Monday, February 27, 2012

"All Things Work Together for Good."

My bike course wasn't that bad, but there were several bunches of dogs along the route. I have been bitten three times in the last five years, and in two of the three cases, the dogs did not have rabies shots. I love dogs. Some slowed me down by getting ahead of my front wheel and eventually stopping me for a pet-athon. That wasn't so bad at all. But some dogs just seem to want to be unfriendly, no matter what.

The last time I was bitten-about 3-4 months ago-I sort of flew off the handle at the owner. I didn't curse or call names, but one could tell I was not a happy camper. Sure didn't like what that did to me. So, after about ten years of riding back and forth on that road, I don't ride it anymore. They can have "dog row."

Because of these incidents, I was forced to seek other routes and I have found one: twice as long a route, more hills, steeper hills, less traffic, much more challenging, and NO DOGS! YES!

I can feel it, getting in much better shape on the bike with these harder workouts with no stops for dogs. This is working out so well, I am glad something moved me out of my comfort-zone route to find meaner pastures - tougher routes. It all turned out for the best. Sometimes it may take a dog bite to get me to take a bigger bite out of training, out of myself, out of life, and a bigger step into my calling. Thank you God.

"All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose."
Romans 8;28

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Believing Young

Sometimes I think I am like the old boxer that thinks he has one more good fight left in him, but refuses to retire. At this age, perhaps I shouldn't be biking on quad busting uphills or doing screaming downhills? Should I?

After my 43 mile bike ride today, I came home to find my grandchild visiting. Of course, she wanted us to get in the boat in my pond and do some paddling. Then, she wanted to do some running on the trails, and then exploring the woods. She never questioned that I would be there, that I could keep up, and keep her safe. Neither did I. The age thing wasn't in the equation. Believing young made me so. I can't grow old now. There are just too many young things that I yet want to do.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gone Far-In Too Deep

This is working. I can feel the improvement somewhat; momentum building. But mostly, I just feel renewed doing this; thankful I can do this. I have stepped out over the edge; gone too far to ever be normal. No excuses, I am into it, terminal: incurable but not hopeless. Sure this won't last indefinitely, but I don't want to go back. This just makes sense.

Maybe it is the spring weather showing up early, or the good weather in my soul that says, "Take the Hill !! Feel the pain, stand up to the fatigue, smile into it. It’s life. Bathe the spirit in it, it’s life. I'm all in."
Thank you God!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Let the Miracle Happen

The river didn't care at all. Even though we spent good money to buy the best lumber, even though we labored hard digging deep holes to put the large beams in; even though, it wasn't enough. All our planning, our labor, all our confidence in our own strength and engineering would get swept away like matchsticks in a big flood. The river didn't care and though I felt frustrated by all this, there was still a sort of subversive gladness that there were some things that could not be tamed completely.
Thoreau said something to the effect that, "-we need to see our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander."

I like to plan things, to plan for the unexpected. Some activities yield themselves to that to some extent. Triathlon isn't tamed so easily. Oh sure, I can try to cover all the bases, but each training program and each event is unique and comes with its own unexpected challenges. That is one of the things I like about this sport; that part of the process when we get "our own limits transgressed." It forces me to accept that some things I can't control, to humbly assume a certain amount of personal and physical risks. And because I get flushed out of my hiding place, I grow from it. I learn more about how fearful and weak I can be, that, there are some things I cannot change. I learn that in spite of all that, I can smile, still have courage leaning heavily on my faith and letting miracles occur.

You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.” Paulo Coelho

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Living Strong

This Livestrong ( ) bracelet has been worn almost a year now. Cancer claimed my brother-in-law John almost a year ago now. I have worn it in his honor; in his memory.

In November of 2010 I did a half-ironman distance event in his honor; wore his picture on my back, but he died in March. John is not the first person I have raced for, prayed for, that has been lost. Over the last few years, I have worn many yellow bracelets for many of those with cancer. When on the bike as I am looking down at my arms and hands, I see the yellow bracelet or bracelets, and pray for the ones that the bracelets are being worn for. Despite the hundreds of prayers, cancer has still claimed many that I have prayed for.

But some have survived to live strong. Some prayers were answered "yes." And with this hope for those in peril, I will still go on wearing my yellow bracelets, still go on praying for the people and against their cancers, still go on training with the "yes" for life I have been given to live strong. In many ways, the bracelets are for me as well.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

We Know and We Know That We Know

It was bad but it was an opportunity. The drought this summer provided the chance to clean out, deepen ,and enlarge the pond. For many weeks the dry sand of the excavated lake bottom blew dust in the hot winds. It was a good setting to make desert movies. Some rain came, but never enough. Would the drought ever end? Would there ever be a larger body of water for all this hot, dry work done there? Only the deeper portion of the pond remained, stubborn and resistant to complete defeat. With hope through faith, I enlarged my pier - like Noah building an ark when on the dry and thirsty land with no rain in sight. The remaining water receded more and more, getting smaller and smaller. Large fish cranes stalked the shores, shrinking the chance of life for the remaining fish.

Now, several months later, the rains have finally come. Within the past two weeks the pond has more than filled. Because of the opportunity the drought provided, my lake, is deeper, wider, longer and cleaner. When the water warms a bit, I will have an open water swimming opportunity of several hundred meters.

Sometimes it is hard to dig a pond out under a scorching sun, no rain in sight, with the dust swirling about. Sometimes I find my training in a drought like that: times when the dust clouds of circumstance, make it hard to see a reason, to risk the effort, to choose passion over lethargy and apathy. Sometimes it is just easier to watch and complain about the drought rather than leveraging the drought to widen and deepen ourselves; irrigate our souls and grow our faith in the desert. Down deep it is known. It will rain. The dust will settle and our pond will fill. Faith: we know and we know that we know.

Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch, is faith. Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes. But if one believes, then miracles occur.

Henry Miller

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tending the Row

This is a dirty business. No training yet today as my morning has been spent in the garden. Fresh spinach and collards abound there, but they must be harvested, cleaned, and the ground prepared to plant their replacement. There is something of a connection working in and with the soil. That rich fertile soil just looks like dirt but it is growth potential waiting for the seed.

Maybe I don't look like much either, but I like to think that I have that growth potential too; that I might take the seed and grow it to fruitful harvest. If I tend my garden well, it will produce a variety and abundance of healthy foods.

Time to eat a fresh spinach salad, then put on my running shoes, go for a run, and tend this row in my garden.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The "Want-To" Is Back

This just feels right. Who knows what is causing it. I just know that I feel healthy, alive, mentally, physically, and spiritually ready to roll on into this next season. The "want-to" is back and moving in. Yeah, I am rested up, pumped up, prayed up, and my bikes on the wall are seductively saying, "Take me, take me."

At the same time, my running shoes are saying, "No, take me!"
So I will satisify both by doing a brick run after the bike today.

Then my swim stuff is whispering, "Hey Big Boy, have you forgotten me?"
OK, OK, I will go to the pool afterwards.

Yesterday as I was running, my knees hurt some and my legs were a bit tired as I finished my run. In my heart though, came a voice, "This is great, come on, let's do one more loop."