Battling through pain to compete three triathlons for FCA

Gary Brasher had a monumental task in front of him two weeks ago when he competed in three triathlons in as many days to benefit the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The Phoenix real estate executive told Everyday Christian beforehand he knew he would have to rely on his faith to pull himself through 422 miles of biking, running and swimming. It did, and then some. “I completed the entire 422 miles and the feeling was almost indescribable,” Brasher said. “It was the culmination of not just the event itself over 72 hours, but rather the culmination of a one year commitment of getting up early, finishing late and eating, sleeping and training on a very rigid schedule. It was a feeling both of relief, but also of gratitude to God for having shepherded me through this arduous effort and of all the prayers that were offered up for my safety, health and for my family.” Brasher will jump back on a bike this weekend for the first time since the three triathlons which were termed Triple Iron 422. Brasher did the first two triathlon distances solo before competing in the Arizona Ironman competition the third day. “I want to honor God by saying that my finishing this event was a great answer to prayer,” he said. “I was able to finish without so much as a blister after having run over 76 miles in just 72 hours. This is miraculous for anyone who is familiar with running long distances. On the bike, likewise I was able to finish the 336 miles without being saddle sore or having other similar problems. God truly honored the effort that so many people put in this event. “In addition, the last Ironman I was able to finish in just over 14 hours which was two hours faster than what I had thought it would be. Again, this is God’s doing not mine, under my own strength, this would not have even been possible. I don’t have plans to do something like this anytime soon. I want to continue competing in Triathlon events, but also want to honor my family a by giving them and myself some relief from such a rigid training regimen.” Prior to the event, Brasher predicted the second day would be the most difficult, and that indeed proved to be the case. “The first day, the excitement of the event really helped carry me through, that combined with the team members who agreed to ride, run or swim certain legs of the event with me,” he said. “The second day became a tough mental and physical challenge because the wear and tear on your body from day one had set in, and mentally I was tired. I had not slept more than about 12 hours over the entire three-day period. As a result, the second day became a real challenge. “I can say that without my team members having been there to help me along, this day would have been very, very difficult. These team members really pulled me through that second day. The third day was easier because of all the other athletes, about 2,200, and the fact that I knew after that third day, I was done.” Many of the competitors in the Ironman were encouraging to Brasher having seen local news coverage of his endeavor the day before the event. Prayer was also a major component in fending off the mental and physical exhaustion. This was particularly true with the wear and tear on Brasher’s knees. “On the second day, after running my second marathon, my knees were really starting to become sore and ache from the hard pavement I was running on. This pain continued onto the bike the third day,” he said. “I prayed with my family and with the FCA endurance huddle the morning of the third day and had asked everyone to pray for my health and particularly for my knee and the pain I had which would have made the third day very difficult. The Lord really honored that prayer. “As I got on the bike and began to ride, the pain in my knee was starting to really cause problems. After about 37 miles (the first loop) I just started to think this was the way it was going to be so I prayed and told the Lord that if that was what he wanted me to endure, I would do it but I would really like the pain to lessen or leave all together. Within about five minutes my knee pain completely left and didn’t bother me the entire rest of the ride or the run. God truly lifted and carried me through that day and honored the prayers of so many.” Links: Triple Iron 422: http://www.tripleiron422.com/ Fellowship of Christian Athletes: http://www.fca.org

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