Sunday, April 20, 2008

Equal Time

Lest someone think that I don't give equal time (regarding my comments about Obama's bitter statement), Hillary's declaration that she arrived in Bosnia under sniper fire is just as bad. No amount of backtracking and excuse making can hide the fact that she just plain didn't tell the truth. That's also not a particularly comforting thought when it concerns a potential President and Commander-in-Chief.

McCain has been overshadowed by all the wrangling in the Democratic Party. Otherwise, I'd probably have something to say about his statements, too.

Frankly, I'm probably more unhappy about all potential choices for the next President of the US than I've been in many years.

Run well, y'all (good advice for aspiring Presidents),
Bob

Dealing With Hopeless or Discouraging Situations


The topic for our Bible study time today was dealing with hopeless situations. So many people are dealing with situations that seem hopeless:
° The mother of young children whose husband has just abandoned her for someone younger
° The father who has just lost his job and has no marketable skills
° The family in New Orleans who lost their home during Katrina and can't afford to replace it
° The man who has just found out he has 5 blocked arteries, including the widow maker
° The teenage girl who is pregnant because she thought intimacy was the way to keep her boyfriend
° The teenage boy who took the dare to "just try it" because he wanted to be part of the crowd and is now hooked on drugs.

Normal responses to hopeless situations might be anger, depression, abuse of family members, drugs, alcohol abuse, to pretend that the situation doesn't exist, or to turn to some formulaic ritual.

I was impressed that Genesis 39:20-40:23 illustrates some very practical principles for dealing with discouraging situations. Joseph had been tossed in prison on the false accusation of attempted rape. Instead of succumbing to hopelessness, he did the following:
--> He recognized that God was with him even in difficult situations -- he trusted God (Gen 39:21-23)
--> He maintained a people focus, he helped others -- one of our group members stated that he looked outside himself (Gen 40:2-8)
--> He gave God credit -- he praised God (Gen 40:8)
--> He asked, appropriately, for help (Gen 40:14)
--> He lived by faith that God had not forgotten him and that God would work things out (Gen 40:20-23)

Faith in God in difficult circumstances is not a magic formula. The end result is not always the thing we might hope for. It's not like the joke that asks, What happens when you play a country music record backwards? The man gets his truck, his wife, his trailer, and his dog back. Joseph spent 2 more years in prison. But, by doing those things, Joseph didn't fall into despair, he was able to find meaning and significance in suffering.

Suffering is a part of the human experience. God doesn't protect us from the consequences of our own sin or, always, from the consequences of the sins of other people. But He does promise to be with us at all times and in all situations (Joshua 1:9 NIV -- ...Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.). I hope that's encouraging to someone.

Right now it's pouring down rain in Richmond and it's predicted to continue through Monday morning. That might mean a run on the dreadmill tomorrow. Yuck. I might choose to run in the rain.

WCSN is showing the Boston Marathon live, online, and free tomorrow. You apparently have to register for an account but it's listed as free.

Run well, y'all,
Bob

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Bitter" Words

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them...each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations. --Barack Obama, fundraising speech in San Francisco, CA, 6 April 2008-- (Audio of speech and partial transcript from blog by Mayhill Fowler, The Huffington Post, 11 April 2008)

It is not my intent for this post to be particularly anti-Obama. While I don't know that I would or could vote for him, remember that this blog is titled, Random Thoughts While Running. These are thoughts, not judgments or decisions. I also reserve the right to be wrong and the right to change my mind. :)

The isssue with Obama's bitter statement, it seems to me, is not saying folks are bitter. That may be too strong of a term but is probably reasonably accurate -- bitter about paying $3.xx for a gallon of gas while oil companies announce record profits; bitter about US soldiers dying in a war that seems unrelated to America; bitter about the loss of a stable, common set of values. But, to state that the result of that bitterness is to retreat into deeply held values is an insult.

Perhaps there are some who, when faced with circumstances out of their control, arm themselves against a perceived coming fight. I don't own a gun but the folks that I know who hold to a strong conviction in the right of Americans to own guns do so because they believe that the US Constitution gives them that right (and, they don't want the government telling them what to do).

Maybe there are some who revert to long-ignored religious practices when they confront life issues that seem to subvert their values and desires. However, I and millions of other disciples of Christ do not cling to our belief in and faithfulness to Christ because we're bitter. I cling to those because Christ is the foundation of my life in good times and bad.

It's easy, when under pressure to misstate something. Our minds, emotions, and tongues work together in a remarkable way. But, sometimes, our emotions cause us to think and say things we would not normally think or say. And, maybe that's what happened with Barack Obama last week. Still, I must say it concerns me. How can one possibly treat deeply held religious beliefs and xenophobia? True, there are some who attempt to justify their xenophia based on an incorrect interpretation of Scripture, but that doesn't mean that Scripture or true Christianity is actually supports xenophobia.

Little slack was given to Mel Gibson when he uttered anti-Semitic comments under the influence of alcohol. It was claimed that those sentiments were an inherent part of Gibson's thoughts and were just released by the alcohol. I can't help but wonder if, deep down, this is how Obama views those who have strong beliefs with which he doesn't agree. Or, did he say this to cater to an audience who he thought would appreciate this particular point of view? Or, was it really and truly a slip of the tongue, an honest misstatement?

Finally, for now anyway, despite Obama's protestations to the contrary, this is a pretty serious slip of the tongue, no matter what precipitated it. Is this how Obama would function as President? I certainly hope not.

Run well, y'all,
Bob

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Ukrop's Monument Ave 10K, Richmond

The Richmond 10K is history. The temperature at the start was about 61° with a very light mist. Some 31,000 people were registered but a lot of folks didn't show.

I didn't hit my target time but wasn't too far off. Considering the crowd, I'm not bummed. I had hoped for a sub-45:00 but my time was 45:43.18 -- a 7:22 mpm pace. That was enough to finish somewhere in the top 600-700 or so overall (so far, I have only seen the top 500), 32nd out of 830 finishers in my age group (50-54), 9th out of 64 53 year olds.

I'm really proud of my wife. She participated and finished well -- her first race and she finished in 1:20:56, #390 out of 1115 finishers in her age group. After I finished, I wound my way out of the finish area, ran about 2.5 miles of the course to try to catch her wave, then moved to the median (out and back course) to try to find her on the return leg. We walked and finished the last @3 miles together. It's the farthest she's ever run/walked. And, she had to run in a lot more rain than I did.

A huge THANK YOU to our daughter who stood in the mist and rain and cheered us on.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Ukrop's 10K played host to the USA 10k Men's National Championship Race. It was pretty neat to watch these elite runners start the race. As my wave hit mile 1, the leaders passed us on their way to the finish. Abdirahman and Browne were in the lead and it looked like it could be a good finish. Richmond's WTVR online news reported the results this way:

Abdirahman Wins Ukrop's Monument 10K Race


Abdi Abdirahman showed Richmond his strength as a world-class distance runner, winning the 9th annual Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10k in 28:34, about 27 seconds short of record pace, and defending his men's 10k national championship at the same time.

Abdirahman, a Somalia native who now lives in Tucson, AZ, nosed out second-place finisher Dan Browne, from Beaverton, OR. Browne, who was stationed at Fort Lee in 1997 and 2006, finished 4 seconds behind Abdirahman at 28:38. Fasil Bizuneh from Massachusetts finished third at 29:04.

It will be nice not to be tied to a training plan for a couple of weeks. I get to simply run. Then, it will be time to start getting ready for a late August half marathon.

Run well, y'all,
Bob

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Few of My "Friends"

I'll be running with (well, OK, behind -- WAY behind!) some prestigious company on Saturday. The Ukrop's Monument Ave 10K is also the US 10K Men's Championship. The defending champion, Abdi Abdirahman, will be here along with Alan Culpepper, Dan Browne, Fernando Cabada and a number of other contenders. Weather predictions are warm and wet (thunderstorms). The course record for the Richmond run is 28:07 -- that could fall. Abdi won the 2007 championship at the Peachtree Road Race last year in 28:12. The US Championship record is 27:59, set by Matt Giusto in 1996. The world record is 26:17.53 set in 2005 by Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia.

With the wave start, I'll be close to completing mile 2 when the Elites cross the finish line! Gives me something to shoot for!

Run well, y'all,
Bob

Hydration [T.I.A.R.T.]

Today is another http://www2.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifTake It And Run Thursday at Runners' Lounge. The subject is hydration. I wasn't going to write anything until I read Lance Breger's lance: the blog! post for 29 March, Don't Be That Guy. While the post is pretty humourous, it was his comment about hydration being unique for each individual at the end and his link to a hydration calculator that caught my attention. It looked like a worthy addition to today's T.I.A.R.T.

I'm no expert on hydration and have some questions about the accuracy of the amount of water the calculator gives. However, I do think it points out some really good things to remember when determining how much one needs to drink in a given day.

I run in the early morning (run at 5:30 or so; wake up around 6:30). So, I get up, stumble down the steps, get rid of the previous evening's accumulated hydration, drink about 10 oz of refrigerated water, and head out the door for roughly an hour of running. I work on replacing lost fluids through the morning. For the last 2-3 weeks, I've added 2-3 pieces of fruit to my normal breakfast of a whole wheat bagel and neufchatel cheese and the fruit seems to really help with rehydration.

Another thing I've discovered is that a lack of decent hydration on one day really messes up my run the next morning. Looking forward to reading the other posts today.

Run well and hydrated, y'all,
Bob

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Final Tempo Run B/f 10K

I and 30,000 of my closest friends will be running the Ukrop's Monument Avenue 10K (Richmond, VA) on Saturday. I hear it's the 4th or 5th largest 10K in the US. Should be fun. I hope to break 45:00.

Today was my last tempo run. The plan said to run a warm-up mile, 3 miles at 7:27 mpm, then a cool-down mile. My plan was to just run as fast as I felt like I could for the 3 miles. I was very pleased and feel like I'm ready for Saturday:

TEMPO SPLITS
1.00 x 8:47.36
1.00 x 7:16.06
1.00 x 6:54.35
1.00 x 6:47.11
1.26 x 9:35.08 (7:36.41 mpm)

Run well, y'all,
Bob