I Am Found

My body is tattooed.
My hair is long.

Due to the insane amount of rain that we have received in days past, the typical running routes have been closed. Because of this, finding places to run has become a bit of a challenge. Primarily, this is in part to my disdain of running on asphalt highways. A concept that I never thought I’d actually accept as my running philosophy.

However, after spending the week teaching and sleeping off a sickness, I had to stretch out my legs. I had to run.

Visiting my parents, I brought clothes to run in, in the event that I had some time to take off. When the moment arrived, I laced up my shoes and took off along a familiar path that I had ran so many times in years past. In fact, I’ve ran this route since 2001; so fifteen years now.

It has been two months since my feet had touched blacktop. I was curious as to what the sensation would feel like after spending eight weeks in the woods, along the dirt, through the mud, and on top of the rocks. I started at my parents house, moved past the local post office, up the slight hill at the post office, clearing the Christian Church, and eventually turning at the softball fields. I ran past the cemetery, around the corner of corn fields, and up the hill that a girl named Amy lived on and always had water waiting for me during the summer. Past her hill, I turned left and continued down the road. I passed the farm that was our ‘turnaround’ during track practice in high school, and down the hill to the bridge that was replaced in 2011. I climbed the ensuring hill, carefully turned along a blind corner, and down a slow decent surrounded by trees into the river plains just west of the town that I once called home.

I wasn’t breathing hard. My legs did not ache, and I was able to converse with myself without a shortness of breath. I was living in an entirely new world. I ran and I didn’t grow weary. I took a few photos, shot a little bit of video, turned around, and began my journey back to where I began.

The one benefit of running on the road is the repetitive nature of your leg movement, you can easily get lost in thought. Yesterday, while on this run, similar to my legs, I unlocked my mind and just let it wander for two hours I spent outside.

While I physically passed foreign memories, my mind focused on the journey that I had, had since first witnessing this route. I thought back to familiar faces, school time, small town events, and first kisses. I transitioned to college, mistakes, bitterness, and heartache. I finished while remembering the beginning point of so much of this. Papers at my doorstep, an officer informing me of the dramatic changes coming to my life, and am emptiness of not knowing what to do.

Cooling down in the final two blocks, God was loving in reminding me of the new life that I currently live. Mentoring young minds, loving an amazing wife, and trying to figure out how to live in accordance to what is right. Friends have left, family members have passed, and times have changed. However, only yesterday can I say that I found myself smiling for the duration of an entire run.

Within ten miles I charted out my life from beginning to present, connecting dots, giving thanks, and on occasion running down the road with arms extended; as if I were envisioning myself flying with the newfound life.

I’m grateful.
I’m blessed.
I’m found.


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.



1 person says they want to run; 23 show up…

Somewhere around 6:00 AM I left the house. By 7:00 AM I was trekking through mud and rocks. I continued to repeat that process for two and half hours.
Welcome to my playground.

Welcome to my friends.

I’ve made note in the recent past that I’m finding myself around unstable trail runners. The addiction of this isn’t just from the insanity of running through mud and rocks, but because of an answered prayer.

For months, really years, I’ve been praying for friends. They’ve come and gone, but nothing really long lasting. It has hurt because it is something that I desire, but really struggle at creating.

My cup now overflows.

What started as being part of a running group for a local business has now turned to outings to run on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, Thursday’s, and now even random Saturday’s.

There’s laughter, beer, running, stories, and smiles. No one gets left behind due to their speed (or in my case, the lack thereof), and everyone encourages each other. Today I ran 9 miles with these people, they stayed with me, made humorous comments, and didn’t give up on me.

That’s a friend.

The reality for me is that God, one usual, was faithful in hearing and answering prayers. I’m smiling, I tell stories, I grab food afterwards, and I laugh. I laugh like I never have. It isn’t about running a fast race, it is about moving with good friends.

I’m happy. God is good.


XXXI: I Made A Friend

Nearly two months ago I typed up a quick thought about the struggle of exploring new grounds when it came to establishing friendships (and going to public speed sessions). The week after I wrote that piece I started to force myself to attend these three hour events; knowing that I was easily the slowest person in the whole group. A painful, painful, humbling pill to swallow.

With that said, as weeks passed by I started to notice an adjustment in my own life at these practices that I hadn’t quite anticipated.

Hey, want to cool down with us?

How are you feeling today?

Don’t push yourself if you’re not feeling well.

I know that injury is hard, but patience is worth it.

Have you thought about running a race on a trail?

These, wait for it, people were talking to me. Sure, they had their one hundred mile races logged, and they average 40-50 miles a week of running, but they were talking to me. The guy that was running alone and not quite sure why he was even in this specific situation to begin with.

The awkward sensation has been taking place for two months now…

In this timeframe I did the unthinkable; I asked one of these random runners if they could speak to my students about owning their own business (coffee shop, naturally). They agreed! Yes, this random runner who unknowingly was kind to me at a practice that was so nerve wracking that I had skipped several weeks in a row, had agreed to speak with my students on the opposite side of the city. No. Strings. Attached.

Guess what?

The day came and they showed up! They talked about business with my students, they were kind, polite, and the kids were curious about their tattoos (it’s a ultrarunner thing I’ve learned). I was in awe; I had met someone, learned about them, ran with them (or tried to), and then asked them to do something with me outside of just running.

Did I just make a friend?
I just made a friend.

You want to grab a glass of wine with us?

The question that was directed towards me after last weeks session. Due to school I declined, but I knew I was glowing when I got into my car to go home. Someone had asked me to go with them, a group of people, and just be…well…normal people. I’m invited to other running adventures outside of Wednesday nights (of which I’m sure I’ll die), and have even started the training process of running with them this October on a 25K race.

I can’t quite think of the last time, if ever, that I made a friend that wasn’t connected to work, school, or church related activities. They are people who just hold the same interest as me. They are far, far cooler and better composed compared to myself, but they still accept me. They still accept my oddities and still choose to talk to me.

Maybe I’m a creep for writing about making friends. Maybe it further fulfills the notion that I am one of the most narcissistic people on this planet. Maybe I am happy that something out of the ordinary has transpired in my life, and I simply want to share the joy with people who read this post.

I have social problems; I accept this sad reality.

I also accept the reality that I’ve made a friend.


Mobile Minutes: Running Cravings

So…had some races this weekend…
How can you tell?

Food Consumption Since 12:01 AM 04/30/2016:
-32oz Water
-12oz Carmel Popcorn
-12oz Iced Vanilla Latte
-Mushroom, Egg, Rice, Goat Cheese Burrito
-16oz Water
-1 Cantaloupe
-2 Corn, Black Bean Quesadillas
-Chicken & Steak Pad Thai
-Fried Rice
-4 Crab Rangoon
-32oz Water
-32oz Water
-4 Gummy Worms
-1 BBQ Brisket Sandwich
-12 Pancakes
-20oz Iced Americano
-Biscuits & Gravy
-Cranberry Italian Soda
-3 Corn, Black Bean, Bacon Quesadillas

No regrets.


Mobile Minutes: Cold Soother

If you’re living a life like mine (and I’m sorry if you are), allergies right now are pretty rough. I’ve found my staple to waking up, staying hydrated, and helping out that sore throat.

Cold Soother:
2 cinnamon sticks
1 pint of water
Lemon to taste
Honey to taste

Instructions: Bring water with cinnamon sticks to a boil. Reduce to simmer for five minutes. Serve in glass with lemon and honey stirred in.