31 December 2006

It's About the Cross

On Christmas Eve, I attended the evening worship service with my parents and most of my brothers, sisters and their families. We participated in the Lord's Supper as a family. It was pretty moving.

One interesting element of the service was a short worship video featuring a song by a group that was new to me, Go Fish. I don't think I fully agree with the theme of the song -- that Christmas is all about the end of the story, Christ's death on the cross. Christ's death is the most important event but His birth is extremely important. God incarnate is an incredible thing. Christ gave up His glory to accommodate himself to us -- He became one of us, He stooped to our level, He spoke our language, He lived our lives! I'm sure we could discuss that topic (the importance of the incarnation versus substitutionary death) for a long, long time. The video is thought provoking -- enjoy and think:

Happy New Year,

End of Year

In the past 2 weeks, I and my family have driven 3000+ miles. We attended a wedding in Little Rock, AR; we visited some long-time friends in Alexandria, LA; we ate supper with my brother and his family in Norcross, GA; we had Christmas Eve and day with my family in Greenville, SC; and we had Christmas night and a few days with my wife's family in Columbia, SC. It was a long trip but great fun. In those 2 weeks, I ran in 4 different states (AR, LA, SC, and VA). I had hoped to run the Big Dam Bridge in Little Rock but it rained that day.

Here is running review for 2006 -- trivia:

Miles Run: 1,364.4
Number of Runs: 218 (includes 2 elliptical workouts)
Longest Run: 10.39 miles @ 7:56 mpm, 30-Dec-06 (yesterday)
Fastest Run: Greenville, SC Candlelight Run for Hope, 24-Jun-06, 5km @ 7:12 mpm
Shoes: 1 pair Brooks Adrenaline GTS5, 1 pair Brooks Adrenaline ASR, 2 pair Brooks Adrenaline GTS6, 1 pair Etonic Jepara SC (current)
States: VA, SC, FL, TN, AR, LA, TX, NM
Countries: USA, Rep. of South Africa, Zambia, Madagascar, Kenya, Dem. Rep. of Congo
Favorite Run: Probably the trail at Harrison Bay State Park in Harrison, TN
Most Exotic Run: Toliara, Madagascar
Most Fun Run: Christmas Lights Run, 5.3 miles, Richmond, VA -- group fun run to see lights
Worst Run: 4 miles on the treadmill on 22-Dec-06!!

Enough trivia. I hope your running in 2006 was as satisfying for you as mine was for me.

Run well,
Bob A

05 December 2006

Holiday Lights Run

Over the weekend, I found out that one of the local running shops had planned a couple of 5.3 mile night runs this week -- going through neighbourhoods to see the holiday lights. It's a runner's twist on an old Christmas tradition. I had a meeting in D.C. today but got back in plenty of time. I was glad because I can't run Thursday night for the second run.

It was cold -- somewhere close to 32°. But, it was fun to run with a group. There were about 8 of us and one dog in the front pack of 7-8 minutes per mile runners. The dog was so excited about running and showed us all up -- he looked like he was walking briskly. The sky was clear and the moon was almost full, so it was a really pretty night. And the houses were decorated nicely.

The distraction of running with and talking to others while running was good. I ran faster than I've run in months -- depending on exactly how long the run was, I finished in 7:20 - 7:24 minutes per mile. It was a really fun run.

Run well, y'all,

02 December 2006

Starting Spiritual Conversations

As I've said before, running is not a time, for me, when I do a lot of thinking. Mostly, I seem to be focused on whether or not I'll actually make it back home before dying.

Today, though, was a little different. It was a gorgeous morning. I slept in a bit and headed out at about 8:10 -- it was a crisp 35° and the sun was shining. Enough of a breeze to keep me cool (yes, even at 35° I needed to keep cool) I took a route (5.2 miles) that I hadn't run in a long time and it goes around a small lake.

Yesterday, while we had a prayer time with the new missionaries to our region who are in orientation, one of them prayed for us that we would find ways to do missions/minister to our neighbours. America is such a private place that we've found it hard to even get opportunities for spiritual conversations with the people whose houses we can see from our front porch.

I had been mulling over an idea for a few days and was thinking about it while running. As a way to simply open the door for these kinds of conversations, we are considering inviting the closest neighbours to the house for refreshments and a "modern" presentation of the traditional Christmas story, the birth of Christ. We would use candles to represent the characters. We would light each candle as that character comes "on stage" (Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, Jesus, wise men) and sing a Christmas carol at each point. Then, as each character leaves the stage (wise men return home, shepherds go back to their sheep, Mary and Joseph die), their candle would be snuffed out until only Jesus, the light of the world, remains lit. It's simple yet very powerful and almost completely non-threatening to nominal or non-believers.

As I ran, I thought and prayed about that and just became convinced that it was worth trying to arrange. Linda and I talked about it when I got back and she agreed. So, we're going to try to make it happen with about 12 of our neighbours. Let's see if we can pull it off (putting it here, might be just the "pressure" we need).

Run well,

01 December 2006

No Choice ... Gotta Run

I knew that rain was predicted for this morning but was hoping it would hold off until 6 AM or so. Headed out the door about 5:05 so I could get back before it rained. As usual, I unlocked the door, walked out, and pulled it shut behind me. Stepped off the porch and find that it's sprinkling just a bit. Decision time ... run in the rain (it's 66°, so not too bad unless the bottom drops out) or head to the dreadmill at the YMCA? As I'm pondering, the wind picks up and the rain gets a bit harder. That's makes the decision easy -- I'll go to the Y.

I turn around to go back to get my DL, Y card, and keys and ... for the first time in 18 months, I've locked myself out of the house!! Unbelievable! Everybody else is asleep. Now, what do I do -- run in the rain, sit on the porch for an hour and read the paper until somebody wakes up, or wake everybody up? The last option would have resulted in some serious moaning and groaning and I really don't want to miss my run, so off I go. Fortunately, it only sprinkled a bit. It was so warm and humid that the little bit of rain felt good.

Turned out to be a decent run -- 7.5 miles in about 59 minutes. When I got back, someone was awake to let me in. It's provided several people with a laugh today and that's a good thing. All's well that ends well.

Recent history: I managed 3 runs over the Thanksgiving holiday -- 2 of 7+ miles and another of about 5.7, so the holiday feasting didn't go to [my] waist.

Y'all run well,