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Well, it’s mid-February which seems like a little late to do a review of the prior year, but I’ve been busy with other stuff and I’ve been a bit lazy about blogging. So, here it finally is:

2010 Training/Races

  • Miles run: about 857
  • Miles biked: about 600
  • Spin bike sessions: 10
  • Yards swam: about 53,500 (over 30 miles)
  • Races completed: Houston Marathon, Austin Marathon, Rodeo Run 10K, Hog’s Hunt 50K, Big Sur International Marathon, Tejas Triathlon (Sprint), Vineman Ironman 70.3, Rocky Raccoon 25K (more…)

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Wow, what a year or so it’s been. My birthday is coming up soon and that tends to move me to reflection, especially after this past year or so. In the past 12-18 months or so I have:

  • Led a very fulfilling mission trip, then left the church that was with to join a different church.
  • After joining that church (which I still love) and being greatly blessed by the preaching of our gifted senior pastor, seen him follow God’s call to a new ministry opportunity.
  • Taken the leap of faith to finally sign up for a triathlon, then got in a bicycle accident and broken my hand.
  • Set two new personal records for race distances completed (a 50km/31mile ultramarathon and a 70.3 mile triathlon), and set two new personal worst times for marathons.
  • Experienced the let down of finishing difficult races with no one there to greet you afterwards, and the high of getting to see friends afterwards (particularly Austin, and most special to me – the Vineman 70.3).
  • Said goodbye to old friends that moved away from Houston, and tried to make new friends at my new church.
  • And welcomed two beautiful baby girls into this world (daughters of two couples who are like family to me), then laid to rest one of my closest friends.

Like I said, what a year. It’s easy in those circumstances to get down at times, and I certainly have. It’s easy to be mad at God, and I’ve had those moments too. And it’s easy to feel like life just might be pointless or to lose faith, and I even had a few of those moments. But somehow, when everything is said and done, while my faith may have been shaken it has not been broken. Instead it has been strengthened. I’m more convinced in my heart and soul that God is in control, even when it seems like our world is spinning out of control. I can’t really explain it, or even take any credit for it, but simply say “Praise God for working through these events to change me.”

So, what’s next? Well I hesistate to claim I have much if any idea of what God may have in store for me, but in the next 12-18 months I’ll be going on a mission trip to El Salvador, and I’m planning on a series of races including a 25km trail run, a marathon, a 70.3 triathlon, an iron-distance aquabike (swim, bike – no run), and a 140.6 (iron-distance) triathlon. Is it a little nuts? Probably. But why not give it a shot.

Pray for me!!! 🙂

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This is a follow-up to my last blog post about my recent ultra-marathon. You can read that post here.

One of the things I like about endurance sports is that they’re such a great metaphor for life itself. In fact, frequently the Bible uses that metaphor in both the New and Old Testaments in two key aspects – the race analogy itself (see Jeremiah 12:5, Acts 20:24, 1 Corinthians 9:24, Galatians 2:2, Galatians 5:7, and 2 Timothy 4:7), and the concept of perseverance or endurance (Romans 5:3-4, James 1:2-4, and 2 Peter 1:5-9). In Hebrews 12:1 we see the great union of these concepts:

“Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”
– Hebrews 12:1-2, HCSB

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Race Report from the Hog’s Hunt 50K

This past Saturday I completed something most people would honestly find a little crazy, my first ultra-marathon. Now, for the uninitiated, the first question is obviously, what’s an ultra-marathon? Technically an ultra-marathon is anything beyond the marathon distance of 26 miles and 385 yards. Common distances include 50 kilometer, 50 mile, 100 kilometer, and 100 mile races, and even some longer than that. In this particular case I was racing a 50 kilometer (31 mile) trail race at Huntsville State Park in Texas called the Hog’s Hunt 50K. In part one (this post) I’ll give a bit of a race report, and in part two I’ll give you a bit of a philosophical/spiritual commentary related to it.

Race Report:
If you’ve run half-marathons or marathons, or even some bigger 5K’s and 10K’s you know that often they’re crazy affairs with thousands of runners, race expos with lots of exhibitors and retailers, quite a lot of spectators on race morning, and of course the volunteers manning aid stations and such. Trail ultras (and their associated races of other distances) are a whole different animal. Small field size, a handful of spectators at most, a goodie bag and a few volunteers. In a way, far simpler and enjoyable. The Hog’s Hunt is just that sort of race.

I woke up around 3am that morning to drive up to Huntsville for the 6am start. Got to the start around 5:15 or so and picked up the race packet. Plenty of time left to take care of business in the bathroom, change into trail shoes for the run, get the bib number on, etc. Went over to the start around 5:55 or so and waited with the other 50 or so arguably crazy people getting ready to run for 31 miles in the woods. Flipped on my headlamp and at 6am the race director started us and we began the jog down the road for the first mile before we headed into the trails in the woods.

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Back in February of 2008 I ran the Austin Marathon, my fourth marathon in a five month period. Now every race has its ups and downs, but this one ended up being more of a roller coaster ride than normal, and I’m not just talking about the terrain in Austin, Texas.

As the race started I was feeling pretty good. Over the first few miles I ran well, felt great, and was slightly ahead of my planned pace as the race re-entered downtown after spending the first few miles south of the Colorado River. As we weaved through downtown before heading off to the northwest portions of the city, a little over 6 miles in, it happened. My left knee buckled underneath me. Fortunately I didn’t fall, but this was not good. In pain, and unable to run on my knee and 20 miles left? I walked for a little bit, maybe fifty yards or so, then tried carefully to run again. Two or three strides and it buckled again. Now I was really worried. I seriously thought for the first time in my life about dropping out of a race – getting the dreaded DNF. As I continued walking, with that nagging pain in my knee, I started doing a lot of talking to God. Praying for healing, praying for the strength to go on, or even just the will to forget the pain for the moment. Anything. (more…)

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