Monday, December 31, 2012

Snowy run...

I woke up to snow this morning. Tiny flakes were coming down quickly. The grass was blanketed with the stuff. The sidewalks were covered, but the streets were mostly clear.

I decided to try to write "snow" with my Garmin without looking at a map ahead of time. I didn't realize how difficult that would be. There aren't any straight streets around my in-laws' house.

I ran up a couple of blocks from the corner of 31st and Osage, doubled back and then ran toward Seneca. That's when I discovered that there are no northbound streets between Osage and Seneca. I had to make the middle of my "w" in a church parking lot.

When I got to Seneca, I took it north a few blocks, crossed the street and ran my "o". It turned out much smaller than the "w" since the streets that made it didn't go back down to 31st.

I ran the "n" and then the "s" which was easy since the street I found to run it on curved naturally. When I was done, I ran the route backward, skipping the back half of the "o" and messing up a bit on where I needed to cross the street to head back down the "w" toward 31st.

When I got to the end of the "w", I thought about adding a "y" to make it snowy, but I stopped. Looking at the map now, I'm glad I didn't try it. There wasn't another northbound street between Osage and McLean. There wasn't any way to make a "y" for blocks! (garmin data)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Slo Poke 10K...

I started out this morning with a plan to run along the river trail, but changed my mind and ran the streets in my in-laws' area of town instead. It was cold enough without adding in the cold coming off the river.

I ran first toward Seneca planning to run up to Maple, but as I approached Seneca, I changed my mind. I crossed over 31st and ran to the west side of Seneca, then turned south. I thought I would run down to Macarthur and across to West, then return via 31st. That plan changed too.

When I got to 35th, I decided there would be too much traffic on Macarthur, so I turned west. I ran along 35th, not knowing exactly where it went. At Elizabeth, I discovered the street took a very slight jog south and then continued on as a sandy dirt road over to Glenn Street. There was no street to take me across the drainage ditch that blocked my path at that point, so I just ran down into the bottom of it and up the other side. From there I continued on down 35th.

I continued on 35th until it stopped at St. Clair. At that point, I ran around the barriers and across the barren field to Meridian which I turned and took north, through a couple of traffic lights to 27th. My plan had now evolved into an attempt to draw a candy slo poke.

I turned east and ran 27th Street back to Seneca and then ran south back to 31st. I turned east and ran back toward my in-laws' house. I was at about 4.5 miles at that point, so I had to continue on. The shoes I'm running in now have never stopped before five miles in their lives.

I ran down 31st, past that stupid junk yard dog - he barked at me again - and then turned around at Water. I ran back to Seneca, did a loop around the entire intersection and ran back east. I crossed the road at Springleaf Financial, the same place I'd crossed earlier going the other way and ran back down 31st until I hit the 10K mark. I stopped my Garmin and walked a half block back to my in-laws' house.

I stepped inside, rested a bit and marveled that someone could sweat as much as I do when it's only 23F out. Looking at my map, it appears that I didn't run as far out as I thought I did, so my slo poke is more square than slo poke shaped. Still, not bad for drawing on the fly. (garmin data)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Late morning 15K...

All I've been doing for the past couple of days is eating and sitting around. It was time for a run.

I woke up a little before 8:30 this morning, dressed for the cold and headed out. The wind was out of the south, but there isn't a lot of area to run south of my in-laws' house, so I ran east on 31st Street and then turned north on McLean.

I ran up to O.J. Watson Park, turned in and ran through the park. I took the yellow brick road to the covered bridge, ran across the bridge and then ran along the abandoned-for-the-winter railroad tracks over to the north side of the park.

I slipped through the gate onto the river bike path and ran on north to Pawnee. I jumped off the path and ran across the river and over to Broadway where I turned south into the wind. I ran down Broadway past all the used car dealerships then turned west onto 31st.

When I got to Wichita Street, I turned south. Less than a block into my jaunt down Wichita, I was greeted by a junk yard dog. He was a shaggy German shepherd who was clearly not happy that I was near his domain. He ran along the chain link until I was gone. I stayed clear of him and ran on.

About three or four blocks down Wichita, the street changes from pavement to sand. It remains sandy the rest of the way south past the stone quarry and around the corner onto 35th. The total distance on sand going the way I did was almost a half mile.

When I got to Gold, I turned north and ran up to 33rd where I ran west. I thought about turning on Oak and running back to the house, but I kept going, turning south on Osage and running down to 35th again.

I took 35th a couple of blocks, jogged north one block on Southwood, and kept going on 35th to Seneca which I took north to 31st.

Turning east on 31st, I ran past the six mile mark around my starting point and covered the next two blocks or so to make my run a 10K. I was done for the day, or so I thought. It was just too cold at 20 to stay out any longer. (garmin data)

I stepped in the door after my 10K and found my brother-in-law getting ready to go out for a run. I asked how far he was planning to go. "3 miles" was his reply. "I'll go with you," I said.

So a few minutes later, I was out the door again, running at a pace far faster than my previous 10K.

We ran up Oak, jogged over to Osage and took it north. At 27th, we jogged a half block over and continued up Osage to Oak. We turned left onto Oak and ran a block back to Savannah, turned left and followed Savannah till it turned into Exchange Place and took us back south to 27th.

We turned right on 27th to avoid having to run on McLean and followed the street all the way back to Seneca which we took south to 31st. Our plan was to run down Seneca to 33rd, but traffic changed our plan slightly. We turned left and ran east to Handley, crossed the street and headed south.

We finished our run by running down Handley to 33rd, turning left and running over to Oak which we took north back toward home. I stopped my Garmin at 5K and pulled to a stop.

We walked the rest of the way back to the house, cooled off a bit and ate breakfast. (garmin data)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa Hat Run...

I really enjoyed running this morning. It was a cool 19F with very little wind. Beautiful!

Ryan and me post run
I started out with a 2.7 mile warm up, running from my house to the church following the Santa Hat Run route in the reverse direction. I wanted to see how the sidewalks and streets were and what to warn people about. I noted where the cracks in the sidewalks were and the smell of donuts at the donut shop. When you're running, that might prove too much of temptation.

I got to the church, opened the doors and turned up the heat. A few minutes later, the first of the group showed up. Over the next ten to fifteen minutes, seventeen runners and a few onlookers walked through the door.

My daughter finishing up
Mom and daughter just about done
At 7:30, we stepped outside, took a quick group photo and started running. The pace was a bit quicker than last year's. I ran along Maple with Jason and his son Erik with a few people ahead of us and a few behind. Ryan, my friend from Haviland, caught up with us just before we turned south onto Main Street.

Running down Main, we were still mostly in a clump. We had to run by twos because the sidewalks just didn't allow for more than that abreast. I ran with my brother-in-law and my daughter for short periods and then ended up with Ryan.

After crossing Highway 54, we ran on toward the donut shop. Just before getting there, I moved to the front of the pack and challenged one of the girls to go catch the two boys who were ahead of us. She took off like a house-a-fire! I shouted at her, "We don't have to catch them in a block!" She kept running and a block or two later, died.

Sister chasing brother
Ryan had gone with me when I increased my pace, so he and I ran on slowly reeling in the teens ahead of us. We turned on to Sixth Street still trailing them, but making up ground. We caught them around Thompson and ran with them for a little while.

Just before Howard, Ryan and I ran on ahead, taking the lead in this non-race. We turned onto Howard, ran up the hill and headed back toward the highway.

There was a pause in the traffic when we got to the highway, so we ran across without hesitation. We ran up to School, took the only right on the course, ran over to Welton and continued north with a couple of other old guys about a half block behind us. We ran to Maple, turned west and covered the final two blocks to the church.

Hot chocolate all around
We rested for a bit, then got a picture or two before Ryan headed back to Haviland. Four or five runners came in while we were still breathing heavily. After a bit, I ran back out onto the course. I ran the reverse direction to get some pictures and check on people. I saw four other runners as I ran.

When I got to Sixth Street,I looked west, saw no one coming, so turned around. I ran back to the church by a slightly different route and found the rest of the runners.

We drank hot chocolate and talked for fifteen minutes or so and then everyone left. I ran back home to finish up my cool down. (garmin data)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Pre-EMS run...

I really wanted to run longer this morning, but oversleeping and having to be on call for EMS at 10:00 didn't leave me enough time for that. Instead I opted to run up to the Friends Church, run the Santa Hat Run route from there, then return home. I wanted to see how many miles that was so I'd know if I needed to run more on Monday to get my five miles in. It turns out, I do have to loop around a bit more for five miles. If I stopped at home, I'd only have 3.7.

The only semi-interesting thing that happened on my run was being yelled at by crazy Donnie. He yelled something like "Don't you know it's winter?" and laughed. He's a nut...and a nice guy! (garmin data)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Not the en...

I woke up this morning. The world was still in one piece. I decided to go for a run. What else do you do when you're given another day to live?

I started out with a plan in mind to spell out the truth. It's not the end. I ran the "not" just fine. I ran the "the" right as well. The problem came when I got to the "end" of my drawing. I guess I just kind of spaced out or something. Instead of making a nice "d" at the end of my "end", I kind of spiraled off into oblivion. I was disappointed while I was running, but now that I'm back and looking at it, I think it's kind of funny. It's not the end of the world after all. (garmin data)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A little snow won't kill you...

I looked out the window when I got up. Snow! I couldn't pass up the opportunity to run in the fluffy white stuff. I pulled on my cold weather gear - the wind chill was 9F - and headed out the door.

The white stuff wasn't fluffy. It was hard and crunchy and slippery in spots. Still it was fun to run around and leave footprints here and there all over town. The only scare I had didn't have anything to do with ice. At the intersection of Hamilton and Cleveland, I Toyota pickup nearly hit me. The driver must not have been paying attention, because I was wearing my screaming yellow jacket and under a bright street light. He cut the corner so tight that I had to side step to avoid him. It wouldn't have done any good, but I could have punched his front door. If you're going to drive, please pay attention!

The rest of my run was pretty dull except for my little run past the fitness center. I had to see who was in the cage. Three or four people were visible on their torture devices. I laughed and ran slowly on. I got home in one piece and stepped quickly inside to warm up. (garmin data)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Nine and fifty...

I got up at 5:00 this morning. I really wanted to go back to bed. I didn't. I got ready to run instead.

When I was finally dressed and out the door, I had about an hour to run if I wanted to be back at my normal time. I figured I'd get in six or seven miles depending on how good I felt.

I started out with no real plan beyond running as far as I could in the time I had. I ran up to Holly on Lawrence and started my journey west. I ran on Holly to Oak, took Oak a couple of blocks south to Maple, then took Maple west to Main.

At Main Street, I crossed over the railroad tracks and headed west on Simpson. In the dark along the way, I took a brief pit stop, then continued on. I ran to Taylor, took the block south, then took Logan over to Mound and ran straight down Mound, crossed the highway and kept going till Fifth.

Turning onto Fifth, I took another jaunt west, running out to Illinois. I actually enjoyed Illinois today since I was headed south and downhill instead of north and uphill. I turned east at Eighth and ran all the way back to Main.

Since I still had plenty of time to run, I took Main south out of town to Lake Road which I took east up and over the hill by the golf course. I encountered a single car on Lake Road just before turning north on Country Club to run back into town.

It was 6:25 when I got to the intersection of Sixth and Country Club. If I followed my usual plan, I needed to head straight home. If the normal was thrown out the window, I could do whatever I pleased. I did what I pleased and turned east on Sixth to make my run longer.

I ran to the end of Sixth, then took Fincham north up and over the hill and past Wal-Mart to Highway 54. I ran the quarter mile or so from Fincham to Highway 61, then turned and took 61 north.

As I approached Maple, I had another choice to make: to turn on Maple or to run up to NE 10th and circle around by the cemetery. I waffled back and forth in my mind until I reached Maple. I turned. I really don't like NE 10th because more than once and evil dog has been loose on it. I was not in the mood to be bitten, so I ran west on Maple, taking the downhill and the curves in stride before heading up a slight grade to Sunrise.

I turned north on Sunrise and took it to Holly. I took Holly west a couple of blocks then did a little up and back on Welton and Larimer which brought me back to Maple. I took Maple two blocks back to the east, then turned south on Belmont. I'd intended to go to Terrace, but didn't realize I'd turned a block early till I was well on my way south. I shrugged my shoulders and ran on south.

Taking the slight jog west at School, I then continued south Belmont, circled around to Blaine, ran past the liquor store and headed west on Highway 54. I toyed with the idea of making a loop around Dillon's to finish out my journey, but decided against it when I looked at the time. I was barely going to get back by 7:00.

I ran north on Howard to Random, took a left, then a right onto Edgeford. I ran north up Edgeford till I hit 9.5 miles, then stopped my Garmin and my run. I walked the rest of the way home, stepped inside, woke everyone up and headed for the breakfast table. (garmin data)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Caroling route...

I decided to run the route we took last night while caroling in the local nursing homes and to a few of our older church members. I ran up to the church and then to each of the nursing homes in turn.

From the last one, I went down and ran a lap around the still closed to car traffic Lemon Park. That was a bit unusual. It's normally open before 6:00. The police must have had something more important to do.

Leaving the park, I ran up Pine. That's when I deviated from the caroling route. I decided I'd had enough and I'd better get home, so I didn't turn at Third and run to the other side of town. Pine took me to School and School took me home.

That's it for today. I was certainly warmer on my run than I was riding on a trailer last night. (garmin data)

A Quaker question...

A good question posed by my friend, Carrie:

Quakers/Friends have, inherent in their philosophy, a high regard for the ministry of every believer. So it is with that perspective that I read recently on a pastor's blog that we (Evangelicals in general) have built churches around the pastoral gift, to the exclusion of other critical spiritual gifts, and in the process institutionalized the church and kept it from being a gospel movement?

He writes, "Explanation. The pastor cares for, teaches, feeds and loves the body of Jesus Christ. This is a good thing, I do it for a living! But, the gifts that challenge (prophet) and spread the gospel (apostle) have been, by and large, relegated to the sidelines. Truthfully, many of us don’t even know what those gifts are for today.

The result is a church in America where people think of the church as the place where they get their needs met, a place where they are fed. Church membership becomes about what we get, as opposed to a covenant we make with one another to live out the gospel in our local context. To borrow a phrase, “we are a dispenser of religious goods and services” for consumer Christians."

So I wonder, do you think we, as Friends, are exempt from this? Why or why not?

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wandering around quickly...

I should make up songs in my head while running more often. It keeps my mind off my pace and I end up running faster than I would otherwise. I ran almost perfect negative splits this morning - 8:35, 8:26, 8:16, 8:13, 8:10, 8:07, 7:52, 7:52, 7:48.

I didn't really have a plan when I started out this morning. I was just going to run. I ran along School until I reached Main, turned right and started wandering. I didn't think much about where I was going until I got down to Tenth Street, then I decided to see if I could keep from crossing my path. It was a little more difficult than I thought it would be and I ended up having to do it once to avoid going way out of town and a second time because I found myself at what I thought was a dead end. I could have worked my way out of it, but I don't know the north side of the railroad tracks very well, so I just doubled back and ran on.

The only unpleasant thing about this run was the shirt I chose. My GoRun shirt was the first running shirt I bought two years ago. I loved it and the store it represented. This morning I was reminded of why I don't wear it often any more. The seams under the arms rub me raw. Ouch! (garmin data)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

God's face...

Ever wondered what God’s face looks like?

Sometimes we have no idea. We follow the direction the Lord sets us on and run. We run hard. We run. We have no idea whether or not we are even close to victory.

But the image above tells us so much about our walk with the Lord. It is an image of guide Guilherme Soares de Santana reacting to blind Paralympian Terezinha Guilhermina of Brazil winning gold before she knows she’s won the Women’s 100m T11 Final. The Olympian has no idea she is about to win. The Olympian is only doing what her guide is telling her to do. Follow her lead and run hard.

The look on the Lord’s face if you have followed His lead well and are running hard is probably exactly this. He is overjoyed with the victory that is coming your way. We are blind to so much of His plan. But He promises us victory if we just trust Him and run hard.

He is overjoyed Ragamuffins. Run Hard. Run Hard.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Above and beyond...

With the body God gave me - legs and heart and lungs - I have covered more than 1200 miles on foot this year. Last year my goal was 1000 miles and I fell 180 miles short. This year my original goal was 1000 miles and I overshot it by 200 miles. I'm thankful for every mile I've been allowed to run. Most of them have been at least mildly pleasant.

This morning's run covered most of the city from east to west. I ran from my house up to Maple and took Maple out to Highway 61. I ran south on 61 to 54 and took it over to Fincham which took me south again to Sixth Street. I ran almost the whole length of Sixth across town, missing only the small section near Country Club because I decided to go run around in the trailer court there.

At the end of Sixth, I turned south and ran through the school yard at Southwest Elementary and out onto Eighth. I turned south on Washington and the angle on Ninth down to Tenth, ran around the corner and took Illinois back to Fifth. I wanted to do the hill on Illinois, because the new Pro analytic tools on dailymile include an elevation measurement and I've climbed the equivalent of 95% of Mt. Everest while running. Not bad for a Kansan. I'm going to top out on or above the summit before the end of the year.

I ran down Fifth to High, passing the 5.5 mile mark and 1200 miles just before the corner. I shot my arms in the air, pumped them a few times and ran on.

High Street took me across Highway 54 to Blaine which took me east to Hillside. I turned north on Hillside and ran up and over the little hump and then down to School. I turned east on School and ran straight home, arriving at the curb right at 6:30. I walked immediately up the sidewalk and stepped inside. I had to warm up a bit. The temperature had dropped to 25F. (garmin data)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Lemon Park Criterium...

I was supposed to meet some friends for a ride this morning. On Facebook, it said we were meeting at Lemon Park at 9:00. At ten till, I rode out of my driveway and beat a path for the park.

I arrived just before 9:00 and, since no one else was there, took a lap around the park. Still no cyclists. I took a second lap and then stopped in the parking lot to wait. The minutes clicked by slowly. Tic. Toc. Tic. Toc. Tic. Toc.

After five minutes, an eternity by ADHD standards, I decided I'd might as well make good use of my waiting and took off for another loop around the park. That one loop became I don't know how many. I just kept spinning around the park.

No one ever showed up. I finally left the park after 14 miles and headed back home. I took a slightly different route than I had on the way out and ended up with nearly 16 miles for the day. (garmin data)

8 by 8:00

I haven't had the pleasure of welcoming a sunrise on the run in quite some time. Since I was able to sleep in a bit this morning, that's just what I did. It was great!

I started out just before 7:00 with a plan to run about 5 miles, take a short break and then run another 3 to 5. I took off heading south, planning to take Howard all the way to Sixth and then run out and around on Lake Road. Traffic altered those plans slightly.

When I came to Highway 54, too many cars were coming, so I jumped the curb and ran through the Dillon's parking lot, then jogged across the highway when there was a break, ran through the Pratt County EMS parking lot, hopped a curb again and ran past the east side of the hospital to Third. Crazy stuff! From there I made my way down to Sixth and looped out to Lake Road on Country Club.

As I was coming down the backside of the hill on Lake Road, it was just getting light and I spotted a couple of deer on the north side of the road near Lemon Park. I startled one of them. The other just stared.

I turned onto Main Street and ran up to Third, turned east there, ran over to Pine, then headed north to School. I ran up the hill going east on School, then looped around the school to get myself to just about 5 miles when I got home.

After my short break, I left my front door again and ran west on School to Main. At Main I ran south to Blaine, then ran a block west to Jackson and turned north again.

As I ran along Jackson, I heard someone yelling greetings . I looked and there was a friend on their front porch waving. I waved back and kept going to Logan. My turn east was forced there and I ran the block back to Main, took Main a block north and turned onto Maple.

I ran a couple of blocks on Maple, then began zigging and zagging my way around the north end of town. My aim was set on 8 miles by this point, so I just kept turning this way and that to get me to that distance. I was feeling good, so I increased my pace a bit.

I ran up the little hill on School and pulled up at 8 miles right in front of my house at 8:00. I'd run 8 by 8:00. (garmin data)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Quarter marathon...

I almost always enjoy a run after a day or two off. This morning's run was one of those good ones. Everything felt good. The temperature was just right. The wind was calm. The traffic light. Every morning should be like this.

I left the house just before 5:30 and ran less than a block before I knew I needed to retie my left shoe. It was way too loose and would have driven me nuts. I stopped, took care of it and was on my way again in no time.

Early on, as I was running along Howard, I thought about running ten miles. I'm less than twenty from 1200 for the year and ten would have put me within easy striking distance for next Monday's or Tuesday's run. I turned onto Sixth Street still thinking that way as I made my way to Sixth Street Park.

I ran through the park and then turned toward Lemon Park. I tossed around the idea of running under the lights, but opted for a right turn onto Santa Fe instead. Too much of the same thing and I'd get bored. I'll run under the lights again some day soon.

When I hit Main Street, I took the little jog up to Tenth and turned left. Running along Tenth I encountered one of the few cars I  met. There was no one coming from behind, so I ran over to the other side of the street. No sense in a close call on a narrow way.

I ran up to Ridgeway, turned the corner there and took another immediate right onto Illinois. I like Illinois for its long gradual climb.

When I got to Fifth, I turned and ran along the old highway to West River and then did a U-turn onto the new highway. That ribbon of asphalt was my path back into town. I crossed the border ran up to the Kwik Shop, took the little jog over to First and ran to New which I took north over the railroad tracks. A block or two later, my new shoes enjoyed their first foray into the dirt. The second and third blocks on New are washboarded and sandy.

It was back to asphalt the rest of the way when I turned onto Garfield. I ran to Mound and took a northerly route around the disc golf course and the outskirts of town. I heard a train whistle in the distance as I left the park behind and thought there was no way I'd make it back across the tracks before it arrived, but somehow I made it and wasn't delayed.

I finished my run cruising down Maple to Welton and then taking Welton to School and home. My distance tripped over to 6.55 miles just as hit the corner of the yard. (garmin data)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Speedy commuting...

I had a blast on my commute today. I rode hard and fast (for my commuter bike) every where I went. I started out with a wind-assisted ride up to the Free Methodist Church where my pastors group was meeting this week. That was followed by a quick hop over the hill to work.

Just before going to Skyline for lunch duty, I rode past the house to see if the Sony Action Cam that I won had come yet. I knew it was out for delivery from checking the online tracking info. It wasn't there. I rode on to the school, taking Highway 54 the whole way.

At Main Street I saw the light turning yellow for the other direction, so I got my pedals going a second early and then raced the rest of traffic away from the green light. I put in a good hard effort and hit the second block before a car caught me. Turns out I was racing a couple from our church. They smiled and waved as they drove by.

I, of course, had to swing by the house again after my ride back from the school. Still no camera. I rode back to my office, set the UPS site to email me when the package arrived and went to work on my Wednesday night stuff.

About 3:30, the notification came. Sony's gift to me was on the porch. I rode lickity split to the house, grabbed my prize and went inside. I had to open it. A quick slit of the tape and the bright orange box was open. Inside I found not only the camera I knew was coming, but a bicycle handlebar mount too! I was pumped! That was one accessory I knew I wanted and now I didn't have to buy it. I did, however, discover later that I have to buy a memory card. Oh, well. $64 dollars for $300+ worth of cool stuff isn't bad.

My curiosity temporarily satisfied, I rode back to work and then returned home afterward. At 5:00, I rode home. And that, my friends, is all there is to write. (9.9 miles, 43:54, avg. 13.5, max. 24.8, 50F)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A cold seven...

It was 33 when I got up this morning. I dressed for my run and headed out the door. I wasn't really excited about running. I just did it. I ran to the east, down the hill and then started zigzagging my west toward Main Street. I did every street going that way and still had some time, so I finished off the east and west blocks I'd missed. It was a pretty boring run - didn't see much, didn't do much. (Firestarter, 7.56 miles, 1:10:57, avg. 9:23, 33F, garmin data)

Celebrate what?

T-minus six weeks to launch! That was the decision made last night during our Celebrate Recovery (CR) leadership training session. After months and months of preparation - training sessions, 12-step meetings for the leaders, practice sessions for the large group and open share group - the official start date for Pratt's community Celebrate Recovery ministry is set for January 14, 2013.

Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered program similar to other recovery groups in many ways. CR has weekly open share meetings. It uses sponsors to help individuals in their recovery. The 12-steps are worked in CR. There are differences, however.

The main difference is that CR is open to and helps more than just alcoholics and other chemically-dependent individuals. It is a recovery ministry for people struggling with any kind of hurt, habit or hang up. Those helped by the program in other locales include the physically, emotionally and sexually abused; those struggling to overcome anorexia and bulimia  those addicted to pornography; those who fly into uncontrolled rages; and many others with issues that damage their relationships and destroy the joy in their lives.

Another difference between Celebrate Recovery and other groups is the clarity of who the higher power is that individuals can turn to for help. CR is a Christ-centered group for people who know that Jesus is the one who can help them overcome. He is worshiped during large group meetings, prayed to at small group meetings, and honored in every communication. The one who died to set us free from sin and from sin's power is the focus of Celebrate Recovery wherever it is found.

Pratt's Celebrate Recovery ministry will begin with a weekly large group meeting and open share groups. These meetings, to be held at Pratt Friends Church (824 Maple, Pratt, KS), will begin at 7:00 every Monday evening. The first hour will be dedicated to the large group meeting which will include music, lessons, testimonies from those in recovery, a reading of the 12-steps or CR's 8 principles and the praying of the Serenity Prayer. The second hour is for open share groups. At first these groups will not be issue-specific, but divided only by gender. As new leaders arise from within the ministry, new groups will begin.

(Pratt's Celebrate Recovery ministry is a cooperative effort of several churches in the community. For more information call 620-450-6120.)

Monday, December 3, 2012

A little extra commuting...

I started my commute with a ride back from the school. I was needed to hold the flowers I bought for my wife's birthday, so I loaded my bike in the van and rode along with my wife and daughter. A ton of kids told me they saw me riding during my lunch hour duties. With a couple of visits thrown in, I covered quite a few miles for the day. (13.41 miles, 1:02:40, avg. 12.8, max. 21.8, 50F)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Rudolph running...

I love Christmas lights! They seem to add warmth to the chillier air of late fall. They make me want to smile. How could I possibly turn down the opportunity to enter a 5K that takes its participants through more than a mile of the sparkling beauties?

The annual Rudolph Run, put on by the Skyline After Prom Committee, is just such a race. It takes in the lights of Main Street and the amazing displays in Lemon Park and Sixth Street Park. It has a small town Christmasy feel to it and its a fun course to run.

I left the house on foot at 6:00 to put in a mile or two of warm up. I ran this way and that, turning each time on a whim. About a mile in, I started adding in block long sprints followed by two or three at a slightly slower pace. I did that three or four times and then did a full two block sprint. My intervals done, I made my way to the Municipal Building where the race was scheduled to start. (garmin data)

The start of the 2012 Rudolph Run
As I was about to step into the Municipal Building to pick up my race packet, a couple of middle schoolers saw me and yelled, "There's the winner of the race!" I laughed. "Maybe if it was 50 miles," I shot back. I knew there were teens there that were going to be way faster than me. I was aiming for first old guy and from the looks of some of the older looking gentlemen standing around, I'd have my work cut out for me getting that done. I walked up to the table, received my packet and began to drip all over everything as I pinned on my number - 18. My warm up had been pretty effective and I was sweating like crazy.

With my number in place, I headed for the restroom. After things were taken care of there, I went back outside and chatted with a few of the runners who were doing pre-race stretches. I met a guy who had driven all the way from Fowler to run.

Just before 7:00, the race director came out of the building and walked us to the starting line. She gave her last minute instructions and talked us through the course. I didn't pay a lot of attention since I designed the course, but I was awake enough to notice when she gave one small bit of misinformation. I corrected it so out-of-town runners wouldn't get lost. She ended her speech with a thank you to everyone who had come. The field was much larger than the year before.

On the first green light after 7:00, the commands came. "Ready. Set. Go!" The first few blocks of the race were insane. There were tons of kids running at a pace they couldn't possibly hold. I wove in and out of them, trying not to trip. I ran for a short time by a 20- or 30-something guy who said this was his third race of the day. He'd run in Wichita's Jingle Bell Run and in Kingman's race earlier. His plan was just to survive this final race of the day. I ran on without him when a break in the traffic opened up.

At El Dos de Oros, I ran out into the street. The sidewalk from there on down to Santa Fe is just took unpredictable. I preferred the relative smoothness of Main Street's bricks to the dips and cracks. It was about this time that the tall, thin, silvery-haired gentleman who I'd pegged as my chief competition in the "first old guy" contest caught up with me. He settled into to the same rhythm and pace as I was running and we began to chat. Bob was from Medicine Lodge and had come up to run with his foster daughter. She was somewhere behind us.

Bob and I ran most of the rest of the race together. We passed a couple of people much younger than us as we ran down Santa Fe and turned into Lemon Park. In the park as we ran through the light displays, we passed the time talking and weaving in and out of the runners we were overtaking. This was the most enjoyable time in the race. I felt good and had good company. We both enjoyed the light of my Knuckle Lights which helped us choose our footing in the spaces between light displays.

Finishing strong
Leaving the park, we passed two middle schoolers and ran on to Sixth Street Park. My daughters were at the entrance to the park, cheering people on and making sure they didn't miss the turn. They yelled wildly as Bob and I ran past them. The 12 days of Christmas were all lit up as we wound our way through the park.

Before we left the park, I warned Bob that the worst of the hills was just around the corner and then we took the corner. The hill on Haskell isn't a hill by most standards, but for Pratt, Kansas, its a descent climb. We relaxed our way up it, maintaining our rhythm and slowing just a little. As we crested, I felt pretty miserable. I'd come pretty close to my red line and needed a minute or two to recover.

Two turns after leaving Haskell and we were on the home stretch, running down Second Street. About a block into this section of the run, one of the middle schoolers we'd passed leaving Lemon Park caught us. I was tempted to go with him and see what I could do, but I thought better of it. It was a venture doomed to almost certain failure. The pace I was running was good enough for me. Bob and I ran on, taking the downhill at the Lutheran Church and then running back up and into the business district.

At Main, we turned onto the sidewalk. With less than a block to go and people yelling for me, I kicked in the afterburners and surged ahead of Bob. I crossed the line and stopped the clock at 24:03. Bob finished four seconds later. I was first old guy! (garmin data)

It took two or three minutes to catch my breath and get my heart back under control after my closing sprint. When I was sure I wouldn't collapse, I reset my Garmin and ran back along the course to find my wife. I'd said I'd come back for her and she'd made me promise to come more quickly than I did the year before.

Nearing the finish with my wife
As I ran easily back along the course, I did my best to encourage the runners nearing the end. I'd shout out the distance they had left and yell a loud Woohoo!

I ran all the way along Second Street and turned south on Rochester before I found my wife. I turned around and ran and walked back to the finish line with her. Her pace the whole way did my legs good and let my muscles cool nicely. She crossed the finish line just under 38 minutes after starting. (garmin data)

The running done, all that was left to do was to walk over the Municipal Building and grab something to drink and a snack. We waited around till the awards ceremony. Of the top six finishers - three male, three female - only one of them could accept their prize. The rest were high schoolers who couldn't take anything without being disqualified from participating in sports at school. The organizers ended up donating the prizes to the schools the kids were from.

The formalities out of the way, my family and I loaded into our van and drove home. Can't wait till next year's race!

A long week in the saddle...

I got quite a few miles in this week commuting to work and running various errands. I rode on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and a little on Saturday. I had a few extra trips here and there. I went and visited a friend in jail and rode to Wal-Mart at least once. (38.68 miles, 2:56:02, avg. 13.1, max. 25.6, 50 degrees)

Friday, November 30, 2012

The one that began with a broken valve...

The adventure began before I even left the house today. I'm giving my legs a break from running for a couple of mornings before Saturday night's little 5K downtown, so I geared up to ride a few miles. I was up early enough that I thought I'd be able to get in 20 or more.

I had everything on, my lights in place, water bottle in its cage, everything ready to go when I decided to top off my tires. I put the pump on my front tire, aired it up to 100psi and popped off the hose. The tip of the valve came off with it. No air was leaking out, but I knew I didn't dare go for a ride with a tube that could suddenly deflate. It had to be changed.

I'll admit that for a moment or two, I seriously considered going back to bed. It was 30 degrees outside after all and riding isn't all that pleasant at that temperature. It's probably close to 75 or 80 degrees in my bed next to a warm wife. Tempting!

I changed my tube. I was up anyway. The tire came off and went back on easily. I had it done and ready to go again by 5:15, so I pulled on my skull cap and gloves and rolled out five minutes later.

I rode down by the bank to see what the wind was doing. The flag there hung limp, but it was laying on the east side of the pole so I headed west.

It was slow going on the way out. I was barely awake and didn't feel like pushing much. My cadence was low. I was just putting in the miles.

About halfway out, Don the Redneck, my wife's cousin's husband, drove past and honked. Crazy guy! At least he didn't hit me. A few minutes later, a trucker - perhaps one of Don's distant relatives - decided to say hello with three blasts from his air horn. I was not nearly as pleased with this greeting. It was totally unnecessary. I was on the far side of the shoulder and riding in a straight line. Grrrrr!

I was thinking I still might get 20 miles in, but when I hit the nine-mile mark I did some quick calculating and decided I'd better turn around. I'd be late if I added that extra mile out.

The ride back was a bit quicker. My average bumped up from 15mph to 16mph. I still wasn't pushing all that hard. I just had a breath of wind to aid my pedal strokes.

I rode into town without further honking incidents, squeaked through both traffic lights and pulled into the center turning lane to take a left onto Lawrence. A half awake driver decided he needed that lane too and began pulling over heading straight for me. Are people dumb or what? I accelerated around him and made it onto Lawrence alive and in one piece. From there it was a nice easy quarter mile or so to home and restored feeling in my frozen fingers, toes and nose. (garmin data)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not quite freezing...

It was 35 degrees when I headed out the door this morning. Not quite freezing, but close. I enjoyed the brisk air as my feet whisked along the streets under the bright full moon.

I ran by feel this morning, taking it easy. I ran down School and dropped down the hill on Parkview, took a left on Parkway and ran up to Maple. At Maple, I turned right and began running up the hill toward Highway 61. On the way up to the first curve on Maple, I ran past a couple out walking their dogs. They weren't wearing bright clothing, but at least they had a light so I didn't run into them.

When I reached 61, I turned right and headed south along the shoulder. I ran past the hotels, Hamm Auction and Real Estate, several other businesses and then turned left onto Highway 54 at the truck stop. I ran along 54 to Fincham and turned there to run past Wal-Mart and on down the hill to the Green Sports Complex on Sixth.

I ran along Sixth thinking I would run over the Sixth Street Park and take in the lights again, but when I got to Country Club a car coming from the left changed my course. Rather than stop and wait for the car, I turned left and ran up Country Club. Just past the bridge, a slow moving car went by me. A deer ran across the road and they shone a flashlight or a spotlight out their window to follow it. Since they were going fairly slowly, I used them as a rabbit to speed up my pace. I chased them till they gave up their deer hunt and drove off.

At Lake Road, I turned right and continued climbing. I ran up and over the hill, meeting up with a car at the crest. I thought another car was coming, but then figured out it was the street light at the highway. It was on the back side of the Lake Road hill that I first noticed the light of the bright full moon. I guess to that point, I'd not thought of it because of other lights around or things that kept me distracted.

When I got to Highway 281, I turned north to run back into town. A couple of cars passed me before I turned on Tenth Street to run a little farther west. I wasn't sure how far to go, but I knew I needed a little more distance so I could use up the time I had before breakfast.

I ran to Mound and then headed north. Two or three times on Mound I had sharp pains in my lower back near my right hip. They weren't enough to take my breath away, but they certainly weren't pleasant. I ran on and they didn't return.

At Cleveland, I turned east again. I ran down the short hill at full tilt, expecting any moment to trip and fall flat on my face. Somehow I managed to stay upright and continued on my way to Jackson where I did a little one block jog north and then ran over to Main.

On Main, I ran north to Maple on the sidewalks. Traffic buzzed by going both ways. Thankfully there was a break when I got to Maple, so I was able to turn east on Maple without having to pause.

Running east along Maple, I just maintained an easy pace. I ran down the hill, then up it. I ran past my office and past Lawrence to Larimer before turning south toward home. I hit seven miles just before School and ran on around the corner and to our front steps. (Firestarter, 7.08 miles, 1:07:16, avg. 9:30, 34 degrees, garmin data)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


It was cold this morning when I got up: 29 degrees! Thankfully there wasn't any wind to contend with. I got out the door around 5:30 after running some errands for my wife that had to be done before she left for work.

I was really sore as I began running south on Howard. I played about 40 minutes of basketball last night against my daughter's high school team. All that sprinting and back and forth! I was thinking that I'd like to run the Lake Road loop, but as I was approaching Sixth Street I remembered that the Christmas lights were up in Lemon Park, so I turned right instead of left. I ran through Sixth Street Park humming The 12 Days of Christmas as I ran past the displays there. Somewhere between the five gold rings and the four calling birds, a couple of deer ran across the street just ahead of me.

As I was leaving the park, I met up with a guy out walking. He returned my cheery good morning with a good morning of his own. I ran on past him, turned onto Pine and ran into Lemon Park. I ran a whole lap without seeing anyone stirring, not even a mouse. I enjoyed the lights and especially enjoyed the reflections of the dragon in the pond.

After a second loop around the park, encountering a couple of walkers twice, I left the park and ran over to Main Street. I ran up Main to Second and then took Second over to the hospital. I ran across 54 and wound my way back home, stopping my Garmin just before 6:30. My fingers were cold enough to burn a bit, so I went straight inside to warm up. (Firestarter, 5.06 miles, 46:34, avg. 9:12, 29 degrees, garmin data)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Exploring Eudora

It got down to 17 degrees here last night. It was 20ish when I went out for my run just before 8:00. I wore my lightweight gloves and wished later that I'd wore something a bit warmer.

I ran out of my parents' housing development and ran north into the light wind. I ran past the schools and up and over the highway. I ran on past the grocery store, then decided to run out in the new section of Eudora. I'd never run in this area, so it was interesting to see new houses and streets.

I reached the end of the road, so to speak, turned around and ran a slightly different path home. I stopped for a pit stop at the Kwik Shop, then ran back south on the main road. I ran past the first entrance to my parents' development and made a big loop around it, hitting stop at 5.5 miles just before the driveway where I started. I walked inside to thaw out. (Firestarter, 5.5, 48:36, avg. 8:50, 22 degrees, garmin data)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A little long...

I enjoyed a little 10-miler to start out my Thanksgiving morning. I woke just before 7:00, dressed and headed out the door at my parents' house.

To say it was windy would be a bit of an understatement. After an initial burst of sub-9:00 pace for the first mile or so, I bowed my head and resigned myself to creep along into the 20+mph blast. It was really slow going. There were times when my pace was barely under 11:00. I kept telling myself that the reward was coming. That kept me going along with my desire to toughen up my mind in preparation for another stab at 100 miles. My first 5 miles took 47:38. My average pace was 9:30 on the dot.

I turned around and immediately reaped the benefit of the wind's assistance. I was under 8:00 pace just like that! With no more effort! Needless to say, it was much more enjoyable running back. I brought my overall average pace down under 9:00. 8:54 to be exact. If my figuring is right, that means I was running almost a minute per mile faster!

The ninth mile had a little hill in it and I started feeling a little nauseous as I climbed it. Thankfully that passed after I ran over the crest and I finished out feeling much better. My time for the 5 miles coming back was 41:27 giving me an average of 8:17. (Firestarter, 10 miles 1:29:05, 8:54, 59 degrees, garmin data)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


I got home from teaching at Barclay College this afternoon, changed my clothes and hopped on my bike to do some visiting. I rode to the jail and visited my friend there, then rode over to visit a friend who was recently widowed. Neither she nor her son who lives with her were there, so I rode back toward the house. About four blocks from home, I remembered a friend who'd just moved into the neighborhood so I stopped by and visited with her about her new home and had the opportunity to pray a prayer of blessing on her new digs. From there I rode home. (3.27 miles, 16:24, avg. 11.9mph, max 22.5mph)

Cotton pickin' ride...

It was 37 degrees when I left on my ride this morning. 37 degrees is warm when you're running. It is not warm when you're cycling. I wasn't quite chilled, but I was pretty cool.

Riding west on Highway 54 was not much fun. Once I left town, it was a slow climb for several miles. The climb, while not steep at all, seems to go on and on forever. The smooth, new asphalt under tire makes it only slightly more bearable than a root canal without Novocaine. Well, maybe it's not that bad. More of an annoyance than anything.

I had the wind in my face on the way out, so I didn't get a lot speed. My average when I turned around at the Hi-Tech Cotton Gin just outside of Cullison was only 14.8mph.

On the way back, I was able to ramp it up a bit. The wind was at my back, but not nearly as helpful as I would have liked it to be. I'm serious when I say this particular out and back feels like it's uphill both ways. The last little hill into town was more of a pain than it should have been. I don't know if I was tired or what. I had to stand to keep my momentum going.

I almost had to stop at Main Street, but the light changed just as I was about to click out of my pedals. I stomped on it and beat the car next to me through the first block and a half. I rode on east, jumping over to the left lane when the traffic thinned so I could take a left at Stout and make my way back home. (18.24 miles, 1:08:24, avg. 16.0mph, max 23.0mph, garmin data)

Monday, November 19, 2012


I'm kind of a solution guy. I like to fix problems. Give me a puzzle to work out and I'll come back with multiple options. It's the gift God gave this guy along with his ADHD. Thinking at a million thoughts per second has a few advantages.

Everyone once in awhile, however, I come up against a bit of trouble that has no easy solution. It's usually a relational issue that stops me dead in my tracks. I can't figure a way out of the mess. How do I deal with people who won't do what seems to be reasonable.

I'm learning to trust God in these situations. I can't do anything about what other people do. (You can't either.) So I just tell the Maker of people about the struggles my friends and I are having and ask him to do his best.


I rode my bike to work this morning and then out to the school and back for lunch. When I got home and entered my miles, I discovered that I was just a mile and a half from clicking over to 2300 cycling miles for the year, so I strapped my helmet back on and went for a little ride. I rode up Stout to Maple and took Maple over to Main. I arrived there just as a train was starting up. The blast from the engine's airhorn nearly broke my eardrums. I rode south to School and took School back home. It was a nice little ride. (10.98 miles, 0:49:09, avg. 13.3, max 22.5, 63 degrees)

Back on my feet...

I decided over the weekend that I was going to take another stab at 100 miles, so I got up and ran this morning. We were having egg casserole for breakfast, so once that was in the oven I was free to run for about an hour. I woke up my beautiful wife, then slipped out the door just after 6:00.

I didn't know for sure what I was going to do, only that I was going to run In the first couple of blocks I was startled by a cyclist who slipped up behind me. I heard a chain rattle or tires crunch grit on the street or something just as he turned onto Lawrence behind me. He had no lights on, front or back. People who ride in dark clothes in the dark are scary. They're just as likely to be hit as seen.

I ran on from Lawrence and made it to Main where I turned north. I thought about running straight north till I hit 2.5 miles so I could turn around and be guaranteed five miles, but I changed my mind as I crossed the railroad tracks. I turned west on Simpson instead and ran past the industrial buildings on the other side of the tracks. I passed a guy out walking. He said good morning. I answered back and kept running.

As I ran past the disc golf course, I thought of my college class. Not sure why other than the fact that a few of them love the game. I will miss teaching when I'm done.

I ran on south past Highway 54 and turned on Fourth Street. I ran over to New, jogged down a block, then turned onto Fifth heading for the western edge of town.

Just after a turn south onto Illinois, I hit 2.5 miles. I decided to continue my loop around town rather than double back on my route. I ran down Illinois, then jumped over to Tenth Street which took me back to Main. I turned south on Main, then east on Santa Fe and ran past Lemon Park. All the Christmas light displays were glowing. I wanted to run through the park, but didn't really have the time, so I turned north and ran to Sixth Street Park where I found a "12 Days of Christmas" light display.

I ran through Sixth Street Park on the sidewalk then turned onto Sixth and headed east. I turned at Parklane and looped around to Parke. At this point, I was running much more quickly than I had at the beginning. Not that I was sprinting or anything. I was running 8:39 miles. I was trying to get my 10K under the skinny kid's time again and 8:52 wasn't going to cut it.

I ran up to Highway 54, ran along the sidewalks, then dashed across the road to the Cooper Tire parking lot and then the Dillon's parking lot. I ran over to Lawrence, ran north and then made a circle around Haskins school yard, hitting 6.2 miles just past our house.

I walked in the front door and straight to the kitchen. The timer on the oven had 44 seconds left on it. Perfect timing. I took the casserole out and went to wake everyone for breakfast. (Firestarter, 42 degrees, 6.2 miles, 53:35, avg. 8:39, garmin data)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanks for asking...

I attempted to run 100 miles a little over a week ago. My friend and running partner, Adam, made it. I didn't. After running for 11 and a half hours, I was dehydrated and my kidneys were messed up. I was peeing blood. My right foot hurt with every step. I didn't want to, but I called it quits at 50 miles. I was terribly disappointed.

Over the past seven or eight days, the same question has come up time and time again: "Are you going to try again?" I've mostly answered "I don't know" or "I'm not ready to make that decision yet" or something else noncommittal.

Today, I'm ready to say something different. I want to try again. I do not like leaving something that I aimed to do undone. It may be a few days before I start running in earnest again, but the training will start soon.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

To Cairo and back...

I slept in this morning till after 6:00. I got up, dressed and headed out for a slightly warmer ride. It was 39 degrees! I don't know if I can handle the heat after sub-freezing temps.

I started out, got a half block from home and realized I didn't have my helmet on. My skull cap makes me feel like it's there. I turned around, rode back and strapped on my brain bucket, reset my odometer and left again.

The wind was kind of tricky this morning, stronger than it has been and no clear direction east or west. I picked east and rode out of town. I didn't feel great or lousy, just kind of happy as I rode along. I didn't push it much. I was just putting in the miles. The hills slowed me down a bit. I didn't care. I took them in stride and went on.

At the half way point in Cairo (pronounced Kay-Roh in these parts), I had an average speed of 15.6mph. I lost a tenth of that riding back to the highway and then over the next forty minutes or so lost another two tenths thanks to the wind and the hills.

As I rode back into town, I thought, "I should call the city and ask them to have the street sweeper come out and clear the rocks off the intersection just east of Hibbet's." I have to ride out into traffic there because of the pile of gravel. We'll see if I remember to do that on Monday. I kind of doubt I will. (20.41 miles @ 15.3mph)

Friday, November 16, 2012


This morning's ride was interesting. That's being nice. I got out the door a little after 5:30 and rode east. The WeatherBug said the wind was from the east. It still says that. It was NOT from the east. Deceptive little online weather thingy! I was almost to the edge of town when I realized I didn't have a taillight on my bike. Oops! I turned around and rode back toward the house. I had to climb that stupid hill on the highway. Grrrr! I hate that hill. At least I had a street sweeper to chase, so I climbed it fairly quickly. I passed the machine!

When I got home, I found my light, set it to flash and rode off again. This time I put a little anger to the pedals. I chased a pickup truck all the way to the edge of town, then rode out into the darkness. Remember the wind direction thing? I should have known that the WeatherBug had lied to me. I was cruising along near 20mph for quite a bit of the eastbound leg of my journey. I was climbing hills at 18mph. I should have figured out that I was getting assistance. Instead, I thought to myself, "Wow! My climbing legs have come back!" I am a stupid man.

I was nearing thirty minutes out, the point at which I was going to turn around, when my headlight started flashing. That was NOT a good sign. It meant I was about to be plunged into darkness. I slowed down and stopped on the side of the road before the blackness came. Thankfully, I was wearing a headlamp too, so I could see to restart my bike's light on low beam. I decided to turn around then and there. I didn't know how long the battery would last. I didn't want to be in the dark with no beam.

The wind was in my face when I turned around. Still, for the first few miles I maintained decent speed. Then came the little speed bump hills. I saw my first (and only) mile over 4:00. That's less than 15mph. I didn't like that. On the way out, I'd had three miles in a row at 19mph.

I rode back into town. I considered riding up to Maple and circling around to home, but decided to just get this ride over with. I rode straight up Highway 54 and climbed that stupid hill again. There wasn't anyone to chase this time, so I jumped out of the saddle and mashed the pedals against my unseen enemy, gravity. I crested the hill, rode to Cooper Tire and cornered. From there it was only a few more turns to the end.

I looked down at my Garmin when I stopped. Thirteen miles. Figures. (garmin data)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

There's cold in them thar hills...

It's a good thing I'm not using voice recognition software to type this post. I'm not sure my words would be clear enough with a frozen jaw. It was cold again this morning - 32 when I started my ride and 30 at the end. Brrrrrr!

I got out the door a little slower than yesterday, so I had a little less time to ride. I rode down by the bank to look at the flag and get an idea of the wind direction because the weather online was a bit too inconclusive. The flag wasn't much better. It was hanging pretty limp, but the fabric was laying on the west side of the pole indicating a breath from the east. I decided to head out toward Glendale south and east of town.

I have to admit here and now that I do not have climbing legs. I have been off my bike for so long that my body has forgotten how to gut it out when the road tips up. I rode slowly up the slope on Country Club Road and then even slower up the climb south of the lake. Grrrrr!

Of course, the ride wasn't all climb. I live in Kansas, so there was plenty of flat ground to cover. That went much more pleasantly. I cruised along at 17mph+ most of the time.

When I got back to the lake, I decided I had a little time to kill so I took a loop around the local fishing hole. On the north side of the lake, I wasn't paying much attention to my surroundings. There's never anyone out at the lake till sunrise anyway. Never say never. I was startled by a couple of women out walking. They were wearing dark colors and barely showed up before I was right on them. Glad I wasn't looking down at my Garmin. When I left the lake loop, I nearly wiped out in the ditch on the opposite side of the road. I hate riding in the dark when there are no white lines to highlight the edge of the pavement.

I rode back home by way of NE 25th and Highway 54. I wanted to keep the puny 16mph average I had, so I stood to climb the hill passed the Sonic Drive-In. I rode up and over and just past Pizza Hut turned onto Howard. I was going to turn on Random, but a car coming from the north changed my plans. I rode on up Howard and turned into my driveway from the east.

I hope my climbing legs come back soon. I have a goal of riding the Gyp Hills between Medicine Lodge and Coldwater before the year's out. I will die on those hills if I'm riding then like I was this morning. (garmin data)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cold ride...

When I woke up it was 31 degrees out. That's 8 degrees warmer than it was yesterday. But yesterday I ran and today I was going to ride. Cycling is a much colder sport. The body doesn't warm up all over as much. The legs get toasty while the rest freezes.

I took forever layering up, then got on my bike and headed out. I took School to Stout and enjoyed the smooth pavement of Stout down to Highway 54. I took a right on 54 and headed out of town.

Just before leaving the city limits, I was approaching an intersection when a car pulled out right in front of me. I had my hands on the hoods, so all I could do was yell. Thankfully, it was a paper delivery person and they had their windows down. They slammed on the brakes as I swerved around them. I saw that it was a friend. I know they didn't do it on purpose, but hey! Pay attention! If lights are coming, stop!

From there I rode slowly out to Skyline where I turned off onto Old 54. I took the less-trafficked way out to near 7.5 miles, then turned around and headed back toward town. I rode back to 50th, took a left and rode north up to the highway where I turned east again and rode back into town on the new asphalt. I love new surfaces! So smooth and flowy!

Back in town, I met up with a bunch of traffic so I had to use the rumble-stripy shoulder until after the Kwik Shop. On a mountain bike, that's not a problem. On my road bike, it's not very pleasant. I made it through that section and sped along the highway. The light turned green for me as I hit Main Street and I shot ahead of the car that was sitting there. I held my lead for about a block, then dropped in behind them when they passed me.

At Stout, I had to stop in the turn lane. I thought I wasn't going to, so I had to unclip at the last second and nearly fell over. Thankfully, my shoe came out easily and I stopped my downward progress.

I rode up Stout, turned on School and rode swiftly into my driveway. My face was frozen, but the rest of me had stayed warm. Though the ride was a bit slower than I'd like, I was happy to be back in the saddle again. (garmin data)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Getting back on the horse...

What do you do when a horse throws you off? You get back on. What if the horse stomps your head and bites your butt while you're down? I reality you probably lay there and moan in agony. Since this is a metaphorical horse, though, you grab a two-by-four and smack him upside the head then get back on. That's what I decided to do to the horse called running this morning. This horse kicked and bit me Friday, so I got up and took him on this morning.

I got up at 5:00 at looked at the temperature. It was 23, but the wind wasn't too bad. Wear tights, gloves, a headband and a jacket and you'll be fine, I told myself. I went to my gear stash and grabbed what I needed including a new pair of shoes. My old shoes were shot after nearly 1000 miles. I pulled the tissue out of the toes and slipped them on. They felt oddly firm. The soles squeaked on the laminate floor. They looked awesome!

I grabbed my new-to-me refurbished Garmin, strapped it on and headed out the door. My plan was to run a nice and easy 5K following the same route I'd done last week on my final training run. I knew to do more than recovery pace would be stupid. I was still a bit stiff and sore, but I figured I'd survive.

I walked to the start line at Welton and School, pushed start and ran off. My right foot, the one that was so painful Friday, was a little sore, but not stabby like it was then. I paid attention to it for the first half mile or so, knowing if it changed I'd need to stop. It didn't change. In fact, it seemed to get a little better.

I turned on Maple and ran west toward Main. I felt good and the chilled air was certainly more enjoyable than the superheated stuff I'd had to deal with on Friday afternoon. Ugh! I concentrated on pacing myself, not allowing my body to be stressed at all.

I turned south on Main intending to run down to Sixth and then loop back around to home. That was the 5K route. When I got to Sixth, however, I was feeling great so I ran on. I passed a couple of walkers on the sidewalk. My shadow startled one of them as I passed. I apologized for the start I'd given her and ran on. I ran on and on, right out of town and south to Lake Road.

Turning east onto Lake Road, I ran up and over the nasty little hill. Since I wasn't pushing it hard, I actually enjoyed the incline. I crested and then ran down the little slope to Country Club Road.

At Country Club, I turned north to run back into town. I ran down the hill, over the bridge and to Sixth Street again. There I decided to turn west and zigzag my way back home. I took winding Parklane to Parke to Blaine to Cedar to Edgeford and hit stop at five miles just before reaching home. I cooled down for the rest of the block, turned in at my sidewalk and walked in the door.

Take that stupid horse! (garmin data)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Half done...

Adam giving instructions at the Ministry Center
I woke up Friday morning at 4:00 to the screeching of my friend Marc's cell phone alarm. It was a good thing he was staying in the same house I was, because I didn't wake up for my watch's puny alarm. It had gone off three or four minutes earlier. I got out of bed. My legs felt great! I felt nothing but excitement. The day for which I'd prepared had finally arrived!

I dressed and got everything organized, stopped in the bathroom a couple of times, then headed up the stairs just as we got a text from Greg that our ride was waiting at the curb. Marc and I stepped outside and were met by pleasantly cool air. It was 61 degrees. We loaded our stuff into the car and hopped in. Greg and Issac, our support crew, greeted us. As we drove up Seneca, I made a quick peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich. I finished eating it about the time we pulled into the parking lot at the Friends Ministry Center on Maple.

Greg parked the car and we all disembarked. That was the last time I would sit in a car seat for hours. It was 4:45 and we were the only ones there for a few minutes. About ten till the rest of the support vehicles and Adam, my running partner, showed up. We talked and prepared for what was ahead. At just before 5:00, we gathered in a circle and prayed. With the final "Amen!" we were off on our adventure.

We ran a few feet down the sidewalk to the first street and headed north toward McLean. Adam and I were joined by our friends Marc, Taylor and Jeff. We joked and laughed a lot as we ran through the darkness. Everything felt good. There was no thought of not finishing. Our lights cut through the darkness. Greg and Isaac drove by and took pictures.

Bright lights along Central
When we hit McLean, we turned left and headed toward Central. The atmosphere among us was still light and jovial. No one was under stress at all. We took another left on to Central, ran a few blocks to Zoo Boulevard and turned onto the wide sidewalk. We ran northwest along Zoo meeting up with our support vehicles here and there. Jeff's Garmin kept our pace honest. We didn't want to go out too fast and burn out. A run of 100 miles is not a sprint.

At the I-235 bypass, we crossed Zoo and crossed the flood control ditch on the bike path bridge. At the next intersection, we left the bike path and ran along the shoulder of 21st passed the zoo and Sedgwick County Park. Just before Ridge, we crossed over to the north side of the street where we picked up the sidewalk. We ran right past Greg and Isaac who had stopped at the QT.

I don't remember exactly when we made our first visit to our support vehicles, but it was somewhere along the next stretch of pavement. All I really remember is getting more water. We were taking electrolyte pills every half hour and drinking a bottle of water each hour.

Somewhere along 21st we lost Taylor. I didn't see it happen. I looked around and he was gone. The same thing happened with Marc a little while later. Jeff, Adam and I ran on till we hit nine miles. Jeff called it a day. Adam and I were on our own.

Greg keeping close in the support vehicle.
As we were leaving the city, the sun was just beginning to rise. We wove our way through road construction and ran past the Northwest YMCA and St. Teresa's. At daybreak we were in the country. Neither of us had on a Garmin at this time, so we ran by feel. Even though I was pretty sure we were running faster than we had when Jeff was there reminding us to slow down, my legs were happy so I just ran alongside Adam.

Shortly after we left town, a nine-year-old from Adam's church was dropped off with his bike. He rode along with us for a few miles. Adam and I ran one in front of the other while Ky rode his bike on the shoulder. We certainly didn't want him out in traffic. He kept up pretty well for awhile, then started to get tired. I don't know for sure how long or far we enjoyed his company, but eventually he stopped and Greg and Isaac loaded him and his bike in their vehicle.

To be honest, the next 10 or 15 miles are kind of a blur. I felt good as Adam and I knocked off mile after mile. There was no doubt in my mind that I would finish. Life was good and I was running with a good friend who had a ton of ultra experience. I did everything he did and everything he instructed me to do. I took gels every half hour and electrolytes about the same time. We munched on homemade monster cookies prepared for us by a woman in my church. They were the best cookies ever! We drank water mostly, but I added a Powerade every two or three bottles. After the first Powerade, I had Greg and Isaac pour the blue liquid into the lighter water bottles. I didn't need the extra weight in my hands.

Our youngest supporter
I matched Adam stride for stride for a little over 25 miles, then backed off just a bit. I was still confident in my success, I just wasn't sure I could keep up with Adam. I didn't even feel bad really, I just knew it was time to slow down for a few minutes at least. After hours and hours of running, I've learned to pay attention to such things. When I ignore them, I end up dead tired or worse.

I asked for my Zen Mosaic at some point. I let Petra blast away as I ran on, my feet matching the rhythm. I couldn't read the display in the bright sunlight, so every once in awhile I'd had the device back to Isaac and have him change groups. I listened to Sanctus Real and sonicflood among other groups.

As I ran on, the temperature and the wind increased. I was sweating like mad! I increased my intake of water and Powerade to two to three bottles an hour. Adam had told me that I should be peeing every hour throughout the run. I remembered that and tried several times along the roadside without success. Finally, I got something to come out. The stream was weak and did not last long. I was concerned. I drank more. A while later, I peed again. Same result. Not much.

The good feelings were pretty much history as I ran past 35 miles or so. I'm not sure how hot it was, but it got up to 84 sometime during the day. I was putting ice on my neck in a bandana to cool my body as much as possible. I was still dripping with sweat. I was running most of the time, but pain in my right foot was slowing me down. I walked off and on.

My emotions started going crazy somewhere along the way. When Greg and Isaac drove up ahead and disappeared over the crest of a hill more than a mile away, I freaked out. I actually cried. When they came back, I said, "Don't do that again! Don't disappear unless you tell me what you're doing!" I didn't mean for it to, but I think that made Greg feel bad. He and Isaac really were great. They served my every whim quickly and efficiently. I couldn't have asked for a better support crew.

Still feeling good as the sunrises behind us
When we got to the road that went into Kingman, Greg asked permission to go to town to buy more sports cream. I'd been using it off and on throughout the day to keep my injured shoulder from aching. He was afraid we would run out and wanted to get some while we were near a town. I told him to go ahead. I ran on all alone. The other support crew was up with Adam, out of sight over the horizon. Rather than freak out, I turned up my music and had one of the most personal and intimate worship times I've had in years. I raised my hands and praised Jesus as I ran along singing. I felt God's closeness and love. It was wow!

Before Greg and Isaac got back from their errand, Frank and Marc came back in the other support vehicle. They wanted to check on me. I suspect that Greg had sent them. I asked them to help me tape a bag of ice to my right foot to see if I could numb the pain there a bit. Marc contrived a way to do what I asked and I was soon walking along. I'm sure it looked silly, but the ice helped a bit. I wish I had pictures. Maybe someone does, but I haven't seen them.

I was past 40 or 45 miles and my foot was bothering me more and more. I was mostly walking with short runs here and there. The next time I peed it was red and still little more than a trickle. When I met up with Greg and Isaac again, I mentioned my concern about this to them. Greg texted the other vehicle and soon Adam's mom, a nurse, was back talking with me. She asked about the color. I said it was really light red. She told me that my kidneys were stressed, but that since I was young and in shape I didn't need to worry too much. She assured me everything would go back to normal in a day or two. She went back up to Adam.
Adam gave lots of good advice while we ran together

A short time later, Frank and Marc showed up in their van. They had a cup. Adam's mom wanted to see my urine. I didn't need to go at that moment, but I promised them that the next time I went, it would be in the cup. I was slamming water and Powerade as fast as I could, but my body felt horrible. I was dehydrating.

I was near fifty miles when I asked Greg to let me talk with Adam. I was ready to quit. Greg dialed the number and put me on when Adam answered. I told Adam about the pain in my foot that was keeping me from running and mentioned my bloody pee and told him how I was feeling. He told me to stop at fifty miles and rest for a half hour. After the rest, he told me I should try to walk another half hour before making my final decision. I agreed to give it a try.

I made it to the 50-mile mark, peed in the cup, handed the ice tea colored liquid to Marc and stepped into the van. I'm pretty sure Marc didn't expect to be transporting medical samples when he signed on to help. Makes me laugh now to think about it. In the van, I cooled off and drank more water. I downed two bottles in the thirty minutes. The most entertaining part of the rest time was watching my foot and leg muscles dance. They were moving constantly and then the cramping started. That was not funny at all. Most of the time it was one foot or one leg at a time, but once or two both legs seized at the same time and I yelled loudly.

As my half hour rest was coming to a close, Marc and Frank showed up again. I tried putting my socks and shoes on by myself, but I couldn't manage it. The cramps kept grabbing my foot or my leg every time I bent to do the job. Once again Marc got the fun job. I swung legs to the side and he pulled on my socks and placed each shoe in place. I somehow managed to tie them and step out of the vehicle.

My poor cramping leg
As I was walking away, Nate showed up. He was going to run with me, but ended up walking instead. I tried running, but my right foot was stabbing me with every step. I kept moving for forty minutes and covered only about a mile and a half. Realistically, there was no way I was going to finish. I walked up to Greg's car and sat down. Denise pulled up just about that time. She was there to witness my decision to pull out. I sobbed for a bit. I was so disappointed. I had wanted so badly to finish the 100 miles. A dream was dying.

With the decision made, I climbed into the car and we were off toward Pratt. I felt awful and got worse. I talked on the phone with a few people who had been planning to come out and run with me or help with support. I tried reaching my wife, but she wasn't available. I cried every time someone said something nice to me. Marc helped by telling me I was a wimp. That made me laugh.

Less than a mile from Pratt, I felt really sick. "Get me a bag!" I yelled. I was handed a big plastic trash bag. I filled it as I vomited three or four times. I felt better after that, but yuck! We made it home and I dumped my bag out on the grass, then walked into the house. Greg and Isaac followed me in with a few things, then Greg left Isaac with me and took Marc up to his house. Isaac helped me get a few things and then went with his dad when he got back.

For the next few hours, I sat alone at home. I took in fluids, but didn't eat anything. I wasn't sure what my stomach would tolerate. I sat at the computer and responded to some of the encouraging words that had been posted on Facebook, Twitter and dailymile. I let people know that I'd had to drop out and new encouragement started pouring in. I am grateful to have so many friends who care about my well-being. If you posted something, I saw it and my heart was moved.

I talked with my parents and a few others on the phone and then my wife got home from the play. I talked with her for awhile. My eldest daughter came home. I talked with her for a bit, then just before I went to bed around 10:30 I called Frank and asked him to call me when Adam got near Pratt. I wanted to go out and cheer for him.

I slept for a few hours before the phone rang. It was nearly 1:00 in the morning Saturday. Marc was back to his place in the support vehicle with Frank and the runners were a mile from Pratt. My wife and I got dressed quickly and drove out to meet them. The headlamps that Adam and those who were running in support of him came into view about the time we got to Pratt Community College, so we pulled off into one of the driveways, got out and yelled loud encouragement! Adam gave me a quick hug. That meant the world to me. I greeted Ellen, David, Andy and Gabe. Adam asked if I had a key to the church. I did, so we drove back to get things ready for the lot of them.

As the group crested the hill just east of the church, I let out another whoop and holler. When I realized I was in the city, I stopped. No need to wake the neighbors. I talked with the runners as they rested a bit. Adam ran in for a pit stop. I was feeling pretty good after my sleep, so I decided to go with Frank and Marc in the support vehicle.

For the next few hours, I rode around and made sure the runners had what they needed. Frank and I took Marc back to his house after a McDonald's run. I got Ellen's car and drove it in short spurts back to Haviland. I got out when the runners approached and cheered. I met whatever needs they had to the best of my ability.

When Adam and this posse passed us with a mile and a half to go, he asked me to please run the last tenth of a mile with them. I wasn't sure I could do it, but I agreed. So when they got to the corner of Main and Elm, I pushed my legs up to a slow jog with them. It hurt, but I made it to the orange paint mark that was the finish. A few minutes later, I was in the car with Ellen headed home to Pratt. (Read Adam's report)

Though I'm disappointed that I didn't reach my goal by completing this 100-miler, I am not discouraged. I did what I could for a cause I care deeply about. Young men and women called to serve God as missionaries will be helped by the scholarship fund that Adam and I and all our friends ran to support. That matters more than whether I ran 100 miles or not. Way more!