More than just an inner drive

On October 9 I plan to complete Ironman Louisville. I have been preparing for this triathlon race for several months. The training has been relentless. The improvements in my fitness have been gradual but I trust I will be prepared to complete this race. I will cross the finish line after 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking,and 26.2 miles of running. When I cross that finish line, I may collapse. I suspect that during the race there will be many moments when I will want to quit. I will strive to finish because of the internal motivation to complete this goal, but I think I will be more motivated by the external pressure of having so many people pushing me forward. I am certain I would quit a big race like this Ironman if I only could rely on my internal strength. I have a high tolerance of pain and I can stay motivated on most tasks, but this race will be hard.

I am thankful for the tremendous support and encouragement that I have received in my preparations to complete Ironman Louisville. I am a part of team of pastors preparing to complete the triathlon. Pastors Mark Milatz and Ben Vogel are at Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church and School in Brighton, Michigan. Pastor Drew Gruenhagen is at St. Michael Lutheran Church and School in Wayne, Michigan. Our team is called Tri1406. The “tri” part of the team name comes from the word triathlon. The “1406” part of the title come from the total distance of the Ironman distance, which is 140.6 miles. We are using this race as a vehicle to raise money for church worker student scholarships. You can read more about our team, follow along with our training, and also make a donation of any amount for these scholarships by visiting

no-quittingI have been challenged to find the time to train and improve my speed in the water, on the bike, and on the road. I thought I could do some sermon prep in my mind during the swim workouts, but instead I spend most of my time moving one arm in front of the other arm. While I am on the bike and on the running paths, I do find more opportunity to think. I have outlined a few books in my mind, but then I have forgotten them all when I get back to the car. Thinking while I am biking and running seems to be similar to my dreams. Awesome in the moment and then when I wake up nothing makes sense to me. The minds games I have experienced during the training have convinced me that the internal motivation for this race will be a jumbled mess. Fortunately I will not rely on only my personal fortitude to finish this race. I am supported by my kind and generous family. All the pastors on the Tri1406 team have found their congregations supportive and understanding of the training time necessary to prepare for this race. We have received donations that have let me know that people care about supporting church worker scholarships.Thank you for the support and the prayers. I will find external motivation to finish this race in the knowledge that so many people care about our success in Louisville.candidate-1276436-2014-07-02-22-27-19

I will also stay motivated to finish this race knowing that God has given me this opportunity to shine a light on the need for us to support students who are preparing to serve the church as pastors, teachers, and directors of Christian education. Please consider making a donation to support church worker scholarships by visiting or write a check to St. Paul Lutheran Church and place the words “tri1406” in the memo line.


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