Saturday, January 17, 2009

10 Degrees + 25 mph Wind Gusts + Driving Snow =

quite the fun 5 mile run. It really wasn't all that bad. Well, at least when I was running with the wind and not against the wind driven snow. That had a tendency to make visibility a bit difficult as the sleet-like snow was pelting my eyeballs and freezing my eyelashes together. I really was never cold though, other than my bum when I was running half of the route with the wind. I am just glad to be getting out. The pic is post run when I got inside. All the liquid on me was ice when I was outside. I was getting some strange looks from traffic passing by... when I could actually see them that is. :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Running Stuff

Well, I have been lightly getting back into training, as you can see by my training log on the right side of my blog, though my leg would think otherwise of the "lightly" bit. It's giving me some grief, so I am trying to keep mileage, pace, and goals modest. I signed our family up with The Toledo Roadrunners, a local running organization that puts on a bunch of local races, including the Glass City Marathon that I ran last year. Going to try and get more shorter distance races in this year. I also signed Tammy and I up for her first half marathon, the Bayshore Half Marathon, in Traverse City on May 23rd. This will actually be my first half marathon as well. I will run it with her, and me, to finish her first half marathon. There are a bunch of folks from my online running community, RunningAHEAD, who will also be there for the race that weekend so, we will be able to meet up with some of them and hang out, which I am really looking forward to as well. I just found out that one of them will be Phil Mishka, the guy on the bike that helped me get through to the finish of my marathon last year. That is awesome! I'm really excited about that! Kirsten, my online running buddy from RunningAHEAD and the blog, Zoomylicious, will also be there to lead the social charge. Tammy and I will be running our first Toledo Roadrunners race in February, on Valentine's Day, the "Get Luckey 5K" in Luckey, Ohio. The women get a 3 minute head start in the race and men and women placement are in the combined age groups for the finish. Should be a lot of fun. That's about it for now. Gotta head out for a run before the temps dump out like they are supposed to today. Going from about 34 right now down to a low of 2! Ugh. Gotta love Michigan winters! Have a wonderful day and week everyone!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

More on Resolutions and Responsiveness

I had an experience with a homeless individual down in Columbus a couple of weeks ago that left me both happy and heart-broken with myself. I resolved several years ago to not be a let down any longer. Let me explain.

A few years ago just before Christmas, I was at a nearby gas station fueling my car when an older Hispanic couple pulled up to the pump on the other side of me. I could clearly see that they could use a financial boost and was prompted, for me it was by the spirit, to pay for their gas, a whole tank. I failed to do so, coveting my families' money since it was the holidays and we obviously needed one more present under the tree and had bills to pay and blah, blah, blah. I had several opportunities to help this couple, who obviously had 3 of their grandkids in the back seat of their well-traveled, beat up, 1987 maroon Chevy Impala, but battled, reasoned, and justified in my mind why I needed the 30 to 40 bucks it would take to bless this family with a tank of flippin' gas more than they did!

Anyway, long story (which mine usually are) shorter, I failed to help this family, selfishly hanging on to my money cause Lord knows, it would have spun us into bankruptcy if I were to have been obedient to what the spirit was telling me to do! To make things worse, I had witnessed the couple digging into the front seats of their car for change and also noted that they had pumped a whopping $2.07 of gas into their car, which maybe got them to the Toledo, Ohio line 3 miles down the road. I drove away from that incident sobbing, praying for forgiveness, and for the Lord to give me a second chance to do the right thing when the opportunity arose again. I prayed for the discernment in the future to be more sensitive and responsive to when I am being called to help someone that sincerely needs the help. Fast forward.

I walk into a McDonald's on the west side of Columbus in not so nice a neighborhood to use the restroom and, ironically enough, to buy another coffee to continue the cycle. As I enter the restroom I note there is one person in there with his back to me just to the right of the hand dryer on the wall in front of me in a very soiled cartoon character coat with the hood up, in baggy jeans, wearing well worn work boats with no laces and no socks, as the horrible stench of excrement, like in someone's pants not from someone relieving themselves in the toilet, punches me in the nostrils like a right jab from Mohammed Ali. I walk past and go to the urinal to do my business. I hear the guy fumbling with some change behind me and think to myself, "here we go" as the guy asks me if I have any change. The hastiness and harshness of that thought quickly fades though as I get this clear leading in my heart that I am, in some way, supposed to help this guy.

So, I listen as he tells me he needs just a little more change to buy a coffee or something to eat. As I had left Toledo early that morning it had been snowing and freezing rain. It was a treacherous drive down to Columbus, but as I got closer, the snow and ice had changed to a cold, hard rain. He tells me he had slept out in the rain last night and could use something warm to drink or eat. The leading within me grows stronger. I tell the "guy", as I'm washing my hands, my back still to "him" and not yet having seen "him", to let me finish up and we'd go get him something to eat. He says he could use a couple of bucks for the bus to get across town as well. I turn to dry my hands on the wall before me, the pungent odor of excrement now fresh in my nostrils again, and see "him" for the first time. He's a younger guy, around 20 I'm guessin', with a long narrow, bearded face, blonde wirey hair, tall, and thin, but with bright, blue eyes. It bothers me that I only know "him" as "him" so, I look him directly in the face and ask, "What's your name." He tells me it's Jesse. I tell him my name is Rick and that it is nice to meet him and tell him, come on, let's go get you some food.

We step up to the counter and I tell him to go ahead and order whatever it is that he would like. He orders a meal and drink, I my coffee. I order the stuff to go. It comes to about 6 bucks and I give the woman at the counter a 10. She gives me my change back and I hand it over to Jesse. She brings our orders to us and I look Jesse in the eyes again and place my hand on his left shoulder telling him I have to move on with my day, but to "be well". Kinda trite and, I'm not sure what he thought of that, but in my head I was thinking for him to do his best to survive and praying in my head for him for the Lord to somehow bless his life. I exit McDonald's and get into my car and look up back into the restaurant to see Jesse sitting down in a booth by himself to eat.

I drive away back towards the entrance to the highway to head on to my next stop second guessing my actions, or the possible lack thereof. Did I do enough for him? Should I have sat and talked with him as he ate? Was there something else I was called to do for him in those moments that I had missed? Was there another need I could have taken care of? I take solice in the fact that I at least had done something for him, not the least of which was to offer him some dignity, which I wholeheartedly tried to do, and Jesus's words, "whatever you have done for the least of these, you have done for me" come to my mind. Yet, I still weep. I weep wondering if I should have taken a few more moments of my time, which I consider so precious, to get to know more about Jesse than just his name. I drive away crying, more for myself than Jesse, both happy and heart-broken with myself.

Please don't take this post as my boasting. It is far from that. I am as failed as they come, but humble and smart enough to admit it. What I am seeking to do in my own life is to have a greater awareness and sensitivity of those needs surrounding me in every day life and not to be passive about them. To stop and take the time to do something, whatever that may be, for someone in need, where I am able. If we all tried to do so, to be more sensitive to what is going on around us and actually care enough to intervene, when and were we are able, what a difference we could make for humanity. I pray I don't miss out on the opportunities I feel the Lord presents me with to make a difference in that fashion.

This is a great song by Brandon Heath, one of my current favorites, that really is at the heart of how I feel about myself and what prompted this post. I don't want to "keep missing". I pray you'll take the time to click on the link below to watch and listen.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Reservations on Resolutions

Do you make New Year's Resolutions? I'd have to say I don't really. I have goals in mind for the new year, but I find making "resolutions" just sets myself up for failure and disappointment in myself, which I don't need any more of. I was listening to a book on cd today in the car while working called, "The Life You've Always Wanted", by John Ortberg. One of the things the book brought up in bettering your life is to slow down and not be in such a hurry to get done whatever it is that you are doing in any given moment in order that you can be in the moment more. I'm always thinking of what I have to do next, or where I have to go next, or what's due next, instead of truly being in the moment that I am in. Running was much the same for me last year at times when I just "had to get a run in after work" to keep up with my training program and, instead of just enjoying the run in the moment, I was just running it to accomplish it and move on to the next thing or think about the next training run. So, I'm going to try and slow down my actions and thought process and appreciate and be more sensitive to the moment I'm in now more this year. I think I might find I've been missing out on a lot.

I have ran the past two days. Not feeling great, but part of that is from inactivity. There still is something going on with my right lower leg, but I'm just going to have to take it easy starting back this time. Tammy and I may be shooting for the Bayshore Half Marathon this spring. It would be both of our first half marathons the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend up in Traverse City. There are many of my online running community friends from RunningAhead registering for the half and full marathon races so we would be able to perhaps make some new friendships as well. We need to decide soon though as registration the races fill up fast and they are limited it is limited to like 1,500 runners. Problem is, that weekend is typically a camping weekend for us with friends from church and we have already made those reservations. Decisions, decisions.

Have a great weekend and again, Happy New Year!