Strong Side

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“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

I had my last sprint Tri of the season today. The last “training race” before the race I’ve been looking forward to the last two years…the NYC Tri in July. I was grateful to have some pre-race motivation hanging with some of the amazing girls I worked with in Middle School who are now in HS. We caught up on their details, sports, specifics of the season and their hopes for next year. I spoke of my race goal for this sprint which was my one and only goal…
That no one would pass me on the swim.
It’s a pool swim and it’s really irritating when someone passes you. And the one girl said…”I know, I hate when someone passes me when I run, I don’t even feel like running anymore when that happens.” She went on to mention…” I don’t even really like to run; I just like to win.” From the mouth of babes…I love their honesty. Even though I know we’re all there to do our best, have fun, challenge ourselves there still is something deflating about the pool pass. The pass is kind of slow and drawn out, a whole body length actually. In the whole pass conversation I was able to remind them that no one else can do you, but you; so you might as well make it the best you possible even on the pass…but could I really take that advice.

“To realize we’re all working toward a similar goal: that of developing our potential and becoming who we are meant to be.”

I had an amazing swim session with Captain Kelly prior to my race. I never push myself on my own the way she pushes. To get faster she tells me I have to swim with intention and intensity which I typically still just swim to enjoy the swim. I don’t know if it’s being pushed or challenged or if it’s that she reaches towards something better than I see in myself but either way…it was a great hard session and well worth it. We even celebrated a birthday dinner the night before and I resolved that cake and ice cream wouldn’t be the most beneficial choice. Enjoying the enchiladas and letting the sweets go worked just fine this time around. I didn’t feel sad, staring at what I couldn’t have, which is always an added bonus. Feeling full anticipating what was to come was enough.
There was a better, greater choice to make in the end which would affect my race so taking all into consideration that choice wasn’t worth it. Always a choice.

“There is a level of comfort found in our brokenness or exile. A reason to stay still and hunker down. When in this position long enough, to start to move with freedom can be a challenge. You need to stretch out, build strength, work through the pain, learn new skills, overcome fear…it’s no small feat at all.” -DVO Devotional

Details, Downfalls, and Direction:
I did an all time race no-no and didn’t consult with anyone on it. I bought a swim top that I never swam in. Big mistake. Drag, pull, adjusting, discomfort. In the beginning I had the all time first of passing someone in this pool swim and just as I was smiling and blowing bubbles in the water thinking no pass yet…halfway through the pool, the dreaded happened and the ppppaaaassssssssssss went down. I didn’t fully check out but was close. This was the third time doing this particular race and still to get passed every time. What brought the negativity around was “just do what you know…” And the conversation with the girls circled back in my head; “no one can do you but you.” I learned for me sizing up the competition, looking around and worrying about whose ahead or behind really isn’t so much of a motivator for me. Focusing on my own race is definitely the better strategy.

“I’ll find strength in pain.” -Mumford & Sons

On the bike I found myself thinking about the swim and what I did wrong but needless to say that was fruitless; I decided to pull it together quickly especially with debris filled and pebbled roads…”no time to look back now….now what?” There was a moment on one of the monster hills that I didn’t gear down in time. The predicament of it all. Do I risk gearing down now, hoping this gets easier and risk popping my chain off or do I stay in this gear, beyond heavy in the seat, and push as hard as I can…and I heard God whisper to my heart…”Strength will come as you go.” As I stayed in the heavy seat barely able to keep my wheel straight on moving forward; I crest which felt like a mountain and was grateful in that moment to lean on and rely on Him more even more especially at this hardest part; when I’m beyond myself with a propelling decision; sticking with Him is the best. To know His strength on the hill when it seems like it can’t get any worse; and see His faithfulness with each forward and making it to the top of that hill was beyond worth it. Trying on new pants, learning, growing, trusting, and waiting; one stroke, one breath, one pedal, one step at a time.

The first time I did this race three years ago I remember how hot it was that day. How much I hated running. How heavy I felt and how tight my chest and breathing was. And the best part of the race this year was the run. I felt light and free. I couldn’t really feel my legs. I could breath easily and never once did I think I want to stop and walk. I actually wanted to go faster but didn’t want to push too hard with NYC right around the corner. Still am a firm believer to avoid injury at all cost.

I know each one of us has a race we are running, a struggle we are facing, something or someone we are waiting on in this choosing life and believing journey.
There isn’t much I know for sure and I’ve spent more of my life making messes and being more unsure than not. I have learned and sometimes the hard way; His love and faithfulness is the only guarantee. A certain that will never disappoint. He is trustworthy. Even in the pain. Even on the hill when the gears are out of whack. So whatever or wherever or whoever…as you go, as you hope, as you trust and wait on Him; May you experience His strength and grace by heart like never before.

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“No parachutes or safety nets here;
One foot in the water to face these fears.” -Mat Kearney

I hope you live into your one of a kind you this week; looking upward and onward not down or back and definitely no need to waste time focusing on the pass or staring at the mountain. Strength as you go forward in faith.

Hugs and Love,


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