Tag Archives: competition

Leaving it all on the course for Him Matthew 5:21

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who have left it all on the field for Jesus said … AMEN!

You’ve heard the interviews after an athletic contest, one of the most common phrases; “I left it all on the field”, basically I gave everything I had in order to win. It can get a little cliché, but by the same token, I have no doubt that each person who says that truly believes it. At the end of that contest; a race, basketball game, matholympics, I gave everything I had, physically, mentally, emotionally in order to win, or at least to do my best. I’ve done races where I expected it to be a little more challenging and at the end upset with myself that I was holding back too much and I could have pressed harder on the bike or the run. By the same token I’ve seen people sprinting to the finish line, giving everything and as soon as they crossed, going off somewhere and literally getting sick right after they finished. No question they exceeded their normal physical ability in order to find that tiny little bit that they had left in order to finish as well as they could.

We certainly see this in so many of the people described in the Bible. King David wrote dozens of Psalms, but if you think he was all about sitting at a desk pen in hand and dreamily wondering how to compose his poetry, you would be mistaken. Most of his prose was about the different ways that he was left it all out on the field for God. David was a powerful soldier, his soldiers followed him into many different situations, they trusted him as a leader who would be there for them, do whatever it took for his men and defeat his enemy. David had no compunction going out on that field and doing what God directed him to do and pouring every last ounce he had into the fight for his men, his country and very much so for his God. David lived his life for Yahweh, there were times when he failed in that and he failed in a way that only a great king and general could fail. As Dr Luther wrote: Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong [or sin boldly], but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.”[1] If King David had known about Jesus and written about Jesus, he would have understood completely what Dr Luther wrote.

In a lot of ways that is what Jesus is saying in the Beatitudes, you have to go over and above, you have to leave it all out there. There may even be a physical price to pay. The Beatitudes can be taken in a legalistic way. Jesus is not saying you have to do this, you have to do that in order to be saved. People have told me that they live by the Beatitudes. It’s not about grace, it’s about them and their performance, what they need to do, that God is keeping score and waiting for them to tank, to hit the wall, to not finish the course. If they somehow fail in one of Jesus’ directives they failed to leave it all out on the field for Jesus, they kept some back for their own pleasure, maybe cheated on the course somehow and didn’t completely live up to what Jesus directed us to do.

The fallacy is this, the Gospel doesn’t tell us that unless we are picture perfect, that we have somehow failed and therefore don’t manage to hit the finish line having left it all out on the course for Jesus. The Gospel does say that Jesus who is entirely perfect God and perfect man, something we could never be, a person that we will never be because there was only one Jesus. Jesus absolutely did leave it all out on the course and it was entirely for us, Jesus didn’t do all that He did for Himself. What’s the point? Jesus is the One through whom all creation came into existence, He is perfectly God, all He did was not for Him, but entirely for us. Nothing we can do, can add to what Jesus did for us, not one iota, not one jot or tittle.

Yet, many people are pretty sure it’s about sticking to the letter of the Law in the Beatitudes and that gets you over the line. I’m not saying we shouldn’t be obedient, Jesus said “if you love Me, you will obey Me.” But Jesus knows that we are fallible, that our obedience is qualified by our failings as sinful people in a sinful world. However, for all that Jesus did for us, how can we not strive to be obedient? How can we not strive to leave it all out on the course for Jesus?

Does a completely good, completely holy, completely gracious God want us to pluck out our eye and throw it away if we are not completely perfect in everything? In this day and age you can’t look anywhere that doesn’t offend your eye. The issue is, did you let your eye linger over that which offended? Or did you realize, “hey, this isn’t glorifying Jesus or doing me any good”, and just turn away? That’s what Jesus is asking us to do, in the Beatitudes. He exaggerates to make a point. He might say. “You really want to try to earn your way, this is what has to happen, if your right hand causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. I’m thinking, none of us would truly stand that test. That does not, however, minimize the fact that we should strive to avoid things that offend our eye or what we do with our right hand, or our left hand in order to sin.

Marge and I were at Pastoral Leadership Institute immersion this past week, which, ironically is about us and our performance, and driving us higher in Jesus. It’s an honor to be asked to attend, not everyone is, and it’s recognition of the fact that we are striving in evangelism and discipleship and given the opportunity in PLI to push to the next level. It doesn’t makes us more saved, but it does push us to better serve you and the Kingdom of God as leaders of His church.

The Father is not trying to impose unrealistic expectations on us, He is trying to get us to realize that we can’t get there on our own effort. We will fail! We will have plenty of good efforts, being obedient to the things Jesus asks of us, but at some point we will fail to push as hard as we could. That doesn’t mean we’ve lost, that we should cut off our hand. Matt Popovits was one of the speakers, the overall subject was discipleship, which was great, I emphasize discipleship in my ministry. While we are called to be strong and faithful disciples of Jesus, our performance in that respect is not what saves us. The thesis was “How do I measure my worth?” For those who are so sure that it’s all about me and my “opinion”, because my “opinion” is so vitally important! I have bad news for youse, your opinion just doesn’t really matter. Heavens, how can I say such a thing, come on pastor, we all know it’s all about me! It really isn’t. I can tell myself how great and special I am, but despite what I think, it’s not going to get me diddly. Whose opinion does matter? Oh yes, God’s opinion. That is a great thing! By the way, I told Matt I was going to rip him off relentlessly here, he said “fine, go for it!”.

Anyway, Matt talked about “Performacism”, this idea that we measure our worth by what we do, how well we do it, in and of ourselves. Performacism drives you to the following: 1) The fear of and trying to avoid a horrible outcome, a false Hell that you’ve created, that you’re running from in order to make it to an “unfulfilling heaven, that you earn the applause and approval of your peers. That heaven can’t do what you want, doesn’t fulfill your life.”[2] God’s not all powerful, it’s all about you and what you do and more importantly the way you want it to play out. It drives me nuts hearing people talk about heaven as a boring place, “why would I want to end up there”. Heaven is not our ultimate destination, our ultimate destination is the eternal resurrection. We will be put back on this earth in our physical bodies in order to live our lives the way God intended us to live, a world filled with unlimited possibilities and life fulfilling beyond anything we could imagine. Matt points out that Adam and Eve rejected the “Garden of Yes” in favor of the “tree of no”. We make that wrong choice all the time, a garden full of all kinds of possibilities in order for us to indulge in our personal besetting sin.

Matt further observes that we make ourselves a “Functional Savior” that it’s all in our hands whether or not we make it to that amazing eternity. It’s our activity, and accomplishments that save us, so that we are valued by ourselves and by others, because, heavens! in today’s world, it is all about everyone else’s who so precious opinion. We have that problem on a massive scale in our society today and something that our youth get so caught up in, but we’re all susceptible to it. Our self-image, whether our physical attractiveness is valued by others. In a world where everyone’s equal regardless, ya right! Our hypocritical world is just so full of themselves. The fight is to be as superficially attractive as possible to be of value, if you’re not, you might be patronized a little, but just not taken seriously. We see girls today going to extremes because hey the vital thing is to be beautiful, get the right guy, have all kinds of worldly wealth and live happily ever after. Forgetting that despite all our efforts, some, like me, who’ve just been ugly from birth, end up simply being dumped out the other end of life, whether we were beautiful  or not because we no longer meet the standards.

The cut to the chase is this; Jesus tells us that we can do it the hard way, by our own standards, our own worldly, wrong opinions. Or, because Jesus did it the hard way for us, we can trust in Him, that He has done all that’s necessary. Yes, we should leave it all out on the course for Jesus, because that’s what He’s done for us, but never think that is what gets you His promises.

We are so incredibly valued by the Father and there’s not one thing that we can add to that, not by anything we’ve done, not done, or done wrong, but solely who we are in Jesus, so incredibly valued because of who we are in Him and that He died a horrific death in order to save us. For such a huge price and to be adopted into true life in the Father’s family in baptism, we are, each one of us, so incredibly valued and loved. There are those of us who the Holy Spirit is moving to do big things, to serve at high levels. There are those of us who just physically can’t or who are called to do what we feel are humble things. Doesn’t matter to the Father, yes we should follow our calling, but no, we should never doubt how precious we are to the Father and what we are to Him in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

[1] Dr Ryan M. Reeves https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/ryanreeves/2016/04/20/did-luther-really-tell-us-to-love-god-and-sin-boldly/

[2] Matt Popovits PLI seminar, Cary, NC, February 9, 2017

This Tortise finally won one!

I did it! I’ve been competing (putting it charitably), in triathlons since 1985, and I finally medaled! I accomplished another goal in this particular race too. I drove all the way to Hammond, In. to do Leon’s Triathlon. I have now done races from Maine to Kansas and south to North Carolina. Leon’s Triathlon has also been the site of the U.S. Military triathlon championship and also as part of the race spotlighted the anniversary of the USO. Being retired military I did appreciate the emphasis on military in this race.

Now triathlons have different categories, not always the same, but age group categories always. Some races, like Leon’s, has a military and/or public safety category and many have a Clydesdale category, I finished second in the Clydesdale category. Hey it’s something and I finally hit it. Clydesdales are triathletes that are over 200 lbs and yea I more than qualify. Leons Tri 2nd place medal clydesdale divisionThe medal in the middle is the finishers medal, the medal off screen is the silver medal (I’ve been messing with it and I can’t line it up).

It was a lake swim and nice flat run and bike. Doing all my training in the hills all around me in south/central Pennsylvania, it is definitely pushing me. Leon’s was a really well run race. I’d like to do it again, but driving all the way to Indiana isn’t real practical and there are other states (West Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina) that are closer that I haven’t done. Hey maybe I can follow up this medal win with a sponsor, a summer of triathlons starting in the south, through the midwest, ending in Bermuda, oh yeah!!

I would like to thank the folks at Leon’s for a really good race and a nice excuse for a short getaway with my wife. And very thankful for helping me finally get something for the mantle after 30 years of trying.

Leons ILeons II

 

Leons III(Please note the flags that were all around the course) I am not trying to say that I all of a sudden received a huge influx of energy or talent, but I just finished reading Meredith Atwood’s inspirational article in Triathlete Magazine (September 2016, p 23). “The Hare sometimes allows the ego and objective speed to get the best of him. the Tortoise can get discouraged for a million other reasons. The best bet is to have faith in yourself, [as a Christian I would also say God’s will for me too] and be proud of all of your efforts and races – but to always ask yourself if you are doing the best you can with what you have. I challenge my fellow Tortoises of the world to really push themselves in the next running race or workout. Ask yourself if you can channel your inner Hare, just for a little while, and see what you are made of. You might be surprised and learn to believe that ‘fast for you’ is sometimes exactly all the fast you need.”  Leons IV

I stuck with it and because of a few factors, yea I finally did it. I would hope that people would pick a passion and really stick with it. Even if “channeling” doesn’t get you a medal, I have really enjoyed triathlon and the other goals that I’ve set for it. I guess I could add to my trophy mantle of 1 (including a few finishers medals), a map of the U.S. showing the states that I have competed in. I’m going to keep doing it, maybe things will line up again, but just as important, I’m doing it.

Leons Tri VI

 

Competition keeps you focused

Yea, competition is, in our politically correct little La-La Land, a bad word. But since most of the politically correct don’t really have a proper appreciation of gender differences, they want to live a quiet mediocre little life, really can’t adapt or accept differences (despite their rhetoric) we feel we have to accommodate the mediocre and unmotivated among us.

We really don’t frankly, they should be ignored, because they just don’t know what they’ve talking about and just don’t care. Their responses are usually emotional outbursts, although they condemn that in other people. They’re usually little bullies, physically, only if they can get away with it or emotionally. They will resort to petulant adolescent outbursts, instead of reason and resolution, despite what they think they’re not very smart, and they can’t understand why someone would respond emotionally. It’s their way or no way. Yea, I know, being a little harsh. The fact that there are those out there who are weak, passive or whiney is not an excuse to stomp on them either. Quietly correct them and move on. They will fuss at you as you’re leaving and will try the usual passive/aggressive undermining, but be assured no one really takes them seriously. For the rest of us who want to move on and actually do something in our lives we are the stronger and have to live that out when dealing with the, frankly, weaker and unmotivateable. Ya, I know that’s not a word, but it is descriptive.

The impetus for this rant is an article in Mens Health (May 2015 pp 130-134) The writer (couldn’t find his name) writes about personal rivals. Ya, that can get ugly sometimes, but the fact is that if you’re doing anything with your life, you will have rivals: “If you don’t think you have a rival, that could be your first problem. There is truth in one Holly wood agent’s assertion that ‘you’re no one in this town unless someone wants you dead.'” Ya, again a little harsh, but if you’re not worthy of someone else’s, let’s say dislike, you are just part of the mediocre crowd. Again, competition is not an excuse for playing dirty, lying, cheating, etc. It’s a way to motivate and strengthen.

For those of us who are Christians, we see rivals all through the Bible. God’s people simply had to stand up to their rivals in order for us to move along according to God’s will. The early Christians had the Jewish establishment and the Romans to compete against. They could have passively rolled over to them, but they knew what was right and took a strong, principled stand and so should we as Christian men in our daily life.

The author of the article points out: “Our recurring competitive bouts against known rivals ratchet up anxiety, excitement and also performance. Oddly, considering that rivals date back at least to Cain and Abel, the science of rivalry is relatively new,…” Yes, that was not a healthy rivalry and did not serve to improve anyone. Frankly it’s a better example of the nastiness of the mediocre and uninspired then it is of the positive affects of rivalry.

The writer refers to a positive example of how rivalry motivates us: “…NYU’s Gavin Kilduff, PhD studied the running community in State College, Pennsylvania he found that going up against a rival could cut 25 seconds off a competitive runners 5K time.” It may not seem like much, but I would love to be able to improve that much in a 5K, that’s a huge improvement.

“In one experiment, Uris Gneezy, PhD, an expert in behavioral economics at UC San Diego, gave people the choice to earn money at either a piece rate or a competitive basis for solving puzzles. Men (but not women) preferred to compete – going  against rivals dramatically increased their output.” There are numerous examples of the impetus of competition has created something better, and has done something difficult a lot faster. In 1961 when President John Kennedy challenged the United States to put a man on the moon before 1970, there weren’t many people around who were going to put money on that, yet because of the competition with the Soviet Union, eight years later the goal was accomplished with a few months to spare.

The writer points to Paul McCartney and John Lennon, yea, maybe not buddies, but smart enough to compete against each other and produce music that is still mainstream 40 years later.

Can women compete? Yes, of course and they do and there are many who do it in an inspiring way. God bless ’em. But again for those of the “don’t try to confuse me with the facts”, the mediocre, lazy and frankly just plain lame, competition is part of men’s makeup.

“When you’re the champ in any kind of competition, testosterone levels often quickly rise in your blood stream, says Matthew Fuxjager PhD, an assistant professor of biology at Wake Forest University.”

“Experts hypothesize that a rise in testosterone feeds your noggin’s reward system. And an influx of T may equal more receptors in brain structures that feed competitiveness and social aggression.”

For those in public education that simply can’t understand, identify with and are incapable of properly channeling this in boys, they really need to accept the facts and get out of the way, stop stifling this in boys. So many in today’s society think that they somehow get ahead by dragging someone else down, especially when they do it from ignorance and laziness. That’s not acceptable. Those who go out and accept the challenge are to be encouraged over those who prefer their laziness and passivity. In fact the writer concludes by saying that this chemical affect on a man has the affect of growing and building and helping to make life better for all of us, versus the mediocre la-la-ness. “Additional T receptors are probably still hanging around in your head long after your victory, Fuxjager says. The effect? You’ll be more likely to aggressively repeat the steps that led to your last win.”

I know this effect. Twenty-nine years in the Coast Guard competing against Mother Nature. Despite what the La-La’s think Mother Nature is an unforgivable competitor, she won’t hesitate to kill you if you make a mistake. When we went out and pulled someone out and got them to safety and help it was definitely a rush. For those who think drugs, booze, twinkies or just plain laziness is happiness, they will never know that rush. But I can tell you from personal experience, the next time I was called out, I had more knowledge, better prepared, bolder in accepting the challenge, and more motivated to pursue success. I’ll bet the person I rescued was probably pretty happy about that. For the mediocre and unmotivated they will never know that fulfillment and sit around and whine about it.

God equipped men to stand to the challenge, to be pushed to strive harder, God gave us rivals to push us and challenge us, to do things that will improve lives for other people too. It is not an excuse for men to stomp on others, to take what’s not theirs. But we should strive to serve God, our family, our community to the best of our ability and God gave us the make-up to do that and we should. God did not put us on the earth to be mediocre, passive, lazy. Read the Bible, I don’t see anyone in their that could be described positively in those ways. If someone pushes or inspires you to be a hero use that and always remember that it’s to the glory of God, His leading, His encouraging and in His service.

Sports, competition can help you feel young again.

So I’m going to brag on myself here. Warning, you probably want to move on at this point, but I had a notable week. Last Saturday, June 20, did fifty mile bike ride partly to compete against myself and also as a fundraiser for the Family First Health Center in York.  With the help of my brothers and sisters in Jesus at First St Johns we raised $440. Better than last year and my overall time was the same as last year. I flatted at mile 15, but God provides and let me flat about a mile from a rest stop. A gentleman who has a bike shop in Hanover, Pa was helping with bike casualties and I am grateful for his help. Sorry I don’t remember the shop name, please feel free to remind me, I’d appreciate it. Got through the next 35 miles. Overall a nice challenge.

This past Friday I competed in the York Area Agency on Aging’s Senior Games and they really do a great job. They conduct a week long variety of games and sports and just treat everyone so wonderfully. Much thanks to all the volunteers who do such a great job. I highly recommend if you are over fifty and live in York County, Pa. you should come down and give it a shot. Well I decided to give every swimming event a shot, even the individual medley which I haven’t done since Gerald Ford was president.  I came away with a silver medal, go figure. Total haul seven medals: two bronze- 50 and 100 free. Three silver IM, fifty breast and hundred breast. And two gold, my first gold and oddly enough both backstroke which is definitely not my primo stroke either , but gold in fifty and hundred back.

Again thanks, it felt like the old days waiting around for my next event chatting up the competition and enjoying the company. If the Area Agency on Aging’s goal was to give me a shot of youth they succeeded, thank you and God bless you.

Fear is so crippling, so limiting, such a waste to live.

FEAR!!! Fear of failure, of the future, of change, of growing older and either being injured, sick or disabled, or losing physical ability. Fear drives our desperate attempts to keep what we have and never trying to move and grow. If we attempt to move and grow we might risk what we have. Fear of trying church, of taking a chance to follow Jesus, not committing but at least trying, trusting a friend, family or pastor and just giving worship a chance.

Jesse Thomas in “Triathlete Magazine” (May 2014 pp 40-42) talks about the fear, as a professional triathlete of that day when he (or his wife Lauren, also a professional triathlete) will suffer a career ending injury or just realize that his abilities are not sufficient to remain an elite athlete. I participate (I hesitate to say compete, because while I wish I did, wouldn’t really be accurate) in triathlons. I certainly don’t make my living doing triathlons because I’d starve on a street corner. I’ve had all kinds of goofy “owwees”, left heel, plantar, both knees, serious cramps, right now sciatica, all eminently treatable, but when they happen the thought races through your brain, “oh no, this is it, I’ll never be able to …” Last season playing basketball in a church league, my left calf violently seized up. It was so severe that I was sure that I ruptured the achilles tendon, literally had to crawl off the basketball floor. Turned out to be a bad cramp, found a way to contend with cramps, haven’t had another and it’s going on a year now. But I remember thinking as I crawled off that floor, “this is it”, the fear was very compelling.

Thomas points out “”Ninety-five percent of the time our ailments and injuries evaporate within in a week.” And that’s been my experience, but approaching the big “60”, my physical abilities continue to decrease and the better chance that something will happen that will keep me from a high level of participation. Certainly with a professional like Jesse Thomas the fear has to be more profound. l’m a pastor my most visible function is to preach, if I somehow couldn’t speak properly anymore that would certainly put my future as a pastor in jeopardy. “…I’d be SUPER BUMMED”, writes Thomas, “in all caps for emphasis. And even though the risk is remote, I think the weight of that possibility is why my brain instantly goes to the darkest place in moments of doubt. It’s like trying to speed by a black hole without getting sucked in. According to Stephen Hawking, that’s impossible, no matter what your bike split is.”

We are all there, we all have that fear, it certainly does happen but it is rare. The possibility of such an occurrence is something that is supposed to be provided for by society, it’s certainly being abused in this day and age, but for those people with character, integrity, trust in God, and looking to live life they do not want to be “disabled”, they will fight tooth and nail against it.

There is an issue, those of us of want to keep going, are giving in to a different type of sin(s); fear, failure, relying on ourselves/idolatry, lack of faith. It also keeps us from living at the level we should be living: “So this ritualistic thinking about an athletic ending is just a way to acknowledge that fear, no matter how remote the chance that it actually materializes and to acknowledge that stupid trick that the mind can play on us. [I would interject, it’s more about our pride, more than us being victimized by our mind – Jim] And by acknowledging it [I’d say pride] we can stop our minds from dragging us into a fear cycle, make the conscious choice to disregard it and proceed in pursuit of the goal despite the possibility of failure. In that way, we CAN speed by the black hole. Where you at now, Stephen Hawking?” I would attribute Thomas’ claim not to my determination, but to the faith that God gives me to trust in Him and follow where He leads even when it might seem hopeless. He overcomes my fear, gives me the faith I need and then pushes me back to confront the world, but He is always with me.

Now the reality is that at some point I’m going to just be too old or disabled to toe up on a beach somewhere and jump in the water with a bunch of other people. (You have no idea how difficult that was to write), so then what? Could stay home, sit and bemoan my fate and just give up. I like Thomas’ perspective: “Acknowledging that worst-case-scenario, fear, also helps both Lauren and I realize that even if the ‘worst’ happened (our careers ended) in the grand scheme of things, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal… Lauren and I would have to find other professions, we’d be forced to not exercise all day, every day and not go to bed at 8 pm on Saturday night because we have a big session Sunday morning. As terrible as that sounds, nobody dies, we won’t starve… We will go on as a family and probably thoroughly enjoy the next phase of our lives. And after the sting of the disappointment wears off, we’d realize that the journey was all worth it anyway,” Absolutely, we’ve lived the life, we’ve gotten all we’re likely to get out of it, God has taught us what He wants us to learn from it and now it’s time to move on. For sure I won’t like it, yea my ego and dignity will take a hit. But then He moves me on. Thomas doesn’t address the ultimate time when it will really be over, our culture today is pretty sure that death happens to everyone else, not to us. For Christians death will mean the resurrection, put in our perfected bodies, that will never be sick, will never break down, will be perfect for ever. It won’t be over, it will just be starting. I have no doubt that I will actually be able to complete an Ironman Triathlon in the resurrection. Even in eternity I will never be able to do all that the new, very physical world offers, but I will never have that fear, even if I fail, I will have infinite opportunities to grow, develop and go back and start again.

But the thing I will never understand is this fear of ever even trying because you might fail. Bad news, you will!!! Deal with it, get over it and yourself, decide what you’re going to do about it and move on. Fear of trying, like ya worship, making excuses, keeping the mediocre and even destructive and passing on what truly gives life, what truly moves us in life, what is truly life and life more abundant, I just don’t understand. This world is not the answer, it’s only a stage, it will end, do you want it to end with you whining in fear and failure, hidden away some where, to ultimate destruction? Or do you want to live the life God has given us, to live to His glory and then move on to a life that, ya there will still be failure, but it’s OK, it’s perfect life and life with abundant opportunities to succeed and move on in life? Ya, seems rather obvious doesn’t it? So why are you still sitting there obsessing?

How Running [swimming, basketball, cycling, racquetball, resistance exercises, martial arts] Makes You High

I’m going to wax a little philosophical for just a quick comment. I guess I read a lot and I guess that my reading/interests are pretty varied. Because of that, I see a lot of stuff that I really want to share. I’m not trying to rip anyone off, I’m trying to share some chunks of wisdom that others might miss and give them a good reason to try something that will benefit them.

I read “Men’s Health Magazine” and for the most part it has good content. Can’t say I recommend all of it, but I really do like the following. I am ripping it off in toto, there I said it and I’m glad I said it. Do have to make the following disclaimer, before you start any exercise program make sure you get cleared by a physician, now read:

[K. Aleisha Fetters Men’s Health Magazine Jul/August 2014 p 22]

“1. When you run past your comfort level (i.e. after 30 minutes or so at about 80 percent max heart rate), specialized cells secrete two mood modifiers: endorphins – which are opioids – and anandamide, which is similar to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

2. Your blood carries the two chemicals to your blood-brain barriers, the gatekeeper to your brain cells. Anandamide crosses easily. But endorphins are large, and few make it in. No problem, though: Your brain also produces endorphins. Both chemicals boost your mood – and perhaps your mileage.

3. The two mood boosters are now tapped into your central nervous system, where they limit the signaling power of pain sensors called nociceptors that spread out from your spinal cord: Result: You don’t realize how much your legs are burning.

4. The endorphins downshift your brain’s prefrontal and limbic regions, which regulate your emotion and motivation. You begin to feel calm and comfortable. Then, as more endorphins reach these ares, you may even start feeling euphoric.

5. Anandamide triggers a release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that contributes to lust, pleasure, and addiction. It also binds to cannabinoid receptors in your brain’s pleasure circuit, where it sends bliss vibes throughout your brain for minutes or even hours.”

Your body is designed by God to give you pleasing, comforting feelings. We too often just go ahead and take the easy way and take drugs, which will hurt us, eat too much, not get any exercise and wonder why we come down with various diseases and disorders. As I said make sure you get checked out, then get rid of the stupid stuff, get out and push yourself and then you realize how good you’re going to feel, the way God intended for you and not you presuming to know better.

Why I keep trying to participate in triathlons.

Someone recently asked in a blog and at least a couple of people asked during the race a couple of days ago “why do we keep on doing this?”

I’ve been trying to do two triathlons a year since 1985. Can’t say I’ve succeeded, but I’ve come close.  A recent goal has developed in trying to do a race in every state. So far I’ve gone from Maine to Virginia going south and to Kansas in the west with the exception of Indiana. Haven’t figured out that one yet, but God seems to provide. I certainly try to keep in shape by challenging myself by doing two a year. But to stop would be conceding that I’m getting too old. It’s too easy to slip into some comfortable, yet tedious routine.  Who gets up at 4am to be on time at a race? It doesn’t hurt me and if anything puts me in the company of those who do want to strive to push themselves.  I’m trying to put this in terms of honoring God of doing it for His glory, all I can really come up with is that, like everything He gives me all I have and I dishonor Him by not using what He gives me to the best of my ability and to His glory. Maybe He has only given me mediocre talents to push me beyond them. (Not so sure I’m doing that, but give me credit for determination)

I’m still capable, I still have other goals. I’d love to do “Escape to Bermuda” and a race in Puerto Rico, maybe Cancun, Israel,  Belize. As long as I can, I should keep doing it, if God has given me the strength, stamina, perseverance, I’d also like to think I’m honoring and doing this to His glory. But yea there’s an element of ego. I was not the oldest person on the course by any means, so it can be done further in age then I am now, so why stop? Why give up on something that keeps me some what fit, keeps me in company with people who challenge me and lift me up and in which I still have other goals? So I guess the real question is why stop?