Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Other Side of Wisdom

Woke up to a beautiful morning here in the country, and in the "sound of silence" I prayed for wisdom. It seems that the prayers for a sign, a hint, an intimation of what I should do, have lead me, not to the solution, but to the right question. This is the last day to drop out of Ironman Texas and get any of the entry returned. I need the ability to make a wise choice: I need wisdom. And so I prayed.

Limping to the bathroom on my bad knee should have told me it was wise to drop this whole thing. Remembering my pathetic running pace should have evoked a wise decision to quit. Considering the expense of this most likely failed venture should have added wisdom enough to back off from all this. No, really, I think the odds are very long that I will finish within the time cut off for the event. The 70-74 year age group results Of ironman past are littered with participants my age who didn't make the cut. Is it wise to go through all this; put my family through all of this, to only add my name to the list of those my age who did not make it? Wisdom would seem to say let this go.

So I went to this computer to officially ask for a partial refund of my entry, but I just couldn't do it. My first thought was that is not wise. Drop the ironman. Couldn't do it. Strange. Then I pondered that perhaps I was be accessing a God-given wisdom, greater and more ultimately wise than that the practical and logical could ever afford. In spite of my fears that run rampant about the pain to be borne and the probable failure of it all - yet, I couldn't withdraw. It didn't seem wise.

So now Wisdom tells me to take this as far as I am carried. There is some rough training to be done yet. My first goal is to just make it to the starting line; to step out into the water for the swim, like Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on water to Jesus. And if I finish the swim on time; finish the bike on time, get through all the highs and lows in between, I will be so thankful. On the dreaded run: however far I get before being taken off the course, will be a blessing. At the end of that day, my hope is to have stepped out in faith, run the race set before me, looking to God for strength, and did the best I could, for Him. That sounds wise to me. I think my prayer for wisdom this morning has been answered.

Use me God, show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for purpose greater than myself.
Martin Luther King

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Can I Stand That Much Normal?

Questions - as decision time comes closer, the more questions, the more doubts. In the past few days several things have come up that could negatively effect an ironman effort and consequently, effect my decision to try to do this ironman.

A supposedly accurate reading of my running speed shows it to be pathetic. If this is correct, to finish before the time cut off, I would need bike and swim performances I presently am not capably of doing. Can I improve the bike and swim enough in the period of time remaining? Questions.

My support for the event is in question. Can I do this event without support? Questions. And, on the other side of the big question: can I afford not try to do this ironman? If I don't at least try, will I, at the end of the day, find enough self-respect to sustain a life without regrets? Questions.

My fear is that without "some war to fight," I might just shrivel up as a person. Would so much seem mundane. Could I look myself in the mirror and be content with being someone normal, knowing nothing anymore of victory or defeat? Can I live with all that normal ho-hum without gagging. Can I age quietly and obediently? Can I go peacefully into the night, to die at the appropriate time and proper manner? More questions.

Yeah sure, there is not much chance of me making the cut-off, so maybe I should give this ironman thing up; now and forevermore? But, can I stand that much normal? Down deep I know though, that there is no better question than "what does God want?" And then I found this quote: God didn't create any of us to be average. He didn't make us to barely get by. We were created to excel. No, I can't stand that much normal: I want what God wants.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Decision to Try

I am tired; a little sore in places; fifteen mile run done on slick and muddy trails. Tonight - a little brain-dead, but even brain-dead, I am thankful for progress. A little over two months now that I went off the statin drug and went on a plant based eating plan.

Recovery hasn't come immediately but I continue to improve. It wasn't that long ago that I tried could not run a mile without lots of walking thrown. It had been too painful to enjoy. I missed the joy and the enjoy of training but it seemed I was done and the life I loved would become would be relegated to life rocking chair type existence.

But, the longer off the medication the more I started feeling better. It wasn't all at once but the pains diminished little by little. One day I ran three miles, then the next, four miles without walking. With this encouragement, I went on my fast-forward training plan to catch up on my ironman plan. The ten percent per week increase rule was thrown overboard. I had nothing to lose. What was the worst that could happen? I would be injured. I had done safe and prudent training, taking my medication per instructions, and had stayed injured for two months. How could I mess that up? But more than all that, I prayed, and I prayed. That brought me a lot of peace, but it brought me to the decision to try. Sometimes that is the only decision ones has to make; just try. Take the step. Amazing things can happen sometimes if we just trust and try before we give up. And so, today, trying and grateful for this opportunity, and this redeemed life

Today's 15 miler was not nearly as hard as my first 8 miler on my fast track training plan.

Right now it is not certain if I will make it through Ironman training , but as I try, each hurdle seems to get cleared. This has been a big week of training. Right now a warm feeling - total body fatigue - is creeping in on me. That feels like peace; peace with myself and peace with God. And, it feels like love; the Love of God, taking me to, and bringing me through, now and evermore.

PS 5/26/16 - the accelerated training and the increasing training volume, ultimately caused the old bad knee to go bad again. I didn't quit until I could barely get out of bed without falling down. But, I am thankful for the decision and opportunity to try.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Another Good Mile; Following After

Six hours on the bike trainer indoors yesterday, and not feeling worse for wear today. Funny, but I never think I am getting in shape, when I do great workouts. I think I am just learning to tolerate the discomfort; that I am really the same in fitness as I was before all this training. Weird thinking, I know, probably spawned by some deep seated insecurity I have not been able to exorcise.

But, whether mentally more capable, physically more capable, or both, I'm becoming more capable. I'll take that, regardless from what source it springs. What does it mean long term? Not sure as far as the event, but I am sure of one thing. Great days of overcoming make me happy, bring me to a peace. So before this good feeling of yesterday starts slipping a little, I want more and will try for more. I think it makes me grow. And, I believe that is what God wants of me; and perhaps why he put me following after these miles of the journey.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Finally Fatigued

Finally fatigued and with the fatigue comes an assault of logic, giving lots of good reasons not to do this; don't waste time, life, money, and effort to try. Do I really want to do this anyway? Even the coffee this morning was bad and my stomach doesn't feel that good to go out and train. The skies are gray, the wind is blowing, and rain is promised. There is no beautiful day to call me out; no gleam in my eye of what might be; no spring in my step at all. OK, here it is. I knew you would show up. Did I expect anything else? Did I really think this was possible with only my own old body, bum knee, and limited resolve?

Maybe today, with my spirit mired in the mud, maybe this is where my ironman training really begins. These are the times, the training, that I either get past or I won't. God will either pull me out of the mire, and put me on paved streets, or He won't. It is well with my soul either way.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Pushing Back the Fog

What does it mean that the 90 mile ride beat me up a bit? Could it mean "too much, too soon/" Could it mean "too old, too late?" could it mean early; too tell?" Yeah, I got off the bike and the old bum knee was on strike for better working conditions. My neck and shoulders were burning from the six plus hour ride. Is all that enough to run from?

This morning there is a fog and though I can see a hundred yards or so, still, I can't see all I would like to. That pretty much describes it. There are no answers and I can't see as far ahead as I would like to. Then the thought: in order to see farther ahead when vision is limited to a hundred yards, keep moving forward. With each step into the fog, vision is increased. In a sense, by moving forward, the fog is pushed back.

I need a run today. And, I will be stepping out into the fog to see as much as God would have me see today of this journey.