Thursday, April 3, 2008

Do All Things!

The story I'm about tell is not about tooting my own horn, it's not to say how great I am, it's to show you that what natrual talent we THINK we've been given by God is probably really short sighting God. When you truly exercise self-discipline, set your mind to something, and tap into the what God has REALLY given you, you'll continued to be amazed by what you can, through His grace, accomplish no just athletically, but in life.

Let's take a walk, no, let's back in history to 29 Jun 1998, nearly 10 years ago. I was 17 years old and taking on the biggest challenge thus far in my young life: Cadet Basic Training for the new West Point Class of 2002. What did Basic Training (or Beast as it is "affectionately" known) entail? Well, for me, the hardest part was the PT, or physical training. Sure, I had played sports in high school, sure I could run around the bases or up and down a basketball court, and I had run around the neighborhood "some." But, not only was my running fitness pretty much non-existent, I came from the PLAINS of Texas, not the hills and mountains of New York! Needless to say, I was hurting. I could pass the physical fitness test standards, but let's face it, 18 minutes for 2 miles is not really fit for a 17 year old in the military. I got better, and by the end of my soph. (or yuk as we called it) I think I was running in the mid-16's. But that was my peak--I couldn't get lower than about 16:15 for a 2-mile run. I rarely (if ever) ran further than 3 miles from Mac Statue to Lee Gate unless I had too, and that was never fun. I remember telling one of my softball teammates (who could run) that I would never max the PT Test because of the run (15:36 was the "100" points threshhold). I had push ups and sit ups easy, but not the run...and thought I never would. Long body, short legs, not really the leanest athelete in the world. Graduation (2002) and becoming and Army Officer about to be responsible for 30+ Soldiers in an Army at war in Afghanistan and on the brink of war in Iraq motivated me to become better. I ran, and then I ran further up to where 6 miles was totally comfortable for me. Next thing I knew, I was running in the 14's for my APFT and maintained that through 2006. I kept running, and I enjoyed it. The mental block was gone, and I contemplated things like a marathon, but never seriously, honestly, those people were crazy to me! Fast forward to Iraq Aug '06-Nov '07 and I caught the fever of running and triathlons. I dropped my Army 10-Miler time by 10 minutes over a year span, and came back to the states to run several races, Boston Qualify on my first marathon, win a couple of 5K's on Ft. Hood, and place 2nd and 4th in my AG in my first two triathlons. And I have TONS of improvement to do.

I have come to embrace the "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" and "those who put their trust in the Lord will mount up with wings as eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint." And, one that has become my favorite, and not just for sports and races, but truly applicable to life because it highlights the effort that is required to succeed: I Cor. 9:24 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." Does God care about success, sure He does! He wants us to run life as to get the prize--the key is what is our motivation, what is our prize? If our prize merely the medal at the end? A shot at the podium? Personal glory? Or it is about self-discipline throughout your life, being healthier so you can perform better at work and home, encouraging others to be better, living as an example, being a leader in a world of followers, spreading the peace and gospel of salvation? Leave a legacy --don't just do it for today, do it for tomorrow. Get motivated! Again, embrace the challenge, challenge yourself, you'll never know where you end up and whose path you'll cross in the process, because God does those things too. You may wonder why you picked up this hobby or that hobby and just fell in love with it, and sometimes it is for you, and sometimes it is for the people you meet in the process even though you thought it was just for you!

I'll say it again, CHOOSE THE CHALLENGE! It will make you grow more than you can truly imagine! God's span is limitless!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Time is getting close, need some motivation

So, the time is nearing for me to really take care of some essential issues necessary to transitioning out the military and to the civilian world. I need to prepare my house to go on the market, get my car fixed (got hit twice in January--vehicle is drivable, but I have the insurance money, just need to do it), work on my interview/job search prep, and provide the Army with some paperwork necessary to get my final orders cut. I'm doing it piece by piece, but I'm struggling to get fully motivated to do it, and I'm not sure why as I'm excited about the outcome. I'm buckling down this week though...I just have to do some of it and I'll be good. Once the momentum is going, I'll be going, just like on the bike during the race: when I wanted to pass someone and went faster to do so, I held that speed for quite a while.

I can't believe it's April! I have less than 4 months of active duty left, oh my! The hard part for me is NOT KNOWING what I'll be doing. Once I interview in June I'll then have choices and a say, but wow, this waiting and not being able to do things like plan and committ to triathlons, etc. is nearly driving me crazy. I know this is a chance for me to be learning patience, and I am learning (I have no choice) but that doesn't mean it is comfortable! Reminds me of the childhood song from Music Machine: "Have patience, have patience, don't be in such a hurry, when you get impatient, you only start to worry...remember, remember, that God has patience too..."

Monday, March 31, 2008

Sunburned, but happy!

Great race weekend!! I met so many awesome people, raced a really well directed race production, and had a really good race! Here is how I did. For some of you new to the world of tris, I'll decipher it for some of what it means:
Overall Place is out of the whole field of competitors (men/women, all age groups)- 718 finishers total. Gender place, self explanatory, Division is in my age group (women 25-29). The ranks for all the other are like the overall, but for that leg of the race. T1 and T2 are transitions from swim to bike and swim to run.

Swim Goal: So, I did not meet my swim goal of pace (I did about a 2:02), but the bottom line is I need to swim more, longer, and more outdoor water swim. Salt water was interesting, and being nasy Galveston, you didn't see anyone around you unless you were right next to them. I just need to swim more. I came out of the water ready to go though and not dragging, so that was key cause this is the shortest part of the race. But, of all the sports, getting faster here doesn't result in way much more time saved. I still want to get faster, of course cause any time I cut off is great! My swim to bike transition could be faster too, I need more transition practice.
Bike Goal: I smashed my goal! Woohoo!! I averaged 19.77 mph. It was flat, there was crosswind you worked against the whole time, but it wasn't devestating at all. I really really really enjoyed this bike! I passed several people and only got passed by a couple ladies and lots of the elite men on the second part of the 1/2 Ironman that was racing at the same time. The Naval Academy Tri Team was there and when our swim wave started it was my age group and theirs (20-24) and several beat me out of the water, but I passed at least 3 of them on bike. When I did I said "good job Navy, Go Army" I got laughs, a "you gotta be kidding me" (in a joking way), and a "no way" (in a joking way). I thought it was funny, I couldn't is programed into me! So, WAY EXCITED ABOUT THIS BIKE!! YAY! Juan (my bike) did great!
Run Goal: Appears I predicted right on the money as I ran a 7:45 pace. The Transition from bike to run went great too, very happy with my time there. Now, my legs were not talking to the rest of me during the run, and I know I started out too fast, I was seeing 6:50's and low 7's and that was TOO FAST to start, but it didn't feel that way. I did taper off some, and then in the middle I was in the low 8's and then pushed back down into the 7's. It was a hard run though. First time I've felt like I was gonna maybe puke while running. Finishing chutes do something to me too and I feel like I MUST sprint down them, so I did!

Awesome Race! Well run! I got 4th in my Age Group and actually beat last year's winning time for my AG, but that same lady came back and dropped her time by 14 minutes! WOW! And the two others beat me by 9/10 minutes, so it wasn't close! This made me totally realize how much training and work I have to do before my Half-Ironman in October (not to mention the Ironman thoughts for 2009). I see many many many Bricks (bike then run) in my future! My neck is sore and my quads/inner thighs are sore, but I'll survive! Another race down! I love this sport!