16 days, 8 hours, 31 minutes, and 30 seconds are left until the big day. Like an unwavering reminder that the moment I have been training for over the last six months is quickly approaching, the countdown clock on my desk seems to scream at me with every tick. Little did I know this Christmas gift a good friend of mine gave me a couple of years ago would create such a big pit in the bottom of my stomach. Excitement, nervousness, confidence and fear all collide in the depths of my abdomen as I mentally run myself through the race legs and how I know God will give me the strength to get through each one. As long as I cross that finish line with a smile on my face….
Obviously I am no stranger to racing. I remember training all summer long for my first sprint distance triathlon five years ago and wondering how I would string all three of these foreign sports together to finish the race. A three mile run at the time was a full blown workout, and swimming….well let’s just say I’m still a fish out of water in that department.
I was talking to my wife about this the other day and how strange it is that if you are trained right you can string all three events into one race even without training all three events together. Somehow you just have faith that once the swim is done you will be able to bike. Once the bike is done, somehow you draw deep enough to complete the run. One leg at a time and you cross the finish line.
Ironman will be uncharted territory for me. I will have never done a 2.4 mile swim without stopping prior to race day. My longest ever run still sits at 18 miles. The only leg I have done the distance in multiple times is the bike.
Once again it comes down to faith. Faith that I am created by God and given the gift of a body that can be trained to accomplish great things. Faith that all of the work I have put in will pay off in one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. Faith that God will keep me healthy until race day, and protect me during the race.
While it is all about perspective it must be noted that Ironman is much easier that real life. While there are great parallels that can be drawn between endurance sports and life, at least with triathlon, you can separate the three challenges into manageable pieces. Real life hits you all at once. The concept of faith remains true however, and regardless of the weight of it all, one day must be managed at a time. It is a promise that the Lord will carry us through.
I know many people that are taking the brunt of life right now. Hit all at once with multiple overwhelming circumstances. Whether challenges come in ones twos or threes, we must know that God will be victorious in the end. We need to cling to this promise with all hope and faith. Reach out past the surface and ask for help, and God will honor your persistence. This is the race we are in right now. The only shot we have at finishing strong will be to hold onto His promises, and continue pressing towards the goal.
When I finally cross that finish line in Penticton Canada, I hope to be a reflection that with God great things are possible, both in heaven, and here on Earth.
Heb 11:1 (KJV)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.