Saturday, February 27, 2016

Momentum of the Moment - The Left Turn Said Yes

The feeling could not be denied. Could it be a message? That 13 mile run attempt would be the deal maker or breaker for my ironman. I didn't recent it. No, I welcomed some closure on this one way or the other. My training has been testing limits of training load to catch up from all the down time and I still wasn't quite where I needed to be. The 13 mile run on my schedule seemed to be the teller of the tale.

The day before I did a one mile swim and that afternoon I did a 5 mile tempo run. Not the best prep for a long run, but in an ironman the run is done after a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 bike ride. So this is about running on tired legs. Can I do this?

I didn't sleep that well the night before. Starting out I was slow and sleepy. My legs seemed sore and tired. The energy level seemed like I was about to bonk at 3 miles. Ok, this is my story. This is my song. It looks like this just isn't meant to be. I could not imagine pushing on for another 10 miles. Ok God. I think I got it. This was all for some reason I am not sure of, but I am sure you know the truth about it. Good enough for me God: no ironman.

I was coming up a hill on my trail that lead back to the house. Good enough, it is over. Half way up the hill, there is a junction where the trail I usually run on turns to the left. This time I would go straight and end this quest. As I neared the junction of the trails, I felt a sort of pull like on a car has when one front tire is flat. The momentum of the moment was changing from "take it home" to "take a left." There was little time to think; I turned left. Someone would not let me quit. Soon, the momentum of the moment had me in my zone, running a little quicker. The miles eroded away and I even began to feel better. My speed actually improved, and the last two miles were my best. I had done it! And, God had pushed me into a corner with this, as if to say yes, you are to do this. Yes, you are to keep on. Yes, it will be a beating. "Pay attention son. The left turn said yes." Now it is up to me to say YES to God.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Decision Day

In most stories, movies, and such there is one point in the plot when there is a high point upon which the story hinges. In Rocky I, for me, it was when he got up off the canvas after being bombed by a vicious uppercut. From then on it was all Rocky in the story.

Today, feels like the pivot point for me in my ironman training. After trying hard to catch up on my training after being set back by medication, I have come to the point where the day seems to say: "this will tell if you can be ready in time." It is the day of my thirteen mile run. Previous long runs have left my knees hurting even when I walk. I know I don't have the time in on these legs but I wonder if they can get up off the canvas in time or should we just wait for a rematch. Today will tell. I just know it. I don't know how, but I just know it.

So I go back to the beginning. "In the beginning God-----" It is all through Him and for Him. This run will either be blessed or it won't. I will either go on or I won't. But at the end of the day, I think I will know. Amen.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Depth of Gratitude

I am so glad I keep records of all this. This blog is like a record, if for no other purpose than to remind me who and where I have been along my Miles of the Journey. But today I reviewed my records to see how far I was down from that back and hip problem. Records show it was a good six weeks of it: not pretty. If I had not found out that the problem was medication, I cannot imagine where I would be right now with my health - what other medicines and procedure might I have tempted by in order to get relief? I dodged the bullet this time - praise God!

What I am left with is good health, and a body of ever increasing fitness, but most of all, I have been left with immeasurable gratitude - a thankfulness that makes me almost giddy to consider. It seemed that I was in a downward spiraling free fall into a sort of abyss. But, as deep as I fell, is how high I must climb to get out of this hole. And, the deepness of this hole I feel into is the depth of the gratitude I now have for the strength and the will to be climbing out of it. It is beyond me to feel anything but blessed. If it all falls apart tomorrow I thank God for today.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Forty Days: Chasing the Dream

It doesn't seem that long ago: forty days. Forty days ago I took myself off all medication. For forty days health, capability, motivation, and attitude have been going in the positive direction For forty days, my training has increased dramatically in an effort to make up the distance in my training between where I should be and where I am after the setback. So far so good. But, I am not where I should be yet, and I am not sure I can pull myself in line in time. Could be that I have lost too much time.

However, I am not sure. At the very least I am having a great time feeling this great; chasing this vehicle called fitness that seems to get closer then pull away. It is great: still chasing; still chasing the dream. Does it get any better than that to be chasing a dream at this age? Life has gotten richer the last forty days. The other day I went out on a long bike ride; came back and my wife had my recovery drink ready, a great meal prepared, and the bed made and coffee pot set up for when I wake up from my post-ride nap. The positive is contagious. I feel so blessed by all this. Perhaps this is my time: a special time to remember and smile about when "can" deteriorates to "can't" again.

It is ninety days until the event. Will I make the training? Not sure, but I am sure of one thing: God is in this. And, wherever He takes me, I will follow. After all, it is all about Him to begin with.

"Get your fire back. It's not over until God says it's over. Start believing again. Start pursuing what God put in your heart."

Monday, February 8, 2016

Bonking Before Breakfast

There have been better days. After my best and hardest training week in 10 months; after 25 straight days of training; I woke up beat; bonking before breakfast, you might say. Things often come around, but today, not so. The bonk got worse. My fatigue could not be massaged into feeling more energy, and my appetite could not be satisfied. OK: time for a day off. Good time to go see my one hundred and two year old Mother in the nursing home.

A different world there - residents having to be fed like infants again. My Mother was at a feeding table too. When I came up they put us at a regular table and I fed her, bite by bite - feed, wipe, feed, repeat. In the creases of the aged face I could imagine the years of care that face had expressed to my childhood. Now, the eyes and the hearing are practically gone. The once quick mind that could respond to my poking fun at her, can now barely hold a thought for a moment.

Back in her room she sat in her wheelchair looking down, or looking about the room like it was the first time she had seen it. Conversation was impossible. We just sat there many minutes in silence with me looking at her and her looking about the room. I noticed the hands: discolored, frail, and drawn now, the same hands that for years did much work. Yes, the same hands that I reached for in the night as a child when I was afraid. Now these precious hands lay impotent and fragile on her lap. My bonk seemed now much worse. Even after I left, that picture of my Mother sitting helpless in her wheelchair kept doing reruns in my mind. Training seemed far away, senseless, and unnecessary.

At home the hunger was finally satisfied, but the fatigue seemed to have moved in and brought friends. It was not the best of days. After this a day off like this one, I wondered where I will get the energy and the motivation to train tomorrow. I knew I would have to re-find the reason; revisit my purpose; envision my goals, but mostly I will have to ask God to get me through from all this to a better, brighter day.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Thanks and Priase.

So far as training goes this has been an incredible week thus far. In a way it is sort of surreal. Is this me? Why am I not more tire, beat up, and sore? Maybe I am not training hard enough?

The week started badly with my old bum knee giving me the blues. I couldn't finish the five mile run. But, I didn't get the blahs, the blues or get mentally beat up by it. If I am supposed to do this, it will happen; if not, it won't. Seems as if I finally have that one down, and it sure makes life easier.

The next day, the next, the next and the next were massive training days for me at this juncture of training; almost like a reward for a faithfulness finally attained. But, now the problem is going to be overconfidence and self-congratulation. Now, I find the sense creeping in that I am doing this all myself. It isn't true. Flattery of the self is so hard to turn away. I can feel that I have put praise on a back burner. For me, this is precarious place to be. "I need thee every hour, oh Precious Lord," the song goes. It is easy to pray in desperate times, but in times of plenty, in times of success, it is just as important to pray to praise. So today when I go out to do my ten mile run - a scary proposition - I want to lay myself and what I think I have accomplished aside and assume an attitude of thanks and praise. It may be that many athletes don't feel led to do all this, but I have been rescued countless times and given much more than I will ever deserve. So - "of whom much is given, much is required."