Tag Archives: Insanity

THE IRONMAN EXPERIENCE – PART 1

So lots of people have asked me about my experiences from the past weekend at Ironman 70.3 in Galveston.  So I thought I would write a series of blog post about the weekend, the training leading up to the weekend and the things I learned on the journey.

medal

The part that impacted me the most was the ending.  9 months of training, hours upon hours.  In the pool, in the lake, on the road.  In rain, in cold, in wind and some days all three at once.  Pain, injuries, tweaked muscles.  You seem to experience a little of everything when training for something like this.

The weekend was amazing.  If you have never been to an Ironman event I highly recommend the experience, even if just a spectator.  Race day starts early.  4:30 AM breakfast and in the transition area for body marking at 5:30 AM.  Over 2,300 athletes over 2000 volunteers and literally thousands of supports lining the run course, cheering for you and encouraging you to keep moving.

But nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced at mile 13 of the run.  At the mile 13 marker you enter the finish chute to run the last .1 miles to the finish line.  The excitement is unbelievable.  I had tried during my training to visualize the finish, to imagine my name being announced but nothing I dreamed of could have compared to the experience.

At the moment I enter the chute all of the pain seemed to vanish.  It had been a very difficult day, 70.3 miles.  1.2 mile swim.  56 mile bike ride along a very windy coast.  A very hot 13.1 mile half marathon to finish out the day.  Struggles with swimming straight.  A small bike wreck.  Really bad muscle cramps and spasms in the first mile of the run.  But then there was mile 13 and everything I had been through that day to get to that point vanished as thousands of people screamed and yelled for me crossing the finish line.  They place a medal around my neck and give me a finisher hat, which is great, but in know way compares to the experience of crossing the line.

I want to experience it again.  I am hooked to the feeling of crossing the finish line.  It made everything else I experienced on the journey worth it.  So my plan right now is a few months off to do P90X2 to really work on my core and overall strength and then get ready for Ironman 70.3 in Austin, Texas in October.

There are lots of take aways from the finish line experience but the one which stands out the most is what Paul says in 1 Corinthians.

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. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27

We live for a singular purpose, the purpose of building His kingdom here on earth so that when we cross the finish line the prize is eternal.  In some ways I think it will be much like my mile 13 experience.  I always talk to people who are trying to imagine what it will be like.  I don’t think you can, because I believe the experience will be something so far beyond what we can imagine.  In the race, the finish line was not my focus, it was too far ahead of me most of the time to be my focus.  My focus was simply taking one more stroke in the water.  One more rotation of the pedals on the bike.  One more step on the run.  So if the finish is not the focus, what is our focus then?  Let’s borrow for the Apostle Paul once again.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2

Make Jesus the focus.  Make being more like him the next step of your journey, because at times the finish line can seem so far off.  Our promise though, is that He is never far away.  Focus on Jesus, He is more than enough to sustain you!

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THE SUMMER IN YOUTH MINISTRY

Let’s face it as youth ministers we only work 3 months out of the year (wink, wink, wink).  In youth ministry it can be very difficult to follow any kind of consistent diet, but this is especially true during the summer.

I have always used the summer as an excuse to get away from eating healthy, falling into bad habits and gaining weight.  It is impossible to stay in shape during the summer for a youth ministry, right?  Wrong, it is nothing more than an excuse.  I am great at making excuses, but not so great at honoring promises I have made to myself.  I decided this summer would be different.  This summer I am not going to make excuses and I am going to honor myself by sticking with my goals.

This is making me plan and prepare ahead of schedule.  This week we are at Arlington Work Camp.  Typically this is a week I would just say I can’t stay on track.  I will have donuts at church, burgers or pizza for lunch, there is no way to avoid it.  This week I am not giving in to the excuses.  I have stuck to my diet all week so far.  I have gotten up early and fixed my breakfast, I have taken my lunch box with Shakeology, lunch and an afternoon snack.  Cami has helped out by cooking a healthy dinner.  I have even given our interns a heads up and asked them to help keep me accountable.

I am in week 5 of the Insanity workout, which is a Recovery week.  It just so happen to fall on a perfect week.  I have switched out the Cardio Recovery program with P90X One On One “Fountain of Youth.”  It is a Yoga workout and I am finding it great at the end of a long work day.  So far I am down 16 pounds and I want to keep moving in the right direction.  This summer is about me not making excuses.  I can’t control what others are doing but I can control what I do.  When I get tired and hungry I want junk food.  When I eat junk food I have less energy, I am more irritable and moody.  When I am tired it is more important than ever to eat right and exercise.  You can follow my health and fitness journey this summer at www.garyalbrittonfitness.com