What Have You Got To Prove?

I am following the Lookout Bible Reading Plan on You Version.  This morning’s reading had me Acts 13 where Paul is presenting the gospel in Antioch for the first time.  I change bible versions like some people change underwear, so right now I am reading the New Living Translation.  Regardless, in Acts 13:39 I read the following:

“Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God”

That verse pretty much hit me square in the face.  Because I believe in Christ, I am declared right with God.  I have nothing to prove to anybody. God says I am his and I am ok.  What else could anybody possibly say to one-up that?

But if I am honest, the recognition of others feels pretty good. I ran my PR 5K (23:25) last October in Rome, Ga. I remember going from elated at the time that I had just run, to being very disappointed that my best-ever time wasn’t fast enough to place for my age group.  It was the first local race that I had ever run where I didn’t place, and not being recognized for my accomplishment was a major let down. 

I was more concerned with being recognized than I was with being the best that I could be.

This verse reminds me just how wrong this thinking is.  I am declared right with God.  I may never place again.  I may never improve my PR time. But none of it matters. If I am the best me that I can possibly be, then that is enough.

Get Started (thinking right).

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GR8 RUN!

I had the best run ever this morning. Ran 8 miles, attempting an 8:15 pace.  I ended up running my fastest 10K (49:32), my fastest 4 miles (miles 5-8 @ 31:06), and ran the full 8 miles at 7:57 pace.

Now waiting for guests to arrive for my son’s graduation party. He graduated last night from North Paulding with honors. Super proud of him!

Have a great weekend!

Are You Kidding Me?!?

So I wrote a couple of days ago about letting go of my intense focus on results and just trusting God and enjoying the ride, or the run as it may be. And I have done that.  I have a plan. I am sticking to that plan. And I have had two incredible runs the last two days.

I ran my interval plan on Tuesday, and even though it was only for 10 seconds, I was shocked when my Garmin told me that I was running at a 5:28 pace. I started running about two years ago and it took me months to be able to run a 10 minute mile.  To be pushing half that even for a short distance made me smile.

So yesterday I headed out to the Silver Comet Trail to run 5 miles.  I had no pace in mind, it was basically just base miles that I was logging.

I felt a little stiff and sore at the beginning.  I am sure that I was feeling the effects of the previous days intervals.  I kept the pace easy during the first mile, ticking it off in 9:13.  As I started to loosen up, I gradually picked up the pace.  Miles 2 and 3 I clicked off in 8:41 and 8:30.  At about the midway point of mile 4, I really started to feel loose.  I was intentionally extending my stride and not leaning forward quite so much.  It felt good so I started pushing and finished mile 4 in 8:09.

At this point, I would typically start to ease off. You know, coast in for a landing.  But my body just wouldn’t let me.  It honestly felt in places like I was just along for the ride.  I couldn’t slow down if I wanted to. It was an incredible feeling.  I was running at around a 6:45 pace for much of the mile.  I really hoped to break 7 minutes.  I never have, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be. At least not yet. I finished mile 5 in 7:13.  That is my third fastest mile ever. (and the only two miles that I ever ran faster were the first miles of the last two 5K’s that I ran)

It felt great. I ran a fast mile (for me) and didn’t faint (or die).  For me, waiting on the Lord (the first part of that verse from Isaiah) has meant that I should do what I know to do until God tells me to do something else. Wait doesn’t mean to sit and do nothing.  In this case, it means trust the plan. Enjoy yourself. Remember: you serve a God who wants to do abundantly more that you can ask or think.

I started to write a post called a Touch of Grey, because the downside of running hard yesterday is feeling sore today.  But I would rather focus on the upside. 

It’s a lot more fun.

Get started.

Speed is Relative, But Perhaps Not a Distant One

I read an article last week that reported the results of a study of mid-pack runners who ran this 30/20/10 interval training program.  You can read the article here:  New Workout Shows Impressive Results.  The speed gains that the runners saw intrigued me, and the simplicity of the workout had me hooked.  I am all about simple (and this is easy to follow), so I decided to give it a shot to help me prepare for my upcoming 5K and 10K races in early summer.  In a nutshell, this workout has you run a slower pace for 30 seconds, a faster pace for 20 seconds, and a sprint for 10 seconds, and then repeat several times. 

I have ran the circuit twice now. Once last week and once this week.  While I realize that you can’t tell much from just 2 runs, I must say that yesterday’s run felt a lot better than my first attempt.  I created a spreadsheet to track my average pace during each of the timed segments and I was very surprised at the results that I found. 

*Disclaimer-I realize that I wrote yesterday about having faith in God and leaving the results to Him. And I am, but I also take the verse that says to study to show yourself approved, a worker that doesn’t need to be ashamed very seriously as well.  It’s complicated. Don’t judge me, and besides, I have issues that are much larger than this…but that’s another post….*

As I was saying, I was very surprised at the results that I found.  Although my pace during the slower 30 second intervals slowed down (7:48 to 8:28), my pace for the 20 second intervals increased (7:40-7:34), and my pace for the 10 second sprints increased the most (7:10-6:04).  Only time will tell if this helps me improve to the point that I achieve my 5k and 10k goals, but it sure makes an old guy feel good when his Garmin tells him that he was running at a 5:28 pace for ANY distance.

Get started.

Will This Plan Get Me There?

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1

It is impossible to please God without faith. Hebrews 11:6

So many things in life require faith, especially new things.  We know where we want to end up, but we don’t know how to get there.  So we seek out advice, or a plan, or we just make something up, and trust that whatever we are doing will work.

I was talking with my wife this morning about our boys and parenting.  Michael is 18 and about to graduate high school. Matthew is 14 and about to finish 9th grade.  Both of them were premature at birth.  Their first days, weeks, and months were very stressful as they both stayed in the hospital for weeks, but, looking back now, it wasn’t all that hard for us as parents.  We didn’t have any decisions to make.  We just had to show up at the hospital and love them.  That was really it.  We didn’t have to ask if they were being cared for correctly. Or if they were getting enough food and oxygen.  We just had to be present and show love.  It seems that as they have grown older, and we have become more aware of the outcomes and consequences of our “parenting plan”, we realize how little we really know abut parenting and how much we are really just having faith that God will take our efforts and make the most and best out of them.

When I started running, I knew virtually nothing about what I needed to do to progress.  I found the Couch to 5K program online and trusted in the plan to get me where I wanted to go.  It did.  Then I set my sights on a half marathon.  I loosely followed a plan, and it got me to my destination.

As I entered into this year, I really had 3 goals:

1. Run a sub-23 5K.  (current PR is 23:25)

2. Run sub-50 at the Peachtree Road Race 10K.  (current PR is 52:17)

3. Run a sub-4 hour marathon.

Every week. Every run. I am thinking about these results and trying to make sure that I am progressing.  The problem is this:  Will my training produce the desired results?  What if I spend all of this time training for these goals and come up short?

I am slowly learning that I need to focus less on the desired results, and more on enjoying the journey that leads me towards them.  Trust me, I want to achieve these goals this year, but I can miss the mark on all three and still set PR’s in all of them.  Even if I don’t PR, I can still be successful. Every mile that I run and calorie that I burn is a deposit that I am making in my own personal health account.

And if I do achieve the expected results, what then? I will just have to raise the bar next year.  I am not slamming the idea of setting goals and working towards them. I just don’t want to be so consumed with the outcome that I can’t enjoy the journey.

In every part of my life, I need to be present.  I have faith that things will improve, but I can’t wait until that happens to enjoy it.  You know, it’s a relief to know that God made me and gave me the talents and abilities that I have.  I am His problem.  After all, He made me.  I don’t have to try to make myself into something I am not. I don’t have to pretend to have all of the answers.  I can just be the best me that I can possibly be.  And have faith that God will accomplish his purposes in my life.

So I put the responsibility on God.  If He intends for me to achieve these goals, then by His Grace, and my efforts, I will.  If not, then I will be happy knowing that He is pleased with the faith that I am showing in Him and in myself.

Get Started.

Did You Do It On Purpose?

The sarcasm is about to get pretty deep. You might want to grab your waders.

Over the last several weeks, I have had opportunity to run into some folks that I don’t see all that often.  Some have been friends, family, work associates, folks from church. Really, people from every walk of my life.  Inevitably, when this happens, I am asked two questions:

1.  Have you lost some weight? In the last couple of years, I have dropped about 45 lbs (from 230 to 185).  I am really proud of this and it makes me feel good when someone recognizes it.  It has all been from eating better (not good, just better) and running. That’s it.

The second question is the one that always gets me:

2.  It is some form of “Did you do it on purpose?”.  The first time that I got that question, I had to step back for a minute. On purpose? As opposed to on accident? As if I could somehow lose 45 lbs as quickly and accidently as I lost my keys over the weekend.  What? I just didn’t get it.  Sadly, I think that most people assume that something must have been wrong with you (either illness or disease) that “made” you lose the weight.

Why? Because most people think that you could never lose weight on your own.  Anyway, it makes me laugh. Every time.  Yes Virginia, you can eat less and get some exercise and lose weight.  Who would have thought?

The next time I run into an old friend who has piled on the pounds of late, perhaps I will ask the same question.  Did you do THAT on purpose?

Perhaps not.

Have a great day! And do something on purpose and unexpected today.