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A Trio of Tri Stories: Part 2

June 4, 2011

The race is in 8 hours, and other than needing sleep, I feel ready. And excited. And nervous.

I think the reason I’m nervous at this point is not because I haven’t trained. I have.  Extensively. I’ve kept track of each workout and how far I’ve gone. For the month of May alone I swam 7.74 miles, biked 153 miles, and ran 63.7 miles. Depending on what you’re used to doing this may not sound like much, or it may sound like bragging, which is not my intent. But for me, I’m actually quite amazed at how much I’ve done, because before December, I wasn’t doing anything. I allowed myself to get overwhelmed with work and quit taking care of myself in the way that I needed to.

When I was working on my ordination papers and preparing for interviews, I spent every free second reading, writing, and worrying about my theology questions. I quit going to the gym. I quit working out altogether. It wasn’t until about October, when my gym called me, that I realized I had really hit rock bottom. They told me that I had not been there in 9 months, and what did I want to do with my account? Ordination had been months ago. My papers and interviews were long behind me at this point. Yet once I had gotten out of the habit of working out, it was so easy to keep putting it off. Having someone else call and tell me just how long it had been finally worked. Embarrassed, and out of excuses, I made an appointment for the next week.

I’m the kind of person that needs accountability. Actually we all are if we dare to recognize it. Left to our own devices we tend to do whatever we want, whatever makes us happy, or whatever makes us feel good. But those actions have consequences. Without someone to hold us to a higher standard and give us a reality check we forget what we are ultimately here for, which is to serve God.

I can get so caught up in whatever I’m doing, even working in a church, that at times it can become just a job. It stops being about serving. It stops intending to glorify God. That’s when I get in trouble and need accountability. Whether I’m meeting with a group of pastors to talk about the purpose behind a sermon or service project, or I’m meeting up with fellow triathletes who will push me to go that extra mile on the bike, I know that when I’m held accountable, I keep my focus where it needs to be.

So I’m not nervous because I haven’t trained. I’ve had plenty of people checking on me to make sure I’m getting up at 5:00 am to hit the pool, or leaving work early enough to ride around the mountain. I’m nervous because at this point I think I have the potential to do really well…for me. Those who have held me accountable and trained beside me will become my competitors in a few short hours. My natural tendency is to want to be faster than everyone else and beat myself up if I’m not. But I know that ultimately it’s not about how fast everyone finishes. This is my race, and nobody else’s. As long as I keep my focus on how far I’ve come and race to the best of my ability, I can’t lose. This is just another day that I get to do what I love: to glorify God by using the body I have been given to accomplish incredible things; to swim, bike, and run.

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