Archive for March 2010

Which Half-Marathon Should I run for my first?

March 9, 2010

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything about running.

Just as I was gearing back up from the heart attack, I broke my arm. So, there was another little delay. I’m going to write about goal setting again soon but, for now, I want to focus on the running.

A good while back (pre-heart attack), my intention was to run the Myrtle Beach half-marathon this year. As it turned out, there was no Myrtle Beach half (or full) marathon this year due to the snow/ice. When I had to reschedule, I just moved it to 2011. Now, I’m going to change again.

This will be my first half-marathon. I’ve learned a lot just in the preparation phase. Here a few of the things I’ve learned.

1)     Preparation for a February race is tough. The days are short and your preparatory runs need to be long. Practically, this makes it difficult.

2)     In addition to the physical preparation, there is the psychological component. Nothing against Myrtle Beach (which isn’t that far from where we live), but they are not used to snow, ice etc. and that makes their February half a risky proposition when the weather is like it has been this year. All that mental prep getting put on hold for a year can be tough.

3)     Probably the least troubling about a race getting cancelled is the financial impact. The Myrtle Beach folks were very clear on the registration form that the registration fee was non-refundable – even if the race was cancelled. But, that was the least expensive part financially speaking. Folks come to that race from all over the country. They had money tied up in air travel, hotels and time off from work only to spend it watching the snow melt. The Myrtle Beach folks are giving a 50% discount for next year’s race to those folks who were registered this year, but the airlines and hotel expenses certainly aren’t refundable.

So, with this mind, I’m going to change my plans to run a half in May of 2011. There will be warmer, longer days to prep, chances of cancellation due to weather are less and it is local.

So, that’s the new plan. In the meantime, there will be a couple of 5K’s this spring, 10K’s this fall. Of course, all of this must be headlined with the caveat, “if the Lord wills.”

What are your goals and what plans are you implementing to get there?

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“Broken, but growing”

March 4, 2010

And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make.” Jeremiah 18:4

As the orthopedist looked at the x-ray, he pointed to a section of bright white material. “That’s where the break is. That white material is new growth. When there is enough new growth, we’ll take that thing off your arm.”

Well, that was good news. All I had to do was concentrate on growing new bone!

As I pondered this concept, it dawned on me that our walk with Christ is often very similar. Sometimes, we must be broken to grow. Broken hurts – but broken heals. When it does, if we have responded properly to His leading and direction, we are closer to Him and made more like Him.

At times we become broken because of our actions and stupidity (I can give you personal examples). Sometimes, it is to mold us and prevent us from growing in the wrong direction.

“Brokenness” can be physical, but we may also be broken professionally, financially or in our relationships. Regardless of the source of pain, the source of healing is the same – God. In the verse above, Jeremiah sees the image of a potter working at his wheel. When the creation was “out of shape,” the potter would “break it” and rework it to the desired form. Please note – the potter didn’t throw the vessel away!

Maybe you are going through a “broken” period right now. It’s possible you are emerging from such a time – or standing on the brink of one. Whatever the case, my prayer for you this week is that you will first experience the healing which comes from His hand, and sense the new spiritual growth which follows. Above all, remember when you are His – God will never throw you away!

“Buried Alive”

March 2, 2010

Kidnapped. Bound and blindfolded. Pistol whipped and beaten. Thus begins the 311 day ordeal of Roy Hallums, an American contractor kidnapped and held for ransom in Iraq.

Hallums takes us (sometimes graphically) through the everyday life of being held captive by a gang of thugs in war torn Iraq. From the mundane, such as the daily diet, to the harrowing he describes the beatings which were given at times for punishment, at other times for the amusement of the guards and often for no apparent reason. Hallums includes some lighthearted moments such as the comical behavior of the captors as they made his “proof of life” video, with one of them acting as the “director.”

He also shares the perspective of his family as they dealt with the lack of information, bureaucratic stalemates and terror of just not knowing whether their loved one was still alive. Understandably, the experience was horribly difficult on them as well.

Hallums was finally rescued however, and we get the details (as much as allowed) of how that actually came about and how the plan was executed.

For me, this book was a page turner and I enjoyed it immensely.

I post these reviews as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger Program J (www.booksneeze.com)