“I think I need to find a coach.” I told my wife matter-of-factly after hitting the ‘send’ button on the computer. I don’t really know what possessed me to do it. Perhaps it was just the next step in an inevitable evolution. Perhaps it was there mere challenge of being able to pass the mental and physical anguish that the event would take me through. Whatever it was that possessed me to pull the trigger, Ironman was going to be the biggest challenge of my life and I knew I was going to need some help.

I did some asking around, and I found a coach who had done the 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26 mile run multiple times in his life. He had the benefit of knowing what to expect in both good races and bad ones. How to train, what to eat, what not to do. These were things that would be worth their weight in gold come race day.

Why anyone would want to tackle the goal of an Ironman multiple times is beyond me, but perhaps in a few years I’ll be that guy. For now, I’ll just focus on the first one. The cool thing about having a coach is knowing that someone else is keeping you accountable and helping you stay on track to reach your goal. I literally get a schedule emailed to me each week based on my specific needs and skill, and I do the workouts. My coach has a master calendar laid out to get me ready for my race in August, and I just bite off one week at a time. Sounds easy right?

Well, I am 6 weeks into my Ironman training schedule and I went out on a run with a buddy last week. On my calendar for the day were a 12 mile run and a 25 mile ride. No big deal, but when you throw in the fact that I had already run 11 miles since Friday and rode 50, you begin to understand the burn in my legs. I was about 10 miles into our massive hill run and I began to curse my coach. After all, I had another 4 mile run scheduled for Monday. I began to wonder if this guy knew what he was doing.

I started to meditate on one of my favorite verses in the Bible to take my mind off the pain in my legs.

Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

I like this verse because of the parallels it draws to racing. Running with endurance obviously means that we are not training for a sprint, but rather a marathon. Keep pushing towards the prize. Finish this Tim!

That’s when I really thought about how God is our personal coach. His words and plan have been recorded through time and written just for us. He wants each of us to reach our full potential. His eternal perspective on current happenings is beyond our day to day comprehension. While this current ‘workout’ may hurt, it is developing our strength with the end goal in mind.

It was then that I wondered if I really trusted the Lord enough to follow his plan. I tend to get sidetracked and lazy, and lack motivation to train in Him the way I should. The result of this is come race day, (some life event), I get beat down and really suffer through it due to my lack of preparation. The times I prepare and trust Him in my daily life, those trials seem like a walk in the park, regardless of their difficulty.

As I spend countless hours trusting my Ironman coach and preparing for the biggest physical challenge of my life, I hope to stay grounded in the plan my heavenly coach has laid out for me, and trust in His ability to make me strong.

As for Ironman, well I’ll follow up on that one I am sure. Just give me four more months.

James 1:3
“…you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”