Posted On March 1, 2009 By In The Phast Lapp And 478 Views


This has been a rough month, as evidenced in the tardiness of this issue. Please accept my apologies.

Two family members died separately, and a third has just reached three weeks in the hospital on his back, unable to move.

In the case of the third person, one day he woke up and was unable to move. An illness made itself known that morning that had been undercover previously. It was by faith that Lou had expected to get up, have breakfast, and live his life as he had each day before. But not this morning.

That morning, 9-1-1 would be called, he would be transported to Presbyterian Hospital, tested and re-tested, and endure agonizing days to come, of intense, agonizing pain that became a blur.

Despite the medications (nine pills a day), IV’s, round the clock nurses, and dwindling appetite and frame, nothing much had changed including the amount of pain and general discomfort, consistently rated at 11 on a scale of “1 to 10.” Things were not looking good.

Like the unexpected incident that initially occurred, yesterday there was another dramatic shift in Lou’s health. He sat up. It was for less than an hour, but he was able to get up. Furthermore, he ate. It was only a little, but he did eat. All of this was significant.

This change couldn’t be seen during the dark days of all us huddled around his bed as he slept for hours and hours, unable to move. Though the doctors were confident there WOULD be a change, no one was expecting it. None of us were even sure it would come, this “change.” A few even had doubts.

But through it all, most everyone had a faith THINGS WOULD CHANGE.

And so it is with us who set our sights on a goal, and choose to train, all the while, having “faith” a transformation will take place.

We leap off the edge of sanity and soberness, and cast our hopes upon waters deep and wide. We begin this journey of fitness without knowing its end, but care little about its end. But it is in faith that we begin. We begin for a myriad of reasons, as many as there are people who begin. Most fall into the category of a future hope (losing weight, doing a particular race, reaching a particular distance, finishing in a specific time). Some begin because they are chased by a past they haven’t let go of, yet. But we all start in faith, uncertain of what’s down the road, literally and figuratively, being motivated by future promises, to get to places we have never been, and may have only heard of in passing. We build a new reality.

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see.” (Heb 11:1)

If you live, train, and race in faith, you live differently. You can begin to build and attain a new fitness level. Faith is not limited by our age or stage in life. It holds possibilities for all.

In faith, we must hold fast, remain diligent, undaunted in our training, and true to ourselves. We must not let the cynical discourage us, for it is in faith we travel. We must stand firm.

This doesn’t mean we idly sit by and let faith carry us to winning gold at the Olympics. That will never happen. Faith means we live as if we have attained our goal, and that means we are doing the work now, today, and all that it includes, to be at that level we are reaching for in the future. We must be doing our homework. Faith demands we do some preplanning to attain that level.

We must believe in our coach, and that program we have worked up together, will get us where we want to go. In turn, we train under a coach who believes in us. We must step out in faith during our training to do the work, believing in the work we are doing. Our faith is based on our training, not by intuition or guessing, or what we see or can’t see.

It is by faith that we run. It is by faith that we show up at a race, warm-up, and start, taking our first steps in what we hope, in faith, will be a good race for us. We plan a pace we believe exists in us that will get us to the finish line, and in faith, stay at that pace watching the mile markers pass over a course we have studied. Because of faith we are not shaken by others passing us, by a change in the weather, or a shoe lace that becomes un-tied. Instead, we hold on to the finish. We can be rewarded for holding on to that pace with every PR fulfilled, every runner passed, conquered. Many finish times are a testament to faith lived out. A running career spanning many years is certainly a sign of a faith lived out.

By finishing in faith, we leave footprints for others to follow. And in the end, it is by faith that we sleep at night hoping not to wake up the next morning paralyzed and dependant on others for the most basic of functions. Faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do not see.

Although March was rough, a bright spot occurred when a friendship that I thought was lost, was restored, giving two people hope, and faith.

Chris Phelan has written, laid out, photographed, and published The Phast Times News since 2001. He’s crisscrossed Texas on his bike three times, swam 5 miles across Lake Ray Hubbard three times, completed three Ironman triathlons, and has represented the US in completion three times, and run with the Olympic Torch. He maintained All-American status for five years and has also biked across the country, 3600 miles in 30 days. The running/triathlon coach has PR’s of 2:27 marathon, 15:40 5K, 3:55 at the Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred, and 10:00:52 Ironman. Chris is the only person to have won overall and Master’s at Dallas’ Crosson Dannis road racing series, DRC road racing series, and the USAT/SMW duathlon series. In 1988 he began Dallas’ oldest track workout, 1998 started north Texas’ first treadmill class, and 2003 he founded the world-wide Ride Of Silence. He’s been twice nominated Master’s Road Runner of the Year, highlighted in a variety of magazines and is frequently asked to speak at camps and organizations about fitness. Outside of swimming, biking, and running, Chris has summited several mountains including Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro.