Monday, July 28, 2008

Longest Run of My Life

Well, yesterday I ran 15 miles. That is the farthest I've ever run in my life. I was very slow (a smidgen over 3 hours) but at least I finished. A couple of observations:

1. To get that kind of distance in a small town, you have to do some loops. For me this is much harder psychologically. Starting at my house, I basically ran two 7 mile loops with an extra one mile detour the first time. The whole first loop around I kept thinking "Ugh, I've got to do all this again." The plan I'm running has a couple of runs in the 20 to 22 mile range. I'll probably have to do three loops then.

2. If someone you know sees you running and then sees you still running an hour or two later, you get a really funny look.

3. Water is really important. My previous long run was 13 miles a couple of Sundays ago. While I was more sore physically yesterday, I wasn't as mentally fatigued or exhausted as I was then. I think this is attributable to drinking more water. Two weeks ago I went through two bottles of water while running. Yesterday, I went through four.

4. I don't care how good your shirt claims to be at wicking away sweat, there is a saturation point. For me on a muggy, humid South Carolina morning, that point is about two hours. The whole last hour I felt like I was wearing a wet rag. I tried to console myself by remembering that a regular cotton t-shirt probably would have been like that in about 30 minutes, but it still stunk. I also kept telling myself it has to be cooler and less humid in Washington, DC in late October.

Next weekend I drop back and run 8. But in two weeks I'm supposed to run 17. I'm already apprehensive now thinking about it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Running makes you do crazy things

As I've been gradually increasing my mileage, I've begun to notice the crazy things running has made me do. Take today, for example. The plan I'm following called for a 13 mile run this morning. Now some would say that the whole idea of getting up at 5:30 am to run 13 miles on a day when my wife and kids are out of town and I could have slept late is crazy in and of itself. And I couldn't really argue with that. But it gets worse.

I've been reading about the benefits of an ice bath after a long run to help reduce muscle soreness, so I decided to try it. So at one point this morning I found myself sitting in a bathtub full of ice drinking a big glass of my current favorite post run beverage chocolate milk. (For any of you that actually know me and know what I look like, I apologize for putting that mental image in your head.) I kept thinking if I have a heart attack, please let the ice melt before they find my body.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Chinese Martyrs

Deacon Greg Kandra has posted an excellent homily on the Chinese Martyrs over at his blog The Deacon's Bench. A short excerpt:
I didn’t really know
much about them until I was asked to preach this evening. But again,
as I read their stories, I found myself overwhelmed. The loss was so
great. But so was their courage. If you visit the Vatican website,
there are details about the 120 people who are counted among those martyrs we
remember tonight. Most of them died in the 19th century, persecuted during the Boxer Rebellion.
Reading about them, you’re struck by several things. First, are the ages. So
many were children. Three, four years old. One was ten
months old. Some were
teenagers, like 14-year-old Wang Anna…who refused to renounce her
faith. Moments before her death, she cried out: “The door of heaven
is open to all,” then whispered, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” Seconds later, she was
beheaded. So many of them were also lay people. Mothers and fathers,
even entire families. They were people like 18-year-old Chi Zhuzi, who became a
Catholic at 17, and was disowned by his family. He was eventually captured and
ordered to publicly worship idols. When he refused, they cut off his right arm.
He still refused, declaring: “Every piece of my flesh, every drop of my blood
will tell you that I am Christian.” He died by mutilation.

Here is my question: Why haven't I ever heard about this? I've gone to church on most Sundays of my life and (at least at most of the churches I've attended) we never discuss the stories of those who laid down their lives for the faith. I know I've said it before, but we Protestants are really missing something important by not discussing the Saints. It's like we have some sort of historical amnesia or something.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Courtesy of Netflix, I finally got around to seeing Bella. It was outstanding. A wonderfully original story and well acted as well. I just can't recommend it enough. Keep the hankies handy, however, because it's tearjerker.