I'm Patrick Archbold and I am lots of different things to different people. First and foremost, I am a Catholic Christian, a husband to a beautiful and generous wife, and a father to five wonderful children.
And did I mention that I am a runner and a triathlete?
So this is the story with that. In the early 2000's I found myself growing increasingly plump. Actually, I moved way beyond plump into genuine fatty fatty boombalatty territory.
One day, I had just had enough. Even though I had never been athletic and hadn't run a lick since high school, didn't own a bike, and could hardly swim, I announced to my wife, "I am gonna do a triathlon and one day I am gonna do an IronMan."
"That's nice dear."
But I started to run, bike, and swim. And I did that triathlon and many more. I ran road races. I ran marathons. I did dozens and dozens of races and even though I never threatened the podium, I had fun and I improved.
But most of all and rather surprisingly, I found that training deepened my faith. It gave me time to reflect upon things and to order them correctly in my life. I also felt a connection to God in the quiet of training that I really didn't experience in the rest of my hectic life. Training was good for me, body and soul.
By 2006 I felt I was ready to take on the big kahuna, the IronMan. By this time we had four children. I got up in the dark every day and did my training. In November of '06, I completed IronMan Florida in 12 hours and 46 minutes.
A few months later we found out that child number 5 was on the way. Understandably, my wife asked me to cool my jets when it came to the racing. She didn't want me to quit training altogether, just lay off the racing for a while. I loved racing, but this seemed reasonable and I agreed.
But it seems I am not wired this way. Without the racing, I began to train less and less and eventually not at all. I put back on some pounds. And then some more until I found myself back at the same weight I was before I began training in the first place.
Six months after training again, I have lost 68 lbs and just completed the Philadelphia Marathon.
|Rock n Roll 10k|
So I am back on the journey toward fitness. But...
Even more important than recapturing my physical fitness, I am determined to use this journey to grow in spiritual fitness. While this journal will not beat anyone over the head with spiritual themes, they are ever present to me and will undoubtedly find their way into my writing. I view training as a sort of self-chosen purgatory. A process in which I am refined through pain, but always with the goal in mind. The sub-head on this blog refers to running the seven storey mountain. This alludes to the depiction of purgatory as a mountain in Dante's classic.
The purgatory of my choosing is IronMan. I choose to suffer to improve as an athlete and to prepare myself for the event. But I also choose to suffer and to offer up that suffering to good for the purification of my soul and for those souls in need of it. My dream, my goal, is that at the end of this process I will not only be an IronMan, but an IronSaint.