Monday, May 26, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 4

Training for the Chicago Marathon continues to truck along. Weather in the Twin Cities has been gorgeous. Sunny mornings, comfortably warm temperatures, and dry conditions have made training enjoyable up to this point. Knowing hot, humid weather is coming makes me enjoy the temperate conditions even more.

While my fundraising for Team World Vision has hit a standstill, I'm hoping that an announcement in my school newsletter and a mailing in the next couple weeks will get things rolling again. I appreciate all the continued prayers and support.

The highlight of my week was a 12 mile long run down to the Fort Snelling Minnesota River Trail. I'll leave you with some photos my two hour run along the river.

After two miles, the end of the line

Ran across the MN River on the Highway 77 Pedestrian Bridge

View of the bridge from the west side of the river

A spring along the Minnesota River Bottoms Trail where I rinsed the chunks of mud off my shoes
Back up the pedestrian bridge

View of the boat launch and a fisherman from the 77 pedestrian bridge
I met two friendly bikers along the way. One bike told me that turning southwest from the 77 bridge is the Minnesota River Bottom Trail. I directed the other friendly biker, originally from southern California and currently residing in Des Moines, back to his Mall of America hotel.

Once again, thank you for reading. I appreciate all the prayers, well-wishes, and financial support.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training - Week 3

I'm down to twenty weeks of training for the Chicago Marathon. I've been blessed the past week in the following ways:
  • A chiropractic treatment that really loosened up the Achilles tendon that's been bothering me since November.
  • Generous donations from friends and family to World Vision, totaling $510 so far.
  • Some fantastic runs and bike rides, including a group run with other Team World Vision runners and a long bike with my brother-in-law, Joe.

It's been an unseasonably cool spring in Minnesota, and while that makes for some cold feet while bike riding, it's made for some great runs.

The Chicago Marathon will be the sixth marathon I've raced since 2009. I've learned something different every training cycle, and my training for Chicago will probably be the most unique of all the marathons. Rather than setting goal mileage for each week, I'm writing in goal workouts, and running based on how I feel that particular day.

While I have been enjoying most all of my training thus far, the best part has been running for Team World Vision. Being part of the global community has been one of my passions since I moved to Oahu when I was 10 years old. Praying for peace, social justice, and the spiritual wherewithal for all people, rich or poor, slave or free, righteous and unrighteous, brings me amazing joy.

I know I'm no better than any of these people, and I realize that any support I can offer to my fellow human beings is a drop in the bucket of human need. However, I invited any and all of my readers to join me and support me for the next twenty weeks as I train for the Chicago Marathon while raising money for World Vision.

Thank you for all your support thus far. I'll leave you with this little tidbit from a letter written to the Christian church in Ephesus:

11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training - Weeks 1 and 2

I'm two weeks into my training for the Chicago Marathon. Week one went well with four runs and three bike rides. I spent about five hours running or biking, and besides Achilles tendonitis and a sore knee, I felt about as good as I had in a few months of running.

Week two included four runs and three bike rides for a total of about four hours and forty-five minutes of running and biking.

Highline Trail
Saturday morning included an embarrassing fall on the bike at a busy intersection near Easter church. I was leaning the wrong way at the stoplight and failed to get my foot out of my right toe clip when I mistimed the stoplight.

I fell over in slow motion right in front of the car making a right-hand turn in front of the bike path. The light then turned green, and I was able to quickly right myself and start pedaling south on Pilot Knob. Though my left knee hurt for a bit, it quickly loosened back up and I was able to get a good workout riding the ups-and-downs of Eagan's Highline Trail.

I've been seeing a fantastic chiropractor in Eagan who is also a distance runner. Yesterday he gave me a treatment on my Achilles, and this morning was the best it felt in several weeks. I'm now off for an easy run this morning. The sky looks clear as the sun is beginning to peak through my window.

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers if you're so inclined. I've already raised $360 for World Vision--almost a third of my goal of $1310.

Check out my fundraising page through Team World Vision:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon

Springtime has brought me a rush of inspiration about running. The outdoors, other runners, and longer days have me feeling better about my running, work, and life. On Saturday, I drove up to Avon, Minnesota to watch some friends run in the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon.

I've been talking with my good friend Jon about his training since January, and I wanted to surprise him with an appearance at his race. I arrived at Avon in time to watch Jon run by mile 18 around 9 AM.

During a two mile jog while I waited for Jon, I ran into my buddy, Dan LaPlante. I told him to get moving because he was less than a minute behind the third place runner. I jogged with him a while (if you can call running around 6:30 / mile jogging), said some motivational garbage to him, then ran back to see Jon.

Jon at mile 18
After Jon went by, I called Jon's wife, Linda, to let her know I was headed to mile 20 to catch Jon again before the finish. Jon was still looking strong at 20, and so were several other runners who passed by.

Jon still looking strong at mile 20

Linda showed up to meet me at mile 20, so I asked her if I could jump in her car and ride to the finish. I wanted to run a few more miles, so heading back to my car from St. Joseph seemed like the perfect way to spend fifty minutes of a beautiful day.

The finish area was a gorgeous central Minnesota May morning.  I got several shots of the joy and determination on runners' faces as they ended their 26.2 mile journey from Holdingford to St. Joseph.

Dan LaPlante coming in at 2:52:26 in fourth place

Jon bringing it home after yakking around mile 21

Just short of his BQ

It was tough to watch Jon finish in 3:05:48. Even though it was a 12 minute PR, he missed his BQ by 49 seconds--less than 2 seconds-per-mile.

After Jon hung out in the medical tent for a bit, Linda and I let the mixed emotions of such an amazing race sink in for Jon. It was great to hang out with the two of them for a while, congratulate some of the top finishers, and chill out in the grass on a beautiful morning.

Jon, Linda, and puppy with the St. Joseph water tower
I jogged through a field and back onto the trail. I spent around 6 miles cheering for runners as they neared the finish, and got to see another running friend, Leah Blix.

I ended my day with Jon and Linda at the Maple Grove Granite City where we enjoyed good food, beer and conversation.

Now I'm back with my own training, and hoping to stay healthy as I wind up my base phase of training for the Chicago Marathon. My knees weren't happy with me for falling on my bike Sunday morning, but that's a story for another post.

Happy Running!

Team World Vision

I love to run, but sometimes the time I spend running seems selfish. With so much need in the world and so many ways I could spend my time, taking 6 - 10 hours each week to run, bike, and strength train makes me think about how else I could spend my time. With so much need in the world, I think about how I could spend more time and money volunteering and fundraising, and less time and money on running, shoes, and races.

The amount of need in the world is truly daunting, and it's tempting to become hopeless when faced with so many people with so many needs. Whether those in need are the victims of circumstance, an unjust government, or lack the proper resources to thrive, there are millions of people who can benefit from those of us who live in abundance.

It's so tempting to compare ourselves to those with a little (or a lot) more than we have. While many of us in United States have our own set of problems--student loan debt, mortgages, and being too busy to enjoy time our friends and family, there are people in our community and in our world who do not have enough food, clothing, shelter, or clean water to thrive.

According to, there are over 345 million people without access to clean water in Africa alone.

With all these things in mind, I've decide that for my next marathon I'll spend more time trying to raise money for Team World Vision, and less time reading, obsessing, and talking about running.

I'll be posting more about my training and updating my readers about my fundraising progress. Those of you who are inclined to pray, and those of you inclined to include my in your thoughts, please do so. You can visit my fundraising page at Team World Vision. You're also invited to e-mail or send me a message through Facebook to ask me any questions about my training or fundraising.

Thank you for reading.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Weekend Reading: To Be a Runner

Martin Dugard's, "To Be a Runner" is unlike any running book I've read so far. It combines elements of memoir, training advice, and the philosophy of running, exercise, and goal setting.

Like most running books, I could quibble with some of Dugard's training advice, but as a whole it was a beautifully written book. Dugard invites readers into his thoughts on running and his journey as a runner and high school cross country coach. His ideas on how running helps to make him a better person through goal setting and experiencing the outdoors really hit home for me.

Dugard's writing contains enough snippets about training and the inner life of a runner to satisfy serious runners looking for a fresh perspective on training. At the same time, his writing is accessible and compelling enough to bring along readers who are only casually interested in running.

Happy Running!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Running Poem: Fade Together

"Fade Together"

Running the dirt-packed path,
hopping over the small stream,
looking to the backwaters
where the waterfowl float
on the burning water lit by
the rising sun

Thoughts fading to the same path
in the snow--
the crunch of snowshoes,
the sound of
their aluminum frames
snapping up and down
with the rhythm of my steps.

Fades into the path
through the suburban trees
where I stopped my steps
to see a coyote standing in the path staring back at me.

Reminds me of the gravel road
outside Lake Bemidji
when first one, then two dogs
chased me away
from their farmhouses.

My heart's beating fast,
so I slow it down by remembering the run
looking down on the Mississippi
where the northern ice floated
to melt downstream.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Running Poem: Lost Shoes

Seeing lost, lone shoes on the side if the road is a common occurrence for anyone who travels. When I'm running, especially, I seem to come across these lonely shoes several times a month. Running the same routes, these shoes will often sit lost and abandoned for days, even weeks on end.

Looking at a shoe on the side of the road, I can't help but wonder where the shoe's  match went, or why the shoe lost its partner in an intersection, or by a park, or in the middle of the street.

"Lost Shoe"

This morning I saw a child's shoe--
an ivory-slipper, still glittery,
now stained with the muck that flings off
car tires
in the spring.

I thought about the little girl
who lost the shoe--
did she kick if off as she rode in her stroller
while having a tantrum?

Or was the small slipper thrown
out a car window
in a fit of rage
over the absence of a snack,
or a book not shared?

Did the shoe fall off
because it was too big and as she ran
to catch up to her mommy and daddy,
it slipped off her foot?

I ran past the shoe
and soon forgot about the little girl--
the hole in the toe of her tights
as she sat in church--
one shoe on, one painted toenail
pointing to heaven.