Thursday, August 18, 2016

I'm In

And again, I am in: Ironman Texas, April 22,2017. In the past signing up has been a slow process to crash and burn: failure. Ironman registration seems to call out the dogs of war upon me. I seem to always find a way to fail at this, and I've gotten so good at failing, that I am not as afraid of it as previous years. But, given my history as an ironman failure, why did I sign up again? This is expensive stupidity. Seriously now, I am too fat and too old to be an ironman rookie. I am an asthmatic with one crooked leg and the other one perpetually injured: my run times stink; I walk with a limp. I will be competing as a 74 year old. Seriously now, where is the wisdom which is supposed to come with old age?

However, I am still drawn like a moth to a flame to the ironman experience. Lately several people in my circle of family and friends have died. As Jon Blais said, "This is it: your life. This is not a dress rehearsal." Pragmatic reasoning can be turned around: it is not that I shouldn't attempt another ironman because I am old, but it is because I am old that I should. Time and vitality are in short supply. Why not? I am already good at failure. Besides, no one expects an old geezer to do all that well anyway. There is a extremely high "Did Not Finish" percentage among my age group. There is not much to lose anymore. If I fail yet again; so what? No surprise. At least I didn't fail by giving up. If, by the Grace of God, I did finally succeed: wonderful, amazing, marvelous, off-the-charts.

But it is even more than that. The struggle toward the previously thought impossible is the centerpiece of what is ironman. I think of Elizabeth Thompson, coming back from a serious stroke to learn simple life skills, to finally doing an ironman. Or, Teri Griege, mother of 2, full time nurse, going through chemotherapy for stage 4 colon cancer and training for an ironman. And there are the older people like Lew Hollander, Sister Madonna Budder, Harriet Anderson who defied age and finished ironman events in their 70s and 80s. And, of course, there is Jon Blais, doing an ironman with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). I like what he said: "It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, and the adventure of being alive." Yeah, I guess I will risk looking like a fool again. How can I not with all that has been overcome by others to not only dream the impossible dream, but to live it out as well.

And perhaps, fail or succeed, this old relic just might be someone's inspiration to keep trying following failure after failure; to keep getting up each time knocked down. I have taught my grandchildren. "What's the first thing you do when you get knocked down?" Their answer: "Get back up." Living out my own creed is a great opportunity to inspire. Maybe someone is watching?

But there is an even greater reason not to give up. God called me out for this and He isn't through with me yet.


And if I don't make it. Or if the training or the event should spell my end, it will still be well with my soul. For, I have an inheritance, which cannot pass away, cannot fade away, "reserved in heaven.." (I Peter 1:4) Yes, I have reservations for this event, a place to go, a place to stay. I am in.