Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Best Place to Run To

This morning I ran 10 miles alone and about 12 miles with the RunnersWorld group. The group ran to the "center of the universe." A pretty cool place on Boston, over the railroad tracks on the north side of downtown. When you stand on the center of the universe and talk, your voice sort of echoes and seems amplified. It's pretty cool! Anyway, it is a pretty good destination for a run.

I ran alone for 8 miles and then with Jana for 12 miles, and for the most part we were running 9:00 to 9:30 pace, but the last miles were 8:41, 8:28, 8:19, and 8:16 (The last one I ran alone, Jana had completed her 12 miles, and I still had 2 to go.). Average pace was 9:07. It was a very satisfying run. I really loved running with Jana. She is a strong runner and great at keeping a good constant pace.

I had been having some doubts about my running this week, particularly after Thursday night's run. My plan for Thursday evening was to run 6 miles at marathon pace, plus a warm up and cool down mile. I was pretty successful at that, but a couple of the miles I struggled against a headwind and was barely able to keep within 15 seconds of marathon pace. And I was pretty tired after the run. Today was totally different. I felt good the whole way and felt like I could have kept running for quite a while longer.

Although running to the center of the universe was pretty cool, that's not what I was thinking when I titled this entry "The Best Place to Run To." Last night was the opening performance of the play my daughter wrote and is directing. It is about a girl whose mom is on drugs and alcohol and has gotten into abusive relationships. Anyway, the girl goes into foster care, and she struggles with guilt and with finding someone she can trust and share her burdens with. In the end, she learns to find a resting place in Christ. There is sort of a theme song that is played several times during the play. Here are the words:
Verse 1
I have found myself a hiding place
I have found myself a secret space
In the shelter of Amighty's love
In the safety of the Savior's arms

I will run to the hiding place
I will run to the hiding place
Draw me ever closer to look upon Your face
I will run to the hiding place

I have found myself a hiding place
I have found myself a secret space
In the refuge of the Father's care
In the cleansing blood of Jesus there

I will run to the hiding place
I will run to the hiding place
Draw me ever closer to look upon Your face
I will run to the hiding place

Though my fears may overwhelm me
And troubles, they surround
Though the wind rise up to take me
My hiding place is already found

I have found myself a hiding place
I have found myself a secret space
In the shelter of Amighty's love
In the safety of the Saviour's arms

I will run to the hiding place
I will run to the hiding place
Draw me ever closer to look upon Your face
I will run to the hiding place
So, the best place to run to? The hiding place, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No Running Today

No running at noon today. Instead my wife and I checked into possibly becoming foster parents. My daughter, Katie, works at a shelter for kids going into foster care, and she has talked us into at least checking it out. There is one particular boy that she has taken care of and thinks we should ask for.

Actually, I'm due for a day off from running. I have done eight days in a row, with 50 miles, and a good portion of that at a pretty hard effort. Yesterday was a pretty hard day. At noon I started out on what was going to be an easy recovery run, maybe a little faster than 9 minute pace for four miles. Instead I crossed paths with 3 guys that I don't know, and I stuck with them and ran about a 7:30 pace for a couple of miles before I turned around, walked for about a minute, and returned at about a 7:45 pace. Total of 5.15 miles at an average 7:52 pace including the walk break. After work my plan was to run 8 miles at marathon pace (8:30ish), but I sort of abandoned that plan because I was still tired from the noon workout and the preceding 7 days. So, I was just going to go at a relaxed pace, somewhere between 9 and 10 minutes per mile. Then Brian shows up, so I run with him. Here's how it went:

1st mile: 7:47
2nd mile: 7:56
3rd mile: 8:42, included walking for 1 minute
4th mile: 11:17, included walking and drink break (the actual running was about 8:30)
5th mile: 8:33
6th mile: 8:35

So, I did sort of get 4 miles in at about marathon pace plus a couple of quick miles and some breaks thrown in. It was a good day of running, but hard. After the run a bunch of people went to see a preview of "Run Fat Boy Run." I went home and relaxed.

Tomorrow I plan on running at noon, but not with the group in the evening. Katie is having the last rehearsal for her play, and I will help with that. Friday I will run easy at noon. The upcoming Saturday run is a long one, 22 miles if all goes well.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


I've sort of completed another marathon. Marilyn and I have been married 26 years as of last Thursday. I asked Marilyn if it seemed like a marathon, and she said, "yes, it as been especially painful these last few miles, er, years!" Very funny! Actually, it has flown by very fast. It doesn't seem like that long.

I talked to my dad today, and he told me of another anniversary that is going to be celebrated next week. The church I grew up going to (St. Peter's Episcopal, in Kansas City, MO) was started in 1958, and my family was one of the first families in the church. I was not even two years old at the time. My older brother and sister and I were all baptized that year, part of the first bunch in that church. My dad is the only one still going to the church that was there in 1958. Anyway, there is going to be a celebration on Friday night, March 28. Wish I could be there, but I will be at the play my daughter, Katie, is directing at my present church.

Last summer we celebrated my dad's 85th birthday, and while we were there, I visited the old church for the first time since my mom died about 11 years ago and took this picture with my cell phone. About ten years ago they replaced some of the windows in the church with stained glass windows depicting events in Jesus' life. The picture is of the window with loaves and fishes, which symbolizes the feeding of the 5,000. That window was dedicated in memory of my mom because she was always the one in charge of the potluck dinners and fixing brunches for the choir between the early and late services on Easter, etc. She probably fed more than 5,000 over the course of her lifetime.

Yesterday I had a good long run with Brian, Jana, and Mike. Mike had trouble with his foot partway through the run, but finished okay. Brian just about sprinted the last mile - about 7:20 - and I did about a 7:45 for the last mile. It felt good. Tonight I ran about three miles in the neighborhood with my daughter, Becky.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday. It is also called Holy Friday. In German it has a name that is translated "Mourning Friday." Perhaps in English we get the name "Good" from "God," in much the same way as we get "goodbye" from "God be with ye." Maybe originally in English it was "God's Friday." At any rate, it is a good day for us because it is a celebration of the day that Jesus bore our sins on the cross. One of my favorite old hymns (from the 12th century) telling the story is "O Sacred Head Now Wounded."
O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, thine only crown:
how pale thou art with anguish,
with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish
which once was bright as morn!

What thou, my Lord, has suffered
was all for sinners' gain;
mine, mine was the transgression,
but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
'Tis I deserve thy place;
look on me with thy favor,
vouchsafe to me thy grace.

What language shall I borrow
to thank thee, dearest friend,
for this thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever;
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love for thee.
I had a good eight mile run today, about 9:15 pace. So far I have 45.8 miles in for the week, including Sunday's long run, so it's been a good week. Tomorrow I expect to do around 16 miles, maybe with a few miles at the end at marathon pace (I'm considering that to be around 8:30 or so right now, though I am not quite sure I am conditioned enough to hold that pace for the full marathon). After the run I will go to church and help set up for Easter services, and then I hope to make it to the TU track meet and visit some with my high school buddy who is track coach at Wichita State University. Go Shockers!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dinner Theater

Today I ran 4 miles easy at noon, right at a 9 minute pace. I'm still a little tired from yesterday's runs.

Tonight I went to church and helped the youth put together the set for their upcoming play. Here is the announcement from last Sunday's bulletin:

My daughter, Katie, wrote and is directing the play. It has been a lot of hard work and sort of frustrating trying to get everyone together for the practices. Katie started running with our running group a couple of months ago, but she hasn't made it for a while largely due to her work on the play. Another daughter, Sarah, is the assistant director. Sarah will be going to India this summer on a mission trip, and the proceeds from the play will help pay the cost for her and the other students.

Tomorrow our church is doing a Passover Seder, and I have the honor of dressing up in first century garb and sitting at the head table up on the stage. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be one of the 12 disciples or what, but I guess I'll find out tomorrow. I hope I'm not Judas. The Last Supper was a Passover Seder, and at that time Jesus said that the unleavened bread represented His body and that the cup of wine, which would have been the third cup of the Seder - the cup of redemption - was the new covenant in His blood "poured out for you." It is through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we who believe have forgiveness of our sins, have eternal life, and are able to commune with God.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fast Runs in the Rain

Today was rainy, cold, and windy, but I ran anyway. At noon I did a tempo run on a hilly route, 4 miles at 7:50 pace.

After work I met the die hards of the RunnersWorld group. It was just Ken, Bobbie, and me. Well, Kathy also showed up, but she was too chicken to run. Actually, she is resting up for a Boston Qualifying attempt at the Olathe Marathon in a couple of weeks. Go Kathy! You can do it. I'm quite confident she could run 3:50 or better when well rested.

Ken and Bobbie and I started out fairly slow, and I left them when they stopped for a pottie break. I then ran 2 miles at 8:15 pace, jogged a 1/2, and then ran two halves in 3:11 and 3:17 with a 1/2 mile jog in between. Total of 6 miles.

It was a great day of running.

Monday, March 17, 2008

How Beautiful

Ok, maybe I'm going overboard with two posts in one day, but I was thinking about beautiful feet, and I got to thinking about one of my favorite songs, "How Beautiful," by Twila Paris. It seems like an appropriate song for the week before Easter. Here are the lyrics:

How Beautiful the hands that served
The Wine and the Bread and the sons of the earth
How beautiful the feet that walked
The long dusty road and the hill to the cross
How Beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

How Beautiful the heart that bled
That took all my sins and bore it instead
How beautiful the tender eyes
That choose to forgive and never despise
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

And as He lay down His life
We offer this sacrifice
That we will live just as He died
Willing to pay the price
Willing to pay the price

How Beautiful the radiant bride
Who waits for her Groom with His light in her eyes
How Beautiful when humble hearts give
The fruit of pure lives so that others may live
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

How beautiful the feet that bring
The sound of good news and the love of the King
How Beautiful the hands that serve
The wine and the bread and the sons of the Earth
How Beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

Beautiful Feet

Yesterday as we were eating breakfast at BBD, for some reason, we were talking about the ugly feet contest that we had at the RunnersWorld booth at the Tulsa Run Expo. Turns out Kathy F. and Michelle had the ugliest feet. I mentioned that Kathy H.'s feet were beautiful - good arches, no blisters, no missing or discolored nails despite all the marathons and ultras she has done. Enough to make one jealous.

As I'm writing this, though, my wife, Marilyn, is in Kansas City with her mother. They are going to a funeral tomorrow for Maxine Gordon, who truly had beautiful feet. Maxine is a retired missionary in her 90's. She spent decades in the Congo spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. She never really wanted to leave the Congo, but the mission board made her return to the states when she was in her 80's during a time when rebel forces were threatening the mission compound. She is a great example of someone who tirelessly served her Lord, trying to bring good news to a spiritually needy people.
How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation...
(Isa 52:7)
May we all seek to have beautiful feet, like Maxine.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

First Long Run After Illness

I spent most of last week in Oklahoma City at the National Christian Homeschool Basketball Tournament, and while I was there I did find time to run, my longest being 14 miles, and with a total of over 27 miles, so it wasn't a bad week running. Also, my daughter's team did pretty well in the tournament they finished third in their bracket, losing to the team that ended up first.

I couldn't get my long run in on Saturday because the day was just too full. Luckily the RunnersWorld group did their long run on Sunday. So, I got up this morning, with only four hours of sleep and ran 20 miles. I started out with a pretty good sized group (including Brian, Johnny, Ken, Patty, Kathy F., and Michelle, but the only one with me the whole way was Brian. We started at 31st & Riverside and ran on the Midland Valley Trail and some brand new trails that led up to 6th Street. The out and back was 6 miles, done at a 10 minute pace. I enjoyed running on the new trail, which was relatively hilly compared to the River Parks trails. Then we ran north on the River Parks trail to 21st and then back south to 71st at slightly slower than 10 minute pace, leaving most of the group at 56th because they were only running 15. From that point we picked up the pace a little, going a little under 10 minute pace. Julie, the woman winner of the Snake Run was with us at that point and was going to Turkey Mountain, so we stuck with her and did the one mile loop up there then headed back to Riverside. Brian and I decided to try to keep a 9 minute pace once we got back to Riverside, but we got carried away and started running an 8 minute pace. We did that for a mile, then had a short walking break in the next mile while Brian answered his cell phone, which slowed us to almost 5 minutes for that half mile (Kathy H. was calling Brian to ask us to breakfast at BBD along with the 15 milers.) . We then ran an 8 minute mile followed by a 3:45 half mile. We ran the last mile slowly as a cool down. I thought it was a really good run. I felt good the whole way, and afterwards the only real tiredness I had was due more to lack of sleep than to running. The breakfast at BBD was very good, a perfect ending for a thoroughly enjoyable morning.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Finally Feeling Good

I finished my antibiotics on Monday and felt good enough to run Tuesday. I ran the last 5 miles or so of the OKC Memorial Marathon course at about an 8:45 pace and then a little more at a slower pace to total 8 miles. I felt pretty good, but not quite at 100%.

Wednesday afternoon my wife dropped me off at Lake Hefner near Hefner Drive, and I ran the last half of the marathon course. I somehow wandered off course and ran a total of 14.25 miles. It was a difficult run because it was kind of warm (75 degrees), and I was running against a steady 20 mph wind from the south. I walked quite a bit along Classen Blvd. I still managed to average about a 10:20 pace, but I was sure beat at the end. I went back to the hotel room and sat in a tub of cold water - BRRR!!!

Today I feel pretty good, but I am taking the day off from running. Tomorrow I will probably do around 8 miles on the start of the marathon course.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Two Hour Snake Walk

Since I am on drugs, I feel better. I went to the Six Hour Snake Run, but didn't get there until about 1 o'clock. Under advice from my doctor I did not run, but I did walk 2 loops of the course, which makes 8 miles. It took me about an hour and 54 minutes, which is a pretty brisk walk. I had a great time, but it was hard to keep myself from running. Thanks to Ken and the other TATURS that made this a great race.

Monday through Saturday I will be in Oklahoma City for the National Christian Home School Basketball Championships. If I feel good and can find the time, I may be running on parts of the OKC Memorial Marathon course. Kathy says we are doing the long run on Sunday next weekend, and I may try to make that even though it will probably conflict with church. I don't like to miss church too often, but maybe I will make an exception this time.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

No Snake Run For Me

Yesterday I felt pretty miserable all day. It wasn't just that we were going through a NERC audit; I hadn't slept well the night before because I was thirsty and kept having to blow my nose, and I just felt drained of energy the whole day. Plus I had a headache. So, after work I went back to the hotel room and took a nap. I was a little cold, so I got under the covers with all my clothes on, including my coat. I woke up a couple of hours later with a fever. After cooling myself off with a damp washcloth, I headed out to Walmart and bought a thermometer. By that time I didn't feel hot anymore, but I took my temperature in the Walmart parking lot, 101.5 degrees. I suppose I must have been up to around 103 or so earlier.

So, this morning I called the doctor to get an afternoon appointment. Then I drove from Springfield to Tulsa and saw Dr. Willard. She said I have bronchitis in my right lung and prescribed an antibiotic and two drugs, one for congestion, and one for wheezing. She also told me I shouldn't run this weekend, or I will likely have lung problems for several months. So, I guess that means I won't be able to run in the six hour snake run. Maybe I will walk it if the weather is nice.

Dr. Willard asked what my next race is, and I told her the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. She's planning on running the half. I told her I might drop back to the half if I don't get some decent training in soon. I was happy with my training until sickness struck a couple of weeks ago.

On the bright side of things, my daughter's basketball team won the tournament last weekend. Next week is the National Homeschool Basketball Tournament. I will be in Oklahoma City all week for that tournament. Hopefully I will be feeling better and will be able to find some time to run on parts of the marathon course.