Summary: This lesson relates the Ironman race to the Race of Life. Never give up , never give up and the glory revealed to you in the end will far surpass any trials now.
The Ultimate Decision
July 23, 2014
It is hard to believe that 9 years ago this weekend I did the Ironman in Lake Placid, NY. The distance for the race is a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike and then a marathon 26.2 miles. The total comes out to 140.6 miles. Ever since my bike accident and all my surgeries I would have trouble doing .6 miles. But thank you Lord for allowing me that great experience. The Ironman in so any ways is like our journey through life. In the swim portion everyone is excited , eager and full of energy much like our younger years in life. Remember when we were kids, adults used to say to us, “I was I could bottle up your energy”. As I would have a tough time doing .6 miles now I know what they mean. There were many hard parts to the race and to the entire day. The race started at 7:00am and I finished at 7:56 PM That is a long time to be continuously exercising. For me right now that would be a tough time to watch TV that long.
The swim was pretty easy and I did that in 1 hour and 15 minutes which is average. The bike was two 56 mile loops in the Adirondacks. The last 12 miles of each loop was up a large mountain back into Lake Placid. So at mile 95 I started to have the first thoughts of “I don’t know if i can do this”. The pros do the bike in around 4:15 and I did the bike in 6:40. That is a long time to be sitting on anything. So for 6:40 minutes I plodded through the countryside. When I got off my bike there were volunteers to take my bike. As I wobbled off my bike and put on my running shoes it hit me. I have to do a marathon now! I had already been out on the course for close to 8 hours and now this. Now, not only do I not know if I can make it but I am pretty sure I don’t even want to try. The problem is I told too many people what I was doing:)
Now running is my specialty but after this much time on the course I was not sure what my legs would do. RELUCTANTLY I went under the banner that said RUN START and started the marathon. The run was two 13.1 mile loops. After 3 miles the Lord allowed me to get my legs back and I did the first 13.1 miles in 2 hours even. Then I was feeling pretty good till I headed out of town again for the last 13.1 miles. At 130 miles of the race or 10 miles to go it was if the wheels came off the cart. It was the first time I had to stop and walk. I was at an aid station and for the past 11 hours I was moving. Now I was walking. I got through the aid station at mile 16 and then was able to run again till the next aid station. Then I prayed. I don’t know if I was praying much beforehand but now I was. “Lord please help me, please let me know that you are there.” About 10 second later I passed this woman who was walking and the back off her shirt read
Isaiah 40:31 "but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
So I wept. No one could tell as we were all in pain. So I kept praying and then I came upon mile 22 and I could see the town of Lake Placid in the distance. But I was so cramped up that I still did not know if I could make it. Then it happened. I was at mile maker 25 and I knew. I heard a spectator yell out “ You are going to make it”. As I entered the oval where the speed skating was done in the Olympics in 1980 I only had 300 yards to run and then I saw Julie, Bryce and Chase. They came out and we ran, yes ran towards the finsih line together.
Today you may be young, splashing in the water or you may be young going through chemo and feel like mile 130. You may be also be on the homestretch of life and are worn out wondering if you can make it another day. Maybe your depression, pain or the trials of this life make each day feel like mile 130. But I am here to tell you one thing. A year later I tried to do the Ironman in Wisconsin and developed hypothermia on the bike. It was 52 degrees with heavy rain all day. The bike leg took me 7 hours and 40 minutes, When I got off the bike I could not walk or remember my name so I had to DNF. DID NOT FINISH. To this day it is still a bitter pill to swallow. No mater if you have to walk, crawl or claw you way; FINISH. Never forget that