Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Want to Go There

I want to go there. This race report at the link below really got my blood up and coursing; great report. No, I don't want to go to Ironman France, but I want to go to that experience. For most, it is a matter of pride, fulfilling goals, accomplishment. After all the months of training, all the obstacles overcome: I did it! Can you believe? And, I know full well, that when I cross my finish line, I will share in that smorgasbord of emotions. And I know too I will have uncontained tears of joy, gratefulness, and praise to God for bringing me through; tears of abundantly blessed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Discipline to Say No

Transition week; the week I am to cut back, and recover. I am trying something different this year on my training plan. During the heat, I usually get pretty burned down after a while. Temps in the 100's and humidity in the 80s and 90s has a large meltdown effect upon me while training most years. So this year I designed my schedule with a two week training cycle rather than a three. After two weeks, I have a lesser volume transition week. And, I have incorporated two complete days off a week during these hot times. It took some figuring to get it in but I am excited about it. But I wonder how excited I will be about this schedule when it doesn't seem enough; when I am pacing about in body and spirit wanting to get out there and overtrain in the heat. Wiil I have the discipline to say "no" to that urge to take it to the limit, then crash and burn. Can I say no to the present temptation that will come, so that I might speak a better yes for the prize at the end of the training? Tonight I pray that I can stick to my program and not be yielded to the temptation to trade in my tomorrow for today.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Moved to Commitment

Yesterday, the bike ride was tough. Very strong winds, coupled with my bike computer falling and getting lost, and my bottom bracket getting loose, made this a ride of challenges. The bike worked fine for a while, then when the bottom bracket got loose, the shifting got limited. Not good, but the experience was. The experience was that I came through the wind, the mishaps, and finished my course. Thank God! That was it. That settled it. I signed up for a sprint triathlon Rose City and my 70.3 Half Ironman Austin on October 28th. Pumped? Yes indeed. I have prayed about all this for some time and, it is counter-intuitive, but the bad breaks seemed to have moved me to commitment. And now to the task ahead: the training, the hopes, the dreams, fail or succeed, overarched and ungirded by the blessing of God.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Giving Life a Shine

Never had a lot, but always had what I really needed. As Henry David Thoreau wrote in Walden, he was glad he never had enough money to endanger his poverty. There is a joy tonight over a simple thing: a long bike ride in the morning with a brick run. Just got the bike back from the shop; all tuned with new white bar tape just waiting for my grip. Oh, there will be hills and hills and hills. It won't be all that easy, but the anticipation and the excitement of the challenge gives a shine to life I would not trade. It's a good day today with hope expectant of a good morrow. What more could I ask than to be filled with this hope. God has blessed.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I Should Have Dug Deeper

Whoops! My hand touched a hard bottom as I swam. My first swim since I dug out my pond during last year’s drought. It was not as deep as I had hoped it would be at the end of the pond. I should have dug deeper. It is too late now. But the ground was so hard and dry back then. I should have dug deeper. Temperatures were in the triple digits most of the time back then. I should have dug deeper when I had the chance. There are relationships that should I should have cultivated but these people are gone and there won’t be another chance. I should have dug deeper. There are things I should have said, hands I should have held. I should have dug deeper. I could have done so much more of God intended for me to, gave me the ability to do when I had the chance. I should have dug deeper. Today is the day after the ironman I withdrew from months ago. Sure life got dry and hard for me while I was trying to train for the event but I should have dug deeper. Today, the ironman question would have been answered yes or no, if I had only dug deeper. God willing, may I dig deep and mine the moments I have left, for the gold that God has placed there. I will never have the chance again to dig deeper on this pond of opportunity, or at this event of life again. At the end of this life, my I not regret that I did not dig deeper at it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Beautiful Beginning

He's gone. Cancer claimed him early this morning. My friend is gone. It was only a week ago we shared his diagnosis. I had no idea my time with my friend would be so short. After hearing the news, I looked for a photo for my computer desktop; one that might convey how I felt at this time of loss. And, I found this one, a sunset with the last glow of day fading away - a sad but beautiful ending. But wait! didn't he tell me he was not afraid of dying; that he knew and trusted his Savior? Didn't he say he didn't fear death, but he didn't want to be sick. He was at peace and went quickly. It was what he wanted. And wait again! This picture - now I remember. It-was taken before a triathlon I was about to do. No, this picture is not of a sunset at all, but a photo of the promise of dawn: not an end of day, but a beautiful beginning.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Race Peace

The event had begun. My swim wave moved into the water, readying for our start. I moved into the deeper water to await the horn that would sound the beginning of my race. And so I prayed: prayed for peace in the impending open water swim, peace in the transition, on the bike, and in the run. In the midst of whatever happens out there, let be still; be at peace. The horn sounded. We were off. Almost from the start I felt the velcro strap and timing chip coming loose from my ankle. Finally, I stopped swimming, and reached down to my ankle. The strap came off into my hand. That was close. Three times the strap started coming loose, and three times I had to stop and reattach it. At last, I snugged the strap up so tight that it felt like it was cutting the blood off to my foot. But, it didn't come loose this time. In all this, there was the peace I had prayed for. I had lost time but was not flustered. The strokes became strong and rhythmic as I began to pass swimmers. Somehow,I had found the zone that I try so hard to achieve. It was my slowest swim ever at this event, but it was a wonderful swim, perhaps the best ever. Transition went smoothly, and there was a feeling of freedom running with my bike to my bike mount line. Out on the road, builidng momentum, I looked down to see my bike computer wasn't working. Bikers passed me one after another as I fiddled with my bike computer; pushing buttons, moving the receptor: nothing. The computer was broken, but the peace I had prayed for wasn't. Standing up building speed, there was a race to be run. The rhythm came; pedaling circles, passing people who had passed me while I was in repair mode. What a great ride! It felt so good that I probably pushed a little too much on the bike. When I got off the bike, I realized that I was winded. It was worth it. My legs seemed to be on strike when I started the run, but I caught a pace and stayed there. It was going well. My heart was light as I tried to thank every volunteer I came to. Less than a half mile to go, a man in my age group passed me. "Dig down," I thought, but the fire would not ignite. As hard as I tried to push myself, the man kept putting distance on me. I crossed the line about fifteen seconds behind him. Yet, there was still a peace. And, as it turned out, we were only racing for fifth place in our age group anyway. What a great event! It wasn't my greatest peformance, but certainly one of my best races: best, not from a measureable perspective, but best in that "peace that passes understanding."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Coming Back to the Poison

Someone asked me if I was going to do another malathion this weekend. I told them that I wasn't doing a malathion, but I was attempting to do a couple triathlons. Besides, I added, those things can be poison. Oh yes, I can remember at the end or near the end of marathons, feeling like I had indeed been poisoned or something. But, I kept coming back to the poison. And now, after thirty-something triathlons, I keep coming back to that flavor of poison. The triathlon and all that goes with it does indeed poison: it poisons my natural tendency to be sedentary; it poisons the negative effects of many worries and heartbreaks this world dishes out; it poisons listless life and dull, pedantic living, it poisons my doubt leaving only hope and faith. Tonight, as I prepare to go do a couple of these poisonous ventures, I offered a silent prayer of thanks to God, for my portion of that poison.