Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Quick Running Tip Tuesday - Multiple Playlists (2.28.12)

I'm really, really hoping to get off the DL (disabled list) this week.  For the past 14 days (counting today), I've been at a "run stop" while I'm waiting for this QT (quadriceps tendonitis) to clear up.  Right now, I have received the "go-ahead" from a doctor/runner friend, who has been helping me rehab my quad with some cross training a couple of mornings a week, to attempt a couple of short runs this week.  I'm hopeful...

One of the things that I have found helpful in running is music.  When I was in high school, I tried running a few times, mostly as conditioning for football or other sports.  I never really liked it... sadly.  I think part of it was the absence of music.  When I was in high school, portable, personal CD players were the cool item to own.  Unfortunately, many of them weren't good for running (you know the whole "CD skipping" thing isn't cool when you're trying to listen to something).  Thankfully Steve Jobs and others introduced us to the iPod.  I have an iPod shuffle that goes with me on every run. 

Since many of my runs are long and I run 4 or 5 days a week... I'm ALWAYS looking for fresh music.  The picture above is an actual screen shot image from my iTunes library.  I have created running playlists of music for almost every day of the week.  Each of those playlists contains different songs.  Only a couple of songs have crossed over into multiple playlists.  Additionally, "mega run" is a playlist containing all the songs from the various days for really long (20+ mile) runs and "rockin playlist" is something that I keep for those times when I really need a driving song to get me going. 

Why do this?
Because it keeps the music fresh.  I don't hear the same songs day after day after day.  Some of the songs in these playlists have been in my playlist since I started running 2 1/2 years ago.  But only having them up for a listen once or twice a week keeps them fresh. 

Additionally, I'm always looking for fresh tunes... and adding them to whichever day's playlist is the shortest (since I usually listen to my music on shuffle, songs at the end of the playlist have an equal opportunity). 

It's just a simple tip that keeps me going... because while I'm running, music keeps me going. 

What keeps you going?  Additionally... what songs keep you going (if you listen to music)?  Feel free to add comments below.

Keep running friends!

Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): Jim is not a professional runner nor is this blog endorsed by any company.  These thoughts are merely the thoughts and experiences on one runner.  What works and what doesn't work from a practical level.  Jim hasn't set any records, but he's run a few races (Marathon: 4h 22m / Half-Marathon: 2h 3m / 5k: 22m 57s) and he's been around the block!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Great CIY Believe weekend!

What a great weekend of CIY Believe!

We took seven students and 4 adults down to Cincinnati for CIY Believe.  While it might not sound like a lot, it's actually twice as many kids as we took last year. 

And it was a treat!
CIY always does an incredible job.  This year was no exception.  And I would say, for the most part, this was the best CIY Believe program that I have seen (worship, speakers, videos, etc) since I have been attending CIY Believe (I first attended in 2000). 

It was awesome to see 4,000+ middle school students come together to worship, learn and be challenged by God's Word.  Jeff Walling did the speaking this year (at Cincinnati) and he did a fabulous job! Our students were definitely challenged!

If you are working with middle school students and you have a chance to go to CIY Believe, don't miss it.  It's phenomenal!

Here's the link for more information about CIY Believe.

Good stuff!


Friday, February 24, 2012


Great, great video that I picked up from my friend Matt McGill!

Direct link here!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quick Running Tip Tuesday - Listen to your body (2.21.12)

This post is coming straight out of the "been there... doing that..." file.

As most of my regular readers, twitter and daily mile followers know, I've been struggling with a quad injury for the last 2 weeks +.  It popped up, out of the blue, during a 7 mile run and has hung around (I'm really praying that it moves on soon). At first, I thought it was just a muscle strain and some mileage reduction would help.  It didn't. Then I feared (and still do a bit) that it was a stress fracture or something deeper.  I appears to not be that (as per an unofficial but somewhat thorough Ortho docs exam). 

It appears that I have developed a bit of quadriceps tendonitis (or QT) which is something that can pop up from time to time.  Basically... and I'm not a doctor, but from what I'm reading on the internet... it is a condition where the tendon that connects the quads (big leg muscles) to the knee becomes inflamed or irritated.  It can take a couple of weeks of rest and rehab to get it back to full working condition.  (I'm hoping it hurries... I miss the road.)

But that's not this week's tip (otherwise the giant ear would be slightly out of place).  Here's the tip: Listen to your body. 

After the Saturday run when my quads first started acting up, I didn't think too much of it.  I'm used to little aches and pains popping up... I'm a runner... things happen.  Sunday, it still felt a little funny but not terrible.  So I continued on with my training plan with a 5 mile run on Monday.  That was too much and I knew it about 3 miles into the run.  What I didn't do was listen to my body.  A 2 mile run would have probably kept me from inflaming it.  But I didn't listen to my quad or its tendon... I listened to the paper that said I should run 5 miles.

Your body knows best.  Listen to it.  If it's saying "stop for a day" then stop for a day.  If it's saying "slow down a bit..." then slow down a bit.  It knows what's going on.  Listen to it. 

In my case, my lack of listening has led to a longer layover than I had planned (no running for 7 days now... and gonna be another 5 to 7 at least).  If I would have dialed back the 5-miler, this might be an entirely different tip. 

Keep running friends (and wishing I was...),

Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): Jim is not a professional runner nor is this blog endorsed by any company.  These thoughts are merely the thoughts and experiences on one runner.  What works and what doesn't work from a practical level.  Jim hasn't set any records, but he's run a few races (Marathon: 4h 22m / Half-Marathon: 2h 3m / 5k: 22m 57s) and he's been around the block!

Daily Read - February 21, 2012

 30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan
   that can succeed against the LORD.

My Church... Changes Lives

On Sunday we started a new series at North Terrace called "My Church..." With each week, we are talking to some people in our church and asking them "why do you love North Terrace?"

The first week we talked with Tami Black. Here are her thoughts:

Direct link to the video.


Monday, February 20, 2012

a light at the end of the injury tunnel...

I'm encouraged tonight that the light at the end of this injury tunnel is not an oncoming train...

On Sunday, I had an unofficial consultation with an ortho doctor (& running) friend of mine.  He believes what I have done to myself is Quadriceps Tendonitis (or QT).  Basically I've inflamed the tendon that connects my quads to my knee on my left leg.

Last Tuesday was a sad day (the day the runstreak died).  Tonight, I'm feeling encouraged.  I hit the gym a little bit this morning.  Spent some time on the stationary bike (which hurt a little... not as bad as running) and some time on the elliptical (which felt pretty good considering).  And tonight... I'm feeling really good.  I'm not run-ready yet... and won't likely be for another 5-7 (maybe more) days. 

But I'm hoping that I'm heading in the right direction: the direction of healing and getting back to a regular running routine.


daily read - February 20, 2012

 9 Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
   but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Day the #Runstreak Died... at 79...

As a runner... I've been pretty lucky.  I have been running for 2 1/2 years and I've only been "injured" to the point that it has impacted the next run twice (little aches and pains during the run don't count). 

About 8 months after starting running, I dealt with some Achilles tendinitis.  After a few weeks of icing it with some elevation and stretching, it was back to normal.  

Unfortunately, this time it ended my runstreak.

Since the 28th of November, 79 days ago, I haven't missed a day running.  I've run in snow... sleet... sun... wind... cold and hot... and everything in between.  It started out as a fun little exercise that I continued because I enjoyed it. 

Unfortunately, today was the last day. 

I've been nursing a strained quad muscle in my left leg.  (I ran a 7 mile run on a Friday and was fine.  Ran another 7 miler on Saturday and felt an odd pain in my quad afterwards... which got sorer.  Sunday, I ran a little but it was still sore.  Then on Monday, I overdid it with too much mileage.  Bad move...)  It doesn't really bother me to walk... but after a few miles running, it begins to protest more and more.  Mostly, it's painful sitting down until I get completely into the chair and standing up from a chair.  For the past 10 days, I've been running 1 to 1 1/3 mile runs around the mall hoping that it would get better.  Too bad it hasn't... despite the NSAIDs, Icy/Hot, heating blanket and ice packets.  And it is beginning to eat into my Cap City Half training. 

So I came to the decision to shut it down at 79 days... 306.35 miles  (an average of 3.88 miles a day)... and give my quad 5 days without running to rest.  I'm hoping by Monday or Tuesday of next week that it is ready for some action again. 

I know I am.

Keep running friends!

Daily Read - February 15, 2012

 24 “The LORD bless you
   and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face shine on you
   and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you
   and give you peace."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Quick Running Tip Tuesday - Properly Fitted Shoes! (2.14.12)

With today being Valentine's Day, I thought I'd write a short tip about love... namely loving shoes!

If there is anything that runners love, it's new shoes.  There is something special about the day they come out of the box for the first time.  For me, I often buy my shoes ahead of time (when they are on sale) and put them on the shelf for a couple of months until I am ready for them.  Breaking out a new pair of shoes is sometimes a split second decision based on the previous couple of runs... so I can't always (financially) head to the store to get some new ones.

But I love new shoes!

People who are starting into the running world ask me often, "Where should I get my shoes?"  This answer is easy! You should buy your first couple of pairs of shoes from an actual running store!  Find someone who works in a running store and have them help you find the right shoes for you. 

When it comes to shoes, one size does not fit all (obviously... our feet are all different).  But in the same vein, it's not easy to properly fit yourself.  Shoes are designed for different kinds of feet.  Not all running shoes will work for you.

The first pair of running shoes that I bought I bought at an outlet mall based on how they "felt" in the 30 seconds I had them on.  I didn't walk in them.  I didn't run in them.  Needless to say... they didn't last long.

The second pair of shoes that I bought, I bought from a running professional (this one to be exact).  They put me on a treadmill.  They watched me walk and run.  They photographed my foot (which is quite flat by the way).  They brought out every pair of shoes in the store that they thought would fit my style of foot and had me try them on.  After I put them on, they put me on the treadmill and watched me run and walk again.  Then we decided based on comfort, feel, style and price.  The second time that I bought shoes, it literally took me over an hour.  But they are the right ones for my feet.  They did all of this for free... because they love running... regardless of which pair of shoes I bought.

And since then... I've only worn that style and worn out 4 or 5 pairs in the last couple of years.  You cannot overestimate the importance of properly fitted shoes and someone who will help you fit them properly.

As for me... now I often shop at Road Runner Sports.  But you can shop anywhere.  Just so your first pair or two comes fitted from a running professional (unfortunately 19 year olds working at Champs do not count).  Find a running store and get fit properly!

After you get settled into a style, you can buy your shoes anywhere since you'll know exactly what you are looking for.

Keep running friends!

Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): Jim is not a professional runner nor is this blog endorsed by any company.  These thoughts are merely the thoughts and experiences on one runner.  What works and what doesn't work from a practical level.  Jim hasn't set any records, but he's run a few races (Marathon: 4h 22m / Half-Marathon: 2h 3m / 5k: 22m 57s) and he's been around the block!

Daily Read - February 14, 2012

 1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

On giving... time? talent? money!

This morning, during men's Bible study, I heard a disturbing suggestion several times... an unBiblical but Scriptural-sounding, churchy-sounding notion... on the topic of giving.

We read the Scripture from Paul:
"6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:6-8, NIV

The unBiblical and unScriptural (but sounding very Biblical and sounding very Scriptural) idea that I heard was this:
  • "When Jesus and the Bible talks about money, giving to the church is important... but you can also give time and talent instead of money... and giving of yourself (your time and your talents and ability) that's more important.

Where did we pick up this notion? 
As I thought about that after the Bible study (and please note... this idea wasn't coming from the materials we were studying or the leaders of the study or the Scriptures... but from the participants... unfortunately, this isn't the first time that I've heard this idea), I believe that we have picked up this selfish notion from the culture that we live in.  Obviously, living in America, we live in an extremely selfish and self-centered society.  That goes without too much explanation.  That is the case if your salary is four figures or seven figures... whether you make an hourly wage or are paid a flat salary. 

Here's what our culture has taught us... and unfortunately, we have believed it... our time and our talents are more important to God than our money and we should give them instead of our money because God really doesn't need our money.  What a lie!!! The enemy has completely tricked the church with this notion. 

Now... this isn't about to head in the direction of the "health and wealth" gospel (that if you give to God financially... sow your financial "seed"... God will make you wealthy and healthy).  That notion is completely unBiblical (cough, cough Joel Osteen, cough, cough).  Unfortunately that idea heads in the polar opposite direction of the above notion.

What I am advocating is that God has given us financial resources.  Maybe we don't have as much as we would like, honestly because we are selfish.  But we still have some incredible financial resources.  If you had a hot shower this morning, ate breakfast (or had the option to), rode in a car and put on different clothes than you wore yesterday, and are reading this on the Internet, you are richer than 95% of the rest of the world.  You have those resources because God has given them to you to be a manager of them.  Your responsibility is to take care of what he has given you. 

Part of taking care of those resources is returning a portion of what God has given to you. 

Because God's needs your money... no!  Because God wants your money... no (again)!

God wants your heart.  

Consider the words of Jesus:
    19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
   22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
   24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." Matthew 6:19-24, NIV.

Unfortunately, because we are selfish, we have taken those above verses and applied it in a different direction than what Jesus intended.  We say: "Jesus wants my heart... so I'll give him my heart.  And what is closer than my heart? My time and talent are closer to my heart than my money.  So I'll give that."  

I would contend, again, we do that because we are selfish and we have found a churchy sounding loophole.  Since we are selfish and would rather spend our money on ourselves and what we "need" (which we don't really need... but would really like to have called "want"), we try to get around giving our money to God.

God wants your money... why? Because He wants your heart.  
And if you give Him your money, He has your heart.  

I haven't always made the best decisions myself in this area.  I haven't always been as generous toward God with my financial resources as I should be.  But do my best to honor God first and foremost... with my time! with my talents! 

And with my money as well!

Just something to think about this morning. 



Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Top 10 things I love about running...

It won't come as a surprise to anyone who regularly reads this blog or follows me on twitter that I love running.  What you may not know is what it is about running that I love.  After some encouragement from some friends from runchat, I thought I would share with all you lovely people what it is that I love about running... the 10 things to be exact!

1. I love the competition. 
In high school, I played sports.  I enjoyed the competition... feeling that there was something tangible (often a win or a championship) to work toward.  Since high school, I haven't been actively involved in sports, outside of some pick-up basketball games or church league softball.  Running gives me something athletic to be involved in and a goal to work towards (my next race or a personal goal) and a reason to push myself. 

2. I love the community. 
Because running is by nature individualistic, meaning it's basically me competing against me, the running community is an interesting thing.  There really isn't a negative nature to the running community.  Runners encourage other runners.  When I'm out running and I see another runner, he or she waves and encourages me... and I do the same.  I have tons of runner friends online that encourage me and allow me to encourage them.  There is no negative competition... we're all in it together.

3. I love the exercise.
I started running primarily because I needed more exercise and wanted to lose some weight.  While that has happened, and honestly, I would like to lose a bit more, I enjoy the healthy lifestyle aspect of my regular running habit.  Running keeps me healthy and allows me to take care of the body that God has given me.

4. I love the accomplishment.
If you visit my office, you will see my running accomplishments.  They are framed in shadowboxes on my wall.  Currently I have three shadowboxes for the two half marathons and the one whole marathon that I have finished... along with my bibs, pictures, and other memorabilia as fitting (there are already two empty shadowboxes purchased this year's half (Cap City) and whole (BoA Chicago) marathons).  They remind me that nothing (like running 26.2 miles at a time) is impossible (something I would have argued before starting my running habit). 

5. I love the challenge. 
Since early December, I have been in "winter maintenance mode".  That means that I have been keeping up my mileage enough that I will be ready to resume training for my next race whenever I am ready to start again.  One of the great things about running is that there is always something else to take on... a faster time... the next race... the next training session.  This fall, I will accomplish a big running goal for me: running and finishing the Chicago Marathon.  I love the challenges that running allows me to tackle.

6. I love the connection.
This may sound similar to the comments earlier on community and maybe it is... but it is my list... I love that there is an instant connection between runners.  Runners understand hill sprints, Yasso 800's, PR's (and what it takes to set one), tempo runs and the challenge of the marathon.  When I meet a runner... and there are many in my church (howdy to L.D., M.S., M.S., B.A., D.G. and others), we have an instant friendship.  When I see another runner in Starbucks after a local 5k, we have something to talk about without even knowing each other's name. 

7. I love the music.
I love music.  When I ran a little bit for conditioning in high school, I hated it.  I believe it was because Steve Jobs hadn't invented the iPod yet.  Because of the iPod, I can take my musical motivation along with me. 

8. I love getting away.
Living in a technological world, twitter, Facebook and email is constantly nagging at me for attention.  For the most part, I welcome it into my life.  (I enjoy it...)  But it is nice to have some time away from it all.  For a couple of hours a week, I am out of touch with my phone.  Since early last year, I have run without my phone (instead using a Garmin watch to track my distance and an iPod shuffle for music).  Its is nice to not have to worry about text messages, emails, phone calls or anything else but me and the run.

9. I love the time with my wife.
My wife and I used to walk together every night.  We still do on occasion.  This gave us an opportunity to talk about the day... what happened... what was important... what we need to do.  We still have some of those walks... but often during the week, we run together. Most of the time running isn't spent on talking, although we do talk some.  But it gives us time to spend together doing something we both love.

10. I love watching people cross the finish line.
I noticed something strange at my first half marathon... I teared up watching people cross the finish line.  After I ran my half, I watched for a bit... then grabbed a quick shower... then returned to watch the full marathoners finishing.  I know what it took for me to cross the finish line.  And when I was standing there cheering them on, it made me so happy and excited to see them accomplishing their goals too!

There is more that I could share about my love for running... my love for new shoes... more and new gear... short local races... winter beards... and more.  But I'll save that for a future time.  Ten is enough for now.

If you love running too... connect with me on Daily Mile.

Keep running friends!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Quick Running Tip Tuesday - Getting Started... (2.7.12)

People ask me all the time (mostly because they know that I joined the running community late in like... about 2 1/2 years ago), "How do I get started running?"

The answer is simple: Go for a walk. 

A bit of my story that will provide some background.  When my wife and I got married, one of the things that we enjoyed (and still do) doing together is going for a walk.  Nothing strenuous... just an hour long walk.  We would talk about our day or whatever was going on and get some exercise. 

For a while, I had been toying with the idea of trying out the "running thing."  I felt that I needed something athletically to get me moving and I missed the competition of organized sports.  Several of my friends had gotten into running and started to run races and it sounded like fun. 

So I jumped on Google... not really knowing anything about running, I typed in "how to get started running."  The first site that popped up was THIS one.  It was a beginners running plan.  When I would think about running 2 or 3 miles (much less than 13.1 miles or 26.2 miles), I would feel overwhelmed with not knowing where and how to start.  But this website said to essentially go for a 30 minute walk and run for 1 minute, 3 different times.  I thought, "I can do that." 

So I did.  I'm not sure what I looked like... but I'm sure it wasn't pretty.  But I could do it.  The next week added a little more running... and a little less walking... then more running and less walking... etc, etc... until the last week I could run for 30 minutes straight without stopping.  I was so excited that I almost cried!

But you know what??  I was started... and I could do it. 
And it all started with going for a walk. 

Now, I have run a full marathon (26.2 miles), 2 half marathons (13.1), countless 5ks (3.1 miles) and I'm aiming for another full marathon (October - Chicago Marathon) and half marathon (May - Cap City) this year.  All of it started with going for a walk. 

I did it.
You can do it!
Go for it!

Keep running my friends!


P.S.: Here is that website again in case you missed it!  By the way, there are countless websites just like that one that you could choose to use, I just landed on that one first and it worked for me.  The point is that you start very, very slow and work your way up.

Disclaimer (if you're into that sort of thing): Jim is not a professional runner nor is this blog endorsed by any company.  These thoughts are merely the thoughts and experiences on one runner.  What works and what doesn't work from a practical level.  Jim hasn't set any records, but he's run a few races (Marathon: 4h 22m / Half-Marathon: 2h 3m / 5k: 22m 57s) and he's been around the block! 

Monday, February 06, 2012

Daily Read - February 6, 2012

 18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Friday Fun - Giorgia Loves Sonic

Daily Read - February 3, 2012

 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
   and he will make your paths straight.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Officially... registered... for... The Chicago Marathon!

Today was a day that I've been waiting for for a while.

As of about 1:20 pm today, I am/was officially registered for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Since I started running 2 1/2 years ago, there were several races that pretty immediately went onto my bucket list of races I wanted to do.  Of course, Boston is at the top of the list.  Also there is the ING New York Marathon.  So was the Chicago Marathon.

Registration opened today for the first 45,000 runners.  I was one of those runners! I'm in!

Pretty pumped!

I'll be running with Chicago Team Active Water... More on that in the near future.  Just wanted to share the good news! I'll be taking on the windy city this October 7th!  I'm pretty pumped!


Evangelism Linebacker

We used this clip Sunday night... received lots of giggles and laughs...