Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I know I posted it before but I just can't stop thinking about it:

The year after Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile, TWELVE people did the same thing. TWELVE.

A feat that scientists had thought beyond the realm of human achievement, a feat whose attempt jeopardizes human life. The heart, these experts thought, would explode if anyone tried to break that record.

TWELVE people, the next year.

To date, the record has been lowered by 17 seconds, an enormous gulf in the world of professional athletes. That mark, once revered as the pinnacle of human achievement is now the standard for any Tom, Dick and Mikey who wants to run middle-distance. To go on further, that mark has been bested by a man in his 40's. It's been doubled-up by Daniel Komen of Kenya who ran 2 miles in under 8 minutes. No woman has done it yet. Someone will. And I'd like to buy her a drink in gratitude.


Bonhoeffer wrote about the hypocrisy that's possible with Catholic Sainthood in "The Cost of Discipleship." Sainthood, you see, allows rank and file Christians to believe that these people were a special breed; it creates a double-standard.

"Oh, I couldn't be like THAT."
"God just chooses SOME people to do great things."
"That's for a saint to do. I'm just a normal human being."

Screw. That.

I choose not to see the Augustines, Calvins, Luthers, Theresa's and who-have-you's as anything special. Roger Bannister was a man. Usain Bolt is a man. Michael Phelps is a man. Lance Armstrong, Neil Armstrong, Louie Armstrong, all just men. Stanley Lee is a man.

This is not to bring them down. By stating the facts of reality, I find that I've elevated myself up. I too, am a man. I breathe. I live. I can destroy my muscles like they did, and they will rebuild themselves just as theirs did. I can destroy my limiting beliefs like they did. And I will live within the framework of possibility, conquest and joy. Will I ever accomplish anything remotely comparable? Who knows? I don't even have a goal on that level yet. But that doesn't matter. I'll never stop pushing the envelope of my capacity. And I'll never stop being surprised at how much further this envelope goes.

To some, there may be such a heinous stench when a person raises himself up. I believe that we should never have considered ourselves so low. I hope that as I climb up, others might have a small spark of sentiment, a warming or thawing of spirit and realize that no... it's not impossible.

Impossible is nothing.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Within 10 years...

And this story HERE makes me think that my goals need to be set even higher. Thank you, David for having already gone where I want to go. I know I can go further. I certainly know I cannot aim at anything less.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I really wanted to, in what may be my last year in NY, see the Halloween parade in the West Village. But in retrospect, it's better that I didn't. I found something better, a challenge, a task beyond what I can handle right now: the 2009 NYC Triathlon.

Registration sold out in 22 minutes. I took 8 minutes to do it. Not much of a margin for error. I wonder at how much margin of error there exists in training. You see, I don't believe a person can accidentally finish a triathlon or a marathon. You don't wake up the morning of one of these challenges and luck your way into your goal.

It's exactly what draws me to these insane endurance challenges. No one lucks into them. It's highly unlikely but a person can be said to luck into winning a 100m race or throwing a shot put. Unlikely? Yes. Impossible? No. There the unseen power of the central-nervous-system coordinates a vast array of neurons and muscles to act in a fraction of a second. The training is demanding and the athletes are amazing. By no means am I belittling the great achievements that they've done.

But those goals belong to them. My pursuit has another target. No one can luck themselves into a marathon or triathlon. I would say it's impossible to be genetically made for one. No, these require training, constant, relentless pushing and perfecting of the human body to prepare itself for this test.

How long does an athlete run to finish a marathon? 26.2 miles? Absurd. An athlete has logged hundreds of miles for the purpose of finishing 26.2 miles. How many weeks of two-a-days will I have to put in to finish this triathlon? How much research will I have to do on my own time? How much dedication and heart will it take to push myself forward in spite of pain? How much can a man and his body endure?

More than we think possible.

I am certain that any athlete who loves himself and loves his sport knows what I am talking about. The true love is a love for self and for capability.

If someone could wave a magic wand and make me triathlon ready tomorrow morning, I would undoubtedly fall into a deep depression and listlessness. I've been working hard so that I can see my 6-pack for the first time in my life. Right now, I have a rough outline of 4 of them. If someone could use sorcery and make the body-fat vanish, I would be really disappointed.

The point was the difficulty, in the struggle and the overcoming.

I remember reading a devotional very early on in my Christian life that spoke on the beautiful deaths of