Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday a.m.

Rolling down the Natchez Trace
Good morning! Well, here we are, back home again in Indiana, ready to do what I do. This is a busy time of the year, heading toward Easter and then the crazy-busy month of May with all its activities. It's all good, and I hope to use the busyness as a motivator for efficiency.

Kedra and I had a wonderful time away. We were at Orange Beach, AL for a few days and then returned to Huntsville Saturday night. We checked in with her parents Saturday night and Sunday a.m. We got home last night in time to get settled back in and to see sweet Cora Jane for a little while.

The weather last week in Orange Beach was not great beach weather, but we simply did not care. It was nice enough. We just enjoyed being with each other in a relaxing environment. I was able to ride and run a fair amount, but mostly red flags (one day of yellow) kept me out of the water, which was disappointing.

On top of the 100 miler on Monday, I was able to add another 93 miles. I was hoping to get  well over 200 miles for the week, but the weather on Friday and Saturday morning didn't cooperate. I didn't need/want to force anything. Riding around Orange Beach was much like the Ironman course will be: flat and windy.

On Friday it was raining and raining hard most of the day. I love rainy days, so I was good with it. I suggested we go see the Noah movie. See what I did there? Anyway, wow, that movie is a mixed up mess. I'm glad I saw it, but it is pretty far removed from what I read in Genesis. I'm not a stickler for everything having to line up just right, but this is one is just plain weird and a mess.

OK, I've got a lot to do. It's best to take just a little chunk at a time. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, March 24, 2014

100 Miler on Natchez Trace Trail

Hey there!

We got to Nashville last night and ate with Lydia and Luke. It was great spending time with them. We then spent the night with our great friends, Earl and Rebecca Lavender. This morning Rebecca and Micah joined us for breakfast at the Loveless Café, which is at the beginning of the Natchez Trace Trail, where I would spend most of my day.

I'm in Huntsville reflecting on a good ride today. It was cold at the start, like low 30s cold. I warmed up after about 20 minutes and felt comfortable the rest of the way. The course was simple beautiful. It was also HILLY. Lots of climbing and descending. Climb. Descend. Repeat. The last 10 miles or so were the payoff for climbing a little higher all day long. It was mostly slightly downhill.

Here are two views of the ride:

Garmin Connect

Strava is based on Garmin, but they usually end up being slightly different. Strava rounds numbers some, and they calculate calories burned differently, it seems. Oh well. It was a good day. Kedra was my support. I only stopped a couple of times. She was there. The rest of the time she relaxed and enjoy resting at rest stops along the way.

Tomorrow we are off to Orange Beach, AL! Can hardly wait!

Friday, March 21, 2014


Hey, good morning! Friday, and a busy one for me today. That's OK. At the end of it, I hope to be ready for Sunday and then for a week away. Escape? Not really, I guess. With modern means of communicating, that's really impossible. I am looking forward to a little down time after an increasingly busy start to the year.

Yesterday was an interesting one. It started with a moonset/sunrise run, followed by a daylong bus trip, and then a late evening swim. Throw in some sermon prep and lots of communication with individuals and you have the day.

The run was noteworthy. I took off, and as usual, thanks to Garmin technology, I don't really have a totally planned route. I just go. Yesterday the wind was light and the conditions were pretty nice, around 32, I think. I decided to head out to Amish country on a quest to get 7 miles.

I turned around at Burton cemetery and was heading back north on the Amish Super 2, on the section before heading back east on Park's Implement's Road. I see a old brown Chevy truck coming down the hill with some frost on its windshield. The truck is going too fast, I think.

As the truck gets closer to me, it starts moving closer to the edge of the road, my edge. I start waving my right arm, hoping to get his attention, encouraging him to move over. He keeps coming and moving closer to the edge, just about going off it. At this point, I wave both arms. He keeps coming!

I literally jump off the road into the plowed field. Now you should know at this point, I do the most important thing. I stop my watch. I don't want skewed numbers. I am about 10 feet off the road, because I thought he was going to come off the road and hit me. I raise both arms in the "what are you doing?" position. The driver does not like me questioning him.

The guy stops and rolls down his window, yelling at me. He then gets out of the truck and comes around the back of it toward me. Clearly he is drunk, shouting at me and proclaiming colorfully his distaste for runners. I'm no Iron Bill. I don't wear glasses (all the time) and there was no dash to place them upon (sorry, inside joke stuff), so I decide to flee. Hey, I was out running anyway!

As I took off, I got to thinking and was a little frightened about what could happen next. I figured he would get back in the truck and try run me down, and there is no cover out there at all. I dismissed that fear, knowing he could not get too far in the field, too rough, too muddy. Then I started thinking, "he probably has a gun." There was no cover at all to hide from bullets.

I really kicked up my pace, while constantly looking back. He sat there in the road for a long time. No shots were fired. He didn't return. My heart finally settled down and the run was complete. It's been quite a while since anything like that happened to me.

Everything after that was pretty mundane. I did find a little Chinese restaurant very near where I took the kids yesterday. I love the name: Side Wok Café. Get it? The food was good, and they had WIFI. What was not to like? It was conducive to sermon prep. The late swim kinda washed away all the impurities of the day.

Today is going to be another busy one. Lot and lots going on right now, but, for the most part, it is getting done. I hope to squeeze in a ride late afternoon, about supper time. The weather sounds warm and a little windy. That'll work.

Thanks for coming by.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Amish Country Cyclists are always looking for more riders
Good morning! Is it really Thursday already? And finally Spring arrives, right? Midday or so. And for the next couple of days it will feel like Spring. I think we should just do the "one day at a time" thing. Yes, that's what we should do.

Last fall I committed to driving a bus to Indy today. At the time I committed, I remember thinking, "I wonder what will be going on that day?" Now I think I know. I will get a good run in, here soon. I will get my self organized for the trip, setting up my mobile office. It has a very distinct yellow exterior and lots of seats. 

I look back over the years of driving and I wonder how many books I've read, how many sermons I've prepared, and how much other stuff I've done while sitting on a bus. It is a lot. Today will just be more to add to the list.

My bike is in the shop for a little planned overhaul. It has about 5-6,000 miles on it, so it is time to get it all fixed up. I want it to be ready for my first 100 miler of the year on Monday. It is going to be a cold 100. The forecast for the Natchez Trace Trail: at the start it will be around 32 and the end will be about 52. Fortunately the wind forecast is from the NE and I am headed SW. This is a good thing.

The course is HILLY. Unfortunately I will end up at the same elevation as the start. After Alabama is starts descending. It will just get lots of ups and downs, which will be excellent training. This is going to be a pretty good and big challenge for me, a rider weak on the hills. It will make me stronger later on, which is what training is all about.

OK, I better get going... Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Good morning! Wednesday it is. So I went with cow picture, resisting the urge to go with the camel/hump day picture. See, I do have some self-control. Speaking of self-control, I am involved in a 40 day, Lent-like, focus. One of the things I am fasting from is Facebook and Twitter. I still get messages on Facebook but am not looking at the news feed. I am really enjoying it, so maybe that's not much of a sacrifice.

Last night, 6 of us gathered at the Park for a Tuesday night ride. We are starting a couple of months early this year. This is due, in part, to no organized training for a spring half marathon, plus a lot of us are really focused on the bike portion of Ironman. The promised 60 degree, partly sunny day, never fully showed up, sadly.

When we gathered it was in the low 50s and a pile of leftover snow was still in the parking lot. It was not particularly encouraging. Up we dressed and off we went, fighting the wind to the county line. We lined up, with Iron Bill pulling most of the way. He and others were gracious to not drop me on the way out. We all made it and readied ourselves for the ride back, which would involve a nice tailwind.

Troy had already been out once, attempting to ascend to King of the Mountain on the Time Trial course. Bill knew this and decided he would go solo on the way back. Bottom line: Troy was KOM for a couple of hours before Bill bested him by 23 seconds. They both were moving fast, averaging better than 27 mph for 10 miles over rolling terrain. I managed better than 25, thanks to the wind and a line of good guys who kept me on. Here is my ride. It was a fun night, topped off by a visit to Wendy's  for food and stories.

I have a lot to do today, so I better get moving! Thanks for coming by.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Good morning! It's Tuesday and up to 30 degrees. That's better than the 20s, right? And, we are going to 60 today, so this is good! Yesterday sure took its time getting warmed up.

Yesterday was a good day, full of interesting things. I have lots of good people in my life, and I am very thankful for all of them. I got to spend some time with some of them yesterday, which made for a good day.

After a good week of endurance activity last week, which ended with an 80 mile ride Friday and a 13.1 mile run early Saturday, I decided to take it easy yesterday. My only activity was a swim last night, which went pretty well. It has been a long, long journey, and I'm still not where I want to be. I am getting closer however.

Next week Kedra and I are going away, heading south to check on her parents and then to the Gulf of Mexico. I am really looking forward to it. We noted 30 years of marriage last week, but we delayed the celebration until our time away, which is the celebration. We are both looking forward to some time away. While away and while at the Gulf, I will have the opportunity to swim in the open water.

I have a busy day ahead, so I better get moving. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, March 17, 2014


Good morning! I will not complain about the weather. I will not complain about the weather. I will not complain about the weather. Plenty of others are, so I don't have to. Oh well. It will warm up. Spring is this week, right? I cannot recall a time when I have been so eager to see it. Patience.

Kedra and I had a good trip south. We left Thursday for Nashville and met with Luke, Lydia, Rebecca, and Micah. We ate at the place where Luke's rehearsal dinner will be in June. It is a nice Italian restaurant. After the meal we spent the night at our friends' home.

Friday morning we got up early and headed to Huntsville. The plan was for Kedra to help her mother settle into a skilled nursing facility for rehab and for me to get out on the bike. Both happened. I had a pretty decent 80 miler on a pretty windy day. I was back by mid-afternoon. Kedra also came back about then. After a meal, we, including Kedra's dad, went back to see her mother for a while. She is doing better.

Kedra and I then made a trip to the mall, where I bought (half-off) a suit for Luke's wedding. It was good to get that taken care of. It was quick and painless, just like I like it. We went home and fell into bed. Saturday I got up early and ran a personal half marathon before breakfast. It was a nice morning as the sun was coming up. After a big breakfast, we went back to see Kedra's mom for a while. Then we made the trip home, arriving a little before dark. It was a fast but good trip by any measurement.

This is going to be a busy, challenging week. I don't write much about church stuff, which is most of my life, of course, due to all kinds of reasons. I will say we are in the midst of a seismic shift, which is interesting in lots of ways and challenging. I came across something this morning in my Bible readings. It is from Deuteronomy and is talking about going to war. Those who battle need to be fearless and ready.

Then the officers will also say, "Is anyone here afraid or worried? If you are, you may go home before you frighten anyone else." 

These words are spoken in the context of trusting in the Lord's ability to lead through difficult times. That's one aspect of faith - trusting God when things get tough. I appreciate his grace and encouragement, some of which is mediated through good friends. Thanks for coming by.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


God morning! Twenty-two degrees. Hmmm. I think it was 60 when I woke up yesterday. I took off a little earlier than usual yesterday morning. I wanted to get my run in before the temps fell too much. I ran, the best I could, right into the northwest wind so I could have a tailwind on the way back. I think by the time I got finished it was around 50. It really wasn't that bad. It was pretty dark most of the time. This morning I will go out again. This time just the coldness will be the challenge, but it will be ok.

So how are you this morning? I was up again around 4:30. I slept well to that point, however, so I think I will be good for most of the day. You would think with the time change I would actually be waking up later. Oh well. Speaking of time change, we are headed into Central Time today. Kedra and I are heading south.

We are going to Nashville, spend some time with Luke, Rebecca and their "significants," and spend the night. In the morning we will make our way to Huntsville. Kedra's parents have some significant health issues, so Kedra wants/needs to be there to help out in various ways. I am the driver/supporter. We'll be back Saturday night. Poor old Ben, he's going to have to fend for himself again.

If everything aligns correctly, then I hope to get an 80 mile ride in the Huntsville area, sometime tomorrow. Surprisingly, the weather there is not supposed to be much warmer than here, but it still should be pretty pleasant. There are some good places to ride around Huntsville. The challenge tomorrow is going to be a strong SW wind. My routes mainly go SE, so I will deal with it both ways. It should be good prep for Ironman Florida, which likely will be windy.

I hope your day and weekend goes well! Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Good morning! Wednesday it is. My thermometer says 60 degrees. I wonder what it will say in a couple of hours? March can be a cruel month, giving and taking away wonderful weather. It's all OK, though.

Yesterday was the day we've been dreaming about. It was SO nice outside. I had a graveside ceremony in the cemetery a little after 3 yesterday. It felt good to be outside. Later I was able to hop on the bike for a quick 20 miler before other activities. The wind was strong out of the south and west, so I headed into it so I could enjoy the tailwind back. It was pretty sweet.

Sleep was in short supply last night. I gave up and got up around 4 something. It's going to be a pretty long day. The upside is the opportunity to enjoy more things, I suppose. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Amish Limo
Good morning! Hey, it's going to be a nice day! Warm. Just live one day at a time. This is a good thing to do, now more than ever.

The Amish Country Cyclists are gearing up for another great season. This year we are getting an early start. We usually wait until the first part of May, but this year several have already racked up 1000 miles or more. We are beginning to organize group rides outside. They will be periodic, due to weather changes, but they are starting.

Bill and Roy and I got out for a 30 mile loop last night, leaving at 5 p.m. DST certainly helps the biking. The extra hour makes it possible to start later and still get finished safely.

I had a funeral yesterday and a graveside committal today. That's a bit unusual. I also have a couple of meetings today and a few other interesting things along the way. Life in the big city. OK, I am behind this morning, so I will let me go. Thanks for coming by.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Clock change requires more coffee
Good morning! I hope you are doing well on this new day, and I hope you are adjusting to DST. It takes me a couple of days, so I am almost there. I see people whining and complaining about it, but that won't change a thing. I used do the same, but I decided to enjoy it. It's actually very helpful for evening bike rides. And we will do our first one this evening!

It was a good weekend. The weather was much milder. We are really enjoying days in the 50s and 60s. Can you imagine how we'll feel when it finally hits 70? Which could be tomorrow, maybe? Then...what's this I hear about Wednesday? Oh well, we will take one day at a time.

I took Friday afternoon off and got a 60 mile ride in. I was pretty pleased with it, since it is early in the season and I had headwind for several of the return miles. I am wanting to get stronger on the hills, so I chose to ride over to Hardinsburg, where I found some decent hills coming going.

I almost made a mistake with nutrition/hydration. I caught it just before bonking. Nutrition and hydration are things I must start working on. Clearly they are key for an endurance event. It's easy to ignore them on a 3-4 hour training ride, but I need to establish eating and drinking patterns for the longer rides.

This week is going to be a bit different, busy. I have a funeral today and then a graveside service tomorrow. I don't know person very well, one not at all, which makes it a little more challenging. There are a few other things that will make the week interesting and challenging. My job never ever is boring. Some days I wish it was. ha ha

I think I better get going. My run is really going to be in the dark this morning. Thanks for coming by.

Thursday, March 06, 2014


Good morning! It's Thursday, and it's warming up! You know it's been a long, cold winter when you are excited about eclipsing the 40 degree mark. And what about tomorrow? 50s! People will be inappropriately dressed or undressed at Walmart. Tank tops and shorts here we come! ha ha I'm thinking bike shorts myself, BUT I will be on a bike away from the general population, so we should be OK. 

I need to continue ramping up my miles in preparation for my first century of the season, hopefully on Monday, March 24th on the Natchez Trace trail. I've been looking at all that. There is a lot of material available on the internet. I may have to stretch it out a few more miles. I would like to cross the Tennessee River, which would be beyond the 100 mile mark. It would be similar to Iron distance. We'll see.

It's a busy time right now, and I seem to do better under a little pressure. I tend to get more efficient and organized. I think that's a good thing. It's one of those times where there is a lot of death and disease and other kinds of troubles. [Some time ago, an acquaintance wrote this about ministry.]

It's a time that requires an eternal perspective and encouragement, both human and divine. I am blessed with some wonderful friends who provide the encouragement that comes from above.  God's encouragement, of which Scriptures speaks a lot, is mediated mostly through humans. Right? Last night, a small group of us discussed Genesis 3, where we are told where all our trouble comes from. We talked about discouragement always being from Satan. It's easy to focus on the negative, what we don't have, then the fact God is enough.

Today is filled with a variety of things. I will begin, here soon, with a 5 mile run in some new shoes. I run in Mizuno Inspires. I am guessing this is my 15th pair of them. I buy nothing else. They work for me, and I usually get 400-500 miles out of them, which means I go through 3 pairs a year. The ones with maxed out miles become my everyday shoes, plus I take pairs of them to Honduras from time to time.

Oh, back to today. I need to re-prepare for Sunday. Since we did not meet Sunday, I need to go back over, finish, and fine-tune everything. I will go the funeral home for a friend, check on some people who are experiencing loss, teach a cub scout group about religion, and some other things if I told you about, I would have to kill you.

OK, here we go! Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Rebecca and Cora Jane
Good morning! Yes, it's been a little while. And it's still pretty cold out there. I'm looking at 9 lonely degrees. Most winters I come to the end and feel unsatisfied with them, not enough snow etc. This year I am more than satisfied. I am eagerly awaiting seasonal temps and spring.

The last few days have been interesting and full of change. I will start with the most recent. I am supposed to be in Nashville for a conference today. I was going to leave yesterday, spend the night with some friends, attend the conference and come home tonight. Due to the weather, especially in KY and TN, I decided to stay here.

I took advantage of the time. I read a couple of books, ran, rode, and got to spend some time with the family. It was a nice day. Rebecca and Micah delayed their trip back to Nashville until yesterday. They thought, correctly based on the forecast, Sunday travel would be difficult. They both had light loads on Monday. Turns out the storm shifted south, so yesterday was the bad day to travel. They made it safely, but Rebecca's car now has some damage, thanks to a slide off and a guardrail. At least the humans were not hurt.

The other big change was the cancellation of all church stuff on Sunday. I don't know of any church that met. I could be wrong about that but it looked like everyone cancelled. This is the second time this year. I guess the upside to all this is the weather forecast did not come true. Now we are in a pretty good position to warm up and melt off, hopefully.

I had a pretty good endurance weekend. I took Friday afternoon off and rode 50+ on the trainer. That's not easy to do, but it is good training for mental toughness, which is a fundamental for Ironman. Saturday morning I ran 12, which went well. I've been back on the bike a couple more times and have run some more. I am about where I want to be, I think. I also got a swim in over the weekend, and it went well.

Here's the big challenge I signed up for for March: Strava's Gran Fondo 3. I did not do 1 and 2, but will try knock them out as well. They were both about an 80 mile ride. My plan is to ride the Fondo 3 on Spring Break, leaving Nashville on the Natchez Trace Trail and riding to Alabama. I am hoping the weather cooperates.

OK, enough of all that for today. I hope your day goes well!