Friday, March 25, 2011

"Speaking" to Others

"Be still, and know that I am God."  This verse comes from Psalm 46:10, and is easily my favorite verse of the Bible.  There is peace in those eight words, and amazing perspective.  Many times in my life I have felt like things are spinning out of control, most-likely because I am trying too hard to control them.  But this verse reels me back into reality, and helps me find a little serenity.  I'm not a Bible know-it-all by any stretch.  In fact, truth be told, I had to do a Google search to figure out in which book this verse lives.  I don't have a verse for every situation, and frankly, I don't want one.

I don't want, or even need, that much Biblical knowledge because I have discovered that most verses really don't satisfy me the way some say they should.  And I believe the reason is because that's not how I hear.  I have my one favorite verse, as I mentioned, and I don't really need much else.  I "hear" more through my eyes than anything.  I'd rather witness a sunset, or watch a thunderstorm, or share a few laughs with my wife, kids, and friends rather than hear or read Bible verses.  Living life and savoring the God-given moments do more for me.  To those who find comfort in the Bible, hey, more power to you.  We're all different.

A discussion with my sister-in-law ensued over the weekend that inspired this post.  Kristin is full of love and compassion, and has lived through some life situations which would have forced many of us to fold.  She seems to find her comfort in the Bible, and in her faith.  Her knowledge of the Bible is phenomenal, and her faith unmatched.  She draws on her life situations and her relationship with God in her attempts to comfort those who are struggling with their own issues.  Her intentions are nothing short of pure.

Unfortunately, she's experienced some less-than-desirable outcomes from those whom she's tried to comfort. Which leads me to wonder if maybe she's just trying too hard?  I get the feeling that on average, people really don't want to hear about God when they are down or when they are struggling or when we think they need to hear about God.  It really seems to drive them away more often than not.  I don't know why - maybe it's because we're human and we are looking for an immediate fix to our problems, and God doesn't always work that way.  In fact, God seldom works that way, I'd say.

I don't have all the answers, or solutions, and I may be wrong here, but maybe it's better that we lead quietly and by example.  We can comfort others if we can find a way to speak to them in which they'll actually hear, but if we can't, maybe just listening to them, loving them, and being someone they can look up to from time-to-time is enough.  Seems better than driving them away with something they aren't willing to digest.

"Be still, and know that I am God."  Seems like the big guy is saying, "Hey, I got this one.  I've been doing this a long time, so just let me handle it in my way."


Friday, March 18, 2011

Resurrecting the Blog

April 29th, 2009.  That is the date of my last post on Biotikology.  I've just spent some time going back through some of my old posts, and have come to realize how much I miss writing and sharing my thoughts through this forum.  Even more so, I miss reflecting on the thoughts of others.  I have tinkered with the idea of just writing on facebook, but for various reasons, I'm leaning in the direction of resurrecting this old blog.  I have also discovered (I think) that I can share this blog on facebook each time I write a new post.  I've probably lost many of the followers of this old blog, but I hope to find them again, as well as maybe some new ones.

So that's my general randomness for today.  Nothing special.  I'll have more in the days and weeks to come, and as life continues to unfold.  I'm back.........

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Training: Evolution

It has taken me awhile to find the courage to write this particular post, mostly because I have spent the last couple of weeks wrestling with disappointment and frustration. If you weren't already aware, I injured my Achilles tendon during a training run several days ago and have worked diligently to condition it back to the point of being able to handle long runs, and ultimately, the marathon. Both my physical therapist and I thought we were making good progress with the aggressive treatment, but I attempted another long run about a week after the original injury, and only made it about five miles before having to walk again. To make a long story short, I never had another opportunity to get a long run in again before needing to wind down for the marathon, which is this Sunday. It became painfully evident that this particular marathon was not in my future, so I made the difficult decision of bowing out.

As mentioned, the entire chain of events is disappointing as the ultimate goal will not be reached. At least not this time. At first, I stewed and fretted, fretted and stewed over all of the hard work I had put in that was now being flushed down the toilet. Weeks and weeks of running in the bitter cold, snow, wind, and rain just to make sure all of the training miles were achieved. And nothing to show for it. But, once I pulled my head out of my you-know-what, I began to realize just how much I can take away from this entire experience. Here's just the beginning of the list:

  • I have kick-started my weight-loss once again, and am down nearly twenty pounds since beginning the training in January. I will see to it that this continues, which will only help my efforts should I decide to run a marathon again.
  • I have physically done more than I ever thought possible.
  • I have discovered how much the physical body, when pushed, will succumb to the brains mental toughness.
  • While it might sound cheesy, I have learned that I can do whatever I want if only I will give myself the proper chance and effort.

What I am most proud of, though, is the inspiration I have provided to others through my efforts. Two of my coworkers followed my lead and began training several weeks ago to run the half-marathon. And, when my brother learned that I had made the decision to tackle the marathon, he chose to train and run with me. While I am saddened that we will not be running together on Sunday, I am incredibly proud of him and I will be at the starting line to cheer him on, and at the finish line to welcome him home.

As you can see, I have chosen to focus on what I have taken from this experience instead of what I haven't. I am a better person for it, I believe, and I will continue to push forward and consider another marathon in the future. Thanks to all who have supported me with their words, thoughts, and prayers! I know I wouldn't have made it as far as I did without you. And finally, to my dear brother Chris: Godspeed on your journey in a few days! I love you, and can't wait to watch you cross the finish line!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Training: Hope

There is hope for my chances of running the marathon, and thankfully, lots of it. As mentioned in my last post, I headed to the doctor on Tuesday afternoon for an assessment of my injured Achilles tendon. By the time I got there, I wasn't so much worried about the pain, as there was just a lingering dull ache. Nothing excruciating. However, there was definitely an odd feeling to the tendon as it sort of felt like bubble wrap underneath my skin when I flexed it. I know, a terrible description, but I'm not entirely sure how else to describe it.

The doctor said I had definitely tweaked it, and the weird feeling was from fluid buildup around the tendon. He told me I needed to back off the miles I was running, to which I argued that I was training for the marathon and couldn't much afford to back off. And then the doctor pretty much put the fear of God into me by telling me what I had to look forward to should I rupture the tendon by pushing too hard. Surgery, rehab, and out for six-to-twelve months. And even that would not guarantee I would get the tendon back to it's original strength. Okay, backing off.

I was prescribed some anti-inflammatory pills and a couple of weeks of aggressive physical therapy, meaning the doctor wasn't completely ruling out the possibility of still running the marathon. I had my first round of therapy this morning, and am very much encouraged by the prognosis. The therapist indicated he thought I would be able to go through with it, as long as the tendon responds well. He wants to see me again tomorrow morning, and then on Monday and Wednesday of next week. While I do have to back off the mileage, he thought I should be able to get back to a long run my mid-week next week. Again, all of this assuming that I respond well to the therapy.

So, I'm keeping my hopes up and my fingers crossed, and continuing to pray about it all. While I will have to do some reconfiguring of my training schedule, I really think I'll be able to get back to proper shape before the marathon, and can be successful at it. To all of you who have supported, encouraged, prayed for, and sent positive thoughts my way - THANK YOU!! It has meant so much to me, and has helped me to keep my head up and continue to press forward. I know I would not be where I am in the training without your help. I will continue to keep you updated as to how things progress from here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Training: Gulp!

First of all, yes, I am still amongst the living. I know it's been way too long since the last time I posted and honestly, I feel horrible about it. I had intended on journaling via my blog throughout my training, but have been lax about it. I won't make any excuses, not because I don't have them, but rather because I don't want to bore you.

To catch up with training, the last few weeks have been a bit rough. The shorter runs are fantastic, but the long run of the week has proven to be a challenge. I have been continually frustrated by the longer distances, and while I would like to blame it on the weather, if I'm being honest with myself, it's probably more of a lack of mental toughness. And now, fast-forward to yesterday.

Yesterday was my long run of the week, which was 18 miles. That is the longest distance I will run before the marathon itself, I and I'm scheduled to run that distance three times before tapering off and beginning final preparations. After the last few weeks, yesterday's 18 miles intimidated the heck out of me. But I spent some extra moments of silence and quiet reflection before beginning the run. I talked to God, prayed, and really dug down deep in terms of why I had begun this adventure in the first place. In terms of weather yesterday, it was incredibly windy and cold. 30-35 mph gusts of wind greeted me as I began. Nevertheless, as I set out on the run, it was shaping up to be one of the best runs I've had. I felt strong, my legs were churning right along, and my entire body felt more in sync and physically able than ever before. I had a smile on my face as I completed mile after mile with little problem.

And then the unthinkable happened. With about six miles left, I felt an unfamiliar, and undesirable pull in my left Achilles tendon, and then the pain set in. It crippled me enough that I could no longer run, and could walk only with a limp. I cannot describe the discouragement I felt as I was forced to walk the remaining six miles. All the weeks and days of training, and all of the effort I've put into preparing for the marathon ran through my head. The possibility of having to miss the crowning achievement brought me to tears.

So today, I wait. I am scheduled to see the doctor this afternoon and will know more after that appointment. In the meantime, I am praying and hoping for the best, but admittedly fearing the worst.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Training: Half-Way There!

Today marked the end of my eighth week of marathon training, which means I am halfway through the program. I ran a tough 14 miles today to cap the week, and am really feeling it right now. Sore knees, sore ankles, sore feet. Fortunately, my wife blessed me with a massage gift certificate for my birthday. Think I'll be using that this week!

At any rate, the best part of today's run was when I achieved what the book refers to as "flow." The authors go pretty in-depth in explaining flow, but suffice it to say that it's a state of the mind when nearly everything seems effortless. Athletes often experience flow, and according to the book, many have mastered the ability to create it on demand, as opposed to waiting for it to appear by chance. I worked pretty hard on achieving flow today, and for about three miles I believe I found it. It takes some effort, and lots of mental mastery as a person really needs to be able to shut out everything else going on around him/her. Not the easiest thing to accomplish, but when I did get there, those three miles went very fast and were easily the best part of my run.

I will work dutifully this week in achieving flow quicker and using it more as the runs continue to get longer and longer. And as always, at the end of another training week, I am thankful for the aches and pains as they signify that my body is repairing, recovering, and that I have my physical health.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Training: Catching Up

It's been a whirlwind of a couple weeks and I have lagged severely in keeping up-to-date on my marathon training efforts. In fact, I was actually surprised to learn that I hadn't mentioned anything since after week #4 of the training, and here I am beginning week #8 already. I won't bore you too much with all the details, but suffice it to say that I am still in the game, and feeling better about my efforts now than I have since I began. Last week was particularly rough, as the long run was 11 miles and it was very grueling. I felt like I walked more than I ran, and ended up very discouraged. The book I'm using talks a lot about the mental aspect, and includes testimonials from folks who have been through the training in the past. Several of those testimonials seemed to coincide with exactly what I was experiencing after last Sunday. Several mentioned their bodies being worn down, and their inability to finish a run without walking. In so much as I was discouraged after my tough run, I was encouraged to learn I wasn't alone, if that makes any sense.

That was all week #6. Week #7 was much kinder, and I found myself really pushing my pace on the shorter runs of the week, and having some success with it. Finally, this last Sunday was a twelve mile run to end the week. Was I nervous? Absolutely. In fact, I was flat scared. But I'll be darned if I didn't finish that twelve miles feeling the best yet. Sure, my legs were dog tired and felt like rubber, but I still had the mental and physical stamina to finish the run. So, I'm pretty much feeling on top of the world at this point, and as I begin the eighth week of the program. I've racked up a total of 138 miles since I began the training, and will be half-way home at the end of this week with a total of 166 miles.

As I celebrate my 37th birthday today, I am so glad to have made the decision to follow through with this training. I have already said I probably won't do another marathon, as the training takes a lot of time. But, I have definitely found a new appreciation for running and what it has done for my body both mentally and physically. And, I've learned that despite my age, I'm really not too old to continue to challenge myself. Us silly humans really can do anything we decide to put our minds to, of that I am convinced. Heck, I'm proving it!