Categories
humor sports

Triathlons: Crash Course

There is a great article on Runner’s World here.

This article chronicles the experience of an experienced runner attempting his first triathlon.

Some of my favorite quotes from the article:

“I was already a decent if casual cyclist, and as for the swimming, well, all kinds of folks swim a good distance without drowning–so why not a runner in marathon shape? … ‘You’ll find out,’ said my Wise Inner Voice, and then it went off to spend the summer with somebody more inclined to listen to it.”

About swimming:

“Pool swimming is as different from open water as running on a treadmill is from running from a hungry bear.”

About biking:

“Legends are full of heroes who unknowingly pick up the instrument of their own destruction, but rarely do they pay retail for it.”

“…cycling encompasses everything from Lance Armstrong climbing an Alp to an English vicar pedaling about his parish, and the difference is discomfort. Runners train so they can run long distances comfortably. Cyclists train so they can cover long distances while in pain the whole time.”

About running:

“My legs complained at the strain, feeling both stiff and soft. They felt as if I had swapped my legs for someone else’s…I was pretty sure I could do the distance. I just didn’t know whose legs I’d be using to do them.”

Personal note: I was thrilled with my 52 minute PR for the 10K run leg of an Olympic Tri.  This guy did a 43 minute split on the run leg for his first ever tri.  That is why he gets to write the articles and I end up reading them!

Categories
sports

Northern vs. Southern Triathlon

Northern vs. Southern Triathlon

I was able to compete in two separate triathlon in June: Kerr Lake (NC, Southern) on June 6 and North Country (NY, Northern) on June 26. Both races were roughly the same distance, but were vastly different in both latitude and geography. While in no way a complete sampling, this is my comparison of the two:

Weather

Southern race was sunny and very hot (high 90’s). High humidity.

Northern race was overcast and cool (60’s – 70’s). Low humidity.

Assessment: Much much better in the northern weather — especially the run!

Major advantage to the northern race.

Terrain

Southern race was small, rolling hills.

Northern race had a hilly run course, and a huge mountain on the bike course.

Assessment: The hills and the scenery were part of the draw of the northern race.

Still, the northern race was much more difficult, and there is little chance of a PR on this course.

Advantage to the southern race.

Organization

Obviously, the organization of the race is not at all related to its location in the country. The southern race was larger with much more organization. However, the northern race had a lot more food and giveaways.

Swim

Southern race was faster and warmer.  Water temperature was not wetsuit legal. Steep hill to T1.

Northern race was colder and rougher. Water temperature was about 69 degrees, making it wetsuit legal (I didn’t use one). Breathtaking scenery and crystal-clear water.

Assessment: This swim course was my reason for doing the northern race. It wasn’t my fastest swim but one of my strongest and my favorites.

Advantage to the northern race.

Bike

Southern race had low rolling hills. Despite the hot weather, it was my fastest bike course.

Northern race had bigger hills with a huge mountain in the middle. I had to push my bike up some of the steepest grades. Crazy downhill speeds.

Assessment: Northern bike was an adventure, but it was almost suicidal.

Advantage to the southern race.

Run

Southern race had small hills, but the heat was unbearable.

Northern race was more hilly, but with much lower temperatures. An added benefit for me was that a friend ran the 10K run course with me. I ended up with a PR for the run course.

Assessment: I’ll take the northern hills for the lower temperatures on the run course.

Advantage to the northern race.

Accessibility

Southern race was close to my home, accessible by an early morning drive on race day.

Northern race was available only as part of our vacation travels.

Conclusion

The northern race was much more scenic with better temperatures. However, the southern races have faster times and, most importantly, are closer to home. I will try the scenic challenges when I can, but will look first for races nearby.

Categories
encouragement praise theology

Forever

“No matter how great your pain is right now, it is not forever.”

I heard this quote from my pastor recently. The lesson is about our Eternal State with God himself. Forever.

We are reminded in Scripture to to focus on the forever.  The problems that we encounter here and today are nothing compared to the Forever.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, while we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are unseen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I am reminded again and again how little I know about life.  I cannot even manage my own problems this week, let alone my entire life.  And my life is much more fortunate than many.

How little I know.

How little we all know about life.

We look at life as if it is about to crush us down.  We look at what we see, hear, and touch, and define this as our life.

We measure ourselves by our accomplishments and our pains that we encounter.

How little we know.

God has not made us for this 70-year span here on earth.  We are meant to be with him.  Forever.

What will life be like when finally see God?  How little will we care about our day-to-days pains from here on earth?

We will have stepped out of the shadows and will finally get to experience the REAL life.

Forever!

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:3-4

No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. – Revelation 22:3


Categories
sports

My love/hate relationship with running

Top things I hate about running

  1. Speed work in the severe cold
  2. Tempo runs in the sweltering heat
  3. Hitting the wall miles from home
  4. The pain of minor injuries
  5. The fear of major injuries
  6. Running out of water
  7. Pushing too hard and paying for it
  8. Answering detractors (No, it won’t kill me!)

Top ten things I love about running

  1. The solitude of a solo run
  2. Deep talks on a run with family or a patient friend
  3. Being faster than my brothers
  4. Trying to keep up with my sisters
  5. The adventures of long runs
  6. The goodies given out at races
  7. Eating what I want, as much as I want
  8. Being in shape and having more energy
  9. Accomplishing goals; finding my limits
  10. The support of my family


Categories
sports

Canucks are Golfing

For those who are following the NHL playoffs:

Categories
encouragement theology

What should we pray for?

I often think of the common child’s prayer: “bless Mom, bless Dad, bless my friends, bless my teacher, …”  Now as adults, we can make a much better sounding prayer, with much more more spiritual words.  However, how often do we really think about what we are saying when we pray for others?  What do we pray for?

I am encouraged to pause when reading the Bible when it covers a specific prayer or prayer requests. How often do our prayer requests model these precedents in Scripture?

Paul starts the letter to the Philippians with a prayer of encouragement:

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11)

In this prayer of encouragement, these are some of the specific requests made on behalf of the Philippian Christians:

  1. That your love may abound still more and more” – That their love (agape) would grow in abundance; more than enough
  2. “real knowledge” – That their love would be anchored in understanding and in the Truth of Scripture.
  3. “all discernment” – Also translated as “depth of insight”, that their love would show an understanding of what is good.
  4. “approve the things that are excellent” – That that they would evaluate things for what has real value
  5. “sincere” – lit. “without wax”; illustrating broken pottery that was repainted for a cheap sale.  The prayer for them is that their love and discernment would produce in them a pure faith without secret agendas or motives.
  6. “blameless” – that they would give no cause for offense; have no legitimate accusations against them
  7. “having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ” – recognizing that the only source of them being able to accomplish this was their salvation in Christ, and his ongoing work in them.
  8. “to the glory and praise of God” – the ultimate goal was for God’s glory in everything.

May we include this in our prayers for others.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Categories
Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc. politics, economy, etc.

National Day of Prayer

The following link is an interesting article by the president of Focus on the Family, entitled “A day of prayer for judicial common sense”

Categories
sports

Ryan Hall on the Boston Marathon

see the link here for Ryan Hall’s blog about his attempt win the Boston Marathon this week.  Ryan finished 4th, but set the American record for Boston.

The more I read about Ryan Hall, the more I am impressed with the way he integrates his faith into his running, and uses his running as a platform for reaching out to others.

Categories
encouragement sports

God’s Word for Athletes

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

– 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

I enjoy preparing for long-distances races.  The training has its share of hardships, but I am always motivated by how the process makes me better: faster, stronger, more efficient, etc.  There are peaks and valleys, successes and failures, elation and misery. Yet at the end, many of my best experiences have come from these training times — sometimes even better than the races themselves.

Yet every race demands personal sacrifice.  I am frequently not careful about what I eat, and the junk food leaves me overweight and sluggish on my next run.  A close friend repeatedly attempts training, yet he is not careful about his other activities.  As a result he pays the price with frequent injuries — many of which have caused him to cancel his race plans.

The list can go on.  We strive to better ourselves in the physical world and to attain to a form of greatness.  In the passage above, God tells us to approach our spiritual life with the same level of intensity and sacrifice that is expected of an athlete as they prepare for a big race.

Let us pursue greatness in our physical lives, but especially in our spiritual lives!

Categories
encouragement praise Uncategorized

He’s Alive!

Thanks to Don Francisco:

The gates and doors were barred
And all the windows fastened down
I spent the night in sleeplessness
And rose at every sound
Half in hopeless sorrow
And half in fears that day
Would find the soldiers breaking through
To drag us all away

And just before the sunrise
I heard something at the wall
The gate began to rattle
And a voice began to call

Categories
encouragement praise

Alive!

Must-see link: Alive!, by Max Lucado

Categories
Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc. culture

What is the best proof of creation?

There is an excellent article here about looking for convincing proof of creation.

There is a lot of talk about presuppositions.  When you start out with the presupposition that there is no God, then you are left with finding interpretation of the world around us as evidence of evolution.

However, when you believe that God exists and has provided us his word then the rest of creation shows us the evidence of his work.

Categories
culture theology Uncategorized

Good at Heart?

I recently saw this quote on a popular TV show:

“That man…believes that everyone is corruptible because it is in their very nature to sin.  I bring people here to prove him wrong.”  (See the entire clip here).

This quote, as expressed by the “good guy” speaks to the essence of thought in our culture: man is basically good.

The democrats in life espouse the goodness of man by believing that people will do right if they are only educated properly, given the right opportunities, etc. When we build the proper “village”, people will be good.

The republicans in life espouse the goodness of man by believing that people do right if left alone.  When we stop meddling with others, people will be good.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Bible says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).   This is further shown in the New Testament (using Old Testament quotes):

There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together.
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.
Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,
The poison of asps is under their lips,
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness
Their feet are swift to shed blood,
Destruction and misery are in their paths,
And the path of peace they have not known.
There is no fear of God before their eyes.

-Romans 3:10-18

Apart from God, we are all corrupt and worthless.  Even when we know God, we are not much better, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).

We are all corruptible and sinners by nature.  Thankfully, God offers to cleanse us:

Come now, and let us reason together, says The Lord,
Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.

-Isaiah 1:18

Since God has forgiven us, we can thank him with the Apostle Paul, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.” (Ephesians 1:7-8)

No, we are far from being good at heart.  But thanks to God that he forgives us and brings us back to him!

Categories
encouragement theology

The Wisdom of God

The Wisdom of God

I have been reading through James lately and am being taught about the wisdom of God vs. the wisdom of the world.

Some attributes that we see from the world’s wisdom:

  • Feeds our own lusts (1:14, 4:3)
  • Builds within us a covetousness that develops into other sins (1:15; 4:2)
  • Enemy of God (4:4)
  • Jealous, bitter (3:14; 4:5)
  • Has no hope (3:15)

In contrast, some attributes of God’s wisdom:

Categories
encouragement entertainment praise

Always Enough

In the dry and weary land
Lord, You are the rain
In the sea of shattered ones
Your love comes rushing in

You hold the world within Your hands
And see each tear that falls
Through every fire and every storm
You’re Always Enough
Always Enough

Your love is peace to the broken
Faith for the widow
Hope for the orphan
Strength for the weak

Your love is the anthem of nations
Rings out through the ages
And You’re Always Enough for me

In the watches of the night
Lord, You are my song
Hope is in the morning light
Your love shines like the dawn

You keep my heart in perfect peace

Categories
sports

Rules to Run By

Great article on Runner’s World:
Mark Remy’s Rules to Run By

I especially like the following:

  • “Run Like A Dog” Workout
  • Rule of Thumb #9: Running any given route in the rain makes you feel 50 percent more hard-core than covering the same route on a sunny day.
  • “Lookin’ good!”…and other runners’ lies
  • A PR is a PR forever, but…
Categories
encouragement theology

Do our words make us hypocrites?

“For we all stumble in many ways.  If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a mature man, able to bridle the whole body as well…for every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.  But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing.  My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.” -James 3:2, 7-11

This passage of Scripture struck me as I was reading today.  How often do I have something bad to say about other people when their lives interfere with my own?  What will be my reaction to the driver who cuts me off on the way home from church tomorrow?

The challenge here in James is that it describes others as being “made in the likeness of God”.  Note also that the audience of our words is never spoken here in James — the core issue is our own heart, not with who hears us.  May we remember that about the next person who bothers or annoys us: let us remember that they are in God’s image, and may we also remember to keep our mouths shut.

Even when I am alone in my car!