Friday, July 30, 2010

Good Knees

"Marvin, the guy at the bike shop said you do those things where you swim and run and bike or something like that. "Haven't your knees ever given you trouble? You know you can ruin your knees with all that running."

"I have been doing this for about 28 years now and I have had some knee problems that I got over. But I am going on 67 years old and the knees still work. Although I am no visionary, there may be a nursing home in my future sooner than I would like. Now what am I going to need good knees for in a nursing home?"

"---I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work the more I live. --"
George Bernard Shaw

Monday, July 26, 2010

Road Family

The big black dog came at me. It ran out on the road just ahead of the front wheel of my bike, looked backwards at me and barked.

"OK, OK"!

I stopped and the old friend walked over to me, tail wagging, and if dogs could smile - I swear she was smiling. I talked stuff to her in gentle tones as I stroked her graying muzzle. Talked about all the years on this road we had enjoyed, graying together. She loved it. Her owner called her to come back and it is amazing that after all the years I have stopped for this man's dog, he still doesn't get it: we are road family. And he probably doesn't realize he doesn't own all of his dog; there is a part that dog belongs to only me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Is This The End?

Doing marathons, I have hit the "wall" several times. About 3 days ago, I hit the wall at three miles on my run; not usual; not good. I was overcome with a shaky weakness; breathing didn't come easily and I just had to quit. The heat was oppressive: yes. The heat index was over 100: yes. But I have survived in conditions like this before, many times. Maybe that is the problem: the many times. Took a complete day off and feel a little better but not really that much better. Of course, I am concerned, and of course, I pray this is not for the worse. And, I can't help but wonder if this is it, the end of my athletic life. At my age, I realize that I am on borrowed time in doing stuff like this but like an eternal dreamer, I never, ever want to see it end.

So, I have no other good choice but to "walk by faith and not by sight" until I am shown. Meantime, I pray for just a few more days, weeks, months, years, of this spendid lifestyle.

5/16/15 - Now, almost 5 years later, I find my prayers answered. I have had the most volume of training in those 5 years than I had in my entire life. Five years ago, the best was yet to come. Today, I failed to start but succeeded in training for a full ironman....Now, is this the end? Probably not, God is still in it and my heart still beats warm to go on.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

He'll Always Be There For You

God? Yes, of course. But, there is someone else that will always be there for you: the devil on your shoulder in the later miles. For all my events, for over a quarter of a century, this guy has always shown up. I swear he holds up signs up in the later miles that say something to the effect: you look awful, this really hurts bad, really bad, doesn't it? Go on quit. Who cares anyway? When he can't get my attention, he will whisper in my ear: You are killing yourself out here,take it easy. You have a family, you know. In the last few miles of marathons, it is sometimes hard to hear the cheers of the crowd for his screaming in my ear, "this is stupid! Quit"!

I will say this for this spokesman for personal undertow: he is faithful, but not to me, but to executing my demise. Over the years I have grown to expect his presence and prepare for his pathological input. Yes, he is faithful to his negative agenda and overcoming is a matter of executing a stronger greater faithfulness to the Spirit of yes that God has put within me. No doubt he will be at my next event.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wake Up Call

After being beat up by the heat/humidity lately, I decided to do a dawn run. As I arrived at my usual parking place, the dawn silhouetted two buzzards on an electrical pole right in front of the truck. This is where the mockingbird usually is, singing his encouragement to me when I begin my runs. Buzzards? Not a good omen.
And they started stretching and yawning like they were getting up for a big breakfast. Not good. Do I look that bad? Am I that slow? I went on and when I returned the buzzards were gone and my mockingbird was back.

Perhaps that is the essence of why I do all this in the first place. The good life must be sustained and renewed by daily making the decision to turn from the buzzards of life that would consume the spirit like so much carrion and focus on the mockingbirds that sing energy, encouragement, and life at its best.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Brain Dead

Cancelled my three summer events. It is so hot and humid here that my brain feels like it has been fried. Just want to get a big bucket of crushed ice and soak it. When I get to where I can think again, I will rethink this training program. This has gone beyond heat acclimation to training in heat endurance. How much heat can I stand before I have a heat stroke? Do I really want to know that?

And important too is what it does to my mind; my thinking, my creativity, my spontaneity. I am about to go visit my Mother in the nursing home. The good thing about having heat induced "brain dead" is that it is much easier to empathize with those with varying levels of dementia.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Breaking Habit

I try so hard to cut back eating at night. In the summer it is especially difficult as it is still daylight at 8:30-9:00 PM. Activity continues later and so the temptation to eat later.

I am one who just likes to decide and do - but getting on top of this late eating thing doesn't lend itself to that process and it doesn't give up easily. Perhaps, I should overcome the habit the way it probably overcame me: a little at a time. Win some-lose, keep the pressure on until there is far more winning than losing. Sounds like training, doesn't it?

Mark Twain writes: "Old habits can't be thrown out the upstairs window. They have to be coaxed down the stairs one step at a time."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bring Me Down

Sometimes I wonder do I send too much time by myself. Today,I did almost a 4 hour bike ride; taking it to the hills, climbing those bad boys I haven't visited in a while. The long bike has been the weak leak in the "Miles of the Journey." Something always seems to happen. Last week I had a terrible time with flats. Time before an auto accident happened right behind me and I found myself doing emergency service rather than tackling the hills. Today, it all came together and it feels like I have reached the high ground; not the crest by any stretch, just some level high ground. The mindset of the solitary ride and residual euphoria are still with me and I guess it is time to come down to ordinary me.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No Excuse Nutrition

There is no excuse for me not eating right on this journey. Blessed I am to have the full support of my wife in this endeavor. She doesn't just give nodding approval and assent to not make life difficult for me while I am doing this. Her support is not like some sort of peace treaty or something. No, she actively supports. I am blessed. Additionally, she is a marvelous, creative cook of which I am a regular beneficiary. Sounds like I am bragging: correct. Check out this breakfast she prepared a while back. Egg whites with spinach inside, fruit,cereal with soy milk, raisins and almonds. This happens all the time here; truly blessed and completely without nutritional excuses. Better get on out there and try to deserve the support I have been given.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Keep Moving Forward

This time of year in my part of Texas it is hot and humid. Even early, the humidity soaks and saps you quickly. The pace slows and if I let myself, I began to think this isn't doing any good. Don't believe it. It seems I have climbed back up to that level of mental discipline to just keep moving forward. It isn't about the pace, how far I am going; just keep moving forward. Just keep the legs moving, watch the form, keep moving forward. Makes me remember again the old marathon days and how I survived all those: keep moving forward.

Again, our sport is an analogy for our lives. The heat and humidity of "outrageous fortune" will beset us on our course through this world. "In the world you shall have tribulations." Yes, we may slow and sometimes even seem to stagger, but moving forward, forward with certainty in purpose faith in the finish we will "run the race that is set before us."