Monday, November 30, 2015

Daty 72: Surety

Today went awry as far as training is concerned. Went to the pool and it was closed for repairs. Visiting with my mother in the nursing home took the momentum out of my training incentive. So, the days ends with sitting by the toasty fire with it cold and wet outside. Yet, I am still at peace.

Sure things are going real well at the start of this training week but that's OK. Sure, I botched this training day, but it is not the end of the world or the end of my journey. There is a Surety down there at the bottom of all this. And, because of that Surety, I look forward to training tomorrow. Why not? I will be coming off a day of physical and mental rest. My spirit is in the right place that I may forge on through the miles of the journey. I am blessed

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Day 71: Keep Stepping

Seven mile run: damp, cold, some rain, a bit tired, but done. It wasn't pretty but it is done. Can't tell what is going to happen out there ahead in this journey but this was done; this one step was taken; the next is planned and hoped for. It might be a little presumptuous to say I am going to do this. As the Bible says, "tonight your soul shall be required of thee." But, I do know what road I am on. I intend to stay on it as long as long as my soul is not "required of me" beforehand. I do know Whose road I am on and I do know what is required of me: just keeping stepping and stepping on this path He has marked out for me. My own hope is for this theses step on this journey take me to what I am working for. If He has another destination, along this journey, then my hope will be centered on that. My job is simple: keep putting one workout, one day, one overcoming, after another. Staying true to that course I cannot fail to arrive where I should go; I cannot lose.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Nothing Black

Black Friday- but nothing seems too black right now. Oh, training could be better. Motivation could be higher. Stuff could hurt less. But overall there is nothing black about this Friday. In fact, there are some are some golden hues to this day.

For one, I am so glad that I am not bargain driven to the extent that I would join the maddening crowds in pursuit of "stuff". There is the vision I have of shaking a bucket full of range cubes and cows come running to greedily push and shove each other to get the feed. Perhaps, I would rather pay a little more and save this day; this day is a bargain already. This day, I have health to do almost anything I want to. This day, I have almost everything I truly need; not necessarily all I would want. And this day, I have enough hopes and dreams to keep me pointed forward with hope. But, most of all I have a peace with God that can't be found in stores on Black Friday.

So, before I go into the day's workouts, I think I will go outside with my cup of coffee, enjoy that masterful handiwork, and thank God again. So glad I didn't get over being thankful yesterday.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Miles of the Journey: Day 69: Giving Thanks

Miles of the Journey: Day 69: Giving Thanks: Another good training day yesterday. Did a hard training ride to a bike workout video, then got off the bike for a 2 mile tempo run. Both w...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Day 69: Giving Thanks

Another good training day yesterday. Did a hard training ride to a bike workout video, then got off the bike for a 2 mile tempo run. Both went great. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

There won't be turkey at my house, but it will be Thanksgiving. I have begun giving thanks today. I give thanks for the ability, the opportunity, the health to train. Even if I don't make my goals, I will have had these moments today. Thanks

I give thanks for this life I lead; this lifestyle that has developed over the years in endurance sports. Thanksgiving 33 years ago, I began this grand adventure by trying and failing to run a quarter of a mile. Twenty five years ago I couldn't swim a quarter mile. Today, I am going to the pool to swim a mile. I swam over 85 miles last year. Thanks

Over the years I have completed many 5ks, 10ks, 10 milers, 1/2 marathons, 32 marathons, and 48 triathlons. Thanks

But more importantly, over the years I have grown closer to God. And, my training and faith have merged until now it is all about God. And especially for that ....this Thanksgiving, I give thanks to God for setting the course before me.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Day 68: Training To Trust

Yesterday I was so energy-broke that I couldn't pay attention. Today, I felt fine. Did a great run on the trails and followed with a strong bike trainer session, and still felt good. No good explanation is available: it just is. The game is still on. The road gets much harder, longer, and tiring, but I think I am learning and training to trust as well as training my body to endure. When it gets tough and seems overwhelming, let it go. Give it to God. God got me into this; God keeps me in this; and God can take me through or crash me on the training or the course. It's up to Him; His call. And, when things get bleak again - and they will - I hope to have trained adequately to trust through those times.

And, for the moments of trials and tribulations, joy and exaltation, and anticipation, I praise God for the opportunity to fail, to succeed; for the experience of training to trust.

"When God pushes you to the edge, trust Him fully, because only two things can happen. Either He will catch you when you fall or teach you how to fly."

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Day 67: Carry Me

Yesterday, I quit my 13 mile run at 7 miles. Today, it was hard to get a 2 hours plus bike ride in. This is hard to discern whether it is a mental let down or physical failure. In any case, the week was OK but I expected better. Neither my long run or my long bike got down. I am tired and tired is a good time not to make big decisions if I don't have to. Right now - if I followed impulse - I would chunk this whole thing and start shopping chocolates and nice recliners. I would let myself go and blame it on my genes: sedentary is hereditary. That should do the trick.

God is just going to have to carry me across this troubled water or I won't make it across. And in either case I will have placed faith and future in God's hands. That can't be wrong. Praise God.

Friday, November 20, 2015

What It Looks Like When You Stop

Another day mostly spent in a doctor's waiting room. It was beautiful outside. Hard to imagine training when in that environment. But in spite, my spirit was not diminished. In fact, seeing those sick and disabled people gave me even more motivation to keep doing what I am doing. What I saw today, I think, was what it looks like when you stop, either from an injury or disease, or one's own apathy. This day reminded me that stopping is not a good idea unless absolutely necessary.

When I got home, I went on a 6 mile run to salvage the remainder of the day. It felt so good to be out in the woods running free on a beautiful day. And I think it felt that much better because of my recently heightened awareness of what's out there if I stop for whatever reason. Sure, it's going to happen. I know it will catch up with ne one of these days, but I want to be found running when it does. And, I think God wants that from me too.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Day 65: Tomorrow Is Another Chance

Today the road was closed to my bike course due to high water and I tried to do my 60 mile bike ride indoors. It was the most beautiful day of the year and every time I looked outside I felt a little guilty for wasting such a beautiful day inside. And my performance was any better. My rear end hurt a lot. I could get comfortable on the bike. I could stay interested in the video I was trying to ride to. I kept getting off. Once, I even got off and took a short nap. Then the appetite joined in and I consumed large quantities of no-so-good-for-you food. My bike ride was left barely half done and I was left with a bloated belly. I have had better days.

There is enough guilt and shame in all that, to make me want to do better; to have greater self control. A fast of 24 hours is in order. There needs to be a victory over appetite if only to show that indeed appetites can be beaten and controlled. Tomorrow is another chance.

Sometimes I find I have fallen away in the living out of my faith. I can see that I let the world and fleshly appetites deter me from my appointed task. But, God takes me back. God picks me. God brushes me off, forgives, and sets me on the right track once more. Through God, tomorrow is another chance.

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow."

Mary Anne Rodmacher

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Day 64: Game On !

Yesterday it began. I did a 7 mile tempo run, split firewood, did a strength workout, and biked 25 miles doing intervals. Today, I have a 40 mile bike ride followed by a 3 mile run. Tomorrow, a 1.75 mile swim and 2 tempo miles on the treadmill; somewhat of a lighter day. This is all said to say this: Game On! This has been my original plan since I had picked myself up from my most recent ironman failure in May. Seriously wanted to drop this whole Ironman thing; still cannot see the value in it, but obviously God does. And, I cannot rest from it. My plan was to take it somewhat easy the first two weeks in November and then go for it - IRONMAN TEXAS, MAY 14, 2016.

My knee is better but it still gives me trouble sometimes. Don't even stop to wonder if it will make it to game time: For now - Game on! Maybe I am too old to be taking this sort of thing on; don't stop to think about that: Train - Game on!
And, if I fail, or if I am injured, or something even more serious occurs, I will have failed on my feet, moving forward toward God. There is really nothing to lose that won't be lost eventually. This is life. Even those who try to play it safe and avoid things extreme still get sick, get injured, and die. I don't want it said of me that I "never sang the song God wrote for my voice." (Max Lucado) because I was trying to save myself. Jesus said, "Whosoever will save his life shall lose it and whosoever shall lose his life for My sake, shall find it."

So now, off to training; on the journey of losing and finding. My prayer is that I will finish the course, running the race set before me. Game on!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Day 63: So That I Might Be Blessed

Yesterday I got in a two and a half hour bike trainer ride. Felt strong and smooth throughout. Is my trainer set too loose or something? That should have been a little harder. Last week training was under fire from back problems, then neck and shoulder problems. But I trained through them and had a good week out of it. Now, a new week, and not much hurts any more. I feel good. I have no excuse to hide behind.

At the same time - and I don't think is coincidence - my closeness to God has increased. It seems the more I give up, the more I get back. "The longer I trust Him, the sweeter He grows," and the longer I trust Him the better I go. But, the key to all this is to hold on to it. Days like this when training is going well are the most hazardous to humility. Humility: the mother of all virtues, of which Benjamin Franklin said was his most difficult virtue. It was because, he said, that about the time he got a little humility, he got proud of it. And pride comes before a fall. So, if I don't want this great season fall apart, I must stay keenly aware of how I am able to do this to begin with; and remain humble so that I might be blessed.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Days 61& 62 - Free Indeed

Life happens on the way to the finish line. Day before yesterday I biked for an hour; sort of a rest day. Yesterday I ran a good 6 miles. It was a good pace with no more effort than a slower pace would have been a while back. Something is happening and I believe it good, but it is the resolve that seems most surprising.

Perhaps through all the trials and disappointments, I have gained a faith; a faith that accepts that I can't fly on my own wings. I must rely on His. In surrender to this Right Cause, I have gained a new freedom. The truth is that I am old, beat up, and not that good to begin with. The truth is that only God can take me to that starting line and if He chooses, to that finish line. "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Today, the truth has set me free and I am free indeed.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Day 60: Not Much

My back is still hurt from last week. My shoulder hurts from something I must have done yesterday; and my neck hurts along with it: nagging pain, and I had left for this bike ride not in the best frame of mind. My schedule said do 60 miles, but my motivation said if you can do 20 that might be enough. I couldn't find a good answer to the question: why do this?

The north wind was blowing, and that chill just added to the chill already in my soul for this ride; for the athletic experience. Painfully slow. Who cares. Am I really going to do this for several hours? No, surely not. Think of what I could be doing besides this: not much that means much; not much that can't wait until I get back. Goodness, but my back and neck don't seem to be hurting that much during the ride. Twenty miles into the ride and something seems different. Do I feel like quitting now. No, no much. I took the wind jacket off, ate something, got a big drink of water. What hurts now? Not much. My, but my pedaling seems so much smoother. There is still a lot of power in these old legs. Should I slow down and cool down the last few miles? Not much.

It is over; bowed over the handle bars in prayer. God has given me strength, perseverance, and courage today. What should I be afraid in my future? Not much.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Day 58: To Whom Much Is Given

Today I ran on the treadmill and swam a little over 3/4 miles: a good day. This week is starting out so much better than last week and I can only hope it ends so much better also. This can be such a roller coaster but so can life. From the peaks and the dark valleys of this track I can still see; God wants me in this. This may seem a lot strange but I can't help that. I would make it more believable if I could. But, it's the truth. Believed or not, it is still the truth. I am called out to this. My own will to go on left the building a long time ago. My own determination, my own goal seeking, my own effort gave out a couple of years ago. I am old, beat up, and covered up in cares, yet I am carried on for some reason, not of my own strength. Perhaps this time the ironman will be a go. Perhaps God has me right where He wants me. "To whom much is given, much is required."

God never said the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile.
Max Lucado

Monday, November 9, 2015

Day 57: Nothing to Lose

Amazing how easily it is to get off and stay off track. There is a vortex of ease and apathy that seems to pull at one who does not keep moving - at least it is that way with me. After two days off from training, it was so easy to put off putting my spirit into training. There is a strong temptation for ease, sameness, appetite, and an almost magnetic pull into the rut going nowhere. It is so easy to be turned aside and yet requires so much effort to stay on track. One really has to watch their back. The devil is coming after you in one form or the other, and the goal is to steal the force and squash the worthwhile dreams that only can come through discipline and effort.

So - do I go on? Or, do I succumb to the usual, the tasty, the comfortable; the rut. Regardless, of what might happen on the way to prize, there is no other good choice but to keep on until I can't go any more. What have I got to lose? God said, "Fear not, neither be ye dismayed." And, I have a good reason not to fear; not to be dismayed on some of these treacherous miles of the journey: "because the Lord thy God is with thee, whithersoever thou goest."

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Day 56: Tomorrow

No training in two days. It seems like this latest problem with family medical has taken its motivational toll. Can I get started again? Do I really want to and possibly be derailed by something else? Tomorrow, I will try. Tomorrow, I will pray. Tomorrow I will obey. And if I obey to go on and cash in my chips, whatever God decides for me, I will learn to live with that. "I can do all things through Christ that strengthenth me." The good news is that it did give my back time to heal so no matter how this journey goes, "all things work together for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose."

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Day 55: Cloudy Days

Rough day yesterday. But I did get a short run in and felt good about how my back held up. However, life happens on the way to heaven. And the rest of the day and the night got away unscathed by any serious training. This morning, it is raining and I still have much concern to take care of today. But, there is a sun behind those clouds and there is Son behind mine. And there is a God who has me covered on these twists and turns of the miles of my journey.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Day 54: Summiting the Tribulations

The back pain is still with me but I am mobile. Yesterday, I did a 2 hour and 49 minute trainer ride: no problem except now my right quad hurts. It isn't as if I have not expected trouble. It was just going too good. There has to come some storm and rain. "In the world ye shall have tribulations." The word is "shall", not "might" but "shall" have troubles. If it were not for the tribulation; if every day was all sunshine and rainbows, how could we ever have joy, appreciation and how could we ever gain endurance and perseverance? How could we ever become stronger, mentally, personally, and spiritually, if there were not mountains in our lives to climb? Thank God that He has given me enough heights to climb in this life and that I might finally summit one day unto the person He would have me be.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Day 53: Choose to Trust

Life is like a river and often we don't know what is around the bend. After a great week last week, this week started out badly and got worse. Needed a day off and took one; a complete day off. Yesterday, I went for a swim; the first serious swim in three weeks. In the health club getting ready for the swim, I leaned over and something seized up in my back. Back trouble has never been an issue with me. But, it became hard to straighten up without a lot of pain.

Somehow, I got dressed and went on down to get in the pool. At the end of each lap I would double up on the wall and stretch out my back. It wasn't the most pleasant swim but I did get about 2 miles done. It is still with me and one can guess the wonder, the doubt, the fear. But, this is where faith is tested and trust experienced or it is not. I chose to trust. Whatever happens to me; whatever happens to my training; I chose to trust and be grateful to God for the wonderful experiences I have already had yet ready to accept His will for my life and my training.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Day 52: "To Whom Much is Given---"

Yesterday, I felt great despite having the largest week in training in 7 months. I had done over 200 miles on the bike and had a good week running. Life seemed on a roll that could not be stopped. So, I ran 6 miles and came right in and did 30 miles on my trainer bike. Should have thought it out better. Should have left time in recover from all the miles; all the hours training.

Woke up this morning, the day of my anniversary (43 years) and just felt one step off from death. The body, the mind, was on empty, leaving me feeling like all my blood had been drained out of me. Will I ever learn?

But, I felt a bit better later and it was my anniversary, so we went out to eat to celebrate. We don't go out to eat much at all. A lot of our food is home grown and most of the time home prepared. I guess we are used to that. The food was just awful! Even the water tasted like it came from an old rubber hose. On the way home, I thought how blessed I am not to have to eat out a lot. Blessed to live where I do and can raise a lot of my food. Blessed to have married someone who is the world's best cook. Blessed to have this opportunity. So, I need to stop making stupid, prideful decisions in my training. It is wasting the gift. Scripture says, "to whom much is given, much is required." No need wasting my "given" to feed my ego; next time, rest, recover, be thankful.

After all, this is all about God anyway, not about me. It is His call and my calling. Praise God.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Day 51: Winning the War: Today

My best week of training in over 6 months. A 44 mile bike ride today made it 204 miles on the bike this week. And, I don't feel trashed. Is this a dream? Still my knee hurts and won't support me when I first wake up in the morning but after loosening it up, there is little problem. Sometimes right in the middle of ride or run, there is severe pain which often stops me cold but I can get going again. The pain goes away. It is like a war going on with my old legs to keep them viable. Right now, it is a war I am winning.

The struggle to be all God wants me to be is the same kind of war. Yeah, times I do real well; going along fine. Then, I do something so counter to all I claim in my faith, and my behavior doesn't support my profession. But, I have Jesus to get me going again, and to keep going forward to be all He would have me be, in my faith life and in my training as well. Sometimes, it hard to tell them apart.