Monday, April 21, 2008

Geared Up

I cant tell you how great it was today to bike and run in 70 degrees. Training has been great. I have been slowly ramping up my daily training schedule. I can easily say that I am in better all around tri shape now, than I was all of last year. Experience is a great teacher. Our TNT coaches for the big Lifetime Tri are fantastic. They have both done the grandaddy of Tri's the "Ironman." As great of a personal feat that is, I must say that their teaching strengths lie in bring those along who are learning how to swim, bike and run for the first time in their lives. It is such an honor to be part of a group that is focused on the groups success, rather than individual triumphs. It honestly inspires me to push harder on my own. So I have.

Last year I could not continuously freestyle swim without taking a break, for more than 300-400 meters. Yesterday I did 1000m continuous for the first time. It was a huge accomplishment for me. I believe 1750m is a mile, so I have a bit more to go, but I know I can get there. It is by far my weakest link. Biking is just starting to get going. I am happy where I am at. The bike is usually where the most time is gained or lost, so staying strong here is my goal. I am doing a 100 mile fun tour this Sunday called the MN Ironman Bike ride. I am doing it with some other TNT alumni so it should be a great day. The run has become my strong-point. I have been following a solid half-ironman training schedule for my July 20 race in Racine Wisconsin, and it has really excelled my running pace with little effort. In light training I am running one minute faster per mile than last year at my peak of marathon training last year. I have my first real test coming up in four weeks. The Maple Grove half marathon is going to be a fun test to see where we are at. A lot of good friends are doing this race and I am really looking forward to it.

Training is about 10 hours total during the week, so needless to say were pretty busy around here!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I Just Felt Like Running

I was going to title this post perspective, both were fitting and in the end "I just felt like running."

We have not left the cold clutches of winter here in Minnesota. We are currently sitting in the path of a winter storm warning. By Sat. morning we should have 4-10 inches of snow. I continue to tell myself that it will just be a couple more day and it will all be behind us.

Life and training have been great. Janet celebrated her 33rd birthday for the second time yesterday! We had a lovely dinner at Benihana, just her and I. Date nights get shorter when you have to get a little one in bed. It's amaizing how wonderful life is in all of it's constant changes. God has been pressing perspective in my life now for a few years now. Striving for perspective is rather life changing, especially when you apply it to Gods desire for us to be happy.

I was looking back on my old training records, now that I am starting to bike again. The reality of last year hit me. Looking back now, it looks crazy. I could never do that again. I thought. The training is one thing. Couple in the scope of the fund raising and it gets pretty nuts. Last year I didn't give it a second thought, doors opened and I kept going. My perspective then was completely different. It looks to hard now. I could never do that again. But why? Mostly because I told myself I couldn't when I was thinking about it. Don't worry, I'm not going to fund raise for three consecutive races again. But it really got me to thinking about the power of the mind and the will of our spirit. Who is in control of those all important things. There was an amaizing example made in the sermon last Sunday at Open Door. Do we walk across the river of life on rocks that we have created, that we consider safe and good. Completely God, we claim. The rocks I stand on is certainly God. And then some thing comes along and knocks us off the rock and life stinks. Life is suddenly not fair. The river current got crazy and now your all wet and not happy. The point being, that often we unknowingly put our own spin on the rock that we stand on and when one thing or person dose something we don't like. SPLASH! When all along God is calling us to walk....walk on the water. We do such a good job of keeping things in a box. Espically God. Who is really in control. The true test is the things that we can't control. Is he really leading us. How do we react when the things that we don't like get in our way. Who's joy do we reflect then.

The more I see the more I realize that as Gods creation, His desire is for me to be happy, always. Obviously, there are many examples of pain and loss, and His heart breaks with ours. But outside of the pain. The day to day life, God want us to find joy and happiness in everything. He is in everything Good and we should take great pleasure in that. Even in time of hurt He is there, consistently offering goodness and grace. We choose to distract ourselves from His constant blessings. That is Godly perspective.

The last two days I was off from training. With the winter weather bearing down I really wanted to get in a long run. Six miles was on my mind and I got done with work just early enough to beat the snow. But I did not beat the rain. Now I will admit that 35 degrees and blustery, stinging wind with rain is not ideal running conditions. Yet my perspective has forever been changed by my experience. Running six miles in cold stinging rain is not pleasant, but neither is chemotherapy. I listened to our current "honored team mate," Eric tell our team before a swim a month ago how excited he was to have his last spinal tap, his third I think. The procedure was the next day, and he was excited!? Eric is 11 and he has done chemo, and all the rest. He has a smile on his face every time I see him and he is inspired by everyone who is fund raising for him. How can I not be inspired by Eric. I honestly can't look outside and see rain as something that should stop me from giving it my all.

My memories of Adam, and all he went through have changed me. I can't honestly look at rain or snow or cold and say that looks too hard. My perspective has changed. Because Adam was strong, because Dan was strong, because Brenden is strong, because Elliot is strong, because Eric is strong, because McKenna was strong, I will always train strong. I will always finish strong. I completely enjoyed the rain today. Do you seriously think that there are not a million people out there that would love to have the ability to run period. And rain should stop me? It was hard, and at times unpleasant, but as I ran I remembered that all those I run in honor of and in memory of, do not have a choice. I do, and I will choose action. I will continue to fight with them. As the many memories poured through my mind on my run today I felt drawn to go up to Adams memorial. I rarely go there. It is just .37 miles away. He is not there, but today I went up to finish my run there. There is nothing in the world like a head stone. It represents finality. I broke down in emotion as I approached the stone and fell to my knees in the rain. On that head stone is a river and it winds along the front of the stone. I am thankful to be reminded what an amazing man he was, and how blessed we all were to have him in our lives. I am glad that there is a river on that stone reminding us that life is constantly changing and this is not the end.

Every moment matters, find Joy in it all! The book of James is filled with how to do it. Sit and listen some time. Find your perspective.