Book Review: Running On Faith, Jason Lester

When I first heard that Jason Lester did triathlons with one arm paralyzed, I couldn't believe it. I could understand how he could run and bike with one arm, but how could he swim, in the ocean no less. After I finished the book, I realized that, yes, he does complete triathlons. Through his faith in God and the support of people who loved him, Jason overcame the lack of one arm, the stings of hundreds of poisonous jellyfish, the stress of swimming, cycling, and running to accomplish his goal, completing the Ironman World Championship. That's swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles. Having completed the Ironman World Championship, Lester didn't stop. He continued training and completed the 2009 Ultraman World Championship, 6.2 miles swimming, biking 261.4 miles, and running 52.4 miles. He completed the Ultraman World Championship just 9 weeks after completing the 2009 Ultraman Canada. He was the first disabled person to complete the Ultraman.

This is not a technique book on swimming, biking, and running. It is a motivation book. It is the story of a man who overcame his handicaps and completed his dreams. More importantly, it is a book that teaches us that we, the readers, can overcome our handicaps and reach our dreams. Continually throughout the book, Lester talks about God -- the calling he received from God to be an elite athlete, the strength that God has given him. Then he uses his achievements as a springboard into us. I appreciate Lester's experiences with God, because I'm a religious person and believe that God does love us and does help us achieve our best. I believe, as does Lester, that our trials are given to us to strengthen us and to make us better people.

Lester talks about his Laboratory, his lifestyle where he trains for his races. His Laboratory is "everything around me--my living space, the town I live in, my training regimen, my diet, my coaching, my friends, my time with God--all calibrated to achieve the goal of getting me successfully to the finish line of an Ironman, Ultraman, or other extreme race." Then he talks about our own Laboratory.
Anyone can create their own Laboratory....The Laboratory is whatever you need to realize the potential that God has placed in you. My lab is pretty extreme, but that doesn't mean yours has to be. If you're a would-be writer trying to turn out that great novel rattling around in your head, maybe your Laboratory consists of a detached office where you can be completely alone to write for two or three hours after the kids go to bed. If you're trying to lose weight, your lab might consist of a house purged of unhealthy food, a tribe of positive people all chasing the same goal who hold you accountable, and a personal trainer who kicks your butt. Every person's Laboratory will be different, but all are guided by the same principle: its the environment where your needs come first. Call it a little enlightened self-interest in the service of God.
I'm grateful for Jason Lester. I'm grateful for his achievements. I'm grateful for his insight, that I too can reach my dreams. Yes, this is a book of motivation, and I encourage all to read it, for we all need motivation to take the next step, to use our trials as stepping stones to achievement and success.

HarperCollins Publishers
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022

ISBN 978-0-06-196572-2

No comments: