Wednesday, October 31, 2012

That's You

“That’s you, Pop-Pop.”
“That’s you,” my granddaughter said again as she pointed to a picture in one of triathlon magazines.
“It is?” I was amazed. She was showing me a picture of one of my favorite pro triathletes with arms raised, crossing an Ironman finish line.
Again, “that’s you, Pop-Pop.” A feeling of sadness crept in upon me. Only in my dreams, I thought.
“I love you for saying that, but that is someone else.”

I didn’t tell her, of course, that crossing that Ironman finish is now only a dream of mine; only a vision of myself as I would be, if it were possible; if I could. Revisiting a lost dream brought me down just a bit. Here I am, with the opportunity passed, wasted if you will, in my late sixties; a little old to be an Ironman rookie. That picture my granddaughter was looking at was of a younger athlete, who lined up and realized his dream. Of course, my granddaughter sees me differently than I see myself. She has seen me swim, bike, and run since before she could walk. Of course, she has this larger-than-life view of me. Her vision is a child’s vision. It is just not real. Or is it? Perhaps she sees me, as the song says, “not as I am but how I could be?” Perhaps, in her naiveté, her innocence, her lack of prior assumptions, she does indeed see the reality that my preconceptions won’t let me see? Perhaps, God is trying to tell me something through the love and admiration of a child?

“That’s you, Pop-Pop,” she said again softly.
“You may be right,” I finally conceded.

Over the next few days, the limited vision of myself began to free itself from the mire. Courage slowly began to outweigh fear and doubt. Obedience began to replace the false security of giving up on a dream. A fresh wind blew in upon my soul as my expanded vision looked toward embracing the journey and the adventure. Maybe I am too old, but I am not too old to try. Maybe I can’t be that Ironman finisher that my granddaughter sees me to be, but I can try to be. And, just maybe I will be. I have been called to attempt this, no doubt. There is no other good choice but obedience, no matter. I prayed. I prayed hard. When I went to my computer, I became a little short of breath. I signed up for Ironman Texas It is crazy, I know, but I must at least line up in obedience for the chance to be that man in my picture, to try to be that finisher in my granddaughter's eyes. That’s me. She was right.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Looking On the Wrong Side of the Road

It was gone. When I reached back for a water bottle, there was only an empty holder. Turned around and looked on the side of the road I had been riding on but no bottle. On with the ride; on to my turnaround, and back to finish my ride. I wasn't looking for that bottle anymore. My thoughts had drifted off to something else. There it was! Right on the edge of the pavement but on the opposite side of the road as to where I had been looking for it. I had been looking so intently at one side of the road, that I had rolled right by the waterbottle without seeing it. This was a familiar feeling. I have done this before, too often. While endurance sports teaches us to focus intently, sometimes we can roll right by what we might be looking for that is hiding in plain sight. I can think of relationships that needed attention while I rolled by oblivious. I can think of opportunities that I passed by and in doing so left gifts unopened. I don't know the answer. How do I train to focus, and yet be aware of the periphery at the same time? So, I just ask God for forgiveness for wasting it so, and seek Guidance and Enablement in the future to focus and search for what truly matters on both sides of the road.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Do I Dare?

Do I dare be confident? It is all going so well. Do I dare? The half marathon I ran a few days ago really went well, and I hit the time goal I had hoped for. My swimming is not any faster, but I am able to swim much father without getting fatigued. My bike training may be the best I have ever had. I have set PRs in events recently. I feel good with no real injuries. Do I dare?

More importantly, I feel at peace. This is hard to quantify. I just know that since that ride to the emergency room on Father's Day this year, when I thought it was my last ride on this earth; since then, peace has come easier. Reducing life to a few precious moments had a de-toxing effect. I hope this heightened awareness doesn't go away. Right now, I seem to spend a lot of time in a state of revel and thankfulness. Maybe life finally got real? Perhaps deep inside me, I finally got it that on this earth, everyone is simply experiencing a life on loan. Now more than ever I want to live deep, taking it all in; the big things, sure, but most especially the little things; like a granddaughter's smile, the beauty of the sunrise, the smell of fresh coffee in the morning, the patter of my running shoes, the hum of my bike tires, the soothing feeling of water warbling over the body, the intricacies of a flower, and the feeling of love in my heart for those I can't agree with. Do I dare be confident? Of course. "God has not given us the spirit of fear---." I have nothing to lose that I will not eventually lose anyway. All the things of earth will be stripped away and I will be back to the beginning: "In the beginning God -----." God not renewed my lease on this life on that Father's Day ride to the emergency room and each days calls me to renew that life I have been called to live. Yes, I cannot but dare.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Risk It Again?

One year ago today since I signed up for my ironman. A few weeks later: my ironman bust. Ironman Texas - so full of hopes, fears, and dreams; so excited it disturbed my sleep. That was an exciting time of my life; just great! And as exciting as that brief foray into ironman hope was, it was equally as disappointing when I had to withdraw. That was a tough hit to get up from. Now after one year of rehab, I wonder: Do I have the guts to risk it again. Do I want to go to my grave one day, having never lined up for an ironman? Gonna pray about this.

Pre-Event - Feeling Blessed

I still get tense before events. Perhaps that is good as it means I am still in the game. It still means something. Tomorrow in Bryan, Texas I plan to attempt a half marathon event. Of course I am not ready to do an all out half marathon but I am prepared to practice my half ironman distance run on legs with some bike miles in them. This week I have leaned heavy into the bike miles to ready the legs for race simulation tomorrow. The preparation for this event is so simple compared to triathlons. My biggest concerns are which shoes to wear, how many gels to take, what to do with the truck keys while racing and so on. I am feeling especially blessed.