Triathlete.com surveyed top professional triathletes asking them who would stand on the podium this year at the 2018 Ironman World Champs held in Hawaii. Each and every one of the tops pros surveyed stated that Sanders would be on the podium this year, and not one pro – not one! – suggested that Lange would. Despite Sanders track record of placing 29th in 2016 , and then 2nd in 2017 and Lange placing 3rd in 2016 and 1st in 2017, Sanders was picked as the one to beat in Hawaii. Triathlon pro Holly Lawrence went so far as to eliminate Lange as a competitor, considering him an unworthy contender, stating that his win in 2017 was a fluke.
Ahead of 2018 Ironman World Champs, Sanders published video after video showing himself training: grunting, groaning, moaning on his trainer and his treadmill, (he was probably groaning and moaning while swimming we just didn’t have the chance of hearing that self inflicted torture on top of the rest).
Ahead of 2018 Ironman World Champs, Lange published… nothing.
One went to Hawaii with pompous flair, figuratively pounding his chest to announce his intention of becoming the alpha male in the sport of triathlon.
One went to Hawaii with the singular task of executing his training with the highest level of excellence, and that’s all (well, not exactly… he also had a marriage proposal in mind for the finish line).
One suffered in Hawaii, having to drag himself to the finish line, the other set a course record, was the first to break 8hrs for the course, and won in back to back years doing what only a tiny fraction of professional triathletes can claim to doing. The athlete prevailed this year without even having to raise his sword because, this year the ego driven thrill seeker fell upon his own sword… and finished 30th.
In the bible story of David & Goliath, who is the athlete and who is the ego driven thrill-seeker?
Goliath was portrayed as a behemoth of a man, standing taller than all other soldiers, he was figuratively and quite literally a bear of a man. Multiple men have to hand him his armour because of its weight. He could attack from distances no other could as his strength allowed him to throw spears farther than anyone else. Goliath was portrayed as ‘the’ man, the warrior who would take the entire army of Israel on his own… and win.
David on the other hand is a small boy, so small that he is unable to wear the kings armor and due to him lacking the strength to wear it, he enters the field of battle without any. David has no special military training, he has no knowledge of swordsmanship, spear throwing, or defense using a shield to thwart attacks or as a device that can be used to attack an enemy. David is a shepherd boy, not a military man.
If there was a website at the time, say “warrior.com” and it surveyed other top warriors of the time, who would they have chosen as winner in the stand off between the Israelites and the Philistines?
Even though David has killed lions and bears while protecting his flock of sheep – effectively the equivalent of standing up to Goliath in battle time and again – because he didn’t post workout scrolls on the Youtube of the time for all to see, he was discounted, not considered a warrior… no one bet on him succeeding.
…sounds like a familiar story, doesn’t it?
Between Sanders and Lange, who is the athlete and who is the ego driven thrill-seeker. One is a true athlete, the other is a former addict who believes he is cured of his addictive ways but fails to realize that he has only changed his supply source of ‘highs’ from an illegal narcotic to a legal one (i.e. endorphins) and knowingly or unknowingly has become an ego driven thrill-seeker.
Compare the facial expressions of Achilles & Hector to those of Lange & Sanders during the final miles of the marathon of the 2017 Ironman World Champs, it offers a clue. Still not sold? Review the expressions of any of the triathlon top performers… Wellington, Badmann, Bowden, Frodeno, Lange… either during competition or as they cross the finish lines: they are smiling, they are joyful, you can see it and you can feel it. Now review the expressions of all the one time wonders: they grimace, they groan, they scream as they train, as they compete, and when they cross the finish line… its typically done in a display of anger, of in-your-face bravado, of one-up-manship and with a take-that all you losers attitude as if they think they have proven something, to someone, somewhere.
Pursuing endorphin highs has become a socially acceptable standard in training for fitness and in sport, where inflicting greater and greater magnitudes of self harm is performed in order to elicit higher and higher endorphin highs. A society drowning in opioid overdoses, in substance abuse, a society demanding legalization of more and more illegal substance (e.g. cannabis), a society which believes that joy lies on the otherside of self inflicted pain (e.g. HiiT) is a society so overwhelmed by anxiety and depression** that it needs an hero to prove that their addictive ways are not the root cause of their mental distress, of the griping fear, of the anger and nervousness that overwhelms daily life. Its a society desperate for one who embodies their own addictive patterns that they can look to for hope that they may find meaning and purpose in their own lives, and hopefully restore a sense of inner peace, and maybe just maybe allow them to experience joy again. Hence…
The ego driven thrill-seeking addict has become “every triathlete’s hero“.
Click to link to the article at triathlete.com
But hasn’t Sanders stated that God gave him triathlon as a way out of his former life? If that is so, shouldn’t Sanders path be set straight to the podium year after year in every and any event he signs up? Has God turned his back on Sanders?
I truly believe God was there when Sanders was on the verge of overdosing or hanging himself or whatever it was he was going to do, and I believe God is still with Sanders, the problem is that Sanders isn’t with God. The problem is not the ‘what‘ its Sanders’ ‘how‘. How Sanders trains disrespects his body – he tortures himself until he moans, groans, and grunts, he hurts himself over and over, inflicting pain in pursuit of another endorphin high believing that this is how you are supposed to train in pursuit of your potential. It isn’t. The path to your potential does not destroy the temple which is your body, the temple where God is supposed to reside within you. Why would God want to reside in a temple/body constantly being attacked, damaged, beaten up, punished? Think about it.
Ego driven thrill seekers do not train, they use hi intensity interval & threshold training to damage themselves and like Sanders states… willing to damage themselves to the point of death if that is what it takes.
Athletes train: with love – for what they get to do, with joy – grateful that training is what they get to do and they express that joy in how they train: with gentleness and kindness towards themselves, towards their competitors; with the self discipline to train respecting that their body is a temple, with the self discipline to train smart, not stupid; with the self discipline to stop seeking short cuts and respect that the long way is the short cut.
Ego drive thrill-seekers beat themselves believing ‘more pain = more gain’.
Athletes train in pursuit of health: physical, mental and emotional health.
How one trains is evident by how they race.
How do you race? Angry? Scared? Scared stupid?
How do your children compete? Anxious? Fearfilled? Terrified but put on a brave face to save face in front of you? Perhaps they no longer compete because the level of fear that comes with competing is so overwhelming that it either paralyzes their little bodies, or shakes them to their core.
The bible says “fear not” 365 times, therefore our training should be to become fear-less. Training should be building you into a fearless warrior, like a David, like a Paul. If it isn’t, then your training is doing the opposite… and that is how training can be as unhealthy, as addictive, as detrimental as an addiction to the most deadly drugs. Unhealthy training leads to only one end, the dead-end of death.
Lionel… God gave you life once at birth, and again He gave you life when you contemplated death, and He gave you triathlon as an out from drugs, but He did not give you triathlon as an alternative way of harming yourself, damaging yourself, killing yourself. Please stop trying to kill yourself with triathlon. Just because society approves of addiction or of an addiction does not mean its healthy, nor is it right or good just because society celebrates you, cheers you on, has chosen you as its representative. Consider what exactly society is cheering you for representing and you may not be so happy with the crown.
Please stop modelling that training and racing to death is ‘the way to go’. Please consider that there are young athletes – as in children – who look up to you, want to look up to you, but you confuse them by stating that are you willing to die as a result of doing what you love to do (and effectively stating that God wants you to kill yourself through the path He gave you to escape death… no Lionel, don’t kill yourself with drugs… kill yourself with triathlon instead?? Like that makes much sense).
Please consider that there is an alternative way to addictive training, that there is another way to live life other than through addictive behaviour patterns.