Finishing Ironman Seems Impossible But I’m Not Quitting Now

When I signed up for Ironman last fall, I really had a pretty good training plan in place. To say the least, that plan has not really worked out the way that I thought it would. One thing after another has de-railed my plan for training the way I would have liked.

So here I am, less than 6 weeks away from a 140.6 mile triathlon and I am faced with the choice of trying to get in as much training in as I can for this event or to call it a day and not participate.

So what makes me feel like I should keep going when I don’t feel like I am anywhere close to being ready for this event? Why would I want to put my body through a possible 16-17 hour endurance test?

I have spent a lot of time thinking and praying about these questions. I keep hoping that I will get a clear answer to not do this Ironman but I don’t. Every time I pray about this or spend time thinking about it, I keep coming back to the same answer to why I SHOULD be doing this event.

I need to do this event because IT’S NOT ABOUT ME!

Sometimes I need reminders of why I do these events. I started running marathons when I finished chemotherapy for stage 3-colon cancer. I did my first Ironman Wisconsin to celebrate my 5 years cancer free. I finished all of these things because of the grace of God and His strength that has gotten me though all of them.

Here is my Ironman Finish from 2007!

IM finish

Now, here I am, 12 years cancer free and I have an awesome opportunity to glorify God again and possibly encourage some cancer patients in the process. Ironman is a big stage and the only way I can pull this off now is to lean on His strength.

I would be lying if I said I still didn’t have my moments of doubts though this training. I have bad runs, crappy swims, brutal bike rides, and lots of aches and pains. I get up in the morning feeling like I got beat up in the middle of the night. I am not much of a quitter but there are certainly times when it seems like a really good option.

I have a great cast of friends that constantly support and encourage me to do things that I never thought I could do. Outside of my normal cast of characters, who are UNBELIEVABLY supportive, I got support last week from a group of people who have never even met me.

I am a member of a Facebook group that is made up of people that have done, are doing, or thinking about doing Ironman Wisconsin. I have never met these people in person but the other day they saved me from a downward spiral and helped build up my confidence so much that I actually think I might be able to pull this off.

I started off posting this comment:

I'm going to whine a little here with some humbling honesty because I truly don't know where else to do it. I'm seriously considering not doing Madison. I'm trying to be motivating to other cancer survivors but I am really struggling myself right now. As much as I try to be positive and trust that God is giving me signs to start this race, the truth is that I'm just not going to be anywhere close to race ready.

I had hoped that through my finger injury this summer and inability to ride my bike on the road that I would spend more time on the trainer. That didn't happen like I thought it would. I have started riding on streets again but my longest ride is 60 miles so far and I'm running out of time. Not sure I will come ANYWHERE close to a 100 mile ride before September. To spend the money on a 3 night hotel stay, for a race I know I'm not trained for, is also popping in my head. Finishing in 2007 was amazing. I'm wondering if remembering that day is clouding my judgment now.

Sorry to start the morning with a downer. I'm trying to get motivated to go run but I'm struggling to even do that. Maybe a long walk to clear my head and God will speak to me as to what I should do. Thanks for hearing my vent.

It didn’t take very long for the comments to start flooding in on that post. To say that I was moved to tears doesn’t give justice to the inspiration that I got that morning.

Here is a VERY small sample of the encouragement that I got from them:

How inspiring would it be to others who are in a fight for their lives if someone they know has all the training volume in the world and toes the start line knowing they'll complete the race with no trouble? AND…How inspiring would it be to that same person to know that someone has struggled everyday with training, injury and motivation, still toes the line questioning his/her ability to finish at all and then crosses under the finish banner suffering, struggling and yet victorious? Which scenario would motivate you?

If you're okay with getting out there and giving it your all and enjoying the day, I think you'll be amazed how far adrenaline and good spirit will carry you!

Dude, If you can endure a Cubs game, you surely can kick out an Ironman!

I feel like the more we struggle, the more we learn about ourselves and grow as individuals. When you finish IM this time, you'll know all the challenges you had to overcome. Romans 5 says that struggle leads to perseverance, and perseverance to character, and character to hope. And hope doesn't disappoint.

You might just surprise yourself on race day. It is all about the journey right not the destination?

It really is about the journey and not the destination. I have no idea if I will finish Ironman Wisconsin or not. What I do know is that I worship a God that can do miracles. Is me finishing an Ironman one of those? I have no idea. Maybe I am not meant to finish this race. Maybe the point isn’t about the finish line at all but giving glory to Him while I struggle to show up.

Two of my favorite verses are Philippians 4:13 and Proverbs 3:5-6. I can’t think of a more fitting time then right now for me to apply them. I don’t know what will happen on September 7. I do know that I will do whatever I can to honor all cancer patients who can’t do this kind of thing themselves and I will give all the glory to God because without Him, I accomplish nothing.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

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