Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wednesday July 1 run

A group is meeting at Karla Chestnut's tomorrow 6 a.m. to run 3-5 miles. Chestnuts live at 114 E. 14th St. directly off Main St. to the east and across from an old church parking lot. Join the group if you'd like!

This week's Scripture/Commentary

Ephesians 6:15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.

Commentary: The right kind of shoe, properly fitted is essential for running. For Christians having our "feet fitted" as in the verse above is also essential. We are not all called to be evangelists. Be we are called to be witnesses. 1 Peter 3:15 "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."

** These Scriptures and commentaries were written into a training packet by a gentleman named Ron Martin. Thanks, Ron!

Monday, June 29, 2009

More on Sturgis

Iowans for Africa doing the Sturgis Falls 5K and half marathon

Here's a summary from one of the runners:

I briefly wanted to share with you my success on running the Sturgis Falls half marathon. I am excited to let you know that I was able to complete the 13.1 mile coarse in 2 hours and 1 minute. It was a personal best as I have never run this far before.
I was reminded today why I chose to run and train for the upcoming marathon in Chicago. Being part of this team has meant so much to me as I continue to grow and learn about my faith. I have truly feel like I shared in the joy of everyone who was part of our team.
The most meaningful time for me today came as I crossed the finish line and was greeted by an adoring wife and family (and yes, that includes my in-laws). Those brief moments made the nearly 200 miles of training before today well worth while. If asked whether or not I would do it again, I would answer "in a heartbeat". Wow, what exhilaration!!! How could one man be so blessed. Thank you God!
I believe that it is moments like this that we see heaven. Moments that eminate nothing but joy and love. Imagine how much love God has for all of us as he gave us his son. He watches as we struggle giving us strength and encouragement when we do not feel like we can push any farther.
Why would anyone not wish to make a life's journey out of searching for, and communing with, God? Lord only knows the joy we will feel when we cross the finish line and he welcomes us with open arms.
"For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations."
Psalm 100:5
Heres to life's wonderful journey!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sturgis Falls Half-Marathon

Wow, what a beautiful day to run 13.1 miles! The weather couldn't have been more of a gift as many folks lined up to run either the 5K or half marathon for the annual Sturgis Falls celebration! How great that we had many Iowans for Africa join in the day as we train to run for Jesus and our friends in Africa! A couple of loyal friends and fans sat at Pfeifer and sent these photos to me today. I know there are others who took a big group photo that I hope to get posted on here soon. My highlights of the morning:
- The crowd and the nervous excitement about running 13.1 miles (my longest run to date had been 9.5 miles).
- Gathering as a team for a group photo and prayer before the run.
- Sports beans...we munched some energy jelly beans down at around mile 7 and 10...they gave a needed boost!
-The route...gorgeous, shady, and there were 3 different loop-back places where you'd pass those ahead of you coming back from the loop. This was a great way to encourage and cheer people who were a bit further than we were. Even at mile 10, I felt enough energy to whoop it up for those coming our way to finish their last 1 1/2 to 2 miles.
- I ran the majority of the race with 3 team members. This made all the difference for me! I was able to chatter until about mile 11, and then it got HARD. I was running next to Laurie Williams, and after a few minutes of silence, I huffed, "It's hard to talk now." She told me that she had shifted into silently and continuously repeating her 3 line mantra: "I'm a marathoner. I love running. God help us all." I decided to try a silent mantra those last 2 miles. Mine was, "I pray for joy, joy, joy" to the beat of my steps hitting the pavement. Over and over. :) It WAS joyous to see that balloon finish arch and good friends cheering us to the line. What are your highlights from the morning?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sunday morning June 28th at approximately 6:50 AM we invite anyone who is awake: 1/2 marathoner, 5K participant, spectator, volunteer, or passerby to join us near the intersection of Waterloo Road and Utility Parkway for a few moments of encouragement and prayer of thanks before we head to the startline. I am excited and look forward to this time together!
Coach Don

Monday, June 22, 2009

Scripture/commentary for the week

Proverbs 4:11-13 I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.

Psalm 119: 32 I run the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.

Commentary: It is important to know the route for your training runs or the course for a race. God's Living Word sets us free to run the straight and narrow path in life. I believe that God will bless us if we seek to do His will in all we do, including running.

this Wednesday

If you'd like to join a group this Wednesday, there's one meeting in the CF REC parking lot at 6:30 a.m. to run three miles. This group is running the 13 on Sunday, so they are tapering down this week. Would love to have you join in!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

we're only running 1 marathon in October?

My dad called to tell me that the Des Moines Register had an article this week featuring a man who is going to run 11 marathons in 11 days across Iowa. If I can find the link, I'll add it. Eleven marathons in eleven days!?!?!?! Nuttie B'guttie! I have noticed that as our longer runs get longer, I am starting to think of the shorter runs as, well, shorter...like last Saturday, I ran 9.5 miles, so today at our group run, I found myself thinking, "I only have to run 7 miles today." I can clearly remember when 7 seemed unthinkable. But to get to the point where 26 miles is a "short run"? I don't think so! On this note of amazing, here's another marathon trivia fact:

7 Days, 7 Continents, 7 Marathons. Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Dr. Michael Stroud went seven for seven during a grueling week of marathon running and transcontinental travel. The pair ran seven marathons in seven days on seven continents from October 26 - November 2, 2003. Fiennes and Stroud's first marathon was in southern Chile, followed by ones in the Falkland Islands and Sydney, Australia. The two men then ran 26-mile races in Singapore, London and Cairo, before finishing their amazing seven-day feat by completing the New York City Marathon. Besides battling the exhaustion that any marathon runner faces, Fiennes and Stround also had to battle jet lag and dramatic changes in temperature and humidity during each race. The feat was even more impressive for Fiennes, who suffered a heart attack just four months earlier.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

fog run

This morning, seven of us took off to run at 6 a.m. in the dense fog. We began to cross over that bridge that goes from Pfeiffer to George Wyth, and it was like a scene out of a Lord of the Rings movie! Fog enveloped the bridge and you could only see about the first half of the bridge. It was So cool! Kind of reminds me that God never lets us see too far out in front of our lives. He just wants us to have enough faith to keep stepping forward in what he does reveal and trusting Him that there is solid bridge under us beyond in that unseen future.

How's everyone's training going? Thoughts, insights, a'ha moments, challenges? Anything you'd like to see this blog address?

Monday, June 15, 2009

This Wednesday run

All are invited for a group run this Wednesday, June 17, starting at 6 a.m. from Karla Chestnut's house at 114 E. 14th St., CF (east off of Main St...it's the green house on the left across from an old church parking lot..real, real close to CF Rec Center). We'll be going 5 miles.

This Week's Scripture/Commentary

Philippians 4:4 I say it again, "Rejoice!"

Romans 5:2 And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. No only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Commentary: God reminds me to run rejoicing, even when suffering. Remember that we suffer for the joy set before us. (Hebrews 12:2)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

what a difference water can make

Continuing on with a passage from A Hole in our Gospel, Rich Stearns shares a story from his trip to Gbum Gbum (pronounced Boom Boom) in Northern Ghana to see first hand the impact clean water has on a community:

"As we gathered around the borehole well that WV had drilled several years earlier right next to the school, the school's headmaster told us that before the borehole he had just forty students. Now more than four hundred children attended the school! The difference? Before the water came to Gbum Gbum, the women and children had to spend about five hours each day fetching water from a waterhole several kilometers away. They would rise early, before dawn, making several trips throughout the day; they had no time or energy for school. Another man told me that before the well, children and adults alike were riddled with Guinea worm disease caused by parasitic nematodes found in the contaminated water. These worms grow inside the body, sometimes up to three feet in length, and then when full-grown, burrouw out through the skin, causing crippling pain and infection. Now, the Guinea worms were gone.

As Steve and I continued our walk through the village, we met several dozen women working with great effort to make something called shea butter, an ingredient used in skin lotions and cosmetics, from a locally grown plant. To my amazement, they were selling this shea butter for a profit. In fact, I was told that it was even being bought by Bath and Body Works in the United States! The only thing these women had needed to create this business was time and clean water, both of which were now available.

We also talked with some of the men in the community who told us that since they now had more water for irrigation, they also had improved crop yields. Then one man said something that caused them all to laugh. Our guide, who translated for us, told us that the men also felt that the women now 'smelled better', since they no longer had to fetch water all day in the hot sun. Water had transformed Gbum Gbum in every way imaginable."

I have great joy knowing that the money we raise for World Vision might help transform a community like Gbum Gbum! Sometimes during fundraising, I can begin to lose heart in asking people for money thinking that I'm asking for support for myself. But, I am not! When I think of the story above, I remember that this is about building God's Kingdom, and I can more passionately ask people to contribute toward clean water in Africa!

Friday, June 12, 2009

water is life

Water is life, and because we have no water, life is miserable. - a voice from Kenya.

I believe our team is raising money specifically for World Vision to help provide clean water access for our neighbors in Africa. Here's just a look from an excerpt in A Hole in Our Gospel that describes how vital that need is:

"As many as 5 million people die every year of water-related illnesses. A child dies every fifteen seconds of waterborne disease. This creates a no-win situation for millions of parents in our world today- they can watch helplessly as their children die for lack of water, or they can watch them die from diarrhea, because the only water they have is tainted.

Tragically, living without water has even more dimensions. Thousands of hours are lost seeking and hauling water, especially by women. These are hours that could be spent earning an income or contributing to the wellbeing of the family and communiyt. This same task affects children too: millions of them are unable to attend school because of the hours they spend fetching water. And because of the unsafe quality of their water, many who can go to school are chronically sick and struggle with learning. Some waterborne parasites- Guinea worm, for example- can even result in crippling, and bacterial diseases such as trachoma can cause blindness.

Despite the risks, women and children in developing coutries invest two hundred million hours a day fetching water. That's equal to a full-time workforce of twenty-five million people fetching water eight hours a day, seven days a week! It is estimated that as many as one-half of the world's hospital beds are occupied by people with a water-related illness."

Today as I hydrate with my water bottle close at hand, I will set my mind to praying for those without such easy access to clean water, and I will thank Jesus for being living water who quenches the thirst of my soul.

Mark your calendars for pasta partying

Friday, July 10 - Iowans for Africa team members are going to gather for a pasta dinner.

Friday, September 18- Team members and families are invited to join together for a meal before our longest run of 20 miles the next morning.

Look for details in upcoming days that tell when and where. This will be a great chance for conversations, the opportunity to meet new people, and for the team to "power gel". :)

I've ridden RAGBRAI the past couple of years and along the route there is this awesome food vendor called "Pastafari". Since we've begun planning these two meals, that word has been going through my head again and again. (Along with a little Bob Marley they played at their food stand). :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

This week's Scripture/Commentary

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always.

Psalm 19:4 In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

Attitude is a choice. I can identify pretty well with "rejoicing to run" but fall well short of "always." The joy of Christ's salvation should permeate my life. But, too often I am thrown off track by worldly worries. Focusing on God's Grace can make the spiritual exercise of rejoicing easy (even at the end of a long run).

Monday, June 1, 2009

Front page Courier Article!

If you don't get the Courier, check out www.wcfcourier.com and see article, "Church Members gearing up for Chicago Marathon." There's also a nice 2 minute video to watch about Coach Don Williams!

climbing the mental wall

Have you had a day yet where you just don't want to run? Today was the first for me. Today's 3 miles felt like 10. I had a headache going into it, felt tired, have been having a neck and upper back ache all day, and I just didn't want to go. But I did. And when I wanted to quit after one mile, I began all of the mental gymnastics needed to continue. I haven't armed myself with a lot of mantras yet, so I reached into my mind for anything that I had. "No pain, no gain." "Do hard things." "Picture Jesus with me." "Jesus did a lot of hard things." These were my sayings. It wasn't even like it was all that physically taxing out there today, just more of a drudgery than I've experienced up to this point. Do you have any sayings that you find yourself repeating that help you keep going on the rougher days?

By the way, I am so glad that I didn't quit. Having all of you as accountability partners in this really helps. It helped to know that I'm reporting in to Don and to many of you. And I figured that if I didn't finish today, it might be even that much harder tomorrow. It feels so good to persevere! The weekly Scriptures help too!

This week's Scripture and commentary

Philippians 2:14-16 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

Commentary: I view running as a good gift that comes from God (James 1:17) Used in the wrong way, running, like many of God's good gifts, can turn to sin. I make it my goal "not to run in vain" for my own glory, but to run for God's glory.