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

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.

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