"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.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Forget the Energy Drink ..... Go for a Run!

I was reminded this morning of a primary reason for why I run; more energy! (Yes, I know, that's primary reason #14 since the blog kicked off last year, there's just so many good ones.) It's counter-intuitive to most of us.  You would think that early mornings, extreme temps, and regular training would keep you constantly zapped and fatigued.  But it's not that way at all.  The more regular the runs, the more I tend to accomplish outside of running. In other words, I have often found that more training hours = more available hours in my day. Don't ask me how, I just know it works.

This morning, I had thought, if only for a passing moment, about how nice it would be to sleep in and run later in the day.  However, I knew a Run For God group was heading out at 7:30 and, honestly, I really enjoy being around you all. So, it was 3 miles at a good pace and then on with the rest of my day.  But a strange thing happened on the way to the 'rest of my day'.  I felt ALIVE! From the yard to the laundry to some tasks at work ... check, check, check. Completed early enough to enjoy a little of that elusive personal time; i.e., strumming some Springsteen good and loud down in the basement! 

The best part is that this isn't abnormal. Running stimulates endorphins that boost our energy.  And unlike that chocolate, raspberry-filled Krispy Kreme doughnut that I would devour if it weren't for a guilty conscience, the energy is sustained throughout the day.  When you finally power down, it's just in time for a great night's sleep that you need. Wow, what a pattern.  Imagine stringing together week after week, month after month, year after year of this sort of pattern.  I know I sure feel the difference, and without having to fork over $3 / can for any of that silly 'Toro Rojo' concoction that is all the rage.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

ROCC RFG : Counting the Costs

Week 10 of 12! I can't believe we only have two more weeks in our study.  From our first '60 second run' to this week's 27 minute workout, we have come a long way.  Keep it up.  There is significant endurance to be gained over the next few weeks through our long runs. Be disciplined in your workouts and your diet, and race day is going to go great.

Speaking of the ROCC The Potter's House 5k on May 12th, the slides below cover critical race day details, as well as general race day guidelines (etiquette).  The study this week is a message on 'Counting the Costs'.  An application to signing up for the RFG 5k Challenge and to signing up as a follower of Christ.  Lastly, check out the 'Odds & Ends' slides. Really cool information on various groups in our area and an opportunity to get dirty!

Have an excellent week.  Let me know of any questions.

(You can click on any slide for a larger view and slideshow application)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bandits are Bad News!

If you don't get the extremely clever photo reference to this post,
I'm guessing that I don't have to worry about you beating me in my age-group!
I've never given much thought to the idea of race bandits, (those runners who participate in a sanctioned event without officially entering the race), on whether it's no big deal or if they should actually be called out and publicly shamed. I've never personally "banditted" a race, as I really do dig the shirts and I want my bib.  However, over the past few months, I've have been involved in helping to organize a local 5K. I have also recently read several articles on the subject, and my position is now firmly set. I say, "Ban the Bandits!"

Before the comments regarding the use of public roadways and taxpayer's parks start flowing in, let me say that you are right. Your taxes likely contribute to the same routes and courses that the annual (insert favorite local race here) follows. But if you are using the 'free access to shared property rights' stance as your justification for jumping into a fun run, then please keep reading. 

There are a handful of really good reasons that you should stop all of your bandit ways. Let's take a quick look:

1.  Registrations provide race organizers with estimates for key race logistics.  The amount of water at aid stations, the level of food for post-run events and, of critical importance, the number of porta-pottys to set-up.  Additionally, emergency services base course presence and medic availability on these same estimates.

2. Enjoying the same race day privileges as hundreds of runners who actually entered, just isn't right. Maybe you can sleep at night knowing that you "snuck" your way into an organized race, were treated by volunteers as a paying customer, soaked in the cheers (as well as the provisions) and then crawled back into the shadows until next week's race, but I just can't. 

3. It's for a cause, cough up the $20 - $25 donation and stay out of the shadows.  Most every race these days will provide a portion of registration funds to a good local charity or community purpose.  It's bad enough to bandit a race, but to hold out on an organization that can use your entry fee for good, Come On Man! 

So there it is.  A firm position on the idea of racing without paying.  And I do appreciate the fact that race entries are not cheap.  The cost of putting on these events continues to climb and the hopes of providing a decent sized donation depends on the amount of the fee.  But plan wisely on the runs you want to enter.  Put away a few $'s that you would normally spend on Krispy Kreme and Diet Pepsi, and put your money down.  You will run with a clear conscience, and a clear conscience always takes a few seconds off your time!

Monday, April 16, 2012

ROCC RFG: Yes, You Can!

A special word of appreciation to Chris, Robin and Deb, (our fabulous Run For God coaches), for handling tonight's class.  I have already received several comments on what a great job Chris did in facilitating the study and of the especially inspirtational testimony from Robin.  Thank you all. 

The slides are posted below and I would encourage anyone not present tonight to consider the passage around Philippians 4:13.  In short, yes, God wants us to fully utilize our gifts and abilities, but the strength He provides is directly tied to those tasks that involve serving and honoring Him.  Any, and all, that He has laid before us, He has also given us the strength to complete.  Paul knew this well and it is why he wrote these words following his comments in verses 11 & 12.

Finally, from a MOTIVATIONAL standpoint, the link to tonight's "What Do You Run For?" video is inlcuded here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRzY8oFX75I  This was a great addition to the topic of motivation for week #9.  You will enjoy watching it and maybe even find some additional motivation for these final few training weeks.

Have a great week.  See you Monday. 

Click here:  What Do You Run For?

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Special Bond

You, your feet and the path.  It struck me this past week while running a stretch of Texas state highway. Included as one of the many unique experiences that running provides, is how it allows you to appreciate the varied characteristics in the ground that you travel.  Each crack in the pavement, every root along the trail, and even the miles of smooth green way, that you tend to see through inch by inch increments. They all become part of us.

As I was making my way along 7 miles of lone star asphalt, I started thinking about each foot strike.  How we literally see more ground as runners than most others. Hopefully that provides an appreciation for our environment and our responsibility for taking care of God’s creation. That said, my thoughts on this day were actually more focused on life’s journey, than on recycling and sustainability. (I’ll save the earth day post for another day.)

So, I concluded that there is a certain pleasure that comes from this awareness.  Whether it’s in thinking through the route of that regular Saturday morning run. The one that is etched in your mind, to the point that even now you can trace it and actually feel every step.  Able to visualize the turns, the low spots, the curbs, the special present that the same dog leaves each day.   Or, it’s the feeling of taking your run onto a new path.  How alert your senses become around the unknown. When cars and bikes pass by, only you have noticed, whatever it is you are noticing.

To put this thought another way; you might not stop and smell the roses, but I bet you know what color they are and maybe even if they need watering. Enjoy the run.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

ROCC RFG : The Right Race

Don't forget to register @ active.com or at River Oaks this Sunday!
We marked week 8 with a big step up on our group run distance and everyone did awesome! As mentioned on Monday night, most all ran for a longer period of time than they ever have before. Even if it took a bit of walking for some, our RFG'ers "out worked" most of Winston-Salem with their effort.  That's what it's all about! Make sure to get in the next two workouts this week and you will be amazed at the progress.

Additionally, we marked week 8 with a return visit by our special guests, Dr. Wiggy and Emily Saunders. Again, they provided extremely interesting and useful information (slides attached).  Please make sure to pass on your appreciation for their time when you "run" into them. 

Have a great week.  Face your giants (the link is attached below the appropriate slide) and continue to run with horses, as you Run For God! 

(click the link above to see Monday's video)