Thursday, April 30, 2009

Loosing Control

I met a really interesting lady at Nolan's school. I found out that she is a triathlete. She wanted to know What my real reason was for doing it? I told her simply, "I don't know why."
She looked at me for a moment, and then proceeded to tell me why she thought I was doing them. She told me that I was doing them so that I could have more "control" over my life. I stared at her. Really?
I chewed on what she said to me all week. It just didn't feel right to me. Do I feel that I don't have control over my life? Was my life spinning out of control,and I just didn't know it yet? I have always been vague on this, but I knew in my spirit ,her answer for me was wrong. It wasn't my reason. It was hers.
So,I started really thinking about this all week. I searched desperately for my reason. I wanted to know an answer.
After really seeking and praying for why her answer didn't fit, God finally revealed to me my "Real" reason. I was surprised and a little confused at first. The truth of it is, the reason her answer did not feel right,was because my answer for the why is just the opposite.
I am doing these races, not to have more control over my life, but to have Less control over my life.
Yes,I have plenty of control over my life, I am a control freak. It is very hard for me to give up my control.It feels vulnerable. I hold tightly to my control.
So, when I received my answer I didn't understand. Why would I want less control over my life? Don't we have to have control? If we don't,then aren't we out of control?
And then it hit me, that's the problem. I am too in "control" of my life. And trying to be the One in control of my life, I had pushed God out of it.He was left on the sidelines.
In my arrogance I have always believed that I am the one in Control of my life when in reality, I am not in control of my life at all, I never have been.That job belongs to my Heavenly Father.Somewhere along the way, I had fired Him, deciding that I could do a better job, many times I even promoted myself and given myself a raise!
He knew I had to learn to let Him be the one in control of my life, and to let go of the tight grip I was grasping onto. I don't want to have that kind of control over my life anymore. Yes, I choose to train for these races, but it was His idea.Christ has used this sport to bring me to a place of surrender and need.
He has used my fear of lake swims,to draw me closer in prayer and to build my trust in Him and to prove to me that he is in control of my safety. He has used my long distance bike rides,for intimate conversations and reflection of what He has done in my life,showing me that He is in control of my blessings. He even used my time running, to praise and worship Him through music,and to show that He is in control, of my fate.
Believing that I was ever the one in control of my life, was a facade. I know now that I am given choices everyday that I must make, but I also know the difference between choices I make For my life and trying to have control Over my life.
Everyday, I loose a little bit more control. Everyday, I give it back to Him just a little bit more. It is a struggle to give up this control,it is not easy for me,sometimes I even try to take it back. Letting go of this unhealthy control is something that challenges me with each stoke of my swim, with each bike hill that I climb, and with every mile I run. But,it will come,it is His will,one triathlon at a time.
No, I don't do triathlons to have more control over my life, I do them to have less, much less!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lucky lake

When it comes to my triathlon, swimming in a lake is my biggest fear. I mean you can't die riding your bike, or running a trail, but you can die from getting in the middle of a lake and not being able to get back!At my first triathlon I also panicked in the water, and ever since it has scared me to swim in a lake.
But, it is a fear I decided to face last Friday morning. There is a lake in O town, that many people have recommended to me, to practice my lake swims. I had been very reluctant, but knowing the race is two weeks away, I decided that it was time. Bob's mom came over at 530am, to watch the kids, so that Bob could take me to the lake. We needed to be there by 630am.
When we first got there, I was scared out of my mind! It was still dark, and I told Bob that I might just watch this time. Bob was encouraging me, and telling my I was going to be fine. I looked across the lake and the .6 mile swim might as well been 20miles. I watched the other swimmers gather, placing their swim caps on, spitting in their goggles, getting ready for the swim. I was holding back, taking it all in, staring at the fake gators that were at the lakes entrance, watching the over sized turtles eat their breakfast. Bob knew I was scared, he could see the fear in my eyes. I asked him if he would take the swim with me(my husband was a collegiate swimmer,so I knew the swim would be easy for him) but, he said no thanks! I gave him a look. I stepped down into the water, and felt sand. I placed my cap on my head and my goggles on, I slowly walked out to the edge of the food chain, and thought "why am I doing this again?". I took one look back at Bob, and dove in, head first. I came up for air, and realized I hadn't sunk. I started my free style swim, counting 1-2-3 breathe,1-2-3 breathe, I started to get a panic feeling, I looked up and saw the other swimmers around me and put my face back in the water.I prayed, talked to myself, tried to think of anything else besides swimming in a dark lake, at dusk, with alligators, and possibly amoebas! It was working.. With every breathe and stroke I made it got a little easier, my breathing became more controlled, my rhythm evenly matched. I would look up and see where I was going, and knew I was going to make it. I actually started to even enjoy it. It was freeing,to face my fear head on. When I got back from my swim I was looking for Bob. I couldn't see him on the dock,and just then I turned around, and out pops this swimmers head that I recognized!
It was my faithful husband. He had swam behind my at a small distance the whole way! I couldn't believe it. I said, "Bob, why did you swim? Did you think I couldn't make it?", and he said, "Not at all honey, I knew you could make the swim, I just wanted to make sure you didn't have a panic attack." so I said,"Then why didn't you tell me you were gonna swim it with me?",he looked at me and said," Because, I knew you could do it, but you needed to know you could do it, by yourself. You are stronger than you think!" What an amazing man. He knew I needed to prove to myself, that I could do it. Bob has always believed in me, he knew I needed to start believing in myself. I am going back to swim Lucky Lakes twice this week. and I am taking along a few great women, who need to prove it to themselves.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Home stretch

I am in the home stretch for my triathlon this year. It is in three more weeks. This season, I have pushed myself harder,and feel like I am stronger than last year.This has not come without much sacrifice on my part or my loving families.This has come with many challenges. I won't lie there were many days,even hours, that I felt like throwing in the towel.
I began my training in January, and starting to train 5 months before an actual race,is challenging in itself. Staying motivated was probably my biggest obstacle. Remaining focused, and remembering my goal was something I had to continuously remind myself. There were times, I would literally be running and talking to myself,"Okay, why are you doing this?".
Alot can happen to a person in their life during a 5 month period. I mean just because I decided to train for a race, does not mean my life stops happening.
So in between life, I had to find time to exercise, get to the gym, swim,and lift weights. Many times I would just throw on my running shoes and head outside, because I could not make it to the gym. And of course there have been many times when things just happen, kids sick, Bob out of town, me sick, dog dies, vacations, Bob gone again,and sporting events that have cause me to put my training on hold for a day or two or three.
There were times that I knew if I wanted to, I could give up, I could just stop. No one was going to make me do this,no one was going to think less. I realized completing this is up to me,it is my will, my personal goal.
Training for triathlons, for me, is a love-hate relationship. I love the idea of doing one, but hate the idea of exercise. I am not one of those people who are like "yeah exercise!", I am the total opposite. But,training has made me more disciplined, committed, and focused on my life. I feel more alive at 38 then I did at 18 or 25 or 30! I have done things that I thought I could never do, or would ever want to do. Every step in this training has taken me to a new level, physically, mentally and personally. I owe so much to this race, to this training, it has changed me, as a wife, as a mother, and more importantly as a woman.
The other day I swam a 1/2 mile swim in 62 degree ocean water, waves, and even pelicans! When my friend and I got back into the car, we looked at each other and laughed our heads off! We could not believe we didn't drown, we didn't care how we looked, and we weren't worried what anyone thought! I have come a long way.
Now, when someone asks me "Why are you doing this?", I simply reply "Because, I can."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Man's Best Friend

A few weeks ago, we lost an important member of our family, our very loyal, Great Pyrenes, dog of fourteen years, Ramsey. Bob and I got Ramsey 6 months after we were married! We hand picked him out of a liter of 8, and they places a red ribbon around his neck until he was ready to come home. He was born an hour and a half away, and every weekend before his 8 weeks, Bob and I would take the drive out to visit our "baby", just like all good parents.
Ramsey was one of those dogs that was furry, cute all white snow ball, but very shortly he grew to be 110pounds and standing on his hind legs, was taller than Bob!
I rememeber when three years later when we brought Regan home from the hospital, how he looked at her, and then back at us like, what is that? Whenever she cried, he would be so anxious, and come running to us, to get her and see what was wrong. She had a "big brother". Regan could pull, push, tug at Ramsey and he would take it. She would read to him, and he would listen, she would be sick, and he would sit by her bed. Five years later, when we brought Nolan home, I think he thought "are you kidding me?" "Another one!". But he was just as faithful and patient with him.
Now eleven years later when we brought Wally home, he was not as happy! But, in true Ramsey fashion he adjusted, and he would play with Wally even though he was getting old, and tired.
Ramsey was very rare. Even my non-dog friends all loved him. Every one at the vet loved him, (they never put him in a kennel), our mail man loved him. He was kind hearted and loving. He would be happy if you took him for a walk, patted him on the head, and in his later years just let him sleep all day. People who are not animal people do not understand, how much a part of our life he was. He was part of our identity, part of our family. We loved him.On his last day, he just wanted to be around us,to give us comfort while he was the one in pain. We will never forget our Ramsey he taught us so much about ourselves, and life. At the end of Marley and Me it sums it up, Dogs don't care how big your house is, what you look like, what car you drive, they care about you, the person, the one who feeds them, loves them, and plays with them. They love you unconditionally, and unselfishly. Ramsey had a great life, and he gave us a great life and lots of Joy. Ramsey you will be truley missed, you already are.
July 1995-March 2009