To Tri or Not to Tri: That Was the Question

To Tri or Not to Tri: That Was the Question

Last year I poured my heart into the vision of running a half ironman triathlon. I trained and tried and trained some more. But in the end, my knees just would not take the pounding of so much running. I ended up in pain, frustrated and sad that I was not able to complete this goal. I was able to run a couple of sprint tri’s last summer and loved those. But I was really just viewing them as preparation for the half ironman. It takes hours of training and determination to achieve that 70.3 miles and I was close. But not close enough. 

My love for the sport of triathlon began in 2015, when one of the nurse’s, Ann Gilbert RN extraordinaire, at the hospital where I work created the Montana Women’s Triathlon. It is a low stress, high fun opportunity to try out the sport. When I first heard about it, I thought maybe I could be on a team and just do one of the sports. I asked a coworker if she wanted to be on a team with me and she told me that she was going to do the entire thing. The competitive side of me kind of rose up, and I thought that if she could do it – so could I! So I did – and loved it! Oh, I was scared and nervous but what a blast. I was 57 years old that summer, and certainly not in great shape, but decided to give it a shot anyway. Swim- bike- run just resonated with me in a way that few sports ever have. I love the training, the competition, the excitement, and yes the T-shirt and medals.

After the big fail of last year, I kind of gave up. I decided, after a particularly long and depressing winter, that I just wasn’t going to compete this year at all. No triathlons, no half marathons, nothing. Not only have I not done much training, I have gained a bunch of weight and feel – well – unathletic to say the least. 

Then spring began to bring sunshine and warmth to the frozen state of Montana. I started riding my bike outside again. One day as I was out on a long bike ride, I realized that the motivation of a race coming up helped me to work out better and longer. I took up race walking and discovered that I can walk almost as fast as I can run (yes, I’m a back of the pack turtle runner – and proud of it). The ads for the MT W Tri began showing up here and there. The ads for the Seeley Lake Challenge Tri (my other favorite) began showing up. And then it happened. I signed up for both. I must really want those new T-shirts!

Refresh – Good Reads


Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands

by Shona and David Murray

It’s hard to know where to begin – I love this book. Shona Murray is a Christian wife, mother and physician who approaches the idea of a grace paced life based on personal experience as well as drawing on her medical expertise.

The first words in the introduction draw me in. Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Depressed. Panicky. Stressed. Burned Out. Broken. Paralyzed. Drowning. Empty.  I certainly relate to those words as do many women that I know.  And wouldn’t we love to exchange those for peaceful, calm, joyful, content, quiet, rested and refreshed?

This book offers a pathway to finding the peace and rest we all need. Murray lays it out like a gym – in fact it’s called “Refresh Gym”. Using the analogy of different stations in a gym that we go through to get physically from here to there, Murray offers a series of stations that start with a reality check and then move through nine stations to allow us to consider if we want to be healthy again – or maybe for the first time. Her practical advice in each area is warm and helpful. 

She helps us identify physical, mental, relational, moral, spiritual and emotional warning signs that tell us we are headed for a crash. Then in the next chapters, she discusses a number of important topics like the importance of rest and sleep – did you know you should even have a theology of sleep? She uses her knowledge of medicine and Scripture to help us understand why we must learn to rest well. That it’s not a sign of weakness but of wisdom and strength to get a good night’s sleep and take regular Sabbath and annual rest times.

I particularly appreciated her discussion of depression and anxiety. Those who suffer from depression and anxiety are too often shamed for not having enough faith or trust in God.  Thankfully, she gives us the understanding of God’s grace that allows us to use modern medications if that is what will help us. She also talks about the importance of a good diet and regular, moderate exercise. 

Those are just some of the topics in Refresh. As an RN, I appreciate the medical perspective Murray brings. And as a woman who tends to push myself to the limit, this book really helps me think through what a grace-paced life looks like. And it certainly feels better than exhaustion and burn-out.