Wednesday, March 17, 2010

In Training...

We are all in training. What are we training for? What is the thing we spend most of our time doing? Cleaning? Reading? Watching TV? Working? Playing?

I have a few friends training for this year’s Ironman Triathlon in Coeur d’Alene. One friend in particular is a woman for whom I have tremendous admiration and respect. I asked her about what her training looks like and this is what Alicia said:

My workouts consist of 6 days a week of training. I can either have one, two, or three workouts a day.
-I train in the pool 3 days a week and log anywhere from 1 to 2 miles each session (about an hour to hour 1/2) during those swims I focus on technique and do different drills to increase my speed and my strength. It is really relaxing and I love it! Before last year I really didn't know that I was a good swimmer, I never really knew how to properly swim. So last year we signed up for classes and learned how and we have been swimming ever since. My dad swam on his high school swim team and apparently that gene runs in the family. Luckily for me! I'm hoping to swim at least an 1:20 on race day. That would make me very happy.

-I run 3 days a week. I started out really small and could only do 5 minute jog with a 2 min walk...then repeat for about a total of 20 min. Now I can jog up to 14 miles :-) but on a normal day right now I usually run about 5-8 miles. Running is the hardest for me. I can't seem to get beyond a 10 minute mile which is frustrating when you know others can run 8 minute miles. It just doesn't come naturally and it hurts me the most of all of the 3 sports. I want to love it but so far I don't. I just have to endure it to finish the race. But there are days when I have a good run, and that feels great!

-I ride my bike 3 days a week. I have been riding during the cold weather inside on my bike on my stationary bike trainer while watching "Ellen":-) I ride anywhere from one to two hours focusing on drills, speed and strength. Recently we have been getting out on the road. We have been out on the Ironman course in Hayden which is very hilly and intimidating for me but I get out there and conquer the hills so I know I can do it on race day. We have also been doing hill repeats which is when you ride up a hill for a specific amount of time (5 min.) and then ride back down, and then do it again several more times. It's really painful but it builds strength and I'm gonna need it.

She also meets weekly with a trainer to keep her on track with her goals in preparation for race day. The trainer is a woman and a mother also, so she provides encouragement and support specific to Alicia’s needs.

I asked for her schedule to add insight into what I think I am hearing from the Lord on this.

How committed am I to the things He has asked me to do? Looking at Alicia’s schedule reminds me that there is a great deal of discipline involved in training. Sometimes it feels good and natural, like when she talks about her swimming. I love that she refers to her Dad’s swimming experience. Our Father also has so much experience in what we are going through – right? Didn’t Christ become one of us?

Training isn’t some rut -like routine you get into and keep doing it until you land on success. It takes drills, technique, speed, and strength. It is going beyond what is hard even though you don’t love it (all the time), knowing at some point it will feel good. No, it’s not all about how it “feels” but let’s face it - that makes a big difference! And how many times do we feel like we are doing “hill repeats”? Yikes! I think some days are so full of them I will never get off the hill!!

I am in training, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I need to meet with people who know me and my life circumstances and will encourage, support, and keep me on track for this, my race of life.

Physically: Consistently choosing to value my body by what I do with it like, exercise, play with my kids, etc., putting healthy stuff in it ;), dressing appropriately, attending to my face, teeth, and hair etc.

Emotionally: Consistently seeking balance in my responses to the situations and circumstances that happen every day. Seeking the Lord to provide for places I feel lack in my emotional needs.

Mentally: Consistently improving my capacity to learn. This includes reading the Bible, other quality material, scripture memorization, etc.

Spiritually: Consistently practicing basic Biblical principles of repentance, forgiveness (keeping my “slate” clean in relationship to Christ and others), and choosing to live in the fruit of the Spirit and not my own fleshly judgments and attitudes.

If my friend Alicia didn’t train consistently she would not be prepared for the Ironman race. She might meet her goal of finishing, but it would be a struggle for sure. Consistency can make all the difference in so many aspects of our lives.

When I focus on CONSISTENTLY doing all of those things; my ability to fulfill all God has called me to is MUCH easier. Just like training for the Ironman Triathlon, I can move effectively in all 3 areas of my lifelong race: 1)My relationship with Christ 2) My relationships with my family 3) My relationships with my friends and others God places along my path.

I don’t want to finish the race God has called me to stumbling, staggering, moaning all the way, I want to say what Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians verse 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.” The way to get the prize is consistent training. This is the race of my life.

Will I barely finish or will I be able to do what I know my friend Alicia will do, finish the race, head held high, knowing I did everything I could to train for the final event.

And the verse that brings tears to my eyes on this subject:
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.” Acts 20:24
Let us not lose sight of the call on our lives – to testify to the Gospel of God’s grace! ALL the time. In my marriage, home with just my kids, at the gym, in the grocery store, at church, meeting someone new, there are endless opportunities to testify to the Gospel of God's grace.

Maybe I will have those bumper stickers made up after all “Imperfection required for Grace – ask me how I know!”


Anonymous said...

Well written, Jenn. I appreciated the insight you gave on the women training for the triathalon and the comparison of life currently. Good stuff! Love you, Leslie

Unknown said...

This is very timely for me, Jennifer, as I have been floundering a bit lately in the discipline area. The hard part for me is that I go through all the right steps, but sometimes my heart isn't there. Do you know what I mean? That's when I know I need to spend more time with Him. This is the first time this has happened to me, and is has me reeling a bit. I'm going to go through your list again and talk to God about it. Thank you.

Abby said...

Wow my friend! This is speaking straight to my heart! Thank you for this! For being Divinely inspired and sharing it so that inspiration can flood our hearts. Love you!

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I have been married to my best friend for over 29 years and our children are 16, 15 and 12 years old. I have struggled with infertility, suffered the loss of a baby by miscarriage, and endured multiple career paths. I have experienced a crisis of faith that shook me to the core and lost dear friends to tragic death. I have a personal relationship with Jesus which is essential to surviving and even thriving in my circumstances. I hope you will be blessed by my heart and words. Thank you for being here..