Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Falling Down-Getting Up

That was close. As I have written before, I have standards of performance to be reached each month or else I cash it in on this Ironman thing. This takes much of the guess work out of should I go on or not; less stress. Most of the month I had been behind on these standards. Sunday started with me needing to complete a 50 mile bike ride and a 90 mile bike ride within a five day period. In addition, I needed to complete an Ironman distance swim. The weather didn’t cooperate: wind, cold and I did 50 miles on the trainer indoors Sunday. Tuesday I went for the 90 miler on the trainer: my longest bike ride ever. I was tired; very tired. Yeah, OK, I will get into it and it will be OK, I hope. Wrong. I was about to fall asleep on the bike and having trouble keeping up with Troy Jacobson in doing the 5 ½ hour Hard Core 100 Spinerval. After about an hour into it, I was done and I stopped the video. I just can’t do this. Enough ironman. I just wanted to lay down. Who cares? And, I got off the bike, took off the shoes, and fell into sleep on the bed. There was no coach to tell me I can do this, just get up and get moving. There were no shouting crowds cheering me on. There was only the hum of my fan lulling me into the quietness of defeat. About fifteen minutes later something stirred me. Something, Someone wouldn’t let me sleep; wouldn’t let me give up like I wanted to; no, not just yet. Possibilities began to be entertained that I might still do this. But, I really just wanted to doze off again and be left alone. But no, Something was keeping me from sleeping and would not give me peace until I tried once again. My mind was sort of in a stupor from the half-sleep. Sitting on the side of the bed I drank a whole bottle of sports drink, ate a Powerbar and starting looking for my bike shoes. Got on the bike, found my place on the video, and here we go. I couldn’t believe I was actually going to try this again. I must be crazy fatigue-stupid or something, I thought. However, 4 ½ hours later, I got off the bike: 90 miles done. My Ironman journey has been resurrected yet once again. The dream had stumbled, fell, but would not stay down. This whole ironman thing is quite amazing. Today I swam the ironman distance (2.4 miles) without any difficulty and, in fact, it was my fastest time yet on these longer distance swims. What is going on? I am. I am going on into March with my ironman journey. Now, there will be a new set of much tougher standards of performance to be accomplished before I allow myself to continue on into April. Will I make it? One of the many things I have learned on this journey is that there is just a whole bunch of this process I can’t control. I just have to do, to keep moving forward, to trust, and walk by faith. Whatever happens after that…well, it just happens. But win or lose, succeed or fail, by being obedient, I will be blessed. "Success is getting up one more time than you fall down."Author Unknown

Monday, February 25, 2013

Finding My Child

Don't think I have ever been so tired. Last night, I am not sure if I was awake when my head hit the pillow. Glad I had removed the toothbrush from my mouth before I cratered. But sleep was fitful, and all night I dreamed or thought or something, that I am quiting this Ironman thing: yeah, first thing in the morning. I have just had it. I am exhausted, it will be hot; very hot. My running is so far behind. My knee isn't any better. Why go on? Four o'clock in the morning I am awake, still ready to quit. Lying there I remembered a sermon I had heard by Charles Stanley in which he said when you first wake up, pray for wisdom for the day. No matter how laid out your plans are, you really never know how the day will turn out. I prayed. While having coffee, I looked outside to the moonlit pasture where my granddaughter had been running a couple days ago. She is only four but she was running all around, back and forth, back and forth for many minutes. So, I had asked her what she was doing. She told me she likes to run and likes to get exercise. She is going to run every day, she told me. Wonder where she picked all that up? This morning a storm was supposed to come in so I decided to run early. Just get in a couple of easy miles before the weather goes bad. Strange but running felt better than it had recently. The motion was smoother; the pain less. Breathing a little harder seemed like fun instead of work: surprisingly, I was into it. I found myself like my granddaughter; just running for the joy of it, to feel the movement. I had found my child, and the wisdom to carry the day.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Facing Down "Can't"

Could barely walk when I got out of bed

What was I thinking in scheduling a 15 mile run today?
Why even try?
That knee hurts every step.
Why bother today?
You'll only make it worse and possibly ruin your knee

But I said I would try.
I said I would keep trying until I looked "can't" in the face.
<i>This IS "can't" bro.
Are you rum-dum or something?
You are hobbling badly here.

Take note.
Tell "can't" to meet me on the road. We'll talk there.

I got my hydration and nutrition together just as if I were going to make it, and drove out to the run course. Afraid of the worst, putting it off until the last minute, I stretched and stretched and stretched. Then it was time for the showdown; time to face down can't. The day was one pouring myself out unto empty, pleading with God not to let this day break me. It wasn't pretty, but as I slogged out the miles with only minor pain there came an underlying sense of joy, and thankfulness. It wasn't fast but a purposeful steady, three hour plod. Finishing, I raised my hands in gratitude for the blessing I had received: Fifteen miles done! "Can't" never showed up on the road for arbitration or conflict. Hope was present and accounted for. Praise God!

Friday, February 15, 2013

"Commit, Train, And Pray"

I wish I had a dime for every time I thought of quitting this ironman thing. This must be part of the process. To quiet those negative voices, a set of minimum standards for each month was determined. If I did not meet those minimums, I write in and try to get what I can of a refund; simple, direct, and it takes the decision out of my subjective hands, and puts the question into an objective format. Either I make it, or I don't; like making the cut-offs for the swim, bike and run of the ironman. So, as I my running is taking a serious hit from a very sore knee, I don't have to fret about whether it will take me out of the picture. The question is: with the bad knee, can I still make the cut-offs? A 15 mile run before the end of February is one of those cut offs. Tomorrow, I try it. There may have to be some walk and run with this, but that's OK. I will make it or I won't. Mainly, I am doing what was suggested in my ironman Bible, Going Long. It says, "commit, train, and pray." Sounds like a plan. May I continue to step our in faith, remain committed and train as hard as I can until I start Ironman Texas or it is certain I am defeated. And I will pray. Oh yes. Certainly I will pray, most of all.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blessed to Dream Big Dreams

Wake at dawn and smell the great coffee. Stretch a little on the way to the kitchen to get those hamstrings loose a bit and then that first rich cup of special coffee. Sometimes there are deer outside to watch as they watch us. Besides all the training for an ironman, there is so much to do living in the country. It is different set of obstacles from most ironman competitors, I would imagine. But, something tells me that everyone who lines up for an ironman event has dealt with their own special circumstances to get there. Glad I have the garden tilled.
Now I replant the spinach and plant the kale. We plant potatoes on Valentine's day, so we need to get the seed potatoes cut. Hauled up some more cross ties to make that raised bed for things like lettuce and bell peppers. Then it will be a wheelbarrow and shovel gathering of cow manure for the bed. There is a porch rail for which I need to concrete a post in. The concrete is just laying there on the porch as if to say, "do me next, do me next." There are falling limbs strewn all over the yard from all the dead trees. I need to pick them up - mowing coming soon - but I really need to finish cutting up those other dead trees I felled.
There will be wood to be split, and an hour of that might be called a stength workout. There is something about the crack of an axe, placed well, sounding that true center was struck exposing new wood exposed sort of like placing your heart and energy in the right place to find a new and fresher self. There is something about the clean smell of evening here, the silence of the misty morning sunrises, the hard labor which must be done here to maintain the elements of this lifestyle here in the country. It is many miles to a gym or pool. I make the trip and swim long once a week until the waters in my pond warm enough to swim in.
I have been blessed; blessed by having enough problems, opportunities, burdens, and responsibilies. But most of all I think I am blessed in knowing, and realizing that indeed, I am blessed. And feeling so honored and so blessed, I can have the courage to live large and dream big dreams: dreams like completing an ironman.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Getting Lucky

To me, luck is the juncture of preparation and opportunity. Like someone wrote, "the harder I work, the better luck I seem to have." So I come to WEEK 13 of my Ironman training program. I am almost surprised I made it this far. Even after all this work though, sometimes I wonder if I am getting any better at this. Am I just wasting my time? My bike route is a 10 mile out and back on a hilly course. Superbowl Sunday afternoon, when I came to the turnaround at 10 miles, I saw another rider getting his bike ready to ride. He would be coming up behind me; can't let him catch me. Took a big drink of sports drink and hammer down. I was surprised. I was really rolling. Can I hold on? Looking down on my Garmin, I thought there was no way a rider was likely to catch me. On I rolled, faster still, almost with abandon, realizing that this was one of those special times when I am in the zone; moments I am into. Yes! On a straight stretch of road I looked back and the rider was nowhere in sight. Ten miles later I turned around and went back again. After going about 2 miles, I saw the rider turning around at the base of a hill he didn't want to climb. The rider looked like a friend of mine that sometimes rides out here, so down the hill I soar, an animal by now, gaining, gaining on my quarry. It wasn't my friend. Before I closed completely I broke off and went back the other direction. Sanity had returned, and my thought was that I didn't want to blow this guy out of the water. He had given me what I needed: a chance to test myself. Thank God for that rider. What I realized was that my training had put a lot more in the tank than I had thought. I have worked hard for it; I fought for it. I am getting there. Lucky me? NO! God had blesed my efforts, my faith, my obedience. Luck had nothing to do with it.