Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Saturday, June 30, 2012

I Found the Line Between Tough and Crazy...

...and learned God doesn't want me on the crazy side.
" If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." -- James 1:5
Today is Saturday, the first Saturday I haven't run in a while. But I'm not running today because yesterday I crossed a line.

If you've ever seen the Denzel Washington movie Remember the Titans (one of my all time favorites by the way), you might remember the scene when he had his players doing "up-downs" as punishment for one asking him for a water break. Toward the end of that scene, his assistant coach walked over, whispered in his ear, "There's a fine line between tough and crazy, and you're flirting with it coach."

That's the line I crossed yesterday, trying to push too hard after God gave me sign after sign that it was time to stop. I finished 13 miles but afterwards, I was in worse shape than I've been in in a really long time. Horrible heat cramps accompanied by a state of near delirium finally convinced me I was trying to do too much in the summer heat and humidity.

I had hoped to work my way up to double 15 mile runs on Friday and Saturday before the sultry conditions would force me to stop. I had hoped to complement yesterday's 13 miles with another 13 today. But high temperatures and muggy air arrived before I could reach those goals.

That's okay though. I have until late December before I have to run my double marathon. That leaves months to train, two to three months after the weather should become much more pleasant. So I'm backing down for now.

From now through August I'll be cutting way back on the weekly miles and reducing the distance on my long runs. Until daily low temperatures fall back into the 60's, I'll be focusing on simply maintenance miles, just keeping myself in shape to run without pushing myself to the limit on speed or endurance.

So don't look for any impressive race results or long runs for the next couple of months from me. The Good Lord sent a crystal clear message yesterday telling me to ease up, and I'm going to listen!
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -- Jeremiah 29:11
I had a plan that wasn't God's plan. That's what He showed me yesterday. He knows what is best and the best way to get there. He gives me the strength and motivation to run. To follow His plan, I have to push myself, but not beyond the limit.

Tough's okay, crazy's not.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Too Hot to Run?

"7But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." -- Jeremiah 17:7-8
Looking at the weather forecast for the US today, about the only thing you can say is, "It's hot!"

Some may be thinking it's too hot to run. I've heard (or read) people making remarks like, "It's too hot to run outside," or "I can't motivate myself to run in this heat when I'm not training for anything." So some choose to stay in the air conditioning and run on the treadmill, and others choose not to run at all, to wait until cooler weather prevails.

As for me, I'll just keep running, trusting in the Lord to get me through.

It's not that the heat doesn't affect me. It certainly does, probably worse than most others. But I hate a treadmill. I mean, I HATE A TREADMILL! I'd rather run a little outside than ANY on a treadmill. The contraption's common nicknames among runners, "dreadmill" and "hamster wheel," are well-deserved. I can't think of anything more boring.

And training? I'm always training for something. Sometimes I may not know yet what that is, but I'm always training for something. A few weeks after the Little Rock Marathon earlier this year, I told some running friends I was doing a 20 miler that weekend. One asked, "What are you training for?" My response, "I just don't want to lose what I've gained."
"Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." -- 1 Corinthians 9:25
That sums it up really for me. God has blessed me with the gift to run, a gift that most likely saved me from doing terrible things and making terrible decisions after my daughter was murdered. He has given me this gift to make good things come from the worst tragedy of my life. If I stop running because it gets a little warm outside it would be like telling God, "Thanks, but I'm tired of this."

The truth is, running keeps me sane even now. We're visiting family in North Carolina right now and just yesterday I was looking around and remembering earlier times when Amanda was here. I could picture her driving her grandfather's tractor, riding his horse, and driving his truck across the field. On the way back from running this morning, I noticed the upstairs window where she and Courtney used to stay when we were here. If I didn't have the ability to get out and run, these thoughts and memories would drive me completely insane.
" If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." -- James 1:5
So no, it's not too hot to run, just time to make some adjustments.

Last week's long runs proved a disaster. The heat and humidity sapped me way too early. So this week I'm making some changes for tomorrow and Saturday's planned 13 mile runs.

I've been doing 5-mile repeats since the mercury began to rise--run 5 miles, return to the car to rehydrate and take in fuel, then run 5 more, repeating this until completing the mileage needed for that day. This week I'm going to back that down to 3 mile repeats. It will mean more breaks and lost time, but I'm hoping it will make it easier to finish the long runs.

When it's cooler, I can usually rehydrate between my sets with just water. But I'm an excessive sweater, and that means I deplete my body's stores of a lot more than water in the heat. Nutrients like Sodium and Potassium and who knows what else are flushed out this time of year. So rehydrating means consuming sports drinks engineered to replenish these. Last week I tried Powerade because it was the cheapest sports drink in the store. This week I'm switching to Gatorade to see if I get better results.

Last winter I found that plain M & M's were sufficient to refuel on long runs. Every 5 miles I took in a half a pack and felt great, even at the Little Rock Marathon in March. But last week proved the melt-in-you-moutn-not-in-your-hand candy proved insufficient. So I headed to the sporting goods store this week and picked up some Cliff Shot gels to try. Just like with the sports drink, these are engineered to replenish your body's stores of necessary nutrients that vacate the body on long, hot runs.

So tomorrow I'll try these adjustments and see how things go. I know that God will get me through it, but He expects me to use good sense and do my part as well.

Check back later in the week to find out how these changes worked.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hills? What hills?

No. I mean, really, no hills.

We've been in Jacksonville, NC, home of Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, for a week and a half. Thanks to a paved running trail that stretches from downtown to the main gate of the base, I've been able to keep up my morning runs. But if the picture in your mind of Camp Lejeune is the landscape that served as a background in the movie Heartbreak Ridge, you're thinking more about southern California than coastal North Carolina.

Though that movie was supposedly set at Camp Lejeune, it surely wasn't shot here. The mountains you'll see in scene after scene in Heartbreak Ridge might be dominating the landscape of a Marine Corps base, but not this one. Over here on the east coast, a speed bump probably registers on Google's satellites as a change in elevation. (Okay, that's exaggerating it a little, but only a little.)

So basically, I've been running for more than a week -- 5 miles, 6 miles, 12 miles, and even a 15 mile run -- with at most 13 feet of elevation change along the routes. If you still aren't seeing what I'm trying to describe, I'll put it in the shortest, sweetest terms I can...IT'S FLAT HERE!
"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." -- Philippians 4:19
In the desert, God provided the Children of Israel with manna from Heaven when they were starving and water from a rock to quench their thirst. He provided David a slingshot and a stone to take down the feared Goliath. When Jesus and the disciples found themselves surrounded by a hungry crowd, He fed more than 5000 with only 5 loaves and two fishes.

God always provides for His people, even in seemingly impossible circumstances.

But, how am I supposed to get in a workout to help me prepare for the unavoidable hills in the races we do back home?

Even in this flattest of terrain, God provides. The county that surrounds the city of Jacksonville built a pedestrian bridge across NC HWY 24 when it was constructing the trail on which I run. My hill!

Starting at the southern foot of the bridge, I ran about .31 miles to where the trail flattened back out on the north side. There I turned around and returned to my starting point. Back and forth, back and forth, about 17 times over and across the bridge made for a workout, 5 miles of "hill" repeats.

It's not the ideal hill workout, but we've got to make due with what we have. I'll be back home early next week and hopefully this run will keep the hills there from kicking my tail.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Weekly Journal 6/18 to 6/24

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." -- Colossians 4:15
This might have been the toughest week of the year. Heat and humidity are taking their toll. It started out well, feeling great after last Saturday's 15 mile long run. But as the week wore on, things turned south.

I've been focusing this week on pace, trying to stick as close as possible to a 10-minute-mile. Last week on the 15 miler we managed it pretty easily so it seemed like a reasonable goal for 6 shorter runs this week.

It wasn't. Or at least, it wasn't by the end of the week.

On Monday I was still feeling great when I knocked out 5 miles and averaged a 9:17 pace. It may have been a result of lingering euphoria from Saturday's long run, or maybe coming off my rest day on Sunday, but the legs just took over and everything worked like it was supposed to. Rarely ever is my best run of the week on Monday, but it sure was this week.

Tuesday was a good run too, but at a little more moderate pace. At a 9:49 mile, I was pretty satisfied after 6. This was really shaping up to be a great week, but things would change rapidly.

After Wednesday's 5 miles at 9:43 pace, I could feel the tiredness creeping into my muscles. Still, I was really happy with the run and my pace. I'd finished 16 miles already in the first three days of the week, ahead of my target 10 minute pace. I was feeling extremely confident the rest of the week would go as well.

Thursday proved me wrong. I set out with a goal of running 6 miles. Three miles in I was averaging just under a 9:50 pace, right where I wanted to be. But by the time I reached the turnaround, I was feeling much different than I had earlier in the week. I pushed on through the 4th mile, convinced I could keep up the pace. I was right on pace at 9:50 when I completed the 4th mile, but everything fell apart just before mile 4.5. I mean, I CRASHED AND BURNED! Completely depleted, I walked the last mile and a half.

I knew something had gone terribly wrong and made some changes to prepare for Friday's 12 miles. Salt tablets, Powerade, and lots of water Thursday night convinced me I was ready to go. Still feeling a little tired from the crash on Thursday, I managed to average right at a 10 minute mile for the first 8. Then came the Friday crash. Miles 8 to 10 became an alternating run/walk, then I walked miles 10 to 12 to finish. I had to go back to the drawing board if I was going to get 12 more in on Saturday.

My plan for Friday afternoon and night was more salt, more Powerade, and more rest. When I woke Saturday morning I was feeling well, ready to go and confident I could make it. I also decided I would slow the pace, drop it by a minute or so. That would surely get me through the entire 12. For 7.5 miles, it felt like it was going to work. Then came the crash. Again, it was a run/walk the rest of the way.

Pretty much a rough end to what started out a good training week.

Training Week: June 18 - June 24

Monday5 miles
Tuesday6 miles
Wednesday5 miles
Thursday4.5 miles
Friday12 miles
Saturday12 miles
Sunday0 miles
Total44.5 miles

When it gets this tough, when the heat and humidity turns runs that were enjoyable into barely survivable events, there's an overwhelming urge to quit, to just pack it in and stop running until the weather turns. The problem is that here in the south we can't expect lasting relief from current conditions until at least September. That means we'd have to quit running for 3 months if we let this temptation get control.
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." -- 1 Corinthians 10:13
Thankfully, just like every other challenging spot we find ourselves in throughout life, this one has a way out. God has provided it. It might mean slowing down. It might mean converting to a run/walk strategy. It might mean carrying more water. But there is a way out, to survive the sultry summer surroundings.

It's up to us to find it. That might mean a change in strategy and that's what I'm going to try this week.
"18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus." -- Luke 5:18-19
The secret to finding a way to be successful when it seems everything is arrayed against you, in conditions that make it seemingly impossible to prevail, is faith. Just believe! Believe in the ability of Jesus Christ to make it happen.

Just like the men who carried the crippled man to see Jesus. They believed with everything in them that our Lord and Savior could heal their friend. That faith, that deep-seated, unshakeable faith motivated them to not give up when blocked by the crowd. Instead, they pushed on. Not according to their original plan, but they adapted and overcame. They made it in to see Jesus and their friend was healed.
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." -- Matthew 17:20
Jesus told us himself that faith can move mountains. If that's so, I think it can get us through a little heat and humidity too.

This week I'm going to make a few more changes and see if I can't get some better results. Check back next week to see how they worked. :)

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Crash and Burn!

It was supposed to be a routine Thursday morning six mile run. The problem was, I'm out of my routine.

We've been here since Saturday, and we'll be here until next Sunday, 1000 miles from home visiting my wife's family. (For those of you thinking, "You're crazy for telling people you're away on vacation," my mother is house-sitting for us and taking care of our four ferocious canines.) We're taking things easy, resting and relaxing, enjoying our time with family, but still the daily routine is different. Different meal times, bed times, and every other kind of times.

On top of that, I decided to take advantage of this break in routine to alter a habit that's been really holding me back for a while -- my eating habits. I've barely lost any weight since I started running four years ago, even with putting in so many miles. That's because, the more I run, the more I eat. So starting this week I've really been cutting back on the quantity of food I consume. This is something I've been needing to do, but it's still a break in routine.

Still, I've been working to keep my training on the normal schedule, and doing a pretty good job at it. Until today...

I set out this morning not feeling real energetic, but decided to get in 6 miles like I do every Thursday back home. For the first few hundred yards, my legs felt like logs, stiff and sore and hesitant to loosen up. I pushed on and a half mile or so in I had my pace down to where I wanted it.

The temperature was a little warmer than the past few days, but not too much. Same with the humidity. But even though the differences were slight, their effects seemed to be wearing on me disproportionately as I headed for the turnaround.

I made it to the 3 mile mark and headed back toward the car, still not feeling great, but not necessarily too bad either. By now the sun was up and the air warming quickly. I was keeping my pace just under a 10 minute mile, right where I wanted it.

I hit the four mile mark, still on target. At this point I was on a long, straight stretch of the paved trail. I could see the road crossing that would mark 4.5 miles when thoughts of walking first entered my head. As I began to decelerate, I talked myself out of it and sped up again, determined to finish the run.

But just before I reached that crosswalk, with only 1.5 miles to go, I shut it down, then walked the rest of the way to the car.

It wasn't an injury, no pain to be pinpointed and blamed for my shortened workout. It was more like this whole mind and body feeling of just being depleted, void of any and all energy to keep going. I was done for the day.

I had crashed and burned.

This feeling's nothing new, especially in hot and humid weather. But it usually occurs on long runs and usually when I'm running with a group. Today was only supposed to be six miles and I was on the trail alone.
"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." -- Proverbs 27:17
In fact, even my six mile runs on Tuesday and Thursday are with a group when I'm back home. That makes a big difference. It's just easier to keep going, or harder to let yourself quit, when there are others running with you. Part of it is the desire to keep up with your buddies, and part because of the encouragement they provide when you start to weaken. Today though, out of my routine, it was just me.

I realized this morning the change in eating habits also likely had something to do with my less than stellar performance. Not only am I taking in fewer calories than I'm accustomed to, but I've also been taking in a lot less salt.

That may sound like a good thing to many who were raised on the rhetoric that salt is a terrible thing. I can't tell you how many times I've been told that I'm going to die because of the salt I consume. But I've always needed more salt than the average bear.

During two-a-day football practices in high school I had to take salt tablets because I would literally sweat all the sodium out of my body. When I worked moving furniture in the summer I need the supplement too. And, since I've been running again, I've taken these same little pills to replenish my system with salt. But I forgot to bring them with me and I haven't been taking them since we've been here.

Some of the things that led to this morning's crash can't be fixed. I'm not going to get back to my normal routine until we're back home. But the last problem, the lack of salt, is something I'll take care of today. I've got two twelve mile runs planned for tomorrow and Saturday so today will be spent replenishing salt and electrolytes.

Even though today's run went south, it could have been worse. It could have happened tomorrow or Saturday on runs that are far more important to my training program than the mile and a half I lost today.
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." -- Isaiah 40:29
I'm grateful God let all this come to a head on a not-so-important run. As always, He know's what He's doing even when I don't. My crash today means I'll be back and ready tomorrow and Saturday for the most important runs on this week's schedule.

Today I was weary and weak, tomorrow I'll be refreshed and revived thanks to His grace!

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Be Careful Ladies!

Another female runner was attacked and killed last week.

Sarah Hart of Jamestown, KY left on a run with her sister and decided to turn back before they were finished. She told her sister to keep going. On her way back to the car some low-life, murdering, scumbag robbed her, and dragged her body into the weeds a few yards from the road. The police have a suspect in custody, but Sarah is dead. Her husband and three children are now without a wife and mother.

If you're a runner you likely remember the story of Sherry Arnold, the Montana school teacher who was kidnapped and murdered while out for an early morning solo run in January. Even if you're not a runner, you probably heard the story. That one made the national news after two men were arrested and confessed to the crime. It stayed in the news for the more than two months it took to discover her body.

Think you're safe because you don't live in a high-crime, highly populated area?

Think again.

The 2010 Census shows Sarah's Jamestown, KY has a population of 1794. Statistics show you're chance of being a violent crime victim in Jamestown is less than half your chances of being a victim in Kentucky. Sidney, MT, where Sherry was abducted had a population of 5191 in the latest census. You're almost 4 times as likely to be a victim of a violent crime in the state of Montana as you are in Sidney.

Please pray for the families of these ladies, that they may find peace and strength in time. It's a sad, sad thing that our society has devolved to this state of depravity where women can't even venture onto streets in their own neighborhoods without fear of being attacked and killed. I hate it for you ladies.

Now the question is, how can you keep yourself from being a victim?

The simple truth is there is no 100% certain thing you can do to guarantee no nutcase, deviant, low-life criminal will mark you for attack. However, there are things you can do, precautions you can take, to minimize your risk of falling prey to these scumbags.

Shut Up + Run has a great post covering this with lots of great tips for minimizing risks. I won't try to list them all here, but I am going to suggest a few of what I consider to be the most valuable.
NOTE: I usually try to keep politics out of this blog, but this topic is going to carry us into a discussion about guns. I don't mean to offend anyone, but I believe the danger warrants that discussion. You don't have to agree with my position and I want you to feel free to offer your alternative ideas in the comments. If you do, please be respectful of each other in any disagreements.
Whenever possible, don't run alone! It sounds simple, but all of you who run know it's not. It's just not always possible to align our schedule with another when we're ready to lace up our running shoes. Even so, there's no reason you have to always run alone. Join a local running club, find someone else who shares your love of running, do something to at least have running buddies with you on some of your runs. Even though it looks like these two cases were spur-of-the-moment crimes of opportunity, don't give a would-be attacker the chance to stalk you and know when you're going to be out running alone.

Arm yourself (If you're sure you can handle it.) This is where we're likely to chafe some folks. Ladies, in my opinion it's okay to take the life of one of these low-life, subhuman creatures if they are threatening your life. Your husband, your children, your parents, and everyone else close to you do not deserve the Hell of grieving your death. When a criminal chooses to threaten the life of a would-be victim, he has made the decision that the risk is worth whatever he considers the potential reward. That risk includes his own death!

Now, here's the kicker...the "if you can handle it" part.

Don't make the mistake some do of thinking they can carry a gun to scare off a potential attacker. Before you ever choose to carry a gun, when you run or any other time for personal defense, you need to answer the following question correctly..."Can I take the life of another human being?" If you can't answer yes to that question, you have no business carrying a gun.

If you think you can pull a gun to frighten an attacker, or to wound him, you're more likely to get it taken away and used on you. The plain and simple truth is that you never have any business pulling a gun on someone you are not prepared and willing to kill. If you can't bear the thought of taking a life, or even if you're not sure that you can pull the trigger and take a life when the time comes, don't carry.

However, if you are certain you value your life more than you do one of these criminal cowards, then by all means arm yourself.

Keep out of arm's reach Of strangers that is.

Especially if you spot a suspicious person or vehicle, but even when approaching or passing an unknown runner on the road or trail, avoid getting so close that one swift motion can result in your capture. It might mean crossing the street, it might mean taking an unplanned turn, or even swinging wide off the trail or road. But, if it takes an attacker more than one or two steps to get to you, it gives you time to react.

Communicate Strength and Confidence The most effective way to accomplish this is to make direct eye contact with those you meet on the trail. Glancing down or avoiding looking a would be attacker tells him you are afraid, weak, or lack confidence. In other words, you'd make a pretty easy target. Cowardly criminals are like schoolhouse bullies. They like to target those least likely to resist. They know how to spot them by their body language. Even if you're scared to death, don't let it show.

RUN! What I mean here is if your attacker is brandishing a weapon, and doesn't have you in his grasp. A lot of people freeze when they see a gun or a knife, and Hollywood convinces most that anyone with a weapon in their hands is as efficient and effective as a trained assassin. The reality couldn't be farther from the truth. MOST people are unlikely to hit a moving target, even at very close range. Unless they're holding the weapon against your body, you have a better chance of survival by running than you'll ever have once you place yourself in the hands of your attacker.

This will work best if you've thought about it beforehand. As you're running, try to identify the best places to run to if you encounter an attacker. Look for the quickest route to get yourself in front of witnesses before the time comes. If you do this enough, you'll get to the point where you do it unconciously. Instinct takes over and it's no longer something you'll have to work at.
"Do not be far from me, my God; come quickly, God, to help me." -- Psalm 71:12
Pray! Last but most important of all. Remember that Jesus Christ hears our prayers. Pray for safety. Pray for guidance. Pray for wisdom. Even when you run. I pray all the time when I'm running alone. It's a great time to find those moments when it's just you and the Lord, a great opportunity to seek His will and hear His voice.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -- Jeremiah 29:11
Runners are runners, whether male or female, and the need to run will likely override rational or irrational fear of what may happen on the road or trail. It's just what we do, maybe even the essential expression of our very freedom. Just because a few worthless pieces of scum are in search of victims doesn't mean runners stop running.
Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower
So don't give up what you love and crawl into a hole to hide. Keep running. Don't let these lowlifes rob you of your very freedom. Just be careful and stay safe!

If you have other ideas to help the ladies stay safe on the run, please share them in the comments below.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekly Journal -- 6/11 to 6/17

Thank you Jesus for another great training week!

A 1000 mile road trip to our vacation destination meant no double long run this week, but things still worked out okay. Total miles fell well short of last week's, but I was able to end the week with a solid long run at a decent average pace.

Monday was another trail run day with our school's cross country team. It was a different trail than last week's. In fact, these trails were on private property. Though a little rugged, they weren't nearly as technical as last week's. Still a tough way to get in 4.5 miles, but not nearly as tough as my inaugural trail experience at the Cadron Settlement Park.

Tuesday I ran with my regular Tuesday/Thursday group. It was another tough run, just too fast for me in the heat and humidity that comes with summer in Arkansas. Once again, I fell behind, this time I actually walked the big hill toward the end. And again, once I reached the end of our 6 mile route, my average pace was barely over a 10 minute mile. Until summer turns to fall, it looks like a 10 minute pace is about as good as I'm going to do running in Arkansas' summer weather.

Wednesday was speed work day with the cross country team. We did a routine that was a first for me -- starting with a one mile warm up, then three 300 meter runs at a 2 mile pace, followed by three 1000 meter runs at 2 mile pace, and finishing with a 1 mile cool down. I ran them all with the kids, finishing behind every other male out there, but still finishing.

Thursday was back with our regular group, a 6 mile run at a 9:57 pace. This time we started out slower and were actually running faster toward the end than we did at the beginning. In fact, the last mile was the fastest at a 9:26 pace. I had no trouble keeping up and felt great the entire time.

Friday I traveled 1000 miles, but the distance I put in on foot was to and from the car. Every summer we spend a couple of weeks in Jacksonville, NC with my wife's family and that's where we were going. We left the house at 5:30 AM and arrived at our destination around 10 that night. No time for a run so my new training plan for long runs on Friday and Saturday was a casualty of our trip.

Saturday gave me the opportunity to regain a little lost ground from Friday. My original schedule was to do 12 miles on Friday and 12 on Saturday. After the long road trip the day before, I figured I'd just get in the Saturday 12. But when I stepped out the door Saturday morning, I was unexpectedly greeted with crisp, cool air. It felt so great, I decided to stretch the distance to 15 miles. It turned out one of my best long runs in a long time. Fifteen miles at an average 10:03 pace.

So all-in-all a great training week. This coming weekend and the next should allow me to get back to my double long runs, especially if these weather conditions hold.
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." -- Colossians 4:15

Training Week: June 11 - June 17

Monday4.5 miles
Tuesday6 miles
Wednesday4.6 miles
Thursday6 miles
Friday0 miles
Saturday15 miles
Sunday0 miles
Total36.1 miles

This week's interruption to my training plan brings up another analogy between running and life.

I'm a member of several running groups on the internet with a lot of fellow members who run marathons. Many of them follow a much stricter training regimen than I do, mostly programs designed and marketed by running gurus that have every day planned, not only for distance, but types of runs and even cross training incorporated in the plan.

Often I read posts by members in a near panic because something came up that prevented them from getting in a day's scheduled training. I'm always amazed that people think missing or altering one run on a months long schedule is going to keep them from finishing a one day race, often months or weeks away from the day in question.

Life is like that too. There's been a movement for the past couple of decades to get our children thinking about career paths before they finish middle or junior high school. Before the end of high school, many of these kids have been pressured to the point they believe they MUST have their entire lives planned out before they graduate. Then, if (when) something goes awry, they feel as if there's no longer any chance for success.

If that were the case, if I had had to have my entire life's plan laid out before I graduated from high school, I wouldn't be where I am today. In high school I had no intention--NONE--of being a high school teacher. It was the farthest thing from my mind. When I graduated, my plan was to go to college for 4 years, major in business, and become a stock broker.

I never even came close. My first year in college I took two accounting classes, two economics classes, and an introduction to business class. Then I went to school part-time for a year. In that time I took a business statistics course and barely passed a couple of computer programming classes. Those 8 classes were the closest I ever came to degree in business.

My life took many other turns through the years before I finally decided to return to school (actually I think God revealed to me that it was His will) to be a teacher when I was 35. Following that path turned out to be the best career decision I ever made. Where work is concerned, I've never been happier and I've never been so confident that I'm in the right place.

I ended up where I am, a long way from the plan I originally made, because I adapted to things that happened in life. I'm convinced this is where I belong. It's where God wants me. If I'd have insisted on forcing my life to fit MY plan at 18 years old, I would have ignored His guidance that led me to where I am.

We live a long time and often during that span we get an idea in our head and convince ourselves that events MUST turn according to what we THINK is the best path forward. When things don't happen the way we planned, we tend to get down, sometimes even doubting we can continue on.
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." -- 1 Corinthians 10:13
But a little searching and a lot of praying can reveal God's voice and His plan for our lives. His word promises us that we will never find ourselves in a spot without a way out. We only have to seek His guidance, His will, and His way to see it.
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." -- Colossians 4:15
So anytime you find yourself in a jam, whether in running or in life, where things aren't working out according to your plan, look for an opportunity to make the best of it. Seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and make the best of the situation. You might just be surprised how things come together.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

2nd Father's Day Without You

It's Father's Day again,
The second you've been gone.
Though the time keeps passing,
The pain is still so strong.

I close my eyes and see
Father's Days of yesteryear.
If it's quiet and I listen close,
Your sweet voice I can hear.

Like movies playing in my head,
Scenes I can recall,
I see your smiling, happy eyes
Bringing presents down the hall.

If I can find a quiet place,
Where no other noise is found,
I hear your, "Happy Father's Day,"
Such a sweet, sweet sound.

Though I'm very grateful,
For all that I have left.
I'll always miss you dear,
And I never will forget.

Every day I count my blessings,
To still have your Mom and sis.
But I'd still give almost anything
For one more hug and kiss.

But though I know I'm blessed,
Days like this bring tears
For so much that should have been
But won't in coming years.

One thing keeps me going though,
Moving forward through this life.
That again we'll be together,
One day with Jesus Christ.

"After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." -- 1 Thessalonians 4:17

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome

There's an old saying that a battle plan is only good until the first shot is fired. Well, the title of this post was a slogan I learned in the Marine Corps and one I often repeat in my high school classroom when a well laid plan must be trashed due to unforeseen circumstances.

The same truth holds when training for endurance races. The odds of being able to stick precisely to a training plan that spans several months are almost nil.

If you're not a regular reader, you may not know that I recently began training specifically back-to-back marathons I'm registered to run in December. I'm not following any distance runner guru's plan, or any plan you'll find in a book or magazine, but I do have a plan, one that I came up with that fits my schedule (usually) and makes perfect sense to me.

The plan is simple really. Run a lot of miles and double up on long runs. Instead of one long run on Saturday, I started about three weeks ago to run back-to-back long runs on Friday and Saturday. The first week I ran 8 and 10 on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The next week, 10 and 10. The next 11 and 11. So my plan for this week was to get 12 and 12.

But life happened.

It worked out that the dead period for Arkansas high school athletics began today. If you don't know, the dead period is a two week span during which coaches are not allowed to work with athletes. No practice for two weeks. When we found that out, we scheduled our annual trip to see my wife's parents to coincide.

That meant a 1000 mile drive began yesterday morning, just about the time I usually step off on my first long run of the week. Since I didn't think it wise to get up at two in the morning to squeeze in twelve miles THEN try to drive 1000 miles, the run was a casualty of circumstance. So the long drive took the place of the long run.

Whenever we make that drive, we leave so early because it brings us to our destination in time to visit for a couple of hours before hitting the hay. We found that waiting to leave later in the day really causes us to lose two complete days, the traveling day and a day to recover. Heading out so early allows the recovery to occur the same night of the marathon drive.

So this morning I was still able to salvage one long run for this week.
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." -- Isaiah 43:19
And with the help of the Good Lord, salvage it I did!

In the past we normally made this trip in late July/early August, the hottest part of the summer. That time of year, the same heat and humidity that make running so tough in the summer back home is what I face here also. So it was kind of a surprise this morning to be greeted by crisp, cool air when I stepped out the door.

It's been some time since it felt that good when I began a long run, so I decided to fully exploit this unexpected window of opportunity. I decided to go for at 15 miles on the first day of our summer vacation.

After a quick stop at Wal Mart for Powerade and M & M's, it was a little after 5 when I hit the paved walking/running/biking trail in Jacksonville, NC to begin my run. The asphalt trail is right at 6.5 miles long from beginning to end. Where I park is just shy of 3 miles from one end and just over 3.5 miles from the other.

Though the first mile was a little slow while I got warmed up, I then settled into just under a 10 minute pace for the rest of the first leg. I arrived back at the car with 5.8 miles finished and still felt good. After a short break to rehydrate and take on a little fuel, I stepped back onto the trail headed for the other end.

The second leg didn't require a warm up mile so I was able to manage a pretty consistent pace throughout. My fastest mile during this period was mile 9 at a 9:47 pace, the slowest was mile 7 in 10:06. When I again reached the car, my Garmin said I had completed 13 miles.

Again I took a few minutes to refuel, then was back on my way.

This time I headed back toward the main gate of Camp Lejeune, home of the United States Marine Corps' 2nd Division. This time though, I went out only one mile before turning around to run my 15th and final mile to the car.
"15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." -- Ephesians 5:15-16
That verse says it all. Life doesn't always go the way we want, the way we think it should. In those situations, we're not supposed to sit down and cry, bemoaning the fact that life isn't fair. We're supposed to look for opportunities, make the most of the situation.

So a 1000 mile drive might have stolen one day of my training week, but a slight adaptation today allowed me to make my longest run in at least a couple of months. Of course, Jesus Christ played a big part by turning the weather switch to "NICE" for today's run. As always, my successful training day could not be possible without the grace and blessings of our Lord and Savior.

A lot of people get really worked up when a wrench gets thrown into the gears of their marathon training plans. I hope that at least a few of you will remember these words the next time life happens and throws you off your plan.

Adapt, improvise, and overcome.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Weekly Journal 6/4 -- 6/10

Thank you Jesus for a great training week!

Things started out tough on Monday when we mounted the big, yellow school bus for a ride out to Cadron Settlement Park just outside Conway, AR. The father of a couple of girls on our school's cross country team went early to mark the trail with flour and it's a good thing he did.

The 5.3 miles of trail were all contained on the 40 acre park and included a seemingly never ending series of switchbacks with 400 feet of elevation gain. This was my first experience with trail running and it was tough! The two foot wide trail demanded constant concentration to navigate the rocks and roots without losing footing. Several of the kids hit the ground before the run was over, but scrapes and bruises were the worst of the injuries suffered. Definitely made for an interesting, if tough, start to the week.

The trail run on Monday left me stiff and sore for my regular 6 miles on Tuesday. Less than 5 miles in I began to fall back from the group and finished quite a way behind the next to the last. Again, heat and humidity were at play, but mostly I blame the first time trail experience of the day before. But hey, what's life without new challenges thrown in once in a while?

Speed work on Wednesday with the cross country team again, this time consisting of what was supposed to be a 4 mile tempo run after a one mile warm up. Still suffering from lagging soreness and stiffness from Monday's trail run, I didn't keep up the tempo pace for the entire four miles. I managed the first mile in 7:48, the second in 8:01, but the third and fourth fell apart. I did take the opportunity to coach a few of the kids who I found walking (yes, in a tempo run). I didn't really get them back to a tempo pace, but at least coaxed them back to a run. I finished the day with 5 miles and felt like I'd put in a pretty good workout.

Thursday I was pretty much recovered from my trail experience and back with my Tuesday/Thursday running group. We did 6 miles and I managed to keep up. On this run we actually did the first three miles significantly slower than the second three. Overall we averaged a 10 minute pace, which might have been why my fat, slow self could keep up. :)

I'd originally planned to do 10 miles on Friday and 12 on Saturday, but ended up with 11 and 11 instead. I ran the first 5 on Friday from the house, then returned to pick up Janice and head to Vilonia for cross country practice. Once again, the second leg went better than the first, but not by much. On my first 5 miles that morning, I managed a 9:54 pace. I ran the second 6 miles at a 9:47 pace. So I ended up with 11 miles just because everything was going so well.

Friday's 11 meant that I could drop Saturday's run to 11 also and still get in the same number of miles. It just happened that my Tuesday/Thursday group had planned to run a 10.75 mile loop on Saturday. Knowing I probably needed to run a little slower, I joined them anyway. You can probably tell from reading above that my comfortable pace falls right about a 10 minute mile. We did the first 5.5 around a 9:30 pace. You can probably guess that I struggled in the second half. Most everyone's pace was slowing so I managed to hang pretty close until mile 9. Then I dropped way back. By the time I finished the entire 11, my average pace was a 10:04 for the distance.

Training Week: June 4 - June 10

Monday5 miles
Tuesday6 miles
Wednesday5.5 miles
Thursday6 miles
Friday11 miles
Saturday11 miles
Sunday0 miles
Total44.5 miles

Even though I managed pretty good mileage this week, they were mostly tough miles. Partly because we've added in a little trail running at cross country practice, but mostly because of the elevated temperatures and humidity.

It's like this every year, just hard to perform well in the summer. I'm 40 pounds heavier than I was 20 years ago when I could regularly run 3 miles in under 19 minutes. Those years and pounds have slowed me down, significantly. They've also made it tougher to endure summer weather conditions. I've just got to remember that I'm not 24 anymore and I don't have to be as fast as I once was.
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -- Philippians 4:7
That's okay though, because along with those years (and maybe the added pounds too) has come a wisdom that I most certainly lacked in my youth, a wisdom that carries with it a peace that I never knew all those years ago. That wisdom is that I don't have to finish in any particular time, because I'm not out here to impress anyone. Not even myself. I'm out here pounding the pavement every day to bring honor and glory to the One who gives me that peace, Jesus Christ.

My Savior and Redeemer is the One who keeps me on the road. He's the reason I can get up in the morning when most people are still soundly sleeping, lace up my running shoes, and step off into the still dark earliest hours of the new day. The peace of knowing that one day I'll rejoin my daughter with Him in Heaven is what keeps me going. In exchange for that peace, I feel compelled to do whatever I can whenever I can to bring Him glory and hopefully help bring others to find that peace.

Making it through the trials of this life is a lot like running in the summer. When I'm hot and miserable and even having to stop and walk during these summer runs, my mind often wanders and reminds me that suffering in the heat is going to make running in the fall that much easier. By the same token, suffering the tough times we endure in this life is going to make our eternal life in Heaven that much sweeter.
"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." -- 1 Corinthians 10:31
That's why I run and that's why I'll keep running, hot or cold, dry or humid, rain or shine. To bring honor and glory to the One who made me.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Missing you...

All these years I've loved you,
Proud to be your Dad.
After all we've gained and lost
Now I'm really sad.

I know I made mistakes,
Plenty along the way.
But know I tried my very best
Every single day.

I did the things that I thought right
To teach you what I knew.
Through the good times and the bad
Never stopping loving you.

Now I look upon your pictures
All throughout our home,
And wonder where you are
And how you're getting along.

Somewhere along the way
What I did went awry.
Now all that I can do
Is pray and wonder why.

I pray the day will come
When we can reunite.
My opportunity to teach you
Has slipped into the night.

I wish things had turned out different,
That they didn't come to this,
That my heart was not so broken
As you I dearly miss.

But as long there's breath in me
Remember that I'm here.
My love as strong as ever
For you daughter dear.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Before you go...

On December 1st of this year, we'll be running the St. Jude Memphis Marathon to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. We've set a goal to raise $3500 and so far June has been our slowest fundraising month. The weekend's here. Most will be headed out to have fun this evening. Eating in restaurants, drinking in bars, shopping in stores. But there are some, kids no less, who will be spending their weekend in the hospital where doctors and nurses are working to save their lives. Please take a few minutes and commit to skipping desert, or having one less drink, or buying one less shirt, to help the kids of St. Jude.

Before You Go
It's Friday night and the work's all done.
Now it's time to go out and have fun,
For those with good health,
Who feel quite well.

But what about others, the sick and infirm,
Kids whose suffering has not been earned.
The evening they'll spend in their hospital room,
While the rest of go and do what we do.

So as you head out to enjoy this night,
Won't you stop and consider these kids and their plight.
You can help you see, and it's really not hard.
All it takes is a minute with your credit card.

Just go to the page you'll find linked below,
To help the kids of St. Jude before you go.
Then you can enjoy your night and have fun
Thinking about all the good that you've done.
Sometimes it's easy to forget about the suffering of those we don't see everyday. The kids at St. Jude are being treated for a variety of life threatening illnesses, fighting and struggling to survive. The hospital is funded by donations from people who don't forget about their suffering patients. Families of St. Jude kids aren't sent a bill. They aren't harassed by collection agencies.
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'" -- Matthew 25:40
Their kids receive world class treatment, cutting edge stuff, and many are saved. Unfortunately, not all patients survive, but the folks at St. Jude are working hard, researching to find new treatments and cures for these kids. Every gift, no matter how large or small plays a part in keeping this wonderful place open and saving lives.

So tonight, before you head out for your night on the town, won't you commit to donating something to help save the lives of St. Jude kids? It only takes a couple of minutes. It's easy and convenient, and accomplishes so much.

Thanks in advance, and God bless.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Weekly Journal 5/28 -- 6/3

We'll call this a successful training week, but it was anything but easy.

The tough part this week was the back to back 10 mile days on Friday and Saturday, only the second week of my training to run the back to back End of the World Marathon and the Day After the End of the World Marathon on December 21st and 22nd, respectively.

A couple of cooler days in the middle of the week gave us a brief respite from the sultry conditions that we've been enduring for the last couple of weeks, but only a very brief respite. We'll take the cooler days now whenever we can get them, and be grateful for them, but now things are back to normal summer and humid.

The highlight of the week was the Cabot Country Cruisers annual Memorial Day run on Monday. It was one year ago at this event that I made my first run with the club, and I've been running with them ever since. We start at a local elementary school and make about a 2.5 mile journey to the city's veterans memorial. This year we had more than 70 runners and walkers make the trek, more than 3 times last year's count. It was a fantastic experience and made me proud to be a member of our great local running club.

We continue to work with the high school cross country team on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. Wednesday was speed work for the kids. I had to help time so I only ran the warm up and cool down miles with them. Most of them came to a conclusion I drew long ago, that speed work is not the most enjoyable part of training. But they hung in there and worked hard. On Friday we did a 5 mile route that included some pretty good hills.

It was a pretty tough route, made tougher by the 5 miles I did before practice. (Remember, I had two 10-milers planned this week.) But I fell back with the kids bringing up the rear and worked with them to help them get through. That's the best part for me anyway, helping the kids accomplish more than they thought they could.

Training Week: May 28 - June 3

Monday6 miles
Tuesday6 miles
Wednesday2 miles
Thursday6 miles
Friday10 miles
Saturday10 miles
Sunday0 miles
Total40 miles

Then Saturday was race day, the Cheetah Chase 5K starting at the Little Rock Zoo. It was the toughest 5K course I've ever run and my time showed it, 31:24.05, about 7 minutes slower than my PR. But there were mitigating factors that kept me from being disappointed in my performance.

It wasn't nearly as hot as it could have been, but the humidity was through the roof. Long before crossing the finish line, I was drenched in sweat, looking more like I'd been swimming than running.

The second thing that negatively impacted my time was the 7 miles I ran earlier that morning, before the race. (Remember again the two 10 milers I had to get in?) I knew the race was going to be a challenge before that 7 was over. The humidity and the miles from the previous day were taking there toll before I finished the first 6 and I dropped to a run/walk strategy to finish the miles. I was worn out before I got home just in time to head out for the race.

Last, the hills. The route wound through a neighborhood called Hillcrest. An appropriately named neighborhood I might add. The first half mile was downhill from the school, a nice easy downhill that created a false sense of security. In fact, a lady running beside me down the hill remarked how nice the course was. I told her the back side was where the hills would catch up to us.

I was wrong.

The first half mile was downhill, followed immediately by a steep uphill. For the remainder of the course, until the last quarter of a mile, we ran over an unending series of steep climbs followed by steep descents. It felt more like a hill repeat workout than a race. Still, it was a well organized race with plenty of support. And I can't say enough nice things about the Little Rock Police Department. It went all out to help with the race, officers stationed at nearly every intersection making certain traffic didn't impede runners and keeping us on course. Awesome job LRPD!
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." -- Colossians 3:17
The best thing about this race is that it reminded me what I run for. It's really easy sometimes to get caught up in times and PRs, but that's not what I'm out there for. My job on the course, be it a 5K or a marathon or anything in between, is to bring honor and glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

My slower time gave more people the opportunity to pass me and see the pictures and the verse on the back of my shirt. I was able to tell our story to three different people and another woman who follows us on Facebook introduced herself as well. By crossing the finish line later, by running slower, our cause was given more exposure.

It might have been slow, but I got in my planned miles for the week and we were able to spread the message we are here for. This week definitely qualifies as a success.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Slow but Successful 5K

Saturday I ran the Cheetah Chase 5K at the Little Rock Zoo in probably my worst 5K time ever!

My less than stellar performance could have been caused by any one of a number of things, or a combination. It could have been the 7 miles I ran earlier in the morning, before the race. Or perhaps the 10 mile run I did the day before left lingering effects that dragged my time down. The fact that I'd been working most of the week putting more flooring in the miserably hot and humid attic at the house could also be the culprit. Finally, the hills on the course made this the toughest 5K course I'd ever run. Thinking about all that...I'd say I should have expected a slow time.

I'd told myself before that I wasn't going to worry too much about times anyway until after the summer. The heat and humidity here pretty much prevent me from setting PRs between June and August. But that's a great reminder that finishing times aren't the reason we do this. Our reasons for pounding the pavement are much greater than that.
"That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe." -- 1 Timothy 4:10
It's only by the grace of God that I'm able to get out and run, and it's to honor Him and glorify Him that I run. How fast or slow I run is unimportant in the grand scheme of things. What matters most is that I get out there, and while I'm out there I do everything I can to bring Him glory and to bring others to Jesus.
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." -- Colossians 3:17
Maybe the summer months, when the weather really slows me down, are God's way of reminding me that I'm not out there for me, but for Him. I was blessed with the opportunity to tell Amanda's story, to share our tragedy and our source of hope, with several people at this race. That's what it's really all about. That's why we started Running with Amanda.

This might have been the slowest 5K I ever did, but it accomplished what it was supposed to accomplish. So I'll chock it up as a success regardless of the finish time.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Seize the Day!

After a lackluster run yesterday, this morning's 10 miles was fantastic!

Summer's coming fast and we've been routinely having summertime weather for several weeks lately. Really, we haven't had hardly any breaks from oppressive heat and humidity. If you hadn't had access to a calendar, after a few steps from the door you would have thought it was already mid-July or August. The weather hasn't stopped me from running, but it has made it almost miserable at times.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." -- James 1:17
It's times like these when you have to be thankful for good runs when you can, and today was just such an opportunity. The Good Lord gave us a reprieve from the sultry weather pattern we've fallen into. This morning I stepped out the door and was greeted by 550 air with almost no humidity. It felt like Heaven.

That made it a great day to make the 10 miles I had planned.

The Weather Channel's website tells me our weather will soon turn back to pretty much miserable, but I'm just happy for this little break. Tomorrow's 10 will be a little warmer, and by next week we'll be back to 70s and high humidity. For the next several months, most runs will be occupied at least partly with thoughts of, "I can't wait until September." Many will be downright miserable.

But through it all, from time to time, God will bless us with some pleasant days. Each one will be a day to seize and enjoy!

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.