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.