Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today

Things seems like they are piling on as the event draws nearer. This week one family member had a light operation, another was diagnosed with a brain tumor and will be operated on tomorrow, My wife set up a test to see if her cancer is back. Another more distant family member had his funeral today. Time to take heart. Time to strengthen the resolve, to stand firm in the Faith. And in experiencing that Faith, and standing in that Faith, see the blessing it is to have the health, the will and opportunity to do the training and be this person---today.

Tomorrow, I will go out for my long ride of the week. God willing, the strength will be in my legs, the wind will flutter in my face. Somewhere among the miles, I will thank God for this life; today.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Invincible Hope

Early morning, breaking dawn and it is the first cool spell of the season. After so many sweat dripping training episodes, finally the heat is about to abate. In the stillness, looking out over my place, large trees cast shadows in half light, stars twinkle like diamonds in the dark blue sky. A rooster crows in the distance. Change is happening again. Change, always constant, greets this morning. And, I greet the morning with a hope that is always constant, even though that hope is sometimes subdued by momentary difficulties. Hope springs eternal, bobs to the top like a fishing bobber pulled under; pulled down but not destroyed, given new life to rise again.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Not This Time


I was ready. Though I didn't sleep that well, I woke with a good attitude that seemed to set the tone and tempo for the whole day. No doubt I was feeling up for this sprint triathlon (650 meter swim-14.5 mile bike-5k run). I was talking to everyone I met. In those predawn hours getting ready to race, I seemed to have an exuberance that left folks smiling when I left them-or maybe they were just glad to be rid of me and my malarkey. It was like a runner's high but before the race.

The flag, the national anthem played on a trumpet, hands to hearts, the dawn rising over the lake; an event in the offing. I felt so blessed to be there and for the health to participate.

The swim went well. Easy does it. There was just enough contact with other swimmers to keep it interesting. Strokes came easy and smooth. When I found myself alongside another swimmer, I always pulled a little harder to swim faster and leave them behind me. I was pumped. However, I had no bubbly illusions as to my placing in the overall event. I know the truth and I am good with that.

My main bike has a broken frame and I had to use my old back up bike. However, we seemed to do well on the hills which came frequently. I wanted to be on the lookout for a hill on the return that is especially steep. Last year on this course, I had to get off and walk my bike there. There were some screaming downhills and some quad straining uphills but I love courses like that. On the way out I took note of the bad hill in order to be in the right gear for it this time. Coming back, hill after hill, then I saw what I thought was my marker for the killer hill. Must be in better shape. That hill was hard but not all that bad. The wicked witch is dead. But, oh no, just ahead was the real killer hill. My speed dropped like a rock and I found myself standing, barely able to turn the pedals. Maybe I should get off and push the bike, I thought. If I go any slower, I reasoned, I might fall over. I wondered could I keep this grinding up. Maybe I should get off the bike after all?

My race was there. My race was then. No, not this time, I resolved. I am in this; no getting off the bike. Not this time. And at that moment, I managed a smile, through gritting teeth. Sometimes a smile can take you places your body doesn't think it can go. The hill was mine!!

I was rocking and rolling then, passing riders coming into T-2. The run felt good and I set myself on an a decent pace for me. I still felt strong. The humidity was visible. One young man was throwing up on the side of the road. Some people were walking but I felt strong. I even passed a few runners; something that doesn't happen that much anymore for me. A couple people that passed me told me I was an inspiration. They couldn't believe, I suppose, that it took them this long in this event to pass a dinosaur.


The finish line banner in view, I quickened my pace and finished strong, with a big smile. Sometimes I can barely drag myself in to finish but not this time. No, not this time. I felt so blessed. This was truly a great day; one to thank God for.

http://rosecitytri.com/

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Settling for Less

At my age I cannot help but sometimes think about the end of this life on earth. Increasingly, I want good answers to questions as I see the time draw nearer.

Did I settle? Did I settle for “close enough?” Could I have done more, been more, praised more, wept more, helped more, pushed more,reached more, risked more? Will I find at the end of it all, my life has been a half-eaten piece of fruit, enough, but not quite filling or fulfilling. Will I notice an absence of that feeling full feeling? Did I pour my life into the course set upon and not turned aside to lesser ends? Did I quit at mile twenty-three of the marathon? Did I leave my best finish still smoldering within me, never fanned to flame as life passes beyond opportunity?

My greatest fear is not death, but in failing to live out the blessings God has bestowed upon me and dying before my time with life left within me, because I settled for less.

"Choose not to settle. Pursue your God-given goals, knowing it's never too late to accomplish everything God has placed in your heart."


































Thursday, September 9, 2010

Within

Where does it come from to get this tired old body out of the recliner and on the road? Why leave so many other things undone to go ride a bike? Why trade ease, comfort, and indulgence for more effort? Why? And for sure at the end of it all is even more fatigue, endured for a cause few care about besides myself. Why?
There are no immediate rewards; no parade; no cheering section; just my own willingness to take on the long hot road for a cause I can't completely explain to myself.

As I write this I am so tired that I only hope this make sense. Gotta go. I have a two hour bike now and down deep something Within knows why. Even in this haze of fatigue my foggy brain says in spite of this apparent senselessness, this still makes sense. So, out the door I follow; believing and trusting the Within.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A "Foolish Consistency?"


OK, I am not consistent in this ! Just changed plans and my event for the weekend of Sept 18-19. Going to the Rose City Triathlon in Tyler, Texas http://rosecitytri.com/. Did this one last year and it was pouring rain the whole time. The year before I signed up for it but a hurricane came in. Something exciting about this event. Last year this course handed me my hat. My brakes didn't hold well on the downhills on the bike course. In a pouring rain, the almost uncontrolled downhills made me hold on tight and pray a lot.

The event I had originally planned on obviously didn't inspire me. After signing up for the Tyler event, getting a room, my teeth are on edge to race. I am pumped! Sometimes you just know when it is right not to be consistent.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Getting the Wobble Out

A great 3 hr 20 minute bike ride! Weather was wonderful. The hills were challenging. The downhills: exhilarating. But I missed my main bike. The back up bike I am riding is a little small for me and just doesn't have the good stuff like my main bike. When I stand up to peddle on my back up bike, it is not as stable and it wobbles some. Even sitting, it doesn't track like my main bike. I had a good ride but I wonder how much I lost due to these wobbles and little direction changes?

Isn't life like that too? Training? The straighter and surer you push toward a goal, the more efficient and faster it is to get there. "The shortest distance between two points is a straight line."

Perhaps I should true my wheels just a bit and take some of the wobble out of training and out of life?

The crime which bankrupts men and nations is that of turning aside from one’s main purpose to serve a job here and there---Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Still Crazy After All These Years"

I wear bike gloves on both the bike and run legs of triathlons, even the sprints. Yeah, a little crazy, maybe. Some say you lose time on the bike due to the gloves but no faster than I am going, it is not that big of a consideration. It is said that wind drag increases with increase in speed....I'm not stupid. I know how to keep wind drag down: don't go so fast.

This got started way back when in a sprint, I just simply forgot to take off my bike gloves in transition. As I was running out on the course, I hit a speed bump with my foot and down I went. I caught myself with my hands and the gloves got ripped up pretty good but my hands were not seriously injured. From then on I have worn my bike gloves on the run.

When you get this old, you can get away with doing all kinds of weird things and lay it off on senility. Life at this age, is most often liberating and downright fun