Getting Close

All week I had been anticipating and preparing for this morning’s run.  My training schedule had me running 20 miles today and I was ready and eager.  I took off early in the morning and completed a 12 mile loop, stopped off at the house to refuel, and Kendis joined me for the remaining 8.  What a pleasure it was to run with my wife!  It made the last 8 miles go by quickly and it was exciting to see her come so far over the past few months as she trains for her first half marathon in October.

As people learn that I am running the Chicago Marathon I often get the response, “the only time you will see me running is when someone is chasing me!”  The things we do, we do because we are motivated to do them.  For me, I am running for more than just my health and for the accomplishment.

I run because many have to walk miles.

What do I mean?  Millions in Africa have to walk miles and miles just to get clean water.  By running the Chicago Marathon for Team World Vision, I am helping provide clean water for an African village.  When ever I am tempted to give up because I’m tired or my bed is nice and comfy at 4:30am, I remember those that I am helping have no bed, have no water and ice coming out of a stainless steel refrigerator, have no power drinks, energy bars, or simply basic food and running water.  If you would like to join me, I’ll do the running if you will help donate.  Check out my Team World Vision page HERE and discover how you can help.

3 Years Ago on the 4th of July

Today is a special day for me.  And not because it’s the 4th of July.  Although the day is filled with celebration and patriotism, for me it reminds me of a goal I set three years ago today which has made a difference in my life for the better.

Have you ever set a goal and achieved it?  Have you ever set a goal that is so big that it is more like a dream; one in which you aren’t sure you could ever accomplish, but want to try anyway?  Jim Collins, in his book Built to Last, calls them BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).  No this isn’t about business, but rather about setting your mind on something and accomplishing it.

It was early in the morning on the 4th of July three years ago that I set a BHAG of my own.  I was out on a typical 4 mile run on that steamy, southern Missouri morning when in the middle of my run I thought of a friend of mine, Bret Dorton, who was training for his first marathon. My talks with Bret had impressed me since he wasn’t a lifetime runner but rather just picked it up for health reasons and set his mind to it.  I remember talking to him at church and was always amazed at the fact that he could run 8 miles or more for his long run.

It was in that moment when I got into my head a BHAG.  I wanted to run a marathon too!  As soon as the idea entered my mind, so did a laundry list of questions and doubts…I wondered if I could do it?  How long would it take to train?  How would I be able to do it?  Could I even complete one?  After all, I reminded myself, I was not a runner and I wasn’t even sure running longer than an hour even appealed to me. But this BHAG had hooked me, and I committed right in the middle of my run I would give myself a few years to work up to a marathon.

My BHAG?  I wanted to complete a marathon by the time I was 45 years old.  That would give me seven years to work at it and become a runner, or at least one who runs.  When I arrived home I took the final step of owning my BHAG, I shared my dream with Kendis.

Now three years later, as Kendis and I got up this morning at 4:40am (on a holiday) to exercise at the gym, I realized that the 4th of July will always be a day of celebration, not just for our nation, but a celebration of setting goals.  She started another round of Body for Life, and me?  Well, I’m three weeks into training for my second marathon and loving it!

Big Hairy Audacious Goals?  I’m working on a new one… a marathon a year… until I’m too old to complete one.  🙂

Celebrate today by daring to dream and set your own BHAG!  Why?  Because there are two kinds of people, the ones who come to the end of their life and say, “I wish I had,” and the ones like I choose to be who say, “I’m so glad I did!”

Been running?

Have you ever had someone say to you, “I saw you running today.”  Or better yet, when they catch you returning from a run, they ask, “Have you been running today?”  I had a friend drive by my house the other day and ask me that as I was stretching after a long run.  Why did he ask?  Because I showed all the evidences of a person who had been running: the sweat, the clothes, the shoes, the watch (my big honkin Garmin GPS Forerunner 305), the posture (stretching) and of course, the smell.  It was obvious.

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished.  And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”  Acts 4:1

I read that verse in my time with God this morning and was moved by it once again.  Will people know I’ve been with Jesus today?  Will they hear the joy in my speech because I’ve already talked with my Father?  Will they experience Christ through my actions?  Will they walk away from a conversation with me knowing that I a a fully devoted follower of Christ and feeling drawn to the Almighty?

Most of the time it’s not obvious as to whether those whom we meet are believers.  We can’t change others, but we can change ourselves.  James MacDonald has said many times, “If your faith hasn’t changed you, it hasn’t saved you.”  Powerful words regarding the power of God at work in your life.

Whether I run an easy 3 miler or a long run, it is evident that I have been running.  How will your time with God impact your speech today?  Your actions?  What you share?  Where you go?  What you do?

May we have the “aroma” of Christ today!!!!!  (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)

Pre-Race Tips

I’ve had several people ask me questions about what to do the week before the race.  While I’m not an expert, I’ve learned some things from the races I’ve run and the articles I’ve read.  Here are some of my basic tips for Pre-Race Week:

Prepare the night before:  Lay out clothes, shorts, shirts, socks, shoes, etc., everything you will need for race day.  Do this the night before and it will ease your mind throughout the night. If you are running a marathon see “Marathon Packing List” under the Resources tab.

Tried and true clothing:  Wear comfortable clothes that you’ve worn before.  Do not wear anything new, especially for a long race.  Race day is never a time to break in a new pair of shoes.  Wearing new clothes, socks or shoes could produce undesired effects that you don’t need in a race.

Don’t over dress:  Dress as if the weather is 15 degrees warmer.  I just ran a race on Saturday where the temp at the start time was around 58 degrees, halfway through the 10k, I saw many with jackets tied around their waists.  As you do your warm up and begin running, your core temperature will rise and you will feel warmer. Read more of this post

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

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).


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!

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