Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 closer

as far as rides go, today's was a good one to end the year on. i woke up just before 4:00 and checked the radar. there was a narrow band of dryness between bands of icy, nastiness and i was in the dry part. not sure whether the precipitation would hold off long and wanting desperately to reach 900 miles for the month, i dressed quickly. there was no time to waste.

i will not lie to you. i was a bit nervous about the weather conditions. i've dealt with ice on the road before...dealt with it by wiping out at the end of my driveway. i rolled very cautiously onto pine. i could see wet spots here and there on the street's surface and knew that at 23 degrees any one of them could be a slam-you-to-the-ground patch of black ice. i slowed at the highway and made a wide turn to the east. i stayed upright.

since i wasn't sure how quickly the storm might come in from the west, i decided i'd only do short out-and-back laps. i rode out to the top of mock hill three miles away and turned around. less than a mile into my westbound journey, i noticed a few drops of rain falling. i'd been riding 17 minutes. my this-might-be-a-bad-idea meter registered the precipitation and its warning light flickered ever so slightly. i was passed by the first of the two cars that i'd encounter during this first lap five minutes later.

when i got back to town i rode on past main street to the turn off for 10th avenue before doubling back to the east again. the second out-and-back was much the same as the first with a slight increase in vehicle encounters. five cars passed me at some point or another - two from in front of me, three from behind. it was sometime during this lap that i started noticing a strange rattling noise i'd never heard before. more on that in a bit.

my third out and back included ten car passings and a ton of thanksgiving to God for allowing me to ride. it's His grace and protection that have seen me through the thousands of miles i've covered this year and every year. i give him credit for my strength and breath. my hard work and determination would be nothing without His assistance. i'd just be an insane man on a pointless mission. i made it out and back and finally clicked my headlight up to a brighter setting so i could see my distance. i crossed main street at 22.43 miles - at least that's close to what it read. five miles to go!

out i went again. the rattling sound was louder and more persistent. it was drowned out by the sound of a passing car only four times on this final lap. i smiled as i glanced down at my odometer less than a half mile from pine street. i'd covered 27 miles. i was over 900 miles for the month. i relaxed my pedaling and set it on cruise for the rest of the ride back to the garage.

as i turned left into my driveway, i braked. the rattling sound became a scrape, scrape, scrape. i seriously thought i'd flatted. i rolled to a stop and dismounted. placing by bike up against the wall, i gave it a once over. the tires were both firm. the derailleurs were clean and clear. the cables were tight. then i reached to turn off my taillight. my finger met an icicle hanging from it. i broke off the frozen stalagtite and shut off the light. it was then than i noticed the ice on my rear brakes. upon furtner investigation i found iced up front brakes too. my tool bag was covered. there was ice between my seattube and the rear tire. a thin sheet film of ice covered much of the remaining surfaces. i'm so glad i didn't notice these things until i was done. i might have quit short of 900 miles. there had to be ice on the roads. glad i'm safe and warm indoors now. even thought i'm less than ten miles short of 8200 miles on the year, do not expect any more riding today. i'm done.

glory be to God for an amazing year of cycling and an unexpectedly remarkable month! (27.42 miles @ 14.0mph)

an icy finish

a few post-ride photos of my road bike...

ice between the seattube and the rear tire.

ice on the rear brakes.

another angle on the rear brake ice.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

1.13 miles in 9'33"

ok, so i couldn't stand being off by a few hundredths and i wasn't willing to post anything less than a miles, so i ran a bit more than i needed to, but i'm over 420 for the year. happy?

4.35 miles in 38'47"

lots of company coming to the house today, so i got my run in early. after last night's harder effort in wichita, i opted for a shorter recovery run. i didn't pay attention to my pace at all the whole time. i just did my best to avoid long stretches of southbound running. it was the only way i could deal with the crazy strong wind. i ran a couple of streets i hadn't ever ventured onto before. wish i'd gotten 4.53 instead of 4.35 so i'd be at 420 miles for the year, but i'm done. i can deal with being a few hundredths short. i'll run a mile or two tomorrow and it'll all be good.

get off of my road!

after all the close calls yesterday, my dailymile friends david keith hyde and 26x25 suggested i yell at the cars and trucks and tell them to get off my road. i thought it was worth a try. maybe i'd be safer if i projected a meaner, take no nonsense demeanor.

it worked! i yelled at the nearly 40 cars with multiple variations of "hey, buddy! get off of my road!" i shook my fists in anger at more than one truck and every one of them fled into the night never to be seen again. once i shouted, "get on the sidewalk! that's what they were made for!" don't know what i was saying. hope that guy doesn't take my words to heart. the rest of the time it was awesome! wish i'd been given this advice years ago.

it's really a good thing the cars stayed away from me today, too, because the wind was awful. i was buffeted the whole time i was out. i was nearly pushed into the road more than once. i was almost pushed into the road more than once. the swirly whirly turbulence atop l'alpe d'anville was as crazy as it's ever been. it was difficult going out to danville and hard coming back home. blow! blow! blow! i yelled at the wind, but it didn't work like it did for cars. grrrr! the wind was so bad, i almost quit at 16 miles, but i decided to dig a bit deeper and take in a few miles to the east. i climbed to the top of mock hill then turned around and went home.

i wonder what it's going to be like tomorrow. they're actually forecasting a windy day. yikes! (21.77 miles @ 13.2mph)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

6.29 miles in 55'00"

after several hours of shopping with my family, i was glad to pull on my running gear and knock off a 10K with the GoRun wichita group. they were much nicer to me at the beginning of this run than they were the first time i ran with the group back in october. the pace was managable for the first two to two and half miles, then the pack i was running with either put it in another gear or i dropped my transmission. not sure which it was, but i found myself watching them from further and further away. by the time we reached 29th street, they were a good 40 or 50 meters ahead of me. i was still feeling good, i just couldn't run any faster without depleting the energy i knew i'd need to deal with the headwind on the way back.

i turned around at tee time street and headed back up the tiny hill to tyler. i ran along at my own pace. a couple of people had already mentioned my earlier puking incident, so i didn't want to create a new one. i kept plugging away at it, but i'm telling you they must made it further between 29th and 21st while i was running east because it seemed to take forever for the pizza hut to come back into view.

about the time i was worried about finding the right street to turn on to get back to GoRun, someone caught up with me. i asked them if they knew where they were going and they assured me they did. we came to chadsworth and he turned north. i followed. we ran a few blocks and he started hemming and hawing. "i think we may have turned a block too early," he said.

sure enough. we'd gotten ourselves "lost" on the wrong street. we had to run further north and then swing around to get ourselves back to sterling which took us back to maize and the store. the two of us made it into the GoRun parking lot about 6:58. my family was waiting in the van, so i entered the store and quickly retrieved my jacket. somewhere along the way, my stopwatch stop/start button got bumped, so the time is approximate on this. it was around 6:03 when we left and 6:58ish when i got back. i'm calling it 55 minutes even.

from there we went to cholita's for mexican. quick, authentic and delicious! it hit the spot. after two gu gels, it was nice to chew.

fog advisory in effect

most worst case scenarios begin with getting out of bed. some end with a stubbed toe or a cracked shin a few moments later. others are a bit more involved than that.

i got out of bed this morning at 5:30. i did not bang any body part against any immovable object. in fact, this morning played all nicey nicey for the half hour i spent getting ready for my ride. the first hint that something was in the works came when i clicked on the blinking weather icon. "fog advisory," it said. "areas of dense fog possible until 12:00pm." i read that with little interest, then clicked over to the main page. it was 38 degrees with an 8-10mph wind out of the southeast. "warmth, at last!" i cried. i put on a layer or two less than usual and headed out to the garage.

i pulled out onto the rain-slicked pavement around 6:00. it was a little foggy, but not too bad. the spotty lenses on my glasses diminished my sight range much more than the low-riding clouds. i rode up to the highway and headed west. i was going to ride west five miles and then back ten miles to the east and then passing through town do it all again. if i did this twice, i'd end up with forty miles.

no problems presented themselves during the first ten miles. it was a simple out and back. i passed by pine street a little wetter and a bit more wind-battered than when i started, but none the worse for wear really.

it was in the next ten miles that things got a bit more interesting. as i rode east, traffic picked up a bit. about three miles out of town, the "worst case" stuff started. i could hear a vehicle approaching from behind. i could tell by the headlight glare that it wasn't moving over much. when it passed me, i learned why. the yellow pickup that endangered my well-being was being passed by another vehicle in a no passing zone. i thanked God that i hadn't been hit by a gust at the wrong moment or SPLAT! grrr! drive carefully people!

i hit five miles out and decided that i needed better gloves. i'd opted for my cooler polypro liners today thinking it was warmer, so why not? the wet and wind was why not. my gloves were soaked through and my fingers felt worse than if it had been in the 20s. so i turned around and rode toward home.

around two miles from home, a speeding tanker truck passed me while another vehicle was coming from the opposite direction. scared me spitless. he was so close and so fast. grrrr! probably from kalamazoo. that would be the worst case scenario afterall. i think this one was from missoula, so not so bad.

i made it to the garage where my thermal gloves were and popped into the house for a bit of energy. i downed a package of shot bloks while catching up on dailymile. i discovered that kathy s had already posted my blog article on the community blog, so i glanced at it and at the 17 notifications that had piled up since i posted my response to the dailymission question. by the time i was done, i was warm and really didn't want to go out again. "20.10 miles would be enough," i thought. "who needs another 20?" i shook my head vigorously to get that thought out of my head and ran to the garage. i didn't reach my goal for the year listening to such nonsense.

my last twenty miles were a bit of a bore after the exciting adventures i'd experienced earlier. my fingers enjoyed their warmer environment and the rest of my body went along for the ride. i was cold and wet, but it could have been worse. maybe. (40.31 miles @ 14.6mph)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

3.10 miles in 22'45"

i spent an hour and a half this afternoon writing a blog post which, when it's done, will appear on the dailymile community blog. after writing three or four paragraphs i'd had about all the sitting still i could stand, so i decided a run was in order. i got up from the computer, dressed quickly and headed out.

at the corner of pine and vine, i hit play on my mp3 player and started running. from the first step, i knew it was going to be a great day. i felt miserable through long sections of my 5-miler yesterday. i felt very little pain at all today even when i was pushing the pace.

when i left the house, i told my dad that i was going to run three miles, but as i neared the finish i decided to stretch it that little bit more to make it a 5K. i was pretty sure i was headed for a PR at that distance and didn't want to let the opportunity pass me by. i ran a block past my starting point, rounded the corner and stopped my watch at the alleyway. i saw a time i never thought would ever come - 22'45"! my first sub 23 minute 5K ever and i wasn't absolutely dead. i think i could've run another mile or two without lessening my pace. of course, that's the rested and showered me talking. the stretched to the limit me might have had a different plan if i'd actually had the time to run another couple of miles. that test will have to come another day. it's time to leave for supper in anthony now.

thick fingers and numb toes

standing out in the cold for a half hour before riding is not good for your toes or fingers. trust me on this one. i did it this morning waiting for two of my daughters and their friends to leave on a trip to colorado. the result was extremely cold upper and lower digits. the fingers on my right hand felt thick and sluggish by the time i was done. i suppose no one is especially shocked by this since it was between 21 and 26 degrees during the three hours i was out in the elements. brrrrr! makes me shiver just thinking about it again.

the ride itself was fairly enjoyable. i was able to push a bit harder today than i've been able to over the past few days. my legs were cold, but not overly so. they cranked out a decent cadence on the way out and an even better one on the way back. my speed climbed from a 13.8mph average at the turn around up to a 15.1mph average at ride's end.

i thought about going out on a run when i got back, but my numb toes and the predicted high of 50 won the argument against it. (34.70 miles @ 15.1mph)

Monday, December 27, 2010

5.00 miles in 45'07"

everyone was in a "working out" mood this afternoon when the temps hit 40. my daughter and mother-in-law went out for a walk. my wife hit the treadmill. i decided it was time for me to get out and run a bit.

i wanted to run the route my daughter and i scouted on our bikes the other day, so i left the house and ran up by the school and then north past argonia mart and onto the highway. i continued west on 10th avenue and then turned north again. it should have been pretty easy going with the wind out of the southeast, but i wasn't feeling all that great and my right hamstring was acting a bit weird. i guess i need to stretch it better before i head out.

by the time i got up to 20th avenue and headed east, i was feeling pretty puny, but what was i going to do? i was over half way around the route i'd chosen, so i pressed on up and over the rise by ron swingle's house and back to argonia road. my energy level improved a little and i turned south toward home hoping to finish up with at least a 9'00" pace. i figured it would be close.

coming south into town i encountered a few cars speeding north toward wichita. they didn't do as good of a job of moving out and around me as i would have liked them to do, but i didn't get hit so i guess i can't complain. i ran straight to highway 160 where i turned east for a block and then headed another three blocks south before turning east for the final two blocks. i was a bit disappointed when i saw my watch click over to 45'00" just before i reached pine and vine. still, considering how long it's been since i ran this far and how lousy i felt at times, not a bad pace. i'll do better in the coming days as i get my running legs back.

relaxed ride

ahhhhh...vacation! my goal is met. i have a week off. it's frigid out. what could be better? the cold!!!! that's what could be better! it was 17 when i went out at 7:30 this morning. that late in the morning it should be 70, right? but it's not. it's 17. bummer. at least it was 24 by the time i got home.

this morning's ride was a relaxed journey from home to mayfield and back. i hardly needed my headlight when i left and didn't need it at all when i got home near 9:30. it's a good thing too, because the crazy thing went off in less than a half hour. good thing i didn't go out at 6:00. i'd have been in the dark for awhile.

so i made it to mayfield and started back. i needed a break au natural, so i pulled over behind a bush away from the road. and do you know what?! three cars came one right after the other on this stupid little side road. i grabbed a drink while i waited for the peeping toms to move on before taking care of business.

on the way home, a couple of trucks buzzed me. i was fine with that though. they weren't really, really close. didn't even really scared me.

so i made it home. i zapped the zero and i've got a ton of work done around the house. breakfast has been served. the laundry is almost done. must be time for a run. soon...i hope. (25.60 miles @ 13.3mph)

Friday, December 24, 2010

an interview post goooooal!

an interview with not-so-bright guy...

mike n: so i hear you're not so bright.
n-s-b guy: well, i don't know about that, but it was dark outside this morning.
mike n: did you go out for a ride?
n-s-b guy: duh. and they think i'm not so bright.
mike n: but it was 31 degrees out with some sort of precipitation coming down.
n-s-b guy: yeah. so what?
mike n: weren't you afraid ice might form on the road? you could've slipped and fallen. you could've cracked your skull.
n-s-b guy: i knew ice could form, but i had a goal to meet. a slick spot or two weren't going to send me back to my nice warm bed. and, for your information, i have a very thick skull.
mike n: i see. so you made your goal? what for the year?
n-s-b guy: yes, for the year. i added 31/100ths to make sure i was over 8040 miles for the year. and to match the temperature - 31/100ths...31 degees,
mike n: 8040 miles. that's a lot.
n-s-b guy: i suppose.
mike n: did anything interesting happen along the way to your goal? anything you'd like to share about today's ride or any other workout?
n-s-b guy: there are tons of stories to tell, but i've told most of them on dailymile so i'll keep it short and just recount a single strange incident from this morning's ride. about three miles out of town, i'm riding along, minding my own business when i hear a vehicle approaching from behind. i can tell it's slowing so i do my best to keep a straight line.
mike n: that's a good idea.
n-s-b guy: yes, well, please don't interrupt.
mike n: oh, i'm sorry.
n-s-b guy: so this white pickup pulls up next to me. he's not three feet off my left shoulder. i look over and say, "hi," figuring it's a friend who's got his window down so he can encourage me in my quest to reach my goal. the truck's window is not down. my hi bounces off the glass as the truck drops back a bit and then speeds up and goes on past me.
mike n: that's odd.
n-s-b guy: odd? i'd call it rude. a guy's riding outside on a cold, rainy, drizzly day and the driver of a white pickup won't even give him the time of day.
mike n: umm. yeah. i guess. anything else you'd like to say? our time is just about up?
n-s-b guy: will people on dailymile read this interview?
mike n: i'm sure it will be posted there and two or three people might read it.
n-s-b guy: good enough. i have this to say to all those dailymilers out there. you drove me to this. you made me get out a ride on a not-so-bright morning with freezing rain falling just to meet my goal. your motivations pushed me to the brink of 8040 miles yesterday and over the edge of that precipice today. thanks a lot! oh, and merry Christmas!
mike n: do you always talk to yourself? (22.69 miles @ 12.9mph)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

i groaned out loud when i looked at the thermometer this morning. seriously. an audible groan. why? i groaned because there was an ugly 16 where the 75 was supposed to be. force of habit alone got me dressed and out the door. there wasn't a single part of my body that wanted to deal with 16 degrees.

i rode north again this morning. the wind was a bit lighter, so i made it to the corner of argonia road and parallel in just under 41 minutes. that's 8.5 miles in just under 41 minutes. at least it was faster by around six minutes than yesterday to the same point. i'd glanced at my speed a few times during this 41-minute trek. i never saw more than 12mph. not once! cold and slow is an almost unbearable combo for me. grrrr!

i turned east and rode to conway springs. my speed didn't pick up much and, if you can believe it, i actually started feeling cold...really cold. the left side of my face, mostly my cheek, started screaming at me. i won't repeat what it said. it was, shall we say, less than gentlemanly in its description of my character. i would've said, "shut up, cheek," but i was pretty sure the rest of the body would've sided with the cheek and i'd have ended up in the ditch.

i made it to conway springs and turned south on highway 49. riding suddenly got easier. the wind was mostly at my back, but still on my left. my cheek was not happy, but what could it do now? it couldn't urge me to turn around. i was over halfway through my planned route.

before i made the turn onto highway 160, the fingers of my right hand picked up where my cheek had left off. they let me know in no uncertain terms, that they were leaving the body if i didn't do something about the current brain. they suggested that said brain was reckless and cavilier in the way it treated the rest of the body. "do you think fingers are expendable?" the little one cried!

when i turned on to highway 160 headed west, the battle was over...mostly. i had wanted to ride a few extra miles, but time and my fingers and a little bit of common sense kept me from spending any more time in the saddle than was necessary to get me home...where it was WARM! the thought of sneaking in a mile or two more made an appearance or two, but it was rebuffed. i turned resolutely onto pine when i reached it and sped south to my driveway. i'm not sure, but i think i might have awakened tomorrow minus a digit or two had i spent even a second more on the bike.

on the bright side, i'm over 8000 miles for the year and i only have 22.65 miles to go to reach my 8040 goal. piece of cake! i'll get it done tomorrow if it doesn't snow (71% chance starting at 7:00) or drop into the single digits. (30.69 miles @ 13.7mph)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

a little crazy

this morning's ride was a little crazy. it started at 4:00. it was 25 degrees with a 10mph northeast wind. it dropped to 23 degrees by the time i got home. it took 47 minutes to ride the first 8.5 miles into the gale. grrrr! the moon was full and beautiful. God did well. i was passed by 19 cars in the first 30 miles and 33 cars in the next seven. those seven miles, plus about 19 more, were not in my original plan for the morning. i was going to do a 42-mile loop. i strayed from the plan and rode into wellington. on the far side of wellington there were only 29 cars in the wal-mart parking lot. i thought, "it's three days until Christmas! where is everyone?" my headlight gave out after 3 hours and 47 minutes just after the sun came up. i'd run it on the middle setting for most of the ride and ticked it up to high when the sun started rising, so i'm pretty happy with its performance. i didn't ride straight home from wellington even though my toes and fingers were numb. i kept adding miles and minutes until i was over 5 hours. i still didn't get 70 miles. it only took me 4:30 to get that many miles saturday! oh, well! you win some. you lose some. the good news is this: all this craziness will make it possible, if the Lord is willing, to reach 8040 miles by friday. i only have 53.34 miles to go. steve s, my dailymile friend and challenger, and that oversized goal are going down!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


"i will take 'enjoyed' over 'PR' any day." - from tim w.

deep sand

i wanted to run a different route the other day, but wasn't sure if i had enough time since i didn't know how many miles it was. today i talked my eldest into riding the route with me so i'd know the distance for the next time i'm ready to run it. i didn't tell her i could route in on google maps. it's more fun to ride that click.

we took off and rode by the botkin grain elevators and a short distance on the highway before shooting off on dirt roads. we took 10th avenue west to blackstone and then took blackstone north. the wind was pretty strong out of the north and i had forgotten how sandy this stretch of blackstone is. we both had to shift down and spin like crazy to stay upright.

we crossed the highway and made our way up to 20th avenue where we turned east and got a break from the in-your-face headwind. i remember now that i rode 20th avenue once before and i believe i might have said, "never again," back then. we only rode one mile on this cow path, but it was crazy! the sand was DEEP in places and i nearly toppled once or twice. i was smiling the whole time! nothing like near death experiences to get the adrenaline going!

we survived 20th and turned south on argonia road. with the wind at our backs, we got up to 13.5mph! woohoo! we rode on into town where argonia road turns into main street. we took main to vine and then took a left hand turn to ride east three blocks to home.

i think my daughter had fun! i know i did and i know when i decide to run it that this route is about five miles long. (5.15 miles @ 9.2mph)

Free advertisement...

This past Thursday our hometown newspaper, the Argonia Argosy, printed quotes from students at our school concerning Christmas. My favorite was this one from a first grader who attends our church:

"Christmas was the day Jesus was born. See, I know because I go to church. See if you go to church then you will learn about Jesus more. So come on down to the Friends Church." (December 16, 2010, pg. 1)

As someone from the church said, "Who needs paid advertisement?"

John's Christmas story...

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17, NIV)

That’s the Christmas message. God loved us. He sent his Son to save us.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14, NIV)

Two views of the eclipse...

Tthis is the shot I got last night of the lunar eclipse while viewing it with my daughters. I had a lot of trouble focusing in the dark.

This is the shot Matthew Lofton, a DailyMile friend and professional photog, got of the same eclipse. Now you know why I am not paid for my pictures.

a wintery ride

this morning felt wintery. i suppose that's appropriate on the first day of winter, but i'm not sure i like it. it was 32 degrees out with a moderate to strong north wind that couldn't make up its mind to prevail from the east or west, so it just knocked me around all ride long. grrrr!

i started out the morning riding to the east. that was the direction the weatherlab showed would be into the wind, but as i rode there were times when i was fighting the chilly blast and others when it felt like i was being helped along. the fact that the winds were predicted to switch to the south and west made me a bit nervous, so when i got out to the four-mile mark, i turned around and headed back toward town. when i hit main street, i flipped around and rode out to the three-mile mark where i hit the rewind and rode back to town again.

and that's how the morning went - out 2, back 2, out 1, back 1, out 2, back 2, out 3, back 3, out 2, back 2 and home. i didn't have enough time to finish up the final descent with another out 1, back 1. if the distances had been exact, i would've ended the day with 34 miles, but somewhere along the way i picked up an extra mile and a half. payment for the cold, i guess. (35.46 miles @ 13.5mph)

Monday, December 20, 2010

3.37 miles in 33'59"

a week or so ago i didn't know if i was going to make it to 400 miles running this year and now i've done it. my wife needed to run tonight and i talked her into running outside so we could do it together. it was 54 degrees so she agreed to try it.

since running two 5K races - the last one was on thanksgiving day - she's restarted the couch to 5K program and pushed herself to run harder on the running parts and walk faster on the walking parts. i must say, she's improved her speed quite a lot. my legs and lungs and heart actually got completely warmed up during the first 90 second run we did. they stayed warm and felt great the whole time. it was awesome!

when she finished as much as she wanted to run, i ran a little extra just so i was sure i'd be over 400 miles. i over did it by 12 tenths of a mile. i still shake my head when i think about running that many miles. when i began 2010 i had no intention of running even 1 mile. now i love it and have no plans to stop.

4.61 miles in 40'28"

i'm not sure what i was thinking trying to run almost five miles when the longest run i've done in ages is three miles. my only guess is i let the excitement of having an hour off for lunch for the first time since august go to my head. i suppose it could have been the sunny weather or the temps in the 50s. and then there's the possibility that too much caffeine made me do it.

whatever the cause, i bit off more than i should have. i felt okay starting out, but soon felt lousy. i was too tired to run fast, so i just slogged along. i was easy prey for the holden's dogs when i ran past the nature center. it's a good thing they weren't hungry and obeyed my firm "go home" or i'd have been a goner.

i'll chalk this one up as a learning experience and go on.

The Christmas story retold...

The youth at Argonia Friends Church put together this video of the story of Jesus' birth. All my kids are in it.

yippee! it's 4:00am!

there aren't many people in the world who wake up at 4:00 in the morning and shout, "yippee!" i'm one of the few. i had a good rest day sunday, so i was raring to go today. my legs weren't sore from my 70-miler any more, so i felt great.

the wind turned out to be a bit stronger than i expected once i got out on the road around 4:30. it was in my face for over an hour as i pedaled out to the 15-mile mark. i wanted to get in at least 30 miles today. not sure why, but that's what i wanted to do. i made it out and started back. the tailwind was awesome. i relaxed a bit and enjoyed the break for a few miles.

i got back to town earlier than i expected, so i turned around and rode back out to the top of mock hill and back to add another six plus miles. ending up with almost 37 miles made me smile. i'm not racing my friend Adil G. again this week, but if i was, i'd be pleased with my position. i'm only five miles behind. (36.76 miles @ 14.6mph)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

3.19 miles in 28'07"

i finished watching the ironman world championships and felt like running, so i did. i took care of unloading the clothes dryer, reloading it and starting the last load of laundry and then dressed for the cold. my daughter told me it was 38F, but when i was dressed and ready i checked it and found that it was actually 34F. i wasn't sure i was going to be warm enough in what i had on, but my tights were still on the drying rack, so i went out anyway.

the back of my right leg felt tight from the very beginning of this run. i was hoping it would loosen up as i put some distance on it, but it didn't. the "twinge" stayed, so i just took it easy.

i hadn't run all the way around town in awhile, so that's what i took a stab at. when i neared the southwest part of the north side of the tracks i was harassed by a pack of wild dogs. i had to threaten to kick the chihauhau twice before it backed off. grrrrr! stupid brutes! after i'd shaken them, i continued on around the outermost streets, enjoying the easy pace.

headed north on main after completing the south side of town, i decided i wanted to take in an extra mile. i hadn't done anything longer than a 5K for a long time and i felt good enough to do four even with the slight irritation in my hamstring. i settled on this plan and took a slightly different route to avoid the house and the temptation to call it quits.

i was just a block or so into my planned fourth mile when a "bear" started chasing me. i was not happy. grrrr! why does this happen when i'm ready to take on another mile?

so rather than finish out my 4-mile plan, i turned and ran home to shake the bear. maybe next time my run will be a long, critter-free jaunt.

catching adil

i am thankful for several things this morning. i am thankful that i woke up at 4:05 so i could go on a long ride. i am thankful that coyotes sound eerie, but don't attack. i am thankful that neither of the two dogs that chased me in the dark were hungry enough to chase me further than the edge of their property. i am thankful for my dailymile friends and that i was not "racing" chris f. or abhishek r. or venkatachalam r. or roopak s. this week. (i am a little suspicious about the 916 miles that chris f. shows on my leaderboard, however. i may have to have Ben W. look into that. it appears to be a glitch since chris f. only shows 58 miles on his profile.) i am thankful i didn't know until more than halfway through my ride that this "mega loop" was 68 miles instead of the 63 i expected. i am thankful it didn't snow very much while i was out and about. i am thankful for an elevation chart that my friend steve s. in california will have to respect...a little! almost 1000 feet of gain in kansas! i am thankful, too, for summer. it was frigid out there today! it took me nearly two hours to warm up enough to type this! 26F (-3C) is not my favorite temperature for riding 70 miles. i would prefer 70F (21C). i'm just saying what i'd like. not complaining. you understand.

i'm most thankful for adil g. he, as always, proved to be a worthy opponent this week. he rode extra on wednesday or thursday, putting himself further ahead of me than i thought i could possibly overcome. if i had not ridden for more than 4 hours in sub-freezing temps, i'd never have caught him. when i reached 64 miles, i tipped my hat to my friend. i kept it "tipped" for a whole mile. chapeau, adil!

oh! i'm really thankful for a wife who asks if i want to ride 30 miles later today to get to 100 miles. she's so good to (sort of) put up with my obsession. (70.14 miles @ 15.5mph)

Friday, December 17, 2010

still chasing adil

when i woke up at 5:00 this morning, i discovered that adil g was almost 80 miles ahead of me. i knew i couldn't make up all of that distance in one day, but if he's kind and doesn't ride again today, i might catch him on saturday since he has a friend's daughter's wedding to go to. i can only hope he doesn't ride another 30 miles this afternoon.

with the temperature at 30 degrees and the wind was hardly even worth mentioning, this morning's ride was fairly pleasant. i didn't push it hard going out and only increased my effort a little on the way back so i would have time to fix breakfast - whole wheat bran muffins! they were already mixed up, so i just needed twenty minutes or so to put the dough in the muffin pan and get them in the oven.

all i'm really after right now is miles, so after breakfast i pushed even less. i just wasn't in the mood for a hammerfest. i'll admit i thought about an extra mile or two, but i rode out four miles and came back just as planned. that gave me time to order my daughter's textbooks for next semester and pay tuition. yippee! (30.02 miles @ 15.5mph)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

1.75 miles in 12'24"

finally! i had decent temps (42F) at noon! finally! i went for a run! finally! that scotty dog (one of my routes) has a tail! finally! i got back to work! (sorry, no more time to report today.)

i overslept

i overslept a bit this morning. i didn't get on the road until almost 6:00, so i didn't have as much time as i would have liked. still, by the time it was all said and done i had 24.41 miles and i've got less than 300 miles to go to my goal! so i'm happy and, i'll admit it, more rested than usual. i guess a little extra sleep is good once in awhile. (24.41 miles @ 15.6mph)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lady Raiders playing strong...

Wellington, Kan. — The Argonia girls basketball team [is] well aware of the expectations heaped upon it:

Here are a few things the Red Raiders have going for them at the moment:

•They are the defending Class 1A state runner-up champs, losing the state finals in overtime to South Gray 57-51 in Hays on March, 2010.
•They have posted an amazing 75-3 record over the past three seasons. These seniors have only experienced three losses.
•They are experienced with six seniors who rotate in and out of the lineup.
•They lost just one senior from last season, Davi Peetoom. All told they lost just 269 points of the 1,813 points scored in 2009-10.

Really, the only thing Argonia hasn't accomplished is a state championship.

And now that the Class 1A classification has been split into two divisions, things even look more promising.

So is 2010-11, their year? We'll see soon enough.

Argonia girls basketball synopsis:

Head coach:
Dixie Brewster, fifth year. Argonia record: 88-14. Career record: 268-91.

Current season record:
4-0. Won the Caldwell Tournament last weekend.

Predicted finish in SCBL:

Senior starters:
Ali Brewster - 5-8, sr, guard. 12 ppg, 6 reb., 5 steals, 4 assist. Brewster says: "Ali is a team player and her ability to see the court is great. She passes extremely well and she loves to play defense."
Ashton Stansbury - 5-8, post. 14 ppg, 8 reb., 2 st., 1 asst. Brewster says: "Ashton has moves that stifle other teams as well as her coaches. She has a fun attitude and a strong desire to win. She was our leading scorer last season."
Morgan Tracy - 5-7, post. 5 ppg, 3 reb. Brewster says: “Morgan is a strong post player that will contribute to our team's success. She has the ability to score from both the inside and out."
Brandi Daerr - 5-6, guard. 3 ppg, 2 reb. Brewster says: "Brandi is tenacious defender and very quick. Her defensive efforts are impressive."
Lindsay Drouhard - 1 ppg, 1 reb. Brewster says: "Lindsay has seen limited playing time, but continues to be joyfully committed to our team. As a coach, I admire Lindsay for being so faithful to the team and for working to improve each day."
Brooke Boatright - 13 ppg, 7 reb., 5 steals, 1 asst. Brewster says: "Brooke is one of the best defenders in the state. She has great court sense and is an excellent shooter. Her competitive spirit is an asset to her unselfish play is to be commended."

Other starters: Jaci Peetoom, 5-6 guard, so., 3 reb., 2 st., 1 asst.; Rachel Simon, 5-6, gd., 3 ppg, 2 reb., 2 st., 2 asst.

What's right about Argonia girls: Everything. The girls have depth, experience, a good defense. Any potential starter has the ability to score in double figures any night, but each are willing to give an assist.

What's wrong about the Argonia girls: Nothing. Brewster said every player needs to know their roles on the offense.

Odds and ends: Argonia has 18 team members including six seniors, one junior, five sophomores and six freshman... Argonia hasn't lost a SCBL game since 2007... The Red Raiders have a tough draw, playing at the sub-state in Norwich. Norwich gave Argonia a good game the other night in the Caldwell tournament losing to the Red Raiders 49-42... Argonia has scheduled a non-league game with Goessel which will be Feb. 15. (Source: Wellington Daily News)

the wdc scale

i don't have much time to report in today because i pushed the distance a bit after breakfast, so i'm going to revert to 1 to 10 scales for wind (w), darkness (d) and cold (c) with 10 being the windiest, darkest and coldest possible.

w = 7
d = 9
c = 6

i grabbed up all the miles i could because i knew Adil G. was going to pile on and he did. he's got a few more miles than me, but he's still within striking distance. (29.62 miles @ 15.8mph)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

chasing adil

my indian friend on dailymile, adil g, is always pushing me to ride further than i plan. i was right with him yesterday and then he threw down another big ride forcing me to ride close to 30 miles today. no problem, right? i do that all the time when i get up at 4:30 or so, but i didn't wake up until after 5:00 today. that put me behind the eight ball. i had to decide whether to ride an hour before breakfast and fix something hot to eat or ride until breakfast time and serve cereal. i opted for the second choice. my children like cereal, don't they? so i caught up with adil (or close enough) and can spend my day smiling. (29.13 miles @ 15.1mph)

Monday, December 13, 2010

clearing the mind

there's no way to get a bunch of "honey dos" done when your brain is fuzzy, so i went for a little ride tonight to clear things up a bit before tackling the list. it was light when i started out and a brisk 29 degrees. my intent was to hammer out enough miles to put me over 50 for the day. what i meant to do i did. refreshed in body and mind, i will now, the Lord willing, take on the tasks assigned to me. (16.61 miles @ 16.1mph)

under 400 miles to go!

i just couldn't stand being so close to 400 miles to go on my year's goal, so i went out and rode 4 miles to knock it out over my lunch break. it was a much warmer out than it was this morning, so i didn't take too long getting dressed. i wore less layers on top and bottom. it was awesome to ride in the sunshine and get under 400 miles. (4.39 miles @ 16.2mph)

the tragic death of mr. zero

ARGONIA, KS - mr. zero, formerly of mike n's dailymile profile, was born at midnight on monday, december 13, 2010, and died approximately five hours later. he was killed instantly at the corner of pine and vine when hit from behind by a trek 2.1 road bike ridden by mr. n. eyewitnesses said zero was strutting around, mocking mr. n when suddenly the cyclist appeared out of nowhere. "you certainly wouldn't expect such a tragedy to occur on such a cold morning," one witness said. "you'd think a man would have sense to stay off his bike when it's 15 degrees out!" a second bystander chimed in, "wind or no wind, that's just too cold for cycling." everyone nearby nodded their heads in agreement.

during mr. zero's short life, was loathed by mr. n and all but a few who stopped by his profile. mr. n considered zero a hostile trespasser and, when asked if the senseless death of zero was weighing heavily on him, responded with a shrug. "any number stupid enough to be wandering around in the dark on the roads near my profile is bound to be hit sooner or later," he said. "i went out for a ride this morning. zero got in my path." when asked for more details concerning the incident, mr. n declined further comment.

upon further investigation, it was discovered that mr. n has a habit of "accidentally" snuffing out members of the zero family. dozens of mr. zero's ancestors have been run over by 700x23cm tires matching those attached to the rims of mr. n's bike. others have been stomped to death. shoeprints found near the scene of each of these zerocides closely resemble the prints made by the nike initiators mr. n is reported to wear.

when chief mendoza of the argonia police department was asked whether mr. n was a person of interest in any of these cases, she responded angrily. "mr. n is a respected citizen of this town! if a serial killer is loose within the city limits, he'd be the last one i or anyone else would suspect. his record is spotless." when pressed concerning mr. n's odometer reading of 30.63 miles, the chief's response was measured. "i have no doubt, mr. n rode that far. it is not illegal to ride a bike on the streets of this city, only the sidewalks. if you have proof mr. n was rolling down one of our sidewalks, i'm all ears. otherwise, this interview is over."

evidently it's open season on numbers in argonia, kansas, and mr. n will go on killing members of the zero family with impunity. (30.63 miles at 13.6mph)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

3.12 miles in 24'52"

after watching our daughter's basketball team slaughter their opponents 81-9, i met up with her coach to tell her she would be going home with us rather than staying for the boys' game. we had things to do tonight that we didn't want her to miss out on. when i offered the signed note to the coach and explained what we were doing, she looked at me with sternness. "you know i don't like this."

i said i knew that and that i would run extra for her, handed over the note and then left with said daughter in tow.

when we got home, true to my word, i went out to run a mile and then some extra as penance. what i ended up with was a 5K. when i walked in the door, i told my daughter to let her coach know the compensatory running had been completed.
i cleaned up, ate supper and now it's time for family.

big week!

220 miles this week! i haven't had a seven-day stretch with this many miles since the week of aug 9-12 when i had 251 miles on my bike. woohoo!

a tale of two santas

i'm breaking this morning's ride into two parts.

the first part was an awful, "santa ana wind in your face" affair. we're under a wind advisory and riding into the wind was brutal. it took me 50 minutes to cover 8 miles, 1:01 to ride 12 miles and 1:21 to cover the 16.05 to my turn around on the far side of harper. the temperature in argonia when i started was 34 degrees. that warmish temp was the only positive in this rather painful first leg.

the second part of this morning's ride started on the far side of harper and headed toward home. the santa claus wind - the kind that gives rather than takes - was at my back. i was able to glide along at 17-18mph and get over 20mph several times. the highlight of this 16.05 miler was the sprint i did a few miles out of argonia with the wind directly at my back. i got up to 32.1mph! slow for a pro, but not bad for joe blow! the wind is (temporarily) my friend. it was 38 degrees when i got back home. awesome! (32.10 miles @ 14.3mph)

Friday, December 10, 2010

1.67 miles in 12'02"

when i jogged up to the school in jeans and clunky basketball shoes this morning to take care of some business, i felt so weird. it was like my legs had forgotten how to run or, worse, like they had never run before on any occasion. i stole my daughter's car to drive back home, but the feeling of that three block jaunt sat in my gut like an overstuffed burrito with guacamole and sour cream. tasty going down, but not so pleasant later on.

i worked all morning and then lunch time rolled around. i thought of the three-block fiasco and, in a moment of weakness, decided to run like a house afire! i grabbed my compression shorts and a few other articles of clothing and in no time i was out the door.

i had time to run my old "just had to run" route, the one that looked like a scottie dog without legs, so i headed north toward the school. these first blocks felt nothing like they did earlier in the day. my legs responded to my command to run. they remembered what to do. i was feeling fine and running fast when i turned to run past the grade school. i ran by all the high schoolers headed to lunch. some waved and said, "hi!" others turned away from the sight of a middle-aged man in spandex. the latter were the wiser of the two groups.

i was tempted part way through the route to turn my run into a 5K since i felt so good, but i didn't have the time, so i forced myself to turn and follow the course. i did allow myself a little guilty pleasure. i gave the dog legs! i'd felt sorry for him before. "scotty's lost his legs and can't run with ye any more, lad!" he's better now and the .12-mile extension didn't make me late getting back to work.

i was really pleased with my time on this run and even more pleased with how i felt. maybe next time, i'll give scottie a tail!

glitch-incited adventure!

if you have adhd, as i do, adventure is bound to find you sooner or later...and often! you never know when a brain glitch is going to create a unimaginable scenario from which you will have to extricate yourself with skill and savoir faire! this morning's ride was one of those glitch-instigated escapades. how i escaped the jaws of despair will amaze and astound even the most stable-minded among you.

i woke up and got out of bed just after 5:00 this morning. i checked the thermometer - 27 degrees - and then cleared out my closet so i'd have enough layers to stay warm. when i was dressed head to toe, i walked out to the garage, pulled on my headgear and gloves and reached to turn on my lights.

yesterday's ride was a long one and i actually ran the batteries on my headlight out. they were completely spent. when i pulled into the garage, i unplugged the battery from the light and went about the rest of my in-garage routine. then, evidently, i entered the house without plugging the battery into the charger. thus begins the adventure!

when i discovered my mistake, i was in a quandry. what was i going to do? if i wasn't so far from my cycling goal, no problem. i'd go for a run. but i need cycling miles! i had to come up with a solution.

i am not a mechanic or a mcguyver, but i can come up with answers to life's problems given enough time or the right amount of desperation. since today's incident fit in the second category, i almost immediately thought of the small LED flashlight i'd received as a gift recently. (shhhh! don't tell santa. we celebrated christmas over thanksgiving break with my family.) i ran in the house, grabbed the light and returned to the garage. i unstrapped the battery from the bike and plugged it into the charger. i may be dumb once, but i usually don't make the same mistake twice in the same week. usually. then i took the velcro strap that holds the battery and "tied" the flashlight securely to the bottom of my handle bars. (see picture below.) i turned it on and out the door i went! problem solved...sort of.

this exciting journey wasn't quite over yet. i rode west into the nearly non-existent wind. it was a beautiful morning. i was happy...until the light started getting dimmer. i had no spare batteries with my to power my redneck headlight, so a couple of miles out of town i turned back. i was mad. not furious like a giant squid in a "b" movie. more frustrated and a little off like the "mad" hatter in alice's little escapade. wonder if she had adhd. hmmm.

i rode back to town. the light kept working, but there were moments when the inky blackness almost swallowed up the tiny, flickering beam. when i reached the relative safety of argonia's city limits, i relaxed a bit. "this isn't so bad," i thought. "i'll just stay close and i'll be able to ride home if the light goes out."

and so i rode south and then north, back and forth, up and down main street with occasional detours onto side streets when traffic or a whim necessitated it. i did this for almost an hour and then i turned the corner and rolled back home.

after breakfast i went out for another ten miles. compared to the 15 or so earlier. these were dull. i hate dull! here's to more adventures. hope your day is more (or less if you prefer) interesting than mine! (25.64 miles @ 14.4mph)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

under 500 miles to go!

i hit the road at 4:35 this morning. it was a beautiful, calm, 30 degree morning. i couldn't have dreamed up a better morning to get my mileage-to-go down under 500 miles.

i rode out to anson road and turned around, thinking i wouldn't have time for more than 26 miles, but as i got closer and closer to home, i realized i had plenty of time for a few extra miles, so at two miles out i flipped around and headed away from town again.

when i u-turned a mile later to head west toward home, i made a momentous decision: my children were going to eat cereal for breakfast. i had planned to make waffles, but the weather was so wonderful that i decided to take full advantage of it. i rode almost nine miles more than i originally thought i could and ended up dipping under the 500 mile barrier before breakfast.

since i had my goal for the day in hand already, the miles i got after breakfast were freebies! i love free stuff! i got eight miles in, showered and shaved and now i'm ready to take on the day at work.

have a great day my friends! (43.54 miles @ 15.2mph)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

another 40 in the books

it was 27 degrees and foggy when i got up at 4:30 to ride. i dressed in layers and headed out, my lights on for safety. there were patches of super-dense fog, but most of it was garden variety stuff. i wasn't ever worried since there aren't many cars on u.s. 160 to the west of argonia early in the morning. about five miles into the ride the dense fog was history.

i rode out to the far side of danville to begin my morning. i rode through town and out to the 9-mile turn around. when i got back to town, i had a few minutes to spare so i rode east to eden and back before turning south toward home.

i mixed up a batch of baked oatmeal quickly when i got back to the house and then i was back on the road for an additional 8+ miles. i pulled into the garage and heard the timer on the oven sound. perfect timing.

after breakfast, i went out for another 12 miles. at my turn around, i heard someone yelling at me. my friend, francis, was out feeding his cattle. i waved, shouted "good morning" and turned back toward home once more.

all told, i ended up with 40.33 miles which put me over 7500 miles for the year. just over 500 to go. this week's mileage is boosting my confidence concerning that crazy 8040 goal. if i keep getting high mileage days the rest of the week and add another week like this, it'll be a piece of cake to wipe out the remaining miles in the final two weeks. (40.33 miles @ 15.7mph)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

when it all comes together

there are times when everything comes together and something special happens. tonight was one of those times. i hit the road after work hoping to get in 10 to 12 miles while it was relatively warm. i ended up with 18 miles because after the first 6 miles i realized my legs were up to something amazing. i'd covered those first half dozen miles in 20:10, averaging just over 10 minutes per three miles. that's into the wind! the next three miles i covered in less than 10 minutes, turning around at the nine-mile mark before 30 minutes had passed!

riding home was trickier than i expected. i kept up the speed, but there seemed to be more slow riding. i don't know if there are more uphills going west or what it was. my speed dropped under 15mph more than once. i growled and leapt out of the saddle every time it did. i wasn't having any of that.

with one mile to go, i was sure i was going to finish with the best speed i've attained in months. i was elated. i pushed it on home and stopped the clock at less than an hour. wish things came together like this more often, but i guess they wouldn't be as special if they did. (18.17 miles @ 18.4mph)

your wish is my command

i felt great the moment i hit the road today. my legs responded to my desires like a genie to it's lamp-rubbing master. "your wish is my command." i'd love to have had a better average speed, but this is winter and i'm just not going to see 18 and 19mph days when it's 23 degrees out. still, all things considered, i'm pleased with today's 16.1mph average and even more pleased with the miles i was able to get in. if i can keep up this kind of mileage all week, i'll put myself in a much better position to reach my goal. this morning's ride put me under 600 miles to go. (32.61 miles @ 16.1mph)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Loving the whole universe...

I just had the funniest thing happen at the local convenience store. The mom of two little girls, the oldest in Kindergarten, saw me and waved. Their conversation, as reported to me by their mom, went something like this.

Girl 1: There's Mike! I like Mike!
Girl 2: I like Mike, too, and Mike likes the whole universe!

I laughed!

Judgment is coming...

Someone mentioned to me this week that the church today doesn’t talk a lot about judgment. You can hardly argue with that statement. It’s mostly true. Preachers talk about God’s love a lot, but hardly ever about his wrath. Can you blame them? Eternal punishment isn’t exactly a pew-filling topic. In the age of church growth strategies that emphasize marketing and felt needs and the like, hell is, at best, a back burner subject. Some just take it off the stove all together and hope people accept the good news of the Father’s love and the grace he offers through his Son Jesus without asking questions about all the fire and brimstone that’s in the Bible. It’s so much more pleasant for everyone if weeping and gnashing of teeth are never mentioned.

But I have a question: How is the news of the Father’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice good if there’s no “this is the bad stuff that happens to you if you refuse Jesus” message? Salvation isn’t a big deal if there’s not something from which you must be saved or die. Grace, without a credible threat of experiencing God’s wrath forever, isn’t amazing. It’s a yawner. Take it or leave it. There’s no compelling reason to seek for mercy if you’re not certain you’ll be condemned without it.

People who only hear messages of love and happiness have no reason to bother themselves with repentance or confession. They’re pretty sure they’re a shoe in for heaven. They’re nice enough people and they go to church most Sundays. They drop their loose change in the Salvation Army buckets at Christmas. They donate toward cancer research by buying those fashionable yellow bracelets.

Ask them about sin and they’re okay there too. They don’t sin very often and the sins they do commit aren’t the big ones. They just gossip a bit at the cafĂ© or tell a white lie here and there or fudge on their taxes once every five years or ogle that gal at the office when she walks by. They haven’t killed anyone and they hardly ever swear.

Ask them about hell and they’ll tell you a “God of love” wouldn’t send them there. Press them a bit. Ask them why not and they’ll go back to the beginning. “Weren’t you listening?” they ask. “I’m a good person. I give to Jerry’s kids every Labor Day. I wear a pink ribbon every day to raise people’s awareness of breast cancer.”

A pastor who never lets on that there’s a judgment day coming or that God hates sin, cheats the people of his church out of the facts they desperately need to hear in order to make an informed decision about eternity. I do not want to be a pastor like that. I believe you are better served by a clear explanation of the whole truth – good and bad – than you are by a fuzzy bunch of mumbo jumbo that glosses over the seriousness of your sin and the very real wrath of God. I want you to know the great good news! God sent his son Jesus to save us! If you put your faith in Jesus, you will not be condemned! If you do not believe in him, you will be condemned forever because belief in him is the only way to be saved. There is no other name given to men by which they must be saved.

Do not be deceived! You cannot escape an eternity in hell except by trusting Jesus to save you. You are not and will not ever be good enough to merit an eternity in heaven on your own. Salvation from sin is a matter of grace given to repentant sinners who trust God rather than a prize given to adequate performers who pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. There is no such thing as an adequate performer. There are no spiritual bootstraps to pull yourself up by.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

1.00 mile in 11'01"

stuck inside because i'm on call with EMS, i was inspired by debbie b on dailymile to run a mile on the dreadmill at maximum incline. her machine tilts to 12%. mine only slants to 10%. boy am I glad I didn’t upgrade! it was awful! be careful who you're inspired by.

i survived the cold

when i woke up at 2:15 this morning and checked the argonia weather lab online, i knew my ride wasn't going to be the best ever. it was 16 degrees at the time, a full four degrees colder than predicted. when i got up for good at 5:10, it had dropped two degrees to 14. the thermometer was pretty much stuck there for most of my ride. it finally got up to 15 by the time i got home.

riding in the teens requires a high capacity for pain. by the time i was done with my first hour of riding, my thumbs both hurt and my toes were screaming. don't know if you've ever heard screaming toes. it's not pleasant.

it took me all of my breakfast break to get warmed up and then, stupid me, i went out again. an hour of torture wasn't enough. i needed more. this time i rode for about 45 minutes. still my digits were protesting loudly when i pulled back into my driveway at ride's end.

i'm pretty pleased really. my mileage was twice the temperature and my average speed was, all things considered, fairly decent. i survived and i zapped the zero! that's worth something. (28.06 miles @ 15.2mph)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

hawks and honking

i got a late start this morning. the sun was actually up when i headed out on the road. the sun was up and the wind was back. it was making up for lost time after two calm days, i guess. the strength of it accounts for my 14.1mph average and the shortness of my ride. i just couldn't stand being buffeted any longer.

from the get go this ride was less enjoyable than most. the wind forced the air i was trying to exhale back down my windpipe as i crept up pine street at 8mph. fighting to breathe is not much fun.

things were slightly better when i turned east onto the highway, but still not all that great. the wind, now on my left side, chilled me to the bone quickly and froze my face in place.

around four miles out, three semis hauling extremely oversized loads passed me going west. the draft of of each of them had the same effect as the headwind had on pine. i was gasping for breath and struggling to stay upright.

somehow i managed to get to the ten-mile mark without further incident. i had planned to turn around there, but then i thought, "what would Steve S. do?" he'd ride 90 miles, so i decided to grab an extra mile or two to lessen the damage a little.

at eleven miles out i turned around. the wind wasn't as cooperative as i would have liked, but i did pick up a bit of speed as i headed west. i was glad i didn't have to deal with the draft off vehicles any more. of course, now i had the undesirable task of staying off the road when the wind gusted to 5000mph! (okay, maybe the gusts were only 500mph. 5000mph was probably an exaggeration.)

about nine miles out, a pickup pulling a stump grinder decided it would be fun to scare the cyclist to death. he laid on his horn as he passed within 72 inches of me. i was not happy. when i saw this same truck at someone's house grinding stumps a few miles later, i was sorely tempted to stop and give the man a piece of my mind. on second thought, i decided i needed all the pieces i had and he'd have to fend for himself.

one more cool thing and then i'm done. somewhere between the honking and the stump grinding incidents, i was accompanied along my way by a kettle of three or four hawks. (i looked it up. you don't call a group of hawks a flock though dr. seuss would like it better that way.) the threesome (or foursome) seemed to be enjoying the wind. they soared along like it was the perfect day to be out and about. one of them flew along beside me, urging me on. it was awesome! God's creatures are so cool!

ok. now i'm done and i "get" to go to a craft fair with my wife. (22.19 miles @ 14.1mph)

Friday, December 3, 2010

1.55 miles in 11'10"

ran another half 5K over lunch. wish my time was longer, but take a half hour in order to be able to leave a little early for my kids' ball games. it was a beautiful 50-some degrees for this half. i took five seconds off my time on the same route earlier this week. felt good most of the time. a great initiation for my new compression socks.

the 30 steps to mastery

saw this on a friend's dailymile feed...

1. start.
2. keep going.
3. you think you’re starting to get the hang of it.
4. you see someone else’s work and feel undeniable misery.
5. keep going.
6. keep going.
7. you feel like maybe, possibly, you kinda got it now.
8. you don’t.
9. keep going.
10. you ask for someone else’s opinion - their response is standoffish, though polite.
11. depression.
12. keep going.
13. keep going.
14. you ask someone else’s opinion - their response is favorable.
15. they have no idea what they’re talking about.
16. keep going.
17. you feel semi-kinda favorable and maybe even a little proud of what you can do now.
18. self-loathing chastisement.
19. depression.
20. keep going.
21. you ask someone else’s opinion - they respond quite favorably.
22. they’re still wrong.
23. depression.
24. keep going though you can’t possibly imagine why.
25. become restless.
26. receive some measure of praise from a trustworthy opinion.
27. they’re still wrong.
28. keep going just because there’s nothing else to do.
29. mastery arrives, you mistake it for a gust of wind.
30. keep going.

in my running, i think i'm at about step 17. can't wait for 18.

poor angi s!

i woke up at 5:00 feeling like death warmed over. i was so tired, i decided to go back to bed. i crawled back under the covers and lay still for a minute or two and my mind went hyper on me. i tried to relax, but i couldn't. thoughts of steve s. riding 50 miles raced through my mind. grrrrr! i can't sleep mad, so i got up, got dressed and got on my bike.

the temperature this morning was much more to my liking. it was a nearly freezing 31. much warmer than tuesday's 20 or yesterday's 24. my legs responded positively to the increase in heat. they took me out to chicaskia road and back in much less time than they did yesterday. my average speed was a whole mile per hour faster! not that 15mph is anything to write home about.

anyway, while i was out in the darkness, i began to wonder if angi s. knows that her husband is using up all his vacation time to get in longer rides and beat me in our mileage throwdown challenge. i wondered if he'd have enough days off left to take her on that carribean cruise he told me he was going to take her on. i began to feel very sad for her. it must be hard to have such an obsessive husband, one who breaks his vows for a handful of extra miles. poor woman. someone needs to tell her what's going on so she can get steve some help before it's too late.

enjoy the doghouse, steve. hee, hee, hee! i love it when an evil plan comes together.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

God is near...

Before we get too far beyond Thanksgiving Day, let me share with you some thoughts on giving thanks to God for who he is and what he does for his children.

In Deuteronomy 4:7, we find these words: “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?” (NIV)

Think about that last phrase for a second: “the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him.” Every time you are facing a difficulty and cry out to God, he is near. Every time something goes right and you shout your praise to God, he’s near. Every time you’re concerned about a friend’s physical or spiritual well-being, if you talk to God about it, he’s near.

How many times has God been near you this week?

God was near me as I rode my bike and thought about people I knew who were in need of his help. He was near me when I was writing this message. He was near me when I started getting sleepy on my drive to Wichita this morning.

In what circumstances did you pray to God over the past seven days? He was near you every time you spoke to him. Not once did he distance himself from you as you cried out in distress. He leaned in to hear your heart’s desires as you poured them out before his throne.

Aren’t you glad God is near you whenever you pray to him? If you are, present your requests to him with thanksgiving and receive his peace that passes all understanding. It’s yours to have if you’ll trust the God who is near with your every need and heartache and joy.

To receive my once or twice weekly message via email, send a blank email to Past messages are available at

zero miles per hour

zero is not a number i see often on the anemometer, but that's what was there this morning. wind speed = 0mph! i sat there and stared at the crazy thing for a minute or two. it wouldn't budge. i shook my head and got dressed. zero? that almost never happens. when i was dressed i peeked again. 2mph! i felt better.

i hit the road just before 5:00 this morning. since i have a doctor's appointment later today, i didn't go all out. i've messed up more than one medical test by exercising too hard before hand. that made this perhaps the most boring ride of the month. at least at 24 degrees, it was warmer than yesterday. (20.19 miles @ 14.1)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

olga is awesome!

you've got to love this lady! she's awesome! she holds a number of age-graded world records!

1.55 miles in 11'15"

i just had to run so my runner friends wouldn't call 9-1-1 and report me missing. i just had to burn another donut. i just had to get out in the warm sunshine. i just had to run a short scottie-dog-shaped loop. i just had to say something weird like that. i just have to take a quick shower and get back to work.

gifts are God-given

i just read james 1:17 this morning - "every good and perfect gift is from above..." - and felt the need to publicly thank God for the gifts and abilities he's given me. i could not run or ride a bike or type a dailymile workout or burn a donut without God's gracious gifting. how good He is to all of us!

gifts are God-given

i just read james 1:17 this morning - "every good and perfect gift is from above..." - and felt the need to publicly thank God for the gifts and abilities he's given me. i could not run or ride a bike or type a dailymile workout or burn a donut without God's gracious gifting. how good He is to all of us!

back into the teens

19! that's what the thermometer read this morning when i got up to ride. 19! it hasn't been in the teens at ride time since january 30 when it was 14. 19! is there any temperature at which i will not ride? not sure. i will say that the average temp on a bike ride has never been below 10 since i started keeping track of such things 8 years ago.

the ride itself was alright. the wind was sub-10mph, a great improvement after yesterday. i wasn't overly speedy, but at least i wasn't sub-15mph. i hate that. there weren't any new carcasses lining the road. no one buzzed by too close in their vehicle. my toes and fingers didn't fall off. my nose was nipped, but not bitten. i made it out and back. a good ride in anyone's book.

19! it was 19 degrees out! (34.07 miles @ 15.2mph)