Thursday, September 13, 2018

Ironman Diary - Days 24-25

Storms about and the humidity has been awful  Got most of the training in, and today did an outside bike ride - first in over a month.  Did it feel good or what?   Storms are rumbling in my ears as I write this, and I want another outside ride.  Somehow, outside rides require more of me and  give more to me than indoor trainer rides.  There was a feeling of freedom as I stepped away from the robotic training of indoor rides. Oh sure, I will do lots more of those indoor rides before this is over, but I can stannd it better because I know what is out there if I endure the hum-drum, build the fitness, and take it out to try out on the hills and wind.

It is like faith, I suppose.  You can pray.  You can read devotionals. You can read the Bible but to really get to know God - I have found - you have to take it outdoors and  share it  by your example out on the roads of life.

Next week, no storms are forecast, and I look forward to taking it on the road in Jesus Name.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Ironman Diary - Days 22-23

Rainy, stormy weather and training is hard to get in on my slippery trails. But everyone training for a big event has to overcome their own slippery trails to get to the starting line.  Hurricanes may hit some areas soon and they have their slippery trails to endure which are much more serious than anything I  am trying to endure. 

So today, I  pray for the people in the areas that might be challenged by hurricanes and storms in the next week  or so.  And who knows that it may be this area; it might be us that gets hit by one or more of these.  It is good to know that hope; that eternal Hope that sustains us in all weathers. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Ironman Diary - Day 21

Three weeks into this and already the journey has been a tug-of-war.  It is amazing how I don't think I am doing good but when I look back, I see that I have done pretty good for an older guy.   There is not much to compare myself against.   It is  hard to know just how good I am doing because folks my age don't usually do this kind of thing. I think I am must not be a friendly person anymore because I don't have as many friends and family.   Truth is:  most of them are dead or they have succumbed to the expectations of conventional wisdom and have grown more mature by the time they reach my age.

But tonight I feel good about my consistency and am grateful to God for the health, the opportunity, and the passion to do this.  I would suppose that as long as I am truly grateful, growing mature isn't yet required. 

I ran in a pouring rain today and reveled in it.  Except for the slippery footing in the woods on the trail, it was one of the best runs this year.  I think for most of us life is just too tame most of the time and that deep inside there is the younger you wanting to get out to experience something to be grateful for; perhas a run in the rain?

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Ironman Diary - Days 19-20

Yesterday I used a heart rate monitor on my run.  After starting it was apparent, I was in the right place. Usually, I have trouble getting my heart rate over a 100, but not today.  I was breathing harder, running faster, and holding 120 plus. Yes ! What encouragement!  I felt like a young man again being able to have a normal heart rate for this.   Not much can take the place of a day when you can feel young again.  At this age, I should pursue days like that.  Like God told Joshua in the book of the same name: (paraphrase)  "I know you are old and stricken in years, but I still have work for you to do.  You ain't through till I say you are."  Yeah, that seems the only reasonable outlook to aging up in a tough sport.

Today, I ate too much cereal that bloated my stomach and I had a long run to do.  Nutrition is going to be my downfall if I don't get on top of this.  But, it was good training, that is, to keep going on a sour stomach and in the heat, yes, great training for endurance  This is not called endurance sports for nothing.  And today, I endured and ran in horrid humidity for an hour and 50 minutes.   Does it seem obvious I am happy, very happy about this day?  Happy? Yes:   blessed? Most assuredly. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

Ironman Diary - Days 17-18

And the lack of motivation goes on and I am doing a little downtime with minimal training.  It's all good. As the scriptures says "All things work together for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)  Yeah, called according to His purpose; the takeaway for me today:   keep moving forward; don't try to tally the score.  Keep moving forward in the faith that the road is the right one and the destination is in God's hands.

Who knows but the journey is destination and that experience has truths which can best be illuminated by the day to day striving against what, right now I would say, are pretty long odds. Perhaps the journey is meant also for as few as just one other person, a testimony of sorts to bring insight and inspiration?  I don't know and probably won't ever know why I am doing this.  It is only important that I do; to be obedient.  Like a flower trying to bud, the bloom will come in due time. Trust and obey.  Obedience: perhaps that could be the lesson of these miles of the Journey.

Faith to believe - Courage to obey - Patience to wait

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Ironman Diary - Days 15-16

This is the first time that I am having motivation issues on this journey. Just as the weather is on the verge of being good for training; just when I may not be running or biking in 90-100 degree weather, my "want-to" wants to go home and not play anymore.  Not sure why that is. I feel good enough. I have no major injuries or regular pains.  I just am running out of go juice.

Life is like that sometimes; the spark goes out and the purpose you could see vividly, now is quite dim and indistinct.  I don't know what to blame it on.  If this were a new issue, I would say that I pretty much train in the dark; that is, rah-rah support is minimal.  Seldom does anyone ask me about my training.   Everyone has their own stuff, their own doings.  I get that. And, like I have written before, I have been training for ironman for about 6-7 years now.  This qualifies for top ranking in the "ho-hum, I'm nodding off" department for most.  I get that too.   I have gotten over all that before and was doing well putting all that aside this time. But now I just am having trouble pulling my self up. 

There really is not a problem to get a handle on to fix.  I have gotten my workouts done the last couple days:  a couple good bike trainer rides, a couple good runs;  a good swim non-stop for about half the ironman swim distance.  So what is wrong? 

My last resort is to get away for 2-3 days, train minimally and do some  things different than train, like do the tractor work I have been putting off to improve the trails in the woods; go fishing, ready my fall garden or read without interruption.   I have read at least a chapter a day of the Bible since starting this program but maybe I could read more?  Maybe I could pray more and longer in quiet places to get the strength and will to go on, or the courage to quit this altogther if God says "enough."

Monday, September 3, 2018

Ironman Diary - Day 14

Yesterday was a good training day as well. Of course, I am not where I want to be, but I am pointed to and moving in that direction.  So it is, in life and in my trust in God;  I am not where I want to be but I am pointed in the the right direction.   My faith walk is so much like training and vice-versa. I have times of motivation, purpose and faith, and times of utter dejection and a sense of desperation   Sometimes faith waivers and I fear lifes's finish line.  Sometimes my faith waivers ad I fear I will not be ready for Ironman Texas.  But when the temptation is over and the devil leaves "for a season" I see know again God's got this in both cases.  Each renewal and each "knowing" builds faith for the future and in both cases I get more ready for the events finish.

Of course now, at this point, I am not ready, but like in my faith walk, I am on the right track, stumbling, falling, succeeding and failing at times, but in the end God's got my finish line. So, I keep following my training plan and the plan God has for me, and keep moving in the direction to which I have been called.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Ironman Diary: Days 12 & 13

Yesterday I felt like I was beat up pretty bad.  Nothing worked and I was so tired.  The heat, the training was taking its toll of one who shuns a day off.  This was to be a slower lighter week and it has been.  Guess I needed this.  But it was amazing how rotten I felt yesterday. Then today:

Didn't feel that great but did feel some better.  However, I couldn't see how I would get that 9 mile run in the heat done today.  But, just begin, I told myself.  I did.  The first mile was awful.  I wanted to quit but thought, just go a little longer.  Slowly, almost imperceptively, like the sun rising, I came back.  I found myself running stronger at the end of my workout than the beginning.

What does that mean?  Don't believe the moment would be a good start.  Have faith in your training and the God who brought you here to test yourself in this arena.  Trust enough to just begin in spite of yourself, to go a little longer, to go a little farther than you think you can.  And perhaps, day will dawn bright upon my efforts.  I so pray that.  Thanks God for the opportunity.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Ironman Diary Days 10 and 11

Slow going this week so far and I think I needed this time.  I find quiet time, being alone and just thinking or taking all this in, is really refreshing.  Maybe this is as necessary as the hard training? The last two days I could lay down and the legs would feel like they were going "ahhh." 

However, I am behind on getting my long rides here.  The weather is so hot and humid that the long stuff outside doesn't seem that wise.  I am doing well healthwise as I have for years.  This has to be a blessing from God.  Sure I have my bad days sometimes, especially following  workouts in the heat and humidity, but I recover and can move on. 

Looking back at my records I find that I have averaged over 15 hours a week training over the last 5 weeks; the hottest part of our summer.  And that does not include the daily morning strength and flexibility workouts that lasts about 30-40 minutes.  I have ran everyday for over 111 days and I am an old guy.  This is not a brag. This is an expression of gratitude for my resilence, gratitude for finding this plant based eating program, gratitude for the life force and capabilities that God has extended me, and gratitude for the Grace of God, a  saving faith, that tells me however this turns out; God's got this.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Ironman Diary Days 8 and 9

Easier days and both about the same.  Short everything.  I did get in a 2000 meter swim which was good.  But, I am hoping to get some recovery in for a few days before continuing on.

And, it seems, that the when I start doing less, I beging to doubt I will ever make it at the ironman; or I even be able to complete the training.  When I do less, more seems so much harder to envision.  Isn't that so much like life?  We seem to respond to our present momentum. Or, the law of inertia:  "
a body in motion tends to stay in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest."

I have to fight the impulse to think about my age  and its prescribed limitation and how so few people my age even finish one of these thing.  I have to steel myself away from my lesser self so I don't believe the standard copy prescibed for a man my age.

But, I am not on any prescriptions; medical or otherwise.  I am not like the standard issue American man my age.  I have fought with myself to be a different kind of man, and tonight I ask God to help me continue in that fight.  And, as far as this ironman thing: live or die, fail of succeed: to God be the glory.   It's all about You, God.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Ironman Diary Day 7

A full week of chronicling my latest ironman journey.  Yes, I have been on this track a half dozen times before.  I would imagine those around me are tired of hearing about my ironman stuff:  old news, one failure or aborted attempt after another:  Ho Hum.

And so, I don't talk about my ironman venture much.  I might with people online but I am pretty much a secret agent for ironman here.   That's OK.  This is for God anyway. 

Sometimes it would be nice to share when this stuff gets hard.   Take today.  I didn't sleep well at all and woke up  feeling awful.  Coffee only made it worse, and I wondered how I was going to get the long run of the week done?   One step and then another was the only option and I did that.  Oh my, how many times have I done that; pulled a good run out of a bad morning; made a beautiful ending from an ugly beginning.  It  was good training for going on when I  feel rotten; good ironman training.   Two hours and fifteen minutes later, it was over.  There was gratitude, there IS gratitude.  And gratitude brings hope for tomorrow and the rest of the  miles of the journey.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Ironman Diary Day 6

Sometimes it seems I am far behind on this ironman business.  But, I find myself getting out of really sweaty clothes a lot, so maybe I am doing something right.  Today, I get in a short run and 20 mile ride.  And I feel decent enough about it, knowing I could do more.  And who knows what I could do if summoned to?  I guess that is the way it is sometimes, we don't know what we can do.  I would imagine most of us would surprise outselves if pushed serverely.

My motivation and gratitude are intact and I feel blessed by it all.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Ironman Diary Day 5

Had good workouts today.   I eat on a plant based whole food eating plan - no meat, dairy, eggs, milk, cheese, limited sugar, a little fat and oil as possible.  One of the great benefits to this eating plan that I have observed is that I seem to recover better than when I ate these things several years ago.  As an elder athlete conventional wisdom says I am supposed to recover more slowly, but that hasn't been the case.

What a blessing to be this old and this able all at the same time. Gosh, I hope I always have this sense of gratitude I do now for all God has given me.  This ironman journey, and this effort is for God first and my prayer is that He take it, use it: take me, use me.  I don't need the praise, but I need to give Him the praise for all He has done through even me.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Ironman Diary Day 4

A couple days this week I was too tired to finish a workout.  Could I need a rest?  Today, I only rode 30 instead of the planned 50.  Am I getting too old for this?  I am 74 flirting with 75 years old isn't this too old for the grind, the heat, the day after day thing?  If things remain the same there is no way I could do an ironman. 

All I know, really, is to just keep going, ignore the shortened workouts.  Try to get some rest, eat well and keep moving forward.  Isn't that the essence of the ironman mindset?  See,.I am almost there already. 

I think feeling this tired and worn out and yet believing it will get better, is essentially, exercising my faith. So, my body and my faith got exercised today.  Today still, I am thankful for that and the opportuity God has given me to try this ironman thing yet again, and to exercise my faith in the bargain.  I am blessed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Ironman Diary Day 3

This was suppose to be a light day, but it was a real chore to get the couple small workouts in.  Tired? Yes, and I feel a little weird; have a headache, sniffles  and feel funny somehow.   Could it be that the last couple of days that  I mowed on my tractor - which has an exhaust leak somewhere I can't find - that I sucked in too much diesel exhaust - not healthy, I know.   Stupid?  So agree.

This is all said to say this:  I know better.  I should have done better.  But isn't it this way sometimes in all areas of life? We turn aside to what we pretty much know is not good for us for  a diversion from purpose  to pursue some momentary reward of a task or indulgence. 

When I started this journey, I made an "Ironman life" document that covered all these things I would need to do - and not do - to maintain discipline and purpose toward the goal; to
"keep my eye on the prized."  One of those things was to avoid undue outside work. Certainly diesel huffing would qualify as a negative ironman life activity. 

So all there is to do is try to get well; tell God I am sorry that I have wasted it so; and get on moving to the rhythm of the purpose.  A 50 mile ride awaits me tomorrow; another mile of the journey.  No diesel today. Hope and purpose for tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Ironman Diary Day 2

Ironman Texas training was hot today.  A 37 minute run was a chore and was perhaps the hottest run I have done this year.  I guess the perservering heat has cut me down a bit.  I was so tired on my bike ride (trainer) after that and my swim was not that good either. 

But, I have learned through years of training for something:  Don't believe the moment for the real deal.  If it is going good:  it will change. If it is going bad: it will change.  Of course it is disconcerting when it is a day like today.   So, when I got back from the swim, I got on my small tractor and starting mowing pasture.  There is something about that activity which has a calming effect; calming to the extent that I can truly pray for thanks that I got through this day and am blessed to be on this journey

Monday, August 20, 2018

Ironman Diary Day One -

Ironman Diary Day One - 

Officially, I  began a formalized training program for Ironman Texas 2019 two weeks ago.  However, sometimes ideas come a little late such as this one.  But, I want  to track the thoughts and experience of the Ironman Life if only for myself.  If someone else gets something positive out of it, that would be great too.

 For me, the Ironman Life is not just about the training and the event.  They are just parts or benchmarks of the journey. The discipline and letting go required of living the Ironman Life and how to effect that is the larger story; the Miles of the Journey.  If I go through all this without learning some  profound things about myself, without it positively impacting the quality of my life and the richness of my faith, then the journey will not be quite as successful. 

The past two weeks have been good and motivation has been high.  Today, again I am making a late start I am sorry to say and I have a 6 mile run and a 20 mile bike.  The run will be tough in the heat.  I haven't done my morning exercises -  I have been doing these daily for 80 +days now and running everyday as well. My bad knee is only getting stronger, praise God. 

I have been keeping myself motivated by posting pictures of my last Ironman effort on my desktop.  I see these and the feeling of that comes back and I so look forward to the experience.  God bless me this day and every day on my Miles of the Journey.

T                                                        The morning of: need that coffee

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Moments to Cry About

I can cry more now that I am an older person.  Perhaps, I have matured enough to let emotion express itself  and not try to control.  Perhaps, I am not as afraid.

Looking back as I round the bend to become 75 years old this year,  I find that I can easily tear up over the loss of a loved one,  special memories, children who get hurt or abused, moving music, a total surrender prayer, things of my faith, and all kinds of things I let inside more easily now with age. And I can mist up over endurance sports as well, especially ironman - my own ironman quest, and the quests of others .  Today I watched the trailer of the movie coming out, We Are Triathletes and again, I was moved to tears.  It wasn't sadness that brought the rain, but passion, feeling, inspiration all just bubbling over and out my eyes.

I smile to think that I am so blessed to have things that reach that deep into me and make me feel truly and fully alive.  I think it is a gift from God - one I shouldn't ignore or take for granted. In looking back at the photos of my last attempt, I still feel that tearing up, that welling up of emotion, that pull toward wanting more, wanting it again - gift and a calling from God

This all  says to me  that regardless of age, and  beyond all doubt, there really is no other good choice but to go on until God says stop.   What would be the wisdom in giving up on something that makes me  feel this much alive, and this close to God. 

Times it seems embarassing that I have failed at this so many times and here the old thing goes again is what folks may say.  But fail or succeed, I'm going  go at  this ironman thing again, and build upon the moments I can't put into words," Making   moments and memories to cry tears of joy about for the rest of my life.  Thank God, I am blessed with the quest.

Follow up:  Yesterday when I saw the email to sign up for Ironman Texas, it sort of caught my breath, a flip in the stomach. 
Again, I am in. Praise God.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Shoe Seems to Fit

I will be racing as a 75 year old this year and still I find my resilience amazing.  No, I don't want to brag on myself.  I want to brag on God. He has put this in me.  He has put this in you.  The abundant life is within us all, raw material from God, to develop, to use, to feel His presence in what we, mere mortals can do. 

I find it amazing that I can keep doing this year after year, that I get down, injured, turned aside, but somehow I get picked up off the canvass to fight another round. I am thankful.

Just got in from a windy 30 mile bike ride with hills. Yes, I am tired, but the fatigue has a sort of soothing effect to my being, remindful that  this is what I am supposed to be doing; who I am supposed to be.  The shoe seems to fit.  I love it and feel blessed beyond measure, even if it should end tonight. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Dusting Off, Continuing the Journey

And the pain of just getting out of a chair or rolling over in bed was excruciating at times.   Walking was a bump and drag along affair: not pretty.  Like I wrote, I was in a hole.  And it gets down to what do I believe is lasting; the hole or the light above the hole.  The realization is that no matter how deep the hole, there is always a light at the opening; a calling to pull you toward the Light; the Light from above. 

God has put His brand upon me and in the hole or pulling up to the Light, I am His.  I am good for the journey - whatever.  The back pain is practically gone.  My activity level is back to normal.  I am dusting the dirt of the hole off my clothes.  And, with a smile, the Miles of the Journey continue.  Praise God.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Embers of Hope

With so much practice I should be good at this by now.  It should be easier but it isn't.  I suppose that if it were easy to quit, there wouldn't  have been the requisite passion to begin the quest.   Last week I dropped out of Ironman Texas 2018 - again. Again, my bum knee couldn't stand the piled on training of the last few months of Ironman preparation.  Sometimes I just get tired of all this; tired of hoping the knee holds, and then it doesn't.  And I wonder:   Will I ever get tired of being disappointed by all this and just quit this silliness and do something different? 

This time was different.   I could never get the motivation for those long runs and rides going.  It was almost as if I knew that I wasn't going to make it.  But, when it happened it was a big shot of disappointment nonetheless.  So much so that I didn't train at all for over a week.  I have never done that.

But, I did do physical stuff around the place here, like working up large chunks of firewood.  And in throwing some of these chunks short distances, I pulled my back.  Now, it is painful to walk.  Yeah, I guess I am in a hole about now. The event schedule came out for Ironman Texas yesterday, and not only am  I not in the event, but I have trouble walking.   Where does one go from here?

In this hole I find myself in, I can only look up and pray for a strength, courage, endurance, and commitment greater than my own. 

My own is obviously not enough, but I am 74 years old and how many other holes - some worse than this - have I found myself in and somehow got out of?  I love the quote: "Difficulties give birth to miracles," and there have been many miracles in my life. Indeed, there could be more to come along this wonderful journey of hills and valleys. 

Down there in the ashes of my fire that once burned big and bright, lay embers of hope yet unfulfilled.  My place at Ironman Texas was not withdrawn but only deferred.  Will I capitalize on that deferment:  probably.  Success or failure I probably won't pass up the opportunity for another miracle.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Training to Be Who I AM

It is almost February and the time has flown since Ironman Texas 2017.  I am not certain that Ironman Texas 2018 can come up to meaning experiences as compared to last year.  But, the Miles of the Journey go on.  The days have become weeks and the weeks, months, and now it is closer to event time than I had realized.  Of course, I am scared.  I doubt I would do this if it didn't scare me some. 

Most in my circle have seen me attempt this year after year:  it is just business as usual.  Folks don't ask any more.  Marvin is training; ok, what else is going on.  In a way  it might mean I have assumed the identity of an ironman already  and I am always in training for something.  I suppose my training  has become as much a part of who I am.  Training and trying has become a huge part of who I am and like to be.  How could I change that?  Why would I? And  who knows that someone out there will take notice and be encouraged in their own journeys of  courage for faith. 

And that  makes it harder not to try, more difficult to slack off.    If I take it easy, if I bow to the constant temptation and impulse to quit, would I not only let myself down but let those who  might be encouraged  down as well?  In doing that, would I not be letting God down, that when I have the opportunity to be light, I chose to "hide it under a bushel"  because it got too hard and I got too weak?

So the journey goes on another day and, God willing, another day tomorrow.  Hoping and praying to remain the person I am, and to continue to strive for the person I am called to be.