Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tempo Tuesday



Tim the Elder turned 60 today! And he tempoed this evening, as did several of us. Tim is a good man, a very good man. He has encouraged and helped me in lots of ways. He has done the same for many others over the years. Earlier this year he celebrated his 50,000th mile. His running achievements/accomplishments are very impressive.

We had a little wind and a little rain this evening, but the temperature was fairly mild. It really wasn't too bad at all. There was a group that said they were going to run at 7.47 pace for 5 miles. I joined the group, but I knew they were lying! ha ha. Tim Miller, Bill Deckard, Jim Sowders, Tim Galloway, Rand Hammel, Lester Burris, and I all took off to do this announced pace. Tim G. and Rand dropped back immediately. They probably knew the pace was too fast. They were right.

We went through the first mile around 6.43 and hit the second mile in 6.38. I tried to adjust at that point, knowing I was going too fast and 2 more miles. I overcompensated, slowing too much, and ran the 3rd in 7.06. I then managed to move my tired legs and body a little faster for the last mile, hitting it around 7.02. Overall I was satisfied, I guess. ha ha. I really like running more consistently, and I will.

Next week I am going to do 3 and try to do them around 6.35 per mile, which will be pushing me into new territory. We are going to do 3 one week and then extend the run a mile each time on the  other week. I will do 5 miles two weeks from this evening. That's the plan.

The Breath of Life


The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

We breath in and we breath out. Take a second to notice your breathing. You are experiencing the wonderful, mysterious breath of life, first placed in our lungs by the Lord God. Our life is sustained by that breath, his breath.

A newborn breathes 30-40 times a minute, and as we grow the number the breaths per minute decrease. Most adults breath 12-20 times per minute, somewhere around 27,000 times a day.

Each breath is a gift of God and is a silent praise to God whether we acknowledge it or not.

What do you think about that?

Tuesday a.m.

Good morning! Wow, 50 degrees at the 5 o'clock hour? In January? I've heard predictions, based on statistics, that we will have, because of the mild winter so far, a very cold March and April and a very hot summer. But I also recall the same folks saying that our winter would be very, very snowy. Hmm. We'll take what we get and like it, right? No, we'll probably complain... ha ha

Yesterday almost turned out like I thought it would! There was one change, however, that presented me with a great opportunity. I'd been asked to see someone who is really struggling with depression and had recently attempted suicide. I was asked by a concerned family member to drop by, which I was fine with. I don't like the "just show up" approach, however. The concerned family member finally told her sister that I was coming, and the struggler adamantly refused my visit. Fortunately I was informed before I got there. I am hoping/praying that I can still see/help this person.

Once I got word of the cancellation, I happened to notice that it was sunny and nearly 60 degrees, so I contacted a friend who was about to get off work. Together we decided that we should ride our bikes, starting at 4 p.m. Tim S. and I took off on a nice 20+ mile ride. It was so enjoyable. We even saw Iron Bill out riding. He was in hurry to get back to Bedford by 5 for a run, so we didn't see him for long.

On our way back, we ride the wide shoulder of highway 37 from Woodville Road to the Lighthouse bookstore, where we park. I love finishing there because it is slightly downhill and fast. Last night we had a tailwind, so we were rolling pretty good. I hit and held 30 mph for a little while, until tired legs returned me to reality. I could see Tim's shadow and knew he was right behind me, so I focused on the road ahead. Then all of a sudden, when I look for his shadow, he wasn't there. I finished the ride and quickly threw my bike in the truck and went looking for him. He had flatted about a mile out. By the time I got there, he had a new tube on and was ready to go.

OK, so yesterday I was telling you I felt over trained. Yes, I am aware that I ran yesterday morning and then rode yesterday afternoon. Well, how about a triple, my first, when I am battling fatigue? That's how smart I am (ha ha). Last night at 8 (usually when I am thinking about bed) I got in the pool at BNL for a "swim." I wish I could take those ""s away. Not yet. Last night was not particularly encouraging, but I know frustration is a key part of learning, so I'll just leave it at that. Anyway, it was kinda cool to record in my log a run, a ride, and a "swim." This is the reverse order of a triathlon.

Today, I've got to study and study hard. My sermon series is quite the challenge. Trying to condense down the entire book of Genesis into one sermon is not easy. I'll study for a while and then get out of my cave to do what I do.

Tonight is Tempo Tuesday! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday a.m.

Sorry about another wheel picture, but, hey, I love these things! I'm going to take my time getting them ready and mounted on the bike. There is no need to hurry. My focus is still on Boston, so running is priority one presently. I am fighting being over-trained. I know that it is the combo of tempo running, hill repeats, and long runs. I've got to figure out how to manage those three training components without crossing over the line. I'll see how this week goes. It's classic: the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak! I want to go north of 45 miles per week. I hit several 50+ mile weeks before Monumental. I still have time to get there before Boston. Careful!

Today is going to be a busy one, so I just need to hang on for the ride. I've got a couple of meetings this morning and 2-3 people to see in Bloomington, a person or two to see in Mitchell, a stop at the Store, and who knows what else will come my way today.

I hope to end my day in the BNL pool. I am determined to learn to swim!

Repairing Broken Windows


Are you familiar with the broken window theory? It basically says that if you don’t repair a broken window, then you are inviting vandals to break another and then another... It applies to litter and graffiti as well. If you don’t clean it up in timely manner, then you are inviting more.

What happens when we let little things go unrepaired in our lives?

What do you need to repair today?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Good Saturday!


It was a good day today! I got up early and started on an 18 mile run, joining my friends at 8 a.m. for 12 miles with them. It was pretty stinkin' breezy out there this morning, and it even spit snow a couple of times. After the run, I went "down on the farm" (Bob Evans) with a couple of my friends. 

Then it was a trip to take the trash off.  When I got home from taking the trash off, a Fed Ex truck was in my driveway. I knew this meant that my wheels had finally come! There was a mix up on getting them sent, so they just now came. If you remember, I won these wheels, which are pretty expensive (worth more than my truck - ha ha), by writing an essay. They are pretty cool. I now have to learn to ride faster so I'll be worthy of them!

Kedra and I went to see Joyful Noise this afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it! I laughed quite a lot. It was a bit corny at times, but who cares? Wal-Mart followed the movie and a trip to Pizza Hut to bring home supper for Ben and us.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Spectator or Player?


Some have said that the church is like a football game in which thousands of spectators desperately in need of exercise are watching a handful of players desperately in need of rest.

Are you a spectator or a player?

Friday



How's that old line go?

The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step.

As crazy and implausible as it sounds, I do want to become an Ironman. Right now I could probably master the the meaning in the top photo.  A guy (at least this guy) has to have a goal, a dream really, to keep moving and motivated. The Boston Marathon was that dream for a long time, even though I didn't try to realize it/attempt to fulfill it until the last 3-4 years.  Now it's Ironman in the fall of 2014. Yes, more than 2.5 years from now.

I know I can ride 112 miles, and I know I can run/survive a marathon. Swim 2.4 miles? Last night I took my first step. I didn't drown! I "swam" about 12 feet, so that means I only have to come up with 12,600 more feet to do it. Gotta learn to breathe -- ha ha! And of course I have to move from a nice pool to an open water swim in the ocean. Crazy? Certainly and perhaps certifiably. Doable? I believe. Rand the Ironman helped me a lot last night, and John H is an encouragement. I watched him swim 1000 yards, and a year ago he was about where I am now.

Today I am feeling over trained a bit, so my plan to bike outside is on the bubble. I can't do it until the afternoon. If the conditions are good--sun, light wind, mid 40s--I will try go for a short 20 mile ride. Otherwise, maybe a complete rest day? My hard tempo and hard hill workout yesterday have left me a little tired. I'm looking at 18 miles in the morning, hoping that the weather does not hinder me.

Yesterday I spent time most of the morning with 2 former students. Time with both of them was spent in the context of a courtroom. It's a whole different world. One of the students is awaiting the trial for her son who was murdered. We sat for quite a while waiting for her attorney to talk to the judge. The pain of having to relive one of the worst nightmares you can imagine is so difficult. She is dreading the trial: pictures, 911 call, the defense... Gonna be rough.

Today it's back to sermon prep. I didn't get very far yesterday. Gotta hit it hard this morning! I hope you have a great day!



Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday a.m.



I took this picture 2 days ago. I have a flower still alive from last Summer! I’ve never seen anything like it. I know our winter has been relatively mild, but we have had temps down in the mid teens a few times, yet this flower has survived. Why?

I think there are two things that are key.

1.) It is located fairly close to the house, about three feet.

2) It is located right next to a big rock.

My theory is that its location next to the house and, more importantly, its location right next to a rock that holds heat from the Sun has kept it alive all winter long.

Seems like a good picture for us: stay close to house of the Lord (church, which is people, of course) and stay tight with Jesus.

"Jesus is a rock in a weary land! A weary land! A weary land!"

Are you close?

* * *

Here we go Thursday! I'm starting my day by going to court with a young man who is making great strides in allowing the Lord to turn his life around. I'm so proud of him. I am going to testify before the judge about what I've seen and what I know. Pray for him.

Today is sermon prep day. It's going to a be a challenge to get everything done today, but I work better under pressure. We'll see! Genesis 3 is a challenge because it is so full of things that need to be considered. I'll probably touch on most of them briefly and then "big picture" it. The big picture is that Genesis 3 explains the mess we're in. It explains death, pain, and weeds! We had a great class last night -- lots of good questions and discussion.

Today is hill repeat day. I used to dread them, but now, while I'm not exactly looking forward to the pain, I look forward to the feeling I have when I am finished. They are real confidence builders. I'm not sure when I will get them in today. I'm sure I will find the time somewhere along the way.  I hope to go to pool tonight. I did not make it last week, due to some trouble with my furnace at home.

Off we go...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Groan alert


What happens when you cross a centipede and a parrot?

Are you ready?

A walkie-talkie.

And sorry that the picture does not quite match. Just look at it as a little extra humor.

What do you need to say?


They say Moses was a basket case. (Sorry.) Poor guy did NOT want to have to speak for God. Listen to some of his excuses. Sound familiar?

Moses raised another objection to God: "Master, please, I don't talk well. I've never been good with words, neither before nor after you spoke to me. I stutter and stammer." God said, "And who do you think made the human mouth? And who makes some mute, some deaf, some sighted, some blind? Isn't it I, God? So, get going. I'll be right there with you—with your mouth! I'll be right there to teach you what to say." (Exodus 4, The Message)

What kind of excuses do we give to justify our silence when words need to be spoken? Words of encouragement perhaps? Maybe, even more difficult,: words of loving rebuke or challenge?

Who do you need to speak to today? What do you need to say?

Wednesday


Good morning! I've had some nice smooth, bold Honduran coffee this morning, so I'm ready to let the day unfold. Wonder what will happen today? I have several things scheduled, and I know there will be lots of other things happen as well.

Last night was Tempo Tuesday. We start the run at Parkview at 5:15 and warm up for 2+ miles, stopping to stretch at the 3 way stop on Washington avenue. The tempo starts at the second power pole from the intersection, heading south, where it then turns down Industrial Drive. You round the corner, turning south again, in front of White River Lodge and find your first mile mark at the stop sign. Mile two, which begins slightly uphill, takes you up to 39th Street, where you turn left. Once you "T" into Washington, you turn right, heading toward Hillcrest Circle, which you run around counter clockwise, bringing you back onto Washington. Mile 2 ends at a man hole cover, not far from Hillcrest Circle. Mile 3 allows you to retrace your steps, but you get to stop at the top of Industrial, right in front of Washington Ave. The last hill is a killer!

Several people were tempoing last night. The group I ran with was mainly Jim Sowders, Tim Galloway, and me. Rand H hung around for part of it, and a faster group was with us for a little while as well, before pulling away. Our goal was to run 6:47 for all three miles. We hit the first mile in 6:46. I've learned you have to push up the hill at the beginning of the 2nd mile to stay on pace. We pushed but didn't let off, so we went through the 2nd mile at 6:36! Yikes! I felt that one! Time to hang on and try survive the last mile, which is pretty tough, because it has 2 uphills. The last uphill, Industrial Drive, gets pretty intense at the end, but it is where you get to finish, which makes it more manageable psychologically. I went through the last mile at 6:51, which is a little off pace, but that was fine. My overall average was 6:44, which is 3 seconds per mile better than I was shooting for. I'll take it and be quite satisfied!

Jim did 4 miles of tempo and looked good and strong. He pulled away on the 3rd mile and just kept going. Tim payed for the hard 2nd mile and fell off just slightly, maybe 2 seconds. Next week I am going to try 4 at 6:47. I don't know if I can hold pace for the 4th mile, but I won't know if I don't try. Right? Today is an easy, recovery 7 miler.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Creation vs. Evolution - Dino Demise



These photos illustrate our conversation about world view! ha ha

Tuesday morning



Good morning! I hope your week is off to a great start! Today is going to be one of the nicest days of the week. January was been really, really easy on us this year, and we're getting close to the end of it - just one more week. Once February comes, you know that we start getting some nice, mild days.

I had a good day yesterday; got a lot done and felt good about it. I got up early yesterday morning, 4.40. I don't know why. I just woke up and was ready to go, and I never really crashed all day. I think it was because I didn't run Saturday or Sunday. I don't need as much sleep, I suppose. I usually only get 7 hours per night. That's all my body seems to want/need, even when I'm training hard.

Yesterday morning, after the school traffic cleared, I coasted down the hill to Spice Valley Baptist Church, where I park for my Spice Valley to Bryantsville hilly run. I was doing 7, so I was going out 3.5 miles, crossing Highway 50, heading toward Stumphole. (It was nice going up my "hill repeat" hills at a relaxed pace.) I could tell going out that I had a strong tailwind. "Going back will be tough but it will build strength. There could be a headwind in Boston, the whole way," I told myself. That was before the clouds thickened/darkened and became quite ominous looking. I decided to turn a half mile early and make up the 7th mile closer to the truck. It was a good decision, because it started raining some. I got the 7 in and was satisfied.

I love the expression, "where you stand determines what you see." It's so true, no matter how you look at it. We're using this expression a lot in my present sermon series about the Story of God.

Where you stand determines what you see.

If, by faith, we step inside the Story of God, then we will see life and the world in a different way.

It really matters which story you stand in. The confusion comes when we stand in the story of the world and try to make sense of God’s Story.

Leslie Newbigin: "The question is whether the faith that finds its focus in Jesus is the faith with which we seek to understand the whole of history, or whether we limit this faith to a private world of religion and hand over the public history of the world to other principles of explanation."

Where do you stand to understand life? Where you stand makes a big difference.

For example: What does it mean to be human? Who are we? The world’s story says, "You are no more than a random product of time and chance, an accident on this spinning ball of mud!"

The answer that comes from the Story of God says something drastically different! It says that we are God’s masterpieces! We are God’s handiwork, the highpoint of his creation, his image bearers.

Tonight is Tempo Tuesday! Last week I made a vow to go 3 miles at a 6.47 pace. Now I will be slightly nervous all day, which may seem silly to most of you, but some of you will understand! ha ha.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Paradise


Genesis 1 & 2 pictures life as we would love to live it! No sin, no shame, no problems, a perfect peaceful environment where God and all of creation, including humanity, are in complete harmony. The work is significant, purposeful, and enjoyable. It’s what we all long for – Paradise!

We had it and then lost it. Read Genesis 3.

The Good News is that, thanks to Jesus, we can have it back.

Revelation 2:7 — He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

In the meantime we live in hope, overcoming daily by the Spirit of God.

What do you need to overcome today, as you travel toward Paradise?

Monday

Good morning! Here we go again - a new day, a new week. Wonder what this one holds? I'll let you know in a few days. Did you stay up for the storm last night? I knew it was coming but went to bed/sleep anyway. It looked to me that the worst of it would be to our south. I woke up around 1 a.m. (I think) to strong wind. I let it blow and went back to sleep.

I was talking to someone the other day about how with radar technology and tornado warnings based on Doppler images that it's almost like the boy who cried wolf. So often nothing really happens, so I think a lot of us are taking such warnings with the proverbial grain of salt. I'm not sure if anything needs to change. Just an observation.

Wow, the weekend turned out to be lazy for me. I wrote a little about it on Saturday morning, which you can see a couple of posts down. I kept waiting for the salt/sand truck to take care of my hill, which, from what I gather talking to others, must have been one of the worst spots in the county. Anyway, I could not get out for a Noon run, and the truck finally backed up the hill around 3, I think it was. By this time I decided to have another rest day. The bike called my name, but I ignored it. Oh well, I know rest is good. I am ready to go this week. My main goal this week is holding a 6.47 pace for 3 miles tomorrow night. I also plan to get 45 miles in this week. The rest should help with both. Boston is 12 weeks from today.

Not got a lot I want to talk/write about presently, so I will say, "See you!" I may share more later...


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fill in the gaps

I saw this on Facebook and found it mildly interesting. I've seen similar things over the years. It is fascinating how the mind works to fill in the gaps. Sometimes that can be good; sometimes it can be bad.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday delay


Good morning! I should be about 9 miles into my 16 miler, but I'm sitting in my Lazy Boy chair, enjoying the warmth of the fireplace. I would rather enjoy its warm after completing a nice long run. Why am I not running? ICE! Our road and my driveway are very slick!

I went out before 7 to see if I could get out with my truck. I found out pretty quickly that things were bad. I went out first on foot and almost fell several times. I lost my house shoe in a mud puddle that I didn't see and that didn't hold me up, so I had to go back to the house with one shoe and two socks. I then went and retrieved my wet, muddy shoe. For some reason it made me laugh.

Next I tried getting my truck out, thinking that the ice layer might break up under the weight of a vehicle. Wrong! I managed to get in the yard, where I could get better traction. I got onto the road a couple of times, but I couldn't go very far. I had to back/slide down.  Right now my truck is barely off the road, awkwardly positioned in my front yard. Oh well. Best I can tell no one has been by our house today so far.

I am hoping for a noon run -- that's what my buddies have announced as the time for our run today. I hoping that a salt/sand truck will come by and get the road passable. I think the highways are clear. If I can't get out, then I'll get back on the bike trainer again today. It's pictured above.

My favorite part is the fan that I suspended from the ceiling. Kedra was nearly mortified by what I thought was quite a creative, ingenious move. I think I heard "tacky" in a tone that was like a groan. What? Notice the table holding my computer, phone, and I-pod. Also seen are my sit-up bench and part of the Torso Track apparatus. My new bike, not pictured, is positioned on the other side of the room. I can look at it and imagine the fun we'll have outside one of these days.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday!



I don't know why I chose a hair theme today? Maybe it's because I got a haircut last night? I opted for the style of the top picture.

So we are under a Winter Weather Advisory? Oh well. My only concern is that it's going to mess with my 16 mile run in the morning. Running on ice is not much fun. Neither are hill repeats! I do like the results though, and isn't that why we do lots of things that are not pleasant at the time?

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.
Hebrews 12:11,12

The hill repeats are getting... I wouldn't say easier, but I would say that I'm getting stronger and dread them less. Yesterday, for my final repeat, I chose a steeper, longer hill, just to ramp things up a little.

Today, as far as a workout is concerned, is bike trainer day. I would much rather ride outside, but I don't think the weather is going to reach my acceptable range for outside riding. I have my trainer set up so that I can surf the Internet while I ride. I also listen to Led Zeppelin, often looking at the lyrics to their songs on the web. I know, I know, there are several things about the last few sentences that strike you as odd. What can I say? I have always liked LZ's music -- lots of interesting lyrics.

Pat A and I met yesterday to work on Sunday's sermon. We had a good meeting. Synergy! I was really intrigued by the idea, in Genesis 2, of the breath of life. Pat had actually done a sermon on the topic and shared some of his findings, and I looked up some things as well. Did you know that:
  • Most adults breath 12-20 per minute
  • Most us of us take around 27,000 breaths per day
I was struck by the fact that every breath is a gift of God and is a silent praise to him, whether we acknowledge it/him or not.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Numbers


Looking over my training log this morning,  I noticed that on this 18th day of January, I have trained a total of 18 hours so far - 15 running and 3 biking for a total of 134.73 miles. (Loving the new training log!) What does this mean? Nothing, I think.

Swimming? 0! Maybe tonight I will log a few feet. Main goal: do not drown and most important: do not embarrass me or anyone else. ha ha

150 - I saw it yesterday.

There are 347 days left in this year, unless the Mayans are right, then you have a few less. Good time to make those purchases where you don't have to pay anything for the first year, if you believe the Mayan thing.

This is my 877th blog post, and there have been 99,387 page views since it started.

Found this:

What is the most interesting integer, and why? Obviously the answer is highly subjective, but I'm still interested in people's opinions, preferably those of professional mathematicians. To make my question a bit more interesting, I'll add the qualification, "not counting 0, 1, and -1," since these numbers are obviously interesting, but in a very well-known (uninteresting?) ways. So perhaps my question really is: what integer has the most neat, surprising and memorable property or properties, and why?
Here's an answer:

142857. You can multiply it by any integer from 1 to 6 and the product is the number 142857 with it's digits rearranged:

142857 *1 = 142857
142857 *2 = 285714
142857 *3 = 428571
142857 *4 = 571428
142857 *5 = 714285
142857 *6 = 857142

Sadness in Shoals


Last night at our meal at church, my nephew who teaches at Shoals, came to me and told me that a teacher had committed suicide. When he told who, I remembered the teacher. He was quite popular and did lots of good things with the students. I remember him as a cross country coach, back in the day when I helped with junior high cross country. I was impressed by his passion.

It's going to be a rough day in Shoals. Will you pray for that community today?

Thursday


Good morning! How are you today? Thursday = sermon, prep for Sunday day. We had a good class last night. We laughed a lot as we considered Genesis 2. I think it was holy laughter. We discussed the idea that "naked" was before the Fall, and "nekkid" was post-Fall. OK, you had to be there. I am really wrestling with how to capture what's going on in Genesis 2. I think it's a picture of what we all long for, what we desire. It's paradise, where everything is as it should be.

What's interesting is how the Story of God reads. God creates paradise -- a garden, more like a national park. Mankind is placed there, in God's cosmic kingdom, to partner with God, to work in the garden, to have dominion over it and what's in it. We are the crown of creation. Through our selfish rebellion, we forfeit it. See Genesis 3. But God won't let it/us go. He begins the long process of restoring it, and that's how the Story ends in Revelation. Paradise is restored to those who are faithful.

Revelation 2:7
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Revelation 22:1-5
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

We are in the middle of the Story. Our faithful position in it requires us to bring the future into the present by living out God's loving way and will. Thus the Lord's prayer, "Your will be done on earth as it in Heaven." Of course we are fallen and the all of creation is fallen, which makes it challenging, to say the least. We, along with all of creation, long for the Day when everything will be made right and new. Restoration and Redemption. See Romans 8:18-25.

This morning I will work on my sermon to point of frustration, which is a key part of the creative process. Then it will be time for a run. Usually in a state of frustration, my sub-conscious mind keeps working, and then when I come back to the desk, I am ready to move forward. Some things cannot be forced. I have scheduled for today hill repeats. I ran 6 easy miles yesterday morning. Twenty five degrees with little wind actually felt pretty good!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stats!

Thanks Don!

Who saw this shocking development coming??


Paula Deen has diabetes! How could this have happened?

Wednesday

(thanks Alan)
Seems like an appropriate picture to fit along with my study of Genesis 2. Actually it's probably more appropriate for Genesis 3 - after the Fall! God's creative intent was for men and women to live in absolute harmony, bringing unity out of diversity, which is a reflection of who God is (community of Father, Son, Spirit -- unity/diversity). Good marriages reflect that; bad ones reflect the curse found in Genesis 3. There's a whole lot of this latter reflecting going on! In Christ, we get a taste of the past pre-fall Paradise and the future Paradise, where all will be made new. See Ephesians 5:21ff.

Last night was Tempo Tuesday, and it was windy! And on the cold side. But neither was/is a problem if your desire to succeed takes priority over your comfort. Some would call that crazy; others call it commitment. There were a group of us, and that community of like-minded folks makes things so much easier. I must confess, that without the community last night, I probably would have opted out of running hard. Some of us even flirted with that option. "Man up!" was heard and heeded.

We did our 2+ mile warm up and stretched a little. Then it was time to tempo. There were different ones doing different paces. My group of Tim, Jim, and Ryan was after a 6.40 something pace, although we negotiated a 3 mile run at 6.50, due to adverse weather. We had also talked of doing 2.5 miles at pace, moving up to 3 miles next week. Decisions on the run would be made.

We hit the quarter mile mark a couple of seconds fast, so we slowed a bit. We hit the half a little slow, so we pushed a bit. Then it was into the stiff wind, where it was hard to judge pace. We ended up going through the first mile around 6.52, I think. Slow! Time to pick it up! The second mile of our course is the harder than the first; it has considerable inclines. We pushed up the hill before enjoying a tail wind for a little while. We hit the second mile in 6.44, I think. At this point I was feeling yesterday's 10 miler.

We held the faster pace going up the hill and back into the wind on 39th. As we neared the 2.5 mile mark, Tim the Elder indicated that he was stopping at that point (as stated last week). Jimmy said he was going on for the 3. I was torn. I really wanted to man up and do the three, but I was getting tight. The last half mile was going to be up hill, so I chose to drop off and end the tempo at 2.5, which was what we had planned to do a week ago. Next week I vow to do all 3 at a 6.47 pace! Ending at 2.5 was a little frustrating, but it fits my plan of holding back just a bit right now.

Today is an easy 6 mile recovery run. Tomorrow: hill repeats. Friday: bike. Saturday: 16 miles, which will make 45 for the week. Feeling good!

Yesterday I had a guy step back into my life. He had been absent for quite a while, maybe more than a year? Chainsaw Mike! He's another one of my collection of different, interesting people that have come into my life. Chainsaw is an interesting guy. to say the least. I helped him and his family a lot a couple of years ago. Mike, unlike some poor folks, really desires to work hard. His nickname comes from his desire to earn a living by cutting trees.

A few years ago his chainsaw died, so several of us rallied around him and raised the money to buy him a nice saw. He has done fairly well, which explains his absence from my life, I suppose. Yesterday he was in need again. It had to do with his children and their well-being. After a long conversation about life, we got him/them fixed up.

Wonder what/who today will bring?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday a.m.



Good morning! It's weirdly warm, isn't it? I guess that's going to change soon! Even as I write this, I got a tweet saying that we are under a severe thunderstorm warning. I think I'm glad that I'm not running until evening, but I also know that it's likely to be in 30s and very windy at that point. Oh well...

Here's the story on the girls pictured above:

Karol Yasmin Izcano Cruz and Kelin Elizabeth Izcano Cruz are native Hondurans that have a strong desire to attend college to earn engineering degrees. However, they do not have the financial resources to fulfill their aspirations. These wonderful Christian young ladies have worked with Marc Tindall and ministry teams visiting Honduras. Both are very bright girls who worked hard to earn good grades in high school and have a desire to use their degrees to help their country. For just $400 per month, we can send both of them to engineering school. This support requires a commitment of four years to allow them to complete their education, so please carefully consider your pledge. Should unforeseen circumstances necessitate a change to your commitment, we would encourage you to seek a replacement for your pledged support.

We have a Facebook group for these girls, if you want to help. We have raised the first 3 months of their tuition and have pledges to cover some of the rest of it, but we are not quite there yet. They started school yesterday. It's hard to explain what a huge thing this is.

Yesterday was a nice relaxing days in some ways. I ran 10 miles yesterday morning. John H. ran 5, and Bill D. and I ran 10. We had some good conversations about life, perseverance, endurance atheltics, etc. I also picked his brain about biking. I got a lot of good, helpful information.

After the run, Kedra and I attended a funeral in Jeffersonville, followed by a meal at Cheddar's. We've eaten there a few times, and it's always good. We made a couple of stops in the Clarksville area before heading back home.

Today I need to really dive into Genesis 2. There are lots an lots of interesting things to think about/wrestle with from those few verses. There is a joke that comes out of Genesis 2. Now, I am not endorsing this joke or the thoughts behind it. Are we clear on that? hee hee

After God created Adam, and Adam had been in the Garden for a really long time, he started to get a little lonely. So, Adam went to God and said, "This Garden is amazing, but I'm starting to get a little lonely; is there anyone that you can send to keep me company?"

God answered, "I have the perfect person. She will help you with almost everything. She'll clean, cook, wash you clothes, be your friend, and even rub your feet after a long day. She really is perfect in every way!"

Adam said, "That sounds great! How soon can you send her?"

God replied again, "I can send her right away, but there is one thing ... it's going to cost you an arm and a leg to get her."

Adam thought for a moment, and then said, "What can I get for a rib?"

Hey, I'm just reporting that there is joke that's based on Genesis 2.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday - 13 weeks until...


Good morning! Today is Martin Luther King day, which seems pretty much ignored around these parts. I know Dr. King was flawed, like all of us, but, man, he said and did some very remarkable things, things that we all benefit from.

Since Kedra and Ben are off, and a lot of my running friends are off, I am taking the morning off to be around all those just mentioned. I plan to run 10 miles starting at 8 a.m. I don't know how many will show up, but my guess is there will be a few. I like starting the week with a 10 miler; looks great in the running log! Speaking of that, I am using a really cool log at Beginner Triathlete. I love the fact that it imports my workouts from my Garmin 405 and keeps weekly, monthly, and yearly totals for all activities. Awesome!

I ended last week with a 14 miler in 14 degree air temps. Actually it was a little colder than that at the start. I really don't mind running in cold weather. The biggest annoyance is watery eyes and the icicles that form on my eye lashes. I just knock them off every once in a while and keep moving. Really.  Saturday's 14 miler was good. I had a few late miles down around the 8 minutes per mile pace. The long runs are supposed to be run a little slower, so it's good to get down near race pace without pushing or trying.

The Boston Marathon is 13 weeks/3 months from today. I'm feeling good and fit and actually holding back some. I don't want to peak too early. My original schedule front-loaded a lot of miles early (like now), due to my concern of really bad winter weather that might prevent training. Since that has not happened and doesn't look like it's going to happen in the near future, I have backed off a little on total miles and my long run. I hit 40 miles per week the last 2 weeks and have had a long run of 15 miles. I originally had planned to be around a 20 miler this Saturday, but I think I will keep it around 15-17. I will probably go up to around 45 miles this week, which is down from the 50 I orginally planned. Flexible!

After my run this morning, Kedra and I will head to Jefferonsville. We'll attend a funeral and then spend a little time just enjoying the day. Kedra has been really busy with her school work. She is trying to get her teaching license and recently completed a calculus course. She's doing great! I'm really proud of her.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday


This morning is making me really look forward to going to Honduras in February! It's on the cool side out there, but, hey, it is January. I'm in my nice office at home getting ready to finish up my sermon and all that stuff that surrounds it - slide show, discussion guide, etc. I had my Honduran coffee, so I am ready to go!

Yesterday was a good day! I wrestled with my sermon for a while and then left it percolating in my mind while I did hill repeats. I got those in as the mist transitioned to big fat snow flakes. It wasn't too cold, so I really enjoyed it. Hill repeats are the hardest thing that I am doing right now. By far! My training is built around 3 quality workouts per week: Tuesday speed work (tempo runs/steady state run later), Saturday long runs, and Thursday hill repeats. On Monday I am doing 6-10 miles on hills but not pushing. Wednesday is an easy, slow 5 miler. Friday is my bike trainer day. I take Sunday off totally, as far as training is concerned.

After returning from the hill repeats, it was time to meet Pat A for lunch to talk through the sermon and other stuff. It helps both of us to talk through what we are thinking of saying, challenging our thoughts regarding relevance, interest, etc. This is another piece of my collaborative approach to preaching, involving as many people as possible in sermon prep.

After a long lunch and sermon discussion time, I left to pick up a friend who is on a journey to find God and peace. We had a really nice time just talking about all kinds of things. After that it was home in time for supper and to build a fire in the fire place. I read quite a bit of Iron War last night. It's an enjoyable read.

Today is going to be a busy one, but it should be enjoyable. I'm running 14 miles in the morning. I hope the wind dies down, and it's supposed to. I think the air temp is going to be around 15, which is not too terribly bad. I find it hard to run long when it gets down around zero.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday a.m.


Good morning! I hope your week is going well. Today is sermon prep day for me, so that will be my focus most of the day. I will do some hill repeats, here in a little while. It will be good to get them in before the weather gets too crazy. Tomorrow is an off day from running, so I will get on the bike trainer in my basement for an hour or so, plus I will do my 3rd core workout of the week. I've expanded that (the workout not my core), making it a little more difficult.

Yesterday I went to Clarksville to see a family surrounding a loved one who was passing from this life. He completed his journey around 5.30 last night. On the way back home, I stopped in Salem to see a guy in the nursing home there. He was doing well. Then it was on to see someone else, followed by some more study and prep for class last night.

Last night in class we talked about Genesis 1. Wow, there is so much to consider! So many questions and so few answers, but, by faith, it is the beginning of God's Story, which is the beginning of our story. Where you stand determines what you see, and where you stand in regard to (any) story determines how you live. I think the problem we have is that we try to fit God's story into ours as one compartment in our compartmentalized lives.

God's story says, "You start here, and then you will make sense of your story and your world. No compartmentalization required! It's all mine." But it takes faith. In fact, any governing story requires some kind of faith. I am going to put my faith in God's story and accept it, even with all the unanswered questions. Isn't that the essence of faith - to trust God in spite of doubt that is found in the context of unanswered questions?

Hebrews 11:1-3,6

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.





Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday a.m.


Good morning! This is the first day of the rest of your life. Just thought I'd throw that out there. Not sure why. Looks like it's going to start out with a little rain, which is fine. The rain will water the flower in my front flower bed that is still alive and blooming! It's about 5 feet from the house but surrounded by rocks. My theory is that the rocks have absorbed enough heat to keep it from freezing thus far. Amazing: a flower still alive with blooms in (almost) mid-January!

Yesterday was a busy day. It got that way with the blessed interruptions that came. I'll spare you quoting my line about interruptions being my ministry, but it's true.  Today is likely going to be a lot like yesterday in that regard. It involves family members of church members being sick and/or passing from this life. It's too early in the morning to find out just yet what is going on.

Last night was Tempo Tuesday. We are easing into the tempo runs, which are run at slightly less than your 5K pace. We usually run 3 miles at tempo pace, after warming up for 2 miles, and this is followed by a 2 mile cool-down. Last week we ran 1 at tempo pace; last night we ran 2. Not everyone participates, and not everyone runs at the same pace. Last week I ran with Jim S. and Tim G. The three of us ran a 6:47 mile, so that became the goal for this week's 2 mile tempo. Ryan R. joined us this week.

The first mile was 6:46 and second was 6:39! We charged up the hill after the first mile, because I've learned you have to do that to maintain the pace for the second mile. Ryan pulled us around the circle pretty hard near the finish which resulted in the faster second mile. I was pretty happy with that time! Not sure I can hold it for another mile...although I am feeling really good right now. I ran the last cool-down mile at around a 7 minute mile last night, the last half of that being more like 6:30. Crazy! Breakthrough for this old guy? I am tired this morning though. I need 5 easy ones once it gets daylight. Hill repeats tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tuesday a.m.


Well, it's Tuesday! I've been up since 4.40 - just woke up ready to roll... I am looking forward to breakfast with a friend "down on the farm" (Bob Evans) in a little while. Following that I really need to hit the books for a while. I want to get our new sermon series off to a good start, so I need some extra time in study this morning. This is my favorite thing to do, so I am pretty excited about it!

After I get this preaching project wrestled to the ground, I will re-emerge from my (quiet) cave to go places and see people. The day will end with a good 7 mile run in Bedford this evening as the sun sets. We are doing 2 miles at tempo pace tonight. We set the bar at 6.47 pace last week, so we are trying to maintain that for 2 miles this evening, easing our way into longer runs. The weather is going to be unbelievably beautiful for such an activity!

I hope your day goes well!

Some 2012 Goals

Better late than never! I’ve had these goals and have been working on them before the new year began, but I had not published them until now. This is an incomplete list. I have more goals, but they are more personal and not worth and/or suitable for sharing.

Read through Bible

I’ve done this a few times, but I didn’t do it last year. I missed it and feel like I was not as focused on the Grand Narrative as I would have been if I had been reading it straight through. I use a Bible specifically designed for the goal. It has a date at the top and how many chapters to read. It also has an overview of the reading, along with some challenging thoughts regarding application. It builds in breaks periodically, and some days have less to read than others. It helps keep it moving along.

Running

I think I ran around 1700 miles in 2010, but in 2011 I only ran 1260. That’s fine, and it reflects where I was all year: in a non-competitive state/funk. I think it was the post-Boston Qualifying affect for me. I put so much energy into the Monumental Marathon of 2010 (where I qualified for Boston), that I just didn’t have much to offer after it. I really thought my drive and desire would come back in the spring. Wrong. It’s back now, however!

Having a low mileage year and not investing any emotional energy into running in 2011 has left me hungry and ready to really go for it this year. My goals include a 3.29.59 Boston Marathon, which is very ambitious, given the hilly, difficult course. I hope to total 1500 miles this year and be competitively focused in the Persimmon 5K in September. I may run a fall marathon with a view toward Ironman training. I am thinking of doing an Ironman in the fall of 2014, which is probably certifiably crazy. There may be other running goals, but they will likely be in the context of a triathlon (hopefully).

Biking

I want to become much faster on the bike. I have ridden for 2 years now, in the summer only. I rode quite a lot last summer, which was why, in part, my running miles were way down. I’m not very fast or strong on the bike. This year I am going to work some during the winter and get out earlier in the spring. I have a really good bike now, so it’s time to work hard. I plan to complete RAIN without dying or being hospitalized! In preparation, I plan to do at least 2 centuries (100 mile rides); I only did one last year before RAIN. My other biking goals will be in the context of triathlons. I want to be able to average 20 miles per hour minimum for the sprint distances.

Swimming/Triathlon

This is the biggie! And I plan to start on it soon, maybe this week. So many of my future goals hinge on this. My desire is really, really high, so I plan to stick with it until I get it. I don’t have to be fast or pretty, I just have to get it done without drowning (ha). My first goal will be to get across a pool and back, then longer distances, followed by open water swimming, followed by a successful sprint triathlon, where the swim is usually around a quarter mile. If I can get that, then I will move on up to the Olympic distance, hoping to move even further along by doing a half Ironman in 2013. The swimming portion of that event is 1.2 miles, followed by a 56 mile bike ride, followed by a half marathon. Of course the ultimate goal is the Ironman, which is a 2.4 miles swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a full marathon. 2014? We’ll see...

Reading

I hope to average reading one book per week. This last year I started reading more broadly, including some biographies and fiction. I usually read 2-3 books at the same time. I have one I read while the TV is on, something pretty light. Then I have one for reading in bed, again pretty light, because I usually fall asleep with it. Then I read books related to ministry, theology, etc. when I am more alert, like before 5 p.m. (ha).

Monday, January 09, 2012

Monday, Monday!

Bah-da bah-da-da-da Bah-da bah-da-da-da Bah-da bah-da-da-da Monday, Monday, so good to me... So, how's it going? It's going to be another mild day in January. I love snow and miss it a lot, BUT if it's not going to snow, then I much prefer this over a very cold and dry January day. I know winter is going to show up one of these days, but it's already January the 9th. That means, to me, it is not that long until we start getting those warm days in February and March, kinda like the days we're having now. ha ha.

I don't suppose I have much to report since my last post on Saturday. We had a good day at church yesterday, maybe one of the best in quite a long time.  Maybe New Year resolutions kicked in a week late? It was good to see a big crowd.

Today I plan to get 8 miles of hills run/done as soon as school traffic clears off the roads. It's nice going out at 37 degrees with no wind. The rest of the day will involve study, meetings, the Store, visits, and whatever interruptions come my way.

If the sun comes out later today and it hits 50 degrees, then I will be tempted to get on my bike late this afternoon. I will probably resist the urge, because I don't want to get over trained. I am pushing myself right the red line right now. Last week I had 40 miles of running and 30 on the bike. The 40 miles included a 15 miler, hill repeats, and a fast mile, which was the beginning of tempo runs. I need to be careful.

Since I won those wheels I've had the realization that my bike is now worth at least double what my truck is worth. I'm not sure what this means. Hmmm.

Yesterday I booked a ticket to Honduras. I had decided that I was not going to go on the February trip, due to financial constraints, but I wanted to go because the ambulance has arrived and will be dedicated in Copan on Feb. 27. Over the years I have accumulated a ton of One Pass frequent flyer miles. Amazingly Continental Airlines has allowed me to keep them, even though they date back to our trips back and forth to New Zealand in the mid to late 80s!

Over the the years I have tried to use them, but they make it difficult with blacked out travel days etc. Last week I checked into going to Honduras, using some of those miles. I was surprised to find that I could actually use them in a way that fit the schedule I wanted. Yesterday I booked the flights, using several of the miles. I had to pay $25 in taxes. Not bad! We have a team from church going Feb. 18, and I will join them mid-week to help for a little while.

OK, need to get after it again!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Saturday afternoon


Yes, a rare Saturday post. It's been a good day and a sad day all at the same time. The sadness comes because we said good-bye to Luke and Rebecca. They both left for Lipscomb early this afternoon. The sadness was/is not too great, because they are doing well and are at great place and a great place in life. I'm very proud of them. I miss them already!

Their leaving was mitigated somewhat by a very brief visit with Lester and Maddie. We met them at Golden Gables parking lot shortly after we sent Luke and Rebecca off. Lester and Maddie bought a house in Bedford, and today it was inspected. Lester has a job in Bloomington waiting for him after he graduates in May. To say that we are thrilled about them moving back to this area wouldn't quite do the trick.

This morning I ran 15 miles, 10 of them with the group. I started a little after 7. It was a beautiful morning and a really good run. I had a quick breakfast with some of the group at McDonalds before coming home. A frequent topic today was the wheels pictured above. Why? Because they will soon be mine! Why? Let me explain.

These wheels are really, really nice bike wheels; expensive also. You can find them on the Internet from between $1000 to $2000! How can I possibly afford wheels like these, wheels worth more than my truck? I can't and would never pay that much for bike wheels. So how are they mine? Tri-Magazine.Net had a contest in December, an essay contest. The assignment was to write why I deserve them, so I wrote a piece, along with a poem. And I won! Amazing! [I'll share my essay after they publish it.]

Now I find myself the owner of a nice tri bike with amazing wheels. I am not worthy! Now I just have to get the bike motor to go faster! 

Friday, January 06, 2012

Friday!

Good morning! Wow, it's going to be an awesome day. Is it really January 6th? It feels like a spring morning: cool but indications of a relatively warm day. I have a 30+ mile bike ride planned for noon with Tim the Elder. Should be a good ride on my new bike and it will give me another opportunity to figure out any tweaking that needs to be done.

Yesterday was a good day. I got a lot of my Sunday prep done, not all but a lot. I did hill repeats on the run and felt good about them, after I was done. I didn't feel that good going into them but did them any way. Discipline. Boston. The ethics meeting at the hospital was good and enjoyable. Then I spent some time with a friend who is trying to find/figure out God. We had a nice visit about all that. I'm praying for him. I then drove a bus to BNL for, as some say, "wrasslen," which is also called wrestling. ha ha.

I had never been to a wrestling meet before. Interesting. I guess because it was BNL and Mitchell, it was a little more intense than usual. BNL won easily, which I think was the first time in a few years. I sat with Nick Mullis and enjoyed visiting with him.

This morning I have lots to cram in before my bike ride. I should be able to get it all done.

I should have added this to my "random" post the other day. You have probably figured out that my blogging is part therapy for me - ha. You have probably also figured out that I don't talk a whole lot about ministry or theology--some but not a lot. (I'd have to kill you if I told you much of what I know.) I find talking about running and riding and other things is a nice way to balance out the things that make/take up the majority of my thoughts and time. It's a good thing for me, and if you enjoy reading it, then we both benefit.

Thanks to running with Mike J. the other night, I am changing the way I log my workouts this year, especially in light of wanting to be a triathlete. I am using a free log at Beginner Triathlete. It will keep my running, riding, and (future) swimming workouts. The point that sealed the deal for me is that it imports my workouts from my Garmin. I am going to experiment today with using my Garmin on the bike so I can important bike data. My apologies to all the Garmin haters in the crowd! NOT! ha ha

OK, I've got lots to do, and that noon bike ride is motivating me to get it done!


Thursday, January 05, 2012

Patience


From my man Henri Nouwen:

Patience is a hard discipline. It is not just waiting until something happens over which we have no control: the arrival of the bus, the end of the rain, the return of a friend, the resolution of a conflict. Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something.

Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else.

Let's be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand.

Thursday a.m.


Good morning Thursday! Hey, hey, a nice warm up today, and tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer. If it's not going to snow, then 40s and 50s are good by me! Having said that, there is something brewing for about a week from today -- big storm some where, followed by Arctic air. Oh well, it is January.

We had a really good class last night, full of lively, thought-provoking discussion regarding what it means to be a true community of Christ followers. Our culture of rugged individualism makes it hard for us to experience the community that is described in the Scriptures. I'll address that some on Sunday, along with some others things.

Today is going to be a busy one. I'm going to run some time early this morning. I moved my hill repeats to today this week because of the tempo run on Tuesday. I have a lot of prep work for Sunday and a meeting at noon with the ethics committee at St. Vincent Dunn Hospital. Then I'm going to spend some time with a guy I haven't seen for a while. Then I am helping out the transportation director by driving a bus to BNL for a wrestling meet. I've never attended one of those, so I guess I'll go in and see how that works. If we are there long enough, I will slip down to the pool and check out the adult swim that takes place. I plan to start going over for that once a week at least.

OK, here we go...

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Thoughts I've had Lately


My neighbor Roger's death has been hard on Kedra and me. We loved the old guy, stubborn as he was. I really expected that I would find him dead at home, so at least that didn't happen. I don't think I will soon forget carrying his bony little 84 pound body out of his house--the house to which he would never return--a couple of weeks ago. Roger did not want any kind of service at his passing. He wanted to be cremated, and so he was.

There is a reason why we have funerals, along with visitation. It's about closure in a lot of ways. With Roger and his wishes, that closure is hard to find. Everything at his house looks the same right now. I have to consciously remember that he is no longer with us.

The last few days have been full of death for me. A funeral last Thursday for a 48 year old woman, Gerald T's death and funeral, and then Roger's death all kinda caved in on me. People like me are in an odd spot of having so few people who minister to us. (I wonder what funeral directors do?) I think it's rare and normal that few, if any, in a church minister to their minister. It can get lonely at times. I'm thankful I have a couple of really good friends who do a good job of understanding and "being there" for me.

I'm reading through the Bible, so today I was reading Genesis 11. The story of the Tower of Babel is told there. Lots of things to consider, including that in a lot of ways the confusion of Babel was reversed on the day of Pentecost, when everyone heard the Apostles speaking in their own language. This is a hint of the absolute unity and harmony that will be experienced when the Kingdom of Heaven is fully realized.

I was thinking about Babel in a different way today, however. I've had this thought for many years and have had conversations with several about it. I'm sure it's not original thought, but I wonder if all the research regarding constructing life in a laboratory is not a modern day attempt to "build a tower that reaches into the heavens" so that some "can make a name" for themselves? I wonder how far God will let man go in this area?

At the end of this month, I will have completed my 14th year at the Mitchell Church of Christ. Hard to believe! It's hard to stay in this vocation, evidently. A Duke University study found that 85% of seminary graduates will drop out of ministry within 5 years and that 90% of all ministers do not make it to retirement age before quitting. Wow. I hope my endurance athletic disciplines serve me well in this area! Can I be one of the 10%?

30/150 Plan

OK, you remember my 26.2 plan? I kept to it pretty well. I think I only "cheated" twice on the coffee pledge. Both times were after a long run in cold weather. Once I accidentally used a salt shaker. Other than that, I kept to it. I actually enjoyed the challenge of it and the satisfaction of doing it. The payoff? Six pounds lighter and considerably faster on runs, along with simply feeling better all the time. Gone was a bloated feeling; replaced with a light, hollow feel. Do you know what I'm talking about? Man, it feels good!

OK, so the 26.2 plan ended on Christmas Eve. For the days that followed I left the plan, but not in a huge way. I still did not use the salt shaker, which is a pretty significant thing for me. I used to salt just about everything, including, at times, pizza. Yes, I know... Anyway, when I was off the plan for a week or so, I ate a lot of sweets, drank a lot of soft drinks and buttered my beloved popcorn. You know what? None of that was very satisfying. So that makes it easier for me to go on my new 30/150 plan.

What is this plan? Pretty simple. I will go back to the restrictions of the 26.2 plan for 30 days OR until I reach my goal weight of 150. Here are the key elements:

1 cup of coffee per am, then nothing but H2O

No desserts

No salt out of shaker for meals

No butter on popcorn

Reasonable portions

Small, high protein snacks between meals

30 sit-ups 3 x week

100 Torso Track 3 x week

35-45 miles per week running

Bike trainer 1x week for 1 hour

I'm at 154 now, so I doubt it will take 30 days. I'm not sure how I will modify things to maintain that weight. I'll figure that out when I get there. This is the weight that I ran the Louisville marathon. I had a really bad day, mostly due to weather issues, but I was in the best shape I had been in years. My Boston qualifying marathon in Indy, a few months after Louisville, saw me at 155, but the weather was cool. 

If I go into Boston at 150 and with good, injury-free training, then I should have a really good day. That's what I'm after. Then I hope to follow that up with a great summer of running, biking, and swimming. More on all those goals soon.

Wednesday a.m.

My three sons in redneck mode! Ben has been wanting a gun for a long time, so over the break we shopped around. He wants to hunt coyotes, so he found a good, used .243 rifle. The boys got my old .222 ground hog gun (from my very redneck youth) and had some fun. They placed a target about 400 yards away and started shooting. To go check the target, they all three loaded on a 4 wheeler. The picture does not quite capture the humor of the sight. Yes, they actually did hit the target at that distance, with the .243. They also called a coyote in one night, but didn't get a shot.

Yesterday was a good day in a lot of ways, but it was draining also. Gerald T's funeral went well and was filled with emotion. I don't know how many funerals I've done over the years; it's a lot. I've said before that I would rather do funerals than weddings, because a funeral provides an opportunity to really help people who are pretty focused on life and death issues. Weddings? Not much thinking going on there! ha ha

The part of the funeral that I find the hardest is when the family, at the end of the service, comes to say that final "good-bye." That part often gets to me. You see such raw and real grief. Yesterday was no exception. The sight of inconsolable mourning helps me identify with what is said in John 11, where Jesus sees Mary grieving the loss of her brother, Lazarus.

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. Jesus wept.

I often use this passage in funerals; used it yesterday. Even though Jesus knows that the resurrection of Lazarus is moments away--a resurrection that will create celebration, on this side of it, he weeps. Identification. #Incarnation.

Yesterday I got to spend some time on other projects as well. I am working on a sermon series, Find Your Place in God's Story, which will begin a week from Sunday. It's going to be a overview of the entire Bible, helping us all see how the plan of God unfolds from the Paradise (lost) of Genesis to the Paradise (restored) of Revelation. A lot of people really don't understand how the Story goes, and, therefore, having trouble relating to it and living it out.

Last night I had a really good run in Bedford with several friends. We were running as the sun went down. It was such a beautiful evening. Yes, it was a little cool but not too bad at all, once we got warmed up. We ran the 7 mile tempo run course, running just one mile at tempo pace. I was pleased to crank out a 6.47 mile without too much trouble. Next week we'll try hold that pace for another mile. Today is an easy recovery run of 5 miles.

Got lots going on today with study, meetings, and visits, followed by our Wednesday Evening Meal and class at 7 p.m. I hope to have a productive today and the rest of the week. My goal is to have everything finished by Friday at noon. Why? Have you seen the forecast? Mid to low 50s on Friday. I am planning on a 30+ mile bike ride Friday around noon. We'll see...