Lesson 8: Planning – is the most effective way to arrive at a destination. Most people who have achieved success had a plan and if you are going to succeed you will need one too. There is an old saying floating around that goes like this, “he who fails to plan plans to fail”. Planning played an important role in finishing my first triathlon. The first step in planning is to identify an objective and then marry it with a date and time. I have found that the more specific my plans are the better the results. I had a goal to finish my triathlon in a certain amount of time so my training plan had specifics in it that helped me accomplish that goal. Written plans are better than unwritten ones. There’s just something about words on paper, dating myself, or words on a screen that help you shoot straight. I had to adjust my plans several times due to weather, health, family and a few others things that came up. I also adjusted my plans as I learned more about how to prepare for my triathlon. In the end planning prepared me to participate and finish my first tri.
Lesson 9: Suffering – will always be experienced when you are pursuing your goals and chasing down the things that matter most in this life. Suffering will stand between you and every significant thing you chase. There’s no getting around it. I had to learn to get through it and manage it. I learned to endure and this is a lesson that is useful in every area of my life. I also had to come to grips with the fact that suffering isn’t all bad. In fact it’s one of the best teachers on the planet. I suffered a lot during my training and preparation for the tri. I also suffered during the event. But the suffering was beneficial in so many ways. I’m not going to lie, the best part about all the suffering I went through is that it’s over! Well, it was over for 2 weeks until I started training for my next tri.
Lesson 10: Finishing – one of the greatest things about finishing is that it can’t be taken away from you. Think about it, so many things in life slip through our hands. So many things in life are taken from us at times when we want to hold them more. So many things in life are mutable. So many things in life gladly suck your time, money and talents and yet never reward you. But, when you finish something its done and it can never be taken away. When the gun went off for my tri I started swimming at a pace that I couldn’t have kept up and had I tried I wouldn’t’ have finished. Some of us are living our lives like this right now and we need to back it down so we can finish well. The same thing happened on the bike. When I got a half a mile into the run my left foot went to sleep and felt numb. To this day I don’t know what happened. I had a choice to make and the one I made was to hobble my way towards the finish. At 2.5 miles, half the length of the run, it started to go away and I started running and when I crossed the finish line I was a happy man. The tri reminded me that it’s important to cross the finish line in every area of life. I want to finish well as a follower of Jesus, a husband, a father and a friend. I have written some long term life goals and one of them was stolen from Paul who was a follower and servant of Jesus. He said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race and I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). I want to be able to say this before I take my last breath. It’s my prayer that you fight the good fight, finish your race and keep your faith.