It Takes Faith for Triathletes to Distance

Pastor John

Hi, my name’s John. I am a Triathlete. You all know what that means. However, I’m not only a Triathlete, I have also been a Senior Pastor for 36 years. Not only that, I am also a Law Enforcement Chaplain to 4 local agencies in our community. Not only that, but I am also on our regional SWAT team as a crisis negotiator and Chief drone pilot and trainer. Sound like type “A” to you?

I was introduced to the multi-sport world through Charlie Patten and Rev3 who put on their first iron distance race here in Sandusky, Ohio. So, Pastor John, who thought it would be cool to have the title “Iron Man” didn’t even know what it was. I had just turned 55 and didn’t even know how to swim! AND I actually had a literal terror of the water. So, the only thing I knew how to do was pray and ask God to help me with my fear of the water. Then I had to jump into the water to conquer that fear. Now, I love swimming and I am bummed that I cannot go to my rec center and crank out my mile early in the morning!

Without faith, I would not be a Triathlete! Without faith I would not have done most of the things I have had the privilege to do. Faith is not just important to me, I believe that faith is important to every human being on the planet. I’m sure you wouldn’t expect a pastor to say otherwise. When we’re falling, or when the ground shakes beneath us, we all need something to grab onto to steady ourselves. Personally, I believe that we have all been made by the Creator with a need to fill the “faith” space inside us somewhere.

Like most of you, I thoroughly love being a Triathlete. You’ve heard the story of how to find out how many Triathletes are in a room of a couple hundred people? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you! We’re obsessed with this major accomplishment of a multi-disciplinary endurance life-style. Some of us may be too obsessed. If fact, some, not being able to train to their expectations, may feel completely unsettled or even depressed. When I really reached my stride in triathlon training, it was the hardest thing for me to do to understand that a rest day was a training day.

I believe physical health is very important. Without physical health I won’t be able to do very well or for very long what I have been equipped to do to help others. Training is a means to an end and I’m not talking about a podium finish. I love to win! I love to finish well and strong! I am a good loser when I am bested, but winning is much more fun. We need to revisit exactly what a win is.

For the past year and a half, I have nursed a knee and Achilles injury. Painfully slow to heal up to training intensity! Some of you know exactly what I mean. I had to redefine a win. A win for me, during that time, was to not cause further injury that may require surgery. So, I asked God to help me stay the course at the right pace. It’s much better now and yesterday I cranked out a slow 5 miler on the road. Today, maybe a 30 miler on the bike. My go to Bible verse? Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength…even if that means I need to slow down. Arrghhh.

What is a win for you right now during this time? Retaining your sanity? Finding a place to swim? Just escaping confinement? Finding a race that isn’t cancelled? I am 100% convinced that before too long, we’ll all be outside cranking up the miles in the pool, on the bike and on the road…and I don’t think it takes a whole lot of faith to make that statement.

Let’s DO this! See you “out there!”

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