Thursday, January 3, 2008

Remember when...

I remember being a kid and the excitement of opening Christmas day in the world...period. Now my wife and I get to re-live the excitement through our son. I'm sure the rest of you parents can relate. I have to say this boy keeps us smiling and laughing...yep, we love him.

Thanks to all his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends for his presents...and a couple from Santa of course (red and white wrapping paper).

Do you think he likes what he got?

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm Back?

So it's been about 6 weeks since the marathon and tonight was the first time I have run without pain. Needless to say it's been sort of a long recovery time. Nothing real serious just a nagging ache primarily in my left knee. My friend D.A. (who is a physical therapist) says it's most likely my IT Band. Well, it's been a nuisance.

Since winter has set in, I've been doing my cardio back at the gym...also gone back to the bike while my knee strengthens up. So Saturday and tonight (Monday) I did about a half hour on the bike and a half hour running. Felt good tonight...a lot of stretching after and throughout the day to try to help my old body.

I can't believe it but I've really missed the training aspect of running. Partially because of the challenge and anticipation of the race...some because of the alone time...and the rest just for the structure I think. Seriously...I was a CPA for 5 years...I love structure!

Well, I hope I can figure a way to work back into a routine and still keep up with my work and family. If my body responds to where I can start training again...I think I want to do a half-marathon in May and then maybe another full sometime next fall. It's too hard to train in the winter here for a full marathon. We had an inch or so of snow today and it's going to be in the teens tonight....brrrr. I don't think I could stomach trying to run 20 miles on a treadmill.

Anybody want to join me?

Friday, December 7, 2007

God Tube

Yeah I know some of you like the You Tube thing. Maybe you should give God Tube a try. If nothing else, you can take a look at the videos I begin to post there.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Marathon

There are a number of thoughts I was going to share regarding my marathon experience. The journey began when my friend challenged me to run…he said he would go to church if I did.

Can you hear me laughing…I was stuck. I couldn’t say no. I wanted to say no and still had no desire to train for 18 weeks or run that far, but he had turned the tables. Stronger than my lack of desire to run that far, is my hope that my friends would come to know Jesus as their personal savior. I know from my own experience how much better life is with Jesus than without him…so naturally I hope this for my friends. So I chose to run.

So it is with a sense of humility that I say, “ I ran a marathon.” Yes, I physically did run 26.2 miles…but in no uncertain terms, I trained with God and ran for God. It is my desire to give Him all the glory (as little as there may be in my case compared to a competitive runner). Still, the training and running has been a time for me to learn a lot about myself and spend a lot of time with God. Between April and October I spent more than 80 hours training…that’s a lot of time to think.

Like I said, there are a number of thoughts I was going to share. But I think I will conclude with this instead. I woke up this morning to find Chariots of Fire playing on tv. I watched it.

“You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It's hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape - especially if you've got a bet on it. But how long does that last? You go home. Maybe you're dinner's burnt. Maybe you haven't got a job. So who am I to say, "Believe, have faith," in the face of life's realities? I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, "Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me." If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.”

“God made me for a purpose…but he also made me fast. When I run, I feel his pleasure.”

God did make me fast…but my fast days are about 20 years behind me. Today, however, I do feel his pleasure when I run. There were times between miles 20 and 26 that I was out of strength. It was then that I raised my hands to heaven and asked for God’s strength. Asking for his strength is always easy…just to ask for it….but sometimes we try to do it all on our own when all we need to do is call upon the Lord. I mean to truly believe in God and rely on Him. So, even though I am sure it looked strange to see someone running in a marathon with their hands in the air…it was my time to call upon the Lord…recognize it is through His power that I am able to run…and give Him all the glory. I did this at least a half dozen times over the last few miles of the marathon…and when I did…I was fast and felt no fatigue.

God is awesome! I believe he had a purpose for my marathon…all the way down to my race number.

Check out the race video.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Just the Facts

I will post another version of my “marathon experience” later, but for those of you interested in just the race results…this is for you. I finished!

We drove to Richland, WA on Saturday and arrived in the early afternoon to check into our hotel, which was very nice. Shortly after we ate at the hotel where they had a pasta dinner designed for the runners. I basically then went to bed…that night seemed to last forever. I dozed off as the Red Sox pounded the Rockies in Game 3 around 9:30…it felt like midnight. I woke up at 2:00am for an hour and then woke up for good at 6:15am and started my pre-race routine.

Breakfast…bowl of Special K, banana, juice, half a power bar and vitamins. Then at about 7:30 one small boiled red potato. The rest of my diet over the course of the race would consist of 6 packs of vanilla Gu, 16 ounces of Accelerade, 8 ounces of Vitamin Water (Charge), about 8 ounces of Gatorade and about 16 ounces of water.

It was a beautiful day, clear and no wind…but cool…in the low 30s when we started at 8:00am. It would warm up to the mid 40s by the end of the race, but I was glad to have on long sleeves and gloves along with my running hat and sunglasses. I used my son's Blue "Superman" gloves.

I ran with my friend from Portland. He and his wife arrived earlier on Saturday to watch the Ducks pound USC in college football. Boise St. had rolled over Fresno St. on Friday night so I had no similar concerns.

We left the hotel to warm up a little after 7:30 but wound up getting a little frazzled while making our final preparations and pretty much showed up right at the start time…and I wasn’t paying attention to our wives that were trying to film us as I set up on the other side of the street…so you won’t see any video of us taking off. I was nervous…give me a break.

We took off as everyone cheered and rushed down the street. A couple minute in I noticed our pace was a little quick as we were being pulled in by all the enthusiasm of those around us…so we slowed up a bit to the pace we wanted to run the first couple miles to get properly warmed up…it was cold. Our timing goal was basically to run a 9-minute/mile marathon…26.2 miles would make a final time of 3 hours 55 minutes 48 seconds…so there was a little cushion for our overall goal of a sub-4-hour marathon.

After the first 2 miles we were about 38 seconds above that which is about where we planned to be and then we wanted to be on pace by about mile 8. We were able to run around the 9-minute pace for the most part. We sped up to 8:44 in mile 4 and 8:42 in mile 7 and so by mile 8 we were now 2 seconds ahead of pace…just like we planned. How do I know all this? My handy dandy Garmin GPS watch!

My legs felt really good. The pain I had during the last few weeks of training was gone and we were having a good time running together…somebody to talk to was nice.

To this point we hadn’t seen our wives yet…until we crossed the Blue Bridge. We had run from Richland to Pasco and were now crossing the Columbia River to Kennewick. I could see our white Expedition down on the other side and we started to wave to them…it was a big rush to see them. They were then able to follow us for about the next 5 miles and snap some photos and take some video. My son also ran out to us a few times to give us a high 5!

Before we hit the turn around at mile 12, we were both starting to feel some aches as I recall. I was feeling just some tiring below my kneecaps. I was also thinking that we still had a long way to go. We ran a fast 12th mile to try to shake out the cobwebs 8:36 pace. At the halfway point of mile 13 we were right on track…8 seconds ahead of pace!

In mile 16 we crossed back over to Pasco over the Cable Bridge…it was a steady uphill over the bridge and began to take its toll on me. My friend #287 ran ahead of me while I #316 concentrated on keeping my legs moving until the eventual downhill on the other side. I slowed to 9:16 that mile. Now we were at our furthest point from the start and it was a straight 10 miles back down the Columbia River to Richland and the finish…that seemed a long ways away…well…it was a long ways away.

We were still running together which made it bearable as both of us noted fatigue was setting in. we were getting close to running for 3 hours now. We slowed again in mile 18 to 9:15, but made it to mile 20 only 33 seconds behind our goal pace…not too shabby! This was the furthest each of us had run in training…so now the mental challenge of uncharted waters would add to our fatigue level.

Between mile 20 and mile 21 my friend started to fade back while I tried to keep pace and encouraging him to stay with me…but it wasn’t to be. Now we each had our own race to run and our own battles and aches to overcome. I just kept running…I don’t remember much from here. At the beginning of the race we were noticing scenery and the huge houses along the waterfront. All I remember from mile 20 is looking at the ground and making sure I drank enough water.

I ate my Gu (great stuff, you should try some) about every 4.5 miles during the race so my last pack went down about mile 22 with the hope it would give me the final energy I needed to finish.
I remember over the last 5 miles or so seeing a lot of people hit the wall as I passed by. It was a picture of fatigue I had in my head before the race that would happen to me but I had hoped it wouldn’t be until after I finished. I remember running behind a few people and you could see them struggle to keep running and then give up and have to walk. I felt fortunate to be able to keep running. I had read in a magazine that if you pass people towards the end of a race you should encourage them…so I would just say, “we’re almost there…keep going” or “you’re doing great” as I went by.

When I reached mile 23 I knew I was going to make it…don’t ask me why. I guess I just knew from my training that I could do anything for 3 miles. At that point I was 51 seconds behind my goal pace but well ahead of being able to finish in under 4 hours…now I just wanted to run as fast and as steady as I felt I could without getting hurt…so I put my music on my favorite songs…put my head down…and went.

I ran mile 24 in 8:47 so I gained a little time, but then mile 25 started with an uphill round-a-bout to an overpass we ran along. I remember thinking, “You have got to be kidding me.” I was tired and now had to run uphill…I just tried to keep my legs moving at the same pace even though they were taking much shorter steps. That uphill slowed me to an 11 to 12 minute pace for that small stretch. The good news is once I made it to the top I was able to build up speed and eventually a 6:45 pace on the downhill. I ran mile 25 in 8:44 and was now only 22 seconds behind pace. Only 1 mile left…oh yeah, I can do 1 mile in my sleep.

I ran like Forest Gump to a box of chocolates. During the last half mile there was a lady sitting in her front yard ringing a cowbell as runners came by…awesome! About a half a mile from the finish I passed one guy who stopped to walk…I said, “Come on….we’re close.”

At this point I was out of Gu and all of my liquids…but I was almost done. I ran mile 26 in 7:58 and the last 0.2 miles at about 7:30 pace…right through the finish where Miss Tri-Cities was handing out the finishing medals…I did it. 3 hours 55 minutes later I had run my first marathon and it was exhilarating…and I didn’t even collapse from complete exhaustion!

My friend finished in 4 hours and 4 minutes just missing his sub-4-hour goal but still a great time. The average marathon time in the U.S. last year was 4 hours 21 minutes…just a little fact I heard from Cliffy from Cheers. What that means, though, is he wants to try another one so he can break 4 hours…so guess who said he would run it with him?

Well, that was the big day…oh one more thing…I got 3rd place in the men 35 to 39 age group! How about them apples!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Final Preparations

Wow, is it really here? It’s hard for me to believe really. At the beginning of this year I had never even owned a pair of running shoes or run for anything unless it was part of a sport (soccer, basketball, etc.). Now I’m less than 48 hours from running a marathon? Crazy! I look back to the beginning of the year when running 1 mile on a treadmill at the gym was in a word…exhausting.

I feel like I have been training forever. I can’t remember what it’s like not to know what 3 days a week I am going to train and how long and how fast I am going to run that day. It has become a part of me…it’s just what I do. This particular training program started back in July and I am nearing 600 miles of running and onto my second pair of running shoes. Now I look at my schedule and a 10-mile run is a “day off.”

Still 26.2 miles is something I have never done. I have run 20 miles twice in the last 6 weeks. The last couple weeks we have been cutting back miles to get proper rest for the race…only 3 mile days this week…and I am getting anxious!

Today I am planning everything out, meals, clothes, schedule, etc. Yeah, I am ready to go! My right leg has bothered me the last couple weeks but I am hoping the rest is doing it good. I’ve been running with a limp, like someone sticking knives in my leg…nice, huh?

I am running with a friend and our goal is to finish in under 4 hours. I am really looking forward to the race…all my training runs have been alone so I look forward to us pushing each other. We ran a half-marathon together in May of this year…well, we started together anyway.

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers…I will be running on Sunday. I will be wearing a black armband in remembrance of my grandmother that passed away almost 2 months ago. She was an inspiration to me and a witness to Jesus and the faithfulness of God even in her last days. I will proudly remember her while I run and strive to live to glorify God in all I do.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Word is Alive

So what would make me post on my blog after 3 months of inactivity? In a word…anger. Yes, I think it is anger. At what you say? Let me tell you.

“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Why am I angry? Because I see the lion prowling and I hear him roaring in the faces of those I know as friends. And I feel helpless. My soul aches for many as I write this. The lion is ready to pounce…on some that don’t even know it, others that are unable or unwilling to fight, and others that have drawn their swords in defense.

Untrue? The Bible is simply filled with stories and some nice thoughts and concepts to meditate on for those that feel the need? God doesn’t exist and Jesus Christ never walked on this Earth? Don’t be fooled!

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;” John 10:10

My soul aches.

· For those who believe the lie…that God doesn’t exist.
· For those who are faced with temptations and circumstances that overcome them and are ultimately destroyed.
· For those who believe but are distracted and have left the back door open only for the devil to come in for the slaughter.
· For those who believe and recognize the fight is at hand and are currently in a battle.

My soul does ache for all of them. How do I follow Proverbs 24:11? “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.”

I have to turn to the Word…the Bible. The rest of John 10:10 says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (I=Jesus Christ)

2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

He is my strength and the only hope I proclaim. Accept the gift of Jesus, and turn to Him for your strength.

For the handful of you that will read this, you probably know that I will be running my first marathon on Sunday, October 28. In no uncertain terms, my desire to run is to give God glory and to somehow impact those for which my soul aches. The entire training process has been an amazing spiritual growth period in my life. Through recognizing the physical limitations of my own body and abilities, I have on many occasions been convinced of the limitless powers of God. He has revealed himself to me in new and real ways so that I may be made stronger in my faith and a witness to His faithfulness.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3.

Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Yes, I am angry…and I am fighting. I am fighting with you and I am fighting for you.

Jesus Christ is the Word…and the Word is Alive!

View this slideshow created at One True Media
My Slideshow 10/19/07

THE WORD IS ALIVE (lyrics and music by Casting Crowns)
Looking out from His throne, the Father of light and of men
Chose to make Himself known and show us the way back to Him
Speaking wisdom and truth into the hearts of peasants and kings
He began to unveil the Word that would change the course of all things
With eyes wide open, all would see

The Word is alive
And it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless and afraid
Breathing life into all who believeThe Word is alive
And the world and its glories will fade
But His truth, it will not pass away
It remains yesterday and forever the same
The Word is alive

Simple strokes on a page
Eternity's secrets revealed, carried on from age to age
It speaks Truth to us even still
And as the rain falls from Heaven, feeds the earth before it returns
Lord, let Your Word fall on us and bring forth the fruit You deserve
With eyes wide open, let us see

Monday, July 23, 2007

Who's #1?

The 2007 NWFL Draft Lottery was held last night. Watch the video to see the results.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Got Life?

It appears to me that a lot of people think that being a Christian means you simply "don't do" a lot of things. Right? I mean if you're a Christian, you "don't drink, don't smoke, and don't go with girls that do." Right? It means that you "give up" all the "fun" things in life and instead live in some tranquil, peaceful, meditative other words...some boring place where you don't get to play all the reindeer games.

Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no true freedom except that which comes through Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life. John 10:10 says, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Another version says, "have it more abundantly". That doesn't sound like being left out of anything to me.

In the movie the Usual Suspects, one character states, "The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world he didn't exist."

Don't be tricked into thinking a life with Christ is somehow a life missing something. Actually, maybe it is exactly is missing life to the full.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Further Thanks

So I'm sitting in my office this morning and I gotta tell's awesome! My wife bought these apple/vanilla plug in smelly things and they smell great.

Last week it was me, my desk and a group of white bankers boxes hanging out in what might as well have been a storage unit. Today I sit here in my home away from home. It's professional, homey, clean, nice smelling all the way down to the new candy jar and water pitcher/glasses. I think they thought of everything! I can't even kill the plants...they're plastic! For a couple chicks, they know how to decorate something a guy will like.

So I now would like to officially thank my Fantastic wife and her Superfriend. Your kind act and hard work have made a great difference in my day and attitude about being at work. It no longer feels like my job...but more a part of my life.

I know you girls have husbands that appreciate you. I just want to take some time to say it. Thanks!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Open 4 Business

Well it has been a busy couple of months. We have spent a lot of time vacationing as a family (see My Life In Color...wife's Blog) and I have been transitioning into a new office while setting up a new mortgage business. Mix in a few rounds of golf, a holiday, some training time for running and doing some promo work for our men's conference at church and...well...the blog sort of falls out of the things to do bag.

So rather than catch up on the distant past...let's center in on the last couple of days.

Like I said, I have moved offices...which means my office is a desk and a bunch of unpacked boxes...I mean WAS. My wife and her Superfriend Betsy put their decorative genius to work on the night of July 3 and worked well into July 4 to give us boys a nice place to hang our hat during the work day. Without any decorative requests (like it would have mattered) they jumped in with both feet like the Wonder Twins of Boise..."form of, an interior designer"..."shape of, a new credit card with no set spending limit." We gave them a pretty free reign, and they did not disappoint. I like to think I did a good thing staying up with my wife all night before her furniture garage sale...she returned the favor I have to say. I saw it for the first time today, July 5...perfect! I look forward to going to feels like being home. Thanks Wonder Twins!

July 4th...didn't start out as good, however. My running has continued as I am now training for the Portland Marathon with my friend from Portland. Wednesday was a "simple" training day. It was going to be hot so I got up early for me, 7:00AM. I have to be up at least 2 hours prior to running for my old body to get properly hydrated and warmed up. My plan was going along perfectly as I hit the trail at 9:00AM. It was a nice slow 1 mile warm-up followed by 3 miles at about a 7:45 pace, then another 1 mile cool down and a quarter mile or so walk to my final stretch out session. Just finished stretching and it's only 10:00AM on the Holiday...sweet! Now I just have to reach into my zipper pouch get my keys and drive home...doh! Key...she not there anymore. Cue red face, mass rewind sequence in head of past 5 mile run. Set-in panic mode...and finally begin denial sequence. No way this is happening!

May I tell you that that is the only key to the Expedition I own. I did take it off the key ring so at least the remote control is locked in the truck with the windows slightly down. For your sake, I will speed through the rest of my day. I am now cooled down and stretched having drank all my water on my run, but now begin running back over my trail and then back to the car for another 4 sign of said key. Since I can't get in the car I decide to run home...another 2 miles. I get home to my fantastic wife who had just been up the whole previous night putting my office together and tell her that I lost my key and have now ran 11+ miles on my "easy 5-mile" day. It is now 11:30AM. Sympathy and compassion have yet to wake up in our household due to the long previous night and I must have dropped patience and composure with my key on the trail, so I fix myself something to eat and then drive back to the truck with my son's plastic golf club in hand so I can unlock the door and see if by some chance of dumb luck I never in fact put the key in my zipper pouch. Note to self...I never benefit from dumb luck.

Drive back home. My wife convinces me to take the family for a "walk" on the Green Belt to look for the key. We can split up and look for it. She drops me off and I take the dog and go to one end of the trail. She and our 4-year old son drive to the other end for their start and we all set off for an afternoon stroll. It is now 1:00PM...temperature 100 degrees. Don't forget our friends are coming over for a BBQ and I have chicken (1 hour) and ribs (3 hours) to cook for dinner.

My son overheats at 0.7 miles so they sit and wait for me and the dog. The dog overheats after about 1.5 miles and literally lays down on the trail as we are walking. We are about 0.8 miles from each other. The trail has markers every 0.1 miles...this is how I know this. We keep calling each other along the key. I stop to let the dog in the river about 4 times and finally make it to my wife and son. She has been pouring water on his head while they wait. Evidently his comments on the walk included, "How did daddy lose the key?" and "I would never do that." I then walk the remaining 0.7 miles back to the truck so I can drive to pick everyone up. It is now 2:45PM and I have logged another 3.0 miles in walking on my schedule for the day.

Time to go home and get dinner started. I get the ribs "rubbed" and started on their 2 hour sit while I cook the chicken. Our friends arrive and I sit down for the first time in the day while drinking ounces 160 and 161 of water for the day (give or take an ounce). Everything is finally slowing down...chicken about done...just have to go outside for the final flip. Why is the BBQ at 425 instead of 350? Open the lid...BONFIRE! El chicken, El no moro. Burn baby burn. Run over to the hose and run back to the BBQ, knock flower pot off table on the way so it shatters and throws dirt/rock all over the ground near the pool (that will be less funny later when Lori keeps stepping on pebbles at dinner time), hose off chicken from 10 feet away and salvage a couple thighs.

Time to cool down BBQ so that ribs can cook. With any luck, dinner should be ready by 9:00PM. Now as bad as my day has been...a good plate of ribs and good company can heal a lot of wounds...and it did. Dinner was great along with a portion of dump cake. Make me go night, night very well.

Wake up this morning to call the Ford dealership to find out I need to actually take the vehicle into the shop in order to have an extra key made. Hard to drive without a key. I figure that's probably a $200 tow. Naturally, I go back and spend another hour on the trail walking another 3 miles looking for the stupid key.

I get home and realize that we have AAA for the first time ever thanks to my wife's convincing me for our trip to Canada earlier in the year. She takes it from there and gets the truck to the shop and a couple of keys made. A simple $97 debit card swipe and I'm back in business. That's my truck going for a ride.

Days off are great!

Now you know why I don't blog more often....who wants to read all of that?!?

Oh, I almost forgot. If you haven't got a phone call from me in a couple of weeks it's because I dropped my BlackBerry in the hot tub while I was skimming it and lost everyone's phone numbers along with my portable email access. I had the joy of talking with tech support tonight for an hour trying to get it started back up and then another hour purchasing new warranty ran out 1 month ago. Dumb luck still hasn't stopped by for a visit.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Yep…I did it! Explain it how you will, from my perspective, it was 99% God and 1% Me. The 1% I will attribute to myself is the fact that I got out of bed and walked to the starting line…the rest goes to God.

To recap, I hadn’t been able to run the prior 2 weeks because of problems in my legs that had me still limping the night before the race.

I woke up at 6am the day of the race and started my routine to put me at the starting line at 9am. I got back to my hotel room at 7am after breakfast and a 30-minute walk. My wife asked me, “How do you feel?” My response, “My legs haven’t felt this good…maybe ever.” A modern day miracle if you ask me and those that were praying for me.

I still hadn’t tried to even jog until about 15 minutes before the start of the race and then I trotted about a quarter mile to take inventory of my body parts…they were all working.

I bent down to pray before the start of the race with faith that God would watch over my body so that I could finish the race I was about to start.

The atmosphere was exciting! As my first competitive race it was particularly cool to be involved in a “real race.” My friend and I took a starting position at the back of the pack. There were about 160 people running the half-marathon (13.1 miles) and another 200 or so running either the 5K(3.0 miles) or 12K(7.3 miles) races. We were in a good position for video and pictures that our wives were accumulating…2nd to last and 3rd to last at the start! Your time doesn’t start until you cross the line though…everyone has a timing chip on their shoe.

The first mile was a pretty steep uphill. My friend and I ran together and ran past a good portion of the group during the ascent…until I felt my right calve start to tighten. I can’t explain the rush of disappointment and fear that engulfed me at that point. You know that embarrassment feeling when your face just goes to a straight bright red? We hadn’t even made the 1-mile mark and my day was threatening to be over…my heart sunk. I started to fall back like a horse with a broken leg in the Kentucky Derby. My friend asked me, “Is it tightening up?” I responded, “Yes.” A couple seconds later I told him, “Go ahead…don’t wait for me.” That was the last time I saw the back of him.

As I continued to fall back in the pack, everything seemed to go into slow motion and blur as I ran. I looked up to the sky and remember thinking, “Is this it God? Is this how my day ends. Is this really it?”

I had decided not to run with my music (my normal running inspiration) this day. I thought I would be running with my friend and I would want to talk to him and not want to mess with the hassle of the headphones. Now I was all alone. All I could hear was the low hum of the footsteps of the group of runners…those that hadn’t already passed me, that is. I remember hearing the Third Day song in my head, “My Hope is You.”

To you, O Lord, I lift my soul
In you, O God, I place my trust
Do not let me be put to shame
Nor let my enemies triumph over me

My hope is you
Show me your ways
Guide me in Truth
In all my days
My hope is you

I played it over and over in my head as I continued to run. Once I would reach the top of the first hill, I knew I had a nice gradual downhill of about 4 miles to continue to warm up my leg without too much stress. I finished the first 2 miles after nearly 20 minutes…about 3 minutes behind the start I had hoped for. But my leg had been able to hold off the impending cramps. I now understood I would not be running anything close to my goal time…but I might be able to finish…something that back at mile 1 looked to be uncertain at best.

As I continued to run and start to pass a few people again, I noticed that there wasn’t any car traffic on the street…we were running primarily on bike paths We had driven the course the night before to get an idea of the terrain and where to go. Somewhere between mile 3 and 4 I saw my car. Our wives had decided to drive and find us and cheer us on. My wife called out, “How are you doing?” and I heard my son in the back of the car, “Go daddy!” It was awesome! They followed us around and got video and photos of us in about 6 or so different places.

I continued the race and was able to finish without locking up or having to walk. The final challenge was in the 10th mile…the biggest uphill on the course. I did not have to walk up it….but I wasn’t far from it. There was a final turn-around about a 1.5 miles from the finish where I finally passed my friend and yelled him on, “Don’t let me catch you!” He didn’t. He ran a great race and finished 1 hour 52 minutes 23 seconds. I finished in 1:54:55.

It was exhilarating. After the finish, we recapped our runs to each other. I spent some time by the pool that afternoon and then we all went into town for a victory dinner. It was a great vacation!

God granted me the desire of my heart to finish the race and I am so thankful. The entire training process and race day have been an amazing experience. Having my wife and son encourage me along the way was priceless. To know many friends and family members were praying for me to be able to compete was humbling. I am glad to report that God is faithful. Their prayers were heard and I testify that it is only through Him that I was able to finish that race and I give Him all the glory.

I now sit here writing this 3 days later, my legs feeling as fresh as ever. My calves that had given me such trouble as I could barely walk, let alone consider trying to run a distance, feel perfect. God is good…all the time…all the time…God is good.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Night Before

Tomorrow we leave for Sun Valley where I will be running in my first competitive race at the age of 39. As you can see by my picture, some grey has krept in. When I posted a while back, I indicated that I was hoping to increase my endurance for God by competing in this race. This has been a mighty challenge.

I am eager to see how this story plays out. I have battled all kinds of aches and pains throughout my training. A week and a half ago I ran 12 miles as my final long run preparation and fought off calf cramping after 8.5 miles but have been unable to run since as my right calf has remained cramped. I have been limping around the last week trying to figure how to adjust my diet, stretching, massages, menthol lotion, etc. to just be able to actually compete in the race.
I still have no idea if I can run. I do not plan to run until the day of the race...Sunday 9:00AM. I find myself in a strange place. As I have had similar cramping throughout my training, I think I'm better and I go out and make it a couple miles then...Bingo...they lock up and I am D-O-N-E!

So I truly have no idea if I can do it. However, I believe God has a plan for me in this. Don't ask me why or what, but I firmly believe that is the case. I now have nothing to cling to but faith in Him that I will actually be able to start and finish the race. Pretty cool, huh?

I was inspired this past weekend as we attended my cousin's wedding in California. I was talking with my uncle's sister and mentioned to my son that this "lady" was Ms. Portland. She 1980. But she then told a story I had never heard before. I was there in the audience in Portland 27 years ago when she won her crown, but she told us how God told her this was something she was supposed to do. She asked, "Is this really you telling me this God?" and then proceeded to lean on him to lose the necessary weight and learn an almost unlearnable piano piece to ultimately convince the judges. She proudly shared how the Holy Spirit had guided her once the Lord gave her the vision to compete.

I was sitting there captivated with my 1 bum leg. So as I now sit not knowing if I can run, I do know that if I is only through the power of the Holy Spirit and an answer to prayer that I will even start the race.

So tonight, I went on the race website and they had posted my racing bib number...#119. As I sat in the hot tub this evening (remember the bum leg) I wondered, "what is Psalms 119?" Look it up...I'm not sure but it has to be the longest chapter in the Bible...176 verses! The theme according to my wife's study Bible is "God's word is true and wonderful. Stay true to God and his Word no matter how bad the world becomes. Obedience to God's laws is the only way to achieve real happiness."
One verse reminded me of the song I posted a little bit ago My Hope is You, verses 31-32 says, "I hold fast to your statutes, O Lord; do not let me be put to shame. I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free."
I may finish the race but then again I may not even be able to start it...regardless, my hope is in Jesus Christ. I look forward to sharing the "rest of the story" next week. I'll post a picture...hopefully of me drenched in sweat and not one of me sipping a diet coke at the finish line waiting for all those that could run. :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Father, Spirit, Jesus

One of my favorite groups has to be Casting Crowns. Their lyrics and music are truly inspirational to me. I have also seen them in concert once. Here are the words to one of their songs. Have you heard it? Check out their website

Lord, the worship we bring, Is more than songs that we sing
It’s a reflection of our ever-changing lives
The best we have to offer

We don’t just lift up our hands
Lord, we lift up our lives
For we know that You are worthy of our praise
To You our lifesongs raise

Rescued from darkness
We are walking in marvelous light
For we are children of the King!

You are worthy of all honor
Glory, praise and power
King of the nations
You are holy God almighty
Clothed in brilliant majesty
Father, Spirit, Jesus

Friday, April 27, 2007

2007 Bandon Invitational

I have to say, this was one of my most enjoyable Invitational’s for a number of reasons. First, it was a great group of guys with quite a few newbies. Newbies are always good because they add excitement and help remind us how special of a place it truly is. This was the 10th time I have played Bandon Dunes, but it never seems to get old. I remember walking the second hole at Bandon Trails on Day 1 and Brinkley (a newbie I had never met) telling me, “this was one of the things I had on my list to do this year.” You could see the excitement on his face, unfortunately we sucked as partners at Pacific on Day 2, but the kid had energy! Second, much to his wife’s pleasure, Midland didn’t win. Third, the weather was classic. Day 1, not even a breeze…did I mention that yet? Day 2, windiest day I’ve ever seen…I’m still picking sand out of my chin. Fourth, H was back with a whole new set of go-to moves. Finally, I won a medal!

Let’s get to the results. There were some winners…and although nobody is a loser, let’s face it…some people had a long ride home. Actually all of us had a long ride home. Click on the scorecards for a larger picture.

Day 1 was amazing…sunny and not even a breeze, did I mention that yet? Rath was just warming up for the weekend and Mids was in mid-season form as they combined for 69 points and a 3 point team victory. Gale and Midland shot 85 for the low gross scores. Midland was again in the lead with 36 points followed by Rath and Brinkley at 33.

Day 2 saved up the wind from Day 1 and packed it all together. Gusts in excess of 50mph battered the group and kept points low and scores high…except for Rath. Pacific Dunes pelted the participants with sand blasts and 4 club winds all day long. The par-5 18th played as a Driver, 3-wood, 3-wood, 3-wood, 1 putt par. Net scores were low, 20 to 32 points. So how did Rath post a 41-point day? Near as I can tell, he scored a point for every drink he had on Friday night. It was impressive…Friday night I mean. So needless to say, anyone he played with would be the team champs at Pacific. His 41 with Kurahara’s 29 made a team high 70 points and a 7 point victory. After Day 2, Rath lead with 74 points followed by Midland at 68 and Brinkley/Kalina 65.

Day 3 saw the return of the Godfather…that’s me. I don’t like to be painted with that brush…but it is what it is. We showed up on Friday to the resort and met the Manger Mr. Hickox who provided the group gift bags of monogrammed sweatshirts and Bandon hats (along with a hand written welcome note) for last year’s mishap. At dinner the first night, two-gentlemen from the resort and hotel stopped by to personally introduce themselves to me and give me their business cards. It was a nice gesture I thought. When they comp’d the group round #1 and a couple of meals, I thought…it’s nice to be home. In addition to that, they set up KP’s and long-drive markers for us each day along with providing tournament score sheets. Maybe the guys are right…just call me The Godfather.

OK, so back to Day 3. The Saturday night pairing session was classic. We had a bunch of partner rejections and even a couple “pot it” re-shuffle of the teams. At the end, everyone seemed happy with their team. I tried to tell the guys that I score well at Bandon Dunes but I think I still gathered a couple rejections. In the end, it set the stage for the Godfather/Rotweiller victory parade. I hit a long birdie putt on the par-3 second hole and Aaron birdied 2 holes on the front 9 as we cruised to a Bandon Invitational team record 85 points (no team had previously topped 74) while dropping the 2 lowest gross scores of the weekend (Rotkowski 81, Whitehead 83). Rath/Brinkley did put up a solid 76…solid second place that is! In the end, Rath couldn’t be denied his 2nd plaid jacket (the first was a tie with Kurahara in 2004…shouldn’t your sweatshirt say 2004 co-champ, John?). Mike’s 114 points finished well ahead of Midland 105 and The Godfather 104.

Here’s the final results with daily points.

Rath 33-41-40—114
Midland 36-32-37—105
Whitehead 30-31-43—104
Brinkley 33-32-36—101
Rotkowski 32-25-42—99
Kalina 34-31-34—99
Kurahara 32-29-37—98
Semler 29-32-31—92
Dennison 27-28-34—89
Gale 32-20-32—84
Wiek 27-26-30—83
Mrs. Foushee 28-27-wd—wd

Rotkowski went for the repeat in the skills challenge and Dennison won the ever popular Survivor putting challenge. We played our inaugural par-3 challenge at Shorty's in the sideways rain on Saturday and H took home the hardware with a nice scramble par/skin after about 6 holes.

Here's another couple pictures. Midland keeping up tradition of "hitting into the ocean." Also, I thought it was neat that H and Brian tried to pass themselves off as college team golfers. Look at those sweet Pilots and Devils bags!
I hope everyone had a great time. Based on the early returns, most of the group is poised for a comeback in 2008. With pictures like this, you can see why we go back every year.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Best Invitational Yet?

I've had a lot of things going on lately, but this past weekend was the one event I was eagerly awaiting. Long story did not disappoint. I will do a longer post on the 2007 Bandon Invitational later with results, winners, losers, etc. For now, here is the happy group on 1 of our 2 sunny days and the big sandbagger who added 3 more medals to his "bling bling" collection in addition to the plaid jacket.
Before I go though, it is worth mentioning the team below set the all-time Invitational record on Day 3 this year with 85 points (and the 2 lowest gross scores for the tournament). Hey, I think one of them is me!