Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Believe I Can

Never known been to be conservative, the first thing my son signed up for was an olympic distance triathlon. He could barely make headway in the water. I was no swimmer at all and even I was a better swimmer than he was. Now, he planned on swimming 1500 yards? No ! What was he thinking? He explained that all he had to do was swim a 100 meters, hang on the buoy until rested, and then move on to the next buoy. All he had to do was swim a 100 meters 15 times. I didn't like the plan at all. I prayed hard, really hard. His wave went off and and I watched him make the first buoy. Thank God. His wave left him and the next wave readied to start the swim. He didn't move. I could see his yellow swim cap still near that first buoy. The next wave went off and swimmers came to the first buoy and went on to the second, and my son still seemed to be hanging on that first buoy. What is wrong? I started pacing about the shoreline feeling like I am about to come apart. Long moments passed and I still could see, what looked like his yellow swim cap near that first buoy. My wife told me to calm down. But, it is my son out there. I want to go out to that first buoy myself but I'm wasn't that good of a swimmer either. A race official told me he didn't think anyone was on that buoy, but I had not seen my boy leave it. From the crowd of spectators on the shoreline a man stepped forward to talk to me. I told him my story abd he said, "let's pray." We joined hands and he prayed a simple, yet eloquent prayer for my son and my sanity. I gained a measure of calm and peace, I had not had before. Most of the swimmers were in except for three or four scattered about the swim course, plodding along. One of them came in, and it was the wife of the nice man I prayed with. It was easy to cheer her in. Then I thanked and shook my friend's hand before he followed his wife up to the transition area. I turned back to the lake and see a tired swimmer muddling along to the shoreline. Could this be my son. I think it is. I hollered out and he lifted his head from the water. He had a huge smile all over his face; so glad to be getting out of that water. I was so impressed, so proud of him, Wow! That spirit of adventure and challenge that my son exhibited was motivating, inspiring, and contagious. I can do that. I bet I can. Sure, I'm no swimmer---yet. I am no cyclist--yet. But, I believe I can. Four months later, on my son's birthday, I did my first triathlon. And we did it together. Forty triathlons later I am training for and awaiting my first ironman attempt. I'm not that good of a swimmer, not that good of a biker or runner, but I believe I can. Somehow, praise God, I can.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Price of Admission

I wrote my friend that I had swam the ironman distance of 2.4 miles. Did I think I could do a 112 bike and a marathon run after that swim? Probably not, I wrote back. But, it is my prayer and my purpose to make myself ready to do those distances by the time the event is here. Can I do that? I honestly don't know for sure. What I do know is that I will keep moving forward, training every day. Pushing myself, denying myself, recreating myself into the person I want to be through experiencing the miles of the journey. The journey thus far has been most self-illuminating. Sometimes I don't like what I find protected back in the musty corners of my lifestyle. And, sometimes the revelations show me that I have much to be thankful for; much to feel blessed about. Sometimes I find that I am bigger than I thought I was, and can do more than I thought I could. What a great adventure it is just to embark and continue the miles of this journey for as long as it lasts. If it ends tomorrow, I will still feel blessed by this experience Doing the miles has been more than worth the price of admission.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I Have a Dream

Martin Luther King "had a dream." So do I. But, I have always been a dreamer. Most of my dreams went up in smoke,but some survived to fruition. But for better or worse, I lived with the hope, joy, and expectation that all these dreams engendered. I have been blessed to be a dreamer. I have been blessed because I have a dream. My dream in an earlier part of my life was to get a college degree. After twelve years of various jobs, schedules, and struggles, I live my dream. My dream for the last 10 years has been to finish an ironman. Sometimes I wish I could put it down and move on a less risky, mundane way of thinking and lifestyle, but something keeps me restless for dreams. Perhaps,like Thoreau wrote, I want "to live with the license of a higher order of being." Perhaps that is some of what Martin Luther King wanted too; that we all might live as larger people unafraid to dream big, to plan big for achievement and betterment for ourselves and all our brothers and sisters. My dream has staggered and fallen many times in the last 10 years, and in one of my fallen despondent moments, my sister wisely told me, "Marv, you are so blessed to have a dream even if you fail. Most people don't have one and you do." So in the falling and rising and the stumbling and succeeding; in my worst and best moments of this pursuit: I am still highly blessed. Praise God! I have a dream.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Feeling Understood

"Ironman training is like being a hurdler?" "How is that," I asked my wife. "Well, there is so much stuff, people, and situations you have to respond to, that I see you as a hurdler. You swim, swim, swim and, then back to the world and start jumping one hurdle after another. You go bike, bike, bike and off the bike, again, there are the hurdles to jump. Sometimes, you get tired, sometimes slip, sometime you fall trying to clear all the hurdles. Your Ironman training has been about getting back up after a fall and continue with the hurdles." I feel understood. Being understood makes it easier to swim, bike, run and, oh yes, clear the hurdles.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Just Begin - Again

Me and my training are crawling out of the "holiday hole." The weather is cold, wet under foot, rainy, and uninspiring. And I remember a former post written about overcoming the heat to train It was entitled, "Just Begin", and what is true of training in the heat is true of training in the cold and wet: just begin. And now, after the holiday setbacks, the lack of motivation, the call goes out from my spirit: just begin - again. And begin again and again and again; whatever it takes. I believe that the key to consistency and success in anything "is not in never falling but rising each time I fall." Begin, just begin. Just begin -- again.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Facing the Future - Even if You Fail

Is the beginning of this year how the rest of it will go? I hope not. So many issues to be assimulated and dealt with in last few days of the holiday seas. Ironman training, has been downgraded to whatever I can get in between episodes of other life. Each day I seem to lose more ground in my training. It reminds me of losing at tug-a-war. Little by little, the superior will and strength of the other side, drag us across the line to losing. But, the Miles of the Journey were worth it. There is a song about pursuing a dream that that goes: "you can face the future even if you fail." And I can. I had my best year ever bike riding last year; my best year swimming. Along the way were some marvelous experiences. So, as another song goes, "I thank God for the mountains and I thank God for the valleys. I thank God for all the trials He's brought me through." This coming year the sun will eventually shine. My life will eventually be mostly mine again. In the meantime, I will train as hard as can when I can, dream as big as I can, knowing that through God, I can face the future, even if I fail.