Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving with Courage

This city, Colorado Springs, is my city! It is great to be back! Coming home is always an amazing feeling, and with each mile closer, the mountains grow larger. A sense of comfort comes over me, a sense of strength, as Pikes Peak is my Ebenezer. I have seen many friends, done so much, and ran many miles already this week, and it is only Thanksgiving! With this special day, I think of some of the people who have helped form me into the man I am today. Philippians 1:3 says, “I thank my God every time I remember you.” It has been such a long road to get to where I am now. So much hard work, so many dreams, and none of it would be possible without my faith that is reaffirmed by my amazing friends and family.

Last Saturday I won the Frosty 5K in Salina, so I decided to sit out the Briargate Turkey Trot today and just supported friends. Watching the race with Jenny Simpson I really enjoyed seeing Adam Rich, Kevin Morgan, Gerald Romero, and Shannon Payne all run well. Now, as a coach I am constantly watching races and not racing in them. Looking from the outside is so much different. The fans who have never run do not understand the courage necessary to push when everything in your body says to slow down. Giving all you have is not easy, and there is always self doubt. Anyone can stand on the side and cheer, but it takes true courage to race. Running has always been a metaphor for me and my life. As I watched the race go by today, I was having fun, but it is not the same as racing. With life, it is easy to sit on the side, cheer on others as they do what we may think is hard, or even impossible, but what is true is those who race are those who are not scared. Races and life rarely go how we plan, and fate rarely calls on us at a time of our choosing, but it is our courage to act, to live, and to conquer that makes us truly alive.

So, for those of you who are looking for motivation, or that perfect moment, STOP! It most likely already passed. Wake up and do something before you are so far behind that all you can do is look back and wonder. Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua1:9 That moment you are waiting for is NOW! Step out of your comfort zone, and live your life with courage because the Lord is with you Wherever you go. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Missing Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the NAIA cross country National Championship. I have raced it, coached it, and lived it. As the night grows short and morning approaches, I can’t help but think of the race and of the runners who I coached that will be there without me. I want to call each one of them up and tell them how much I miss them and how well I know they will do, but they are no longer my team. I am at Kansas Wesleyan, calling my future runners, letting them know that I know the way to Nationals, and that I plan to be there next year. I know my runners here gave everything they had this season, and I am very proud to be their coach while also being ready for the future. So, good luck to Justin Hill, Chris Scheideman, Cory Clark, Aaron Caldwell, Taylor Nall, Eric Larson, Vince Tadokoro, Ashley McBride, and Lauren Jaqua! Run smart, run fast, and trust your training. Also best of luck to Lauren Jimison. After watching her win in Indiana last May, I know she will win tomorrow and do so in a way that would glorify God. Good night and Good Luck! I will be praying for all of you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Throughout my college career, I was known as a "kicker." At regular season meets, I would pull my weight, but when a championship was on the line I would do what it took to win or qualify. Post college I have raced in many road races and triathlons, and several times I have worked with other athletes fighting the wind. However, today my "kick" was not enough to win after experiencing something I had thankfully never experienced before and hope to never again.
This morning I raced a half marathon on the hilly windy course at Shawnee Mission Park. From the start, a young man went immediately to my hip pocket, letting me fight the wind. After a few miles, I began asking him to help out as the head wind was beginning to burdon me. When he refused, I threw in a few accelerations to break him, but with no avail. At mile six, I said forget this and jogged a 6:42 mile. He still refused to pass. I asked him if money was on the line, but I already knew the answer was, "No." During miles 7-10, I ran four straight miles at 5:38 with him still behind me. Besides drafting, he was repeatedly stepping on my heels. At mile 10.5, I slowed in frustration, and he flew by with the tail wind. In anger I yelled the nickname Pre would have used from Without Limits for someone who would not run courageously.
At the finish he ended up beating me by nearly a minute as he jumped around like a super bowl champion. With the encouragement of a great friend Justin Hill, I had battled back and still ran 1:17.22. However, at the line I nearly lost it as he tried to congratulate me. There were unpleasantries exchanged, but having Justin there kept me from losing it. I refuse to acknowledge a victory that is not earned.
I am excited with how I did in the wind and hills in spite of getting stepped on. I was also very happy to see Kari Wagoner finish her first half marathon on a stress fracture. Seeing someone race a half on a stress fracture shows true courage and exemplifies what fun half marathons should be about as you push your own limits. The race director Ben Holmes put on a great race that was well organized and marked, on an absolutely beautiful course. He even apologized to me for the experience that I had with the other runner throughout the race.
So, to all my fellow runners out there, never sacrifice ethics to win. Give everything you have while having fun and stay off your competitors heels. While Pre has a name for runners like I faced today, I simply would advise you to "Race with class."