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-

Advertisements

#getyourpraiseon


The sky was grey, the air warm, and the atmosphere thick with rain in the near future.

I vividly remember the first 5K race I ever took part in. My ex-wife’s father was an avid runner; we’re talking about the distances such as half-marathon and marathon. At this point in life those were distances that made zero logical sense to my own cerebral cortex. Why would someone want to run that far? Why would anyone want to run, period?

The course, my first 5K, took place along the bluffs of the Missouri River in the state capital of Jefferson City, Missouri. Though it had been advertised as a ‘novice course’, it became clear along the steep grades that this course may be more towards the individuals of the…professional level.

It was a horrible experience. I walked nearly half of that course, and I remember the frustration of thinking how this family would judge, how I couldn’t catch up to the guy whose daughter I was in love with, how I was once a joke of a runner and that I would always be that joke of a runner.

I had dry heaves following this event.

My first 5K, in the rain, with a balmy time around 52:00.00.

***

The purpose of the story-within-a-story was to lay the framework of a tragic beginning relationship with an adventure that I would have never been able to predict. For the past 90 days I’ve been focused on one specific goal with training and health; running 3.1 miles (a 5K) under 20:00.00. The one consistency, whether at the gym, on the trail, or the road is that I log right at 30 miles of movement per week. I needed to create a base of mileage from which I could begin to focus on specific areas of improvement (speed, cardio, stance, etc…). Today was the 90th day of this project.

Today, at approximately 5:00 PM CST, I strapped on my shoes, running shorts, technical shirt, and took off for what I thought was going to be a brisk 6.2 miles.

I had no clue what was about to follow…

Mental Conversation: Turn right at the top of the street; go through the intersection. Stretch out the legs to get a feel for the asphalt. Breathing is relaxed, calm, and the strides are in line. No overpronation noted, not running on the sides of the feet. Keep the breathing calm. Focus. Music. Look for dogs briefly. Fix shorts. Turn right at the T-intersection, take a sharp right out onto the highway. Little traffic, hit the hill. Calm down at the peak and stretch out on the flat. The cows are running with me on the side of the road. Wave to cows. I think I started too fast. I’m moving too fast at the moment. No time to recover, keep stretching out the legs. Push up the incline. Feel the potential side stitch. Deep breath, raise the whole body with each breath. Corner is up ahead. Keep pulling through with long strides. Weather is nice. Wind is from the south. Sun feels nice. Gear feels good. Up the hill and turn right. Look for cars. Keep right, dodge left when able to see downhill. Let loose. Stop resisting downhill and let your body catch you. Pick up speed. Keep the momentum, stretch up the hill. Hamstrings are fine. No tightness, no tension. Keep breathing. Keep moving. Keep breathing. Pull farther up the hill. Hit the sign. Hit the sign, stop the clock. Hit the sign, 3.1 is met. Hit the sign, stop the clock. Embrace a 25:00.00-26:00.00 3.1 with success. That is success after a long week. Look at your watch. Glance down at your watch. No 26. No 25. No 20. 19:10. 19:10? 19:10!

View this post on Instagram

Day 90 of #5under20 #getyourpraiseon Three months ago I started training with a goal. I wanted a 5K time under 20:00.00, and win a specific race. The race is still two months out, but… …THE FIRST SUB-20:00.00 5K CAN BE SCRATCHED OFF THE LIST! Note: -Path was asphalt -Wind was to my back -Very few hills But I flew! Walking back I couldn't believe the distance that was covered in such a short amount of time. Everything clicked. When I finished I was thinking 25-26 minutes, I had no idea that I had dropped 3.1 miles in 19:10. It's February, and Team @run816 starts next month. This only excites me even more on new, faster opportunity More–> www.filingthepapers.com P.S. Under 20:00.00 equals a new pair of @oakley glasses via @darci_daugherty #running #training #health #fitness #roadracing #trailrunning #findyourstrong #faith #fit #runkc

A post shared by Shawn (@overcoming_ace) on

 

I have a goal. There is a specific race in a few months that I want to win; literally win. I doubt I can, to be truthful, but then again I never thought that I’d ever be in this position in my life. In six years of chaos, change, and ongoing struggles I’ve shaved off over thirty minutes from that first 5K on that rainy day.

God is so good for allowing me to move my legs every day in this crazy life. So many things I could look into the future from my past self and not be overly surprised of taking place, but running? The concept of muscle movement in a form of worship to God is something that I would have never imagined.

I hope that this is only the beginning of something incredibly beautiful.

-D-

XXXI: No Formula


I did not go to church today.

I sat in our living room; marveling at the beautiful, frozen landscape that had created itself over the night.

My wife did not go to church today.

She sat beside me, half asleep, taking in the warmth of solar radiation and a pristine paralysis that surrounded her.

We did not go to church today.

Continue reading

XXXI: Running Offering


I’m thinking back to last Friday, with the weekend being the blur that it was I’m finally finding the time to organize the thoughts from all the monumental, fun, and inspiring events that have transpired over recent days.

Most important I definitely wanted to jot down some thoughts from last Friday afternoon because I found their existence and my being to be crucial into understanding the spiritual journey that everyone faces. Continue reading

XXXI: Focus


Amazing what random thoughts transpire over a steak at dinner…

While finishing up the weekend with Darco, we were enjoying dinner this evening and I was in mid-monologue about something that really struck me as unique; the inability to focus on the task at hand, and if it is temptation deviating from the overall goal?

Let me explain:
While at church this morning I thought up a fun t-shirt (in my warped world). It was rather simple, all black with white font that read My Bass Drop Is My Worship. It was a thought that tended to go against the current trend of acoustic/rock gospel music that runs through the airwaves today. Personally, I just think a crazy bass drop inside a ‘worship chorus’ would be absolutely face-melting awesome. It was something that caught my attention this morning. That turned into a clothing brand idea, which turned into a brand name, which turned into a business plan. Quite seriously that was my early afternoon while enjoying the World Cup final at Rock & Run Brewery.

With that random thought in mind, I shared it with Darco at dinner and while sharing it with her it dawned on me…

My objective is to train. My objective is to run.

I’ll gladly confess to having problems of finding five million projects to work on at once, it’s part of the curse of working with social media. You learn to ingest and create new content 24/7. That’s the expectation of the job. However, if left unchecked it can also dramatically affect your personal life also (food for thought). It was around the time that our food came out that I looked and Darco and simply said, “I think it’s temptation. There are so many things that I could be doing, but for now I have to focus. I’m to focus on training, I’m to focus on running.” The rest of life (work, family, church, etc…) moves on without a hitch, but outside of that I’ve made the specific commitment to focus on running for the next two years. Not only as a form of life, but also as growing closer in the form of my worship to my God.

Perhaps that’s another element of “XXXI”, learning to focus on what the priorities are and learning how to follow through with the commitments that you make. One of my biggest regrets/disappointments with the Kansas City Shock was knowing how many people I let down because I didn’t follow through with my word. Practically speaking I lied; I lied to people involved, fans, family, and even myself. My prayer is that “XXXI”, in a strange way, can be a form of redemption and forgiveness for the past failures and transgressions that still feel recent.

Maybe someday that shirt will be made, and maybe a new adventure will come along the horizon. For now though, I eat the food I’m supposed to eat, I lift the weights I’m supposed to lift, and I train, and I train, and I train. Each moment that the sweat is pouring, I’m praying; each moment the breathing is heavy, I’m praising.

I want my focus to be on the personal ability to demonstrate my worship to my Father.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Arkansas Part IV


Race day…

image

Beautiful morning for a 4 mile run...

image

Finished! Good news, both were completed under an hour.

image

Turns out there was a beautiful woman running the race as well.

image

Love the Saucony shoes and KT Tape treatment.

…we survived.

Beautiful morning around a local pond in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Darco and I spent the morning along a gorgeous trail. Loving the weather, embracing grace, and feeling blessed.

Now…where’s the food.

-D-

XXXI: Endless Dreams


God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.
-Chariots of Fire-

Dearest Reader,

Welcome to “XXXI”, the fourth installment of thought at FilingThePapers.com. After careful prayer, determination, outlining, and working with my wife; we’re thrilled that today we can bring you this exciting new chapter. Unlike “X”, “O”, and “XO”, “XXXI” is going to take a different path of insight and thought. Continue reading