Monday, April 30, 2012

God Bless You



It’s really a strange thing, when you think about it. Someone sneezes and people feel compelled to say, "Bless you!"

Why is that? Isn’t a sneeze the only bodily function that draws such a blessing? Coughs and belches? No! No blessing for those.

Some say blessing the sneeze is rooted in the superstitious idea that either the soul is escaping the body during a sneeze or that evil spirits use a sneeze as an opportunity to enter the body. Interesting!

I’m all for blessing, but let’s go beyond the sneeze and beyond superstition. How about this week we really try to bless other people with words, meaningful words, words rooted in this blessing?

"The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."

May the Lord bless you and your week. Happy Monday!

Monday Morning

Good morning Monday! It's going to be a nice day today, even if the rain rolls in later! I like the nice warmth to start the day. I have a few things to catch you up on. The list includes a bent wheel, a sore wrist, a sore knee, and a sore hip. I'm not asking for any sympathy, knowing that none will be forthcoming.

OK, where do we start this story, which really is not all that interesting or exciting. (You've been warned.) Well, when we last met, I believe it was Friday morning. I finished my work and got to the BNL pool at 9 a.m., beginning a nice day off. The pool time went well. It was just Tim and Elder and Bill there, so there were no crowds, no strangers wondering if I would drown. I got out of the pool right at 10 and hurried home. The Kestrel was all prepped, patiently waiting to be loaded into the truck that is worth much less than it is. (Hey, the truck doubles in value when I fill it with gas.)

Off to meet Tim and Elder and Iron Bill at the Lighthouse. We got organized and took off. Tim wanted the standard 31. I wanted 50-60, and so did Bill. We did the usual route of Yocky, Rabbitsville, through Mitchell to cross highway 60 at Spring Mill Vet. As we were slowly, casually going up that little grade, I shifted into the lowest gear. Somehow the rear derailleur decided to push the chain ever further, right into the spokes. Everything kinda stopped at that point, except me. I instinctively kept trying to peddle, but peddling didn't happen. I kept moving - not forward. Downward.

My feet were firmly clipped into my pedals, and I couldn't get them out. Over I go! There is just nothing glamorous about falling over on a bike. You feel pretty stupid, but it happens. My main concern was my bike of course. I knew I had some pain, but what about the bike? Turns out that I bent my wheel, but Bill messed around with it and I decided to keep going. Here is Bill's account. I rode another 40+ miles on a bent while with a sore knee and wrist. It turned out to be a pretty good ride. Bill pulled me through nicely through the cool wind.

I got home and washed my bike and then noticed my wrist was really sore. It was also swollen. I wrapped it up a little and went to bed. Saturday morning I started to run with the group, but my knee started hurting. I turned back, deciding it best not to keeping going on a sore knee. The wrist is the issue. I have not been to the doctor. I think it's a sprain... I'll decide today. Maybe.

The wheel is the priority! ha ha. I will take it to the Bicycle Doctor today to get it trued. I doubt he will true it while I wait, so I will need to put my race wheels back on. I hope to ride this afternoon. Maybe my GM boys will want to go?

Lester and Maddie got mostly moved in over the weekend. It's so nice to have them around.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday a.m.

Good morning! It's Friday! I'm going to do something today that I used to do very intentionally and carefully: take most of a day off. Now I know some of you are already cracking jokes about me working only one day a week, etc. That's fine. Working one day a week is great, it's that being on call 24/7/365 that gets a bit tiring at times. I'm not complaining at all. I guess I am justifying taking most of this day off. I've had a good week! I read/studied a lot and saw lots of people, and I even got some things done beyond my normal routine.

I ended my day yesterday by driving the golf team to Stonecrest for practice. I think they usually practice 2 hours, 4-6 p.m., which would have put me home around 6:30. The coach said something last night about practicing a little longer, which was fine with me. They practiced until after 7, which meant that I didn't get the bus back until about 7:45, which meant no pool time for me again.

I did get a nice easy 3 mile run at the golf course, and I finished up 2 books I've been reading. It was such a beautiful evening. I guess I am a professional athlete now. I was getting paid while I was running.

This morning I have a little work to do in preparation for Sunday, and then I get to go to the pool for a while. Then I am going on a 50-60 mile bike ride late morning. I am looking forward to this. It's a part of my prep for CraneRAIN and for Ironman. Tim S has booked hotel rooms for RAIN, so we plan on doing it for sure. I'm literally miles ahead of where I was at this time last year. Plus, I have a better, more comfortable bike.

I took my race wheels off and am riding on the other wheels. I will save the race wheels for races and for other special occasions. As soon as think I can swim in a triathlon, I will find one and get that experience going. I have August 11 marked on my calendar for Cicero, but I hope to do one before that.

OK, I need to finish a few things, prep my bike, and head to the pool...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What do you see?



What do you see? How would you describe it?

Teachers often use a photo like this to point out that we focus on the black dot, ignoring the white sheet.

This illustrates the way a lot of us look at life.

We fail to see all the goodness, represented by the white space, focusing instead on the little black dot.

It’s so easy to see and focus on the dot!

I can’t ignore the reality of the dot, but I sometimes fail to see all the good, white space that surrounds it.

Anyone else have the same problem?

Thursday morning

Hi Thursday! How are you? Are you going to be good to me? That would be nice, because I really, really want to get everything finished up today, so tomorrow I can do some other things. I promise to work extra hard today.

I'm not surprised very often. I figured out my 30th birthday party, which was in New Zealand. One of the guys attending said something about it, revealing the secret. I was surprised on my 40th. I begged for no surprises on my 50th, and my wishes were honored. Last night I was totally, totally surprised. My sneaky sisters organized a surprise Boston Marathon celebration. It was a surprise and so nice. Lots of people, cake, and just a nice, nice surprise. Some of my endurance buddies even showed up. Thanks Larry, John, Tim, and Mike.

The surprise came on a night when I was tired and ready to go home. I got over all that pretty quickly. I am such a party animal! Yesterday was a full day, and it wore me out. I ran 5 hilly miles early, met with people, saw people, talked with people, studied, squeezed in a very hilly 10 mile bike ride, drove the golf team to Stonecrest for practice, studied on the bus, returned the bus, drove home for 15 minutes to eat, returned to church, taught a class, and then "SURPRISE!"

Today I've got a pretty full day again. I want to get my sermon and slides done. I am speaking at St. Vincent Dunn around midday, followed by another window of work opportunity. Then it's another bus trip to Stonecrest for practice, which gives me 2 hours to either run or study or both. Then I should get back in time to swim this evening at 8.

Tomorrow I hope to swim in the morning at 9 and then ride 60 miles after that. I may try do a run after that. I think I will tri. Get it?

Better get started...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pray for your Enemies

"May the fleas of a thousand camels nest in your shorts," Johnny Carson used to crack as Carnac the Magnificent on the Tonight Show.

Is that, or much worse, the kind of prayer/desire you have for your enemies? I think that’s very normal, yet Jesus really challenges us to do something that is so different and so difficult.

"You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."

Jesus did it. He challenged them and rebuked them, but in the end, he prayed for them.

How can I do that? And just what is it that I praying for?

It can only be done by the power of God and by aligning our desire with God’s. His desire? That all people, including those who hate him (and us), come to know him and his love.

God is patient with us and the process.

We need to keep praying.

Wednesday a.m.

Good morning! How are you today? It's going to be a good, busy day AND in the 70s. Sounds good to me. I'm enjoying my 2nd cup of coffee this morning. For some reason I had trouble waking and getting up this morning. This is very unusual for me. Maybe there is a chance that I am normal after all? Yeah, you're right. No chance of that.

I got a really nice call from my lovely daughter Rebecca yesterday. She is a freshman at Lipscomb and had just a meeting with a woman regarding his plans for the fall semester. Rebecca is going to study in Costa Rica. It is a total immersion language environment. She will live with a Costa Rican family and all her classes will be taught in Spanish.

She was very excited to learn that she will earn enough Spanish credits that she can now double major in Spanish and elementary education. I'm really excited and happy for her, although it will be hard not seeing her for about 4 months in the fall. Kedra and I thought of traveling to see her, but I don't think that is going to be possible.

Yesterday was another good day. I got lots of things done again. You know me: I love crossing things off a list. Lots of lines were drawn through words on a list yesterday. I did lots of things and saw lots of people. It was all good.

As I got into late afternoon, I managed to get ready for a short bike ride. I was literally dressed and out the door when my phone rang, which was inside a small bag that I wear while riding. I dug around and found it, barely missing the call. It was from Tim S. I called him back and learned that he and Mike were getting ready to ride. I would love to ride with them, so I made some adjustments to my plans. Now it would be a fairly closely timed brick: ride followed by run.

As I went outside to load my bike up, it was raining! It wasn't hard, but I didn't really want to get wet at all at 60 degrees. Also I didn't want to get road slime all over my beautiful bike, so with some trepidation (anticipating abuse for weeks), I called and cancelled. Then the Kestrel jokes started... But before it was all over, Mike and Tim also decided not to ride. Of course Iron Bill rode. Hey, he's Iron Bill. And he uses a back up bike.

With the ride cancelled, it was a leisurely prep for the run. No brick for you! ( Soup Nazi voice) A few of us showed up for the run. Jim and Bill tempoed. Kathy and Robin did some speed work also. Tim the Elder, recovering from an injury, ran 3, while Tim S. and I ran 5. It was a nice time. I still don't feel fully recovered from Boston.

Tim S and I talked about the upcoming 65 mile Crane ride, and we also talked about RAIN. We are committed to that as well, so my riding plans are coming together. Now, I have to get the swim thing to the point that I can survive the water portion of a short tri. Soon!

After the run I went to Mr. Gatti's for a Honduras fund raiser. It was nice to see such a good turn out for that.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Is it OK?



Anyone ever ask you, "Is it OK to ____________?"

Maybe you are the one asking the question. Most of us have been on both sides of it.

Christians, I think, wonder about what is permissible. Maybe a better question is this.

What is best and the most beneficial?

As Paul writes the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 10:23, 24 ), he quotes them regarding their permissive approach, and then he suggests a better thing to think about.

"Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

Our individual choices impact others, so we follow the model of Jesus of putting the interest of others before our own.

What do you think about that?

Tuesday a.m.

Good morning! I hope you are doing well on this nice spring morning. It's going to be a little warmer today. I'm still rooting for some 70s. I think I may have to wait another day. The picture on the left is from Boston and is of a bike repair station. Gregg pointed this out to me while we were walking. It has all the basic tools that you need to do "field" repairs, including a pump. Boston seemed to be a pretty bike friendly city -- lots of bike lanes.

My day changed pretty dramatically yesterday morning. I got a call from Bill, the transportation director, saying that the junior high golf team needed a bus driver to go to Washington right after school. "Can you do it?"

Of course I had an evening mapped out in my mind and it didn't include driving a bus. I looked at everything and made a quick decision. "Yes, I'll do it." I was thinking, "I can eat supper in Washington and get back home in time to get to the BNL pool at 8." I also needed to meet with a minister friend, Christopher, who lives in Washington. Seemed like a pretty good idea, the more I thought about it.

I contacted Christopher. He would pick me up at the golf course in Washington, and we could grab a bite to eat and meet. That part worked out really well. We had a great meeting and I was back at the bus by 6 p.m. How long does junior golf last? I posed this question to Brian, an old friend and the coach. "Too long," he said. Brian was right. Long story short: I got home at 9:45! After the golf match (or is it meet?), we stopped at Taco Bell, which was fun. I got to visit with several parents.

Junior high boys + overeating at Taco Bell + a big bus with them in the very back and me in the very front = a good thing. I hated missing my pool time, but the trip will help fund some things related to endurance athletics. Remember, I bought a carbon fiber bike, thanks to driving a bus all fall!

Yesterday was a good productive day -- got lots done. I didn't run, which was my plan. I am running this evening in Bedford. I may do a short bike ride before that. I will see how I get along with everything and everyone today. I am hoping to go on a longer ride on Friday, maybe 50+ miles?

OK, let's go do this day!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Prepare for the Path


"Prepare your children for the path instead of the path for your children."

I really like that!

Do parents sometimes hover around trying to remove all the obstacles for their children, believing they are clearing a way for (vicarious?) "Success?"

Isn’t that a formula for frustration and failure in multiple ways?

Isn’t it much better to simply prepare our children for the inevitable obstacles, disappointments, and failures that will be a part of life’s journey?

There is very little we can control regarding what shows up in/on our path, but we can control our attitude, response, approach, and reaction. Right?

If you have faith, then trusting God is the key.

Teaching our children these things starts with us. Ready? Here comes Monday!

Monday a.m. & Back at it


It's hard to believe that a week ago this morning I was up and getting ready to head to the train station to board a bus to head to Hopkinton to run the Boston Marathon. Pictured above is Boston's Beacon Hill (I think). Boston was a surprisingly beautiful, interesting, and pleasant place. I was so focused on the marathon that I did not give much thought to the city itself. Of course being there with several friends added immeasurably to the joyful experience.

Boston is so full of history, which I knew, but one of the more surprising things to me was how friendly everyone was. The cynics say they turn that on for marathon weekend. Didn't seem that way to me. All I know is that I enjoyed being there and found the locals very helpful.

I guess you noticed I did not post much last week. Some would call it the post-marathon blues, I suppose. I just didn't have much energy or desire to do much of anything last week. All that makes sense from a physical and an emotional standpoint. I had been focused on Boston for so long, and now it's over. There is always a let down or a transition after such a big focus. It's all good, fine.

My body is well on its way to recovery. I'll take it fairly easy this week again. Last week I rode on Thursday evening and again on Saturday, both 31 mile rides. I ran 5 miles Saturday morning. I felt pretty good on Thursday's ride. Of course the weather was perfect - low 70s. Mike, Bill, John and I rode the Amish Loop. We had a nice southerly tailwind for the return trip. I was pretty pumped because I held 32-34 mph the last mile or so down the highway. Saturday was a different story. I felt the the residual fatigue from the marathon and from the morning run. I struggled a bit on the return trip into a headwind. It was just Bill and me on that ride. I enjoyed the time and conversation.

Today is about getting back into a routine. The last two weeks were short, due to travel to/from Boston. I'm behind in most areas, so it's "catch up" time. I have a list that filled a complete sheet of paper. Included on the list is "Training Plan Started." I know my ultimate goal right now is a full Ironman in 2014, but I need to map out a fairly clear path to get there. Swimming is the key.

Speaking of swimming, I dreamed at least a couple of times last night that I was drowning. I'm not kidding! The good news is that I didn't drown, and in the last scene, I actually relaxed and allowed myself to float to the surface (yes, Rand you told me this would happen). I woke up before I was able to breath. I'm going to take this as a divine sign that I will be relaxed in the water, will not drown, and will learn to swim SOON. I'm headed to the pool tonight to resume the quest.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Boston Marathon 2012


My friend Jim Sowders said this Saturday night after attending the Red Sox game in Boston.

This is the place all runners dream of reaching. They just don't usually dream it will be close to 90 degrees. But the marathon is like life and life is like a marathon, it's about the journey. You lay out a plan and then you are thrown a curve, you have to just try to foul it off.

If you followed this blog leading up to Boston, then you saw all the warnings–scary at times–about the heat that would happen during the 116th Boston Marathon. I have had some really bad experiences in the heat, ending up in the medical tent twice and in the hospital once.  I was paying close attention to the forecast and made the adjustments to my goal of re-qualifying. The new goal: live to run another day.

We arrived Friday afternoon and were picked up at the airport by Mary, a sister to my nephew’s wife. Mary lives in Boston with her husband, a researcher at Harvard, and their precious little daughter, Harper. We stayed in a nice guest apartment in their building in Cambridge, near a subway stop. The place was great! It was three times the size, and half the price, of hotel rooms. Perfect!

We just rested Friday night. Saturday Gregg and I went for an easy 3 mile run to downtown. He gave me a bit of a running tour of Boston. We stopped at the finish line. I felt the need to take my shoes off; it felt like holy ground. Not wanting to embarrass anyone, I left my shoes on and we moved on.

After a little time of hydration and carbo-loading, Kedra and I made our way, via public transportation, to the Expo. When I walked in, it really hit me. I was in Boston to run the marathon I have dreamed of running for a long, long time. I guess I was allergic to something in the room, because my eyes got all watery. OK, I admit it, I felt like crying. It has been a long, long journey for me – just to get here.

The crowd was huge. I’m not a big fan of that, so I got my packet and grabbed all the free stuff that I wanted. We went back to the room for more hydration and carbo-loading. My running buddies started arriving at the airport, so there was a lot of communication going on. Jim suggested going to Fenway for a Red Sox game. Good idea!

I made my way to Fenway to wait on Jim. I watched ticket "brokers" working the crowd. The game was sold out and tickets were going anywhere from 60 to 100 dollars, which was a lot more than I wanted to pay. Jim was delayed, and finally he, along with Tim and John, arrived. Jimmy started working his famous magic. Long story short: we got into a sold out game with $20 tickets from the "Will Call" window. It was really neat being in Fenway, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Sunday we got up and went to an 8:30 church service with Gregg, Mary and Harper. We went to a church right downtown, so we took in some more sights and sounds of Boston on marathon weekend. After church it was more hydration and carbo-loading. Then we met up with my friends, with the exception of the Millers and Rand. We found a great Italian restaurant in the Italian section of Boston and enjoyed a great meal together. After a trip to the famous Mike’s Pastry and Bill Rogers Running Store, we went back to hydrate and carbo-load some more. It was marathon eve, and I slept well.

Marathon morning! Up at 4. Say it with me: hydrate and carbo-load. On the subway at 6 a.m. to Boston Common. There I met with Bill, Jim, Tim, Wendy, and John. Kathy and Robin would come later and catch a different bus. We estimated that it would take about 400 bus trips to get everyone to Hopkinton, 26 miles out. They brought wave after wave of busses to haul the runners. It was neat to see. The bus ride was long but enjoyable.

The runner’s village was the school complex in Hopkinton. It was well-organized. There were 100s and 100s of porta potties, all with lines. There were food tents everywhere, and runners staked little claims, mostly in the shade. The sun was up and hot! We had more than an hour to wait, so we just took it all in, laughing and talking.

The Millers, Jim, and Bill were in the first wave and first to be called to the start. Before they left, the six of us, and another guy, joined hands and had a prayer for a safe and successful trip back to Boston. We said good-byes and parted. John and I were left there for a few minutes, waiting for our call. John and I qualified together at Monumental, so it was nice that we started together as well.

When we were called to the start, I was immediately struck by how hot the sun was. We had been in the shade, and the temps were in the 70s. It didn’t feel too bad, but once in the sun, I knew it was going to be a long, hot day for a guy who doesn’t do heat very well. Gotta be smart today. "Run like Einstein," Dan Dyke told me. Good advice, so I pulled my hair out sideways. I guess that’s what Dan meant?

We got in our corral, and the loud speaker blared words that were not memorable. I remember thinking, "it’s hot." The gun fired and we began the shuffle to the start line. "I’m running the Boston Marathon!" I thought to myself and then said it to John. My joy, while not taken away, was quickly pushed aside as I started sweating early. It was hot, and I had not trained for the heat. How could I during the winter?

After about 2 miles, averaging an 8:14 pace, I was already concerned that, if not careful, I would not finish and would end up in the medical tent or the morgue. None of those appealed to me, so very early I went into survival mode. I didn’t expect to have to do this so soon, but it was hot and I could get in trouble fast. "Walk the water stations and walk the hills." Normally that would be totally unacceptable, but not today. I must admit it bothered me a lot, but I had to do it.

I also decided to enjoy the crowd and the experience, as many had advised me to do. I normally don’t high-five people during a marathon, but I did it early and often, especially with little kids. It was fun. I made it through the 10K mark at 55.32, but I kept slowing down as the temps went up and up. The promised wind was not present, or at least I never felt it. The heat was brutal.

Doubts filled my mind early and often. I fought those demons for several miles. I felt like I was in trouble around 8 or 9 miles, and the voices shouted, "How do you think you can go another 18 miles like this??" I answered, "One mile at a time, one mile at a time. Slap some hands and smile at the wonderful people who have lined this beautiful course." Good ideas.

The next thing I know I am headed toward Wellesley College. It’s famous on marathon day for its screaming girls who invite the runners to kiss them. I had told Kedra earlier that I might just kiss a girl, an ugly one of course. She said, "OK, as long as she is ugly." I will not define "ugly," since that is a subjective thing and could possibly offend some of you.

As I went by the line of 100s of screaming girls, many holding signs that say, "Kiss me I’m a nerd," I started looking for one that fit my criteria. "OK, there’s one!" I pulled over to the fence and made eye contact with her. I leaned in to kiss her on the cheek. She looked at me and got a terrified look on her face. I’m not kidding! She made some verbal expression of disgust as she backed away from the fence. Rejected! Fortunately her partner said something like, "I’ll let the old ugly guy kiss me." A peck on the cheek from me and one back from her, and I was on my way again. I must admit that the kiss didn’t do much for me. Probably made her life, though, so it was worth it.

The Newton Hills loomed large, and I finally arrived. They were long and hot. Encouraging crowds made them manageable. I never dreamed of walking Heartbreak Hill, but I did. Sad but necessary. I was concerned because I had stopped sweating and was getting cold chills. These are both bad, bad signs. I kept taking Endurolytes, Gatorade, and water. I poured cup after cup of water on my head, gasping every time.

I think the one thing that saved me was ice. Lots of people had ice on the course. I would put it in my hat and keep some in my mouth as much as possible. I think I freaked one little boy out. He had a couple of plastic bowls of ice, holding them out. I think his intention was for runners to take a piece of ice out of the bowl. I came up and took the bowl! I heard him say in a desperate way, "Mom!" I shouted back over my shoulder, "Sorry!"

Right before Heartbreak Hill, John and I connected again. We started together but got separated after about 2-3 miles. I was in survival mode and didn’t want to mess him up in any way. He came up from behind me, so I guess I had passed him somewhere. We worked together for a while, but he was cramping really badly. He insisted several times that I go on, so finally I did.

From mile 22 or so, I started feeling "good" again and ran fairly well down the hills. I loved the Boston College students, 1000s of them lined the course and were screaming encouragement. I high-fived dozens and dozens of them. As I got to 24 miles, I felt like I was in major trouble. "NOT NOW!"

I managed it the best I could, fighting off cramps and nausea. There were a few other runners littered off to the side, looking like they were dying. One guy had an oxygen mask on and was surrounded by medics. "Look away!"

Citgo sign! Fenway Park! Not much further. Hotter and hotter it seemed to me in the city. I was a little over a mile from the finish and was beginning to wonder again. "Am I going to make it?" I walked and wobbled a little. Another runner said, "Are you OK?" "Yes." Push on. Pray some more. I did lots of both all day long.

I finally made it to Boylston Street and turned toward the finish line. Wow, it still seemed like a long way away. I got to mile 26 - just .2 to go. There was a guy collapsed right by the 26th mile marker, surrounded by medics. So close! I didn’t want to be that guy, and I wasn’t. I heard Kedra shout my name! My eyes filled with tears.

I ran across the finish line and was caught by a worker. I had trouble standing but did not want to go to the medical tent. He or she walked me to another person who walked me further. He or she passed me to another. I finally said, "I think I’m OK." And I was.

I was crying at this point. I was just totally spent in every possible way. My sunglasses hid my emotion pretty well. I composed myself and went over the medal table. A nice lady carefully placed my finish medal over my hat and around my neck and congratulated me. She might as well have been the head of the International Olympic Committee. I felt so honored and thanked her, reaching out to shake her hand. I turned away and cried some more and wobbled down the long chute.

As I turned the corner toward the exit, I ran into Bill. He was waiting on Jim to get released from the medical tent. Jim and Bill ran relatively well in the heat. Bill told me where the Millers were, so I made my way there. It was there that I also reunited with Kedra. I hugged her and held on, sliming her up with nasty sweat and lots of tears of joy and relief that were flowing again. It was a long hug that was appropriate for the long journey that we have both been through. She has supported me all the way. I am so blessed.

Eventually we were all united. Eight of us from our running group qualified, and 8 of us finished. Our times were slow and ugly, but everyone knows that’s OK. We hung around for a little while and then made our way back to the train and the apartment. I felt pretty rough for a while, but got better in time to go to bed.

My 4:52 was the slowest road marathon ever, by far. I qualified at 3:31:48 and felt like I was in good enough shape to do that or even better at Boston, if the temperature had been in the normal range of the 50s. The course was hilly, but I had trained on the hills and was ready. Heat is a killer for runners. The two favorites both dropped out. Kedra watched the TV coverage and thought she heard that 16 elite runners dropped out. Thousands of people ended up in the medical tents. Hundreds were taken to hospitals. A few were in critical condition. It was one of the hottest Boston Marathons in its 116 year history.

Amby Burfoot of Runner’s World wrote this:

Congratulations, Boston Marathoners. On Monday, you proved why you are a special group of runners. You were tough enough to qualify for Boston, the world’s pre-eminent marathon. And then, facing conditions completely unsuitable to marathon running, you proved that you were flexible enough to adjust your plans. You listened to the advice of everyone from the Runner’s World staff to the Boston Marathon’s medical advisors, and you changed your race plans.

You didn’t run fast. You ran smart. And that is the greater of the two.

It probably wasn’t much fun at times, especially in the middle of the course where the temperature soared into the high 80s, and you still had 15 miles to go. You must have felt a certain dread at that point. Your feet were burning and you were drenched with sweat and cups-o-water over the head. But you slowed a little more, kept shuffling along, and ran your way to Copley Square one mile at a time. You were brilliant.

I’m not sure about being brilliant, but I feel satisfied and honored to have participated. As we were leaving the airport in Boston yesterday, the woman announcing the boarding procedure said, "Congratulations to all the Boston Marathon finishers!" All the people in the sound of her voice applauded. My eyes welled again.

I think I might have to do this again . . .
John Heatherly, Bill Deckard, me, Jim Sowders, Kathy Hammel, Robin Day, Wendy Miller, Tim Miller

Wednesday a.m.

Good morning! I'm back at home recovering from a wonderful weekend. I assume most of you have knowledge regarding my experience via Facebook, Twitter, and/or email alerts from the BAA. For those who don't, here's what you need to know: 1) I lived and will run again soon, and 2) I hope to publish my full marathon report later on today.

Our flight back from Boston was uneventful but slightly delayed. We went through New York, so delays were to be expected. We flew out over the city, which provided us a nice view. My parents picked us at the airport and, after a meal in Bloomington, got us home safely.

Today will be about managing stiff and sore quads, recovery, digging out, catching up, and all the other fun stuff that happens when you let things go for 5 days. I'll have a little more time, since I won't be running today. I will run again on Saturday. I'll be on the bike tomorrow, and that should feel pretty good.

OK, check back later on, and I hope to give you the hot story!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gonna be hot

I always appreciate your prayers!

We have been warned over and over.

I will be careful, and Kedra has threatened to kill me if I die. ha ha I can't afford a hospital stay in Boston.

"Live to run another day," is my mantra for this one.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday in Boston


It has been a great day in Boston, just an extension of a wonderful weekend! We had a great relaxing day yesterday as well. My day included visiting Fenway Park for a baseball game, which was a lot of fun.

Today Kedra and I went to church at 8:30 with Gregg, Mary, and Harper. Afterwards we walked around for a little while. The weather has been amazingly pleasant. We came back to our apartment for a little while to hydrate and carbo load. Then Kedra and I went back to the city center to meet most of our friends.

We had a great lunch in the Italian section of Boston, followed by a trip to Mike's Pastry, which was packed. Long lines waited for the tasty treats being served. Carbo loading is fun!

The weather continues to threaten to take all the fun away. Here's the latest warming:

Update to Entrants in Tomorrow's Boston Marathon®

Sunday, April 15, 2012 as of 4:30 p.m.

Running any marathon involves risks

  • The weather conditions that we will be seeing on Monday, April 16 will involve even more risk. It will involve an increased element of risk to all participants due to the heat. Only the fittest runners should consider participating.
  • We have put in place a broad array of services and support for our marathon participants, but the risks that will be presented on April 16 will be higher than normal.
  • Therefore, in cooperation with the Boston Marathon's Medical Team, it is our recommendation that anyone entered in the marathon who has not met the qualifying standards for their age and gender strongly consider not running, and that they strongly consider deferring until next year.
  • Another essential factor to take into consideration is whether you have ever run a full marathon in weather conditions involving hot temperatures-and that can mean temperatures even lower than those that may be present on Monday. Do NOT assume that any experience you have in running a cooler marathon will be a reliable guide in making the decision in whether to participate or defer. You must factor in the heat.
  • Everyone who does choose to participate should strongly consider running significantly more slowly that they normally would plan to run a marathon. We have extended the opening of our finish line in support of this recommendation.
  • For the overwhelming majority of those who have entered to participate in the 2012 Boston Marathon, you should adopt the attitude that THIS IS NOT A RACE. It is an experience.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY-everyone needs to take responsibility for their own safety. Ultimately this is an individual sport in which individuals must take responsibility for themselves.
Boston Athletic Association

Most of you know that I have a little history of not being a great endurance athlete in the heat. That's going to change tomorrow! Ha ha. I will be careful, I promise. The temps will be flirting with 90 around the finish line.

My goals have evolved:

Qualify for next year by running 3:30
Have a good run and feel decent the whole way
Run the whole way without stopping
Run to live another day

Jimmy Sowders says it pretty well:

This is the place all runners dream of reaching. They just don't usually dream it will be close to 90 degrees. But the marathon is like life and life is like a marathon, it's about the journey. You lay out a plan and then you are thrown a curve, you have to just try to foul it off.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Weather Report from B.A.A.

Advisory From Boston Marathon Medical Directors to Entrants in the 2012 Boston Marathon

Saturday, April 14, 2012 as of 11:30 a.m.
We are looking closely at the current weather situation which is projected to be quite warm. The B.A.A. is closely monitoring this situation for for race day decisions. If the temperatures reach certain levels, running will put even the most fit athletes at risk for heat injury.
 
We are now making the recommendation that if you are not highly fit or if you have any underlying medical conditions (for example-cardiac disease, pulmonary disease or any of a number of medical problems), you should NOT run this race.
 
Inexperienced marathoners should not run.
 
Those who have only trained in a cooler climate and who may not be acclimated (for at least the last 10 days) to warm weather running conditions should also consider not running.
 
For those very fit athletes who decide to run, you should take significant precautions: Run at a slower pace and maintain hydration.

You should frequently take breaks by walking instead of running.

This will not be a day to run a personal best. If you choose to run, run safely above all else. Speed can kill.

Heat stroke is a serious issue and is related to intensity of running as well as the heat and humidity.

Good hydration is important but over hydration can also be a problem. Thirst is an indication that you are under-hydrated. You should maintain hydration levels slightly greater than your hydration program in your training, but not excessively so.

Even the fittest athletes, that take precautions can still suffer serious heat illness. Recognizing symptoms of heat illness in yourself and others is critical , this may include headaches, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. If you experience any of these, stop running immediately and if symptoms persist seek medical attention.

Boston Marathon Co-Medical Directors,
Dr. Pierre d'Hemecourt and Dr. Sophia Dyer

Hot Child in the City


April 16 (Monday) Boston weather notes:

Normal high: 56
Record high: 84 (2003)
Forecast high: 87

I am going to take it easy and do my best to simply enjoy the experience! The usual question of how to dress for a marathon is not an issue this time. Hydration is the key word. I have not been very good at running in the heat in the past, but I think this one will be different. We've had some warm weather leading up to this race, unlike my experience in Louisville.

We had a great trip to Boston yesterday. The flights were good, and Mary picked us up at the airport. We are staying in an unbelievably nice 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment on the 21st floor. We have beautiful views of Boston. It's really nice.

We have all our groceries put up and ready to go. We enjoyed a good night's sleep last night. Today I am going running with Gregg, Mary's husband. It will be short and slow -- just like me! We'll do 3 easy miles. I hope to run over to where I will board the bus on Monday morning.

Later in the morning, we'll get on the subway and go over to the expo to pick up my packet and see all the goodies they have to offer.  It's going to be a beautiful day in Boston today and tomorrow. Monday will be nice for those not running!

Friday, April 13, 2012

In Boston

Are you serious?? That's the forecast??
Got this email from B.A.A. today:

BOSTON MARATHON - WEATHER UPDATE

Marathon Monday in New England can offer a variety of weather conditions, and from what we can see, this Monday will be no different.

The forecast for April 16th is calling for higher than normal temperatures on the course. If a cold front does not come through the region by mid afternoon, temperatures are predicted to reach into the low 80's. Combine these temps with a south west wind, you may be running in a moderate level of heat and in dryer than normal conditions.

Educating yourself on the three major forms of heat illnesses will only provide you with the ability to protect yourself and to help fellow runners. All forms of heat illness (heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke) can be exacerbated by distance running in warmer climates. Heat Stroke is a life threatening illness.

I have some experience in this area! Actually the forecast as of this evening is 75 degrees at the start and 86 degrees at the finish. My goal now is simply this: finish without finishing up in the medical tent and the hospital. I should be fine, and I will be careful. I promise!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Faithfulness



Faithfulness is defined in various ways, including "adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, cause, or idea; loyal," and "having or full of faith."

I think a better way to define it is to look at Phyllis Mundy. She left work yesterday for the last time as a long time employee.

She worked for the same doctor for more than 30 years. She has seen and comforted 1000s and 1000s of parents and children, including four of mine. If you live around here, then she probably did the same for yours.

Faithfulness seems to be a rare quality anymore, so we need to see it and celebrate it. It’s a fruit of the Spirit, a reflection of God’s essence and identity.

Phyllis has modeled it through work and through suffering with various physical challenges over the years, often working while suffering, thinking of others before herself.

She recently received the Heart Award from her place of work. It’s a big award, and those who know her know she deserved it.

Thank you Phyllis for defining and picturing faithfulness!

Thursday a.m.


Good morning! The four "pages" of the picture above say: Are you ready to run? Work, Hope, Win, and Prize. These were drawn and given to me by Emma, Matthew and Jean Sowders' daughter. They are her way of wishing me a great day at Boston. I told her last night that I was taking them with me to Boston and will put them where I can see them all weekend. I also received a nice card in the mail yesterday from some others. I appreciate all the well-wishes and wishers! I am started to get excited about it all.

We leave in the morning, so today is the day to get everything together. I have a big list of small things to do and get and pack. Kedra ordered our groceries online yesterday. They will be delivered to Mary, Jean's sister, tomorrow, shortly before we arrive. Mary is reserving a "zip car" for us. I think that's what it's called. It's a car you pick up at the airport and drive one way to a drop off point in the city. One of the drop off points is nearby where we are staying.

This whole experience is something I have dreamed about for a long, long time. I've only seriously pursued it in the last 3 years, thanks to connecting with a community of runners who have "been there and done that." So many have encouraged and helped me in so many ways. It would be hard to adequately thank them. Qualifying was hard for me and so, so rewarding. You can read about it here, if you want. Now it's time to celebrate and enjoy. I hope to run really well, but if I don't, then so be it.

I have no idea about Internet access in our place in Boston. Depending upon access, I will try share some more things with you as the weekend unfolds. For those who want to follow my progress during the run, you can go here and work through the instructions. My bib number is 13763.

Thanks!



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Two Wolves



A Cherokee elder was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me, a terrible fight between two wolves.

One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, hatefulness, lust, and lies.

The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, friendship, generosity, faith, and truth.

This same fight is going on inside of you and in all people."

The children thought about it for a minute. Then one child asked his grandfather,

"Which wolf will win?"

The elder replied, "The one you feed."

Galatians 5:24,25

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Wednesday


Good morning! Hey, it's a little cool out there! Oh well. I wish this was the weather for Monday's Boston Marathon. Really! It would be perfect for me if it were to start in the 30s and slowly warm toward the 50s. The long range forecasts have been all over the place. The one pictured above scares me a bit. The temps would be OK, but the strong NW wind would be an issue. We run north east, so the race would be right into a 15-20 mph wind. There are so many people running that it might be noticeable, however. I'm a weather junkie, so I know the forecast is likely to change a couple of more times.

After last night's run, Kedra and I talked some about our travel plans, we mapped out our meals in Boston. We fly out Friday around 10 a.m. Ben is off school Friday, so he will take us to the airport around 7 a.m.  Eating, specifically carbo-loading, is what we focused on. We are staying in an apartment in Boston, so we have a full kitchen, which is nice. This place is half the price of the hotels and is downtown, so we feel blessed.

How did we score such a place? My niece Jean has a sister who lives in Boston. In her apartment building they leave a suite open for family members who come to visit. She was able to reserve that for us for Friday through Monday. She has also offered to order groceries for us, so that we can cook. We made a list last night. We will eat out a couple of times, but it will be nice to have food that I am used to.

Our Boston group will gather on Sunday afternoon for a meal. That should be lots of fun, and then I hope we will gather again Monday night to swap stories and experiences. The 8 of us running are staying in various places, but they are all pretty close together.

* * *

I got kicked out of the courtroom yesterday! I was there to support my friend in a custody hearing. When we walked in, the mother's attorney looked at me and said, in not very nice tone, "Who are you?" I told her. She said, continuing her not nice tone, "I don't think I want you in here." I said, "Listen here you dust-eating snake, I WILL stay in here, and  YOU will LIKE it! Got it?" At that point I was arrested. It was just a small scene.

Well, some of the previous paragraph is true. The bottom line is that I left the courtroom and waited outside. Sometimes there is a difference between what we think and what we say. This is usually a good thing.

Today I have meeting with other ministers in the Mitchell area. We like each other and play well together. Today we will try literally working together. We are meeting at Bryantsville to bag corn and talk about stuff. Imagine this: a bunch of preachers doing manual labor. I know this is a difficult task for some -- to imagine preachers working on a day that is not Sunday and to imagine physical labor! Having said that, I am not going to participate in the manual labor part. Hey, didn't want to disappoint you!

I don't want to risk injury just a few days from Boston. Plus I will be on my way to a funeral in Loogootee. Jim Jeffers, a wonderful member of the Shoals church, died on Sunday. He was only 51 years old. He struggled and suffered for a long time with various health issues. He lost the battle for physical health but won the victory of eternal life. He was a good man.

The rest of my day involves study, organizing our Honduras trip, meetings, and teaching. Yep, gonna be a full, fun day!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Numbers

We had our last Tuesday night group run before Boston. We did 10 strides in the 2nd mile and then got blown around by the wind. We did 5 miles. I will probably run 2-3 more times before the marathon on Monday.

This evening I looked at my training log and found these numbers:

Swim:

12 hours and 45 minutes. I have no idea on distance. When I actually start swimming I will keep track of distance.

Bike:

278.83 miles (I did 31 on New Year's Eve but it's not included in this total)/18 hrs, 55 mins, 55 secs

Run:

563.85 miles/82 hrs, 25 mins, 05 secs

I love keeping these stats on www.beginnertriathlete.com. It imports all my data from my Garmin, and, of course, I can manually enter data as well. It's going to be a very helpful tool as I transition to triathlons. (Thanks Mike J. for pointing me to it!)

Look up!



Look! Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, it’s . . .

Do you spend much time looking up? Probably not. That’s why we have to be told to do it. It’s unusual.

If you are like me, then it’s really easy to spend almost all of your time looking down, back, straight ahead, and all around–all on the human/horizontal plane. It can be discouraging, because it’s easy to see problems everywhere.

I need to look up!

Psalm 121:1,2

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Let’s spend some time today looking up. How about it?

Sorrow looks back, worry looks around, but faith looks up!

Tuesday a.m.

Here we go, Tuesday! My mind is starting to turn eastward, toward Boston. I woke up this morning thinking about nutrition and carbo-loading logistics. What? Well, I usually run marathons that are close to where I can get home cooked meals right up to race time. Going to Boston on Friday means that I have several meals to figure out. We are staying in, basically, an apartment with a kitchen, so I will be able to cook some. I will tell you more about our accommodations and how they came to be later in the week.

The other big factor, besides nutrition, is the weather. I can control, to some degree, the nutritional piece, but the weather I have not mastered control over that. I tried saying, "Peace, be still!" once and a lightening bolt struck nearby, so I kinda let that idea go. The forecast that I see looks good: 50s. Jim S. came up with one that shows 80s, so who knows?  If it's in the 80s, then it could get really interesting (and slow). Medical tent anyone?

Tapering for a marathon is not much fun. You feel fat and slow. No kidding. Last night's run was not good, which is probably a good sign. Tonight we run another 5 miles with some strides thrown in. That should feel better. After tonight it's down to a couple more short easy runs.

The protest yesterday morning was peaceful. It made the front page of the Bedford paper. I was there for over an hour, mostly standing in the background. I was there primarily to support Missy, the grieving mother. A few of us went into the Superior II courtroom for the proceeding. I really felt sorry for Missy as they went through the plea, which included a description of her son's death. The courtroom was lined with police officers, but everyone remained calm. There was a lot of emotion in the room.

I made progress in the pool last night, so my confidence is growing there somewhat. After Boston I will get more focused on swimming and biking. I may look for a sprint triathlon some time in June. I can envision surviving one without drowning now. ha ha. 

Today I go back to court to support another person. I am becoming fairly familiar with all this court stuff. Thankfully it has been as an observer and supporter.





Monday, April 09, 2012

Resurrection Realiy


So what do you do on the Monday after Easter?

If you follow Jesus, then yesterday was probably a big day for you: great worship, large crowds, extra emotion and enthusiasm. It was wonderful!

But now it’s Monday morning. Back to reality.

Yes, but it is a Resurrection reality!

We follow a Savior whose first words after his resurrection included:

"Don’t be afraid."

"Peace be with you."

These are words that work really well all the time, even, and especially, on a Monday.

Monday a.m.


Good morning!

Oh Monday morning
Monday morning couldn't guarantee
That Monday evening
You would still be here with me.

OK, so I broke out in song--the old Mamas and Papas song... Sorry. Oh no, here's comes so more.

Ba-da ba-da-da-da Ba-da ba-da-da-da Ba-daba-da-da-da Monday, monday (ba-da ba-da-da-da) So good to me.

I hope you had a good weekend! Mine was simple and simply enjoyable. All of my children were home, and we were able to spend some time together. Lester and Maddie came in Friday evening, and Luke arrived around bedtime. Saturday I went for a nice easy 10 mile run and then went to help at Lester and Maddie's new place. Everybody was pitching in, working, helping out. It was a lot of fun. Saturday evening I grilled out some steaks, and we enjoyed a nice meal together after a day of working. That's hard to beat, for me.

Yesterday was a good day at church: a nice crowd and a good assembly. We ended it with the video above, which captured our theme and the images we were thinking through during the sermon. We invited people to tweet yesterday, and they did (#mcoc). That was interesting and entertaining.

We had a nice family gathering after church. A good meal followed by an Easter egg hunt. Sadly we had to say good-bye to our kids going back to where they live, but that's OK. They are all doing great, and, of course, Lester and Maddie will be living here soon. That reality hits me occasionally. I just smile when it does.

Yesterday afternoon I went on an enjoyable bike ride with Mike, Morgan, Greg, Dan and Bill. It was so pleasant riding our 30 mile Amish loop, soaking up the sunshine, talking and laughing. That will be my last ride until after the Boston Marathon. I want to keep my legs fresh.

Today I am going to start my day at the courthouse in Bedford, supporting a friend of mine whose son was murdered almost two years ago. It's outside of my comfort zone, but I care a lot about this grieving mother.

My run today will take place this evening in Bedford. I want to run with the group. This week is all about hard taper, so 5 today, 5 tomorrow, 4 Wednesday, and a short run or two between then and Monday. Tapering is hard in lots of ways. I've got to really watch what I eat this week since I'm not burning my usual 7,000 extra calories. After this evening's run, it will be another adventure in the pool for me.


Friday, April 06, 2012

It's Friday...


It was Friday, but Sunday was coming.

Friday was a day of defeat and death. It was a day of darkness and depression. The dream of a new life seemingly was destroyed. Crucified.

Things are not always as they seem! It was Friday--but Sunday was coming!

It took long time coming, but Sunday finally came. Sunday was a day of victory, a day of resurrection!

When we have problems and struggles, trials and temptations, it's Friday, but we know that Sunday's coming as God works out the problems for our eventual good.

It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!

Daily, we are reminded of our ultimate Friday, because daily we see death. But thank God Sunday's coming, when we will share in His resurrection and have eternal life with Him!

It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!

Good Friday

Last night at the pool, a guy with a video camera slipped in and started filming. I really resisted him, but he insisted. Finally I said, "OK, only if you change the name to protect my identity." So that's what he did. You can see from the video that I have made some progress over the last few weeks. With a new fast bike and being in good running shape, I am getting ready to rock the world of triathlon. Watch out Lance, you have some competition.

The highlight of yesterday was having Rebecca come home! It was so good to see her. She looks good and is doing well. Today she is going to school to observe a couple of teachers as part of one of her Lipscomb class assignments.  To make her visit back home even more pleasant, she brought home Starbucks Coffee! Her meal plan, that she does fully use, allows her to buy coffee at the Starbucks at Lipscomb.

Today I have a meeting (here in a few minutes) and then I speak at a Good Friday service at Tulip Street. Following that I plan to ride 30+ miles with some friends. It will be a little cool, but it will be fun.

This evening Lester and Maddie will come from Indy and Luke will come from Nashville. Everyone should be home by bedtime. I am looking forward to that and to the weekend. Tomorrow morning I have my last double digit run before Boston - an easy 10 miler. Ten days!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Do the Next Right Thing


What is it?

Thursday a.m.

How are you today? There is a nice gentle rain falling this morning. I enjoy rain. It looks like it will be gone soon, but it has ushered in cooler weather, which is not going away soon. Back to reality, back to where we should be for this time of the year. I must confess I was enjoying the unseasonably warm temps.

My official Boston Marathon jacket came yesterday. I'm not crazy about the color, which is called "high energy," but it's the official color for this year. I always wondered, exactly, what high energy looked like. Now I know. One week from tomorrow Kedra and I fly to Boston. Hard to believe.

Yesterday was a good day anyway you measure it. I went to Mitchell Manor, which has become my usual practice on Wednesdays. One of the people I see is Hollace. He is a retired school teacher and the founder of the Bryantsville Hunger Relief Project.

He had a stroke a few years ago and can only say a few words, and they don't always fit the conversation. His mind works fine, but something is broken between it and his speech. It's hard to visit him in some ways, because I don't know what he is trying to communicate and he seems to get frustrated at his inability to share his thoughts.

Yesterday he seemed quite happy. He had something very specific on his mind and was quite animated. He motioned and pointed and then got in his wheelchair. Then he communicated that he wanted me to push him, so off we went on a journey. I had no idea what we were doing. Rolling, rolling...

Mitchell Manor is huge, and he took me all the way to the very end, to the physical therapy department. The therapist saw us. I said, "I'm not sure why we are here, but here we are." The PT looked at Hollace, and said, "You wanted to show him how far you walked today, didn't you?" That was exactly right.  It was a long walk, a long ride, and a nice visit. 

Rebecca is coming home this evening! I miss my little girl. A LOT! We'll have all the kids home this weekend. It will be so nice.

No run today. I might ride at 5 p.m. It's a 31 miler, but I must choose between that and swimming. Last week I did both. The ride went really well. . . ha ha. I will monitor Rebecca's estimated time of arrival before I decide. There is another ride tomorrow at Noon. That one is more likely for me.


Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Do No Harm


Do no harm.

That’s what Hippocrates suggested should be first, way back in the 5th century B.C., when it comes to medical care. It’s a pretty good approach to life generally.

What happens, though, if you find yourself in the middle of a mess, either one that you created with your words or actions or one that someone else created for you? For a while now I’ve invoked this phrase:

Do no harm.

Those of us who live in the country might say it this way, "If you find yourself in a hole, then quit digging."

It’s really good advice, stated either way.

In the middle of a mess, it’s sometimes best to be quiet, do no (further) harm, and wait. Wait on the Lord, wait on cooler heads, wait on softer hearts.

Do no harm.

Wednesday a.m.

How are you on this Wednesday? It's 66 and dry. Another missed forecast, evidently. I was kinda expecting to be woke by storms overnight, which is my least favorite storm scenario. Oh well, it didn't happen. I slept pretty well, even though I woke up hot a few times. I never progressed past the sheet last night.

Yesterday was a good day. I had lots of little things to do and I mostly got them done. I spent a significant amount of time thinking about and preparing for Sunday. It's Easter you know. There is an expectation that things will be different on that day, as far as the assembly is concerned. I'm not sure why? I guess because we have the once a year group show up? ha ha. We really celebrate the Resurrection every Sunday (everyday really). I'm looking forward to it and think it will be a good day. No beer commercial this year.

Spent some time with Pat A yesterday, working through the Story of the crucifixion and resurrection. It helps me tremendously to talk through the Story with another person. We've been working together for the last 3 months on this present series, Finding Your Place in the Story of God. Synergy!

Yesterday afternoon I got to do a little work on a project for the Store. For a long time we have wanted to pass out some literature with the purchases people make. That, in part, is what inspired my little thought for the day series (called Think Along) that I put out here, on Facebook, and email out to a church distribution group. I also have a website for them all. I'm still working on that, so I will wait to give you the URL later. The idea is to present a postcard with a thought on one side, and on the other side we will have information about the Store as a ministry and encouragement for people to pursue a relationship with God. I hope to develop a similar thing for our food pantry.

Our Tuesday evening run was a hot one! I saw 89 on the River's Edge church sign on my way over. That sign runs a little hot, but it was at least north of 85. We run by another sign, and when I went by it, it said 87. Since it was so warm, I decide, along with a few others, to just run and not try do any speed work. I was pleased with it. I ran pretty well and a little quicker than I thought I would. Basically at this point there is nothing I can do to improve my performance at Boston. There is plenty I can do to diminish it, if I don't rest and taper properly. Careful!

I will run a short easy run today, probably bike tomorrow and maybe Friday, run 10 miles Saturday, and then dramatically taper next week. It's hard to believe I am here in taper land! It has been a long, fun journey.

I'm excited about this weekend! All of my children will be home. Rebecca is coming in Thursday night. I have not seen her since February, and Luke will be home Friday. Lester and Maddie are also coming in Friday. Ben is here of course. And Ben is pretty bummed right now. His truck's transmission is going out. I think he will replace it himself, but he has to find a replacement. In the meantime, he is going to drive it, hoping that it will keep working for a while longer.

Today should be interesting. I have lots of different things going on. I will see several people and have various activities thrown in along the way. Let's go!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Who Are You?


What do you think about yourself?

What do others think about you? (What do you want them to think about you?)

Is there a gap between those two perceptions? Any deception?

What matters, ultimately, is how God perceives us, and the closer we come to seeing ourselves as he sees us, then the closer we are to becoming authentic and having others see us as we really are.

The greater the alignment of the three perceptions–God’s, yours, others’–then the more integrity, peace and joy there is.

These three align for followers of Jesus as we humbly hear God say, "You are my beloved child."

Tuesday a.m.


Good morning! A beautiful, warm Tuesday is going to unfold before us today, and I am ready. This video is interesting to me. It's Lance Armstrong comparing the Tour de France with Ironman. Lance started out as a triathlete and then moved into cycling totally. Now he is coming back to the triathlon. He has done 2 70.3 Ironman events recently, including last Sunday. He finished 7th. He is doing the full Ironman in France in a few weeks. He finds running to be the hardest of the 3 events.

Yesterday was a nice day. I started out with a nice easy run before making my way to town. I moved the church trailer, which was full of clothes that we picked up last week from Jeffersonville, down to the Store. They are going to bale these clothes over a 2-3 day period. I had a few meetings and conversations about various things, and then I started working on some writing projects. I enjoy writing.

Last night I went for my Monday night lesson in humility, i.e., I went to the pool. Glacial-like progress is how I would describe last night. I will keep after it until I get it or drown. Perseverance.

On the way home from the pool I had one of those moments of insight of how blessed I am. It's so easy to see all the things that are not right, and in my position I see and know a lot that fits into that category: abuse, divorce, deception, etc. It's easy to be drawn in/sucked in to all that, and to be helpful, you have to be to a certain extent, but you (I) have to look up at times to see the blessings. Last night was one of those times. Thank God.

Tonight is tempo Tuesday. It's supposed to be in the 80s, so I'm guess we will scale back some from what we would usually do. We will cover around 7 miles one way or another. I've been looking at extended forecasts for Boston. Interesting.

I hope your day goes great!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Just Ask



Do you like to ask? Some of us don’t. Embarrassed? Sign of weakness, perhaps? Shows we are not in control?

Recently I saw this Chinese proverb: "He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever."

The Bible, from cover to cover, shows God inviting us to ask him for what we need.

I wonder how much we miss simply because we fail to ask?

Here’s a good place to start (James 1:5):

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

Monday a.m.

Good morning! Here we go again, the start of another week. Are you ready? Ready or not, it's here. It's weirdly warm again this morning, unlike yesterday morning. It was strange to wake up to rain yesterday, especially after looking at the forecast before heading to bed: 10% chance of rain... Oh well.

The morning rain probably helped me out yesterday. It kept me from riding my bike yesterday afternoon. I was going to ride 31 miles with some friends, but the wet road made me decide against it. Last time I rode on wet roads I had a nasty cruddy crud all over my beautiful bike. Since we ride through Amish country, part of it was "Amish exhaust," which is really hard to clean off a bike. It was probably best I did not ride. I was a little tired from the 20 miler on Saturday. Rest is the key concept for the next 2 weeks.

Sunday, for me, started at Spring Mill Park. I spoke in the meeting house yesterday morning. There were a total of 5 of us, but we had a nice time of worship. It was the first gathering of the year, and it was raining. In the crowd were two brothers from Kentucky. They were nice and interesting guys. After we finished our time of worship, they started telling stories of their childhood church experiences. They also talked about some chivarees, telling funny stories. I was almost late for Sunday school.

Instead of riding my bike yesterday afternoon I took a brief nap, did some reading, walked around outside, looked at next Sunday's sermon idea, and generally relaxed. We hosted our life group as usual, and then enjoyed the evening before heading to bed. There is a show on TV now that has caught my interest. It's called Doomsday Preppers. Wow!

Two weeks from right now, Lord willing, I will be in Boston, probably heading toward downtown to get on a bus to ride out to Hopkinton. I'm not especially looking forward to that part, but it's all a part of the process.

Time to seize the day!