Wow! This year has definitely been much different than I have planned but it has been awesome thus far. Life is one heck of a roller coaster ;) One minute you’re preparing for the best triathlon season to date, about to close on a house, and have the next 5 years planned out. Then the next minute God decides to remind you that He has better plans in mind. I constantly find myself planning out my future. What do I want to be doing in the next year, next 5 years, or even the rest of my life? The older I get the more I realize that planning is great but just like a race you need to be ready for the plan to change at any moment.

I went through a great winter of training and felt the strongest I have ever been in all three sports. Going into the shamrock half marathon I started to feel a dull pain that kept getting worse in my right leg. I had an x-ray and soon came to realize that a stress fracture was what was causing all of my pain. What a bummer! I have not done a triathlon since March and it took me nearly 3 months until I was cleared to run again. Running is by far my favorite thing to do and not being able to do it was definitely hard.

After talking with Coach Michael Harlow and my Physical Therapist, Clarke Tanner, we decided it was a good chance to gain some experience in cycling events until I could compete in triathlon's again. Looking back I see that God was working in this situation just like He always does. I have met some awesome people the last 3 months and have really enjoyed the cycling races. Tuesday night Bryan Park Crits are one of the highlights of my week and unlike triathlon, your body can handle multiple races in a week on a regular basis. It has been awesome and admittedly a little addicting! I have been shocked how much stronger I have become on the bike. My FTP (Functional Threshold Power…look it up) has gone up 27 watts in the last 3 months, which is nothing short of incredible. My power to weight ratio is now sitting directly at 5w/kg. That is still not what it needs to be but it definitely puts me at the front of the pack in age group triathlons.

Bryan Park Crit

Bryan Park Crit

Now that 3 months have passed and I have started a run progression that should have me in a great place come triathlon nationals and worlds in August. I have been shocked at how fast I still feel running after taking such a long time to recover. Clarke Tanner and Jimmy Picard at Optimal Solutions have helped me rehab and get to a place that should take my run to completely different level. The goal for this year is to still win my age group at nationals and place in the top three in my AG at worlds. I now also want to earn a CAT 3 upgrade in cycling.

Looking back, this year has certainly been a change of plans. I was about to close on a house when Liberty University hired Endorphin Fitness to take over the triathlon program. With the help of Michael Harlow and Kyle Pawlaczyk, I will be leading that team to a national championship in the next 5 years. Knowing that Lynchburg is an awesome place to train for endurance events it is evident that while nothing is final, buying a house in Richmond may be a bad move at the moment.

Who knows what the next 5 years will hold. I have learned to take everything into perspective. Knowing that God does care about people and their future, only gets me excited for the future. The purpose of my job, athletics, and relationships is to be available when God needs me. It is to allow others to see that my goal is to be more like Christ and see that in everything I do. God has each of us here for a purpose. Swimming in the river, riding my bike, and running are all great but if it does not have a bigger purpose then it all is a waste of time. It is a little unsettling not knowing what to expect but realizing that I truly believe I live for a God who cares about my future makes the roller coaster ride even that more exciting!

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AuthorParker Spencer