Posts Tagged ‘Ironman Triathlon’

h1

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

 

h1

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.

IMG_6459

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

Enhanced by Zemanta
h1

DISCOURAGING SHADOWS – May 9

May 9, 2014

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” Proverbs 4:18

I don’t like my shadow!

I have been spending a lot of time running. I am still building up my running miles for the Boise Ironman 70.3. I ran 10.6 miles (17.06 km) last night with two more weeks left to top 13 miles before starting to taper down prior to race day. As a result, my shadow and I have been spending a lot of time together on the lonely rural roads of my running routes.

Running is far more mental than you might think. It is very easy to fall out of form. I try to concentrate on a high cadence, feet landing under me at mid-sole, chest forward, arms pumping like a gun-slinger, and deep breathing. It feels great when it all comes together.

57536-largest_2012KonaTop15run4I feel like an athlete when I hit that rhythm in form. Images of my favorite triathlon videos play in my mind:

Bevan Docherty – Super-human Triathlon Sprint Finish
Crazy sprint finish between Javier Gomez & Jonathan Brownlee

My imagination paints the course of my impending race over the abandoned fields. I can envision myself running with long, fluid strides trailing behind me, speeding me to the finish line.

At a glance, my shadow crushes these delusions. When I look about me, I will catch a sight of my shadow. My shadow does not remind me of the runners in my favorite videos. It reminds me of Forest Gump and not the young Forest Gump but the desert shuffling Forest Gump. My strides look short and my torso looks fat as my shadow mockingly shuffles beside me.

forrest-gump-the-original-ultra-runnerI don’t like my shadow because it conveys a truth that is not helpful to dwell upon – I am sliding to 50 years old; I’ve been running (inconsistently) for less than 3 years; I can still lose another 10 pounds; and I am slow. Dwelling upon what I am, does not deliver me to what I am becoming and does not let me enjoy how far I have come.

surreal-running-shadow-scaledTherefore, I prefer to run into the sun. When I run to the sun, my shadow falls behind me and out of sight. I still am who I am – a middle-aged guy trying to stay in shape.  I know that I will never be an elite athlete,  but that reality does not need to steal the joy of being a triathlete and participating in the race.

Many people don’t realize that we cast a similar spiritual shadow. As Christians, we are being transformed from one degree to another into the image of Christ. We travel down our God-ordained paths of righteousness with the light of Dawn shining upon us; the Son illuminating our lives as we follow Him. However, the enlightenment of the Spirit will cast a shadow from all the areas of our lives that remain sinful and disobedient.

We can see who we were in our spiritual shadows. We can see all those areas of our lives where the righteousness of Christ has not cast away all darkness. I get discouraged by glimpses of my spiritual shadow – those plaguing sins; those inconsistent disciplines; those worldly loves; the slow pace of my sanctification.  In the past, I have become so discouraged that I questioned my salvation.  Focusing on my spiritual shadow resulted in a joyless religion.  Dwelling upon my sin never delivered me to what Jesus is making me and never raised praise in how much I have been transformed.

businessman-running-to-the-sunrise-with-his-shadowTherefore, I prefer to travel the path of righteousness with my face toward the Son. When I consciously focus my mind on the things of the Spirit, my spiritual shadow falls behind me and out of sight. This is not to minimize sin and the need to faithfully follow Christ, but that work is in front of us. What we have been or who we are, does not dictate who we are transformed into when our lives are illuminated by Christ.  I might never be an elite man of faith.  I know that I am a sinner in need of a Savior.  I also know that I am a Child of God with a seat at His table and that is more than enough to motivate me to continue in the joy of my salvation.

Don’t allow the joy of your salvation to be stolen
by focusing on your spiritual shadow.

Focus on the Son and enjoy the work of the Spirit in your life.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for redeeming.  Thank you for sanctifying me.  Turn my eyes toward you and away from all my continued failings.  Father, keep my face turned towards, you as I walk in the light of your Son as I continue along the path of righteousness that you have laid before me.  Keep me from being discouraged by my spiritual shadow.    I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

Enhanced by Zemanta
h1

RACE MODE – April 25

April 25, 2014

“You were running well.  Who hindered you from obeying the truth?”  Galatians 5:7

I have six weeks to go until the Ironman Boise 70.3. Time has slipped past quicker on the calendar than the asphalt has passed beneath me since my decision to enter (The Agnostic will never be an Ironman). My training has been very consistent yet my time-on-legs has not accumulated as rapidly as I would have liked.

Two rules of thumbs have come to press me into an uncomfortable dilemma. I need to add running miles slowly to avoid injury. Yet, I need to begin tapering from my longest run, three weeks before race day so I will be fresh when it really matters. I have been adding one mile per week. If I get in a 10 mile run this weekend, then I can get to 13 miles over the next three weeks, just in time before I need to start backing off.

It will all work out as long as I stay on schedule.

However, the weather has not been cooperating with my schedule. This last week has been full of rain and wind that has completely kept me off the bike and has forced me to limit my runs. I look to the forecast of the weekend without much hope of a break in the weather.  I need to get in a long run, but that will probably mean a miserable run in a cold, driving, rain.

My race day looms through the gloom of storms. The storm front will not push my race day back.  I will either have to endure through uncomfortable training conditions or face the disappointment of not being ready on race day.

If a race did not occupy a spot on my calendar, I would not train in inclement weather. I would not go out in miserable conditions when they could be avoided by delay. I would not strive to improve at the expense of unnecessary discomfort.  There is no need to endure the uncomfortable when there is plenty of time to train or there is no race on the horizon.

We train differently when we are in race mode. We have to demonstrate more self-control in our training when we are striving to do well in a race. Therefore, I will be going for a run this weekend. I hope it does not rain but I am resolved not to let the weather detour me from my goal.10299087_634665106615225_8860704770501170396_n

The same is true of our spiritual training. We live differently when we are in race mode.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

We all have a day coming when we cross the finish line of life. Will we finish well? Are we striving to obtain the prize? The storm clouds of life will not push back our final day. That glorious day should loom through all the momentary gloom of daily cares.

Yet, I do not see a lot of folks living in race mode. The self-control of spiritual disciplines is quickly discarded at the hint of inclement conditions.

Evening prayers are shortened to accommodate late-night TV.
Comfort is sought in ice cream rather than our Savior.
Praise of men governs a prideful tongue.
Charity is withheld in lieu of vacation.
Ministry is replaced by a nap.
Envy flourishes in the discontentment of loss.
Worship of flesh replaces praise of the Almighty.
Harsh words are not withheld due to unrestrained anxiety.
Morning bible reading is discarded for minutes of additional sleep.

It is easy for the cares of this world to throw us off our game. Self-control is difficult when the pressure and discomfort of a sinful will wars against our redeemed soul. It is easy to surrender to our sinful passions when we are living as if there is no finish line and cease to strive for the prize.

We do not live aimlessly. Our self-control is not in vain. We are following Christ in order to obtain the prize of eternal life. We are striving in our spiritual training to glorify the God we love and to enjoy Him daily. We say  “no” to our flesh because we are in a race for the glory of God and we only have so many days to the finish line.

Let’s not waste a day of training.  May we continue to follow Christ even when the world around us is miserable and we just want to stay in bed.  The finish line is coming and none of us knows the day.  What is hindering you from running well?

I think this video by John Piper, Make War, is excellent at describing the attitude we Christians should live in.

PRAYER: Father, keep me in race mode. Lord, help me to make war on my sinful flesh.  Don’t let me be live like there will always be another day to glorify you.  Help me to number my days.  Give me the strength to follow you in the foulest of circumstances.  Give me the perseverance to always strive forward in obedience regardless of what my flesh wants to do.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

Enhanced by Zemanta
h1

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

Enhanced by Zemanta
h1

“SPIRITUAL BONK” – April 18

April 18, 2013

“In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was diseased in his feet, and his disease became severe.  Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians.” 2 Chronicles 16:12

I went for a run yesterday morning.  As I plugged along, I meditated upon the passage from 2 Chronicles that I had read that morning.  I have been particularly troubled by the story of King Asa.  I do not like the stories of people who start off well but don’t end well.  It messes with my Disneyland world-view.

I have grown up in a land with the myth of happy endings.  It has never been true but that is the message from most entertainment.  I like movies with happy endings.  I don’t want to pay to be depressed.  I like stories where the good guys always win, the evil plot is always foiled, the nerd gets the pretty girl, and the mean people are taught a lesson.  I wish that my Disneyland world-view was real and everyone was guaranteed a happy ending.  I wish that everyone would finish this race of life well.

Disneyland is a land of make-believe and that is where the idea of “it will all work out” belongs.

I have been reading about the kings of Israel:

King Asa started out well but did not finish well;

King Rehoboam started out rough, did well in the middle, but did not finish well;

King Solomon started out well but did not finish well;

King David started out well, stumbled along the way, but did finish well;

King Saul started out rough and did not finish well.

As I ran along I could not help but think about Paul’s analogy of life being a race in 2 Timothy.  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  Running a race is an apt analogy to our long walk of faith through this life.  There are some who will finish the race well and there will be some that don’t.  Have you considered why?

BonkingI have been hesitant to even consider doing an Ironman triathlon.  My hesitance is due to a fear of not finishing well.  I don’t want to be the person, drunkenly staggering across the finish line with sedated legs that just will not do what the brain is telling them to do.  I really don’t want to be the person who starts to hallucinate and loses control of some pretty important bodily functions.  I don’t want to just finish the race, I want to finish well.

The problems in an endurance race are usually revealed at the end.  The key to finishing well is that final push past the fatigue and the pain and the voices in your tell head telling you to give up.  However, there is no pushing past a mixture of dehydration, training errors, gastric problems, and/or nutrition gaffes.

As I was heading toward home on my run, I could feel the fatigue setting in while I was thinking about bonking and finishing well.  I struggled to keep up the cadence of my stride and I could see the time rushing past at a much quicker pace than the asphalt.  I knew I was not going to come in with the time that I wanted.  I had been on pace the first two-thirds of my run but lost it in that last little bit.

Marathon

Marathon (Photo credit: Stijlfoto)

My mind turned to all those elderly folks who are closer to the end of their race than I am to mine (assuming natural causes have their way).  They are in the homeward length of their race where the fatigue is setting in.  They are battling failing bodies in which most everything hurts.  They are tired and easily exhausted.  Their minds may be telling them that they have done enough and that it is fine to rest.  There are some who are spiritually bonking because they never developed the habit of seeking Christ for their spiritual hydration and nutrition.  They may be in the final push with a body and soul that was poorly trained from years of indifference.  They may lack the strength that comes from years of walking and meditating with the Lord.

I see some elderly folks who appear to be finishing very strong, almost sprinting to the end, and the love of the Lord is just overflowing and the fruit of the Spirit is abounding;

I see some who are making it to the finish line but their pace has dropped off considerably and it is hard to distinguish their love for God from their love of tradition;

I see some who appear to have bonked – sitting on the curb unable to move forward.  The fruit of their lives is now impatience, bitterness, unkindness, and a general grumpiness.

My heart is drawn to those in the final lap of their lives.  I want them to finish well.

However, I realized, as I was walking up my driveway after my run, that I cannot remember the last time I prayed for my parents to finish well.  They are in this push.  I cannot remember praying for my elderly brothers and sisters in Christ that they will persevere in their faith and finish well.  I guess I have always assumed that they are mature in their faith and that everything is going to work out well for them; that they are past the hard part of their walk of faith; that they are in that final coast to the end and the acceptance of  “well done good and faithful servant”.

That is a Disneyland world-view.

English: Rachel Booth Winning Disneyland 1/2 M...

English: Rachel Booth Winning Disneyland 1/2 Marathon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think that we all would do well to remember that the final lap of any race can be the most difficult one.   We need to be aware of the fatigue that our older brothers and sisters in Christ are pushing through.  We need to be aware that they may need support as their habits of previous decades may have deprived them of the strength that they now need.  We need to be willing to show them more grace and encouragement to sprint to the end and abound in glorious praise of their Savior.

They are at the point where they have to dig deep to finish well.  Let’s cheer them on.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me for not showing enough grace and compassion to my elders.  Forgive me for not empathizing with the struggles of this stage in life.  Help them to finish well.  Give them a vision of the finish line.  Give them a love for You that causes them to dig deep and push past their physical fatigue.  May their walk of faith turn into a sprint, as they rush into your arms to your glory and praise. Amen.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: