Sunday, December 2

Congrats to Matt and Leah

Congratulations! Kudos! Huzzah! Yesterday, Matt and Leah Vest ran into beautiful Redbird Stadium in downtown Memphis 4 hours and 4 minutes after starting the St. Jude Marathon. These intrepid representatives of the King's Meadow Endurance Team managed to average just over 9 minutes per mile. Quite a remarkable feat! Remember everyone: it is still not too late to join them in their effort to raise support for New College.

Monday, November 26

St. Jude Marathon

This weekend in Memphis several members of the King's Meadow Endurance Team will be running in the St. Jude Marathon. They will be running those 26.2 miles in an effort to raise support for the study center's Gospel-centered educational and discipling endeavors. Because of my shoulder surgery this past week, I won't be able to pound the pavement with them. But, that is not stopping me from participating. I am committing to support them with my dollars as well as my prayers. Won't you join me--and them--as we attempt to raise up the next generation of leaders? You can pledge right online.

Friday, November 16

Constant Assiduities

"It is by dint of steady labor; it is by giving enough of application to the work, and having enough of the time for the doing of it; it is by regular painstaking and the constant assiduities; it is by these, and not by any process of legerdemain, that we secure the strength and staple of real excellence." Thomas Chalmers

"It is not by irregular efforts that any great practical achievement is overtaken. It is by the constant recurrence and repetition of small efforts directed to a given object, and resolutely sustained and persevered in." Thomas Chalmers

Wednesday, November 7

King's Meadow Endurance Team

Over the course of the next several months the students and teachers at King's Meadow will not only be studying, reading, writing, thinking, and growing--we will be running and cycling. Our plan is to run more than 100 miles and bike another 100 in seven different endurance events throughout the mid-South--all in an effort to raise support for our educational and discipling endeavors. Won't you join us as we attempt to raise up the next generation of leaders? You can pledge by the race, by the mile, or by the season.

King's Meadow Study Center is a covenantal community of Reformed Christian thinkers, writers, artists, teachers, students, activists, and friends endeavoring to facilitate Gospel faithfulness and Word and Deed effectiveness in their own lives, families, and communities. In the coming months, we are seeking state approval for an expansion of our work to include a full-fledged collegiate program. Serving as a missional extension of Christ’s church to cultivate knowledgeable, wise and faithful servants of God, our mission is to provide the best in liberal arts education under the Lordship of Jesus Christ according to the Holy Scriptures.

Obviously, this is a large undertaking and it will require substantial resources. But, we don't simply want to ask our friends for donations, we want to demonstrate our willingness to "go the extra mile" in a well-rounded pursuit of beauty, goodness, and truth. So, won't you join us in this endeavor? Please, pledge today.

King's Meadow Endurance Team

Monday, November 5

Sidelined

Sidelined for the next few months by bone spurs in my shoulder (surgery is scheduled for November 30), I have been forced to the sidelines as a spectator. Watching the Olympic Marathon Trials and ING Marathon this weekend in New York has only made me want to get back out there as soon as possible. So, I am determined.

Speaking of determined, how about Lance Armstrong! He finished the marathon again this year under 3 hours. Amazing!

Monday, October 8

Discretion and Valor

Nearly 10,000 of the 45,000 registered runners in this past weekend’s Chicago Marathon chose to not race in the heat despite promises by organizers of a host of mist stations, cooling buses, and water-soaked sponges available all along the route. It seems that they made a wise decision.

Just four hours into the race, organizers were forced to shut down the entire course because of 88-degree heat and sweltering humidity that left at least one runner dead and sent at least 50 more to area hospitals. Emergency medical personnel treated another 250 runners for heat exhaustion and dehydration. Chad Schieber, an experienced 35-year-old runner and police officer from Michigan, collapsed midway through the race and was shortly thereafter pronounced dead by the Cook County medical examiner's office.

At first, organizers hoped those who passed the halfway mark could complete the run. The fire department turned on hydrants to hose people down along the course. But eventually when shortages of water and energy drinks were reported all along the route, runners were diverted by police, firemen, and volunteers to the starting area, where they were provided with medical attention and cooling misters. Helicopters hovered over the race course while police officers shouted through bullhorns to warn runners to slow down and walk.

This should be a great reminder to all of us to pay attention to our bodies, to run smart, and to never allow our goals to get in the way of our common sense. If I'd been in Chicago, I hope that I would have had the wisdom to stop running when I began to seriously overheat--as I most assuredly would have. Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.

Tuesday, October 2

Run, Spot, Run

I do love my dogs. I do love running with my dogs. And I am typically a sucker for any kind of running gear. But, this assortment of doggie running gear is a little over the top--even for me.

Sunday, September 16

Monday, September 3

Hot Dog


Still recovering from a recent "mystery" illness that has kept me lethargic and achy for the past three weeks, I was not about to miss the Franklin Classic today. I love this race. I love running through downtown Franklin. I love the fact that the starting line is a block from my office. I love the cause--supporting Mercy Children's Clinic. I love seeing so many friends and neighbors come together for a great community event. Just about the only thing I don't like is getting beaten by the local Sonic hot dog!

Oh well, I was out there in the torrid heat, terrible humidity, and toiling humanity. And yes, the hot dog beat me again! If I had run my best time ever, he would have still beaten me (and I was a long way off my best time). I had fun regardless.

Coming Soon

Friday, August 24

Wednesday, August 1

Cross-Training and Tempo Runs

This past week I started training for the Uttermost (October 11,12, and 13) in earnest. I slogged through some cross-training (a couple of hot, long bike rides) and some tempo runs (admittedly pitiful now, but hopefully they'll pay off come October). It is so hot, even early in the morning, that I am having to go a lot slower and accumulate far fewer miles than I had hoped. And as if that were not enough, my iPod's Nike+ died--just a few miles shy of the 1,000 mile mark. Oh well, I've actually enjoyed running with nothing at all but my watch. It's been great to get going again after a long semi-lay-off since the Country Music Marathon at the end of April.

Saturday, July 14

St. Jude Marathon

I've signed up for the St. Jude Marathon for the fourth year in a row. I've also committed to raise at least $1000 for the work of the St. Jude Children's Hospital. To learn more about how you can help in this life-saving work, visit my online support page at the St. Jude site. .

Thursday, July 5

Cracking the Code

OK. So, I posted this on my other blog, but it is too good not to post here too:

Leave it to the French to crack the code of the vast right wing conspiracy. It seems that the new French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has fallen afoul of the press for--OK, get this--keeping in shape. Yep, that's right. He has had the audacity to continue to go for a run every morning even though he is now the official occupant of the Elysée Palace. Gasp! And, as we all should know, the French Press informs us, running is "un-French, right-wing and even a ploy to brainwash his citizens."

No really. I am not making this up. Le running du Président, especially when clad in his favourite NYPD T-shirt, has become "a national affront." That's what all the Left Bank intellectuals are tsk, tsk, tsking about these days. British commentator Boris Johnson finds the whole affair a good reason to actually like what's happening in France for the first time in a very long time.

Saturday, June 16

Dragging Across

Well, thanks to my friend Dave Minnigan, I actually made it in to the finish line in downtown Bell Buckle this morning. But, he practically had to drag me. My allergies or cold or whatever this lingering sickness is, combined with general fatigue from three weeks of constant travel, added to a lack of training during the past two months made for a rather ugly race. I walked a lot. Dave walked with me, bless him!

I have to say, despite really laboring physically and a time twenty minutes slower than I've ever gone in this race, I still had fun. Being with Dave was great. The atmosphere is always a hoot. And the weather was glorious--yes, it was warm, but the breeze was pretty constant.

I've already made reservations for next year at the Mingle House B&B where Karen and I stay every year.

Tuesday, June 12

Moon Pie-RC

I know it seems like an anomaly--Moon Pies and RC Colas hardly invoke images of health, vitality, and athletic endurance! Nevertheless, this coming Saturday I will once again participate in what has become one of my favorite summer traditions: the Moon Pie-RC 10 Mile Run in beautiful Bell Buckle, Tennessee. Yep, that's right! Moon Pies, RC Colas, and a long, tough endurance run through the hills in the heat of the summer!

This is a really spectacular event--the sort of thing that could only happen in the small town South. You see, in the rolling hills of middle Tennessee lies the tiny town of Bell Buckle and on the third Saturday in June two Southern traditions, RC Colas and Moon Pies, are brought together for a grand celebration

The historic old railroad town (population 405) has been known for antiques, arts and crafts, and great food for a number of years. But in 1994, the Bell Buckle Chamber of Commerce began looking for new ideas to increase foot traffic during the summer months. The concept for the Festival first began as a way to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Moon Pie. Little could anyone have expected what a huge event this would become--more than 15,000 people now attend annually!

And the Festival actually begins with the 10 Mile Run. Attracting over 1,000 runners, the course is a stunningly beautiful jaunt through the hills and fields surrounding the town.

I've been on the road and haven't had much of a chance to train properly for the tough hills (especially for that doozie at mile four). That's only compounded by the fact that I had the post-marathon blues during the first couple of weeks of May, exams and end-of-the-academic year stuff the next couple of weeks, and then an overseas trip during which I caught a cold. But, that is neither here nor there when it comes to this race. I am looking forward to running it no matter what. It is just so much fun!

Saturday, May 26

Running in London

Running in the city of London is always a fun challenge. But this next week, during my annual trip to that great city, I will be staying just a block away from the beautiful Regent's Park where running trails abound. I will enjoy the time with my students and the opportunity to run in a whole new environment.

Monday, May 21

U10K

This weekend I'll be busy. I have a series of year-end academic events culminating with a marathon banquet and award ceremony Friday night and graduation on Saturday. Squeezed into that flurry of activity, I am going to run in the inaugural Memorial Day Weekend Urban 10K early Saturday morning. This event in downtown Nashville will benefit the Nashville Civic Design Center which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating the quality of Nashville's urban art and architecture by promoting public participation in the creation of a more beautiful and functional community of human-scaled cityscapes.

The U10K Race Route promises a memorable run past downtown Nashville's many wonderful historic and cultural sites--as well as some of the city's newest architectural icons, flourishing urban neighborhoods, and the Titans' LP Field--with a start and finish at the Public Square Park in front of the recently-refurbished historic downtown Courthouse.

My plan is to run slow, slow, slow with several students and friends--just to enjoy the run, support the Design Centery, and relish the blossoming of a lively downtown Nashville renewal. I'm just not ready to run fast again after my all-out marathon effort. Hopefully, my trip to England next week will provide me with the respite necessary to start training in earnest again.

Thursday, May 10

Recovered Chip Time

At long, long last the good folks at Elite Racing have recovered my time from the Country Music Marathon. It is official. I had a huge PR (Personal Record). But no BQ (Boston Qualifier).

My chip time was 3:37:01, my clock time was 3:42:26. My average mile split was 8:17. That placed me 390th out of 4797 finishers and 17th of 234 in my age division.

That means I beat my previous best time for a marathon by 22 minutes--for which I am very grateful and quite delighted. It also means that I just missed qualifying for the Boston Marathon by 2 minutes and 1 second! Oy veh!

Monday, May 7

Both Tortoise and Hare

A fascinating article in the New York Times cites new studies that seem to confirm the value of the Galloway method--and other like-minded variable speed plans. Of course, being both tortoise and hare at the same time, in the same workout, is no problem for me; I've been alternating short bursts of high-intensity runs with easy-does-it recovery walks even since I took up running three years ago; just witness my workout this morning!

Wednesday, May 2

On the Road Again

My first day back to running after the marathon was a total delight. I was sorely missing my run route, my after run routine, and my all-day sense of refreshment that inevitably follows a good morning run. I think I've become a hopeless "lifer." I did just under 4 miles, but man, oh man, did it ever feel great.

Friday, April 27

Tomorrow!

Rain! Rain! Rain! The forecast says that we'll be in it, under it, and through it for the entire distance of the race tomorrow. Yikes. I am on my way to find some gaiters and perhaps a lighter poncho than the one I have--I really couldn't find anything at the expo yesterday. I did get a chance to drive the course with several of my students who are running with me up to the halfway point. It was a good mental exercise and excellent for the morale.

Thursday, April 26

Two Days to Go

After I teach my classes today, I head off to the marathon expo to pick up my race number and packet, see the exhibits, acclimated my students to the pace teams, and absorb some of the energy and excitement that the expo always exudes. One thing I will be looking for is rain gear--the forecast is still calling for rain on Saturday. Ugggh.

Wednesday, April 25

Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!

Former Tennessee Titan Eddie George is running in this year's Country Music Half Marathon. The fan favorite and all-time franchise rushing leader, who ran for 10,441 yards in his NFL career, will attempt to complete the 13.1 mile race this year, the marathon next year, and eventually to qualify for the Boston Marathon by 2009. According to a story in today's Tennessean, Nashville's daily newspaper, Eddie has trained well and is up to the challenge. This is gonna be fun!

Three Days to Go

Well, rain is back in Saturday's forecast--scattered showers with a high of 72 and a low of 49. I guess I'll have to break out the rain gear after all. According to the official marathon website, registration is now "over 30,000." Oh my!

My final short run this morning, was a nice little tune up. It was very humid and about 64 degrees. Hopefully, Saturday will be somewhat cooler, otherwise we're all going to be laboring to stay hydrated. My ankle feels a bit better--but still not 100%. Overall, I'm feeling great and looking forward to the Expo tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 24

30 Thousand!

The surging popularity of the Country Music Half Marathon this year will swell Saturday's crowd to a total of more than 30,000 runners according to a report from today's Tennessean, Nashville's daily newspaper. Registration was capped at 20,000 for the half marathon--add to that about 10,000 who have registered for the full marathon. Wow! There may very well be a whole, whole lot of weaving and navigating through a dense pack for the first 12 miles or so. Amazing!

Four Days to Go

The latest weather forecasts look excellent. With the marathon start time at 7 AM, temperatures should be in the upper 40s. By the time I arrive at the finish (hopefully somewhere between 11 AM and noon) it should have warmed up to nearly 70. And right now, rain is not expected to a factor at all--we'll have thunderstorms for the next three days or so but then the skies start to clear by Friday. Thanks be to God. 26.2 is enough to worry about without also having to take into account inclement weather.

Monday, April 23

Five Days to Go

My schedule this week is very hectic--with teaching, speaking, and a host of meetings. That is probably just as well. It should keep me so preoccupied that I won't have time to be nervous. I plan to do a couple of easy runs of three miles or so over the next three days plus a little cross training on the balance ball and the eliptical. That's it. I am counting on a strong taper to not only get me good and rested but to also help my ankle heal up.

Sunday, April 22

Six Days to Go

Just six more days. I can hardly believe the marathon is here, I'm in my taper, and I'm already planning logistics like parking, connection points, and on-course hydration and nutrition.

I've pretty much settled on all my gear choices except those special items having to do with weather oddities. Hopefully, there won't be any weather oddities--though thundershowers and heat are both likely to play into the race at some point--this is Tennessee in April after all.

At this point I really do feel good. My training is done. And now it is just a matter of getting good rest and some good carbs this week.