010

It Dawned On Me

Got out at first light for a 7 mile run; beautiful! The haze hung in a blanket cloud over the large hay meadows. Birds were chorusing all along the road as if they were cheering me on. The moon still shone from among the multiple soft colors of dawn and I had all this to myself; I felt great!

Sometimes I think we should move to the city and a more modern lifestyle; a place where I could get with running buddies and have easy access to stuff folks take for granted. Then mornings like this say I am in the right place.

Three deer stopped in the middle of the road and watched me until I got close then they eased on off the road into the woods. I only saw one vehicle on my eight mile run; saw more deer than people. Yes, I know that this has been said so many times throughout this blog but it is so abundantly true it bears repeating: I am truly blessed! Thank you God.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Pause That Refreshes

Nine days running and no time off from training. It has been a good run of it but I needed some time off. Ever felt like you just want to do something else today?

So I tied on a top-water lure and went down to my pond. In a few minutes I had caught and released 3 nice bass. Strolled back over wooded trails to my woodpile and split logs for about thirty minutes. Then, to the gardens and picked vegetables before coming to the house where I put liquid fertilizer on my lawn. Doing other things felt good, sort of like stopping at an aid station on a marathon. But, I know I can't stay there. Already I have caught myself looking at my bike wondering if I might get in a good ride this afternoon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ride of the Fathers

My son asked me what I wanted for Father's Day: a bike ride together. After church, I picked him up. There was good conversation and shared visions, remembrances and joy. Our turnaround was a bridge that we two used to use as a pit stop on our way to the country when we lived in the city. He had been just a small boy, emulating the habits of his father; a fitting Father's Day turnaround.

Now he is a Father, and he and his children are creating those moments and places that will be visited in their futures. There is a certain peaceful connectivity to it all: "The peace that passes all understanding."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Feeling the Freedom

The water on the small lake was packed with people in the swimming area. What to do? Head down swimming right through the melee like a race start. The sounds of squealing children and the muffled tones of adults began to ebb away leaving me with only the sounds of my own swimming. I was free in the open water of the lake. No, lane lines, no turns, just stroke in rhythm; enjoy. Seems I almost went to sleep until I looked up to see I was nearing the other side of the lake. Then turn and swim from one end of the lake to the other and back again, the water all to myself. Something brought me to and I looked at the watch to find I had swam the amount of time I had planned. Heading to the sounds of the swimming area in the distance, I turned and went up and down the lake one more time. Feeling blessed; feeling free.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Sum of the Parts

How could an event done so poorly end so well? That was my thought on finishing the Kona Eastside sprint triathlon a few weeks back. I felt so blessed in it all when I finished. Perhaps the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Not Being Taken Alive

Read this morning that we can expect a lot of hurricanes this year; doom and pestilence. Long term health care costs are going up. Better get some long term health care insurance or you will surely die. And on and on, I read about all these ominous things that will surely kill me or drive me to pitiful poverty.

I have been very poor before and lived through it well. And how many times can these things kill me? Just once. And the thing that would probably kill me first would be stress from worrying about all the things that are out to get me. Should I let the worries of tomorrow steal the life of today?

I am prepared. I have peace with God and peace with myself. I will prepare for hurricanes and other various disasters.....but for now, I have a six mile run to do. It is high humidity and increasing heat. In the afternoon, I have a bike ride to do. Life is very good in spite of its ominous side. As the saying goes, "I am being stalked by death, but it will never take me alive."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beautifully and Wonderfully Made - Run Proud

Today on my run it was hot and humid; the prelude to a rain. Tough conditions seem to induce a defensive, survival stride from me. Today was no exception. I found myself looking down the road only a few yards ahead. My shoulders were hunched somewhat, and I was doing more of a stagger than a run. My forward lean had me not picking my feet up much, and my shoes were scuffing loudly on the hot pavement as evidence. This is how you wear shoes out quickly. I was running scared in a way.

Then I remembered reading that we are to run "proud." Square the shoulders, stand up straighter, look farther ahead, see the bigger picture; embrace a bolder promise. Scripture says we are "beautifully and wonderfully made." Come on! Believe it! Run proud! I did. My pace picked up as I now seemed to be running over the road and not on it; running proud. The run took on new life and became more than just a task to complete but a blessing to experience.

Back at the truck, I was smiling broadly, drenched in sweat,and immensely thankful. Thankful that we are not called to plod mindlessly forward, staring at our feet. We are called to dream big dreams, looking up, pushing hard in the "direction of those dreams. We are not to do our training run of life without purpose, hope, joy or vision. That would be a waste of what God has given us and what He has called us to. We are "beautifully and wonderfully made." Look up.

God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well. ~ Voltaire

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Curse of Multiple Laps

My half ironman event has multiple loops on the run. So, I regularly practice doing multiple loops in training and using my truck as a turnaround aid station. But it is just me out there. No one knows how many loops I planned to do. Coming back to the truck brought with it the temptation to cut the run short especially since the day was getting hotter.

I have faced this curse before. Running the San Antonio Marathon, I was sick to my stomach from something eaten the night before. The course went right by my hotel and my room was only a few feet away...Oh that urge to quit! Then once again doing the Houston Marathon it was hot and steamy and I was done. My hotel was right there just off the course at about mile 22-23. I could see the door to my room.. Oh that urge to quit!

I had planned on 3 loops today. My truck could be seen a quarter of a mile away as I finished my 2nd loop. Do I just do 2 loops and call it good enough? After all, it is terribly hot out here. I am not really going all that fast out here. What difference will it make?

To me it makes all the difference and this was the defining moment of my run and for my training today. The difference will be to know that I didn't quit though everything physical screamed stop. Temptation is like that in all of life, in our faith life.

I did not risk stopping but threw my hand-held water bottle in the back of the truck, picked up my fresh bottle from the bumper and went back out. The last loop turned out to be the best loop of the day; not because it was faster, but because of the hard won satisfaction in my heart of resisting the temptation to quit.
I had fought and bested the curse of multiple loops

Friday, June 4, 2010

Getting That Picture Back

Last year was a phenomenal training year. By this time, I was regularly doing 50-65 mile rides. This year pales in comparison to the level of fitness I had at this time. In looking back at some of last years photos, it comes to me that I want that picture back. I loaned it out to people and circumstances but now I want it back. The picture is from the Fire Ant Ride in Gatesville, Texas. It was a beast in the heat but I really did well on it. I want that picture back. I am not ready to rest on what I have done, and dwell on the "good ole days." As the song says, "These are the good ole days." Next week they are having that bike ride again and I just think I will go and take my camera. You see, I want picture back.