Saturday, February 27, 2010

Running Fun!

Ben and I (don’t we both really look smart in that picture? Wow. Duh . . .) ran the Let’s Go 10K this morning. This was Ben’s first 10K and the farthest he has ever run, and he has only been training for a couple of weeks. He did really well, completing the run in 56.04, which is a 9.01 pace. He is going to improve rapidly and dramatically. He’s off to a great start.

My run went well also. I completed the course in 45.13, which is a 7.16 pace. I was pretty pleased with it, especially since it was more than 2.5 minutes faster than my time in the same race last year. The weight loss and consistent training is continuing to pay good dividends. The marathon in Louisville is 55 days away (8 weeks), so I have time to keep working hard to qualify for Boston, which is the biggest item on my “bucket list.”

We heard from Luke this morning, via email. He is in Guatemala. He wrote this:

We went out to the valley today, it was incredibly beautiful and rugged. We climbed all over the mountains, I bet 5 miles, at a mile high. I'm quite out of shape.

I’m a little concerned about him being there after hearing of the Chilean earthquake. I am concerned about the disruption of all travel in the larger region, and, more significantly, I believe there is major fault line that runs through Guatemala (and Honduras). I hope the quake in Chile doesn’t loosen up something in that fault line. I’m no geologist, so I really don’t know how all that works, but it seems that there has been a lot of seismic activity lately.

We are going to Indy this afternoon to see Lester and Maddie. It is a little bit of a belated birthday dinner. Kedra’s parents are here and want to see where Lester and Maddie live.

It’s been a good day so far, and it is going to get better! I love seeing my kids.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Finally Back

It's been quite a busy week! And it's still not over. Oh well... One day at a time.

We had a good funeral today for a really good man. I was speaking with a friend this morning about the funeral, and I was telling him that funerals are really my favorite thing to do in some ways. Now, before you jump to conclusions about me, please listen to why I say that.

Sunday preaching is enjoyable for me, but sometimes it is really hard to know who it is I'm talking to. Generally you go for a "shot gun" approach, trying to reach a lot of different people, hoping somebody will connect with the message. A funeral is so very specific--directed to one person and his/her family. It is a wonderful opportunity to really encourage, provide hope, and proclaim the reality of our faith.

* * *

My son Luke is in Guatemala this evening. He is going there in May on a mission trip with Lipscomb’s engineering department. They are going to build a mission compound for a group doing humanitarian work. Why is he there now? Because he was asked to go on the scout trip with his professor and a few others. Luke has switched to civil engineering and is taking a surveying class. I guess the professor liked his surveying work and asked him to go for the weekend. They are going to survey and figure out where the buildings will be built. He returns some time on Monday. He’s enjoying 80 degree temps.

* * *

OK, you know I like winter and snow, but I’ll confess I am ready for something besides 20s and 30s! I’m ready for spring or at least some 50 degree days. I went out early this morning to squeeze in a 12 mile run before the funeral. It was cold! Thankfully I had a good friend, Tim, to help distract me.

I am running a 10K on Saturday; not sure what I can or will do. I’ll just go out and see what happens. Ben is going to run it also. He’s training for the mini in Indy, and he’s doing really well. He goes out after school each day and runs 3-5 miles. Lester is training hard as well. He’s looking very strong and seems very motivated.

* * *

Need to get back to this week’s sermon...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Undercover Boss

Have you seen this new show? I watched it last night. I didn't really plan to, but once I saw it I was hooked. This may become a regular show that I watch. The basic idea is that CEO of the corporation goes undercover to take entry level positions within the company. Here is the official description.

Why? To find out what life is "really like" within the corporation, with a view of improving the corporation's success. For a slightly cynical, skeptical view of the show you can read this. And they do make some good points, but still...

The whole thing really reminds me of the incarnation of Jesus. You know what John 1 says? About the Word being God, etc., and then in verse 14 it says, "the Word became flesh and lived among us." The Greek literally talks about him "pitching his tent" with us. Eugene Peterson paraphrases it by saying, "God moved into the neighborhood." God descends in human form to live among us - that's what Jesus is about. Why? In some ways to understand what life as a human is like. Isn't that the point that the writer of Hebrews makes at the end of chapter 2 and 4?

But there's more of course. Another aspect is to show us what God wants us as humans to be like. In Matthew 5 Jesus talks about how he came to fulfill all Scripture. In other words, he is going to show us what God's desire/intention is like when lived out in a human body in a human context. Our goal as individuals and as a church should be the same.

Another aspect is the sacrificial death of Jesus. Since he lives out the human existence perfectly, he is able to become a sacrifice for those who can't, which is all of us. Since he satisfies the "requirements" of God's holiness, we, through a relationship with Jesus, can be brought into relationship with God that will last forever, untouched by physical death.

It all starts with God going "undercover" here on earth.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Good Weekend!

It's almost over, but it was a nice weekend!

Since Kedra, Rebecca, and Ben went to Winterfest, along with Lester's Maddie, I invited Lester to come down for a long run. He arrived Friday night, and we enjoyed a nice spaghetti dinner together. [Before I moved onto smoking meat, I used to really enjoyed making spaghetti sauce; it was nice to return to it.] We watched some of the Olympics, and then I headed to bed for my beauty sleep. Have to keep my stunning good looks, you know! [yeah, whatever]

We got up Saturday morning, and I made a nice pre-run breakfast. I eat more and differently than I used to before running, thanks to some good nutritional counseling from Johnathan (at the gym). We left the house before 7 a.m. and met up with a couple of other guys, John H. and Ryan R. The weather turned out to be just right: 30s, no wind, and no rain. We cranked out 5 miles and then came back to join the larger group. We ran 10 with them, and then did 5 more on our own. It was Lester's first 20 miler and the first for me this year. I'll do 3-4 more before April 24th. I think I'm going to throw in a 22 miler also. Our pace yesterday was pretty good: 8.43 per mile. Not bad for the first one.

After the run we came home and ate. Then I took Lester to see the movie To Save A Life. I really enjoyed it and recommend it. It has a powerful message and is done in a real and relevant way. It is a "Christian" movie but not preachy or heavy-handed.

Next on the itinerary was a stop at Pinto's steak house. Yum,yum. After a full day, and with a full stomach, I said good-bye to Lester. He headed home to Indy. His pharmacy studies are pretty demanding, so he had to go do some work. I hated to see him go; we had such a nice time together.

Now I'm sitting here waiting on 3 of my favorite people in the world to walk through the door. I'm cooking a nice supper for them. Our Life Group did not meet this evening, since several of our members are just getting back from Winterfest and a couple of others were unavailable this evening.

This week is going to be busy but good! I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Got a little break here between activities...

It's been a good day! Nothing special or unusual; just good. Went out to the Park and ran 5 miles. The roads there were not in great shape, but I never got close to falling, which is good.

I stopped in and saw Juanita at White River Lodge. She is amazingly alert and clear-minded for a 90 year old. Tried to see Ernestine at Stone Bridge, but she was not in her room.

Made my way over to OCU-B. I was surprised that most of my students made it to class. We had a really good discussion about Constantinianism in the Roman Empire and in the U.S. Next class we will discuss the monastic movement. It seems to develop, in part, because some of the church thought the rest of the church was not spiritual enough. That's what you get when it's really easy to be a Christian, which is what happens after Constantine's coversion (see Edict of Milan).

I talked to Kedra a while ago. She is miffed and insulted that the AARP sent her an invitation to join, along with cards that have her name printed on them. She is still south of 50. They must think she'll be a really good member.

I helped Ben move some wood. We are going through the wood pile pretty quickly. The cold weather wont seem to let go. Speaking of the weather, Belski's Blog is always worth reading. He has nailed the last two storms several days before they happened. Now he is talking about the next one.

Time to head to church to eat and to teach...

Tomorrow I am doing some speed work for the marathon; going to try 2 mile repeats, 3 of them, at around 7.45 pace. The number of reps will increase over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Today I did my first double run in years! Ben, who is planning on running the Indy mini, needed to run some, so I went out with him for 5 miles around Mitchell. Then this evening I joined up with my friends in Bedford for another run. I thought we were going to do 7, but they decided 5 would be enough with all the snow on the roads. It went well. I ran a lot faster this evening than I did this morning. Feeling good. Feeling strong.

You know, they are talking about the possibility of more snow this weekend? And then there is a monster storm brewing for a little over a week from now. Of course both are too far out to know where they will go and what they will do. I feel badly for the kids missing so much school. Right now, if they miss no more days, the last day of school will be June 3rd!

I'm wondering if Oakland City will meet tomorrow? The snow disruptions have allowed me to do some extra reading, all on my Kindle of course! I am reading a biography about John Newton, the author of the song Amazing Grace. I knew his story, but this book is revealing some very interesting details that I didn't know.

Last week I read Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis. Amazon offered it as free Kindle download, so I downloaded it! It was a great read. Bell is a really good thinker and an interesting guy.

Kinda enjoying the Olympics. How 'bout you?

Laugh a little

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mo Sno


Looks like this could be a pretty decent one! After this one is over I will be ready for the big melt down and the big warm up. My guess is that it will happen pretty rapidly; we are to mid-February already.

Kedra and I made a quick trip to Nashville Friday afternoon; we returned last night. The primary purpose (excuse) for the trip was for me to run a half marathon in the Cedars of Lebanon State Park. Of course getting to spend time with our Luke and Earl and Rebecca Lavender was also a huge factor.

We had a very nice, enjoyable time. Luke, along with Caroline, joined us for dinner with Earl and Rebecca. As always the meal was great! Carbo-loading. Great excuse to really pig out!

Earl has been injured, so he was unsure if he could run at all. This didn't stop him from trying. The race was 11 a.m. TN time, so we had a relaxed morning and a nice breakfast before heading out.

We got out there and signed up. Earl got permission to start early, since he was unsure if he could do it. I lined up and took off. I wanted a good solid relatively fast run; not an all-out effort. My goal was to run at about an 8 minute mile pace.

The course is hilly, and the first mile has a long steep hill in it. I also got into traffic problems with other runners. I was a little disappointed that my first mile was 8.30. I got clear of everyone and picked up the pace; mile two was 7.40. Then I settled into a sub-8 pace for a while. Hills and water stations slowed me some during the last half, but I finished in 1.43.22, which is put me in with an overall pace of 7.53 per mile.

I was pretty pleased with that. I ran the same race last year in 1.54.30, so that's a pretty significant improvement. It is also 1 minute faster than my Indy mini time. The weight loss and the steady higher miles of a year have paid off. Now I have to put it all together for the big Boston qualifier on April 24. Lots and lots of miles to run and speed work of various forms to do to get ready for it.

Earl did very well. He finished in a good time and was quite pleased.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Two years ago...

Two years ago today I was flying from Russia to Greece, on my way to Turkey. Here are some videos that I made from Turkey. Recently I went back to "older posts" on this site and found lots of pictures from the trip; sure brought back lots of memories.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Running in the snow

Another sign that I'm nuts (f0r at least some of you): I absolutely love running in the snow. And that's what I did this morning. It was wonderful!

As I watched the forecast late last week I really was concerned that running might not happen today or tomorrow, so I went long yesterday: 12 miles. Then I got to thinking that I could probably get a run in this morning before the snow got too deep. I ran from the church building and managed to slog out 5 miles. The streets in town are pretty much empty, so I was able to run on compacted snow. It was pretty good footing.

I made my way over to Doc Hamilton Blvd and ran from Rabbitsville Road out to Highway 37. I was actually exploring a course for a new race that will be held in Mitchell on Thanksgiving morning. The Give Thanks 4 race is going to be a part of the Mag 7 series, and I think we will have a good turnout. Maybe our slogan will/should be: RUN, eat, sleep... We'll see. We're hoping that a lot of people will want to get some exercise in and maybe the college kids and others who come back into to town for Thanksgiving will want to run.

Back to work...

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Catching up!

Wow, the last few days have been busy. That's to be expected of course, but it doesn't leave much time to do this or a few other "extras."

The more I reflect on our trip, the more I see how wonderful it was. As Dan said on Sunday, "It's way more than about building houses." We are establishing relationships in the name of Jesus, sharing his love and showing his love AND receiving the same from Hondurans.

I'm about to catch up on my work. My Church History class is the hardest thing I am doing right now. It requires a lot of prep, which is fine. When I teach N.T. or O.T. lit. I can easily draw upon years and years of study. Not so with church history! Right now we are looking at the church counsils, which are very interesting. Next week it will be Augustine; looking forward to thinking through him again.

Running is going well. I did my tempo yesterday morning with my friend Tim. Finally got sub-7s: 6.58, 6.57, & 6.57. Yee Haw! Still losing weight, which is good. I am getting a body fat analysis later today.

I've included some more photos from our last day in Honduras. We made our way, with the help of Pedro (see previous post), to the Jesus statue that overlooks Tegucigalpa. It (He) is awesome! Enjoy!

Honduras January 2010 Day 7