Running Tuesdays: The Gift of Running

The question is why.

  • Why get up at 5am period, first of all? And then you go run?
  • Why put your body through it? What about your knees?
  • Why run when you can swim, bike, or at least use the elliptical?

That last one is easy. The elliptical was designed by the devil. Biking bores me. Swimming? I do it, but mostly for cross training or when my legs need a break. But do I love it? About like eating yogurt when you want ice cream.

Now about the body, that one is a little more complicated. If you haven’t already, google “is running good for you,” and you’ll find articles arguing both sides. It seems everyone agrees running isn’t for everyone. Not all bodies are built for it. Yet, many bodies thrive on it, even the pain of it. Here’s an article about pain, in particular the pain that runners, like ultra marathoners, tend to actually crave. As for the knees, thankfully mine haven’t been a problem for me. I believe that’s mostly due to making right choices about shoes, stretching, and rest. Speaking of right choices for the body, I certainly could do more cross training (look for more on this subject in the future). That is where the body is shored up to withstand the life of a runner. For me, I’m fortunate that running is for me and, of course, side with those who believe running is good for the body.

Scott Jurek says he runs to test his body and mind. Good for him. I’m fine with the tests my body and mind have passed and don’t feel the need to prove anything else in those areas. My reason for running is quite simple. I enjoy it. The struggle. The movement. The freedom. The solitude. The choice to think or not to think. The release. The joy. And when you cross a finish line knowing that you enjoyed the journey and completed what you committed to, you are stronger and have the peace of accomplishment. The pain is worth it.

Ryan Hall says he runs because God gifted him to, and he believes it glorifies God to use that gift. I’m no Ryan Hall. But I do thank God for giving all of us the gift of running.


More than Being In

There is a vast difference between being in something and actually being it. For example, being an American is vastly different from being in America. Ask anyone who’s gone through getting their citizenship.

So when Paul writes in Ephesians 5 that “…you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord,” he’s saying something rather significant. He didn’t say you were once in the dark and now you are in the light. He said you were dark and now you’re light. A vast difference. Being in the dark isn’t as dire as being dark; being in the light isn’t as powerful as being light.

Believers have been changed. They are now light. As believers, it seems we walk too often trying to be in something rather than actually being who we are through the new person our faith in the resurrected power of Jesus has created us to be. Yes, we are to walk in His light. But we are also to be light. Our lives can be much more than just being in the Light. 

I am finding the more I take hold of this new identity the more I am light rather than just being in it. I am finding out more “what is acceptable to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10).

To Do #8, according to science

In an article posted yesterday, Jeff Haden lists nine things science says to do to be happier. Here’s #8 (time to “moderately” hit the pool):

8. Exercise for twenty minutes after you wake up.

Researchers at the University of Vermont found that aerobic training of “moderate intensity,” with an average heart rate of around 112 beats a minute–elevated, sure, but it’s not like they were hammering away — improved participants’ mood for up to twelve hours after exercise.

According to Dr. Jeremy Sibold, “Moderate intensity aerobic exercise improves mood immediately and those improvements can last up to 12 hours. This goes a long way to show that even moderate aerobic exercise has the potential to mitigate the daily stress that results in your mood being disturbed.”

And you’ll also feel smarter; exercise creates new brain cells and makes those new cells more effective. As Gretchen Reynolds says, “Exercise does more to bolster thinking than thinking does.”

So there you go: Work out first thing. Feel better. Be smarter. Sure, you could work out after work, but then the happy feelings and extra brain power will be wasted while you’re asleep.

Remember, you only need to do about 20 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise. For most people, “moderate” means your heart rate should be within 100 to 120 beats per minute (depending on age, fitness level, medical conditions, etc.).

That’s a small price to pay for being happier all day.

Running Tuesdays: “You Do That On Purpose?”

By Michael Wilder

I always love conversations that start off with, “So what do you like to do for fun?” In response to that question I usually respond with the typical stuff of spending time with family or hanging out with friends. Eventually, my love of running does find its way into the conversation. Thus brings the follow up question “Why do you run?” or “Why would you put your body through that?” I just simply tell them it makes me feel good, which satisfies their need to know why. But just because my response is simple, simple it is not (Yoda Voice).

In order to understand why I run I have to go back to where it started. In high school, I was on the track team which meant running regularly. But you graduate high school and then what…Life is what! Life gets busy and without a designated time or motivation to run it is not on the radar. Business in life for me was college, marriage, and work. Then motivation hit hard in 2010. I remember one night after eating at Olive Garden I came home and got on the scale. I never weighed myself because frankly I never cared about such things. But that night I did and was shocked to see 220 pounds staring back at me. When I graduated high school in 2004 I weighed 175 pounds, and now in 2010 I had gained 45 pounds. So this shocking news became my motivation to run. It started off slow with just interval training and only a few miles a week. Then I went longer, faster, and the weight started going down. Fast forward to today, and I am back at my high school weight of 175 pounds. So in the beginning I ran because of my weight. And to be honest I still do. There are times where I run so my guilt of eating will be offset. There are times where I look down at my body and see 220 pounds and not 175 pounds. Running and your physical body starts as a mental attitude not a physical one.

The other reason why I run lies with my work ethic. I am driven by personal motivation. I see something I want and I go after it. Another way to say it is thinking of the end in mind. On long runs people say take 1 mile at a time. For me, I always think about the end in mind. I think about what the course does on mile 12 while I am on mile 2, or my favorite thing to think about is eating a peanut butter bagel and ice coffee at the end of a run (I always eat the same thing after every run). I visualize what I need to do, go out and do it, and it feels great when I accomplish it! Running is like the reset button for my body, both physically and mentally. Running just allows me to get refocused on life.

When I say I run because it makes me feel good, what I mean is…

  • …I run because I care about my weight and how I look.
  • …I run because I like the challenge.
  • …I run because it refocuses my mind.
  • …I run because of peanut butter bagels and ice coffee.
  • …I run because I can.

Indifference: Get Some

My goal in preparing my heart for planning and decision making is to remain in a state Ignatius of Loyola referred to as indifference. By indifference, he does not mean apathy or disinterest. He simply means we must become indifferent to anything but the will of God. Ignatius taught that the degree to which we are open to any outcome or answer from God is the degree to which we are ready to really hear what God has to say. If we are clutching or overly attached to one outcome versus another, we won’t hear God clearly. Our spiritual ears will be deafened by the racket of our disordered loves, fears, and attachments. In such a state, it is almost a forgone conclusion that we will confuse our will with God’s will. Ignatius considered this state of indifference to be spiritual freedom. If we are truly free, he argued, we wouldn’t worry about whether we are healthy or sick, rich or poor. It shouldn’t even matter whether we have a long life or a short one…Arriving at this place of interior indifference and trusting that God’s will is good — no matter the outcome — is no small task. We are attached to all kinds of secondary things — titles, positions, honors, places, persons, security, and the opinions of others. When these attachments are excessive, they become disordered attachments, or disordered loves, that push God out of the center of our life and become core to our identity. (The Emotionally Healthy Leader, Peter Scazzero, p195-196)

With this definition of indifference, here are some practical questions to test your indifference:

  1. If you’re unmarried, are you indifferent towards God’s marital plans for you?
  2. If you’re a parent, are you indifferent to God’s future for your children?
  3. If you’re a leader, are you indifferent to God’s vision for your business/ministry/home?
  4. If you’re close to retiring, are you indifferent to God’s next for you?
  5. If you’re in high school or college, are you indifferent to God’s career path for you?
  6. If you’re employed, are you indifferent to waiting on God for a promotion, recognition, or pay increase?
  7. If you’re unemployed, are you indifferent to God’s timing?
  8. If you’re unhappy, are you indifferent to what God offers as the way to joy?

If you don’t have indifference, what would it take to get some?

Running Tuesdays: Final Contributor

Starting this next Tuesday, I’ll be posting content on running. And in order to cover it well, I’ve invited three running friends (Lorraine, Michael and Monika) to guest blog along with me. We’ll write about things like training routines, equipment choices, etc. We will each take a turn at addressing the same topic. Should be fun.

You’ve been introduced to the guests, so now it’s my turn. Welcome to Running Tuesdays!

  • Runner since 2007. An unintentional jogger prior. Following masters degree work, running became my new “study.”
  • Weekly Mileage:15-20. For the first five years I averaged 1,000 miles year round. Surgeries and injuries have me working to keep one foot in front of the other.
  • Runs in Brooks Pure Flows, or whatever neutral shoe I find on Right now I’m liking Nike Air Zoom Elite
  • Age Group: 45-49
  • Favorite Accomplishment: 2 Ragnar Relays (1 regular, 1 ultra. Don’t ask me to do another ultra.)

Running Tuesdays: Introducing Lorraine

Starting this next Tuesday, I’ll be posting content on running. And in order to cover it well, I’ve invited three running friends (Lorraine, Michael and Monika) to guest blog along with me. We’ll write about things like training routines, equipment choices, etc. We will each take a turn at addressing the same topic. Should be fun.

So by way of introduction, for the next few days you’ll read a quick bio of one of the four of us. Welcome to Running Tuesdays!

Guest Blogger Lorraine

How long have you been running? 10 years this time around. I ran in the early 90’s, had an injury and stopped. I started to run again when I came to Florida in 2006 

Average Weekly Mileage? Approx 30 -35 miles per week, 50 when in training

Shoe brand preference? Mizuno Wave Rider HOWEVER, just started to wear Adidas Adizero Boost in the last couple of weeks and I LOVE them!

Race Age Grouping? 55 – 59 

Favorite running accomplishment? Boston Marathon, April 2016

3 “Wows” for Jamie

Jamie, Jamie, Jamie…Wow, Wow, Wow!  Occasionally someone goes so far beyond your expectations that all you can muster to say is, “Wow!” But you deserve three of them.

Yesterday, we (First Baptist Church, Bradenton) brought you an order for over 320 pairs of shoes to the Payless Shoe store you manage. Sure, we had given you a headsup a few days earlier. Sure, you were probably excited to receive this order. But, who knew you would turn it around so fast and so efficiently.

We left the order with you just before 1pm. You hinted you’d probably have it ready sometime this weekend. So the first “Wow” was earned when you called just four hours later to say you were done. Who does that? Well, apparently you do.

We arrived at the store to pick up the order. You had kept the order separated by girl and boy shoes, two separate carts. You had them lined up on the cart so that each shoe box was faced out so you could read the bar code with the register wand. You and your young employee shot through the ringing up and bagging of those 320 boxes like, “Yeah, this is normal.” And you paused to complete other customer’s purchases, as you should have, while using the only register in your store. So professional. So thorough. And you helped us load all those shoes in our vehicles. “Wow!”

But the biggest “Wow” goes to your graciousness. You knew the purpose of this order was to help us help local students at our partner school, Ballard Elementary. You had thought about how to help us with the cost. And the answer was through the BOGO sale going on. You could have ignored that for such a large order. You could have delayed completing the order to avoid giving us the discount. Instead, you brought it to our attention; we didn’t even notice that a sale was going on. You saved us over $1,200. Who does that? Jamie at Payless does.

Thank you, Jamie, for your efficiency, your courtesy, your heart, and your grace. God used you to “Wow” us yesterday. Keep “Wowing” your customers. Then may God bless you and show you His own “Wow!”

Running Tuesdays: Introducing Monika

Starting this next Tuesday, I’ll be posting content on running. And in order to cover it well, I’ve invited three running friends (Lorraine, Michael and Monika) to guest blog along with me. We’ll write about things like training routines, equipment choices, etc. We will each take a turn at addressing the same topic. Should be fun.

So by way of introduction, for the next few days you’ll read a quick bio of one of the four of us. Welcome to Running Tuesdays!

Guest Blogger Monika

1. How long have you been a runner? 
I started to jog in late 2009 and in 2010 I did my first 5 and 10K race. In Jan 2011 I did my first marathon so I think I have been a true runner since Jan 2011 

2. What is your average weekly mileage? 
During marathon training I get 50M in per week. Otherwise 35-40M per week 

3. What is your shoe brand preference? 

On. A shoe made in Switzerland – very light but still a good stability shoe for me 

4. What is your race age grouping? 40-45 

5. What is your favorite running accomplishment? 

I never believed that I was capable of qualifying for the Boston marathon. And in 3 month of very hard and consistent Cross Fit and run training I ran the race of my life. I ran 17min faster than I did at the Chicago marathon in October 2014. I qualified with a 3.38.28 ( I needed a 3.45.00 for Boston ) in September of 2015. 
Although I truly love every race finish line! I always get tears of joy! 

Toothpaste and Hotels

This week I’ve been reminded not to take things for granted. 

Tuesday while I was eating lunch at Firehouse, a former employee came in and was talking to the employees behind the counter. Everyone in the restaurant could overhear their conversation. One of them asked another one where they were living. When she answered, you could feel the pause in the air. From behind the work station, she said, “In a hotel.”

Note to self: everyone you encounter doesn’t necessarily live as comfortably you do.

Yesterday I received a text from a teacher at a school that our church partners with. She was asking if we had any toothpaste that we could provide for some students who didn’t have any. Because of their lack of a common hygiene item, they were being bullied. 

Note to self: everyone you encounter doesn’t necessarily have the basic necessities for living.

This reminded me of these statistics from a couple of sources:

  • If you earn $25,000 or more annually, you are in the top 10% of the world’s income-earners.***
  • If have any money saved, a hobby that requires some equipment or supplies, a variety of clothes in your closet, two cars (in any condition), and live in your own home, you are in the top 5% of the world’s wealthy. **
  • If you earn more than $50,000 annually, you are in the top 1% of the world’s income earners.***

**Money Possessions & Eternity by Randy Alcorn, pg 291

***The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision, pg 216

The fact that I’m typing this on an iPad while sitting at a table in a condo larger than homes that many large families live in around the world is humbling. And I have plenty of toothpaste. Not only should it not be taken for granted, but it should be routine to practice sharing what I have with others. Thank you, God, for this reminder.