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)