Sunday, October 24, 2010

Having Some Fun

Yesterday was the Mid-States Classic, a meet made up of NAIA schools from Oklahoma to Nebraska, and Kansas to Missouri. I had planned to just be coaching at this meet, but the week leading up to this meet I was feeling hungry to race, to feel competitive, to see where my fitness was. I had not decided if I was going to run until that morning. I came prepared with my spikes and jersey, but it wasn’t until I walked up to check in Baker University and saw an old friend Jazz that I really decided to run. I had seen him run under 26 at OSU, and he encouraged me to have some fun in the race with him. It was then that I decided, "Why not?" Even though my training was far from 8k cross country style training and the week had not been a good lead up weak to race, I knew I had over 500miles of training since my last race, and it could be fun.
So the race began on a very windy morning in Winfield, KS. The first mile I ran right with my #2-#5 runners for Baker and my good friend Jazz. Jazz and I talked about running and just chit chatted for a mile catching up. The runners around us looked at us like we were out of our minds as they were racing, and we were just enjoying the run. After the mile, he decided to pick it up, and I looked around to my guys to see who I could help shield from the wind. On my right shoulder was a sophomore from Dallas, Texas, named Corey. He looked like he was ready to race, so I said let's do this, and he took off with me. I broke the wind for him through the next 4 miles, pushing him. When he would slow down, I would too and reaffirm to him that today was his day and the team needed him. I had so much fun talking to people as we ran and pushing Corey. When it came down to the sprint, I let my two top guys go on to the finish. I did not try and outkick them. I just yelled to FINISH, striding in myself at 27:01 for 8K and beating my friend Jazz. It was a disappointing time if that is all I look at, but the fact that Jazz, and my guys have run under 26 this year made me realize that if I had really raced on a nice fast course without wind I would have been far under 26 minutes. This was a huge confidence booster and a reaffirmation that I am on track to have a good half marathon in December in Florida. This had been my first cross country race since I left college nearly 2 years ago, and without a doubt my first cross race that I ran to glorify God and not myself. No pride was pushing me to kick in, no misunderstanding of what the race was for. I was running for God, having some fun along the way. What a great and fulfilling day!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


So many people search their whole lives for their calling, going to work each day dreading the day and wishing they had a purpose driven life. They ask themselves how they ended up on the path they are on right now. From a young age, I have had a passion for running. It was something that I enjoyed being around and participating in. While the idea of spending a weekend at a track meet may sound horrible to the majority of society, it sounds like an exciting weekend to me. Of course, I have my favorite races to watch, but I still enjoy the other events that are going on throughout the day. I have found happiness on my path in life so far, as a runner, and as a coach, along with my faith.

What I failed to realize for so long was that what I was doing was important. I truly feel God has called me to coach and to continue competing in running and in triathlon races. It had been troubling that I was not called to be a minister or have a beautiful voice to sing songs to God. I was failing to realize that my passion for running, my drive to use every ounce of strength that God has given me to test the limits of this body that he gave me, is actually my calling. For too long, I ran to please the crowd or to feed my own ego, but I now understand that I am running for God.

Training and working out by myself gets old; I think, "Why is no one here to watch me?" It is then that I realize that God is there, and he is the only one who needs to be there. Race day is important, but God enjoys my running as much on Monday as he does on race day. I am so blessed because he loves me. When I need motivation, God is always there believing in me. God has given me a drive to compete and to be the very best I can be. He also has given me two amazing parents who are always supportive of my training and coaching, and he has blessed me with fantastic sponsors who believe in me and my abilities. I am working on surrounding myself with people who believe in me, from my family to my friends, from my sponsors to my girlfriend. I want to be as much of a blessing to them as they are to me. Special thanks to Brooks for taking care of my feet and keeping me running! Thank you God for blessing me with this life in spite of my being unworthy.