"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Pressing Pause


It’s been a really good run (pun intended), but the circumstances, milestones, crisis, and overall pace (it’s always about the pace), of the past several months, and foreseeable future, are requiring that the Running With Horses staff push the pause button for an indefinite hiatus. Obviously, after several months of inactivity, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize someone over here was slacking, and that someone is most definitely ‘me.’ However, as I don’t like to leave things halfway done, I felt the need for some closure language in a closure post, and this is it.

So, if you're new to RWH, hopefully you will still find an encouraging, enlightening, or at least entertaining word from the 350 previously published posts. If you are a regular, then you realize that it likely won’t be that much time away, or at least I hope not. In a way, it feels like the intersection of Forest Gump’s, “I’m pretty tired ... I think I’ll go home now” and Arnold’s “I’ll be back.”

But for now, I truly wish you all the best, in both your running adventures and your spiritual journey. May you feel the adrenaline rush of each mile that passes underfoot and each new insight into God’s Word. Have a wonderful season of training, racing, and running.

See you soon.


Oh, and as I haven’t officially notified the local running regulars (i.e., 10K fall club), this should provide an indication that it’s just not in the plans for 2016, sorry.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ol’ Blue

“Do not cast me off in the time of old age” - Psalm 71:9

I was recently considering various passages of Scripture which speak to the idea of aging; its wisdom (Job), its splendor (Proverbs), its due respect (1 Timothy). And one of the verses, Psalm 71:9, made me think about a running related epiphany of sorts, and I thought I’d share.

This past week, my vehicle (aka, Ol’ Blue), turned over a few numbers on the odometer and landed on an interesting figure. It wasn’t a major milestone, (although, these days every new mile is a major milestone), but as I stopped at the traffic light I noticed it had settled on 236,026.2 For obvious reasons, the 26.2 caught my attention. I started thinking about reaching 262,000 (or better yet 262,262!) in a few years - how cool, huh? Of course, the traffic light turned green and my mind turned to more important thoughts, like whether or not I had time for a Chick-fil-A drive-thru?

Fast forward to the following morning and a run from the 'Y' parking lot. Like hundreds of times prior, I completed the workout and returned to Ol’ Blue for my post-run ritual; fuel belt and hat hung in position, sweaty shirt on the hood in a halfway attempt to let it dry, and so forth. This is always cool-down and refuel central after long runs. As I stood there trying to recover, I glanced over at her and it struck me ... My vehicle and I have become a perfect match, personalities formed across many years and much time together, perhaps described best as a couple of long distance, keep on keepin' on, hard working, rain or shine, it ain’t pretty but it sure is tough, marathon machines. No wonder I refuse to cast her off in her time of (relative) old age!

Just as I am starting to see ’50’ in the windshield, (off in the distance a bit, but it’s out there), and ’40’ is no longer visible in the rear-view mirror, Ol’ Blue is turning 20 this year. Together we pace ourselves well. We get our regular check-ups, and we attempt (she better than I) to keep sludge out of the tank. Sure, there’s the dented fender, the leaky window, the inoperable gas gauge, the duct-taped seats, the creaky vibration sound when turning left, and more (much more). But those are simply reminders of the journey. No different than that dog bite scar, the achy back, the tight IT that clamors for attention, the creaky vibration sound in my knees on the Monday after race day, and more (much more). All are reminders of the journey and reminders for us to keep our collective head down, our motors in gear, and our Firestone All-Weathers / Brooks Adrenalines moving us forward, one new mile at a time.

Alright, I’ll admit that the line between deep, interesting reflection and corny commentary is fairly thin. So let’s close this reflection with a motivational thought that both Ol' Blue and I wake up to each morning ...

There will be a day when we can no longer run, but seemingly, and hopefully, and thankfully, today is not that day!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

So What’s Next?

First things first, in the world of 50 States / 50 Marathons, the term “next” is in no way an indication of how quickly the subsequent race will be scheduled, but rather, it is a view inside the long range planning mind of the runner. This is especially the case with yours truly, who has maintained a three per year pace for these first six years, but will likely be moving to a more manageable -- travel, school, age, costs -- two per year pace from here out.

So, from this perspective, and after having taken the obligatory week off from running (and week ‘on’ for french fries and donuts), I am ready to consider the following plan in regards to what’s next: 

1) The Baltimore Running Festival Marathon (October 15, 2016) that I plan on treating as a faster than normal training run. The course (not nearly as hilly as Cincy, but not nearly as flat as Savannah) looks really great -- a Camden Yards start/finish, loop around the inner harbor, head out of the city and back. The really good news is that I already have one taker joining me; Mr. Herald (aka, Lewisville Lightening), and would love for others to plan on sharing the drive over, bunking up for the night, making marathon memories, and reliving our stories on the post-race return. There is plenty of time to train and I promise you will not be disappointed with the road trip. 

2) The Phoenix Marathon in early spring (February 25, 2017). I am hopeful to be in shape to attempt Boston qualifying time - we’ll see. This is not the Phoenix R-n-R event, but I’ve heard and read really good things about this fairly new race. Most appealing is the fact that you are bused out and run a gradual downhill back into the city. My brother is in Phoenix, which is a nice bonus, and it would be great to visit JW over in Surprise, AZ. 

3a) For the fall of 2017, I will attempt my first lottery registration for the New York City Marathon (November 5, 2017). There is about a 20% chance I get in, so I won’t get my hopes up for running this bucket list race as of yet. And if I’m not selected for NYC, then I will run ...

3b) The Detroit Marathon in October (October 15, 2017). Runners cross into Canada over a well-known bridge and then come back into Detroit through a tunnel below the river. It looks relatively flat and would be my first visit to Detroit. The other unique feature is the emphasis on passport checks in this international event. Plus, with a few miles in Canada we might even see a moose, eh?

OK, that’s it. If you are interested in carpooling to, training for, and/or meeting at any of these events, please let me know. The finish line is a great feeling, but the joy is in the journey. And I can promise you our journeys are always an adventure.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Run For God - Week 12 / 2016

The Finish Line!

So, the hay is in the barn and all that's left is to show up, have fun, and run your race! You have worked hard, continued to trust the plan, and have made a difference -- in your own personal journey and in the journey of those around you. It has been a real pleasure to be part of RFG 5 and I look forward to seeing you cross that line on Saturday morning.

That said, as we discussed in tonight's celebratory last meeting, there is certainly more than crossing Saturday's finish line that allows us to say we have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. Paul gave Timothy, and us, much instruction on what this looks like across the span of our time here on earth. Our challenge is to live this out in a way that brings God glory and enables each of us to best serve Him and others.

Make sure to look over the final thoughts and race week instructions. Get good rest this week, drink plenty of water, and don't be late for our 7:30 am family reunion photo on race morning. I will see you at packet pickup. Have a great week.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Running to the Finish Swine

The only way the Flying Pig Marathon could have been any more 'Cincinnati' would have been if the gang from WKRP were personally handing out the medals. Yet despite the absence of Dr. Johnny Fever, Les Nessman, and Venus Flytrap (kudos to anyone in flashback mode), the FPM was definitely one of the better themed, organized, and most fun-filled races yet; a personal top 5 for certain.
Heading out of downtown - already ‘steamy’
Starting outside of an illuminated Paul Brown Stadium (Bengals), racing down Pete Rose Way besides Great American Ballpark (Reds) to the finish, crossing the Ohio River into Kentucky and back, discovering at least two or three of the seven hills for which Cincinnati is said to sit upon, visiting many of the quint main streets northeast of the city, and all the while being reminded that Cincinnati was once very much a pork empire. From raising pigs to processing them to bbq-ribbing, Cincinnati’s Flying Pig gets at the roots of this great city (and having lived in nearby Springboro a few moves back, I can testify to this city’s appeal). Click Here: Great Photos - TFP

Elevation Chart (Note Spikes and Drops Throughout)
Now, don’t mistake the ‘fun’ of this review, as meaning May 1st was a picnic ... hardly. This course is a challenge (see the elevation map and know that the gain is near 1,100 feet). I’ve said it’s one of those courses that should be described by that word, if one exists, that means more than hilly, but less than mountainous. Throw in some warm temperatures (70-75), a little post-rain humidity, and it really is quite amazing that I didn’t b-oink! It must have been that cup of bacon near mile 15 that kept me going.
Start with back and forth into Kentucky then Northeast and back along river
Actually, the FPM was my best spring marathon ever. Training the past few months has gone well and I'm in better shape than usual for this time of year (keep in mind, ’shape’ is all relative). Fortunately, I’ve been running hills in Winston-Salem, and that certainly paid off big time.

So, I got exactly what I wanted. I held a 8:50 +/- 12 seconds for the first 16 miles, even pushed a couple of 8:30’s near the halfway point, and felt like on a flat course with a cool day, I was in 3:45 shape. However, I took my 16, pulled back to 10 and 11 minute miles the rest of the way, stayed in control, taste-tested several other interesting offerings, enjoyed the view and ran -- with a smile -- through the finish for a 4:24 time and state number 17 in the record books.

Then it was through the runner’s feeding pen, quickly back to the hotel, shower, and hit the road for home. An easy drive, although not exactly the optimal way to spend post-race recovery time (I’m paying for it even as I type). But I’ve learned that sometimes, check that, many times, you do what you have to do. I would gladly drive 8 hours to participate in a marathon, to catch up with old friends along the way (so good to see the Rogers and Knoths), and to enjoy new friends in the company of other runners, volunteers, and spectators. Besides, without this drive, how else would I confirm that West Virginia is still the only place I know that you are guaranteed a radio station playlist that includes John Denver, Charley Pride, James Taylor, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Statler Brothers, in that order! Awesome.

It’s either the ‘Walken’ sign or more bacon!
I’ll conclude with a few of the signs. If you’ve read previous race reports you know that I am always on the lookout for new signs. Most of them are repeats, so I really appreciate it when someone brings their ‘A-game’ to the spectator position. I’m looking for originality and wit.  My sign winners from this past weekend include: “If Trump Can Run - You Can Too!” /  “No Time for Walken” (with big picture of Christopher Walken)  /  “Just Chafing the Dream, Man, Chafing the Dream.”

Hope to see you out there somewhere. I’ll have a post soon of what’s next and I’d love to have you join the journey. A journey full of community, encouragement, discipline, kindness, unity, and perseverance. A journey in which I have experienced the same spirit across seventeen states, one that is unfortunately unlike most ‘places’ in our lives. Where competition is with yourself, and the most random of strangers are in it together. If we could just bottle that up .....

'Hustling' down Pete Rose Way, considering a head-first slide at the finish :) The smile this time was a reminder that crossing the line never gets old (maybe painful on occasion, but it never gets old). 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Run For God - 2016 / Week 11

Wow - Week 11, Monday night is in the books. This means:

a) You have all come a long way and are looking really strong on your long runs, perhaps just as strong as we were looking on those 60 second runs back in February!

b) We only have one more week together :(  Unbelievable, huh? This might actually be good news for some of you. But we will make our last week count with a great run and a little celebration!

Below are slides from tonight, along with the video I Need You Lord. Make sure you are good on the race day logistics and help spread the word to others needing those instructions.

Have a great week - See you soon.



Monday, April 25, 2016

Run For God - 2016 / Week 10

It's ALL about the Pace! Well, maybe not 'all' about the pace, but many a runner has sabotaged their race day experience by not staying true to the rules of pacing - knowing your pace, valuing your pace, running your pace. As we began our longer distance, non-interval workouts tonight, the idea of pacing has become extremely important. So we spent much of our time talking through how to calculate, practice, and strategize around individual pace.

Similar to running 'our pace' we took a look at a devotion that spoke to how we run 'our path.' One that is hopefully guided by the Lord's work in our life, yet individually unique in both the ground we have traveled and the journey ahead. Psalm 23 was a scripture for the night and it was nice to recite these encouraging words as a group. (Oh, the skit guys reminded us of how wonderfully complete the Word of God is - we simply need to read it! - link to this video is provided below).

Keep working hard - May 14th is in our sights now and you have all come a long way. You've completed 28 workouts so far!!! Only 7 more to go before we toe the starting line.