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.