Saturday, December 31, 2011

My New Hunting Buddy

Today's hunt just wasn't the same.

I sat in the blind and watched the squirrels scamper around. I listened to the ducks whoosh in behind me, land in the water, and proceed to do what ducks do. I waited in vain for deer or hogs to appear. Normally, I would have been loving the experience - I like to be outdoors and the actual hunt is secondary to that experience. However, this time was different. I was thinking about my new hunting buddy and I missed her not being there with me.

You see, Cassie hunted with me on Thursday and it was the best hunt of my life - even if we missed everything at which we shot.

Cassie hasn't hunted with me prior to Thursday and when I asked her if she was interested in going, I was pleasantly surprised that she said yes. Because it was her first hunt, I wanted everything to go smoothly - as often hunting can be hard work, in difficult conditions and I didn't want anything like that to turn her off.

First, I scheduled Thursday afternoon as our day. The forecast called for sunny and warm temps in the high 60's. Since she isn't really outfitted for being in the woods, this was of paramount concern. Secondly, I wanted her to have fun, so I tried to take a lot of the work out of the hunt - even if it meant it diminished the probability of us actually bagging any game. I also had to reset my expectations; that this hunt was about us having fun together and experiencing the outdoors, not about the harvest.

We started our day in the late morning. She indicated that she might like a rifle of her own for her birthday, so we took a drive to Gander Mountain in Sherman. They have a good selection of guns and we had already been to B&S Guns, Cabelas, and Bass Pro looking for a pink .22 LR. No one had one, so Gander Mtn. was our next attempt. They didn't have any in stock, but we definitely found what we were looking for, a Remington Model 527 .22LR in Pink Camo. She indicated that this was the gun she wanted, so we talked to the sales person about when their distributor would have them in stock. We'll have to wait a couple of weeks until we can order it, but they did have the same gun in black, so I bought it for me. I figured she could use it until she gets her own and I could use it whenever I needed a small caliber gun.

We then drove to the hunting area. The first order of business was to sight in the scope on the new gun. We spent about an hour adjusting the scope until we had good groups close to bulls eye. I knew we weren't 100% sighted in, but the sun was starting its decline, so we grabbed our gear and headed for the blind; me with both the .22 and my .270 Win and her with her pellet gun. We sat and I could tell that she was terribly excited. We spoke in whispered tones about the set up. I informed her that I'd seen a lot of squirrels at the hunt area and expected to see them this afternoon, as well. However, there were none to be seen. In fact, the woods were surprisingly quiet. I explained that we likely spooked everything away with our practice shooting and that if we were quiet and still, they would probably come back. So, we waited in relative quiet.

We ended up seeing a several squirrels. We took shots at them, but missed on each one. On most occasions, we squeezed of more than one shot, but were unable to connect. Clearly, the scope still needs a little bit more adjustment. I could tell she started getting a little bored, and I suggested we wait for the feeder to go off, then wait a little after that, and if we weren't seeing anything we could go.

As the feeder went off at 5:00pm, we heard something behind us. I thought it might be a deer off in the distance, but Cassie thought it right behind the blind. She told me her heart started racing. She was right as to location, but it wasn't a deer, it was a crazy grey squirrel. Eventually, it started climbing a tree to our left and I shot at it twice, but missed both times.

We decided to call it a day, but she kept talking about how she felt when she thought a deer was right outside our blind. I know exactly how she felt, but I also know that it pales in comparison to how I felt having her by my side.

It will be the same way I feel when we go back tomorrow, my knew hunting partner by my side.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Velveteen Buck

"Did it have a nutsack?"
Not understanding, I answered his question with one of my own, "What was that?"
"Your deer, did it have a nutsack?"
Thus began the solving of the mystery behind this morning's harvest.
My hunt seriously started last week when I saw a buck following his five does (Click here for that account). At the time, I thought they were the members of his harem, and I guess they could have been, but that appears to be less likely now.
Yesterday was the first opportunity that I had to hunt. My plan was to hunt hard for the entire week, as I had access to awesome hunting land and the office is shut down for the holiday break. I set my alarm for Monday morning at 4:15. Unfortunately, I wasn't careful about setting the AM or PM designation properly, so I slept until about 6:15, when I awoke on my own. Since this was about the time I wanted to get into the blind, I decided to sleep in a little more. My hunt would have to wait until the afternoon.
I finally got into the blind about 2:00pm. Legal shooting hours go from one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset. This meant I could shoot until 5:53pm.
Other than an unidentified animal that ran along the tree line in front of me about 175 yards away, I saw little. Through my peripheral vision, I thought I noticed through the trees, two puffy white tails bounding on my right, but they were gone so quick I was never really certain. At about 5:40am, I heard the first of a couple of deer come into the wooded area on my left. It had gotten sufficiently dark by then, so I couldn't make them out...I never knew how many (certainly more than one) and what sex. I waited for them to leave until after six, but my bladder would no longer wait. I decided to spook them with my flashlight and shined the beam towards them. They bounded away with crashes through the timber. I was safe to depart, walk to my car, and relieve my bladder.
I had spent another wonderful afternoon spent in the woods watching crazy squirrels and listening to the sounds of nature.
Since I slept in yesterday, I was eager to get going today. So eager, in fact, that I woke on my own at about 3:15am. You think that getting up early would result in me getting to the blind on time, but it didn't. I got to the property about 6:30, and was almost to the blind when I heard the feeder go off. It is set for 7:00am, a good six minutes after legal shooting time.
As I was late to the blind and didn't want to spook anything close by, I got situated as quietly as possible. I was probably good to go at about 7:15am, and within five minutes I heard movement to my left. It was still a little dark in this wooded area, but I could make out the shape of a deer. I remained motionless as I tried to control my breathing. The deer were very cautious, but I could make out two, and then another, and another. Ultimately, it was clear that I was watching the five does from a week ago. I hoped that the buck was with them, but I couldn't see him. At the thought, my breathing became even more difficult to control. My heart was racing to match.
They funneled into the wash in front and below me. My pop-up blind is situated on the top of the bank to one of the property's tanks. The deer were about ten yards in front of me about about 10-20 feet below. I watched in silence as the single filed past me. Two mature does, a juvenile, another mature doe and another juvie. They were followed by my buck. This was the same group from last weekend. At this point, I could have tried for a shot, but decided to be patient. They were too close, my gun was not yet raised and I wasn't in position to shoot.
They continued left to right in front of me, and I soon started to think I made a mistake by waiting. They looked like they were going to continue to the right. However, the lead doe turned left and started up the rise. They were to the right of the feeder as they approached it. I thought I again was going to be denied as they now looked to be going to the right at the top of the rise, which would have put them behind another tree line. However, the lead doe turned left and went to the feeder. All of the other deer did the same.
At this point, they were far enough away from me that if I was very careful, I could arrange myself in the blind. I sat forward in my chair. It squeaked. A cautious doe looked up at me for a couple of moments, but then continued to eat. They all looked relatively relaxed. This wasn't a surprise since the feeder and the blind had been up for a week. I quietly raised my rifle and placed it on my shooting sticks. I had a very stable shot and was watching my buck through the scope as he ate. He turned broadside and was clear of the does. I couldn't control my breathing and breathed very hard through my mouth to calm down. I released the safety, exhaled halfway, held my breath and squeezed. He dropped immediately as the does scattered.
I chambered another round instantly. I've been burned by not watching and be ready to shoot again. He never moved.
I sat for a while as I regained my breathing. Unbelievably, the does returned (albeit about 50-yards away). I looked at all of them closely to make sure there wasn't a slick buck with them and they eventually went off to the right. I exited the blind and immediately went to tag the buck.
As I reached him, I noticed he was in velvet. Velvet is the soft tissue that covers their antlers when they come in. Eventually, the velvet is scraped off, shed, and the antler hardens. This should had already occurred, but on this buck it had not.
After some help from Angie's cousins who live close to where I was hunting, we removed and field dressed the deer. They were also surprised by the velvet, as was the game processor's son. However, the processor (who is an older man and has probably seen 1000's of deer) immediately knew what was up. My buck had no testicles. I didn't notice that when we were field dressing it, as Angie's cousin Russell did most of the knife work on the deer. I called him to verify and he replied that he hadn't noticed, but now that I was asking he didn't remember seeing said "nutsack". The processor went on the tell me that he's seen a couple of deer like this in his years, all of them missing their testicles. He surmised that at some point the deer likely had some kind of trauma and lost his balls. The effect of this is a little bit smaller body, a smaller rack, and velvet that wouldn't shed. Otherwise, he was healthy and a good buck. He estimated his age at 3.5-4 years old. And, in the opinion of the processor, "Real good eatin'!"
I was going to do an antler mount as a trophy, but the processor suggested a skull mount instead. He claimed I would never see another buck like this ever I ordered the skull mount.
I'll never forget the story of my once in a life time buck.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Buck Stops There

I couldn't move. He was looking directly at me...hell, it felt like he was looking right through me. I couldn't understand how he could see me, but clearly he was uneasy. It may have been the fact that the five does he was with had run away in alarm, white tails up in what deer hunters call the big 'middle finger'. He was slower to leave, wanting to check out what was the cause of his concern. I don't think he actually saw me. I don't think he winded me. I don't think he heard me, but he knew something was wrong. You don't get through several seasons with a harem surrounding you without being careful. I'm hoping he doesn't get through another...but, I am getting ahead of myself.

As I walked to my spot, I couldn't get over how eerie it was walking through the woods in the pitch black. It was about 6:15am, and it was cold. I knew where I was headed, and would course correct with a quick push of the button on my bright flashlight, needed as the dim gleam on my headlamp really didn't illuminate more than a couple of feet in front of me. I had my pop-up blind on my back, my chair around my shoulder, and my rifle in my hand. I shoot an entry level Savage Arms .270 Win. Its an OK gun, but when I put a Leopold scope on it a couple of years ago, it became a much better rifle. As I emptied a magazine the previous day, I knew it was still accurate without any need for additional adjustment to the scope.

After about 15 minutes I arrived at my spot, set up the blind and got situated. I made much more noise that I would have liked, but I wasn't really expecting too much success this morning. I really wanted to set up everything and check the feeder to make sure that NEXT week was well prepared. I wouldn't have to wait a week for some excitement.

I sat and shook. It was much colder than I expected. Although decked out for winter, I was extremely uncomfortable. I had about 25 minutes before shooting light, so I doze. I had my phone set to vibrate at shooting hours which was 6:53am. As a backup, I knew that the feeder would wake me when it went off at 7:00.

I woke with the phone and again struggled with the cold. The sun was starting to come up, but I was set up in a heavily wooded area, so I never really warmed up. I checked my gun, my seat and surveyed the area through my scope to ensure that if the opportunity to shoot came about, I would be comfortable with my rest and position. I sat and waited and tried to stay warm.

First came the crows. They are loud and annoying, but I love watching them hop around looking for corn from the feeder. The squirrels descended next. In fact, a couple of squirrels were able to run off a dozen, or so, crows. However, the crows came back in greater numbers and started working on the corn again. This back and forth continued for a while...then the ducks arrived in the tank behind me. Ducks wings make a peculiar noise as they cut through the air. A large flock of ducks can make an amazing song. I listened to them for a while until they decided to fly off to another area. By the gunfire that I could hear in the distance, I thought they should have stayed with would have been safer, as I wasn't hunting their kind today.

As I enjoyed the solitude, the sounds of nature, and the adrenaline that accompanies every little noise around me, I caught some movement out of the right window of the blind. I froze, although truth be told, I could no longer feel the outside temperature...there were deer in the field to my right. I was well covered by a line of trees between us, but that means I also couldn't see them well. I raise by scope to peer through it. I saw several does, five in total. A couple of larger mature does were keeping watch while the smaller ones seemed to be playing...jumping and running and generally having a good time knowing that mom was keeping an eye out.

They wandered around for a while and continued on their way. There wasn't a buck with them, but I know enough that the does often lead the, I stayed motionless and quiet. Then, he showed. I saw antler, but from the side I couldn't tell if he was a legal shooter. It didn't matter anyway as I didn't have a shot through the trees. I maintained my vigilance hoping they'd show up again.

They did. About 20 minutes later, they showed on the other side of the tree line. However, they were also much further away, about 175 yards. My feeder is set up about 75 yards away from the blind and there are low hanging branches blocking a much longer shot. Additionally, the does seemed to be very cautious. They slowly started to filter down to the feeder, but the buck stayed back. 150 yards. Then, about 125 yards. I still didn't have a shot on the buck...he never really moved. He just seemed to stare at me. Before I knew it, the does had run off.

The buck just stayed there. I raised my rifle to size him up in the scope. He was about 150 yards (a makeable shot), but was directly facing me (not ideal). Additionally, the low hanging branches were very much a concern. I sized up his antlers, he was what looked to be a solid four point, with tall antlers, but not very wide. I think he is a legal buck (13 inch inside spread). I decided not to shoot. I want him broadside and closer to me....a week of no pressure getting acclimated to the blind and the feeder should do the trick. I'm going back to get him.

That's why I was there today in the first place. Not necessarily to bag this buck, but to get ready to do it right. This is the second time I've seen those five does in the same spot - so they shouldn't be going anywhere.

I think I'm going to be thinking about that buck a lot until next week.


Monday, December 12, 2011

My Thoughts (and Legs) Are Racing For More

I'm thinking of more. My heart is screaming for more. It's probably a good thing, since there is so much more to do.

I've been talking to Paul at World Vision on what we could do in 2012. I am thinking of something big...bigger than just 13.1 miles and $3,000. There is so much more to do and I want to do more to meet that need. I was thinking, could I raise $5,000? How about do a couple of races and raise $10,000. Then, it struck me - what about three 13.1 races next year? I think I could do that. Basically, it means training all year with no significant down time.

Now, I just needed to figure out how much I can raise and how I was going to do that...

Then, the World Vision gift catalog arrived in the mail.

The catalog is simple and wonderful. It is full of various items that can be purchased and delivered to the recipient. Although you don't get to select the recipient, you are secure that it is going to someone that needs help. Last year, the kids chose presents for others from the catalog...they chose gifts that meant something to them and they knew that the value of the gift would be taken from the budget put away for their own gifts. It was rewarding watching them chose gifts for others. If memory serves, they chose water, clothing, bibles, and livestock.

As I thumbed through the catalog, I noticed the page for a deep water well. The description reads,

Pray. That's the first thing that our well-drilling teams do when they come to a thirsty community. They take their work seriously, because they know that dirty water and poor sanitation are major contributors to the deaths of about 1.5 million children every year.

1.5 million children dying from preventable disease and diarrhea. Children dying because they don't have access to clean water. It seems so senseless, especially in the knowledge that I can get virtually unlimited clean water just by walking about 20 feet from the computer from which I am typing this message.

The description continues,

Help one of our teams drill a deep well and fit it with a hand pump. One well can provide 2,800 gallons for safe, life-sustaining water every day for up to 300 people.

Your gift will save lives for years to come, and help transform an entire community.

As I finished reading the description, I knew I found my goal. I didn't care about the price. I DON'T care about the price. All I knew is that this is what I was looking for, and I didn't need to pray about it for confirmation. I'm going to run to provide a deep water well.

I don't know how I am going to raise $13,700.00. Given the wonderful generosity of some many for the 2011 effort, I feel somewhat reluctant to ask for more. All I know is that this is a worthy, wonderful thing to work for and that I all have to do is train and run.

I trust that God will work on softening hearts.

Be a part of something that will leave a legacy. Allow God to soften your heart towards generosity to those who need what we commonly waste. Be a part of something that will transform a community and save lives for years.

What could be more important?

I will be posting more information and my fundraising page in January. In the meantime, I would appreciate your prayers for this effort and my training.

Thanks for taking this journey with me.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

One Foot In Front Of The Other

I was just going to take it easy. I was still unsure of my right hamstring, had only done non-impact cardio all week, and was concerned of the recovery time if I pushed it too much.

That was when I left Angie and the kids at the dog park at Whiterock Lake.

I walked slowly for the first five minutes. I walked faster for the next five minutes giving me a full ten minutes of warm up. Just to be on the safe side, I walked even faster for the next five minutes. I then started running. Not fast, and not far, but running. The hamstring felt fine.

I definitely didn't push, running slower and for less distance each time for the next seven miles. It was then that I felt the hammy tighten up. It wasn't bad, so I stretched it out a bit and continued...more walking than normal, but with short bursts of running to improve my time. As I approached the dog park, I was tired and hot, but really wanted to do more than the 9-10 miles I seemed to be my plateau. I needed to know if I could do it before actually having to do it.

So, I continued. The plan was that I would continue two miles passed where Angie was, and then turn around and do the two miles back. My total would be thirteen.

As I hit 10.5 miles, I came to the conclusion I had made a terrible mistake. My legs were very tired, almost completely spent. I was becoming very dehydrated as it was quite hot, and I was a mile and a half away from my destination.

I thought hard about what I was doing out there...about the money that all of my supporters had donated, and how, according to WorldVision, $3000 can provide 60 people clean water FOR LIFE!!! I am astounded that I am a part of that. 60 people will have clean water for the rest of their lives because eighteen weeks ago I decided to take a challenge and because I have such generous family, friends, and colleagues.

As I thought of this, and the almost $100,000.00 that the entire Team Springcreek has earned, I figured I would stick to the plan and go the remaining half mile. Once there, I could turn around a return to Angie.

I continued to try to run, not getting more than perhaps a couple hundred of feet each time. I started looking at my remaining distance as short goals to each water fountain to wet my mouth. At about 12 miles, I started to think that I might have to call Angie to pick me up. My legs were exhausted. I must have been walking like a drunken sailor. I just focused on one foot in front of the other. I started to panic a bit as each stretch of path opened in front of me. I really didn't think I was going to be able to make it back. Eventually, as I turned the corner and saw the dog park, I realized I had made it. I looked at the GPS...13.13 miles in 3:44:45.

My legs started cramping and I was miserable. As Angie arrived at the car, I got into the passenger seat and felt like crying. My legs hurt like I've never felt before, but I was more emotionally drained than anything. Angie looked at me with pride, and I felt that pride, but also the fear that I have to do it again this weekend.

The 13.1 is this Saturday. I will do my best to complete it...whether it takes three hours or 13 hours. I will put one foot in front of the other until I cross that finish line.

I will do it for my supporters and I will do it for myself...most importantly, I will do it for the people of Katito, Kenya.

Thank you to all of you who have supported, whether through your donation, your comments, or your prayers. Please pray for me and the entire Team Springcreek and the WorldVision team on Saturday.

THERE'S STILL TIME TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. If you have not yet given and would like to, please click here.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Drink of Water

As I approached mile eight this weekend I had a choice to I continue to push and try to do 10, or do I stop content that I completed eight fifteen-minute miles? My left calf was threatening to cramp and I was starting to come to the determination that I was dehydrating. However, I also realized that I was in a pretty good rhythm, so I continued.

After completing 10 miles, I walked for a couple of minutes to cool down. My calf was worsening and I knew I needed to get some water in me. I had a couple of bottles of water in the car, so when I got back to them I downed both of them quickly. I was glad to have that drink, and I considered our brothers and sisters in Africa that cannot get water so easily. Upon thinking about them, this fundraising effort, and the awesome things that we're funding, I was glad that I did those extra two miles. I also understood how blessed we are in that clean, refreshing water is rarely far away.

Fast forward to this morning at church. It was announced that we've met our fundraising goal and that in all likelihood any additional funds will be used somewhere else where the need is also great. This pleased me to know that not only will our "adopted" community be helped, but so will others. Then, our pastor used a visual about how our fundraising effort was literally giving the people of Katito, Kenya and elsewhere a glass of clean water. He then quoted this verse from Matthew 25:

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

I take great pride in that we are doing this for the least of these. I sincerely believe that we've been blessed with so much (like bottles of water available everywhere) with the understanding that we are also responsible for so much - like being a blessing to others. This running and fundraising effort is just one small way we can make a difference. By giving to others out of our time, talents, or treasure, we honor the gifts that God has given us.

And, when we do for the least of these, we do for Him.

(((( To help with this effort and to provide a clean drink of water to someone who so desperately needs one, please click here ))))

Thanks, and God Bless.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

$5 Difference

I look at all of the donations that have been made on my behalf and I am incredibly moved at the generosity of others. Angie and I have been talking about how awesome my friends, coworkers and Facebook family have been and how amazing this entire process has been. As we head into the last 10-days to give, we are about $15K short of our goal and I am less than $100 from my personal goal.

I look at the list and one donation in particular jumps out at me - the $5 donation from my sister, Michele.

I will not get into her personal finances, but suffice to say I know that a $5 donation is sacrificial. And I am grateful that she took the time to make the donation on my behalf. The dollar value is somewhat inconsequential...that she took the time and made the effort to help in a way that she was able and her support is priceless...I really thought about her donation during my training today and it gave me the motivation to go faster and further. All of the donations I have received have had that effect.

However, I also dwelled on the amount. It seems insignificant, but I know it is not. I've read somewhere that the UN definition of extreme poverty is living on less than $2.50 (yes, that is two dollars and fifty cents) per day. That's basically the price of a LOW COST coffee. Michele's $5 donation is two days wages for many of the people that we are trying to help.

Furthermore, I starting thinking about what $5 could do in great numbers. I have 313 Facebook friends. Assuming 300 have not yet donated to my effort, $5 from each of them would result in an additional $1500 to this cause. That would be a remarkable addition, wouldn't it?

So, here's my challenge for you. Please take the time to immediately make a $5 donation to my fundraising. ((( Click here to give ))) If you can make a larger donation, please do so, but if not - $5 will make a world of difference. Give up a latte for two days. Take lunch to work for one day. Don't rent one movie this week. Your five bucks by itself may not mean all that much to you, but it will mean a world of clean water to our brothers and sisters in Katito.

And, thanks Michele - for taking the time to care enough to make a difference. Together, we can change the world for the better.


N.B. - Although the race is Oct 22, the water project must be funded by Sept 29. Please make your donation today.

Thursday, August 04, 2011


It's been very difficult getting back into a training routine since returning from Florida.

During my two week vacation I did not exercise in the gym. Instead, I relied on the fact that we likely walked 5-10 miles in each of the amusement parks we visited and that we only usually ate two meals per day. Add the fact that we were in a pool virtually every day and I was sure I was getting plenty of daily physical activity.

The last week we were in Orlando, I worked while Angie and the kids vacationed...I didn't train that week, and probably should have - especially because I wasn't dieting too much either.

We returned home on Sunday night...tired and likely in need of a vacation. As Angie got back into the household and kids routine, I got back into the work routine. I thought about going to the gym Monday and Tuesday, but did not.

However, on Tuesday, Angie spent some time giving to our friends who are also running the 13.1. She and the kids also made a large donation to my effort. This donation meant a lot. Not only was it a signal to me that they really support what I am doing, but that they are willing to sacrifice their own material wants for something more meaningful.

Thinking about that gift, I had a great deal more will-power to get up and get to the gym yesterday. I did cardio and some weights, and was very pleased that I hadn't taken a step back with respect to my conditioning (although I did gain a couple of pounds on vacation).

Today, with the meaningfulness of their gift to empower me, I started my running training. I ran/walked two miles in under 30 minutes. My goal for the 13.1 is to finish, but I would like to finish in about 3:20....or, about 15 minute miles (4.0 MPH). I can likely walk 4.0 miles per hour, but I'd like to get some running in, as well.

Through this process, I'm learning that I am a guy that has to have goals. This seems to really motivate me for things that I don't necessarily want to do - like get up early to go work out. My main goal is to raise as much money as possible for this water project. If you haven't donated, would you please consider visiting my page and making a donation?

((( Click here to get to my fundraising page )))

Your donation will be meaningful in several will help me get psyched for training, but much more importantly, it will provide life giving water to those that have so much less than we have.

Thanks for your prayers and support.


Saturday, July 02, 2011

No Pain...No Nothing

I don't know much about long distance training, but I'm learning quickly.

In the last couple of weeks, I've gone from 35 minutes on the elliptical to seven miles run/walk (mostly walk) today. Here are a couple of my observations over the course of two plus hours of activity:

1) Your body will get into a rhythm. In fact, when you aren't in a rhythm, things start to hurt.

2) Things will hurt during the training. However, if you just ignore the pain, it goes away. Over the course of a couple of hours, everything will likely hurt at some point, but it will go away. It may come back, but it will go away again. I guess the only time it might stick around is if you have an injury, but if you know your body, keep going. Today's session started with my knee hurting, then going away. Then my back hurt, my ankle, my foot, my knee again, and my back again. At about the four mile mark EVERYTHING hurt. By five and a half miles I was numb to all pain. Then, I just tried to settle into a rhythm until I was done (see number one above).

3) You have a lot of time to think about things while you are going.

4) Even though you can think about stuff, you also have to concentrate. I am really surprised that you have to focus on what you are doing. Posture, steps, the way you lean, etc. are all things that I find that if I am not thinking about, I get a little lazy and then my form goes. And, as my form suffers, your rythym suffers and things start to hurt (see numbers 1 and 2).

It's clear to me that going a longer distance is much more than just step after step. There's a lot to it.

I do know, however, that I think a lot about what I'm doing this for in the first place. I think about the water project, I think about those that it's going to help. I think about the people that have donated money on my behalf...I think about those that will support me before the race in October. ((Click here to be one of them))

I think about God. I think about all of the blessings that we've been given.

The more I think of these things, the more I am motivated to train and to do my best.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Day Off?

As I train for the 13.1, I’ve been alternating weight training and cardio training at our gym. Typically, I am there every morning to work out and my training week culminates with a distance walk/run on Saturday and then I start all over again.

I’ve scheduled Tuesdays as my one day off during the week. I very much look forward to my off day as my body is quite tired by that time. Getting up early to get to the gym is difficult - most of the time the purpose for the run (funding the water projects) and everyone’s support is the reason that I get up to go. However, getting in shape is also a strong motivator. As I progress in that effort, playing sports becomes a larger part of my fitness plan. Playing sports has always been a love of mine and I’ve always been athletic. So, as I get more in shape I am able to do more things…The kids and I have been playing a lot of basketball, racquetball and yesterday we started playing some tennis.

Even on a day off, it’s fun to get some exercise and spend time with the kids.

However, it seems that my body is telling me it needs that day off. Twice over the last couple of weeks I’ve “tweaked” my knee playing on my day off from training. Actually, it’s the same nagging injury that won’t go away. Yesterday, I took a skip step and felt a pull behind my left knee. I originally hurt it a couple of weeks ago playing basketball. Same pain, same area.

I don’t believe there is anything seriously wrong, but it can be painful at times and it worries me that perhaps I won’t be able to train for a while. I’ll take it easy for a couple of days and then try to ignore it as much as possible. But, it’s gotten me to thinking – what if I needed my legs to walk to get water? What if I was hurt, but I still had to get water? I know I can stop training for a couple of days and then even change my training routine, if needed. In fact, I’ve been thinking about swimming for a couple of weeks to get off my legs and give them a break. Imagine that, I’m going to jump in a pool full of water to train for a half marathon that we’re using to fund projects in Africa that will provide life-giving clean water to people that don’t have enough.

It seems ironic to me. It also serves as a reminder to how much we've really have.

It also makes the nagging pain in my leg seem very inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. We have so much when others have so little. That seems to be very important – as does the call for us to share.

Won’t you please share and support me in my run? Click here to go to my Team World Vision page to give.

Thank you for your support and I’ll keep training, no amount of pain will stop my efforts to make a difference.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

87 cents

Don't take this the wrong way...I have been incredibly moved by the support that I received around my decision to run a half marathon in October. I received several very generous donations this week and I am so grateful for them, and for the good friends that made them.

In fact, it was how my friends' generosity moved me that led to a very meaningful, albeit much smaller, donation.

I was sharing with Angie how much it meant to me that Al, Jeff and Greg donated to Team World Vision on behalf of my running the race. As I told her how much it meant to me and how grateful I was for my friends, I hadn't noticed that Cassie left the room. I figured she had grown bored of our conversation and looked for something more exciting to do.

That was until she came back to me a little while later. She handed me eighty seven cents and said that she wanted my to take it for my fundraising. She said it was all she had, but that she thought the water projects were more important. I was speechless, but eventually tried to give her the money back, thanking her for her giving heart. She insisted...

So, I have an $0.87 cash donation from a nine year old girl with a very special heart. I can't stop thinking about the old woman who donates all she has to the temple, and how Jesus comments that she has given so much more than the rich who give with no sacrifice (Luke 21:1-5). Although all of the donations that I have received, and will receive, mean the world to me - there is a special place in my heart for the 87 cents sitting on my desk.

Would you please consider your own donation for this very worthy cause? Whether 87 cents, 87 dollars or 870 dollars, it would mean the world to me and would help with these very important water projects for those less fortunate. Click here to give.

And know this, any donation helps fuel my motivation and drive to train. As I took step after step during my five miles this morning, all I could think of was the good friends that have supported my and all those that will.

Thanks for your prayers and support.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

What The Hell Am I Thinking?

The organization World Vision has impacted my family in ways that we never imagined. We sponsor several children in Katito, Kenya though them. Dylan has gone to Bolivia on a World Vision study trip. The kids are very involved in 30-Hour Famine. I subscribe to and enjoy their weekly podcast. Even Cassie understands that they are doing amazing work and was incredibly moved by the "Step Into Africa" exhibit. All of the kids gave up some of their own Christmas presents and instead chose gifts through the gift catalogue to send to some needed place. World Vision has been a big part of our church for several years, and Dylan and I have often spoken about perhaps going on a mission trip to Katito - to help in any way we can, to see meet our sponsored children, and to bring back the message of the good work that is going on over there.

I've always told myself that once I get into shape, that I would pursue the trip.

Until then, I didn't think I could make a significant impact other than praying and by making our monthly sponsorship payment.

That was until last week. Springcreek Church is teaming up with Team World Vision to run the 13.1 Half Marathon in Dallas on October 22. The idea is that you commit to run, ask people to donate on your behalf, and then run. When I saw the video, it sounded like a great idea and something that I wanted to get behind...until I thought about what kind of shape I am in and the fact that I really can't run 13.1 minutes, let alone 13.1 miles.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I thought that this was an amazing opportunity that God was putting in front of opportunity to help those that have incredibly urgent needs and an opportunity to continue to work towards the fitness goals that I have set for myself. I've lost 35 pounds so far and spend several hours in the gym each week - but now I really have to pick of the pace. I am afraid that I won't be ready, but I also realize that I have 19 weeks to get this done. With the support of our church family, Angie and the kids (who may decide to commit to doing this themselves), and team World Vision, I pray that 13.1 won't kill me.

I will share my journey through this blog, and I ask you to consider helping me reach my financial goals. I am hoping to raise $200 per mile with the money going to World Vision. 13.1 miles times $200 per mile means I need to raise $2620.00. I would be most appreciative at any donation amount...$1 per mile ($13.10), $2 per mile ($26.20), $5 per mile ($65.50), or more....whatever you can afford would be so helpful.

If you can't help support this effort at this time, you can still help support this effort. Pray for my training, the training of the entire team, for the water projects that this money will go towards, and for the people of Kenya and Malawi that have such huge needs.

To visit my Team World Vision page, please click here.

Thanks for your support.