Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mirrors

I recently did some exercise indoors.  No one was around, so I took my shirt off because it had little ventilation.  I had a clear view of myself and it wasn't pretty.  That was the day I chose to lose 10lbs.  I had deceived myself into thinking I was doing okay.  It took the mirrors to reveal my own self deception and some serious belly and back fat.

It has taken two months, and this morning at a doctor appt., I discovered I had lost 9 of the ten.

Whatever the mirror reveals is what it is.  Abraham called things that are not as though they were, and that day, I called myself 10 lbs. lighter and took initiative to become what I saw by faith. (Romans 4)

Not there yet, but getting there.  I am also recalculating and calling myself another 10 lbs. lighter, in Jesus name.




Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Trail Markers

Anyone can lose focus and miss a trail marker.  Having a well marked trail doesn't guarantee a person will not get lost and off the course of the race set before you.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Highlands Sky 40 (20 for me)



Months prior to toeing the line I had this re-occurring lower abdomen pain that was difficult for the doctors to diagnose.  (With a cancer diagnosis in my history, they were a little concerned.)  One morning’s run was so painful, that I contacted the race director and pulled out of the race.  After the pain subsided, I re-contacted him, and said I would at least try to make it to aid station four.  It was finally diagnosed as an inguinal hernia, and I await my very busy surgeon to have an opening.  To date I have not had some serious injury or health issue weeks prior to a race, so I knew to trust the grace of God to help me no matter how bad I felt.  One day, I proclaim and confess that this side of heaven I will run an ultra without a hernia, flu, viral syndrome, degenerative hip, cancer, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, migraine headaches,  rotator cuff syndrome, bunions, capsulitus, etc., etc.

To add to the moment, my wife invites our middle granddaughter to join us, and a plan is made.  She is seven and is a natural runner, and has already completed a 5k so I knew she could handle the start to the first aid station if Dan would approve.  He did, and so grand dad and granddaughter on Father’s day Saturday started together.  By God’s divine timing, we just ‘happened’ to sit at a table that the aid station workers for #1 were sitting.  Amanda and Tom met my granddaughter and with their permission, they agreed to watch her until my wife arrived. There wasn’t a need as my wife was right behind us in the car, but it was nice to know she would stay with someone she knew if needed. This would put me in last place at the first aid station, but I didn’t really care.  Soon after the aid station, I met the first of many who would be having equipment malfunction due to the very wet, muddy bogs.  I read in another report that one person lost her shoe in a bog and the water was so deep, she never found it.  She had to go seven miles without a shoe. 

Starting slow has its benefits.  I was able to pass a few people, and that gave me a little boost of morale.  My hernia was behaving and I felt decent and after the ascent from aid station one to the top the rocky filled and water filled bogs were fairly easy to navigate and led a few people through them at a decent pace.  I was afraid to look behind so I introduced myself and a nice sounding lady named Catherine was behind me and we ran well together through this section.   Leaving aid station two with 20 minutes to spare my hernia starting hurting, and this portion was painful.  When possible I tucked my hand between the strap on my waist pack and the hernia to hold it in place and push it back in.  This affected my coordination and balance on the pretty steep descents on this portion.  I finally found a rhythm and started running and led a pack of four talkative young ladies down and down.  I turned to see who it was near the bottom and nearly fell.  I let them pass as the ascent began, and now the hernia was combined with some serious stomach gas.  I have never prayed for a fart or poop, but I was doing some serious praying for one or the other.  The scenery and setting was absolutely the prettiest portions and I soaked in the beauty of the forest and the sound of the overflowing creeks to soak in some peace.  I remembered praying about some stressful issues from living in Washington D.C. and I got a strong sense to “don’t bring that stuff here.  Enjoy this moment and listen and see what is all around you.” The creek crossings were helped by the volunteers who put up ropes.  Even with the ropes, the crossing prior to aid station three was treacherous for me.  I almost fell in many times.  The rocks were slippery, so I slogged through thigh deep water, and still almost fell.  Leaving aid station three there was a notice that this was bobcat country.  If that is so, the bobcats must love steep grades.  Wow, is all I can say.  Eventually the top came, and then it was more creeks that once were a trail.  Holding my hernia and navigating the rocks was tricky and I eventually gave up running and walked most of this section.  I was glad to finally get to the bridges and then to the road.  I had pre-planned to stop at aid station four.  Running uphill on the road didn’t hurt the hernia as bad as the descents so I was able to finish fairly strong.  My wife and grand daughter were set up a half a mile from the aid station, and were surprised by my granddaughter who had gathered a handful of yellow flowers and jumped out from hiding and showered me with her bouquet.  I jogged into the aid station, and let them know I was done, and I was thankful to the Lord that the hernia, though painful wasn’t strangling an intestine or something even more serious. 

I appreciated so many things about this race.  Dan Lehman, being the main reason.  He has gathered an incredible group of volunteers who were knowledgeable and helpful at each aid station.  His pre-race dinner was so filled with give a ways; most people that won got product that were equal to their race entry.  (Except the two who won a copy of my books.)  I appreciate the grace of God and the cool weather. I am also appreciative of the fellow back of the packer’s.  We all have a story and though we all dream of running with the lead pack are just glad to be alive and moving.  I am still undecided but for now I think I would rather have cold and wet, than hot and dry.  It was like running through creeks for ¾ of the first half of the race, but it was better than burning up from the heat.  

Thanks be to God and everyone who made this race a reality, even though it was only half a reality for me.

Highlands Sky 40 Mile Trail Run



Highlands Sky 40.
Ascents, descents, creek crossings. 
Mud, rocks, running.  Done.

 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why I run ultra-marathons



Why run ultra-marathons?

I still field this question and there are many answers.  The following story encapsulates the main reason:

“When Lazaro Katema set out to plant a church in Chandama, Tanzania, village leaders resisted him. In fact, they wouldn't let him stay overnight in town, so he slept in the brush under a tree.

One night several lions came into the village, mauling two people and killing one. The next morning, local leaders were convinced the lion attacks were brought on by the contempt and lack of hospitality shown Katema. They were also convinced that he had fallen victim to the lions.

When they went to look for him in the brush, they found that he was OK. They asked if he had seen the lions and he said, No, but that some dogs had circled him in the night. Those "dogs" had left prints around Katema's camp. And they weren't dog prints they were lion prints. Village leaders were so moved by Katema's survival that they opened the village to him and gave him a plot of land for the church. Now when he shows up in the village, he is given a VIP escort.

Today the Chandama church is vibrant. In only three years, Katema's denomination, the Tanzania Assemblies of God (TAG), has increased by over 230,000, added nearly 1,700 pastors and over 1,500 churches.

Each day at Priority One Leaders we get up to empower, train and resource men and women like Katema and to support the work of the Spirit around the world.”

I am getting up Saturday morning to toe the line at 6:00 a.m. for the Highlands Sky 40 mile trail run in Davis, WV.  Would you prayerfully support providing men like Lazaro with educational resources to grow in his leadership?  He has a depth in his relationship with God that we may not have, and we all have something we can help him with.  Wouldn’t it be great to financially partner with people like this?  I know you will, because God has blessed you and God supplies seed for the sower.  You can donate through paypal on our church website at viennaag.com.

Still a little on the crazy side of life, but not sleeping in the brush with lions… yet. #lotsmorecrazypeopleouttherethanme.



Craig

p.s. Small injuries this past year and a recent diagnosis of a hernia will limit my ability to finish.  I hope to finish the first half. I will be happy with a 20-mile run up and down and up the mountains.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Highlands Sky 40 Mile Trail Run

This Saturday, by God's grace I will run/walk/hike through some of prettiest and awe inspiring sights and sounds this side of the Grand Canyon.  The Highlands Sky 40 Mile trail run, directed by Dan Lehman is Father's Day Saturday.  From the website here is the description.

"The course traverses Roaring Plains and Dolly Sods Wilderness through some of the most rugged and beautiful terrain in West Virginia. Dolly Sods is an area of high elevation, windswept plains ranging from 2500 to 4700 feet elevation. Trail terrain varies from woodland paths, rock and boulder, to upland bogs, through northern hardwoods at lower elevations, to Red Spruce and heath barrens above 4000 feet. Canaan is the highest large valley east of the Mississippi. The Valley creates the headwaters of the Blackwater River and has a unique environment composed of wetlands and uplands with vegetation characteristic of more northern latitudes."

With minor injuries this past year, I am only able to do the first 20 (at best).  

Looking forward to some scenery, and great fellowship among the back of the packers,