God’s Tracks and Trails


I fear that I as I head back to school for another exciting school year, many people are going to inquire as to what I did with my three month. The fear derives from the reality that my answer will be rather…basic?

I ran. A lot.

Knowing that within the next few days I’ll be reporting back to school has given me an opportunity to do a mental recap over the summer, and truth be told, without shame, this summer really did revolve around running. I logged a lot of miles in the few months apart from the school year.

While some were difficult, emotional, and challenging, some, such as the experience I had this weekend, were soul fulfilling.

I’ve struggled for recent months (in some cases years) with the current condition of the Church that flies its banner within the political confines of the country that I exist in. Truthfully, the concept and questioning has come to a head over the past several weeks. Notably it’s been stated that running really can provide an amazing opportunity to experience worship. That may sound strange to those who hate running, but to those who lace up frequently, I feel that, that knowledge maybe understood.

Yesterday, I was given the opportunity to stretch out my mileage with some amazing friends early on in the morning hours. Originally I chalked up as just another run, and another chance to log mileage for myself.

What I, shamefully, hadn’t planned on was the experience with God through the miles of wilderness.

***

Imagine having to take the first mile in stride, seeing only a few feet before due to limitation of dawn’s light. Through mile two and three you begin to coexist with reality for the day. The sky has lightened, life has returned, and you are merely another creature moving about the planet. No talking, no noise, just the idle, repetitive footsteps through God’s terrain. Miles four through six show the ultimate event horizon, where your existence blends into the dirt that you’re attempting to cover. The overhead rocks show your small stature in the world outside of man, and the gentle breeze reminds you of how much you are loved. The final miles bring about celebration! A mix of adrenaline and grace streams through your presence; you recognize how small you really are, and yet how important your life truly is. Finishing eight miles in the woods on a random Saturday morning was not just about logging the required mileage. It was about the opportunity to reconnect to a place, to an entity bigger than ourselves.

***

So, when people ask what I did this summer. I’ll think back to my random journey’s through the woods and I’ll smile and simply say…

I worshipped. A lot.

-D-

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Mobile Minutes: Rubber Bands


Here I am, two hundred miles from home, a race at 8:00 AM tomorrow morning.

Primarily hills.

I went to warm up on a light mile this evening. Halfway through, heading up a hill, all I felt was a ‘pop!’ in my left calf.

I was done.

So, two hundred miles from home I’m trying to figure out how to keep my body together for 3.1 miles tomorrow morning.

Words can’t even express how absolutely upset I am at this moment.

-D-

#getyourpraiseon


I run, and I run, and I run…
Waiting for a moment of change and excitement between broken miles…
It finally happened today.
After school, in my inbox, I found the results of an application that I had placed nearly two weeks ago…

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…since adopting running as a living joy five years ago, today I was accepted onto a running team, sponsored by a local running store.

It may seem trivial, but to me it’s another step towards future goals.

Personally, this is a monumental prayer answered. I’m not one to cast myself out in the public eye. My God is so good.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: 400m Sprint


What I just learned…

Nerves can destroy you. When I sign up for a 5K races, I’m not really thinking about competition, I’m just there to run.

Today, a mixture of competition and nerves ruined me.

First, “open heat” does not equate to everyone and their sister. Open heat means if the cutoff for “elite” is 4:40.00, “open” runners run at approximately 4:41.00.

Second, unlike my assumption that these runners would be in it just because their standard 5K wasn’t this weekend, these runners were hellbent on the mile and only the mile.

Third, do yourself a favor, at least once in your life be the idiot that jumps out front first. Do it in order to get it out of your system. Today was my calling to this event. I ran…wait for it…a sub-55 second 400m to start the race. I led that crew like there was no tomorrow. Then my lungs caught on fire, my legs cramped, and the ‘nursing home special’ passed me. Needless to say, I suffered the next 1200m of that race.

Embarrassed doesn’t even describe the sensation in my soul right now. However, two positive things came out of this:

1. Darco got a kick out of it and wants to witness more of these races.
2. Man, I flew in that first 400m and it wasn’t even in a sprint.

Back to the drawing board.
After some food and rest.

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-D-

Mobile Minutes: Sunflower Run


Greetings from the Sunflower State!

Darco and I are currently located in Wichita, Kansas. Tomorrow I’m competing in my first mile road race…ever. It’ll be the first mile race I’ve been in since the spring of ’05.

Needless to say, I’m a bit terrified.

I don’t know why. Probably because it’s something I enjoy, something I’ve legitimately trained for, and because of this I’m scared that I’ll disappoint those around me. Make no mistake, I’m not an athlete by anyone’s count. I’m just warped into the programming of believing that when you’ve put in the work it’ll pay off.

However, ‘pay off’ doesn’t equal 4:40.00 or below times (elite timing requirement).

I’m rambling. I suppose this is what someone could call their “pre-race jitters”. Zoning out, closing eyes, visioning the course, listening to the same audio track over and over.

I can only form a single thought tonight…

Please God, let me run.

-D-

#getyourpraiseon


It’s the moments you lose touch with your humanity.
Merely animal instincts drive the movement. The natural transition of flow, dating through the history of man.

Reach. Grab. Pull. Push.
Reach. Grab. Pull. Push.

I confess, after an unplanned, surprisingly stressful day, the last thing I wanted to do was run. Really, I wanted to eat pizza and sleep.

However, with 40 minutes of sunlight left, temperatures dropping from 60℉ to 50℉ in no time flat, I decided to start moving.

At first it was just a walk. Feeling the cool air, trying to breathe, trying to push away the past of the day.

That turned into a light jog. Slowly downhill, pondering if “pushing it” would be ideal…

I started to lift my legs, stretching them out as if they were wings of Mercury.

Anger; it started seething through me. I could feel blood boiling, air pushing out through my teeth, jaw clenched. Only word uttered:

Faster.

Arms locked into their rhythmic, piston drive. I had already forgotten that two hills were cleared.

I could see my legs, lifting, stretching…higher and farther. Fear of my own history racing through my soul, pushing me to new heights.

Faster.

Sling-shot symmetry courses through my feet. They’re in unison curving around the two 90° corners; leading the final sprint of asphalt.

Faster.

There’s no fear left. There’s no thought process. Breathing locomotion takes over the mind, as the body runs itself.

Faster.

The end is near.

Faster.

The road ends.

Faster.

Finish alone.

Faster.

Run.

Faster.

Stop.

Staring at the sapphire sky, I allow a final breath. Acknowledging the journey’s end. A lifetime of thought, comprised into four minutes and 57 seconds, lasting a duration of one American mile.

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It’s been four long years. Four years since I saw my mile time drop below five minutes.

I almost cried telling MC tonight.

-D-

…now just one more minute to go…

Mobile Minutes: Weight It Out


Maybe I need guidance?

Earlier this week the cross country season ended at school. That means running for me, with the students, ended as well.

Now, I’m struggling to continue my motivation. Pushing weights, running faster, and farther. Getting back into my own groove is proving not to be easy.

The good news is that my belt is on its last notch, meaning that I have lost weight during the season.

Perhaps I just need a new goal, something to strive for, I’m just not sure what it is.

Is it alright for me to take this week off? First time since we’ll before school started that I’ve not been running. Is that alright? Healthy?

Not sure, but a plan is certainly needed…this pizza tastes good.

-D-