Training for a triathlon, studying for a big exam, prepping for a job interview, going on a diet, and the list could go on. Each of these has one thing in common, a desired goal.
Recently I competed in my first two triathlons. I wanted to finish and to do my best with a feeling of gratitude at the end for having completed the last few months of focused effort and training. I knew this was only going to be possible with discipline and competing like no other. Not with “the” Training for a triathlon, studying for a big exam, prepping for a job interview, going on a diet, and the list could go on. Each of these has one thing in common, a desired goal.
Recently I competed in my first two triathlons. I wanted to finish and to do my best with a feeling of gratitude at the end for having completed the last few months of focused effort and training. I knew this was only going to be possible with discipline and competing like no other. Not with “the” first place medal in mind, but with “my” first place medal already achieved for completing my goal!
The second event earlier this month began with a 1 mile open water swim in the ocean. My awesome guide (Daniel Powell) and I took off with the rest of the group at about 7:40 A.M., and the water conditions couldn’t have been better. We had a truly enjoyable swim for the full mile without stopping. This was something I have never accomplished before in an open water ocean swim, as there always seemed to be some reason we needed to stop and regroup. Needless to say, I exited the water with Daniel at my side and a huge smile on my face! It wasn’t easy, but it was successful – one event down, two more to go!
Event number two was a 44 mile bike ride. This distance is something I’ve only done a couple of times. With Daniel as the captain and me as the blind stoker, we set off with a large group on our Tandem bike. The Captain is the person who rides in the front of a tandem bike and the stoker is the person who is in the back. The weather conditions were near perfect, cool with a few sprinkles of rain here and there. The course was made more difficult for us due to the fact that most of it was on the busy streets of La Jolla. We had a few dicey moments, but the ride was extremely enjoyable, despite the two flat tires we encountered that Daniel was able to fix fairly quickly. It was going to take much more than a couple of flats to stop us!
Last but not least, the third event was a 10 mile run. Daniel has completed this triathlon many times and told me that, though it’s a beautiful course, it’s not the most blind/ disabled friendly. Much of the first couple of miles were comprised of somewhat broken up and uneven ground, and driveways that we had to navigate carefully to avoid tripping and falling. Weak ankles, especially the right, that affect my balance, caused us to be very cautious in these areas. We limited the damage to only one tuck and roll tumble and a little scratch on a knee – no big deal.
My favorite part of the course was the smooth miles along the beach and in the low traffic residential neighborhoods. We weren’t fast, but we were steady and we kept going until the end! When I crossed the finish line, I felt joy and exhilaration like no other! I had personally accomplished something pretty big and amazing for a blind and hearing impaired guy with weak ankles!
My friends, whether it’s a test, a job, a relationship, a diet, a triathlon, or something else, I want to encourage you to never give up! Always keep that goal in sight. It’s not always going to be easy and is probably, more often, going to be long and hard!
What I have discovered is that you can learn to face each challenge head on, and eliminate the excuses that are holding you back from becoming all that God created you to be. Know deep in your heart and soul that you definitely have what it takes!
Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving in the United States. Just to live in this great country is an amazing blessing and should give us all hope for the future. No matter where you live, now much money you have, what your challenges are now, or what your dreams are for the future, make a choice to put a smile on your face and display that attitude of gratitude. Give thanks and praise the Lord, for the best is yet to come!