Eye to the North

"Out of the North He comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty." Job 37:22

Night Running

Contest submisison #1
The next thing I am trying is a night run. Actually, an organized twilight 5Km race. The thought of running in the dark, through trails instead of on roads is exhilarating!
Night running is not new. As the days get shorter, I may extend my outdoor running into fall and the twilight hours. This will require some consideration to temperature and safety.
According to this study, running at night changes the way you run. When you cannot see the surface you are running on, you depend more on instinct to react to changing surfaces. When relying on instinct, it makes sense to wear a more minimal shoe, to feel the ground better. I like that!

Psalm 84

“Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere.”
David is not in God’s courts when he writes this. He starts the psalm ‘My soul yearns for the courts of the Lord.” and “Even the sparrow has found a home.”
We often sing this psalm joyously, but I think it is a lament. David’s “heart and flesh cry out for the living God.”
If this was written as a lament, is it right for us to turn it into praise? Can David’s lament be our praise? Should we be maintaining the intent of the author when we sing his psalms?

40 Days with Jesus

It has taken me many more than 40 days to read through the devotional booklet “40 Days with Jesus” by Sarah Young. My time with Jesus does not always include reading.
The last day’s reading has left me with many questions.

Psalm 139: 1-4
“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.”

God is with me always. He knows my thoughts and my attitudes. Sarah states “When My (God’s) Presence is the focal point of your consciousness, all the pieces of your life fall into place.”

Am I content with God being with me always?
Does it bring me joy to know that He knows my thoughts and my attitudes?
Do my thoughts and attitudes bring glory to God?
Is God’s presence the focus of my consciousness?

In all honesty, the answer to all of these questions is “no.”

So what am I going to do to change the focus of my life?
Do I want to change the focus of my life?

As a believer in God, my answer should be “yes.” As a sinner of this world, I fear the consequences of living a totally God-focused life.

On a recent mission trip, my son was challenged to find “God moments” is everyday life. Perhaps that is a good place for me to start.

Trail Running

Yesterday evening, my daughter wanted to go running. (nothing new there!) Since she craves variety, she suggested trail running. Running on the mountain bike trails in the local park.
We jogged to the park and started on the trails. I loved it! Running on single track dirt paths along the river bank was amazing! The running itself was easier than on pavement, as the ground was softer.
We went about 5 Km, but it hardly seemed like any time at all. Dodging tree branches, watching for roots, running up the bank, and avoiding mud puddles all required concentration, so I didn’t think about how far or how long I’d run.
I don’t know yet if I am ready for competitive trail running, as the races seem to be focused on endurance (think ultramarathon), but I know where to go if I do choose that route.

How Not to Panic in an Open Water Swim

triathlon swim
My experience in the try-a-tri swim portion was a little scary. Within 5 strokes, I took in water with my breath and had to stand to cough it out! Fortunately, I was still close enough to shore to touch the bottom. But that left me a little panicked, and I couldn’t get my breathing under control. Every few strokes, a wave would hit my face and I would struggle again. Instead of quitting, I turned on my back and spent some time to breath, before going back to front crawl. I actually spent a lot of time on my back, increasing my time in the water. So, here are a few things I learned:

1. Learn to Swim – properly
Proper swim technique gives you confidence. Plowing along in a pool works, because at the end of each lap is a chance to pause. That does not exist in open water. Once you start, you have to keep going. Breathing on both sides allows you to face out of the waves at least some of the time. If the waves were bigger than the 2 inches I faced, facing away from them to breath would have been critical.

2. Practice – in open water
You cannot really appreciate the difference between a pool and a lake until you get into the lake. I was aware of the difference, in theory, but did not take the opportunity to experience it until the day before the race. Reduce the panic by being familiar with the conditions.

3. Stay near the Back
Got this one covered! By swimming behind, you can follow. Sighting (seeing where you are supposed to swim) is harder in a lake than in a pool because there are no lines. Following a few other people allows you to stay on course without lifting your head too high to see where you are going. The danger with this is that you may get too far behind, or the person you are following may not stay on course. You still need to see the buoy, but not as often.

Of all of these lessons, the most important for me is to learn to swim properly. Perhaps swimming lessons should go on my list of “things to do”. Although my 13 year old thinks she has enough knowledge to teach me! I have no doubt she has the knowledge, but I’m not sure she has the ability to teach! This may be a learning experience for both of us!

I Made It – Once!

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I didn’t really think it would happen! A year ago when I started on this journey, I couldn’t run 1 block without stopping to walk. A month ago, I was still struggling to keep moving for an hour. And yesterday, I swam, biked, and ran (ok, walked too) for 1 hour 26 minutes to complete my first try-a-tri!
Even Saturday, I was feeling totally unprepared.
Until I actually entered the water, I wodered what I was doing, why I was doing it, and how crazy was I anyways? Once I started, it was easier to keep going than to stop, so I kept going! And now the accomplishment feels great, and my body is not even very sore, although still tired.
Will I do it again? I don’t know. I no longer need to prove to myself that it is possible. But, I could have done better! And there is the aspect of maintaining a level of fitness.
For now, I will bask in the glory!

One (More) A Day

It started with a relatively innocent comment from my youngest daughter. “Mom, I’m going to work on my arm strength this summer.”
That got me thinking about upper body strength and how it affects swimming. If I had more upper body strength, I could be a better swimmer! And if I worked on it with my daughter, I could be a better mother! Two birds with on stone!
So how do you build arm strength? Most research I found involved lifting weights. As I am not prepared to invest in a gym membership for my preteen, I looked further for things to do at home. Push-ups! The simplest, yet effective way to build upper body strength is the push up!
My daughter wasn’t enthusiastic, with memories of “how many can you do in a minute” gym class of just last week, so we decided to start slow. One push up today. Add one push up the next day. Add one more the next day. And on and on.
One push up was not impossible. Two became possible. We are now up to 10. Everyday, the last push up seems almost impossible, but the next day, one more is still do-able!
Start slow. Add slow. You hardly notice! We will see what difference 2 weeks of push ups makes in my swim on Sunday – at the Try-a-tri!

But it’s Such a Little Thing!

The Theory:
Fresh from the high of my first 5K race, and anticipating a small triathlon in 2 months, I decided to ramp up my training. Considering my dilemma of “fitting it in” (see a previous post), I thought I would run home from work. It’s only 7K. Maintaining the pace of the 5K run, should take about 50 min, about the same as my usual bus trip.
A few details to look after. I would need to change at work and carry my clothes and lunch kit home. No problem. Use a backpack.
The Reality:
My run very quickly turned into run-a-block-walk-a-block! 59 minutes total. What made the difference? Must be the backpack!
Of course, there is the difference between running in the morning and after work. And the wind was brisker than the previous run. But I’m going to blame the backpack, which weighed in at 6 pounds.
The Math:
Momentum = Kg x m/s
Using the formula, my momentum for 5K was 2.38 Kg-m/s. For 7K, it was 1.97 Kg-m/s. That is a 16% difference in momemtum for a 3.38% difference in weight.
The Conclusion:
If I continue to train with the backpack, I will FLY when I take it off for the race!

There’s Nothing Quite like a Finish Line

more spring training
This morning I entered my first race. A short 5K run. I entered this race to inspire me to continue training for the triathlon coming up in just over 2 months.
Running hasn’t been going well, as the snow refuses to melt, making outdoor running uncomfortable. However, I thought I was ready for this distance.
spring training
The morning dawned crisp and clear.-11 degrees Celsuis with just a bit of a north wind! What to wear was the first dilema! I opted for a hoodie and mittens, which turned out to be a good choice. 5K run

I was feeling not too bad about the whole thing, when I came to the last corner and saw the finish 200m ahead! You can train all you want, there is nothing quite like a finish line to give a last burst of energy to finish the run!
I’m glad I did this. Now I know I can!

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