Wednesday, December 29, 2010

National Marathon

Well, I'm signed up for the National Marathon. I ran the Half-Marathon this past year, but like in all these combined races with Half and Full Marathons...I'm always wishing I had done the full. So this coming year...I'm going after the Full Marathon. So now back to training.

Marine Corps Marathon 2010

My eldest daughter completed her first marathon. I helped her train and then paced her through the race. I was totally blown away. She ran a perfect marathon. Her first half and second half of the race was totally even. She never hit the wall and she managed to keep a sub 5 hour pace. After our 20 mile run back a few weeks ago, she shared that she wanted to finish under 5 hours...and she did. She ran a 4:55.

As we were headed out of Crystal City at about the 24 mile marker, I noticed that she was tearing up. Worried I asked her what was wrong. My fear was that she had finally hit the wall. But no, she responded. "I'm going to finish this in under 5 hours...I can't believe it."

The key to her success was Jeff Galloway's run/walk cycle. She nailed it.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tomorrow...waiting for race day.

Here I am just hours away from my #1 daughter's first marathon and I feel more like its my first marathon instead. There are the typical questions...have we done the right training? Well we get to the right pace and hold that for the distance? How will we handle the wall?

If I was running this by myself, it would be like any marathon before. But this is her first marathon. And the questions...are there. I know the stuff she is made of. She will excel like with everything she has tried. That I have no doubt. But...she is still my daughter...and she has trusted me to help her get to the starting line. Now...the question is how will we get to the finish line. Knowing her...we will do well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Baltimore Half Marathon

Sorry, I've not updated this. Busy week, but I did run the Baltimore Half this past Saturday. It was a nice race but not in the top ten list. The course was challenging. The first ten miles was tough and the last three miles were a runner's dream (all down hill with the wind at your back). I was a bit disappointed with my time. I was hoping to go sub 2 hours, but the headwind and the rolling hills in the first 10 miles took a lot out of me. Next up is the Marine Corp Marathon on the 31st. I'll be running with daughter #1. It will be her I'm not looking to set a new personal best here but just to enjoy the day and the company.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Gearing Up for Next Months' Races

Saturday's Marathon was the start of my season for running. I've played with this idea of creating my own person race season for a few years. I did it back in 1987-89 with my race season starting in October and going through the first week of April, but because life is what is happening while you are making plans and because I started to move all over the world started; this season idea was placed on hold. It's hard to plan to race several times in a given period when you might be deployed before the next race. So because my current job gives me a little more stability on when I'm away from home, I'm going to try to do the "race season" idea again.

This summer I've worked to build a solid base for my running. The Air Force Marathon was my first test to see where I was in terms of having any real speed left in this 53-year-old body of mine. What I discovered was the desire is there if not the test done and passed. Now my next full speed race test is the Baltimore Half Marathon in October. My goal is to get right up there to the 2-hour mark, a minute or two ether side of that mark and I'll be happy. Then of course I have the Marine Corp Marathon on the 31 of October. This will actually be a fun run with my oldest daughter as she tries to complete her first marathon.

I'm looking around the local area for a Marathon in November and leaning towards the Philadelphia Marathon, then try a few Half Marathons in January and February to refine my speed. Then...the goal race and final race for my season...the Pittsburgh Marathon. I ran the race in 2001 and I lived in Pittsburgh back in the 1980's so I am very familiar with the course. So it makes sense to make that a goal race.

A quick note on goal races; every running season should have a purpose, be it a Conference Championship, or a new distance, or an attempt at a personal record. But it should always be done on a course you are familiar and have run before hand. If you try to run a personal record on a new course you decrease the likelihood of accomplishing your goal. Familiarity is critical to having a relaxed attitude. Also some of us like certain elements or places and those things have a tendency to inspire the best in us.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Air Force Marathon 2010

Well, I finished the Air Force Marathon in 4:31. Not a record and slower then I had hoped to run but... Given that last week was extremely busy and I had a headcold...I'll just be thankful that I finished the run,

I also changed my strategy the day before the race....not a good thing to do. I'd been training to do 5 minute cycles of 4 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. But because of the headcold, and not being very motivated to run by myself, I decided to run with the 4:20 pace group. To be honest it was fun to run with several people, but I could tell about the 15 mile mark, my breathing was getting harder, but I was already committed to make it with the group.

I was right on pace with the group until the 20 mile mark and then my sinuses and headache from the cold kind of jumped on my back. Also by that time in the morning the temperature was well on its way to nearly 80+ degrees. So I'll start focusing on my next test. The Baltimore Half Marathon. My goal for that race is to break the 2 hour mark.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Reflections on Life Events

I am preparing for my mother's visit...which means...clean the house. So today, I hauled four boxes of books out to my office to open up space in the some closets at home. After work, I started digging through the boxes to find out what I had been hanging on to for so many years. What I discovered were several old letters, trophies, books and pictures from my early years as a pastor.

I’ve shared before, that I’m a packrat. I keep things of sentimental value that hold very little meaning to others but everything to me. So as I’m digging through the stuff sorting things out, I came across my first trophy that I won for winning a race back in High School. It was from June of 1975. That was the year between my junior and senior year of High School, and I remember vividly winning that race.

The race was two-miles on the track at a summer meet sponsored by the local running club. I had a horrible track season that junior year. I had shown promise, but because of nerves and inexperience, I had finished dead last in all but one race. Now at this low-key summer club track meet, I went out dead last. I had nothing to prove. But about lap three, I moved to the front. I was relaxed and felt no pressure. I remember on lap 7 several of my friends shouting for me and I felt strong. That last lap went by so quickly, that even now I can’t really remember it, but I do remember the last few feet when I realized that I had won the race.

Now nearly 35 years later, I find the old trophy. As I think back on all the past years of my life, I can’t help to realize that I’ve been very blessed by God. I’ve lived a dream life with a wonderful wife and family. I’ve seen the world and I’ve meet so many wonderful people. And…I still feel the way I felt those last few feet in the race…I been blessed.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Long Runs

The key to running the marathon is the long run. You don't have to be fancy about how you do it. You just need to do it.

Jeff Galloway's book, "Running: A Year Found Plan", is a great read. He shares this insight into the purpose of the long run:

"The long run builds endurance by gradually extending slow long runs, you train muscle cells to expand their capacity to utilize oxygen efficiently, sustain energy production , and in general, increase capacity to go farther.... Even when running very slowly, with liberal walk breaks, you build endurance by gradually increasing the distance of a regularly schedule long run. Start with the length of your current long one, and increase by 0.5 to 1 mile per week...."

Personally, I've substituted time as the measuring stick over against a defined mile marker. I increase my long runs by 10 minutes every week rather then a mile. The reason I made the shift is simple, because of weather. I've run a lot of my marathons in the Fall, which means Summer tends to be the time I'm building my distance. Also because I've spent a lot of my summers in nice warm places with temperatures near 100 degrees by 9 am...I felt a need to shift to time. My reasoning was some days the heat and humidity drained me faster and if I was focused on a distance, I would feel bad when I had to abandon the distance just because I was trying to keep a certain pace for the distance. I read an article that argued that time allowed you to focus on going for a period of time with a known end point after which you were finished. If you covered a set difference good, but if you didn't that was still good. It was about moving your body for that time and building on it. I made the shift last summer while in Kuwait and it made a huge difference. I never struggled to finish the run like I had when it was a set distance.

So today as my daughter and I ran, we used Galloway's cycle of run/walk and easily completed the time of two hours. We'll go further next week just because we'll add 10 minutes...and that will eventually get us to the finish line on the 31st of October.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I too have a goal in mind

"So often, I too, have a goal in mind, a vision of ministry to fulfill. But You, O God are Sovereign, I am employed for Your service and You maintain the right to alter my plans in whatever way You wish. Keep me alert to Your leading and attuned to Your purposes. Help me to be prepared in season and out of season, ready to do good works which you have prepared in advance for me to do."

I actually read this prayer back in December, but it's been playing in my mind for the past few days. The part that I'm stuck on is "You maintain the right to alter my plans..." I hate to admit it but I get stuck. I want things to go according to my plans...and they never do. As much as I try to control the situation, I'm never in control.

Just like in running, I have to deal with the weather...or the stress of my personal daily schedule, I need to learn to adapt and let each day come as it may. Training for my marathons truly have taught me to be dependent on God...for everything.

Returning from Travels

I hate to admit this age is catching up to me. Once upon a time, I was always able to get back to normal after a length trip, but this time...a different story. I was in the Far East last week visiting and teaching classes in SafeTALK. I'm getting back to running this week, but very slowly. As I learned from the great running coach getting out and running easily will help. So yesterday, I got out and did a short 4 mile run. Today I'm going to try for a quick 2 miles and then on Thursday get out and do 6 miles. Friday off and then Saturday back to my running schedule for the Marine Corp Marathon...with a 2 hour run.

Running should be keeping things simple and easy is more important than training hard and risking injury and burn-out. So when you have stressful time at work or home...or if you traveling...give yourself a break and get away from you training schedule. When things get back to normal...then go back to the schedule.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Quick Update

My running this past week has been great. But now I'm off on a trip to the Far East...and I know my running will be way down. The thing is I will still try to get out on my running days even if it is just to run for about 10 minutes. We all have weeks where we can't train like we know we the solution is try to do something.

So I'll share more when I return next week.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Grace is something that I think I know a lot about.  But the truth is I will never fully understand nor appreciate the true depth of what it really means.  Today I experienced it again.  I was busy with my work...trying to take care of the Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers who I see daily.  And I got an email with my evaluation from my commander with his and his commander's comments.  Grace came a knocking on my door.

Grace is a gift that comes not when it is desired or wanted, but when it is needed.  It can be as simple as someone saying to did a good job.  And it can be as dramatic as the calm in the midst of a storm.  That email was the "'re doing good."  We all want to know that what we are doing is appreciated and valued...and for me today that is what happened.  And it feels good.

But grace is something that I've learn doesn't come without some kind of struggle.  It falls on the soul like a gentle rain...but first there had to be a drought.  It comes as relief from the storms of life, but there has to be the storms. comes...but only after it seems too late. is a marvelous thing.

Grace is when you run your last step of a race...and the peace of God rains down upon your head.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heat Wave

Okay, I know I was spoiled living in California...but I paid the price by having to spend two summers out of three in Kuwait and I deserve a nice summer...but someone left the heater on.  It was crazy hot out there for my run today.  It said 87 on the weather channel but I think it was in the 90s.

So how to deal with the heat and humidity...drink lots of water and Gatorade.  Okay the problem with just water is that if you drink to much you throw your electrolytes out of balance.  The Gatorade or any other drink like that brings your electrolytes back up.

Yea...I have a story about a good friend who I was running the Los Angeles Marathon with back a few years ago.  He had run prior marathons so I wasn't paying attention to him...we had another friend who was running his first and I was coaching him as we ran the course.  Because we were running at a very slow pace, my friend who had run prior marathons was staying well hydrated.  But without my knowledge he was passing up the Gatorade.  Well, when we finished the marathon, he went down because his electrolytes were out of balance.  The condition is called "hypokalemia."

There have been several studies on this.  I first heard about it at the Pittsburgh Marathon back in May of 2001.  They discovered at the end of the 2000 Pittsburgh Marathon a lot of runners who finished in the later part of the race like after 5 hours were going down with heart issues...they discovered it was "hypokalemia."  So remember...drink water but keep your electrolytes in balance by drinking electrolyte replacement drinks.  One more many electrolyte replacement drink will produce "hypernatremia."  That is also not a good keep a balance drink both during your work outs.

Remember "Go out easy...have fun...and keep the desire to run."

Friday, June 18, 2010

New Computer

This year has been a pain when it comes to computers for me.  When I got home from Kuwait in August, my home computer crashed because the anti-virus wasn't updated while I was away and a virus took the whole thing down.  Then during the move to Maryland in October, the hard drive ended up damaged from the move and had to get a new hard drive.  Then the DVD when out...and then in  May the motherboard died.  So after using the Dell Computer for 2 years, it was time to replace the beast.  So I made the move to the Apple iMac computer.  I have to say it was because my daughter #2 loved her new Apple and my sister. I'm an Apple.  So far all I can say is that I'm glad I'm no longer a PC...but ask me that question again in about two years.

So now a quick report on my running.  Its been going great.  I'm building up for the Air Force and Marine Corp Marathons in September and October.  So stay tune...more to come.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

How can I let this day go by without shedding a tear. Last year I was standing on a stage in Camp Buehring, Kuwait leading a Memorial Service for over 3,000. I remember the hundreds, thousands, millions...who have lost their lives in serves to the ideas of freedom. I shared with my wife that it is easier for me to be deployed among those service than sitting here in the comfort of my home. Here I remember the cost...I remember those I've stood besides serving...and I remember their families and their children. Back in 2005, I spent Memorial Day with a one year old whose father earlier that day died in a plane crash in Iraq. I remember them...and I count myself have walked beside such heroes.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Marine Corp Historic Half Marathon

The quality of the Marine Corp Marathon organization re-established themselves to me as one of the best. The Marine Corp Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, VA was outstanding. The logistics were again outstanding, the volunteers second to none. After the debacle at the Frederick, MD, Half Marathon, it was a refreshing joy to run a well managed race.

It was warm, but great volunteers saved the day.  The course was tough, but I was able to complete the half in 2:04:47.  If you are thinking of doing a Half-Marathon, this is one you want to do.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sister's Inspiration

I was blessed by having two great older sisters. My eldest sister, Ann died a few years ago. Before her accident that eventually took her life, she was always trying to make life better for others. As a school teacher, youth director at church…you name it she was always doing for others. When she finally died, her organs were donated to several individuals. She was an inspiration.

My next oldest sister has been busy raising a family and working in her church. A few years ago as her youngest child left home, she started walking and did the Austin Half Marathon, which made me very proud. But this past year she topped that effort and made me start to reconsider why I’m doing all the running I’ve been doing. She ran the Houston Half Marathon, but she did it for the Presbyterian Children Home. She raised money in memory of my father, but she also did something to raise awareness. That inspired me.

This past weekend while running the Frederick Half Marathon, I can across a flier for Team World Vision. “World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, family and their communities worldwide…by tackling the cause of poverty and injustice.” My wife and I have been supports for years of World Vision. Now I’m going to sign on to help them raise awareness while I run.

A few weeks ago a media personality made disparaging remarks about certain churches and organization seeking to promote social justice. I have been troubled by that comment. All Christians are about social justice. It is a mandate to our faith. Yes, we will always have the poor among us, but we are also our brother/sister keeper…and that means we have a responsibility. There are people who are stuck in poverty all around this world…and I’m going to try to make a difference.

So I’m adding a link to World Vision’s website on this…and I’m going to start raising money for them. Hope you will donate, I am…my pledge is $100 for every race I run this year and hopefully next year even more. We all have a responsibility to use our talents for others.

And for my sister who inspired me…thanks…you’re a great big sister.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hot Half

Okay, who turned on the heater.  I walked out to the car at 4 am this morning to head for the Frederick Half Marathon, in Frederick, MD and it was like 70 degrees.  I honestly was thinking it would have been in the 50s or 60s, but 70s...that nuts.  So I started drinking water and pumped in about 2 liters before the rae.  And I'm glad I did.  It got over 75 degrees before the end of the race and that for me is hot.  I ran a good race, not earth shattering like the National, but solid non the less.  I pull in across the finish line in 2:05:26, about 3 minutes slower than the National effort.

This course had problems from the get go.  It is going down as I did it, and I won't be back.  The course was advertised as flat for the first 13 miles and then rolling hills to the finish of the marathon.  But the truth is the first half was also rolling hills.  Granted there were no major inclines on the course, but there was very little flat.  You were going up or down.  The second problem with this course was it was twisted.  There were more turns from one street to the next that it was impossible for the crowd of runners to manage the narrow streets and corners got clogged with runners making the turns.  The final and most important problem with the course was the lack of volunteers.  There were aid stations, but they got back logged with runners trying to get water off the tables because there were at times only a handful of volunteers.  Give the heat, that was not a good thing.  I saw at one water stop, a runner knock over about 30 cups of water trying to get one.  The poor volunteer was trying his best to help, but for the runners coming up behind me, they were not going to get water at that stop.

So given the heat and the problems with the course.  I'm glad I did it.  I did a good job, but this is one that I'm not sure I'll run again.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hiking on the AT and C&O at Harper's Ferry

It was a beautiful day here in Maryland, so my son and I went for a little 5 mile hike on the AT and C&O trails this afternoon.  Hope you enjoy the pictures.  And tomorrow, I'm running the Frederick Half Marathon...hopefully the rain will hold off until after the race.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Okay, I'm dating myself with the blog. The past week I've been in Nebraska at Offutt AFB. Back in the 1960, my family lived there and I actually started school there. On Thursday afternoon, I had some time to run over to the old house. Talk about changes. But it has been 40 plus years since I played in that yard and walked those streets. The memories came flooding back. So here are some of the pictures of the old house and the chapel my father helped build.

And to think the last time I saw these views, President John F. Kennedy had just been assassinated.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Marine Corp Marathon

Yes, I am running the race again with my daughter #1. I’ve been disappointed with it the last two time I ran the race in 2007 and 2009, but…hope springs eternal and spending the time with my daughter is part of the reason for doing it again. When I did my PR on the course in 1988, I fell in love with the people and race…so I only hope that the organization gets back to that kind of quality.

So we are trying once again to run this thing together. We tried to do it last year but my daughter training was hampered and she did the smart thing and pulled out. One the key things you must learn to run a successful marathon is know with to run and when not to run. So with me living the local area, I’m hoping that I can be more of an aid to her this time and help her to train for this one. More to come.

Monday, March 29, 2010

AT - Challenge for the future

Yesterday after church, my wife, son and self went up to Harper's Ferry, WVa for the afternoon.  We ended up hiking a little bit on the trails around Harper's Ferry.  For you who don't know--the Appalachian Trail ,that runs from Georgia to Maine, passes through the town.  Also the Appalachian Trail Headquarter is located in Harpers Ferry as it is considered the half way point on the trail.

It was great.  A bit on the cold side and we did get wet from hiking in the rain the last quarter mile of our trek...but it was great getting out and seeing spring starting to arrive.  The trees were budding, there were wonderful wild flowers poking up out of the ground.  It was perfect.

I've even come up with another challenge for the future as we were hiking along the trail.  By the end of summer, I'm going to do the Maryland section of the AT.  It is about a 40 plus mile section, so I think I could easily do it in three days.  So besides all these half marathons, and marathons I have schedule.  I now have a wilderness experience to look forward to enjoying.

Monday, March 22, 2010

More Half Marathons

Okay...Saturday Race has me addicted. I'm looking through all of the local half-marathons right now building a schedule of races to run for the next year. I know it is mad, and that I'm half crazy...but it was just a big kick for me. So I'm looking to run maybe about 4 or 5 of these half-marathons. I signed up for two this evening. The first is the Frederick Half Marathon and the second is the Baltimore Half Marathon. I'm looking at doing the Marine Corp Historic Half and maybe the Virginia Beach Half Marathon as two other ones. Don't worry; I'm not giving up my Marathons. I'm going to do the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio in September and the Marine Corp Marathon in October. I'm still playing with my schedule to see what I can fit in. Also my oldest daughter has requested to run with we might work together to do one of these races together. More on this later.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Goal 2:20 - Actual time 2:02 at CareTrust National Half Marathon

I got home from DC just over an hour ago and I'm still walking around on cloud 9. I ran the "CareTrust National Half Marathon" in Washington this morning. My goal going into the run was to hit 2:20 or just a little faster. My reasoning was I did a 4:37 at the Marine Corp Marathon back in October, and my training through the winter here was not very good. And for that second week of February when we got hammered by the snow fall...I really was thinking that 2:20 was going to be a tough enough challenge to reach.

So what happened? Perfect condition, great course lay-out and the grace of God. We started the race just a little after 7am. It was cool but not cold and still a little dark. I also lined up a little ahead of where I typically line up. I was in with the 4:30 Marathoners (2:15 Half Marathoners). My thought process here was that in the past several mass starts I've been in, I've had to shorten my stride at the start for several miles so I wouldn't trip up some slower runner who got in ahead of me. Yea, I still had slower runners in front of me but the majority of those around me were moving at about my pace, so I wasn't cutting my stride to often during the first three miles.

The second was the course itself. It started at RFK Stadium and then headed down past the Capital to the Lincoln Memorial...that's all downhill and it is a gentle slope so you can really just relax and run...and that is what I did. My pace through the first six miles was in the 8min/mile area. At mile 4.7 you head up hill to the highest point on the course, about 200 feet of climb. But when I got to the top I was feeling great. My time slipped to 9min/mile but I felt I had a lot of energy, and at that point I started thinking about trying to break the two hour mark. But the rolling hills over the last part of the course, and the fact that my training really hadn't been that good started to tell.

About mile 11, I realized that the 2 hour mark was out the window, but the question for me was could I hold it all together to the end, or would I blow up and start walking like a crippled old man. Here was the battle. As I went through the 12 mile mark, I realize that I had slipped to 10 min/mile pace. My legs were burning, and the desire to walk or just rest for a minute was overwhelming. My brain was also quick to inform me that since the 2:00 mark was no longer in reach that I should just jog it in easy...I really wasn't in shape.

As I took about the tenth stride away from the 12 mile marker, I made up my mind. I was going to push it to the end. And I did pulling my time back down into the 8:50/mile pace...and pushing it though to the end. Yea the watch showed 2:02 as I looked down at it crossing the finish line...but I was pumped. I put together a run that I didn't believe was possible. And that is when it hit me...God was there. Taking me through the race step by step. His grace gave me strength. Yea for me like all those marathons...God runs beside me still even in these little runs. And He gives me strength to push when my body says stop.

I'm a marathoner. I run 26.2 miles, so I rarely run half marathons. The only time I've run Half Marathons over the years is when I'm running them with my kids, or when I really want to run a marathon but haven't been training. There have been few. But to give you a perspective on this. I have to go back to my 1:41 half marathon in Gulfport MS in 1994 to have a time faster than the one I did today. So yea...I'm walking around on cloud 9.

Past 1/2 marathon times:

27 Apr 2009 - Camp Buehring, Kuwait - 2:27:46
31 Aug 2008 - Disneyland Half Marathon, CA - 2:36.01*
26 May 2007 - Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan - 2:15:05
23 Nov 2000 - Outback Half Marathon, FL - 2:06:42
27 Nov 1994 - Mississippi Beach Half Marathon, MS - 1:41:55
16 Jan 1993 - Mardi Gras Half Marathon, LA - 1:44:48
26 Dec 1992 - Last Chance Half Marathon, MS - 1:41:05
3 Oct 1992 - Mahana Rice Half Marathon, LA - 1:33:04
5 Jan 1991 - Alamo City Warm-Up, TX - 1:42:50

*There is a blog about this half marathon called "Promise Kept"  from 31 Aug 2008

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Home a little early.

I got out of the office a little early today for the first time in months.  The heavy snow back in February put me behind on some planning and paper work that needed to get done...but being caught up a bit, I decided to take a little time off this afternoon and just relax.  So what did I do?  Paperwork at home...actually trying to get bills and home issues taken care of.  But...I did manage to get outside in the beautiful 70 degree weather for a while.

I'm headed out in a few minutes to do a little run before dinner.  On Saturday, I'm running the 1/2 marathon in Washington DC.  Again, I'm not looking to run a world best mark, just to have fun.  So I'll up date this after the race on Saturday.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Matthew 6

My devotional this morning was from Matthew 6.  I was reading out of the "Message."  The way Eugene Peterson words the passage really made it jump out at me.  So I wanted to share it.

"Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.  Don't worry about missing out.  You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.  Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shoes...remember it all starts with shoes.

Those of you who know me, have heard me preach many times about the value of buying good running shoes and not wearing them past the point of about 6 months.  Well, as you know from this blog I was working on a running streak...well Monday my knee was killing I blew the streak taking Monday off.  And the reason I was forced to kill the streak at 8 day?  My shoes.  My left shoe was shot.  Then I looked at the calendar.  I bought these shoes when I got back from Kuwait.  That was in August...let's see.  August, September, October, November, December, January, February....March...that makes about 7 months on the same shoes.  Dumb me.  Do yourself a favor.  Check your shoes.  They really are not made for more then 6 months of running.  And if your knees, hips, leg don't feel good...more than likely it is the shoes.  So my new shoes came in the mail today.  I'm back on the streak again, starting in the morning.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Streaking and Running Streak is there a difference?

Here is the offical running streak website.

Check it out.  If you are interested in applying to join, you have to do 365 days straight first.  I would never qualify.  My longest is only 101, and I've done it three times.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Blog number 15 for the year!

Here it is March and I'm beating the number of blog I put on this site last year.  Last year I only managed 14, and this year 15....I'm starting to feel good about this again.  But I've got to keep it up.  Well, I'm still working on my streak.  I'm up to 6 days now...

My wife and my sister who read this blog now and then made comments that "running streak"  and "streaking" were the same thing.  I'm not going to agree to that...because I'm keeping my running short on.  Yes back in the 70's there were individuals who did some streaking...but that has nothing to do with running back to back days for a period of time.  So I'm just going to add a little pole to this blog and get your opinion.  Check it out.

The Last Week

We've been studying the book, The Last Week, by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan in the Sunday School Class I teach. If you haven't read is really well done. But as much as I like it I have problems with some of their discounting the "predictive" words of Jesus as he enters into the final week. They tend to side on the writers of the Gospels reinterpreting the context of Jesus' words in light of historical events. In the past I read, John Polkinghorne's Quantum Physics and Theology...also an great book. But I like how he views these "predictive" words of I'll share his opinion in the hope of stimulating your thoughts on Mark 8:31, 9:31, 10:33-34 and their parallels in the other Gospels. 

"Many scholars have regarded these predictions as being prophecies after the event inserted by the gospel writers, but I am not inclined to accept that judgment. No doubt the exact wording has been influenced by a subsequent knowledge of the events, but it does not seem at all strange that Jesus should go to Jerusalem that last time keenly aware of an implacable opposition to him on the part of the religious and civil authorities, realizing what its consequences were likely to be, and prepared to commit his destiny into the hands of God his Father. I believe that the predictions show us that he accepted the outcome that would follow, and that he trusted in God for his eventual vindication." 

Often in my own life, after I've gone through trials and tribulations; I tend to color my story as one emphasizing my tenacity of faith. I could see the events coming at me. As I encounter those events, I could easily see what was coming and the consequences. There was nothing miraculous about what I saw…but the difference between Jesus and me is that part about being “…prepared to commit his destiny into the hands of God….” To be honest…I’m not that prepared. 

Last year while I was deployed to Kuwait, I finished my 20th year of active duty in the Air Force…and that means I can hang up this job and walk away from the military with my retirement in hand. I am also at the point in my life where there are many options opened to me and I have a strong desire to put down roots. These life events are making me realize that there are events coming in the near future and decisions I’ll need to make concerning those events. I can even predict several of those events outcomes even though they are months and maybe a year away from me…based on the past. But as a Christian…am I willing to place my destiny into the hands of God? As much as I would love to say…yea…I’m right there…the truth is…. 

I’m human…my nature is to make things go the way I want them to go. Can I trust? Bottom-line…if I’m really going to follow Jesus…then I’m going to have to be prepared to accept the outcome and follow…trusting in God for vindication.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Since it is Lent...I've got a thought for today from John Polkinghorne.  It is from his book Quantum Physics and Theology.

"The Christian God is not simply a compassionate spectator of the travail of creation, looking down from the invulnerability of a celestial realm onto the sufferings of Earth.  Christians believe that in Christ, and particularly in his cross, we see God sharing human life and its bitterness, even to the point of a shameful and painful death, experienced in the darkness and rejection.  The Christian God is the crucified God, truly a fellow sufferer who understands."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Where is spring?

When is spring going to get here? It’s March already. It’s still cloudy and wet…we still have snow on the ground from our massive snow storm in the early part of February. To be truthful, I can’t even remember the last time I saw the sun out… maybe peeking through the clouds… but…. out as in bright and… here is the key… warm. I’m just ready for spring.

Getting into a blue mood isn’t unusual.  But how to get out of this funk? That’s the question.

As I thought about this the other day…I thought about other times when I felt trapped by the weather, or work, or just the stresses of life. Then it hit me…get out and get running. Yea…getting out and getting the body moving has always helped get me out of my depression. Something that I’ve done before…and don’t recommend to anyone…is runing streak.

Running streak is getting out and running every day for a period of time…my longest streak is 101 days of running, done way back in 1987. I’m not an advocate because I believe rest is an important part of keeping running fresh and injury free.

Still there is something about getting your body moving for a few days in a row to get your head back in the game. Focus…is key. So on Sunday, I started a streak…my longest of the year… I’ve actually run four straight days. And today was a battle to get outside and run. But I did it.

I’m not sure how long I’ll keep this streak going…I was thinking about 20 to 50 days…but then my old self…the one that thinks it’s 20 years old…came in to the discussion and said, "You can do 100 days…you did it before." Yea…but that was 1987…this is 2010…do the math…that's one too many years to think I can do it and not pay the price. But still…smart running…what I can do?  So for now I'll keep this streak going for a few more days…and who knows. The price paid maybe just enough to get me out of this funk.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Don Shula's Quote

I found this quote from Miami Dolphin's Don Shula.

"Faith leads to patience (positive thinking and practice). When things aren't going right, patience is an energizing belief that things will eventually go your way. As a result you don't give up and start to cheat or lose control or begin to take uncalled for risk to get the result you want right now."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Transform me into the person You always knew I would become.

“So strengthen my grip of faith. Renew my hope of eternal life. Grow me into the identity that yet awaits me; transform me into the person you always knew I would become.”

These three things resonate with me today. Renew my hope of eternal life. Grow me into the identity and transform me into that person. Renew, Grow, and Transform. They are so closely related you might not see the differences. But those differences are what makes this stand out to me. Renew is, for me the process of taking something and making it fresh again. In my mind eye, I see it as spring. The earth starts a new cycle of life, every year that which died in winter is brought back to life in spring. For me this is renewal. Renew my hope. So often hope falters in daily life. I know the struggles of daily life causes me to lose hope in my dreams and visions, and that causes me to lose hope in the future and sometimes even eternal life. But this is the key; eternal life. If I am secured that it is eternal life that is the end of my struggles and something that God has ordained for me. It is the end that counts. That almost sounds like the end justifies the means.” Not true but yet very true. Not true in the use of the means, as the way to do things ether honorable or dishonorable. But true in that the path I travel to get where God wants me are always good, holy and righteous. My hope is in eternal life, my actions should then reflect that hope in my daily activities.

The second word is growth. “Grow me into the identity that yet awaits me.” Growth is about nurture. It is about giving the right care that enables someone to become more. Much like a plant grows we grow. A plant needs water, nutrition, and sun. Remove any part of that the plant will not grow. We are a bit more complicated than plants; still there are things that we need to grow. And as Ben Franklin wrote: “What does not kill, instructs.” So it is true for us, our hard times help us grow. Just as training for the marathon builds me up, I hope the same is true because of my life struggles that I am able to grow stronger in my faith. What I really like about this statement is “the identity that yet awaits me.” There is a purpose that remains unfulfilled and therefore I press on…this is critical. Christian writers and scholars stress this idea that our faith is a journey, an ongoing process. No where do we find in the Bible that once you accept Christ you are finished. But it is tjos overwhelming idea that Christ is faithful to finish what he started in us.

The final idea of transformation I quickly identify with the “Transformer Movie.” The trucks and cars become defenders of the universe in a matter of seconds. There is this transformation that is constantly being changed in us. We transform from sinner to saints in a matter of seconds, time after time to do a good work. Although we would want that change permanent, it just doesn’t stick. But for that moment when God needs us to be his hands and heart in the world we become what he knows we can be and eventually will be. Eventually the ordinary person will be transformed in to the true likeness of God.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bob Wilson, Father and Pastor...but always just "Bob"

My father who passed away over a year ago wrote the following.  As I reflect on what he said in really discribes who he was.

One morning, I went by the office of the church where I had pastored for 15 years.  There in the kitchen were a group of men from the church discussing various concerns about the church and it's place in their lives.  I sat there for a while listening to their discussion, without getting involved.  One of the men said, "I don't know what to call the new pastor."  He then turned to me and asked, "What did people call you when you were the pastor here?"

I thought about the question for a few moment and replied, "Well, when I graduated from Seminary and became a pastor of my first church, a few individuals called me 'Reverend.'  Then when I went into the Air Force some called me 'Chaplain.'  After retiring from the Air Force and coming to this church, I returned to seminary and earned my doctorate degree which gave me the privilege to put Doctor in front of my name."

There was a few minutes of silence as I continued to think about the answer.  Again the gentleman asked, "So what did the people in this church call you?" 

I said "Bob."

As I think about my Dad...yea...that was who he was to the people he served..."Bob."  I only hope I can have the same sense of service that titles never go to my head.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Olympic Stories

I've been watching the Olympics from Vancouver the last few days. As a long distance runner, I always follow those cross-country type events. I'm always inspired by the dedication and the stories of these athletes who over come hardships and challenges. It is hard not to cheer for those who are out there trying their best even if it is just them finishing the race.

The other day as I watched the women’s 10K cross country, two individuals really stood out to me. The first was the American Caitlin Compton from Minnesota who finished in 30th place doing the distance in 26:49.1. It was her first Olympic competition, but watching her finish, you could see incredible determination. I can’t wait to see what she does in 4 years. She has heart and she showed it out there on Monday.

The other was Jaqueline Mouras from Brazil…yes, Brazil…not a place I would ever think would produce Winter Olympic athletes…but there she was skiing her way to 62nd place in 30:22.2. I was so impressed and what really impressed me was my best running time for a 10K is only 36:30 something…these ladies out there in the snow were still moving a whole lot faster then I run. Okay I’m inspired…and all I can say is thanks Caitlin and Jaqueline…you two win gold medals in motivating us all.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Photos of the Snow

The snow outside the house. 
The house and yes that is about 45 inches of snow and drifts up to 50.
And this is the hill I run up everyday...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Storm #3

Okay...I get the picture.  For the past three years I've lived in Los Angeles, California and having moved cross country to Maryland...I'm paying my dues for the great weather.  But you have got to be kidding...65 inches of snow fall in just two months...talking about trashing my running.  I'm going nuts wanting to get out there to run...but the snow is over my knees and the roads have not been cleared in over a week.  Well, hopefully this snow will end tomorrow and I can get out and get back to running.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

National Marathon

Okay...I'm signing up for the National Marathon...not because I'm in shape to run it but because I need to get in shape.  I did 6 miles on Saturday and then walked about another 6 miles in DC that afternoon.  But knowing me...I can get in shape and run it.  The real reason:  I need a reason to get myself going.  I need a goal to reach out and touch...and this will give me that challenge.

So here we go....

Okay...side note just to update, I've decided due to the snow to just run the 1/2 marathon.  I know I could do it but the snow fall here has been a record amount and I don't want an injury.

Monday, January 18, 2010

MLK Jr Day

I don't know if that after weeks of 30 degree weather, but there is something I like about my MLK Jr Day runs.  Over the past years, MLK Day has given me a day to just get back out there and running.  Today was so nice and warm.  Now I'm getting my self focused on the National Marathon in March. Yea...I'm going to run it.  Its time to get back into the swing of things.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rest Day

Today was my rest day for the week. It is funny, since I've not been running as much over the past few months, I really felt stupid taking the day off. I feel like I need to get out there and make up for all the time I took off. Guilt has the way of causing us to over act. My guilt for not training for the past two months tried to influence me to try to make amend for my past laziness. Had I given in and ran, I increased the possibility of over training and injuring myself.

As a pastor, I have seen individuals lives totally destroyed because they are overwhelmed with feelings of quilt. Their quilt tells them to over act in their relationship. They try too hard to make people like them. They give forgiveness to others who abuse them because they feel that the abuse they received is deserved. Guilt becomes a motivator in their lives and they lose their boundaries.

Guilt has a role in our lives. It should be a motivator to keep us on track to continue our growth as individuals. But guilt should never overwhelm us to the point that it causes behavior that damages that growth. So have a little grace and take a day of rest when needed. Have a little grace and know that God can remove the guilt.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cold...yea...its been years!

Okay God and I had a little talk this afternoon while I was out there running in the 20 something temperatures. What gives? God takes me out of California...wonderful LA 70 something and puts me in Maryland just in time for the cold...and now I'm dealing with 20 degree weather.

A few of my friends know me too well. When I shared how much snow we had here just before Christmas with them on Facebook, they came back with that wouldn't stop me from getting out there and running. And yea...they were right. The cold weather is not going to stop me...but it doesn't mean I'm ready for it. All my winter running gear is old and worn out. Moths have had a field day eating hole in my wool mitts.

Actually my favorite runs are those I take during snow storms. Running in the cold really comes down to dressing for the weather. The key...layer on the cloths. Typically that means about three to four layers plus a good hat and gloves. If you dress for the cold you can actually have pretty nice runs. But don't worry even us die heart runners have a hard time heading out of the nice warm house for those cold chilly winds. So I'm restocking my weather running clothing and then head back out for a few more cold weather runs.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year and New Goals

Last year was a blurrer. My daughter (#2) got married last Christmas and was Christmas again....and now a new year. Where did 2009 go? Sorry this blog has not been kept up to date but with the changes in my life, moving from California to Maryland, and then having this computer crash on me twice in two months...I've not done a good job. But this is a new year.

Actually, this is a new moment and a new chance to start again. Yea...the turning of the calendar from one year to the next seems to help us put a period at the end of the sentence, but we can do that anytime. So this year...what do I want to accomplish. Number 1 Goal...spend more time with my family...I missed 190 days this past year while deployed with the Army. Number 2 a few more marathons...last year I only ran one...the Marine Corp...which by the way is no longer one of my favorites. (This is the second time I've run the race in the past three years...and the organzation of the event was advice...find another one for your first marathon. Yea...I'll still give the course a A+...but the organization...nothing better then a D- right up there with the Surf City Marathon...another one to avoid if at all possible...and giving how many good marathons there are in the LA area...that should be possible.) Goal number a better job at keeping this blog up. Well...I'm out of here to work on that Number 1 to spend more time with my wonderful wife and kids.