Extra Life Triathlon Fitness

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Monday, May 27, 2013

34


Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hi
One of the clear pieces of evidence to me that there is a God is the beauty that has the opportunity to exist in this world. I say "opportunity" because I believe God's hand may not necessarily direct specific outcomes, but instead provides a "nudge". The will of man can glorify, exploit, or contradict God's vision. Nothing exemplifies this more than the story of the islands of Hawaii. 

The islands were born violently through millions of years volcanic eruptions creating a desolate but fertile, nutrient-rich landscape. Seeds took root and evolved into the lush landscape we see today, which has fortunately been preserved by humans since inhabitants first arrived. However, through those centuries many many battles (violent and nonvoilent) were fought for control of these islands. There is a rich history of bloodshed and loss, but the culture survives, and so too does the natural beauty. A telling contrast of God's Will and man's will.

This vacation to Kauai has been a great and welcome departure from the routine. It has been great to get away with the family and enjoy the kids outside the home environment for a change. As I celebrate my 34th birthday tomorrow, I can reflect on the very positive 33rd year I had on this Earth. I vowed shortly before I turned 33 to do my best everyday to wake up and ask for God's Will to be done in my life. I have certainly not been perfect with this, as I still want to be in control. But I have improved, and I've seen a noticable connection with God. Where previously God was just a blurry image of something I wanted Him to be, day by day as I improve my conscious contact with Him, He becomes clearer. I begin to experience my relationship with Him, along with serendipity, and peace. It's my second and more tangible piece of evidence that there is a God. Now as I enter another year, I hope only to improve that relationship even more, and be as much of a blessing to others as I can be. 

Sarah and Zack in one of the "man-made" attractions

I have really had to work on my humility and acceptance during this trip. As I continue to train, I have had to accept the fact that I am without a bike during the trip. Not too concerning as I can get back to it pretty rapidly once I get home. I have also had to find a place to do some swimming. It would seem that this would be an easy one since this is, in fact, an island. However, this week has seen abnormally large swells, and attempts at ocean swims have been met with fairly quick exhaustion and little distance. Fortunately, I am getting challenging ocean workouts, which is getting me comfortable with swimming in open water.

I am having the hardest time being patient with and accepting my running performance here. It seems every little change in climate dramatically affects my pace and heart rate. This was true in Tucson, Lake Tahoe, and now in Hawaii. I am finding that I am about a minute off my pace. This is largely due to the fact that I have to acclimate to the climate, which could take a couple weeks to do. The high heat, humidity, intense sun, and wind all affect my performance. This is an ominous realization as I have signed up for a race in Cabo San Lucas in March (avg. temperature is 80-90), and I'll be coming from Southern California (avg. temperature is 60-65). Needless to say, I have had a number of inappropriate outbursts as my heartrate begins to rise through 143 and I'm at a 10 minute per mile pace. 

That is part of the process of becoming stronger, working through the most challenging times and not giving up. I equate it to putting a donut on a baseball bat; once I come to the plate, I swing faster and harder. I anticipate that once I get home, I may be faster, but if not, I'll keep working. Humility in all cases builds strength and character, but giving up does nothing but invite bad habits to resurface. So I'll keep on running. Right foot, left foot. Breathe in, breathe out. Let go, let God. 

34. Bring it on.



               Marie, Sarah, and I after dinner

            Trail around the Grand Hyatt Kauai

                                       Trail through the Kauai Coffee Plantation