Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Aaron's Rules

Nonrunner mustread too...

If you know me, then you know I offer propositional truth. Regularly. Even unsolicited. A buddy picked up on this habit in regard to running & began to say something like, "There's another of Aaron's Rules for Running." In his honor, I decided to record a few.
  1. The Unalienable Rule. We hold these truths to be self-evident that NOT all runners are created equal. We have the right to life, liberty & the pursuit of PRs, but we all do not possess the same physical abilities. So, inasmuch as we measure running by time, distance, calories, & other metrics, we must remember that we are not all created equal. Noncomparison is the first rule of happy, lifelong running.
  2. The Failure Rule. Failure to plan is a plan to fail. Have a training plan. Your plan may be determined by your personal fitness goals or preparing you for your next race. Have some variety & purpose to keep it fresh. This rule has a negative sounding name to remind you of its positive value.
  3. The Elephant Rule. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, states the cliche. Consistency is key for running success. If you are going to run a marathon for instance, then you need six months to a full year's training. You need a plan. Rule #2. Followed day after day, one bite at a time, to be properly prepared for the distance. Africans don't like to eat elephant. This is just a catchy phrase to remind us that consistent effort accomplishes much.
  4. The Nike Rule. Just do it! It rings true, that is why it's one of the greatest marketing slogans of all time. If you have the miles planned, the time, permissible weather, & no illness or injury preventing you from running, then just do it! If you make an excuse now, then you can make one later or some other aspect of life will crowd in. Rule #4 is the will behind Rule #3.
  5. The Mailman Rule. Don't be a sissy! Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet nor gloom of night get out there & run. The more challenging, the better. Running against the elements & proving yourself versus nature is one of the joys of running. Get out there with the right gear, however. Be sure to refer to Rule #7.
  6. The Hamster Rule. If you must, then get on the mill. Some folks like treadmills. Climate controlled, predictable, TV. Don't take my last rule with too much machismo--sometimes it's just smart to stay indoors. Just in case you need examples: ice; thunderstorms; temps or windchills below zero; tornadoes; hurricanes; etc.
  7. The Paine Rule. As in Thomas Paine, the author of Common Sense. If in doubt, use your common sense. Something hurts? Your body is telling you there is a problem! Slow down or stop. Ask for advice or assistance. Icy surfaces? Take care. A little fall could cost you a lot of running & cash too. Head-cold?As long as your congestion is from the neck-up you can run. Double-pneumonia? Don't even think about it!
  8. The .92 Rule. Yes, you read that right. It's 92/100th. It's less than one. But it is a BIG one to obey. In short it can be interpreted as: know where you are going; follow the map; don't follow the guy in front of you; don't get lost. Benefit from my experience & have a laugh too.
  9. The Shrink Rule. Sweat equals sanity. There may never be a need for a psychiatrist or counselor in the life of a runner as long as we can get out & run. We are creatures of habit & familiarity of the miles provides a sanctuary to process life with no shrink or couch needed.
  10. The 12:11 Rule. Avowed nonrunners like to point out that runners don't look too comfortable while running. This is true, but you also hear us gush in runese & refer to Runner's World as if it were the Bible. Hebrews 12:11 of THE Bible states, "At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it is the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God." Running takes discipline, but it pays off.
  11. The Together Rule. Some of us like the solitude & others like a group, but I'd encourage every runner to run with others from time to time. Just remember Rule #1, slow down or speed up as needed, & have fun along the way. Running together has lots of great benefits. Encouragement, learning, companionship, & accountability are just a few. We are better together.
Did you notice how all these rules apply for the race of life too?

You might want to reread my rules replacing run/running with live/living.

Run on!

Live on!

(NOTES: 1. The above photo was taken after running 7 miles at 3 degrees on 12/16/08. It was awesome! And, yes, that is sweat-ice sparkling on my cap & eyebrows! 2. PR = Personal Record. Some of that runese language.)


Have you ever reached the end of your rope? Strength gone.

Have you had it with another person? Chances exhausted.

Have your dreams fallen apart? Wreckage complete.

Have you ever failed greatly? Fixes unworkable.

Have you lost hope? Disappointment much.

Have you said, "I'm Done"? Just Done.

Let me offer a thought as a fellow traveler who has been to Done before: It's okay. Stop. Pray. Invite God in. Ask for some strength. Some rest. Some patience. Some wisdom. Some hope. Some whatever you need.

Done is okay. For a moment or a day.

Done is okay.

"God is attracted to weakness. He can't resit those who humbly & honestly admit how desperately they need him. Our weakness, in fact, makes room for his power," writes Jim Cymbala.

I don't know about the rest of you who like to drive your own lives, but when I get to Done I get desperate. And desperate. When it humbles me. When I sober up to the reality of my much limited humanness. When I honestly admit my infinite weakness. When I recognize that my map was wrong. When I turn to Sovereign God. That is not a bad thing. He can do great, immeasurable, unsearchable, abundant things.

God will meet you at Done.

Hand Him the keys.

He will take it from there.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Eye Keem

- No. No. No! No buy shoes. Eye keem. Stated my emphatic toddler.

Elementary school open house tonight. School starts Wednesday. My little princess will be a kindergartner. That's a whole other post... My big boy goes to third grade. I'm feeling old now. That's another post too... So, Melanie had floated the idea on the way there, "Anyone want to get ice cream after we go to school?" You can guess the response.

School was filled with people. Friends. Neighbors. Teachers. The new year ahead like the new kindergarten wing with everything bright, shiny & smelling of paint & clean carpet. There was some tugging of parents down the hall. Some calling of kids back to the family fold through the crowd. Yet, surprisingly no begging for ice cream.

Back in the car. One family member had his face firmly set.

- You guys wanna go to Zesto? Mama asks.

- No Zehtoh. Eye keem.

- John Mark, Zesto is where we get the ice cream.

- No Zehtoh, Mama. Eye keem!

- John Mark, we go to Zesto to get ice cream.

- Eye keem. Ah wahn eye keem. No Zehtoh.

- Okay, John Mark, we'll get ice cream.

Satisfied with no mention of Zesto & only ice cream we motored along talking about other things. Until. Melanie noticed a good, old - stress old, folks - pair of shoes she was wearing had an all the sudden hole in the long faithful leather. I said, "We gotta go buy Mama a new pair of shoes." You've already read the response that received.

- No. No. No! No buy shoes. Eye keem.

John Mark wanted to hear nothing but eye keem. Talk nothing but eye keem. Go nowhere but eye keem. He was not ugly or pitching a fit. He was kindly insistent with precious pronunciation.

I had to wonder. Even though I know that I can not change God's mind. He desires my faith. He is loving. He will give good gifts so much more. He answers my persistence. Can I pray? Can I act? Can I be as single-minded & persistent as my young son? About things that really matter? About following Jesus? Loving my family? Serving my church?

Zesto was closed. Broken machine sign said. McDonald's for eye keem.

Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:9-11 (italics added)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

All the Way

  1. Fanny J. Crosby wrote these words in 1875 after receiving the answer to a specific prayer. She was in despreate need of five dollars & had no idea where to obtain it. She followed her habit & began to pray. In minutes a stranger arrived at her door with the exact amount.

  2. Mrs. Crosby, blind since infancy, was keenly aware of the need for guidance amidst a life of stumbling uncertainty. What if I recognized my blindness & trusted my Savior's guidance?

  3. All the way my Savior leads me,
    What have I to ask beside?
    Can I doubt His tender mercy,
    Who through life has been my Guide?
    Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
    Here by faith in Him to dwell!
    For I know, whate’er befall me,
    Jesus doeth all things well;
    For I know, whate’er befall me,
    Jesus doeth all things well.

What have I allowed Jesus to do for me?
  1. All the way my Savior leads me,
    Cheers each winding path I tread,
    Gives me grace for every trial,
    Feeds me with the living Bread.
    Though my weary steps may falter
    And my soul athirst may be,
    Gushing from the Rock before me,
    Lo! A spring of joy I see;
    Gushing from the Rock before me,
    Lo! A spring of joy I see.

How have I experienced such joy?
  1. All the way my Savior leads me,
    Oh, the fullness of His love!
    Perfect rest to me is promised
    In my Father’s house above.
    When my spirit, clothed immortal,
    Wings its flight to realms of day
    This my song through endless ages:
    Jesus led me all the way;
    This my song through endless ages:
    Jesus led me all the way.

Where have I followed myself & not my Savior?