Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Bad Patch

Life is often a hilly course. Sometimes in the valleys, looking up at the steepness of the hill and the distance to the top, our resolve weakens, our courage softens, and dreams can give way to the urge to avoid any more discomfort.

Last week was overcomer's week.
Monday was a brutal day of four disciplines leaving residual fatigue for the Tuesday 40 mile ride and brick run.
Tuesday , tired already. Out on the ride as early as mile ten, I started to sag. I didn’t want to go on. Maybe I will just do twenty and rest up? When I get back at the truck, do I quit or hang on? It is a ten mile out and back course and the ride back to the truck seemed to take forever. I was so tired; tired of being on the bike. My thoughts went continually went back to a nice shower, a soft recliner, and rest. Finally back at the truck, I got something to eat, lots to drink, and began to feel better. Maybe?
Isn’t this is where it is at? I am training for an ironman, for goodness sakes. Did I expect to feel rested all the time? I am training to endure fatigue, and here I have a massive dose and I want to take it to the house and rest? Do you want to be an ironman or a recliner jockey ? Which one do you think God is calling you out to be? Maybe I will just do the 40 miles and just skip the run? I am not sure my injured knee will hold up anyway. Whatever ! Just get back on the bike and get out there!

The legs soon found a rhythm, a good spin. The bike moving very well. Energy was returning. The wind was in my face; turn-around, the wind is at my back. I was soaring. And I was a little surprised it was over so soon. Having forgotten all about hedging on my workout, I grabbed my cap, a fresh water bottle and was out running on the road. It hurt some, but at the same time, there was a certain rush to enduring into discomfort. And, I ended the run with a smile. Thank you God!

Two days later, I had a 70 mile bike ride scheduled, but the first twenty really took it out of me. This time, though, I did not consider hedging my workout with a retreat to the recliner. Instead, I thought of ways to work through this bad patch. And I did. There was another bad patch at miles 45-50 more or less, but I got through that one too. It was almost as if I were training in bad patch intervals. For once, I had the sense that I was indeed, I am training for an ironman.

Two days later was my dreaded long run. Previous knee problems had me timid and afraid in the face of this long run. The bad patch was right at the beginning. Everything seemed to hurt. I was so tired, already. I almost called it quits the first quarter mile.

Keep moving, you are training for an ironman. This is just a phase; a mood. Keep moving. Learn to endure more, then endure more. You said you would try. You said you would train. Is “your honor greater than your moods. Yes!

And the running got better. The discomfort got stowed away. I was into the moment. I was enduring. I was totally alive. Thank God.
And today, I am mentally, personally, and spiritually closer to being ready for my ironman attempt than I have ever been. But today, I am also terribly tired. Ironman training seems to be a series of hill repeats in fatigue tolerance.
Life is a hilly course. What applies to ironman, applies to life. There will be fatigue, self-doubts, discomfort: there will be bad patches in everyone’s life. But, in pushing through to the other side, in going on, confronting the bad patches, the fears , and failures, we can become the persons God called us to be, and live out our faith in the promise of that great finish line for all those who believe.

"Behold, we count them happy which endure.---------------"
James 5:11