Recently Sister Lisa Polega completed her first sprint triathlon and she shares this reflection about exercise has become a part of her spiritual journey.
“I completed my first sprint triathlon on my 50th Birthday! I’ve engaged in 5K runs and century bicycle rides (100 km) but never a sprint Triathlon which includes swimming, biking and running. I found that the mental and spiritual challenges of a sprint triathlon are more vigorous than the physical challenge.
“During the swim portion, I exercised courage as I found myself in competition with others, in close physical contact and, at time, just trying to stay above water. The bicycling portion of the race was my favorite since I’m a fairly skilled cyclist, therefore, I had to rely on my God-given talents and experience and to instinctively know when to “attack a hill” or when to coast. During the two mile run, I dug deeply into my own reserves to pursue my goal to the finish line.
“Exercise engages the mind and spirit on the micro level and leads me to appreciate life on the macro level. For example, exercise is a physical form of prayer that, in turn, creates a clarity of vision whether I am engaging in ministry or enjoying a good laugh with a friend. One can become more aware of the embodiment of others when one is aware of one’s own body. Physical activity is a poignant reminder of the intrinsic balance and interconnectedness of care for creation, love of neighbor, and self-care.
“Completing the sprint triathlon gave me a sense of personal accomplishment! More importantly, I know the journey is maintained by ongoing exercise and strengthened by grace and faith. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know our God will make it possible for the next 50 years!”
Perhaps Sister Lisa draws some inspiration from another ‘Iron Nun.’