The Pursuit of Runningness

Web Name: The Pursuit of Runningness






30 June 2009 Be Driven
We've all experienced it before, that moment when something gets in the way of your ambition. You meant to go running, but it was too hot and the couch looked much more inviting. You meant mow the lawn, but it looked like it might rain. You meant to take your dog for a walk, but your favorite sports team was playing.

I'm one of those rare people who can find art and meaning just about anywhere, including the one place most people would never expect to find it: TV. And I found it earlier today when I hit on a new Nike TV commercial featuring Lance Armstrong. The ad campaign is a collaboration between Nike and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

It would be easy to scoff that it's just a way to sell more shoes. And it probably is. But I came away inspired, and I have no desire to buy a pair of Nikes right now (besides, I'm an Asics type of guy.) But as soon as I'm finished writing this, I will get outside and run.

The spot, titled Driven, shows various cancer victims going through treatment and cuts away to shots of Armstrong hammering out big RPMs. He says, "The critics say I'm arrogant. A doper. Washed up. A fraud. That I couldn't let it go. They can say whatever they want. I'm not back on my bike for them."

There's just something about watching video of Armstrong on his bike before going for a ride that all but guarantees a higher cadence while running the streets. I think the reason for this is that it opens a door for you to see what another human can do, and you can do more, too. It might be as simple as tackling a hill faster than you've ever done it before. Or it might be as important as finding the will to go through another round of chemo. Just ask my father...he's on his twelfth round this week.

The thing is, though, no other athlete in my lifetimenot Jordan, Montana, or Ripkenseems to have been able inspire people to do the little things and the big things in their lives better.

Credit the creators of the ad for the art, and Armstrong for the meaning. What he is tackling with his foundation is inspirationaleven if he, himself, is a bit controversial. He helps people turn "I meant to do it" into just do it.

Watch the spot. Then go set a new personal record.

1 comment: 11 February 2009 On PurposeI have my days where nothing seems to matter, where I try my hardest and it seems to be all in vain. Then there are times when things seem to be running smoothly, everything seems to be going right, and then something happens and it makes me feel insignificant and/or worthless.

I think we all have those times in our lives where we ask that question...whats it all for? Like, what does it matter if Im nice or mean? Giving or taking...?

Its okay to feel like we don't have all the answers. I certainly don't. I cannot begin to even explain why I am going through some of the things I am going through at the moment. But even though we sometimes feel sandwiched in between good and bad times, not knowing the why, we just need to try to remember...every moment of every day, you are living out your purpose. God's purpose for your life.
"..and called us...according to His own purpose.." 2 Timothy 1:9
You are where you are on purpose. You are struggling on purpose. You are achieving on purpose. And you are living on purpose. (Even reading this message, on purpose.)

Did you really think God was going to leave it all up to chance?

No comments: 09 February 2009 Grandmas Headphone Ban LiftedGood news for music-loving, gray-hairs everywhere: Grandma's runners can use headphones again.

This story could possibly raise way more questions than it answers. I mean, why were grandmas banned from using headphones while running in the first place? Seems kinda discriminatory, if you ask me. On the other hand, why the sudden reversal? I mean, it was dangerous for grandmothers to run with headphones a month ago, but now it's somehow safe? What changed, exactly? Did a group of angry grandmas lobby for this change? If so, did they wave their canes and walkers in a threatening manner while doing so? Because that could be considered assault. And what do grandma runners listen to anyway? Folk music? Lawerence Welk? (Is that stuff even available on MP3?) It just doesn't make sense.

While you ponder, and possibly either show displeasure or revel in the rule reversal, here's some background music for your run/workout today...

No comments: 07 February 2009 Journey to Financial FreedomMy wife and I just returned from a day long seminar at church on following God's plan for our lives and our finances. It was really quite insightful, and hit home for us in many so ways.

One of the biggest reminders of the day was that He is Lord, and He is sovereign over all things, including: our future, our failures, our money, even our ability to make wealth...everything.

Colossians 1:16 says, "All things have been created by Him and for Him."
God also wants us to have financial peace. And He call us to be good stewards of the money He gives us.

So why do we squander what God of all Creation gave to us? Why do we constantly thrust ourselves deeper into debt, increasing the materialistic tendencies in our lives? Look all around you...we live in a rich nation. We are so blessed by God. Many nations in this world do not have as much as us. And yet do we, in turn, bless others around us?

I ask you pray for me as I introduce this lesson series to my small group tomorrow. I'll be first to admit it won't be an easy topic to hear, especially in an economic climate such as now, but we think this is a perfect time to teach.

Her eyes went back to that familiar sparkle I know, and out of bed she bounded to get ready for school.

. . . .

Okay you think the story is funny. But I can plainly understand. I mean, what's the big deal anyway. All kids go through this at some time, right? Well, the thing is this...she's only six years old.

Now before some of you think I am going diving into the deeper end of the pool, let me explain.

Firstly, I guess I am just expressing what every parent tends to think of when they hit that "boyfriend/girlfriend" stage in their children's lives. And if you have a son or daughter this age (or somewhere in that gradeschool timeline), I guessing you will eventually run into this sometime soon yourself. But more importantly, I already understand this world has this way of creeping up on us. Even more surprising is how it affects our children and tries to make them grow up much faster than they should. And every day, it creeps closer and closer. Sometimes you can see it coming from a mile away; other times it is very subtle. Reality check? Things I remember not experiencing until high school are now occuring with kids as early as middleschool. And sometimes, even gradeschool. That's an eye-opener.

Though I certainly believe 'Elijah's' intentions for my kindergarten-aged daughter were non-egregious, and I don't believe my daughter would have run off and gotten married to this boy resulting from these playground actions anytime soon, it does go to show how quickly our kids are forced to engage a world that pits kids against older-aged situations every day. Honestly, I'm not ready for her to begin thinking of what a 'boyfriend' is, nor why she needs one. Let alone what a 'girlfriend' is supposed to do! Being six years old is supposed to mean living an innocent existence, isn't it? At least, I thought it used to be.

Be it as it may, I cannot keep my daughter as a six year old forever. And I also cannot be there when she eventually faces every situation as she grows up. But I do believe God has intended a plan for our kids to live with simple innocence as long as we can allow as parents.

Of course, there will come a time when those things change and they are thrust into the complexities this world contains. We cannot shield them forever, obviously, but we can help them along the way. Help them understand God's love and plan for our lives. The Bible outlines that plan for each of us, be it as adolescents or adults. And knowing and applying that plan can hopefully help us not become so caught up in this world.

My desire for my daughter is that she understands God has a plan for her life. That growing up will come in time, and that playing on the playground can be and should be as simple and innocent as God intended it to be for her.

Honestly, I dont mind dealing with those simpler dilemmas where my daughter yells, "My (little) brother is in my room dancing in his underwear, and he won't get OUT!" Sigh. I enjoy those days. And I know, some day, those days will end.

1 comment: 05 February 2009 From the Inside OutRecently, I was reading in Romans and a verse just stuck out at me. Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will ishis good, pleasing and perfect will." Now I have heard that verse many times over throughout my life, but I'll plainly admit it: this was the first time I had really focused on it and allowed it to take hold of me the way it should have long ago.

Okay, that was God's first nudge. And you oughta know, He never stops there.

This past weekend, a group of us leaders took 39 middle schoolers from our youth group to Winter Blast retreat. It's sort of a mini-camp in winter where kids from all around the area can come together and conversationalize, play indoor/outdoor games, pray and learn, and allow us leaders to just love on them. In short, it rocked. Our teaching series centered on the theme of connections; about how we connect with God and others. It was also about how easy it is for us to focus on the stuff of this world, and lose focus on what's most important...connecting with a God who really truly loves and cares for us.

Now I am wondering if I might have gotten more out of it than the kids did. Okay, I'm not saying they didn't soak it up or feel God's conviction in their lives, because so many of them obviously did. But it was amazing just how much the theme really hit it for me, more than I realized it would.

God began convicting me of my own connections. Like what was most important to me, what really stood out to others about me, and where He stood in all of it. And it was sobering.

Just how often do I try to cram myself into the mold this world has to offerto be someone I'm not, or to have something I obviously do not needonly to realize that no matter how hard I try, it still leaves me feeling wanting, or worse, unwanted. By filling myself, my mind, with all the things that shouldn't be important, all I'm doing is conforming to this world. And I am pushing away God.

Basically, I've come to realize that everything I am shows to those 6th grade guys I lead. I mean co'mon, it's hard to hide who you are when you're teaching this stuff. But can a leader effectively lead if they're not fully connecting the way they should be themselves? That by conforming to the world around us, don't we know that we slowly degrade ourselves, and bring down those around us who might actually look up to us? How can we stand before God knowing we aren't really in the game?

Reality check. These guys look up to us (me) for...a comforting shoulder to lean on when things get them down, a positive word of encouragement when everything or everyone seems to fail them, answers they don't or won't have to the questions about God and life.

They are seeking someone, anyone, to connect with. They look for leadership. And not just the friendship that we sometimes tend to give them instead; they desire to be mentored. To be taught that there is a God who cares about them, desires to know them personally, and wants to show us His will. They want to know He is real.

Now, truthfully, how can I lead effectually if my will is not God's?

Romans 12:2 simply says to let go of the things this world tends to get us caught up in: Be it gossip, slander, arrogance, selfishness, or possibly your computer, game system, television, cellphone...whatever holds us and our minds down and inhibits us from creating and maintaining that true connection with God.

And that by letting all of those inhibitors go, only then can we honestly surround ourselves from the inside out with that which God intended...His will for our lives.

Here is video from a favorite Hillsong United song of mine. Listen to the words to catch a little of what I am saying here:
A thousand times I've failed
Still your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
Still I'm caught in your grace

Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending, Your glory goes beyond all fame
My heart and my soul, Lord I give you control
Consume me from the inside out Lord
Let justice and praise become my embrace
To love You from the inside out

Your will above all else, my purpose remains
The art of losing myself in bringing you praise

PHOTO BY The Atlantic

No comments: 26 November 2008 Adventures in Off-RoadingI am what you would call a self-described, enthusiastic, part-time trail runner. I'm the type of person who enjoys the quiet, the scenery, and the challenge a trail provides. Indeed, dirt paths are easier on the legs and feet than hard-surfaced roads, and most are away from traffic, but they can also be a true test of strength and stamina. Besides, being out in nature can turn a blasé run into an adventure.

Trails are also a great way to keep running while you're on vacation visiting state and national parks. However, remember that some trails are easier to negotiate than others.

Here's a quick guide to different trail types if you're interested in a little off-road running yourself.


Throughout the United States, thousands of miles of old railway lines have been converted into multiuse trails. They're flat (never more than a three percent grade) and scenic, and some have mile markers-- perfect for most workouts. Surfaces are either dirt, gravel (crushed rock), or paved; a paved trail often has a parallel dirt path alongside it. Find one near you by visiting Rails-to-Trails.


Packed-dirt paths often travel along rivers or creeks, or around lakes and parks. Their smooth, forgiving surface makes them the best choice for reducing impact without the added hazards of rocks and roots. Some are measured, and some are wide enough for your kids to join you on their bikes.


These narrow, rugged paths tend to have obstacles like rocks, roots, and stream crossings, which challenge your balance and lateral motion. They make for a great workout but can also lead to sprained ankles, so start with a hike-run. Run the flat sections, then walk the hills and tricky terrain. Hike with friends, tuck a map into your fuel belt, and be prepared for hazards like animals, bugs, or weather changes.

1 comment: Older PostsHomeSubscribe to:Posts (Atom)ABOUT ME

A runner who also enjoys road and adventure racing, mountain biking, traveling, climbing, hockey, the outdoors, friends family, and being a Christian.

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BLOG ARCHIVES 2009(7) June(1)Be Driven February(6) 2008(129) December(1) November(13) October(10) September(7) August(11) July(10) June(8) May(12) April(16) March(12) February(20) January(9) 2007(34) December(10) November(11) October(13)BLOGS I READFrayed LacesJust Your Average JogglerI Don't Remember Joining The CircusI'll Run For DonutsMarathon BillMile MarkersNotes of a Non-RunnerRandom Thoughts While RunningRoad To BostonRunning Down A DreamRunner's Lounge BlogRunning LaminatorRunning Off at the MindRyan HallThoughts From A Youth PastorUp In AlaskaSEARCH MY BLOGMonday Run-DownsRunning ">430.8 mi
~12,712 mi
----->1-Mile PR:
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Marathon PR:6:35
MY RACE SCHEDULE04/25 Drake Relays Half-Marathon
06/20 Grandmas Marathon
10/11 Long Beach Marathon
QUOTABLES"The minute you start talking about what you're going to do if you lose, you have lost ..." George Shultz

"... let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

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