Training for the Race of Life…..Day 46 (Nourishment)

Training for the Race of Life…..Day 46 (Long Run Day)
It’s amazing what a good nights sleep and some rest will do for you. Yesterday I was absolutely worn out and dragging but today I was ready to run so my wife dropped me off at the Greenbelt in Kingsport so I could get in my long run. Over 2 hours later she picked me up and I had gotten in 11 miles. Again it wasn’t fast but one of the marathon trainers that I read says that you should run on these long days at least a minute per mile slower than you anticipate doing the marathon.
If everything goes as planned, I think I can maintain an 11 minute mile pace or so for the entire marathon, so I ran at about a 5 mile per hour pace today. Definitely not fast but consistent. I experimented a little as I ran, taking walk breaks at different intervals and so forth, but regardless of what I did the pace stayed about the same.
I felt really good the majority of the time that I was running except for when I finished up. When I climbed into the car I was absolutely depleted. I couldn’t have gone much farther I don’t think. Of course I didn’t take in any nourishment or water during the 2 plus hours that I ran either and that made a bid difference. So as soon as my wife picked my up we went to get some nourishment and something to drink. After finishing that and eating again in a couple of hours I felt absolutely great. Needless to say I was shocked. The first time that I did a 10 mile run the next day I was shot. Then when I did the 13 miles I was worn out for 2 days, and with all I had done this week I figured that I would be almost immobile by the end of the night. That certainly wasn’t the case and I am glad.
A friend of mine who ran a marathon last May told me that you have to eat something on your long runs, you have to take in some kind of nourishment. Whether its an energy gel, a gummy bear, a protein bar, or whatever, you have to eat something or you will crash. Nourishment is that important, he said he found out the hard way.
I’ll have to agree with him, nourishment is that important. What we eat is important, being properly hydrated is extremely important, nourishment is vital. In running, in exercising, in life. Nourishment is vital. And spiritual nourishment is as well. That is why we must daily feast on the word of God. It nourishes us, it sustains us, it strengthens us. It must be a part of our lives.
As 2010 comes to a close, people are making New Year’s resolutions everywhere you look. What better resolution than to say, this year I’m going to feast on God’s word, I’m going to make it a daily part of my life, I’m going to learn from it, I’m going to meditate on it, I’m going to memorize parts of it. Why? Because we need God’s wisdom to guide us and He has given us His wisdom in His book, that we call the Bible. So dedicate yourself to reading it, to letting it be “a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.” Keep running with Jesus and reading His word.

Training for the Race of Life…..Day 45 (Tired)

Training for the Race of Life….Day 45 (Overdoing It)
I didn’t run today at all for 2 reasons. One, there just simply wasn’t time and two, I overdid it yesterday. I ran, I lifted weights, and I somehow got talked into playing basketball at church. I was 100% shot. I did get some exercise in however by helping to move a couple of ladies in our church into a new home. By the time nightfall came I was quickly ready for bed.
I overdid it. People had warned me that it could happen and it finally did. I actually had cut back on my running mileage last week to give my body a chance to rest up and I’m really glad that I did or today might have been much worse than it was. As it is I’m just extremely tired, but thankfully (other than my constantly hurting foot) not injured.
Have you ever felt like you overdid it? Maybe while you were running or exercising? Or maybe just in life? You’ve got too much going on, too many commitments, too many things on your to do list. When we were helping those ladies move I was so thankful that there were 4 us of doing it. We thought that there might only be 2 of us and just to be honest I don’t know how we could have got it all done. It would have been too much.
Life can sometimes be too much can’t it. When the to do list is full and the clock seems to be ticking extremely fast, life can feel like its too much. So what do we do then? When we’ve overdone it? Overbooked it? Overfilled it? Or are on the verge of it? What do we do? We slow down. That’s right, we slow down. But then, you are thinking, then I won’t be able to get it all done, or get it all in, or whatever….I can’t slow down, no way no how.
But let me say it again, in those times you need to slow down. In fact you desperately need to slow down. In the Bible, Jesus is visiting at the home of 2 sisters, and the one sister is up and working away. She’s extremely busy and she’s probably thinking, “if that no count sister of mine would help me I could get my to do list finished and it would be a good day.” Finally after working and working and working, she can’t take it anymore and she goes to Jesus. “Hey Lord, tell me sister to get up and do something. Doesn’t she see me working away, busy as a bee, while she just sits and does nothing.” (Actually she wasn’t do nothing, she was sitting at Jesus’ feet spending time with Him, and listening to Him teach).
I’ve got a feeling that she was stunned by Jesus’ response, “Why do you worry about so many things, only one thing really matters and your sister has chosen that.” Wow! So the only thing that really matters is a relationship with Jesus (spending time with Him and making sure that others know Him as well). Well that is exactly what Jesus said. In fact in another passage of Scripture He put it this way that what really matters in life is this, “love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your soul, and all of your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” In other words life is pretty simply until WE make it complicated.
So take time in the remaining days of 2010 and all of 2011 to slow down and spend time with Jesus. He will remind you of what’s important and He will keep you from overdoing it. Keep running (and resting) with Jesus.

Training for the Race of Life…..Day 44 (Slippery)

Training for the Race of Life……Day 44 (Slippery)
Today was another treadmill day and a fairly short day as I only ran for about 45 minutes. I did incorporate some short sprints into my run today and after I finished was able to life weights for a few minutes. I’m probably going to be sore tomorrow but that’s ok.
As I was running on the treadmill I really didn’t watch TV, instead I looked outside at all of the cars that were going up and down the road, and just let my mind drift. One of the things that occurred to me while I was “drifting” was that just a few days earlier those cars wouldn’t have been traveling the way the were. The roads were extremely slick and snow covered, especially on Christmas day and the day after Christmas. It was nice to have a white Christmas but I missed having church on Sunday for sure.
We were driving home on Christmas night and thankfully we got in before the roads got really bad. A friend of mine called who works for the local fire department, and said that they were working wrecks everywhere and that the roads were bad. I also talked to a man who works for the sheriff’s department and he told me the same thing, as did another man who works for the highway department. It was slick!
I definitely was glad that we made it home and that I wasn’t running outside in that weather. It would have been easy to hit a patch of ice, slip, and go down. It wasa slick! (I think I said that didn’t I?)
As we close out one year and rush headlong into another, there will be times that life is slick too won’t there? When it feels like we are spinning out of control or that the world is spinning out of control. Temptations may come our way and if we give into them we will find ourselves on a slippery slope pretty quickly. That is why the Bible tells us that our enemy “prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour.” In other words he wants to get us on that slippery slope, and when we fall, he wants to devour us.
Jesus puts it this way, “the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy (think slippery slope), but I have come so that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” In other words when we give into temptation, we slip, we fall, we spin out of control and things can quickly fall a part. Yet if we stand firm in our faith, clinging to Jesus, He will get us through and even more than that, He will give us life.
So watch out for the slick spots everyday and keep running with Jesus and holding onto His unchanging hand.

Training for the Race of Life….Day 43 (Staying on Track)

Training for the Race of Life…..Day 43 (Staying on Track)
Well the Christmas season is officially over and now we are steamrolling quickly toward New Years and the month of January. I went to the gym to get my run in today and was amazed at the number of cars that were in the parking lot. It was amazing. I’ve been going for almost a year and I’ve never seen it that crowded during the day. People were deciding to try to get on track with their fitness goals after the holidays.
One of the ladies who works at the gym remarked, “if you think its bad now just wait til January 2. And then wait to you see it in February”. I knew exactly what she meant people will make New Year’s resolutions to get healthy and then the gym will be packed. By February however many will have gotten discouraged or sidetracked and will have broken the resolution.
I’ve been there and done that many times in the past, not just with health matters but with life in general. This year I’m going to…..only to figure out that 2 months in I had broken the resolution. It’s easy to do isn’t it? So how do you stay on track? How am I going to stay on track for the next 96 days leading up to the marathon? How will I stay focused?
Getting around positive people will help me stay focused on my goal of running the marathon. Getting enough rest,…..proper nutrition……., reading running articles……talking to people who have ran a marathon before…..all of these things will hopefully help me stay motivated. (It’s hard to believe that today marks the start of the 7th week leading up to the marathon, but it does and even though my motivation is stronger at some times than at others it is still strong).
So how do we keep our motivation in life? How do we stay on track? And in reality what track are we on anyway? Proverbs 3:5-6 puts it this way, “trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” So what track should we be on? The track of following Jesus and being what He created us to be?
How do we stay on track? The Bible spells it out for us: Trust in the Lord. If we are going to stay on track in 2011 and beyond we must trust Him. When things get tough – we must trust that He is going to pull us through. When distractions and temptations come, things that will cause us to get off track we must trust that His way is right and continue to follow Him no matter what. It is all a matter of trust. Ultimately staying on track with following Jesus means that we trust Him more with our lives than we trust ourselves.
That is why Jesus says, “whoever wants to come after me must deny themselves daily, take up their cross and follow Me.” In other words we must trust Him. And when we trust Him (again not ourselves), and when we acknowledge Him (In other words when we live making Him the Lord of our lives), then He will direct our paths. He will help us stay on course. He will help us be what we are created and redeemed to be.
Running this marathon is very important to me. So important that I’ve had to change some things to make it possible. So important that I went today and ran over 6 miles while walking a couple of more. It really is important, but its not as important as following Jesus. In fact nothing is. We must follow Him no matter what and put Him first no matter what. Loving Him with all of our hearts, our minds, our souls, and all of our strength. Keep running, stay on track and more importantly keep following Jesus and running with Him.

Training for the Race of Life……Days 41 and 42 (An essential Christmas)

Training for the Race of Life…..Days 41 and 42 (Christmas)
It’s hard to believe that as I write these words another Christmas has come and gone. I took Christmas and the day after Christmas off from running, but was still very much reminded of my goal of running a marathon in April 2011 by many of the gifts that I received.
I got several presents that had to do with running. 2 pairs of new running shoes, hats, gloves, compression pants and shirts, and even a massage stick for after I run to help loosen my muscles back up. I love to run and was extremely grateful for all of this “essential gear” to help me on my journey. It truly was a wonderful Christmas.
And it led me to a question, what do you consider essential gear? What is essential for you to have when you run (I’d love to hear the answers). But even more than that, what do you consider “essential” on this journey of life? At Christmas we get a lot of gifts that we use immediately and we get some that we never use. Life is like that as well isn’t it? What is essential in your life and what do you really not need? What do you consider essential?
We have a lot of things in life don’t we? But what is essential, a must have? Is it our jobs? Our friends? Our families? Our stuff? Our ………(you fill in the blank). We have a lot of things, many however aren’t essential. Stuff certainly isn’t essential, material things certainly aren’t essential, regardless of what the commercials tell you. So what is really essential?
Certainly I believe the relationships that I have in my life are essential. Even more than that I say that they are a gift from God because as the Bible reminds us, “every good and perfect gift that we have in our lives” is a gift from God. I love the people that God has blessed my life with. Those relationships are good, they are essential.
But did you notice that the Bible says, “every good and PERFECT gift”. As much as I love the people in my life none of them are perfect (I’m certainly not). Only one perfect person has ever lived and His name is Jesus. He is perfect and our relationship with Him is essential. Essential for forgiveness, for love, for salvation, for hope, for peace, for joy. He is essential.
We get a lot of presents at Christmas. Some are really good, but only one is essential. The one given that first Christmas night that caused the Shepherds to go away in amazement, that caused Mary to break into a song of joy, that caused the angels to praise God, that caused John the Baptist to leap in His mother’s womb, that caused the wise men to travel thousands of miles just to see Him. He is the only perfect present and He is essential.
As you travel this journey that we call life, it is my prayer that you have Him with you. That you know Him as your Lord and as your Savior. For He really is essential. Keep walking with Jesus everyday in faith.

Training for the Race of Life….Day 40 (Christmas Eve Excitement)

Training for the Race of Life…..Day 40 (Christmas Eve Excitement)
Today I was finally able to get back outside and run for a little over an hour. I was given a nice pair of compression running pants that are supposed to keep you warm and some gloves for Christmas last night (December 23rd), and I’ll have to admit as I laid in bed last night thinking about running outside I was like a kid in a candy store. Excited!
I thought about how far I was going to run, where I was going to run, and all of that. I had planned on trying to get a long run in, but because it was Christmas Eve I wasn’t able too, but that was ok. I was finally running outside again, and even though it was about 35 degrees I was warm and toasty as I made lap after lap through my neighborhood.
I had envisioned going to the track at the high school to run or even going to run of the running trails in Johnson City, but I finally decided why waste time driving, lets get to running. I had seen a coyote walking through our neighborhood last night but even that wasn’t going to quell my excitement. (He was probably asleep somewhere anyway). So off I went to run. As I said I got in about an hour and came into the house with a smile on my face. It was great. I’m already plotting when I can hit the trails again. I love snow, and we are supposed to get snow for Christmas which would be great, but if it doesn’t snow I guess I’ll hit the streets again Sunday afternoon. So it’s a win win situation for me. Can you tell that I’m excited?
In reality shouldn’t we be that excited (and more) in life? Why? Because of how God has blessed us – family, friends, jobs, things,….and most of all He has blessed us with Jesus. The one who was born “to save His people from their sins.” The One who is the Wonderful, Counselor, Everlasting Father, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace. We ought to be excited, overjoyed, filled up to overflowing, and rejoicing because we have Jesus.
When the Shepherds went to see Jesus in Luke 2, “they returned glorifying and praising God…..”. In other words they saw Jesus and He put a smile on their face and most importantly joy in their heart. He is amazing.
But the Shepherds did something else in their excitement, once they had seen Jesus, “they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.” In other words they were filled up with excitement and they told others about Jesus. We should be doing the same. We should be telling others the good news, “Joy to the World the Lord is come”. We ought to be excited about it and we ought to be sharing it with other people.
Perhaps an old Christmas carol puts it best, “Go Tell it on the Mountain, over the hills and everywhere, go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.” We have a message to share, the same message that the angels shared, the shepherds shared, and many others shared during that first Christmas season and the message is this “Immanuel is born, Jesus is here, God is with us.” For the longest time I didn’t know that “Go Tell It On the Mountain” was a Christmas carol, I just thought that it was a good gospel song. Well in reality it should be an everyday song, because everyday we have a message to share. And we should share it with excitement as we live with great joy.
So keep running with Jesus, and along the way take time to share your joy and your excitement with other people. Jesus is the reason not just for this season but for everyday. So Go Tell it on the Mountain.

Training for the Race of Life……Day 39 (Time)

Today was supposed to be my long run day for the week, but because of time constraints I was unable to get it in. I still managed to get a short 35 minute run in and hopefully will be able to go to the track tomorrow for my long run. It was fun to run without any time goals or other training methods to follow.
As I was thinking about my run for the day and the fact that I wasn’t able to get in my long run because of time I realized that we have time constraints in life as well don’t we?
We talk about making time but in reality we can’t make time. Everyday has the same amount of time. 24 hours with 60 minutes every hour, and 60 seconds every minute. We can’t make time. We can however take time for the things that really matter, our families, our friends, our churchand most importantly our Lord.
The Bible talks about “redeeming the time because the days are evil”, which means taking time and doing the things that are important and spending it with the people that we love and that God has blessed our lives with.
Life can be very busy, especially during the Christmas season but in all of our busyness we need to take time to do the things that God wants us to do and we need to take time for Him as well, making Him our number 1 priority.
I read these words on a marathon website a few days ago, “running a marathon is an extreme commitment that requires a lot of time”. Which of course it does, but like anything that is worthwhile it is worth it.
Taking time for the things that matter is sometimes difficult as well, but it is always worth it.
So keep taking the time for what really matters, keep taking the time to run, and keep running with Jesus.