Triathloning the Rosary

| Nelson Rhodus | October 15, 2010 | 0 Comments

Over the past 25 years I have competed in and completed 62 triathlons.  Never an “iron man” though — just the Olympic distance or a sprint triathlon.  Never had I ever won a race or even came in first in my age group. That is until recently when I actually won the entire triathlon.

This race was held at the University of Minnesota and it was a little unusual in that it was a “name your own time” triathlon. So instead of the overall best time of completing the three events, the winner was that person who could come the closest to naming the precise time that it would take him or her to complete the three events. I had been training for some time, and as I trained (swimming, biking, running) I prayed the rosary.

As I did so, with each decade, I could pace myself. And, keeping track of the time that it took,  I could also keep track of how far along I am in each event to a very precise time. For example, swimming in the pool, I could say one “Our Father” with one 50m lap which is also pretty close to 1:05 minutes, virtually every time I do it. I usually stay pretty close to this. Likewise, one-fourth mile running around the track, I could link very precisely to my particular stage of saying the rosary. I did this almost every day, for several years. So my estimate of times for each and all of the events would be very close to actual time it took me to do them.

The triathlon distances were : ½ mile swim, 25K bike and 5K run. I had trained at these distances many times. As I trained I kept saying the rosary (as I usually do) and where I was with that in each part of the triathlon, so I could keep nearly exact time.

On the day of the race (which could be done at different times), the timer at the start informed me that one participant had already completed the race and his time had be very closely approximated. His estimate of his finish time was within 1:20 minutes of his actual time.  This would be almost impossible to beat. However, I went ahead and seriously undertook the race and kept my usual pace by saying the rosary, as always.

When I finished I was amazed to learn that the time that I had approximated as my finish time for completing the three events came within 24 seconds of the actual time. No one else came closer than the 1:20 posted when I started.  So my time was the closest to my estimate and I won the race. I am certain that I could not have done this had it not been for my habit of saying the rosary as I completed the three events.

Nelson Rhodus has been a parishioner at St. Mark in St. Paul for 25 years. He has served two terms on the Parish Pastoral Council, is a regular lector and extraordinary minister of holy Communion and works with baptism enrichment, religious education and Loaves and Fishes at the Dorothy Day Center.

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