Monthly Archives: November 2008

November Highlights

Sign at hotel in Wynne, AK

It is a little hard to believe that I am recapping November already.  Last year at this time we were finalizing our decision to move to Minneapolis and beginning the process of saying goodbye.  This year we are enjoying our life in Minneapolis, wondering what the next year will bring – but it doesn’t seem like a year has passed.

Last Year I traveled with friends to Arkansas for the Midsouth Marathon.  I ran the 1/2 and they did the full. After the race getting ready to head home we saw the recap of the Men’s Olympic Marathon trials and the roller coaster of emotions that day brought as Ryan Hall had an amazing performace while his friend Ryan Shay had run his last miles.

Later I ran the last of the year’s DINO 15K trail races and it was quite cold! It was a lot of fun though running through the hills and creeks of Fort Harrison State Park.   I also ran in my first Thanksgiving Day race – the Drumstick Dash. Wray Jean, one of the friends I went to Arkansas with, went to Tennessee to knock off another state’s marathon and ran the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon.

With most of my racing out of the way for the year, I began to look back on analyze my training plans for the 3 major races.  First up was the Indianapolis Mini Marathon.  My second major race and analysis was for the Bears of the Blue River 10k.

I was also going through my RSS feeds and highlighting some of the blogs I read.  These included Martin Dugard’s Paper Kenyan, Cool Running’s blog, and the Phedipidations Blog.  Also at the end of November Dr Cade, the inventor of Gatorade passed away at 80 years old. I started a feature that continues today – Foto Friday!

For November 2007 my monthly mileage was 52 miles!

This year was a lot different my monthly mileage was double that of 113.6 miles.

I raced quite a few times this month, which helped keep my mileage up.  I ran in the USATF-MN XC Series.  Completing the Rocky’s Run 8k and the USATF-MN XC Championship 10k.  With those races out of the way I began contemplating what the off-season might have in store. It includes another round of the 100 push up challenge.

I finally finished a book called The Sacred Art of Running and started a series taking an in-depth look at the book. The first part was Foundations of a Spiritual Runner, which laid a lot of ground work for the rest of the book.  Next came Spirituality: A Running Definition,  which defined what spirituality means (to the author and the book) and what that had to do with running.

Of course November means Thanksgiving and offering thanks for the many blessings in our life. It also marks the anniversary of Foto Friday!

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Thankful Today

Img from stock.xchng.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you are having a wonderful day enjoying friends, family, and food!

I looked up the word “thanks” in the Webster dictionary and it used the word gratitude, or having grateful thoughts.  Using the Webster thesarus brings even stronger words: appreciation, appreciativeness, gratefulness, gratitude, thankfulness, thanksgiving; gratification, indebtedness, satisfaction; acknowledgment, recognition, and tribute.

I think most of us don’t use these words often enough. I know I don’t.  I try to be thankful in every day life but it is hard sometimes.  I want to take a few minutes and share with you a list of things I’m thankful for, but first I really like this verse from the Old Testament: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

In no particular order:

I am thankful for…

… my wonderful wife

… my parents

… my extended network of family

… great friends that span the world and the technology to stay connected to them

… the opportunity to serve my community

… being able to wake up each morning in a warm house with food on the shelves

… great neighbors

… the ability to run and the strength to do so

… my growing network of friends who care about me individually

… friends and people who challenge me to strive to become the best person possible

… a church that cares more about taking care of each other and our neighbors than a building

… amazing co-workers who truly care about our students and their education

… the freedom to worship

… the snow, the sun, and even the rain (but maybe not -34 windchills)

What are you thankful for this year?

[tags] Thanksgiving [/tags]

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Spirituality: A Running Definition

A sadhu performing namaste in Madurai, India.

Image via Wikipedia

I had hoped we were ready to move past the point of defining terms and such, but I guess we had forgotten the most important term.  This term is actually in title, no it isn’t running or art.  Confused? Well it is actually in the series title – Spirituality.  Keeping in mind that Warren Kay is a Christian, but is writing to a much broader audience I really liked his definition of spirituality.

The way you live your life in light of your beliefs and values is what I call spirituality in a general sense.

This definition actually pulls together several elements of the definition provided by Webster. It is simple and broadly applicable.  Kay comments on the spiritual experience – making it clear that it doesn’t have to be dramatic like Paul’s conversion in Acts or the Angel speaking to Mohammed but that they are “far more common… and are usually something much more down to earth.”  He says that a spiritual experience can be something as “simple as the appreciation of beauty and friendship.”  Again I would agree with his ideas about the spiritual experience.

Kay devotes several pages of Chapter Two to talking about reductionist points of view.  He offers several arguments against reductionism, including a running one. The thrust of his point is that reducing running to a simple biological activity takes away much of the experience itself.  The runner’s high – simply a biological process.  While the biology is accurate it does seem that there should be something more.  I may be a little biased by my WASP point of view but I don’t want anything reduced simply to neurons and microbes.  Every living thing was created for a purpose, every chemical reaction has a reason, including the runner’s high.

Taking a look through history Kay claims that:

Running has been an activity of necessity and enjoyment for thousands of years, and in a number of cultures, running has had a close association with spirituality and religion.

I’ll assume these are correct.  He claims that the Olympic Games were originally created as a religious ceremony.  He also talks about a group of Buddhist Monks in Japan called “Marathon Monks” who were swift and able runners taking on a 1,000 day running challenge, which is quite extraordinary, as their ultimate spiritual prize.  His final example come from the Lung-gom-pa runners of Tibet who often run 200 miles in a day and can run for 48-hours nonstop.   Either of those two groups would be quite amazing to see.

His closing thoughts for this chapter are good so I’ll go ahead and quote them here:

… running, unlike many other sports or human activities, doesn’t need external tools or devices: you have your body, and that’s all you need.

Running encourages simplicity – a principle that tends to foster spiritual growth.

This, [simplicity] in turn, helps you experience a feeling of freedom and joy when you run, a feeling that is different from anything you experience through any other purely human activity.

I can’t agree with that last point enough.  Whenever I slip off the watch and mp3 player and just go out for a run it can be a totally different experience than any other run. My run this past weekend at the Louisville Swamp is a great example of one of these moments.

[tags] Sacred Art, Running, Spiritual, Warren Kay [/tags]

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