Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Will to Prepare

It was on its way to being a hundred degrees today when I finished my 41 mile bike. I was hot. It seemed my brain was cooking. What about that short brick run I was to do? Let's skip that. You could fry an egg on that pavement. I had a good ride. You are almost out of fluids. Let it go. Then in my heat induced dementia I remembered I had a cooler in the truck and there was one Gatorade bottle full of water on ice inside. I opened the bottle, took a few swigs, the poured cold water on my head and neck. No excuses, I was good to go. The short, hot brick was not bad at all and I was so glad that I had done what I came to do, not out of any athletic prowess, but I came prepared. I remember an event where I won a place in my age group, solely on the basis of a faster transition than the participant I barely beat out. I like that quote: "The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Everymom to Ironmom

She is an inspiration. Coeur d' Alene was her second ironman. Robin is amazing. I have been following her blog: Everymom To Ironmom - http://ironmom.blogspot.com/- for some time and this past year I have followed her journey getting to the event. What an inspiration! It certainly hasn't been easy. All kinds of things have thrown themselves across her path. But,like what she did in her event last night: she kept putting one foot in front of the other. She is an overcomer but her life is also filled with children, a family, and all the other complications life can throw at one trying to do something extraordinary. She is a busy lady, but she just keeps on keeping on, and that inspires me, as I am sure it has inspired others. For me, getting out there to train sometimes isn't easy. For inspiration I think of Robin, grinding away, training on her bike trainer hour after hour while the weather is bad outside: or going out in the cold rain for her run. The girl just keeps coming, keeps moving forward in triathlon and in life. Last night I folloed her progress online and was so proud of her crossing that finish line. I knew what she has come through to get there. I thank God there are people out there overcoming hardships, overcoming themselves, while inspiring me and others in the process. Congratulations Robin! You're an Ironmom!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Letting Go

It still seems surreal. There I lay last Saturday night on a bed in the emergency with wires attached all over me. And, I wondered and feared what they might find. The nurse came in, and with a serious look, asked me if I realized that I have a very low heart rate. She seemed a little surprised when I told her I did know. I asked what the rate was and she told me and I responded that it gets a lot lower than that. “How long have you had this condition?” “About 20-30 years. I do endurance sports” The nurse left and I lay back and thought about all the great times; the times I have been broken and the times I have overcome. What a journey! And, I began to pray a prayer of thanks. As the peace settled in over me, one of the monitors started buzzing off and on. It was my heart rate. It had dropped below some pre-set number and the alert came on. I prayed again and as the peace settled in again, the monitor went off again. Then it became sort of a game to see if I could focus on the peace, be into my prayer and get feedback from the monitor about my personal and spiritual state. Before they turned that monitor off, I made a lot of noise, found a lot of peace, and felt close to God at a time I needed His presence. It would be nice to have such a monitor all the time, in training, in racing, in everyday life, to provide feedback on how much of the world we are letting go and how focused we are on the truly important aspects of life. There is nothing like thinking that the night might be your last one on earth, to make me reach for the peace on the day to day monitor, set the bar high, and listen for the buzzer which tells me I have truly let go.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Last night was a pretty scary experience - a reaction to a medication. When the reactions starting creeping in over me; my feet began to flush-itched like crazy-, hands became swollen, red-itching like crazy-, head felt big and under pressure like it was going to bust. I couldn’t swallow and I feared that next it will be my bronchial tubes to swell, and that should do it. Living an early life with severe asthma, left me with my greatest fear, that of being choking to death. So now, I may get to go one on one with my greatest fear. My chest was tight and painful. It seemed I had horrible gas that I needed to belch up-at least I hoped that was the problem, but my throat was so swollen that I couldn't drink any Alka-Seltzer or anything to test my theory. It is almost 30 miles to the emergency room. A 911 call and response one way might not be any quicker than a drive. We got in the car. There was no panic. We passed my bike course on the way, and I hoped it was not the last time I would see it. Most of all,I hoped that there wouldn’t be any disability. Death could be dealt with. I know Him, I am ready. I prayed. The severely restricted breathing never came. There was some restriction, but not enough to be threatening. We passed the area where my daughter-in-law and my grandchildren live, and we passed the place where my son and I completed a bike event together. A good life. I continued to pray. We made it to the emergency room, and good people were in place to take good care of me. After many hours there, I began to recover, the flush left, the swelling went down. I could swallow again. The pressure in my head went down, and the pressure in my chest subsided. They said my tests were perfect and it looked like a drug reaction, not a heart problem. I am still alive-Praise God. My lease has been renewed! Praise God! More than ever, I want to run, bike, swim, live and love for the Glory of God. And I can. Praise God! Today I can.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bad Luck Thursdays

It felt like my pedal was moving sideways under my feet. It was. Little ball bearings scattered and rolled down the hill I was climbing. Oh my! It was a different ride back to the truck. I had planned it so well, I thought. Had lots of water bottles ready, plenty of Powergels on call, and a good breakfast under my belt. It wasn't to be. Thursdays are my long ride days. Today, I had planned a 60 miler. Last week I had planned a 60 miler on Thursday. However, helping a stranded motorist consumed the bulk of the morning and by the time, I got to riding, it was hotter and more humid than I had liquid for. The Thursday before that, on the last 20 miles, riding in a very strong wind, my bottom bracket worked loose and I could not shift the front chain ring. It was a slow go, nursing the bike back to the truck, finishing my 60 miler. The week that before that I threw a chain at 25 mph. It hung up but didn't stop the back wheel. Thank God! I gingerly finished my 60 miler. You could call these "Bad Luck Thursdays" but at the same time, I feel blessed. Stuff is going to break. Things are going to happen. "In the world ye shall have tribulations----" In an event, things can happen you don't expect. Perhaps, this is part of training, part of the process? Perhaps, I should have already replaced those old pedals that had thousands of miles on them. Perhaps I should have already had that bike tuned up so that it wouldn't be so inclined to throw a chain. Perhaps, I should have checked that bottom bracket before the ride to see if it might be coming loose? Perhaps, I should have told the stranded motorist that I was too busy and that they could find some other assistance. No, I don't think so on that one. I have been blessed in that none of these "Bad Luck Thursdays" has caused me injury, and I still get to own the experiences. And I have been blessed by the smile on that stranded motorist's face, the thank yous, and the pat on the back from God that tells me that despite all the other times I have chosen selfishly, this time I did OK.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

All In

I felt it. Just a bit of mist that could have been my own sweat. Then, drops spattered the dry road. There it was; that fresh smell of rain on pavement, a wave of wind blowing at my bike: a mockingbird real happy about it all. He seemed to be singing, “Do you see it. Do you see it. Think its gonna rain; think its gonna rain.” I smiled as he repeated the refrain again and again as I struggled up the hill. Crazy bird; as crazy as I am. Raindrops grew larger, the rain denser prompting me to think that this was really nice, biking in the cool rain. It had been so hot and humid before this. Then the rain quit; the sun came out and steamed my world; riding a sauna now. Couldn’t get enough to drink. I was soaking wet but not sure from rain or sweat. Forty miles done and time for the brick run. Only one water bottle left. This was going to be a tough run. My wet shoes squish as I trod the steamy pavement. Finally done! Thank you God! Found the cell phone and called my wife. “I’m through and coming home.” A pleasant voice answered, “OK, I’ll have your recovery drink ready.” I hope I don’t ever take this kind of blessing for granted. Sometimes I see triathletes with large number of family and friends supporting their effort and I might feel a little jealous. But I don’t have that. What I do have is one completely committed, entirely devoted person in my corner. She can always be counted upon, even though she has sometimes painful health issues that make support difficult. And what I also have the is blessing of God. He has blessed me with health and capability at an age when many are shopping for a nursing home. He has blessed me the will and the “want to” and vision to keep me moving forward on these really hard training days. And He has blessed me with that one supportive person who is all in for me. In sunshine and in rain, in heat, humidity - whatever - I pray to be all in myself,to do my best for my wife and for the glory of God.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

"It Just Is"

It will be hot on the "Dirt Road from Hell." It always is on the 10K run of the Wool Capitol Triathlon in San Angelo, Texas. http://www.ironheadrp.com/woolcapital/index.html This August 12th, the event will celebrate its 25th anniversary. I did this one 10 years ago. How much have I lost? Then again, how much have I gained? Howver, the end game is the good experience. How can this be a good experience when it is some sort of guarantee that I will end up looking something like the above photo from the 2007 event, or worse? Why is it important? "It just is," said the Blazeman (Jon Blais,ALS Warrior Poet now deceased)as to why it was important to him to do the ironman. Those who have been there know. Life is not like a half-eaten Powerbar. I can't save it until later. There is not that much "later" remaining. Who knows how much "later" any of us have? Life is the currency God gave me. Spend it well. Run the race set before me while the hot August sun is still in my sky.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Periodic Treatment of Humble

The pain is leaving. My lower back and hips have been giving me the blues lately. Yeah, it causes concern, especially, since I just signed up for several events. It is hard to think that my body won't deliver what I have promised of it. Perhaps, this is my periodic treatment of humble. Left to my own nature, I might get a bit ungrateful, proud, and somewhat arrogant. Today, at least, I am thankful and seem to have returned again to the better part of me: the one God shapes through success, and most especially adversity.