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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Success Out of Failure

There are times when things simply do not go as expected.  A week ago I drafted a blog post called Pull the Plug.  It was to be uploaded on Friday.  When Friday rolled around, I couldn’t bring myself to post it.

The draft was a lengthy rambling about the 20 mile long run I had planned for the weekend and how things just haven’t gone well leading up to this pinnacle of marathon training.  I’ll save you the self pity, but I basically surrendered before running a single mile and scrapped the whole idea of running The Hogeye Marathon on April 14th.

I read once that the best way to be right is to predict your own failure.  Well, I spent ample time predicting failure that afternoon.

The circumstances had not changed by Friday, but I decided no to post it because I felt I had to try.  If I feel short, my prediction was correct.  Yet, I thought it was likely that I’d get to 15 miles without much trouble and have a decision to make.

When I woke Saturday morning to the threat of rain and radar clearly showing I’d be wet within the hour, I almost went back to bed.  Yet, for some reason I just kept telling myself to get out there and go.  Quitting was always an option as I was already mentally prepared for that result.

I ran without fear and chose a route that would take me no less than 4 miles away.  If it rained, I’d just have to deal with it.  The lighting and light rain started around mile 10.  Ultimately, I arrived home after running 16+ miles feeling pretty strong.  I decided to bang out the last 4 on the treadmill and did so comfortably.

Where did that come from?

Something just clicked.  I’m still woefully undertrained for the marathon, but I really have no excuse not to lace ‘em up, pick a realistic race strategy and put #10 in the record books.

A common problem happened during this training season.  I did not officially enter the intended race and thus had nothing at stake if I failed to get prepared.  It was a combination of lack of commitment and life scheduling that got in the way.  I also convinced myself that I’d wait to see what the weather looked like for race day.  I’ve run too many “unseasonably warm” marathons to do another if I had options.

Realistically, I am relatively sure I will run it under any circumstances.  The alternate race options are either expensive (travel) or in locales that are just as likely to have poor weather.  I guess I’d better get started on booking a hotel in Fayetteville.

This episode was a great reminder to never count yourself out.  There is always a chance you are better prepared than you think.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Friday, March 22, 2013

Only One Size

My wife knows how to cook.  Lets get that straight.

There is a problem, however.  She only knows how to cook in one size.  That size is FULL.  I don’t mean full because it is so good one eats too much.  I mean full to the brim, edge of the bowl and top of the pot.

God bless her!  She clearly takes after me in that recipes are overrated.  One merely needs a recipe to suggest ingredients and quantities not dictate them.  We cook by feel, look and smell.  This is where the similarities end.  I refuse to model her trait of misguided quantities.

If my wife pulls an 8 quart sauce pan for a batch of soup, you can darn sure bet there will be 7.9 quarts of soup to eat when the dinner bell rings.  An 10” x 15” baking dish is no match for her Baked Ziti.  That pasta and sauce are so happy they jump right out of the pan during baking.  I keep trying to tell her that doubling the “recipe” while using the same recommended pan is simply not a good idea.

One might think that she did this once or twice as a beginner’s mistake.  Nope.  She told me that she just doesn’t like to see available space go unused.  This, I’m afraid, is silly.  We NEVER finish all the dish anyway.  Leave the space alone.  Get over your fears.

I’m asking for help.  I simply want to help her recover from quantity abuse.  We welcome your suggestions.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace

Friday, March 8, 2013

Setting Spiritual Goals

Possibly my favorite scripture verses come from third chapter of Philippians.  Verse 12 will grab you:

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (NIV)

So will versus 13-14 as it continues:

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

This whole goal setting thing whacked me in the nose last week and I can’t seem to shake it.  I read about how Isaac sought spiritual goals in the book of Genesis during a bible study project.  Then I heard a sermon partially based on the passages above.  If I didn’t know better I’d think God was sending me a message.

Clearly, I am being led to create some spiritual goals or objectives for my life.  This is not good.  I don’t really set goals.  I don’t like goals.  Goals make you accountable.  Yuck.  One might think training to run a marathon is all part of some sophisticated health or wellness aspiration.  The reality is that I like to run and every so often my training gets stale so I throw in a marathon to sort of give life to my running.

Give life to my running.  Wow, I never really thought of it that way.  Whether intentional or not, putting a race on my calendar does require me to step back and plan.  As rarely happens in other parts of my life, I actually sit down and create a rough training plan for the three to four months leading up to that big race.  I simply could not reach the start line (forget the finish line) if I didn’t take the necessary steps of preparation.

 God’s call to set some spiritual goals should be taken seriously.  Not taking it as serious as my running is wrong.  I know how important it is to answer the call God gives you.  Therefore, I intend to set some spiritual goals and measure my progress.  The benefits are clear.  I will be less inclined to be idle or backslide in my faith.  Spiritual goals achieved equals spiritual growth.

 So if I were to set some spiritual goals, what would that look like?

 I think the best thing I can do is evaluate what is in process and how can I expand or refine those efforts so that a goal is clearly defined.  For example, I attend a weekly bible study.  My attendance has been a little sporadic lately.  I’m going to set an attendance benchmark to achieve between now and when we break for summer.  I can do the same for church attendance, bible reading plan, prayer life and service.

God is telling me to get focused.  I’m on the right path, just all over the road like my 15 year old daughter who just received her learner’s permit.  Let’s get it between the yellow lines.

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace