i finally gave it a tri

i completed my first triathlon this past saturday and it was amazing! it was everything i hoped it'd be plus, literally...i actually got a medal! i placed 3rd in my age group. God really gave me the strength/determination to push myself hard and it felt amazing to check this goal off of my list. now i can't wait to do my next one!

i let myself get SO nervous before this race. more nervous than my fist race ever, or my even my first marathon. it was comical really...well, now it is anyway. all last week leading up to the race i was nauseous, full of anxiety, easily agitated, and i was training way too hard. thank God (literally) i didn't end up injuring myself last week while i was pedalling twenty miles, running a few miles and then running a few more later that same day. what was i thinking? oh yeah....i was thinking that i was going to drown at the swim start, wreck on the bike if i somehow made it that far, and cramp up on the run if i made it that far. see how i can let my mind work some times? ridiculousness.

so race day came and i woke up feeling great. no nerves, no anxiety, no stress. just ready to race. it was a great reminder of how God is in control and if i would just give my "stuff" over to Him sooner i could've felt that sense of calm days before...but i'm human and have to learn things the hard way every now and then.

the swim start was about as crappy as i thought it'd be. one cool thing: i didn't get kicked in the face at the start! that didn't happen until about half way through the swim. HA! it was uber crowded at the very beginning so it took a good 100-200 yards before i could even get into a good rhythm but once i did i felt really good in the water. it felt even better running OUT of the water and heading into the transition area. what a rush! people lined both sides of a narrow path where all the athletes were running through cheering us all on. i was really excited about transitioning between sports since i have been reading tips/tricks on how to transition quick for the past several months. it seemed it paid off since i was out pretty quick on the bike. i averaged a little over 20mph on the bike for the 24 mile course and felt really great....oh, except around mile 18 when my chain came off. what the cuss!?! i freaked a little i won't lie...but i calmed myself down, hopped off my bike and fixed it quick. rolling back into the transition area was awesome. again, people lining the roads cheering us on. i even cruised by some of my fans (my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew!) and got to yell hello to them! as i quickly transitioned into the run it almost went so quick i felt like i was forgetting something, but i wasn't so i got moving....on my jello legs! it was brutal at first as my legs got used to doing something different. it took me a good quarter mile or so before i found my groove and then i just kept moving. i LOVED looking at all the other athletes faces while i was running the 5k course. the look of determination, the strength in their legs, just the complete look of success was amazing. it really helped me push it hard to the finish. oh and by the way...the finish was great! tons of people lined the narrow road as i ran toward the finish line and completed my first triathlon. of course, since i'm a total sentimental loser, i teared up a little as a finished ready to blame it on "sweat getting in my eye" if anyone asked. as all of my family came over to tell me how proud they were i realized something: i was actually proud of myself! i realized i was giving myself credit for something that i did. i trained hard, set a goal, and crushed it! praise the Lord!

here's a breakdown of each part of the race:

500m Swim: 12:29.8
Transition 1 (T1): 1:46.8
40k Bike: 1:13:07.8
Transition 2 (T2): 1:14.5
5k Run: 24:39.0

Total Time: 1:53:17.9

so who's up for doing a triathlon with me!?!


when your focus shifts

i love it when i feel something change in me. especially when it's a mental change. a shift in my thought process that makes me feel like i've changed for the better....and it's been happening more and more lately.

this causes two thoughts:
1.) praise God that He is stretching me to grow more and learn to show Jesus to more and more people
2.) man i feel dumb when i learn some stuff. like when i learn something i feel like i should've learned years ago. has that ever happened to you?

i just finished reading Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldridge which was recommended by a friend. it was a really great read. lately i've been becoming obsessed with the idea of pushing away all of  the "religious" junk the world loves to rave about and focusing on loving Jesus, showing Jesus, and trying to be more like Jesus. books like Beautiful Outlaw have been helping me move towards these goals.

as you may or may not know, my first triathlon is just NINE days out. luckily, i've been able to finally get in some open water swim sessions and feel a little more comfortable with the swim start. i haven't been able to get in the mileage i'd like to be getting on the bike, but i still feel comfortable with the 24 mile distance i'll need to cover. although i'm pretty worry-free about the run i'm still a little anxious to be doing the 5k after the swim and bike.

...and that's where my latest mental change comes in: the idea of allowing God to be a part of 100% of my life. literally....100%. not just a part of my job, my Church, my friends and family, my bad days and what i read. this is a big struggle i have been facing. it's easy for me to give God control of certain things in my life, but when it comes to things i feel like i may have better control over....or just don't trust anyone else's mine and i'm in control. i keep reserving God's involvement for more "religious" moments, days when i'm in need, or when i need to help someone. the problem with that way of thinking is i'm leaving God out of big areas of my day to day life; such as training or my fitness in general. i'm leaving God out and it's just setting me up to fail. the irony here is that i don't like to fail. in fact...i despise failing. i don't even like to watch others fail! so why would i go about doing things that are just setting me up to fail!?!

one of my favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:13 which says this, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." i feel like Paul was a runner. the endurance he possessed as he lived his life for God in EVERY way is inspiring. mainly because of the turnaround he had in his life (from saul to paul) and the fact he was just a regular dude living as much like Jesus as possible. what i learned/realized recently is that verse does not say "I can do 'a lot of things' through Him who gives me strength." it says 'EVERYTHING' and that to me is motivating and encouraging! that verse takes on a whole new meaning to me now that i am reading/comprehending it correctly. with that kind of strength available to me why would i chose to leave God out of any area of life?

here's an excerpt from Beautiful Outlaw:
    "By the way, this is the point of encountering those things in your life you cannot handle -- you are forced to turn to Christ. Did you really think you could be kind for the rest of your life without the inner help of Jesus? One day of kindness is a miracle. What about forgiving? Generous? Honest? Did you really think you could overcome your lifelong strongholds without some sort of Lazarus-like breakthrough? It simply isn't going to happen -- not without the life of Jesus in you.
    This realization was an epiphany for me.
    I have spent most of my adult years trying to find those keys that would enable people to become whole. Like an archaeologist raking for buried treasure, I've combed through the province of counseling, spiritual discipline, inner healing, deliverance, addiction recovery -- anything that would help me get others get better. Like Schliemann when his shovel struck the buried ruins of Troy, the epiphany I have come to is this:
    Jesus has no intention of letting you become whole apart from his moment-to-moment presence and life within you.
    Your brokenness and your sin are not something you overcome so that you can walk with God. They are the occasions for you to cry out for the life of God in you to rescue you. Not God outside you, up in the sky somewhere. Christ in you, your only hope of glory."