Finishing Strong

I set a new PR this morning in a 10k race!

Over the past few months I’ve been training for this race with average success.  My workouts weren’t great, often lacking in intensity and settling for average.  The last three weeks I got a little more serious and pushed myself with consistent speed workouts and solid tempo runs.  It paid off.  I had a plan to set a PR and stuck to the plan throughout the entire race to finish well under my goal.

Paul writes near the end of his life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Tim. 4:4)  Here is a man who had a plan for his life, kept to it and finished strong.  He had his share of ups and downs, but even through the pain he accomplished his goal: he glorified Christ throughout his life in all circumstances. Read more of this post

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Boston Bill Sunglasses – Review

Boston Bill Sunglasses

When my $24 sunglasses from Target broke the other day, I began keeping my eye open for a new pair of sunglasses.  Maybe this time I will bite the bullet and invest a little into a pair and get the expensive “running” sunglasses.  I looked around on the internet, glanced at some in the cases of Dick’s Sporting Goods and Sports Authority, and still couldn’t part with a $1oo bill for something that I seem to go through fairly quickly and don’t last all that long.

So, about a month ago I went into The Sporty Runner, a local running store and saw the display of Boston Bill sunglasses.  They were light, fit snug (but not too tight) and seemed to disappear when I put them on.  But will they stay on when I run?  For $30, I gave them a try.

My first outing was a sweaty one and a bright one, a perfect day to try my new purchase.  I was well down the trail and running into the mid-afternoon sun when I remembered I was wearing my new shades… and I was sold on them.

What I like about them:

1) they are light weight, no headaches back behind the ears

2) stylish (at least I think so)

3) amber lens: this is the first time I have tried them and they worked very well, including making the colors of nature REALLY stand out

4) full protection for your eyes – 100% UVA and UVB

5) even though they are light, they are tough and shatterproof – polycarbonate lenses and frame

So far, I am very pleased with these sunglasses, especially for the price.  I highly recommend them and will soon be getting another pair (fromThe Sporty Runner of course).

www.bostonbill.com

Polarized

Running Together

This was taken as we returned from our long run this morning.  (Yes, that is our current front yard and private drive.

Running Together

Hi everyone, I’m Kendis, and I am privileged to be married to Kevin (a.k.a. Chaplain to Runners). It’s a privilege, but also an irony because I am not a runner. At best you would call me a “plodder”; at worst you would call me a sweaty snail. But I do get from point A to point B, it’s just not pretty or fast. That said, one of my favorite things is long runs (again, I must set the record straight and clarify that my long runs are 5 miles). I love long runs because Kev goes out first and then comes by to get me and we go together on his last leg.

We went out this morning and as we were running, no, as we were plodding I couldn’t help to think about my life race and running with Christ. In fact, Jesus welcomes the opportunity to run with us! In Song of Songs 1:4 it says, “Draw me after you, and let us run together” (NASB). So as we plodded along I thought of a few lessons I’ve learned running with Kev and how they are life lessons for running with Christ through this life:

Follow the leader
On long runs Kev always plots the course. He knows what I can handle and how far I can go, so I trust him and follow his lead. I trust him so much that when we cross the street I don’t even look back to check for cars. Why? Because I trust Kev to have my best interest and safety in mind. Christ also has my life course plotted out (Jeremiah 29:11-13), do I trust Him and follow His lead with the same faith and confidence?

Trust the pace
I really appreciate Kev allowing me to run with him. My pace is much slower than his, but he reminds me that long runs are not for time and speed but for endurance. So we go very slowly. Christ is never in a hurry, either. I often get so frustrated with my languid, limping pace (honestly, it’s often two steps forward, seven back), but Christ knows I am made of dust and He never condemns (Romans 8:1). Instead, He reminds me that my life race is a race of endurance and not speed, and He is completely committed to my race and will see me faithfully across the finish line at the perfect time!

Enjoy the companionship
Finally, I relish long run days because I simply love spending time with Kev. He talks with me (I’m usually quiet and trying to conserve energy…hmmm there’s a lesson in that too), and we process life for an hour. How the Lord loves when we spend some time talking (and listening) with Him (Jeremiah 33:3). Nothing grandiose, just processing life.

Aren’t you grateful Christ is your running partner? I am. And I am going to remember to follow HIS lead, trust His pace, and enjoy His companionship.

New World Vision Page

Check out my new page on Team World Vision.  Click HERE.

I’m running for Africa this fall at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon….

Running into the Wind

Running into the WindI debated about my long run this morning.  We were up late last night because of my son’s 15th birthday party and sleeping in was very tempting.  In addition, the weather wasn’t very promising with occasional gusts of wind that brought the temp around 40 degrees.

After an hour delay, a cup of coffee and some quiet time completing another day in my Bible reading plan, I couldn’t stay inside any longer.  I chose a new route for my 8 mile run this morning, an “out and back” with decent sidewalks.  The weather was a bit windy but I prepared and headed for new territory along Dave Ward Drive.  After five minutes of running and glancing at a few flag poles, I realized that my “out” was going to be much easier than my “back” as all the flags indicated a very nice tailwind.

Sure enough, I hit four miles, turned around and the fun began.  To top it off, I was near the overpass – up hill AND into the wind.  So what do you do?  I changed my thinking and decided to look at this as a great workout opportunity.  I pushed harder to keep my average pace knowing it would payoff two weeks later as I cross the finish line of my 10k.

On an open stretch of road I was reminded once again of why John and other biblical writers often compared the Holy Spirit to wind (John 3:8).  I was running with the wind at my back, thinking, “I feel good today!” but I knew in a few miles the truth would be told.  As good as I felt with the wind, the opposite would soon come to pass.

Here’s what I learned:  1) Don’t take for granted God’s blessing on you and don’t take credit for the “good” things that are happening.  The Holy Spirit is in control of all things.  And 2) God often allows difficulties to strengthen us, so don’t give in, but strive to see God at work in the situation.  Let me explain… Read more of this post

Not There

Whether the weather be fine,
or the weather be not.
Whether the weather be cold,
or whether the weather be hot.
We’ll weather the weather,
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

(author unknown)

I’m not there yet.

Thunderstorms, rain, lots of wind.  My cozy bed felt much better!  The good news.  More time for my Quiet Time this morning!!!

Hit by a car

Yes, it finally happened.  I was hit by a car, a small black one.

Well, maybe I am pushing it a bit, but I did hit it enough to make a thud on his hood and shock the driver.  When running in town, I’ve read and learned that you must always pay attention to your surroundings and sure enough, my eyes quickly caught the young college student who pulled up to the stop sign as he exited his apartment complex.  I was approaching on his right while he was looking left.  As I have done hundreds of times before on my runs, I passed in front of the car, wondering, “Does he know I’m here?”  In a split second I got my answer.  The driver didn’t see me, only an open turning lane.  Sure enough, the car rolled forward while my left hand reached out and landed on his hood.  With the speed of a trained CIA agent, I gingerly and athletically cleared the front of this high-end sports car.  (Ok, may not.)  Luckily my legs brushed the far corner as I quicken my step and cleared the vehicle.  With my heart racing and the loud apologies from the scared driver coming through the closed window, I continued on and finished my run.

I wish the attacks of Satan were just as clear as a threatening black car on a run, but unfortunately the tricks of the devil are much harder to recognize.  Peter reminds us, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”  (1 Peter 5:8 NLT)  As we walk through life, staying alert and recognizing how the devil can easily tempt us to sin is a practice that must be drilled into our thinking.  Too often it is that split second awareness that makes all the difference in the world, the difference between sustaining serious injury and jumping clear, the difference between breaking the heart of God with our sin and taking 1 Cor. 10:13 to heart and knowing there is a way of escape every time sin crouches at the door.

Stay alert!

Planning Your Time With God – Part 2

In Luke 11:1, one of Jesus’ disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” It was obvious that Jesus’ strength came from His time in prayer.  Yet, we tend to find strength in everything else but prayer. 

So what is prayer?  I like to define it simply as a conversation between you and God.  Jeremiah 33:3 says “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”  Just think of trying to cope with your problems if there were no way to communicate with God. Job, in the Bible, is a perfect example of one who made it through tremendous trials because he had God. God was his strength!

Remember, God created us for a RELATIONSHIP, so He desires that we learn to spend time with Him in prayer.

Why don’t we pray?

I think we often convince ourselves that we can make it through the day without praying.  We find ourselves believing that we can lean on our own understanding rather than trusting God’s leading and direction (Prov. 3:5-6).

Some pointers on how to pray…
1) Be yourself. Be honest and open with with God.  (Psalm 24:3-4)
2) Talk to God as you would a friend. “Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.”  (Exodus 33:11a NAS)
3) Pray with conviction, not with worry.  (Luke 18:1)  Someone once said, worry is “taking responsbility for something God never intended us to.”
4) Pray specifically. Pray generally and you’ll never know.  Pray specifically and you’ll see God at work.  Consider this quote: “We too often pray for things that would probably happen anyway.” (Miller)

My wife tells me I am notorious for praying the same thing at dinner time over and over.  If you struggle with originality, your mind and heart are probably not into your conservation with God.  Try one of these easy-to-remember acronyms when you pray next time to help bring focus and meaning to your prayers:

A.C.T.S.
Adoration – adoring God, worshipping Him, ascribing worth to Him
Confession – agreeing with God about the things you’ve done that He hates
Thanksgiving – giving thanks to God
Supplication/Intercession – coming to God with our need

S.H.A.P.E.
S … Is there sin you need to confess?
H … Is there some habit you need to correct?
A … Is there an attitude you need to change?
P … Is there a promise you have not claimed?
E … Are you an example for others to copy?

My goal this week: to spend quality time with God by 1) daily interacting with Him, 2) putting aside one afternoon this week in long mediation with Him.

Leave a comment and share how about your time with God this week!

Saturday Run

Ever start out on a run hoping for the best and it turn out much rougher than you wished?

For my long run this morning I decided to see where I’m at physically for my 10k race (a month away) by simulating the 10k.  Last night Parker and I figured what my race pace ought to be, a plan to run the first mile and then the next four with a nice kick to the end with whatever I had left.  Needless to say, the old adage “you can’t bank minutes” came to life around mile 3 and held true.  My goal of holding to race pace died when I ran my first two miles 45 seconds and 30 seconds too fast.

My lesson for the morning… stick to the plan and don’t start out too fast!  At least I have a few more weeks to work on my race pace.

Have a great Saturday.

Planning Your Time with God – Part 1

This is multi-part series to follow-up from last week’s post “Planning Your Walk Like You Plan you Run.”

This morning it was 41 degrees, foggy, damp, and a little windy.  Not the ideal conditions for running, but not terrible.  I had been meaning to do a speed workout all week but found a number of excuses and plenty of interruptions to my running that caused me to postpone it.  Today was different, I was determined.  So Kendis and I hit the path at 6am.  She took off and I psyched myself up for 5 x 800 repeats.  After the fourth one I was ready to give up.  I struggled to keep the pace on my fifth repeat but found myself only 7 seconds off my split time.  Not bad.  In fact, it felt good.  I stuck my mind to it and I experienced the reward.

Our walk with Christ is no different.  Maybe you woke up this morning and said “I know I should spend time with God, but…” then one little excuse wins over and you find yourself hitting the snooze button.  One of the first steps to daily physical exercise and to your spiritual exercise is to have a plan and prepare for it the night before.  So the first step is simply to have a plan to get into God’s Word.

God’s Word

As many of you know there are a lot of different running workouts to can do throughout the week.  There are also many different aspects to your time with God.  Let’s start with one of the most basic aspects.   Just as with a running workout you must decide to show up.  Once you have made the choice and you are there, you need to have a plan for getting into God’s Word.  I have set it as a goal many times to read through the Bible in a year and to be honest; I have never completed it, at least not in one year.  I’ve read through the bible many times using different plans,  just not in the prescribed amount of time.  Like all training workouts, you need to customize your plan to fit you.

One plan I have recently started is Professor Grant Horner’s Bible Reading System.  The short version: read ten chapters from ten different parts of the Bible a Day.   Check out the following links:

I would love to hear what you think of this plan so leave your comments – what works, what doesn’t, how to make it personal…

Here are a couple of good plans from Discipleship Journal to choose from:

The 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan

5 minutes per day, 5 days per week, 5 ways to dig deeper. Takes you through one chapter each day. Read the New Testament in one year.  Download the 5x5x5 Bible Reading Plan

Book-at-a-Time Bible Reading Plan

Intersperses Old and New Testament books in each month’s readings, with the four gospels spread throughout the year. Read the complete Bible in one year.   Download the Book-at-a-Time Bible Reading Plan

The Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan

Read four places in God’s Word every day to better grasp the unity of the Scriptures. Read the complete Bible in one year.  Download the Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan

The Challenge:

So as I am preparing for my upcoming 10k on May 1st, I am going to challenge myself to get into God’s Word like I am preparing for Race Day.  My goal: a minimum of 5 days absorbing scripture and hearing from God (and using Horner’s method).

What’s your goal?

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