Thursday, October 27, 2011

Living Up to the Big Shadow

Dawn shining from the east cast my shadow completely across the road and a good distance into the field on the other side of the road. Wow! How big I can look in the right light. I am huge, a giant!

Perhaps I was looking at my shadow when I signed up for this ironman event. Perhaps, in the light of that sign-up day, I believed the shadow rather than the reality. The reality? I could just be in way over my head.

Now the shadows have shortened and actual size doesn't feel so bold in this light. Truth about oneself and ones capabilies must be addressed. And so I shall. Now we play hardball. The large shadows are gone, but there yet remains a faith that what God brought me to, He will see me through. And if I fail, I will have had the joy and the challenge and thank God for the experience. And oh, if I succeed, I will thank God for the blessing of living up to the shadow He has cast of me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Saving the Worst for Last

Really beat me up. Sure there were lots of hills on this half-marathon, but I have done them before, done this event serveral times before. This time, I feel post-marathon. I seldom get sore but the last twenty four hours have caught me up on sore. What is wrong here? Yes, I have not been getting a lot sleep. Yes, this was my longest run all year. Yes, I am fighting a URI but that doesn't seem like enough to break me down like this.

I will have to find out. Just got to know. Am I fading into the sunset or just having an off day yesterday. I guess everyone has these "am I over-the-hill" moments, but I don't particularily enjoy them.

It was my worst half-marathon ever and when I crossed the finish line, I just didn't feel good about my effort. From finishing, I just walked on to my vehicle and went home. Oh, word is that I was third in my age group, but I was last in my own mind.

December 11th I have another half-marathon scheduled, and I just can't wait to get out there on that course. I pray to God that I have not saved the worst until last, and I have a few more good efforts in me "before I take up the rocking chair."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Close to the Ditch

It seems to be coming apart. Ever since signing up for Ironman Texas, it seems like I have incurred the wrath of God. The schedule this week is in disarray and I feel like I am coming down with something myself. What a rotten way to start!

Life is like that sometimes. The Bible says, "In the world you shall have tribulations----" It doesn't say you "might" or that it is a "possibility," it says "you shall." So, like in the last miles of the marathon, I just try to keep moving forward, knowing as long as I do that, I will not be yet defeated, and each step forward takes me closer to the finish.

"All of life runs unsettlingly close to the ditch."
Joseph M. Stowell
"The Upward, Inward Look," Decision Magazine 1/09

Monday, October 17, 2011

No Regrets Left on the Course

It would be so easy to stay here; to make another pot of coffee and watch the dawn beautify the morning. Ah, such peace ! But, it is week two of my ironman training and I want to be out on the road at first light. So, I sacrifice the stillness of this dawn toward a day several months from now. And, like the saying goes,"The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare." Every morning is part of the finishing process of this ironman. Every decision to overcome inactivity for the greater purpose, is another step in the direction of the finish line.

So,another week begins. Like life itself, I try not to leave any regrets on this course, this path, this opportunity, this journey God has blessed me with.

Friday, October 14, 2011

1st Week-IM Training - Is This Real?

Is this all there is? Seems like I didn't train hard enough this week. Tomorrow, I have a 10 mile run and then Sunday off...and the first week of Ironman training will be done.

This was a trial balloon week in which I wanted to see what I could do and then be more specific in fine tuning my schedule. Results: I am in much better shape than I thought. I feel great! This can't be ironman training! It's all a dream. I remember that in the middle of doing my half-ironman, I thought that this is all a dream. I couldn't be doing a half-ironman. Could I? Will I ever grow up? After 10 years of triathlon, new ventures in it make me like a kid in a toy store. If I don't quit endurance sports, I will probably never grow up. I still stand amazed, astonished, and grateful to God, that I can try to do this.

"You were made and set here to give voice to the expression of your astonishment at the possibilities within you."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ironman-You Can Quit Anytime You Like

You quit anytime you like. That is truth about this business. And, the day, the commitment made is really like the gun going off to begin the event. Now within the weeks and months of training is the option: You can quit anytime you like. There will be plenty of tempting opportunities.

This first week of training it seems like the devil is throwing the book at me. And those nights I wake up and recall, "my goodness, what were you thinking in signing up for an ironman?"

Overcoming all this may be part of the process. Oh,it can't be put on the training schedule like the swim, bike, run, but perhaps overcoming to train, overcoming to pursue a worthy goal is really the most lasting, the most high leverage benefit of the ironman process. Perhaps, this is an object lesson in sifting out the good elements in life, to focus on the best things to be done with our effort, with our life.

I'm still on my morning run...praise God !

Monday, October 10, 2011

Ironman Training Day 1 - Clearing a Path

One thing after another for my first day of training for my ironman. My bike computer wouldn't work. The rear brake on my bike was dragging. Right in the middle of my ride, I must have passed a kidney stone or something: painful, painful experience. Then, I got a phone call that I couldn't follow up on, but had to stop and try. However, I got a 31 mile bike followed by a 2 mile run and it went great.

My Father and I once cleared a trail by hand,through about a mile of thick underbrush to make a path for the future. That was hard pushing through the underbrush like that. Ironman training will be hard work too, getting through the underbrush that is normal life. Perhaps, I will leave a path?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Try and Fail or Fail By Not Trying

I don't intend to fail. But, if I do, it will be while trying. When the day's sun has set upon this capability to try, I will know, I did not waste it.

Tomorrow my ironman training begins with a 30 mile bike and a 2 mile brick run. My schedule is made. My wife is pouring over nutrition options and plans. She is in full support and for that, I thank God. She doesn't understand all this, but neither do I. She says that I have to try.
There is no other good choice. The "alternative is gloomy."

Off to church to finish getting all prayed up; tomorrow, give it to God and "run the race that is set before me."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Waiting on the Rhythm - Ironman Training

Maybe it is age but it takes a while for the rhythm to come with my swimming. Today, the third day of my Ironman venture, I swam 2000 yards. That is less than half of the Ironman distance but I felt good. In fact, I finished more refreshed than when I began. But the realization keeps returning to me how swimming is such a skill sport. There is a fluidity of motion that is sometimes hard to achieve for me until later in the swim. Then, it all just seems to come together; natural.

In all my triathlons, I have always left the water refreshed, energized, and sometimes smiling; ready to bike. That is my ironman goal for the swim next May in TheWoodlands, Texas. I am so blessed.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

An Athlete's Heart

Prior to registering for Ironman Texas , I went to the doctor for a regular check up, but I scheduled in the "big question" too. Results of the check up were good.

"One more thing, doctor. I am thinking and praying about doing a full ironman event. My check up was good but what about doing an ironman. The doctor smiled, shook his head, and scheduled me for more tests. After all that, he came back to me with an even bigger smile.

"You have an athlete's heart. Go on. Do it !"

That night I registered, and began making plans and dreaming dreams ever since. An electric excitement has pervaded those first view days. It was scary, but so much fun; so exciting ! God has truly blessed me with an athlete's heart in many ways. But, I knew that already. Now to go and do it: go and use it. Let it be my gift, my burden, my blessing to live life as one with an athlete's heart.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Breaking New Ground-Ironman Journey Day One

It is 24 hours now since I signed up for my first ironman. The fear has been replaced by a sort of stupor. Maybe tonight I will get some sleep. When I get some rest, reality will have to be dealt with. The 2.4 mile swim: I have never swam that far before. The 112 mile bike: I have never ridden that far before. This is really stretching me out here; breaking new ground. But that is not necessarily a bad thing.

I remember many years ago when we cleared off underbrush here for a garden on my place and turned up the soil. The feeling of taming new ground, the smell of the fresh earth ready for planting and growing. For sure, I will never be quite the same again.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Walk On Water

Can I really do this? An ironman? Sounds surreal to think that I just registered for the 2012 Memorial Herman Ironman Texas to be held May 19th. So much to think about. I have been praying over this decision for two days off and on. It is getting late for me, but I am not sure I can sleep yet tonight. Well, here I am Lord, signed up, feeling inadequate, and a little overwhelmed, stepping out of the boat to try to walk on water.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Awake to the Moment

The moment escaped. I had been waiting at a crossing to photograph my son as he competed in a mountain bike race. It was all planned out: when he hit this spot, click! Picture taken.

Here he came, entered the click zone, got it! I thought. Later, I was to find out that I barely got his backside in the picture before he disappeared down the trail. At the finish line, using the same theory, I got my action shot, but later found out that he had passed through so quickly, that all I had was a photo of my own shadow on the pavement.

The camera was sort of slow to respond, I suppose. In that second in which it was deciding to take the photo, the photo op was gone. I should have anticipated that.

Life is like that too. It comes at you sometimes with blazing speed with limited opportunities. Action must be taken quickly, decisively, or life will leave you with a half empty picture or one of a shadow of yourself that has missed the passion and joy offered momentarily by life but has passed quickly before you and is gone. There may not be a next time to be truly awake, to be ready for rich moments in life.

"We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aides, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep."
Henry David Thoreau