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Welcome to the Dorie's Stories {devotional} Blog!

It was over ten years ago this month that I completed my one (and only!) triathlon.

I recently realized that I never had gotten a cool sticker for my car that has a little stick person that is swimming, biking, and running on it so that others could see that I was a very fit and active person at one point. I still intend to buy one of those stickers. I'm hoping the term "triathlete" isn't time-sensitive!

My devotional story for this blog post is about my "couch-to-triathlon" experience, an excerpt from my book, Hope Looks Good on You! A Comedian's Joy-inducing Daily Devotional for Women. . . .

Chapter 16: Couch-to-Triathlon

I wasn’t a runner. It’s as if I heard the lifeguard’s “no-running” whistle at a public pool that one time and then just applied it to my whole life.

I was once asked by my doctor if I was active; and I proceeded to tell him how much my husband runs as if that counted by osmosis.

I just don’t like it. My body didn’t seem built for it. My body was built for lunches and naps and comfy snuggling.

Then, one night my husband and I were watching a TV channel that only had shows about triathlons.

Our TV had about four channels in our language at the time and the other three must have been on a commercial break for me to watch the triathlon channel.

We watched these incredible people with disabilities finishing these races complete with swimming, biking, and running portions. It was inspiring, but even in that moment I said out loud, “I could never do that.”

As the words fell from my lips, something didn’t feel right. Why did I just discount myself like that?

I began researching triathlons in my area...mostly to try to find the shortest one possible while still getting credit for doing one. I found one about three months out and signed up. I paid the fee and posted it on social media. Now I had to do it.

Thus began what I called: my “couch-to-triathlon” triathlon.

I trained for three months over a summer, grateful that a new friend offered some free swim coaching lessons and to be my pool buddy several early mornings every week.

You think you know how to swim until you swim across an olympic-sized pool. The pool was always frigid, but by the time I swam back and forth a few times, I was grateful for it since I didn’t know you could sweat while swimming.

The running was not my favorite. It was a record hot, Texas summer and even at 5 a.m., it would sometimes hit one hundred degrees.

I had to borrow a bike. It was an expensive bike, but it was a broken bike. I didn’t realize I needed all the gears to work. I still trained on it, got chased by dogs on it, and flew off of it.

My husband thought I was a beast for riding it home bleeding from the fall, but I didn’t have another ride home.

The day of the triathlon was upon me. I got into the lake with my number written on my leg. I looked around and thought, “I should go up to the front of the pack...why isn’t everyone wanting to be up front?”

So, I waded through the water and made my way up to the front, then looked around and saw the elite swimmers and had a second thought: “I am going to get killed up here.”

I started pushing my way back to the back and my husband, trying to videotape, was confused and thought maybe I was already quitting.

I didn’t quit, but I did abandon everything my swim coach friend taught me. When the gun fired and the lake became a blender of flailing arms and kicking legs, all the proper form went out the window as I decided it was best to keep my head above the water and just doggie paddle the whole way.

The biking was next...seventeen miles. I don’t think I trained enough. At least not long enough to notice that shifting gears is important.

Or long enough to learn how to hold a cup of water in one hand while still staying upright on the bike.

I actually had a desire to quit halfway through the biking portion until I remembered that it was a loop and I was at the other side of it. I would have to bike just as long to quit than to stay in the race!

My legs were made of jello when I got off the bike to run the final part of the race: the 5k.

I had run more than this three miles every day, but not on jello legs. I had planned to run it, but it was looking more appealing to walk it at that point. I knew if I started it by walking, I would never start to run.

So, I pushed past the jello and started running or at least my version of running which is sometimes slower than others can speed-walk.

Crossing the finish line felt amazing. Not sure which was better: the fact that I had done what I had set out to do or the fact that I could stop moving my body now.

My husband and I had stayed around for the trophies just so I could catch my breath.

To my surprise, I got 2nd place in my gender/age category! I told my family and friends. My sister asked how many people were in my category.

I looked it up. Three.

There’s a lot of race references in the Bible. God must like running. Not sure I like that He likes running.

One of my favorite passages in the running category is Hebrews 12:1-2:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.”Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT

I like the mental picture of a group of Bible heroes cheering us on from the clouds, like an angelic band or something.

The next verse says that we should strip off the weight of sin that will trip us up so we can be free to run the race God set before us.

It says we can run our race with endurance when we focus on Jesus who is already a champion...His race, His endurance, included carrying the weight of the cross.

He carried that weight so we didn’t have to carry ours. We could be free to run because He already carried the weight of sin across the finish line.

I love the way the passage includes what was on Jesus’ mind while he was running His race…the joy awaiting Him.

We were His joy. He was thinking about us. And that joy was so strong that it even dispelled the shame of the cross.

You don’t have to have run a race or even have watched the triathlon channel on your TV to have won the true prize of knowing God’s perfect love for you!


What weight is holding you back from running your race? Take a few moments to write down any issues that are entangling you. Then, hand them over to God to carry so that you can run freely! Draw a picture of you and a finish line and you crossing it! . . .

I hope you enjoyed the devotional excerpt! Feel free to share it with someone you think would enjoy a devotional story involving jello legs and running the race God has set before us!

Here’s the link to share:

With hope & joy, Dorie Mclemore

P.s. next time, I’m planning to post another brand new devotional story I wrote for my next (currently unnamed) book! Make sure you are subscribed to get the notification in your inbox! P.p.s. If you want a copy of the full devotional book, Hope Looks Good on You!, use the button below!

P.p.s. I have had the incredible opportunity to connect with Kerrie Oles and Unlocked Ministries in a special way! Her ministry reaches out to women in prisons, halfway houses, and those in group homes who are survivors of domestic violence or sex trafficking to give them "Boxes of Hope." If you would like to get involved by donating my devotional books to this ministry, please click on the box below:

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