Posts Tagged ‘Ironman 70.3’

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A TALE OF TWO TRI’S – Sept 1

September 1, 2014

“For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.” Psalms 149:4

The triathlon season has come to a close for me. I competed in only two events this summer, the Boise Ironman 70.3 and the Emmett Most Excellent Triathlon. I am confrontDSC_0085ed by very different emotions as I reminisce over the two events.

The Boise Ironman was an event that I trained specifically for. I blogged several times regarding my apprehensions associated with this new and longer distance. I had specific goals for each leg of the race.

I hoped to swim the 1.2 mile distance between 40 to 45 minutes.
I wanted to do the 56 mile bike in less than 3 hours.
All I wanted to do was survive the ½ marathon; my goal was a time of 2 hours 30 minutes.

swim-massThe swim was cold – frigid cold.  So cold, I wanted to quit when my head broke the surface for the first time. However, the race start filled me with enough adrenaline and coursing blood that cold water concerns quickly evaporated. I swam my typical serpentine route as I struggled to stay on course. Other than getting a little motion sickness from swimming through a couple wakes and drinking a couple waves, the swim went very well. I came out of the water right at 40 minutes. I was thrilled.

My official time corresponded well with my experience – 40:05, 2:04/100 average.

DSC_0108My plan on the bike was to ride within myself and stick to my nutrition and hydration schedule. I tried to maintain a speed of over 20 mph on the flat sections of the course, knowing that my average speed would suffer on the hills. Surprisingly, I was averaging just over 20 mph as I descended back into the City of Boise. However, my stomach threatened to revolt. I had been regularly drinking the Gatorade that I was packing and consuming a gel packet on the ½ hour. By mile 45, the thought of eating another gel pack made me want to vomit and I acquiesced to the will of my stomach when it sent up a warning “erp”. I slowly watched my average speed fall as I tried to manage the fatigue that was creeping into my legs. However, I still held onto my goal of finishing the ride in less than 3 hours. I chuckled when the timer beep signaled the end of my ride with only seconds to spare.

My official time corresponded well with my experience – 2:29:53, 18.68 mph average.

I transitioned to the run and into the unknown. I managed the first couple miles relatively respectfully. However, my heart rate began to rise and fatigue was setting in alarmingly fast. I changed to a run-walk strategy. I ran until my heart rate cliDSC_0110mbed to 160 bpm, when I would walk it back down to 140 bpm. I did this throughout the run and to my surprise it was a reasonably pleasant experience. I was going agonizingly slow as a constant stream of runners continued to pass me, but at this point I did not care.  I just wanted to finish. I shuffled over the finish line just over 2:30.

My official time corresponded well with my experience – 2:30:53, 11.31/mile average.

0727_010853Overall, I finished with a time of 6:17:27. I had hoped to finish at 6:15, but I was very satisfied with my performance. I was 68th out of the 105 athletes in my age group; my typical place in the meat of the bell curve. My experience corresponded well with the official results.

My second race of the season came after a week of business travel, followed by a week of County fair. I went to sleep after 11:30 PM following an evening at the 4-H and FFA livestock sell with the decision not to race the following morning. However, I awoke with plenty of time to make the race that I had pre-registered and paid for. I never have the opportunity for open water swims so I figured I would do the race for the swim and see what happened with everything else.

I had the best swim that I have ever had in a race. I swam a reasonably straight route and did not have any major corrections. For the first time, I did not even get caught up in the melee at the turning buoys. I focused on stretching long and felt like I was going fast; very few swimmers passed me. When I came out of the water, I discovered that I had missed the start button on my watch so I had no time. I came out just behind this young guy and felt very good about the fact that there were not very many athletes in the transition area.

My official time for the swim was 27:20, 1:40/100 average.

This time was only 20 seconds faster than my time last year. I felt so much faster than last year. Also, according to the official time, the guy coming out of the water ahead of me was 41 years old, not the twenty-nothing kid I had remembered. My experience did not correspond this official record.

I had a very good ride. I was feeling strong and did way more passing than being passed. I was averaging between 22-23 mph over most of the route. A young guy passed me on the most significant climb and we exchanged some words of condolence. He became my pace setter as we headed back to the City of Emmett. Some weird cross winds picked up over the last third course so I contented myself with riding between 20-21 mph. The last check of my average speed was 21.75 mph as I came into the City of Emmett.

My official time was 1:10:46, 21.07 mph average.

This time was actually 19 seconds slower than my time last year. That did not make any sense. I know I rode that course faster than last year. According to the official time, the young guy that paced me on the bike was actually the same 41 year old guy who came out of the water 2 seconds ahead of me. My wife videoed me coming into the bike-run transition area and also caught a glimpse of the rider just ahead of me. I found a picture of the athlete who should have been ahead of me according to the official records on Linkedin and checked it against the video. They don’t look like the same guy.

DSC_0309I began my run with the usual trepidation. The day was relatively cool and I was feeling good. The normal flow of runners passing me did not seem as ferocious as usual. I was hoping to run the 10K under 1 hour and after a first lap of just over 28 minutes, I was right on pace. I checked my watch regularly with about two miles to go. It was going to be close. I lengthened my stride and really started to dig deep over that last ½ mile and I was encouraged as I gobbled up several athletes who had passed me earlier. The last check of my watch as I headed down the final stretch put me under 59 minutes, I was going to make it. I crossed the finish line and as they were cutting my timing chip off of my ankle, I stopped my watch – 59:something. I had done it and came in under 1 hour.

My official time was 1:00:08, 9:41/mile average.

That was a 10 second per mile average improvement over last year but it did not correspond at all to my own time. By my reckoning, I should have been about a minute faster.

Overall, I finished with a time of 2:41:10. I was 6th out of the 13 athletes in my age group and exactly 1 minute faster than last year. However, my experience of the race tells me that I should have been knocking on the door of the podium.

I can easily accept the official results of the Boise Ironman because they are confirmed by my experience. I probably will never fully accept the official results of the Emmett Most Excellent Triathlon because they are so counter to what I experienced. However, the official results of both races stand, whether I accept them or not.

In many ways, the tale of these two triathlons illustrates one of the most significant stumbling blocks to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel tells us that every person is a sinner in need of a Savior. It tells us that we are not good. It tells us that we have rebelled against God and have earned the punishment of hell.

The Gospel is good news to those whose experience corresponds to the official record of the Bible. For these, Jesus Christ saves them from what they know they deserve and gives them what they could never earn.

The Gospel is a stumbling block to those whose experience tells them that they are good enough. Their experience has them comparing themselves to other people and concluding that they do not deserve condemnation. Their pride leads them to follow their own understanding and reject the official record of pending judgment.

Just as it is pride that elevates my race experience to equality with an official timekeeper, it is pride that keeps a person from acknowledging his place before God and keeps God from exalting him. It is pride that makes people believe that they deserve the podium.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:10)

At the end of the age, it is only the official record that will stand. It will not matter whether we agree with it or not. All will be humbled before the splendor of His majesty. All pride will crumble and utterly pass away before the Lord.

And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled,
And the lofty pride of men shall be brought low,
and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.(Isaiah 2:17)

Don’t wait until that day to let go of your pride for then it will be too late. Today is the day to accept the official record of the Lord God and to receive the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for breaking my pride and enabling me to see past my experience and to the truth of your Word.   Forgive me for reverting back to that old pride and not living daily in the good news of the Gospel.  Lord, enable me to not think of myself.  Help to keep my eyes firmly fixed upon you. Father, break down the stumbling block of pride that is keeping the lost focused upon their personal experience.  Call them to yourself and salvation.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

 

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PRIZE OF THE IRONMAN – June 5

June 5, 2014

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

 “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
~ Mike Tyson, Mike Tyson explains one of his most famous quotes

Training has been done;
Miles have been logged;
Intervals accumulated;
Laps swum; and
Injuries avoided;

The sugar-plums of my dreams have been replaced by visions of the swim, bike, and run.

All that remains is to race.

Swim race start (ITU ) World short course Tria...

The race for me is the Boise Ironman 70.3  that starts a mere 2 days from now. It would be a lie to pretend that I am not nervous. I have never raced this combination of distances. Therefore, the unknown of race day looms large in my mind.

I would like to have more time for a half-marathon run to be comfortable.
I would like to have done an open water swim this year.
I would like to have stacked a few more bricks.

Français : Photo de Pierre Lavoie à l'entraîne...

Yet, all the things that I would like to have done, would not chase away the apprehension of race day unknowns I now feel. The challenge for a prepared racer is far less physical than it is mental. The body will perform how it has prepared. Muscles will pull and push to the levels they have been stretched. Lungs will exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide at their rate of capacity. Blood will carry all the essentials provided in order to accumulate miles at speed.  An athlete’s body will perform in accordance to the training plan it has developed under.

The mind is the unknown.130608-F-IZ428-500

What happens when you enter the pain locker?

 What happens when the fun stops and adversity begins?

 What happens when you feel like you have been punched in the mouth?

That is the test of the mind.

We all have a plan.
We all have visions of success.

Yet, the mind determines whether those plans will be abandoned in the face of adversity.

I think this may be why I am drawn to endurance events. I want to train my mind not to give up under adversity. I want the confidence that I will continue when the plan really matters. My race on Saturday does not really matter. There are no consequences for not finishing. I have no hope of winning.  I won’t even be competitive.

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The prize I seek from the Boise Ironman 70.3 is the realization that I can take a punch and still finish.

That is a prize that will reward throughout life. Life is full of adversity.

We will fail… be misunderstood… and ridiculed;

We will be disappointed… abandoned… and betrayed;

We will be attacked… face fear… and uncertainty;

We will make mistakes… experience loss…and know heartache;

We will be broken.

Any of these adversities can feel like a punch in the mouth. Suffering and trials can hit us so hard that we are willing to abandon our plan, even our first love, to gain relief. How can you be confident that you will endure all things when it really matters?

This is the prize of suffering.

It is why I will rejoice in the pain that comes from the Boise Ironman 70.3.

It is why I rejoice in all the suffering that I have endured.

I rejoice because I have learned that I can take a punch and won’t give up. Throughout my life, I believe that the Spirit of God has used those punches to produce in me a character of endurance. It is a character, grounded in faith, which gives me a confidence based in experience. It is that character that produces hope. I rejoice in that hope. It is this hope that will never put me to shame because God’s love has been poured into my heart through the Holy Spirit who has been given to me.

What about you?

Can you take a punch in the mouth?
Are you confident in your character?
What has your character produced?

I realize that endurance events are not for everyone. However, there are plenty of opportunities in life to train our minds not to give up. It is why sticking with the small things matter. They are all opportunities to train our mind – and that is a prize worth enduring for.

My hope for you is:

When it gets hard, you go deep;
When it hurts, you look beyond;
When it is inconvenient, you continue;
When others run away, you stand;
When you want to give you, you take another step.

My hope for you is that you will rejoice in all the adversities of your life…because they will produce hope.

That hope is a prize worth training for.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for what you have taught me in suffering.  While I do not desire adversity, you have shown me the value it produces.  Thank you for the character that you have developed in me.  Thank you for the hope that will never disappoint.  Lord, train me in those areas were I am prone to give up.  Build within me a mental toughness to take a punch when it really matters and to continue to follow you. I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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THE AGNOSTIC WILL NEVER BE AN IRONMAN – April 13

April 13, 2014

“But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many.  And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’” Luke 14:16-20

 

Windows Calendar

As the calendar on my computer screen rolled down into the month of April, I noticed a deadline for a decision I have been avoiding. I placed this reminder on my calendar when the leaves were beginning to turn in the previous year. The number of days ahead comforted my indecision.

Yet, the mill of time has ground those days away, the leaves are budding anew, and I remain as indecisive as the day I typed my reminder. I have often picked up this decision in the intervening months, examined it from various perspectives and left it on the calendar. Time remained, so I cherished my indecision.

ironman%2070%203%20boise%20eventpagelogo%20200x70April’s sunshine, fair weather and dwindling time have forced me into a corner – will I register for the Boise Ironman 70.3 or not.

I have clearly made more of this decision than it merits, but my list of excuses has been extensive:

I am not sure I have enough time to get into half-marathon shape.
I am not sure I want to get into half-marathon shape.
I am not sure my knees can take the training.
I am not sure I want to spend the money.
I am not sure I want to spend the time.
I am not sure I want to suffer – especially through that run.

130608-F-IZ428-500

All of these concerns have caused me to delay a decision until my deadline. The delay comes from the unanswerable nature of the concerns, manifested as excuses. I have no idea what competing in an Ironman 70.3 will feel like. It is unknowable until one commits to competing.

What I do know is that competing in an Ironman has been a goal since I started doing triathlons.  I also know that I will never finish a race if I remain agnostic to competing.

I realized that I have been largely agnostic to the Boise Ironman. I acknowledge that it exists, but based on the unknowable aspects of the race I had remained uncommitted. I was awaiting answers that would come only after I had committed to accomplishing the goal that I have set for myself – completing an Ironman race.

I was awakened from my agnostic indecision by Jesus’ parable of the great banquet and the excuse makers. I have known many of these excuse makers. They cloak themselves in the philosophical coverings of the agnostic. They believe that there is a divine being, an ultimate cause, a mysterious entity behind everything …They believe there is a God. However, they will not commit to any religion or specific belief because they want to know more.

They cherish their intellectual indecision as they claim to be seeking answers to their questions. However, I have met few who are really seeking with any urgency. They pick up the consideration of God periodically and examine the questions from different perspectives but always place it back on the shelf of indecision. They rarely actually examine the information given to them to help in their decision.

Mary at the finishline

They are comforted by the perception of time. There are no deadlines that force a decision. There is no countdown to consequences. Therefore, the months and years slip past as the excuses of indecision mount.

They fail to acknowledge that indecision is a decision. It is like my indecision to compete. If I do not decide to enter the Boise Ironman, then I am guaranteed to never finish the race. Those who believe there is a God, but live in indecisive unbelief, are guaranteed to never complete that race that leads to eternal life.

We have been given all that we need to know to make a decision.  The Apostle Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke so that we could have certainty in what we have been taught:

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)

The Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John so that we would believe:

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31)

The answers to the nagging questions about the nature of God will only be revealed after the commitment to believe. Understanding comes through faith, not before it.

So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith. (Romans 1:17)

Those cloaked in agnostic indecision should not rest comfortable due to the seemingly endless number of days ahead. No one knows the number of days they have. You have all that you need to make a decision. Read the Gospel of John. Read the Gospel of Luke. They were written so that you would have what you need to make a decision.

Decide to believe or not believe but just stop the excuses of indecision.

The mill of time is grinding away your remaining days – you know not how many you have left.

PRAYER: Father, I pray for all those who read the words written so that they may believe  that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing they may have life in His name. Lord, I ask that you remove all the questions of unbelief that they have used to remain indecisive. Draw them to yourself. Give them the gift of faith and reveal yourself to them. I pray that the power of the Gospel will flow over them for salvation as them come to a belief in you.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

P.S. – I did register for the Boise Ironman.

Related Post:
“COST OF AN IRONMAN” – Nov 2
“2014 Resolutions” – Dec 29

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“COST OF AN IRONMAN” – Nov 2

November 2, 2013

“For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?”  Luke 14:28

Triathlon Packing Plan

My personal triathlon journey started with the goal to just finish one.  I am two years and about $2,500 into this journey, after buying a road bike, a tri-bike, a membership at the City Pool, all the associated paraphernalia, and registration fees.  When I started this journey, I was not completely aware of the cost.  That ignorance was mostly due to my failure to do the accounting.  However, I believe I might have discovered my cost limit regarding the sport of triathlon.

I have flirted with the idea of stepping up to the next triathlon distance for my third year.  The next distance is the half-ironman or the 70.3.  I am apprehensive but not about combining the 1.2 miles (1.9 km) swim and the 56 miles (90 km) bike.  My concern dwells with the half-marathon run, 13.1 miles (21.1 km), at the end of those disciplines.

the tattoo dtm's debating...

I have vacillated over that run.  I have made plans to do the race and then reconsider.  I read some more,  work out some more and I reconsider my reconsideration.  I have hemmed and hawed for about two months.

Additional motivation has come through reading blogs and watching videos of the recent World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.  I am enamored with the idea of being able to say that I am an Ironman; at least a 70.3 Ironman.  I think it would be cool to put the M-dot logo of Ironman on my pick-up even if it is qualified by the 70.3 distinction.

So, I decided to do it and I told a bunch of people that I was all-in. The Boise Ironman 70.3 is the event I have chosen as my inauguration into the half-ironman world.ironman%2070%203%20boise%20eventpagelogo%20200x70

However, their registration website surprised me.  The registration fee is $250. Registration fees that are less than $100 are what I have become accustomed  – $250 might just be too much.  I don’t know if it is worth it.  I have set off on this Boise Ironman goal without knowing all the costs.

I don’t know if I am willing to pay the price to become an Ironman.

Ironman bannerJesus taught that true discipleship must include planning.  A follower of Christ must be sure that they are willing to pay the full price of discipleship.  We are encouraged to consider the cost of the sacrifices we are willing to incur as a disciple of Christ.

Jesus calls us to give up everything.

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.  (Luke 14:26-27)

The only way I know how to count the costs of following Christ is to meditate on thought experiments:

Would I renounce Christ for the life of my wife?
Would I renounce Christ to stop the torture of my son or daughter?

Some followers of Christ have had to make that decision.

Would I keep my faith silent to keep my freedom?
Would I keep my faith silent to keep my wealth?

Some followers of Christ have had to make that decision.

Would I deny my convictions for friendship?
Would I deny my convictions for peace?

Some followers of Christ have had to make that decision.

Would I give up my life for the sake of the cross?

I don’t know what my reaction to these scenarios would be if I were to actually have to face them.  However, I know how I hope that I will react.  I hope that I am willing to pay all the potential costs for Christ.  I know what Jesus wants from me – everything.  That does not mean he will take it but it means that I treasure Him more than anything else.

The true disciple loves Christ more than all His blessings.

Whoever loves father and mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:37-39)

If I vacillate over the costs of discipleship in a mental exercise, there is a problem.  If I am not willing to pay the price in a thought experiment, then I will probably not be willing to pay the price on the day of the actual test.  We must be planners for the potential costs of our faith.  If we are not willing to pay the price for the strong tower then it probably won’t be there in our time of need.

If you are not willing to pay the costs, then you might not be a disciple after all.

Casper Ten Boom

Casper Ten Boom (Photo credit: Corrie ten Boom Museum)

When I consider these scenarios, I doubt my strength to withstand the test.  I know that I am weak.  I know that my strength will not withstand any of thought experiment scenarios within my strength.  The hope of my response does not rest in my strength.  My hope rests in the strength of God.  I have assurance that I will be willing to pay the cost of a true disciple on the day of trial because my Father will give me the strength when I need it.  Corrie ten Boom’s father, Casper ten Boom, expressed this truth beautifully:

And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need-just in time.  (Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place)

I may not be willing to pay the price of being an Ironman, but I do know that I am willing to pay the price of a true Disciple of Christ because my Father, who knows what I need, will give me the strength . . .  just in time.

PRAYER: Lord, you know the doubt that plagues me when I contemplate trials.  You know the uncertainty when I wonder how I would react to the same persecutions that my brothers and sisters in Christ have endured.  Father, I trust you.  You know my heart better than I do.  You know that I love you.  Prepare me to walk down any path that you give me.  I will trust you to provide the strength that I need – just in time.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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