Posts Tagged ‘running’

Within Our Limits

August 18, 2010

The other day I was out for another long run.  By long,  I mean ten miles.  After the run I commented to a guy at the gym that I had achieved four out of five objectives.

1.  I survived.  (That is always a good thing!)

2.  I made it back on my own, no one had to come get me.

3.  I ran the entire distance without having to walk.

4.  My time was better than the last time.  (The last time, I had to walk part of the time.)

5.  I did not make the goal of averaging either nine or ten minute miles.

I felt pretty good about the run.

While running I try to pay attention to what my body is telling me.  I really don’t have a death wish and so if I need to slow down, or walk or even quit, I will make adjustments as necessary.

It is important to recognize our physical limitations.

I once read that “the key to accumulating wealth, is to live well within your means”.

I have sought to live within my means for all my life, not because I seek to accumulate wealth, but because I want to avoid financial hardship.  Many of those hardships are caused by poor financial planning or decisions.

It is  important to recognize our financial limitations.

When I was young, I had a tendency to over-commit.  I would stuff my schedule so full of  activities and commitments that I would run myself down and have to quit abruptly.  Over time I have learned how much I can handle.  I still try to do too much, but I have become better at selecting what needs to be done, and have not crashed…yet.

It is important to recognize our limitations of time and energy.

God however, is not limited.

The challenge in doing the work of the ministry is to have the wisdom to recognize when we must stay within our limits, and when it is time to allow God to stretch us, to go beyond ourselves.

If we operate only within our limits then we may not realize the fullness of God’s plans for us.

If we go beyond our limits on our own initiative, and not by the direction of the Holy Spirit, then we, and others with us,  may suffer serious consequences.

May God grant us wisdom to run the course that is set before us, to achieve the full potential of his calling in our lives.

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Reduced to Walking

June 23, 2010

Monday I went out for my ten-mile run.  I attempt a ten-mile run every other week.  I had thought that I might have to run inside because there had been a thunderstorm, put it passed, and I decided to run outdoors. Running outside is greatly preferable to running around a small track that takes fourteen laps to get a mile. 

The only problem is that the sun came out.

Then it got hot.

And muggy.

When I was young, I loved to run on hot, sunny days.

I am not so young anymore.

By the time I reached the turn-around point I realized that it wasn’t going to happen that day.  Only once before, while on a run,have I stopped running and walked.  The remaining five miles I alternated running and walking.  I did manage to complete the course. 

The reason that I had been reduced to walking is that I was concerned about heat issues. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke should be taken seriously.  I do know the symptoms and slowed to a walk when I started to become a little light-headed.   Apparently, I still have sense enough to know when to quit, or at least, to slow down.   I had also marked where there were bodies of water available to douse myself in, if the symptoms became more serious.   I also have the foresight to tell the person working at the gym counter when I should be back, and when to become concerned.   I was back before that time ran out.

Life is like a run.  Sometimes we attempt to do more than we are able to accomplish.  It is important, whether in running, or in life, to know when it is time to make adjustments.  When we can press through, when it is time to walk, and when we should just stop.

Determined, Stubborn or Crazy?

June 8, 2010

As I was out for a run yesterday the thought came to me, “Am I able to complete these runs because I am determined, stubborn or crazy?”

Determination is a good quality.  The ability to remain committed to a task and see it to completion is an important character trait.  I would like to think that I am determined, that I do not give up easily, that I will stay the course. 

stubbornness is the unwillingness to change your mind, or your actions even when it becomes obvious that you are wrong.  You do not listen to other opinions or try other actions because surely you are already right.  You don’t want to admit being wrong, nor are you willing to accept defeat.  The line between determined and stubborn can be a little blurry at times.  The difference is that determination is correctly placed, while stubbornness is determination misplaced, or placed on an incorrect action.

So what is crazy?  We slip past stubbornness, and into craziness when we fail to recognize that our actions are causing significant damage.  We think that we are right, we think that we are being constructive, while actually we are destroying the very thing that we are trying to build.  That is crazy.

I would like to think that in my life  I am determined.

I will admit that I can be stubborn.

I might even occasionally be, just a little bit, crazy.

A New Ride

April 15, 2010

Since last summer, I have been doing triathlon training.  That means that twice a week I do a combination swim, bike, and run.  It has been going fairly well, and it has helped to lower my cholesterol to acceptable levels.

The bicycle that I have been using is a Schwinn Traveler, manufactured, I think, in the seventies.  I bought it at a garage sale for five dollars, six or seven years ago.  It works fine as far as I am concerned.

A friend of mine, who works at the gym, is an avid bicycle rider.  He has been telling me from the beginning that I needed a better bike.  I would laugh and tell him that mine worked fine, he could look for one for me, but it would have to be in my budget, which was very low.

Yesterday, as I am doing my weight routine, he comes in with a name and a number for me to call.  He thinks that he has found a bike for me.  It is listed for forty dollars, which is within my budget.  I called the man,and went to look at the bike.  As I am looking at the bike, the man tells me that he had bought it at a garage sale and that he just didn’t like it.  He must have thought that I was hesitating, because he offered to take thirty dollars for it.

Sold.

The bike is a Trekker 520.  I brought it back to show my friend from the gym, who informed me that I do not realize how good a bike I have just bought. He has helped people look for things before, but this is the best deal he’s found for someone.  I laughingly asked him how many pastors he has previously helped.  

He is right about me not yet truly appreciating the quality of the bike.  I don’t know very much about them.  He had to tell me how to put air in the tires.  (They are not standard tubes or nozzles.)  I will take it for a ride a little later this morning.  

I thank God that I have been blessed with a great bike for my new ride.

Ten Mile Run

March 24, 2010

Monday I ran ten miles in 1 hour 34:17 minutes.  It was a beautiful spring day.  It was sunny, and in the upper fifties.  My run took me out-of-town and through fields that are waiting for the spring planting. (It will be a little while yet.)  The last mile and a half, before the turn-around-point, was a little used gravel road; with a series of large hills.  It was a wonderful run.  I felt great, I was excited because I had been working towards the goal of a ten-mile run for months and today was the day! 

It felt great…for about eight miles.  The last couple of miles didn’t feel quite so great.  I wasn’t in any pain.  I was just tired.  I stuck with it,  kept the feet moving one step at a time, tried not to think about how much further I had remaining, and finished the run.

Running is a good metaphor for life.  Paul, in the New Testament,  used it to describe his life of ministry.  I suppose that each of us can borrow the idea for ourselves.  Whatever “run” you are called to do in this life, don’t quit.  Stay at the task that God has given you and one day you will hear the words “Well Done, thou good and faithful servant. “

Spring Break 2010

March 18, 2010

Spring break is not just for the students.  As a college instructor for over ten years, I can confidently say that faculty members also very much enjoy a little time off in the springtime.

Most years, for me, spring break means that, for a week, I can focus on my primary job, which is pastoring a church.  For this week, I have a little more time in my schedule.  I can catch up on a few items on my “to do” list. 

I can catch my breath. 

Today, here in eastern Iowa, it is supposed to be sunny and in the mid-sixties.  I will ride my bicycle to the church this morning, and this afternoon, for my exercise, I will both ride, and run outside.  It should be a beautiful afternoon for exercising outdoors.

A breath of fresh air!

Last week, I enjoyed a week with my son and his fiance, who were down for their spring break.  They are planning their upcoming wedding and are excited to begin their life together.  I suppose that you could say that they are in the springtime of their lives.

Excitement is in the air!

Spring break is good.  You don’t have to go to some far off location.  You certainly don’t have to party, and get drunk, and behave stupidly.  It is a wonderful opportunity to catch your breath, take a break, enjoy the changing seasons, relax a little, and refocus on what is important in your life.

Success and Failure

March 9, 2010

It was time again yesterday for my long run.  Every two weeks I try to go for a run that lasts for over an hour.  I am working my way slowly to the ten-mile mark.  Two weeks ago I blogged about how I had been inspired to lose weight to make the run a little easier.  I dropped five pounds in the first few days and was feeling pretty good about my efforts.

Then I gained back seven. 

That’s right.  Yesterday when  I was going to go for my long run, I was actually heavier than two weeks ago.  It started so well.  I was motivated. I lost weight.  I was enjoying the sweet headiness of successful dieting.

Then I failed.  Never mind the details.  I could give a list of reasons and excuses, but it wouldn’t matter.  The scale does not lie. 

Apparently neither success or failure are permanent, at least when it comes to dieting.

On another successful note, I ran outside for the first time in months.  It was wonderful.  I felt great.  The added weight around my waist, and the added weight of extra clothing did not hinder my running experience.  It was an exhilarating run!  The gravel shoulder was soft, the air was cool and damp, the countryside was in transition from winter to spring.  definitely a successful run.

So again, both success and failure, depend on what we are focusing on, and neither one is permanent.

This is true not only in diet and exercise, but in life.  Only when we quit trying do we truly fail.  We might fail in some ways, but succeed in others.

Life is good.  We can be successful, at least in some ways and at some times.  We win some, we lose some.   Failure isn’t permanent, so don’t quit.  Live your life.  We can all win, if we are able to enjoy the journey.

By the way,  my weight was down four pounds this morning from yesterday’s weight.  Sweet success!!  At least for now.

Not In A Hurry

February 25, 2010

I was at the gym yesterday.  (I do go more than once a week, you know.)  There was a young mother there, pushing her baby around the track in a stroller.  In an attempt at humor, I commented to her that I wish my laps around the track were as easy as his, as I pointed at her baby.  Of course, I was remembering my run from Monday that had been particularly difficult. 

Later, I thought about what I had said, and have decided that I didn’t mean it.  There may come a time when my ability to run around the track comes to an end.  I may someday be reduced to walking.  There may come a time, should Jesus tarry, and I live long enough, when I will be only able to go around the track being pushed in a wheelchair. 

I am definitely not in a hurry for that!

One of the reasons that I excercise is to be able to continue to enjoy a healthy, active  lifestyle.  I am hoping to continue in that pattern for as long as possible.   I am aging, and will try to accept the natural changes of life, but everything that I have read and heard, tells me that the bodies God gave us can continue to do quite well, if we take care of them.

I will do what I can to take care of mine.

Slowing Us Down

February 24, 2010

On Monday, as I was struggling to continue my run around and around the track, it occurred to me that running was easier when I weighed less.  I know, you would think with all the exercise that I do, my weight would be where it should be, but I like to eat. On Monday, I was up ten pounds from last summer, and up twenty pounds from a couple of years ago.  I have been half-heartedly trying to lose weight since last spring.  It goes up, it goes down.

I have decided that I need to get serious about losing the weight that I had regained.  I would like to trim off some of this excess weight before my next long run in a couple of weeks.  I just think that it would have to be easier to run if I wasn’t carrying the weight belt (fat) around my waist.

These thoughts reminded me of something far more important.  Hebrews 12:1 says “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”

If our Christian race needs improvement, we can look at two things.  First, are we stubbornly remaining in a sinful practice?  Or are we making a half-hearted attempt at change?  Let us get serious about removing sinful thoughts, words, and actions from our lives.  Second, are we doing those things that we know are good for our spiritual health?  Are we consistently reading our Bible, spending time in prayer, and attending church?  Or do we claim that we do not have enough time?  We should examine our schedules to see if the activities that occupy our time are the right things.  If we are too busy, then we need to cut out something other than our spiritual disciplines. 

Most of us could stand to lose some weight.

I think it is slowing us down.

Finish the Race

February 23, 2010

Yesterday, it was time again for a long run.

It didn’t go so well.

I started out with a few pains here and there and suspected that I might be in trouble.  I started feeling tired way too early and was tempted to quit.

Then I remembered my Marine background. 

Marines don’t quit.

I also remembered something much more important.  In II Timothy 4:7, Paul writes “I have fought the good fight.  I have finished the race.  I have kept the faith.”  I thought about how important it is for us as believers to complete the tasks that are given to us by God.  “Accomplish the mission” is the first directive for Marines.  As believers who are seeking to serve God, it is important that we not quit just because things get a little difficult.  In II Timothy 2: 3 Paul writes “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”  

So don’t give up if things become a little difficult.  Continue to serve the Lord with all your heart, mind and strength.  Galatians 6:9 says “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”