Monday, July 13, 2015

M-Cubed for 7.13.2015

M-Cubed (Monday Morning Musings) for July Thirteenth, Two-Thousand Fifteen...a random smattering of thoughts that end up here on Monday morning.

- I don't mean to be a downer, but summer is essentially 1/2 over...especially if you're one with kids. July 15th just feels like the middle...with schools letting out around June 1st and most back to the grind by the end of August. Can't believe we'll have a high schooler!

- It was a great running weekend where I didn't run much except for yesterday's sunrise 10K. The most popular 50K trail race was a mud-fest on Saturday in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park...the Buckeye Trail 50K. I've done the BT50K more than any other 50K but highly doubt I'll return anytime soon. Still, it's a classic and extremely well done. Another cool running story was by famous ultra-runner, Scott Jurek, who broke the Appalachian Trail thru-hike record by 3 hours. He started at Springer Mountain in Georgia and 46 days, 8 hours (and change) later, he finished in Maine, breaking the 4-year old record held by a woman. The AT is almost 2200 miles long! I actually met Scott 3 years ago when we were on vacation in Washington, D.C. His new book was out (Eat and Run) and he was doing a group run at a nearby running store. I showed up for the run, got my photo taken with him and he signed my copy of his book. Check out my Instagram feed (link on sidebar) for that photo that I posted last night.

- Did you know the Tour de France is well underway...9 stages in? Yea...me neither. If not for that trending feed on Facebook...

- Yesterday, I headed out on my favorite 10K loop and made the mistake of running through a patch of woods...holy horseflies!!!! I got attacked like never before. On the way back, I recalled a photo I took last year sans shirt. I have always been uncomfortable shedding my shirt in public but after distance running for 17 years and last year averaging over 200 miles a month yet never changing physically "up top," I posted the unimpressive "runner fat" photo. It was a photo that garnered lots of comments of support and "likes" in social media. Ultra marathon after ultra marathon, a good diet, and tons of miles...yet I never changed from the waist up. That photo is on the left below. Yesterday, I took the photo on the right at the exact same location...one year later. The irony here is that I don't even run 50 miles a month now yet that "runner fat" upper body is gone. So is about 3 inches around my waist and only about 5 pounds on the scale. I've also lost a lot of that long endurance running conditioning because I haven't been doing it. I knew that would happen. BUT, a lot of that endurance conditioning has spilled into the CrossFit gym and helped me do really well in some shorter races like that July 4th 5K race where I took 1st place in my age group. Regardless, I'm happy where I am now and posted this along with this photo yesterday: "Overall, happy not primarily of the physical change but because I'm happy doing what brings joy today and that I share the journey with my wife. Running was a solo journey whereas we travel this path together. 42 years old may qualify me as a masters athlete and the young guns may crush me in the gym but as long as I give my all, keep my attitude good and I see small baby steps of progress, it just makes the rest of life and the things that really matter (family life/marriage) all the more enjoyable."


- Oh, baby girl...we do love you! I took this photo a few days back but will spare you the "ugly" photos from yesterday. I was sitting at my computer, trying to track Scott Jurek finishing the AT and all of a sudden, all I heard was a "splat!" I looked to my right and Bristol lost her stomach across the corner of the couch and all over the carpet...and it smelled BAD! I didn't scold her but moved her outside quickly and she lost it 3 more times. The cleanup began and wow, it was awful. I eventually let her back in and she cowered behind the furniture thinking I was mad at her...I wasn't! While below a chair in the living room, she left me puddle #5. Good grief! A little bit later, everyone got home, Bristol chugged some water, and lost it again in a massive way...behind more furniture. The smell was even worse. So for the rest of the night, water/food was limited and she crashed hard. She made it through the night and is currently snoring right here next to me...curled up tight. Food and water are out but she's chosen not to touch anything. We're not sure what she ate that upset her but whatever it was...was violent! Ugh....poor baby girl.

- We had a really good message delivered by our pastor yesterday at church. He's been working through a series on the book of Acts. Yesterday, he found himself in Acts 19 and was telling the story of the Jewish exorcists, commonly known as the Sons of Sceva. I had never heard this story before. Basically, they traveled around doing exorcisms of evil spirits but did them in the name of Jesus who Paul believed in...not the Jesus THEY believed in. It was a story of authenticity and being REAL. What happened was that the evil spirits said (in my own words): "I know who Paul is...I know who Jesus is...but who are you? You're nothing." The sons were taken over, wounded and fled naked. The moral of the story is being real with who you are. These sons were faking it and when true evil faced them, they had no prayer...they had no advocate. They were a fraud. As someone who has faced evil directly, I can't tell you how thankful I am to have the One advocate on my side that matters...and that no matter what happens and how alone I ended up when the crap hits the fan...I'm not alone. These days, especially in America, "Christians'" true colors are showing as so many give in to popular culture to avoid persecution vs. standing strong in what they believe and stand for. They are standing on their own strength and when the evil arrives (and it will), who is going to intercede for them/you? We certainly can't do it alone. (If you want to read this section, look up Acts 19, starting in verse 11.)

- I mentioned several weeks ago that I was volunteering for a program with the local Summa Hospital System in their "Veteran to Veteran" program within hospice. For someone in hospice, they are typically terminal. For this program, a veteran will visit the patient, in uniform, and present them with a certificate, thanking them for their service and "pin" them with a flag pin. Many of these patients are the ones who came before me from the Vietnam era, Korean War, World War II, etc. Well, I finally got to go on my first pinning on Friday where I met a Vietnam era Marine. He even had the regulation and most-recognizable Marine haircut. His apartment was easy to find, too, as Old Glory was waving outside along with a Marine Corps flag. I got to hear his stories, shake his hand along with his wife, and thank him for serving his country. I'm looking forward to this...especially for these Vietnam era veterans. It was a very different country back then when it came to the military and for many, very very bitter. I consider it an honor to thank them for their service and hear their stories...it may be the first time for them!

- I shared my thoughts back on June 22nd about taking down the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina capitol. I fully supported that action. Well, that became reality last week as a bill was passed and it came down at 10am on Friday. It represents nothing good today and it's place is best in the museum of history.

- Can you believe it? I'm going to spare you CrossFit talk this week. No workouts, no anything. Things are going well, though. Small baby steps at a great gym with great people. More to follow later.

- To close out today, it's fitting to quote Scott Jurek from his book, "Eat and Run." Have a great week, everyone!

“We all lose sometimes. We fail to get what we want. Friends and loved ones leave. We make a decision we regret. We try our hardest and come up short. It's not the losing that defines us. It's how we lose. It's what we do afterward.”

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