Are you riding with the brakes on?

My husband wanted to do a modified triathlon (8k paddle, 5k run and 11k ride). I reluctantly agreed, reminding him that he would need to dedicate an enormous amount of time to training, which might have been a breeze last year, but this year we have a seven-month-old baby.

A little background for you: My husband, Zac, works nights and weekends and I work weekdays. This time last year our biggest concern was who would be home to walk and feed the dog. This year we can’t seem to leave the house without one of us having spit-up or dried snot (and sometimes worse) crusted on us somewhere. We are constantly running late, or not leaving at all because, let’s face it, it’s just easier. Zac watches our son, Finn, during the day and then goes to work when I get home. He’s amazing, more on that later.

Back to the story, fast forward two months, it is the day before the triathlon. My mother was visiting from Nevada and staying with us. Zac was preparing for the race and decided to give the bike one last spin. As soon as he got on it, the rear tire popped. Minor setback. My mom happened to be out running errands, so he asked her to pick up a new inner tube. She got back to our house around 9pm and Zac quickly went to work repairing the tire. He got the new tube in place and the bike in the back of the truck. He shut the bed cover. POP. Either a firework or a small bomb had gone off somewhere way too close to home. Zac opened the truck bed to find that not only had the tube popped yet again, the entire tire sidewall was trashed. This new inner tube was no ordinary tube, no, it was a “self-healing” tire tube. Translation: blue goop everywhere. Everyone loves making late-night Walmart runs, right? I think it was around midnight by the time Zac finally came to bed.

Saturday was not a great day in terms of weather. Fifteen-mile an hour winds were gusting across the lake where the event would begin. The first leg is an 8k-canoe paddle.  In not so many words, an announcement was made asking anyone who wasn’t going to win to step aside and let the “elite” racers leave first. Although he might have hesitated for a moment, my husband stepped aside. It was a better decision for two reasons, first, he wasn’t going to win (you’ll understand what I mean later) and second, he got to witness the “elite” participants, one by one, tip their canoes. I’m just speculating, but I think the point of a modified triathlon is to avoid swimming? Zac might have had a laugh at the chaos happening in the water, but he wasn’t immune to it. He too tipped and thankfully another team was kind enough to assist him and his Aunt Jayme in getting back in their canoe.  Even once they finally got going, they were still passing over-turned boats for up to 300 yards out. To top it off, the wind was in their face and just as they turned the bend where it should have been at their backs, it died down. Needless to say, this wasn’t an ideal start to the race.

Leg two is a 5k run. This second portion of the race was fairly uneventful, but my husband is not a runner, so there is no such thing as a “good run” for him. Hence the lack of details for this paragraph. The one comment he made was, “I guess I should have trained more for that leg.” I’ll leave it at that.

Leg three is an 11k bike ride, and not on an easy path.  This course consists of several hills, narrow passages, and keep in mind you’re navigating through a LOT of people. Zac knew this would probably be his last race with his current bike based on how the previous night had gone. He didn’t quite anticipate it would be his last ride with this bike, ever. About a mile into the ride he noticed his handlebars seemed loose. About five miles into the race they were so loose he was just hoping they would stay attached long enough to cross the finish line.  Thankfully one of the passers-by had a tool Zac was able to use to tighten them enough so they didn’t come flying off half way through the ride. The new tire didn’t fit quite right from the get-go, so Zac just figured the ride was particularly difficult due to a combination of an ill-fitting tire and lack of training. After an exhausting two hours and fifty-eight minutes, Zac and Aunt Jayme crossed the finish line. Having a hunch that Zac wasn’t THAT out of shape, Aunt Jayme decided to check out Zac’s bike. She kindly broke the news to Zac that he had been riding with the rear brakes stuck on.

Sore doesn’t begin to describe the shape Zac was in following this race. But what really amazed me was this: Despite the fact that almost everything that could have gone wrong did, Zac was just as excited about finishing the race this year as he was last year; regardless of the added time, tipped canoe, and dud of a bike. My husband is a man who is rarely in a bad mood, even when his circumstances totally justify it. His determination inspires me on a daily basis.


I will end with this thought. Zac had no idea his brakes were on, he just knew he was having to work a little harder than expected, but he kept his focus on the finish line and accomplished his goal. He literally never gives up. If the roles were reversed, I would have stopped at the popped tire feeling destined to fail before the race even began.

I have contemplated starting a blog for five years. The fear of failure has constantly been my excuse. I made a decision at the beginning of 2014 to live for what will last eternally and to follow whatever promptings the Lord places on my heart…and what a year it has been. This blog is just a part of that story; I guess you could say I am taking the brakes off and finally letting Him guide my path. I am thrilled to have started “Hogan’s Haven” and I look forward to sharing my journey of faith, marriage, mommyhood, career and all the craziness with you, wherever you are. I hope this blog will inspire you, encourage you, and maybe give you a good laugh from time to time. This life is hard, but we don’t have to go it alone.

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of self control.”
2 Timothy 1:7