Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Week 10 - Training for Ironman Texas 2020- 10 Weeks Done-Fire and Rain

As the song says, "I've seen fire and I've seen rain."  During this first 10 weeks of Ironman Texas training, I have sweltered in the heat and yesterday had to deal with dust and now rain and cold. I have bonked at the pool because the water was so hot and chilled in the same pool yesterday because the water was so cold. Through these 10 weeks, I have logged 206 running miles, 1114 biking miles, and over 11 swimming miles; all not great but incrementally a step up from the weeks previous to the training start.  It has been a good run of it.  I am blessed.  No matter how this turns out
"I wouldn't take nothing for my journey now."

What's next?  A step up in volume as I  wander off into areas more out of my comfort zone. The true testing of my will, and my spirit, and ultimately my faith, are yet to come.  But there is a wry smile on my lips and I just have this great feeling that no matter how it fleshes out: God is saying "face it. I am with you."


Monday, October 7, 2019

9th Training Week-Ironman Texas 2020


God must know I need an arrogance reducer built into my life as He seems to put enough disappointments in there to keep me humble. That tells me He knows I could never be humble without His help. Over the years I have come to find out there is not much else I can do without His help.  Yeah, this was not a great week.  I didn't get in the long bike or the long run, though I trained some every day. Got a couple of good swims in though.  That made the week seem much better and if I don't think about how long and hard the actual event is going to be, then I  can get excited that things -overall - are going pretty good.

The week started slowly and never really gained traction. It could be that  I haven't had a complete day off in a month and a half.  That could be a little severe for a 75-year-old.  It doesn't feel too severe right now. But over time, it might become cumulative fatigue that could be hard to get rid of.
So, perhaps I need to factor in a day off soon.  Perhaps, I need to pray for direction instead of trying to determine it on my own.  From experience, I know:  His directions will work better.




Monday, September 30, 2019

8th Training Week - Ironman Texas 2020 - Up Is Where My Hope Is




It was a week of benchmarks.  This last week I had my longest run of the year, the biggest week in hours of the year, and my longest swim of the year. There seems to have been some stepping up in fitness recently.  I am blessed by it.  And, this blessing is part of the journey.

It is not a given that there will ever be another journey and I intend to be extra sensitive to all the ups and downs and truly savor the little and big things from this experience. There is a peace in it all this experience that hasn't been here before as if to say, if I were to die now, it would be with a contented smile.   I am so richly blessed in that I can acutely sense God's presence in this endeavor and have truly reached that point where I can say "nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done," and mean it.

Oh, it will get scary at times around the corner.  I know that.  But that makes me smile too.  There is a line from a song that says, "when it's scary, don't look down."  No, look up.  Up is where my Hope is.


(Age 75, Eating Plant-Based  (no animal, no eggs, no dairy) for over 3 years now)

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

7th Week Training for Ironman Texas 2020 - Be Not Afraid, Only Believe

This last week wasn't that bad.  It wasn't a great week but one to be satisfied with.  I got my long bike and long run in and the rest of the weeks training fell into place. And, that place I am at, overall, it is a good one.  However, there are times when I consider ramping up my training and I the look at the training plan and think my goodness:  in over my head.   Then I think of the race distances and of moving forward for almost 17 hours and gracious, I feel small and fearful.

This morning, I read a scripture that spoke to me about some of those timid times I had last week -Mark 5:35- Be not afraid, only believe.  Yes, be not afraid.  God's got this.  I am 75 years old and don't have that much to lose anyway, so be not afraid.  This journey could be painful, but so is illness and arthritis and other aged related pains.   Why would  I think I won't ever have to face pain down if I back off from this ironman?  Can one really avoid the eventuality of pain in life? Ever?

Perhaps, life is more about how you bear your pain and what you bear your pain for - pain with a purpose.  My purpose is to honor and glorify God in my effort and for that, I will bear the pain; the pain in the body, the pain of possibly more disappointment, the pain perhaps of not finishing yet again - whatever- but pain with a purpose.  I don't know how all this will flesh out but my job is just to "be not afraid, only believe."  I believe.

Monday, September 16, 2019

6th Week- Training Ironman Texas 2020- Failed Restraint


Taking it easy has never been easy.  I tried and failed a bit at that this past week.  It was supposed to be a much lighter week for a bit of recovery before more ramping up.  But, after 3-4 days of that, I wanted to turn all the horses loose.  My son and I did a bike ride together on his birthday.  It was supposed to be a recovery ride. It was and wasn't one.   There were times it all got loose and I had to rein myself in.  I told my son that restraint is difficult sometimes, but necessary.  Such is life. There is a time for everything under the sun.   Surely after years of this philosophical bike riding with me, he wouldn't want to ride with me much anymore.  He is a glutton for punishment, I guess.

Win or lose at this Ironman business, I am enjoying this journey;  like when I was riding with my son, feeling great on a downhill, standing up, not pedaling, the wind pouring across my body.  I thought, no, there is no place on earth I would rather be; no other person I would rather be.  I am a child of God on an arduous yet beautiful journey.

(Age 75, Eating Plant-Based  (no animal, no eggs, no dairy) for over 3 years now)

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

5th Week Ironman Training - The Good and Bad

Another good and bad week as some days were right on target and others were much less than hoped for. Isn't that so much like life?  Life is ebb and flow, ebb and flow, but the key seems to be:  keep moving; keep stepping forward though you may have taken a few steps back.  Otherwise, life is one spent in full retreat from what God has called us to do and be.

So my prayer for this week is:

Oh God, keep me on course, on point, and in focus on this journey.  Make my way bright and clear.  In the dark times, make Yourself so known that I might see the Light to follow out of the pit.  Hold me close.  I will be lost without You.  I am lost without You.  Amen

Monday, September 2, 2019

4th Week - Ironman Texas 2020 Training - A Look Up

 Most of my workouts were done this week and I feel pretty good about that.  Health is good and there are no serious injuries right now.  That is, if you don't count my bum knee and if you don't consider that I have to be careful not to fall down when I first get out of bed. As I do my nursing home shuffle to the bathroom in the morning, I always think:  Ironman?  Come on now.  Who are you trying to kid?  Every day - you might say - starts with serious disbelief.

Yesterday, I got that same doubt when I considered my abilities and the enormity of the task and told my wife that chances are that I won't make this training.  She was disappointed to hear me say that.  Then we went to church and guess what the sermon was about:  not giving up; not having doubts about what God called one out to do.  My side is still sore from my wife giving me the elbow every time the preacher made a point that stomped all over my weak and whiney attitude.  It was like I had been ambushed and told to look up when doubts and fears seem to control.  Yes, look up, praise God, "feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death."

Monday, August 26, 2019

Third Week - Ironman Texas 2020 Training - Need Help Here.

This third week was a struggle as well.  Only a last 4 days of bearing down salvaged the week from a complete disaster.  This does not look good for the home team.  The heat and humidity are killers for sure but I wonder if that could be partly an excuse for poor performance when the fact could be that I am too old and over the hill for this game any longer.

But, I go on just trying to put down one day at a time of the training.  One day at a time; one step after another: this is like the ironman itself.  Trying to put discipline to this life isn't easy and I guess it that way for everyone to some degree.  Got to bury myself in the thought that if I do my best then whatever.  That is like a free fall into faith.  Need help on this one God.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Miles of the Journey: Second Training Week- Ironman Texas - Not So Good

Miles of the Journey: Second Training Week- Ironman Texas - Not So Good: The answer to another week as good as the first one was no. Fatigue in this heat wrung me out and I felt I needed a day off after 2 months o...

Second Training Week- Ironman Texas - Not So Good

The answer to another week as good as the first one was no. Fatigue in this heat wrung me out and I felt I needed a day off after 2 months of training some every day.  The second week could be called a stagger.  I did the best I could with the body and mind I had to work with but it wasn't a great week.

Years of this have taught not to believe the present is permanent, whether it be good or bad.  Whatever; it will change. Years of this have taught me to be ready for the downturns and don't lose hope and focus.  Years of this have taught me to relish and absorb the hope and joy when things are really great.  These will make your umbrella for the rains of doubt, fear, and fatigue which are sure to come.
Basically, in the balance, it is about not feeding the doubts and watering the hopes.  There is a grin as I write this and I can know my ship is still aright, and my hope is secure.  Praise God.

(Age 75, Eating Plant-Based  (no animal, no eggs, no dairy) for over 3 years now)

Sunday, August 11, 2019

First Week - Ironman Texas Training - Done

It went well.  The heat was abysmal, especially for the runs.  Workout costs in cooling oneself went way up. The swim wasn't great but I got through it without bonking which is a first in 4 attempts in the hot water.  Bottom line:  I am dealing with it and overcoming:  overcoming my age, overcoming the heat, overcoming the lure of doing something else at the time. I have kept my eye on the prize and I am happy and grateful.  God seems close and I think that is perhaps the prime mover in my personal success.
                                            Now Lord, may I have another week like that?

Monday, August 5, 2019

At 75 - Praise God, Hope Hasn't Aged - The First Day

  My first day of  the journey to Ironman Texas 

Praise  God for the Purpose and the Hope to Start

Nurture the Will, Build the Courage, Overcome the Doubts of the Lesser Self

See the Vision, Take It All In

Maintain the Discipline--Train Day After Day, After Day

And Finally, On That Special Day - Pray Hard, Breathe Deeply,

Savor the Moments - Embrace the Risks

Be Thankful

And

Get In the Water At Ironman Texas 2020

Thursday, August 1, 2019

My Blessing: The Opportunity to Hope


Thursday, August 1, 2019




It is hard to believe I have been at this ironman business for so long and harder still to believe that I would be going at it again.  It is sort of like the remake of an old movie over and over yet each time, something is a bit different.  Each time it seems, I have found a new way to fail.    This time the same enthusiasm is there along with the same fear, yet this time,  the fear is more subdued.  This time there is a quiet confidence cooking here that I haven't had before. Perhaps it is due to a close feeling with God, that seems to pervade my spirit more than ever.   Not that I haven’t felt close to Him in the past, but through my failures, I suppose,  our relationship has grown and is growing richer still than I could have imagined it could be.   I am in a good place all the way around.

Today I am working on my training plan which should start in about 4 days. In a way it like packing to go on a trip;  an adventure in faith.  For those who don’t know this is an event consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike, followed by a full marathon (26.2 miles) within 17 hours.   To prepare for this the training is going to be really hard.  The event will be really hard, but I know how great the reward and I feel ready to pay the price whether I succeed or fail.

There will be some giving up involved:  giving up leisure coffee most mornings with my wife; giving up staying up to watch a movie or reading; giving up a lot of fun, outside work here on my place, and so many other little things that will have to be set aside until.  But I think I am ready for a bit of self-denial.  I think I need the plan and the discipline enforced by the faith in my calling.  I will hope and pray to give a good accounting of myself before God.

God has given me this opportunity to hope if only for today.  I am thankful for that and my prayer is that I will be allowed to finish this and see the tears flow down my wife's face, feel her hug, and hear in my heart words from God:  "well done my good and faithful servant." 



Friday, June 28, 2019

The Open Door

Back pain, sometimes spasms seeming coming from out of nowhere, Now with  5 days of this under my belt,  I am sick of it. But there is a lesson here even in bothersome back pains if one pays attention.   When I got through feeling sorry for myself because I  just didn't feel perfect, I got to realize how many people must live in pain like this and much worse daily; moment to moment with not much hope of relief.   And in this realization, I got to feeling a bit ashamed.  I still have health and strength enough to be training, riding, running.  Yesterday, I did a good swim in open water.  Sometimes in our self-absorption, we seem to see life through a keyhole.  When we stop lowering ourselves to look through our keyhole at life, we can stand firmly and open the door.  We can see life in its totality and our place in it through the open door.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

The Turnaround Will Be OK



My ribs still hurt from that turnaround bike crash and  I was on that same course yesterday.  It wasn't the same turnaround but it was a turnaround that brought fear.  Memories and present pain, warned me of what could happen and as I approached the turnaround. I could feel the shakiness and insecurity making it more likely I would fall in my fears.

"Help me here Lord."  "Help me here Jesus"

I keep repeating that in my mind and my prayer became reality.  The turnaround went safely; no problem.

This morning the ribs seem to hurt worse and in the long term, I wonder; I feel insecure in that here I am again, a confirmed Ironman failure trying this again.  And my ribs hurt.  The moment has obscured my future and at present I believe the pain and lack of ability. I feel inadequate for this task God has called me out to do.

Then I read a devotional  this morning  by Charles Stanley which spoke right at me.

Feeling inadequate is not a sin, but using it as an excuse is. When the Lord challenges you to do something that you feel is beyond your abilities, you have two options. You can focus on Christ and proceed in triumph or focus on yourself and withdraw in defeat.
It's really a matter of faith. God would never ask you to do something without empowering you to accomplish it. This doesn't necessarily mean you will do it perfectly, but each step of obedience is a victory. The alternative is to play it safe, but then you'll miss out on God's best for your life.
It is again, really a matter of  faith.  The turnaround will work out OK. 




Friday, May 31, 2019

Feeding Your Faith II



A large part of this post is from a previous post back in 2015.  Not much of my spirit had changed, it seems.  And I still have that bum knee.

Yesterday my run cut short due to lightning. But, that's OK. The knee is painful at times and that crack in my armor gives me doubting room. I like the saying, though: "Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death." So, to do that, I have to go about setting up conditions to starve the doubts.  You can shut down the fire in a stove by cutting down the air and by shutting down the air to doubts, we  can starve our doubts. Don't let them breathe. Don't let the doubtful thought in. Don't give doubt air but give air to the times God has brought me through. The time He saved me out when I barely escaped from a burning vehicle or the time He saved me out when I had some sort of allergic reaction and couldn't breathe; the time I had hyponatremia a the end of a marathon and thought I was dying.  He brought me through so many trials in life and in numerous endurance experiences, training sessions, when I could not see my way through. 
"Feed your faith and your doubts will stave to death"

So, if you see some doubts out there, weak and emaciated,  staggering around choking to death, know that I am out there, still training and  feeding my faith well.

Monday, May 20, 2019

It Wasn't My Plan

The battle was over.  Arms were more or less laid down.  Resignation to no more than a half ironman at best had been made.  It was almost good enough. The nagging sense of being unfilled was being dealt with successfully.  I had almost convinced myself.   However ironman, for me,  is like one of those dormant viruses, there just waiting for the right stressors to activate it again.

So it was with ironman. I wasn't going to sign up until:  I got my book by Mike Reilly, Finding My Voice.  As I started reading it, the inspiration, the hopes started bubbling back up to the surface.  I began to get my own voice back; my ironman voice.  Then Ironman Texas this year was held and the social media was full of information and inspiration about the event.  Then there was that email that offered opportunity to sign up before registration opened.  Oh how could  I withstand all this?  Like an alcoholic going off the wagon I stayed up later that night and just went on and took that first drink.  I got weak.  I caved.  I signed up.

God help me.  Of course, I am in way over my head. God help me.  Of course, He will.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Who Am I Listening To

No, I wasn't paying attention making that turn-around and my bike fell over and I land squarely on the back of my ribs. Do I have a broken rib? I am not sure.  But it hurts. But it is getting better slowly.

All this pain and limitation make me cognizant how important capability is.  When I was in good health I had to fight the mind games I played on myself to get out of doing my morning strength and flexibility exercises.  Now, I wish I had the capability to do them all.

And, get this, all of the injury stuff happened within 24 hours of me signing up for Ironman Texas yet again.  Does God want me to stay home or is this part of game plan of evil to thwart what God has called me to try to do?  Who am I listening to?  I think I know and therefore, I am going on.  Something really great must be in store for me at the end of this journey.   That's what I am going with; my story; my song.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

God Is Not In This

Several weeks ago I pulled out of the ironman effort.  Health issues were the final straw that broke the camel's back.  Come to find out the health issues weren't that serious but bear consideration under the extremities of ironman efforts right now.

The water at my swimming location was so cold I had to wear a full wetsuit in the pool.  The weather has been so wet and cold that outside bike riding was all but nothing.  The wet conditions had made the trails I run on slick and dangerous to falls.  The county road I used to run on when my trials were wet and slick has been taken over by a pipeline construction project creating bad running conditions there whereas I spent a lot of time on the soggy ditch dodging 18 wheelers going back and forth on that narrow road.  No mas!

Sense and sensibility seems to be coming back.  Right now I am more rested than I have been in many years.  I haven't been afraid of taking days off and sort of broke that spell.  In short, I guess I am getting accustomed to being on an ordinary journey leading the ordinary life expected of me.

Truth is that I am proud of all the recovery; proud of the things I have accomplished since backing off, but I am staring to get tired of trying to jump up high enough to see the world outside the rut I am in.  Yes, I know God was not in my ironman effort, but I know also He isn't through with me yet. I will continue to jump to see what is the over the edge of the rut;  what God has in store for me.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Four Months Later And Still No Wiser

Four months since my last post.  It seems I found myself saying the same thing and just got bored with myself.  I can imagine how the readers felt.  But, here I am on January 5, 2019 talking about ironman training once more.  What's to say?  It is going well, physically.  I am not injured and a lot of the larger workouts have  been done.  But, many have not and I am concerned that I just don't have it anymore; that I can't grind it out like I once did  I look at the hard, long training and think, do I really think I can do this?

I guess  self doubts are the villains of any project, purpose, or goal.  If that is true, it at least proves that I am partially normal.   Tonight I writes while in sweaty shirt from a trainer ride.  Lots of trainer rides.  Just got a wild hair to post on my blog.  Who knows, training delirium, I suppose.  The last post talks of rain, rain, rain.  That was in September and since then what have we had: rain, rain, rain; the wettest year ever here. I have ran on slick and mushy trails at a safe pace that can barely be called movement.  Riding outside is so limited that I go for weeks now without an outdoor ride.

It won't rain always, they say.  But they- whoever they is - say a lot of things that - as they say - ain't necessarily so.