Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Building An Ark

Two days now I have not trained at all. That is right. I have not swam, biked or ran at all. Two to three more weeks of this and I may be almost cured of this endurance sports malady and well on my way to normalhood. Probably not.

We are in the middle of the worst drought I have experienced, and my pond starting drying up on the shallow end. What a great time to clean out the sediment and make the pond deeper, even extend the length of the swim I can do when we get rain and it fills up. So, for the past two days, I have been on my tractor digging out the old pond bottom. It has been hot and dirty work but by dedicating these two days soley to this project, it is done. Come on rain.

Yes, it will rain again, though sometimes it seems hard to believe. In my faith life, I have learned that that which seems hard to believe, but you know is true, must be accepted through faith. So, like Noah, building an ark when there is no sign of rain, I blade the dusty earth out of this hole, believing that one day, in this hole, I will be swimming in water neck deep.

In the meantime, I have built a hungry to get out on the road. My bike seems to cry, "take me, take me." My legs seem to want to run across parking lots, rather than walk to my vehicle. How would that look, now? So I guess normalhood is out for me. I am doomed to a life with my hair on fire. My ark is awaiting rain in my pasture. Tomorrow-training again. Thank you God!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Morning Will Come

Early morning before daylight, not a bad time. It is only 74 degrees. Imagine that. That is practically a cold spell here. Training is not all that bad but not all that good either. For the moment, the zeal has sort of been taken out of it for a lot of reasons. But, I feel, no, I know that there is a time of "hair on fire" training and racing in my future. I know it, just as surely as I know there will be cool mornings and rain again, as surely as I know there will be new life from the brown parched earth. The brown parched me will grow green again, thank God, and I am grateful already. Morning will come.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Am I Going to Let It Have My Day?

It was so aggravating. Last time out my bike computer acted up giving me inaccurate information on how far and how fast I had been. After working on the computer, I thought it would be fine. Wrong. Ten miles out and my speed shows zero. Ah ! I just wanted to crush it but settled on just going back to the truck, pack up and just go on home-just skip the rest of the ride.

But a revelation came to me as I neared the truck, as I neared decision time. Am I going to let technology have my day? Am I going to let that little piece of equipment have the joy of riding today? My bike is working fine. My legs feel good. There is no reason I cannot complete this ride except that I am yielded it up to my own frustration. I could estimate the speed and distance. Is pinpoint accuracy so important that I wouldn't ride without it? How silly I have become, I thought.

It was actually fun riding without a working bike computer. Sometimes it would come on and say something like forty three miles per hour when I was cranking up a hill-probably in single digit speed. In fact, there was a freedom in riding without the numbers. It was a great ride, made better in knowing that in pushing on past my own frustration to complete it, I had pushed myself past my usual impatient self, and deliberately gone on to enjoy the road before me.

"Let us spend one day as deliberately as nature, and not be thrown off the track by ever nutshell and mosquito's wing on the rails."

Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Legacy God Would Be Proud Of

I have been beat down a few times. This is apparent as indicated from all the photos of me during and especially immediately following events. My face just screams torn down, washed out, hurting bad.

For some time now, I have been making a book on all the triathlons I have done-sort of a photo book with race reports. When I get it all together, I will get a few copies printed to give away. The idea came from the movie "The Notebook." In that movie one of the lead characters made a book to be read to her when she couldn't remember how the romance with her husband had gone.

When I can't do this anymore, when I can't fully recall all the splendid times, the exhilarating experiences, and yes, the times I have been broken down, and finished anyway. I can remember and relish who I was and who I always will be.

And too, I can leave these experiences for my children and my grandchildren-a legacy, yes a legacy "others might feel lead to emulate and God will be proud of."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dry Ponds Don't Lie

It just looks ravaged. The drought is worsening and my pond is drawing down. All sorts of limbs and other debris are showing up that was never known to be there. The mud of the exposed bottom is deep with years of sediment. Whatever happened to that smooth, glassy surfaced pond that revealed nothing of the truth about itself.

However, it is a good time to clean out the debris and dig out the sediment with the tractor. The drying up, the drought can have its benefits and so can the dry times in our training, in our lives. Sometimes a drying up is the only way I ever get to the bottom of the truth about myself. And, I have found that getting to that truth is the first step out of the mire, the sediment habit has created in life. It seems I have reviewed this lesson in every injury, every setback, every loss, and every dry patch in my training.

It is a lot of work to clean this pond bottom out but I know this pond and my own life can only be cleaner, purer, and hard bottomed but by constant renewal.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Facing the Start

Hopes and fears abounded as we have faced the start

In all these starts, I look around and think how detached and confident everyone looks, while I go over all the plans and worries I have about the water, the ride, the run. They all look like they have it all down.

But most of the time when I talk to these fine people, I find they are just as concerned, just as worried as I, perhaps in many cases more. One young man I once struck up a conversation with revealed it was his first triathlon, and he wasn't that good of a swimmer. He was a little scared. Another I talked to was concerned about swimming in the waves. Another was fearful that he would panic when the water vegetation got on him. Another was afraid that the two hundred pound aligator gar someone had seen, would cause him some problems. Yeah, we are all quite human, facing our own demons, as we look out upon the water we are soon to enter: overcoming. Overcoming evolving into self-discovery, through mastery of our fears.

What would life be if we had not courage to attempt anything?

Vincent Van Gogh

"When you put yourself on the line in a race and expose yourself to the unknown, you learn things about yourself that are very exciting"

Doris Bown Heritage, 5-time World Cross Country Champion

Monday, August 8, 2011

Believing in the Moment

Last week I got thrashed real good. Last night, I was about ready to trash the season and take up cooler, more comforable pursuits. Couldn't seem to get cool, even in an air conditioned room, until finally an ice pack was placed on my head and neck. Enough! I thought at that moment. Right then I believed that moment. I believed my fatigue was here to stay, I believed that I should stop this nonsense and do something else. After all, we are in a heat wave. It is ninety-four degrees with a heat index of a hundred and six at nine oclock in the evening. The moment says this is bigger and badder than I am: do something else cool!

Sluggishly I began my five mile run this morning. The heat came, the sweat came in buckets, but the new moment in me persisted. And I chose to believe in that moment, in that version of me, in all God had put in me.

There was no sparkling revelation in this new moment, only a knowing that seemed to run like a river current beneath all the moments good and bad. Back at the house, I signed up for two sprint triathlons and a seventy-five mile bike event, and booked reservations; quietly affirming my belief, not in the moment, but in the Knowing beneath it all.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Heat Wave Teachers

It had not meant that much before. But, today that cold sports drink was heaven on earth. Heat wave and unbearably hot, except with plenty of fluids. However, there never seems to be enough. Lately, I have been using my truck as an aid station, equip with an ice chest full of ice cold sports drinks and water. Yes, water-even water (my own well water)- has such a wonderful cold, soothing taste on these severely hot days. Gained is a greater insight, appreciation and thankfulness of all I have. Thank God I do have something to drink in this heat. Perhaps, the tougher times can be some of the best teachers of all