Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Why Run 24 Hours?

May 10, 2012

I am still recovering from the 24 hour run that I participated in this past weekend.  My muscles are no longer sore, but some of the blisters on my feet have healed, and some are still an issue.

Why do a 24 hour run?

It is not for health reasons.  You don’t have to run for 24 hours to experience health benefits.  Actually, there are definite health risks involved, besides blisters and sore muscles, the possibility of joint issues arising is very real.

It is not really for competition.  I know that I am not good enough to be competitive.  Although this years winner was 58, so maybe I will improve with time.

It’s not really for fun.  I do enjoy participating but it stops being much fun after about forty miles.

I do it for the personal physical and mental challenge.

It’s not really about how I do, compared with others.  It is about what I can do compared with myself.  This year I improved my distance by 13 miles.  I am already thinking about a goal for next year.  I realize that it might be a little bit crazy, but I enjoy the challenge of seeing what I can do.

I think I can do better next year.

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My 2nd 24hr Run

May 8, 2012

This past Saturday I participated in my second 24 hour run.  That does not mean that you run for 24 hours, but that you have 24 hours to complete as much distance as you can by running, walking or crawling.

There are two types of 24 hour run: the track  run and the trail run.  Just like they sound, the track run is run on a standard track, and the trail run is on trails.  Both involve doing as many laps as you are capable of completing in the time allowed.  I participate in a track run.

Last year was my first attempt at a 24 hour run.  I ran two laps, and walked one for as long as I could.  Eventually, I ran less and walked more.  By fifty miles, and in the 14th hour,  my feet hurt with every step, and I called it quits.

This year I tried something a little different.  I still started out by  running two laps and then walking one, but this time every three hours I took off my running shoes and walked three laps in a pair of moccasins.  Then I put on a fresh pair of socks and went back to running two, walking one.  This strategy worked well for me.  I completed 63.65 miles and my feet were still feeling OK.

There was a different challenge this year.  Last year it was cool and cloudy, this year it was sunny and in the mid 80’s with plenty of humidity.  Even with applying lotion every hour, I still began to burn.  Plus, running in the heat is clearly more draining.

Once again, I did not complete the entire 24 hr period.  I called it quits in the 19th hour.  I had reached my goal of 100k and did not have sufficient motivation to push through to the end.

It was a good second attempt.  We will see what happens next year.

Clearing My Mind

April 12, 2012

I am back in school as a student after a fifteen year break.  I am taking a graduate course in philosophy and the majority of the grade is based on one assignment.  I have been thinking about this paper since the beginning of the semester and have done some preparation for its’ writing.  This past Monday, I planned to spend the day at the library, meet with the instructor, and thought that I would be well underway when the day was finished.

After the day was spent as planned, I had a million, jumbled thoughts rattling around in my head.

This was not good.

Tuesday morning came, and I was still wrestling with the information that I had gleaned from the previous day.  I had thought that I knew where I was going with the paper, but now I was no longer clear about a specific direction.

Still not good.

I went for a run Tuesday morning.  I try to run three times a week, six miles each time.  I run primarily for health reasons.  There is a history of heart disease in my family, and I would like to stay healthy.  On this run, as I was bouncing along the gravel shoulder, my thoughts bounced into place.  I had an idea, then an outline, and now I feel better about what I am going to write.

That is much better.

I thank God for bringing the ideas together in my head and for the peace that came with a chosen path.   I thank God foremost, but I do believe that He used the process of running to clear my mind, and to bring some order out of chaos.  Of course, I still have to put the thoughts down on paper, but at least I have a clear idea of  what I am going to do.

Helath Care Reform and the Catholics

February 9, 2012

There has been information in the news recently about further implications of the health care reform and the impact that it will have on Catholic institutions, such as universities and hospitals.  Simply put, these institutions will be required to provide coverage in their health care packages for their employees that goes against Catholic teaching.  Specifically, “preventative care” including birth control pills, the morning after pill, and RU 486, which is a medication that induces an abortion.

Catholic institutions do not forbid their employees to use these products, they simply do not provide for them in their health care package.  They do not provide them because of a conflict with their religious teaching.

Churches are exempt from this part of the reform, why not religious institutions?  This is government control of religious practice.  This mandate should have no place in a country that practices religious freedom.

Adjusting

January 31, 2012

Yesterday I ran three miles. .. I was supposed to run six.

When I was considering going back to school Gloria asked me what I would be giving up.  My initial reply was “Sleep”.  However, that was meant to be a joke.  Since my heart issues of over a year ago, I have been more conscious of my need to rest, and not to overdo it.

That can be challenging.

I have decided that I am going to take each day as it comes.  I will do what has to be done on that day, and then I will try to work in as much of the things that should or could be done, for which I have the time and energy.

It means making judgement calls about what is important.  Like yesterday, it is important that I continue an exercise routine.  My health, possibly my life, does depend on it.  However, I did not have time to run the six miles, and do other things that I felt should be done.  So I compromised.  I ran three miles, and got some others tasks accomplished.

What have I given up?  Hopefully, I am giving up the idea of a rigid schedule.  Day by day, I will try to adjust as needed.

An Aging Gym Rat

December 8, 2011

Back in the spring of 1973, my friend Tom introduced me to lifting weights.   He showed me a handful of dumbbell exercises and told me that I should do them everyday.  My older brother had an unused weight set, so I set up the dumbbells to a weight that I could handle, and I was underway.

Since that time so many years ago, I have continued to lift weights.  I actually competed for several years in Olympic-style lifting and did reasonably well.  Throughout the years, I have tried a variety of routines and exercises, machines, free-weights, vitamins etc, etc, etc.

I never looked like a weightlifter.  At the peak of my competing years, I told a young lady that I was a weightlifter and she laughed in my face.   Apparently, appearances can be deceiving.

As I have aged there is much less emphasis on pushing hard to achieve maximum performance.  The no-pain/no gain approach has changed to no-pain is good…even a goal to be achieved.

I have also noticed that there are not many seasoned lifters left in the gym.  I look around and all I see is a bunch of people about the age of my children.  Only rarely do I see another person near my age, and it has been years since I saw someone older than myself lifting in the free-weight room.

I still enjoy it and plan to continue for as long as my body holds up.  I may not train as hard, or lift as much, but I still think of myself as a weightlifter.

Even if I look even less like one now.

 

Divine Healing

June 14, 2011

I believe that God is able to heal people.  James 5:14-15 says “Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. ”

Healing is also listed among the gifts of the Spirit “…to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, (I Cor 12:9) but there is a qualification stated in verse 11 “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

The power of God and the will of God must somehow be reconciled in our thinking.  We recognize that God is able to bring healing, sometimes instantly through a miraculous touch, sometimes over time, and sometimes in combination with medical treatment.  (Did you know that anointing with oil was a form of medical treatment, not just a prayer format?)  Yet people do not live forever in these bodies.  Only God knows how much time we have on this earth.

I believe that the key is found with how Paul dealt with his “thorn in the flesh”.  II Cor 12:7-9 says  “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.  Concerning this thing.  I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.  And He said to me.  ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

God’s grace is sufficient for us.  God may bring the gift of healing to our lives, or He will give us the grace to deal with our own “thorn in the flesh”.  Either way, our lives can be a testimony of the grace of God, either by healing , or by how we deal with the afflictions of this life.

Running Hot

June 7, 2011

When I was a young man, thirty years and thirty pounds ago, I loved to go for runs on hot, summer days.  The hotter, the better.  There was something about the experience that was particularly exhilarating.

Not so much anymore.

Now I prefer the temperature to be in the sixties.

When it becomes hot, and humid, I struggle to complete the distance.  My times slow down and I may even have to walk, (something I never did when I was younger).  I wear a hydration belt that carries thirty-two ounces of fluid and will use it all before I am done.

Yesterday, it was in the nineties, with high humidity.

I ran inside, where it was air-conditioned.

Fifty Miles

May 5, 2011

Well, I have participated in my first ultra running event.  It was a 24 hour track run.  That means that you have a 24 hour period to run or walk as many laps as you are able to complete.

I made 198 laps, which is fifty miles.

I did not make it through 24 hours.  I quit after 13 hours and eight minutes.  I decided I had enough for my first experience.  I was tired and my feet hurt.  My comments as I left the track was that I would never be doing this again.  However, before I went to bed that night I was already thinking about what I would do different next year.

Next year?  Have I lost my mind???

Maybe.

Next year I will be more prepared mentally for the event.  I will have an idea of what to expect.  I will bring along some comfortable walking shoes to go along with the running shoes.

I will try again.  Maybe next year I will be able to complete the 100k necessary to obtain a plaque.  (That is 62.5 miles.)  After this year,  I recognize that it is not an easy task to perform.

Don’t Stop

April 28, 2011

Saturday is the day that I will participate in my very first 24 hr run.  I am looking forward to it.  I expect to be physically challenged in a way that I have never experienced.

The advice that I was given by an individual who has participated in over twenty of these events was “Don’t Stop.”

Apparently you should alternate between running and walking, but don’t stop.  If you stop you will quickly stiffen up, the pain will set in, and it will be very difficult to start again…so… don’t stop.

It’s kind of like my overall approach to ministry and life.  I have been pastor of the same church for over twenty years and every day I get up and work at those things that need to, should be, or could be, done.

Don’t stop.

Of course there is a difference.  In life, I take breaks.  I observe a sabbath rest.  I go on vacation.  There are periods of rest, but I don’t quit.  I don’t give up.  A key verse to remember for continuing in Christian service is Galatians 6:9

“Be not weary in well-doing for in due season you shall reap, if you faint not.”

I hope to complete 100 kilometers in this race.  If I do, I will get a plaque.

More important, I hope to complete the course that God has set before me.  I want to hear the words.  “Well done, good and faithful servant…”

That will be worth way more than any plaque.