Aug 232008

Mini – Ironman Triathlon

Today was the 23rd annual triathlon at Coldwater Lake. The event consists of a 300 yard swim, 6 mile bike, and 3 mile run. I competed in this event a couple of times back in the 90s and now I am one of the organizers.

Another first for me today. I got to fire the starter’s pistol for the first time in my life to start today’s race! To some this may not seem like that big of a deal I suppose. But to me it is another first on a list that I always wanted to fulfill as a student-athlete 20 years ago. My first practice, first meet, first season, first state meet, etc.

Dear God, thank you so much for giving me these wonderful opportunities to give back to a sport that brought me much joy. Please help me to carry myself in a way that encourages and inspires my athletes and others.

Click here to see the 90-second promo for next year’s triathlon!

A Michigan upper peninsula stream can be fast, exciting, fun and especially, freezing! But I was proud of my whole family for taking the plunge. We visited the upper and lower Tahquamenon Falls, and Lake Superior at Whitefish Point. At Whitefish Point we toured the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and the light house.

What a tiring but wonderful day. We rowed the boat across to the island and walked to the set of falls that is only accessible by first going to the island. There weren’t very many people at those falls. Sara dragged me out into the raging water where I discovered that the rocks were not at all slippery and the current was fierce but manageable. At one point we were at the bottom of the falls and Sara led me through the falls so we were under the brink! It was very cool and a very special moment for the two of us to share. Tasha, Marena, and Sara also had a moment like that at a different level of the falls.

Thank you, God, for the awesome natural wonders you’ve graced us with. Only an awesome God could create the beauty of this world. And a loving and caring God allows me to feel the pleasure of being with my family in Your powerful outdoors. Please help me to remember this day when struggles come my way.

Aug 142008

Today we crossed the Mackinac Bridge for the first time as a family. Sara and Marena really enjoyed jockeying for the seat of their choice in the van for going across the bridge. One of them wanted to be close to the edge and the other wanted to try to look through the grid roadway to the water below. I drove OBSCENELY slow across the bridge while Tasha took shot after shot with the camera. I even took the view in from time to time.

I began to think about how important moments like this are for my family. Whether I like it or not, so many first times can also be the only time. It has been more than a dozen years since Tasha and I have been here. Disney was so expensive, it may not happen again for our family. There are other examples of times that were precious and I can’t guarantee will ever happen again.

God, please help my family to cooperate with one another. Help us to be patient with one another in spite of our quirkiness. I know I have my ‘social’ flaws. Please help me to be patient with the things I find challenging in my family members. Help me to love them no matter what. God, please help them to love me just the same – in spite of my weaknesses.

Aug 062008

Today I finished fifth out of 26 in a prediction 5k. That type of race is where I have to predict what my final time will be for a 5k run and then complete the run without the aid of a watch. I am positive this type of ‘competition’ was designed to keep the interest of old guys like me. Wink-wink.

We took the kids to the South Haven beach for one of their workouts. It was fun having an audience at the beach. People stared, gawked, shouted encouragement, it was cool.

Dear God, thank you for another wonderful day. Thank you for putting me in a place where I can influence these kids. Thank you for an intimate moment with me and three other kids on the fence in their walk with Christ. Thank you for giving me words that I know came from You that increased their interest in getting connected again with Your church.

Aug 052008

I had the opportunity to watch the movie Rudy with some of the kids. What a great movie about someone ordinary, doing something extraordinary, to find out they weren’t ordinary. I really liked the scene where Rudy is encouraged to stick out one more practice. Rudy had never been allowed to suit up for a game, he’d only been allowed to practice with the team as an extra – for many years! As a senior entering his final game, Rudy wasn’t going to go to practice when he found out he would never be allowed the opportunity to charge the field. But some timely encouragement from a trusted friend put him in a position to benefit from a series of events that eventually afforded him the opportunity to dress for the game, lead the charge on the field, play in two plays, and record a sack in a winning contest!

I was having some struggles today as I am implementing a plan to rebuild the CHS Cross-Country Teams to a championship level (not just ordinary). At one point I shared with my beautiful wife, Tasha, that I couldn’t find an exit strategy from my job (quit).  It was that bad for a little bit. But God has a way of putting us in the right place at the right time to receive the message He has for us. For me today, it was the encouragement to suit up for practice in spite of the challenge.

God, thank You for that walk in the woods today with Tasha. I know that you will find the extraordinary in what I believe today is ordinary. Please put the words in my mouth to communicate with my team. Help me to have strength to lead when times are difficult. Please help me. I give You the glory no matter the outcome. Amen.

Lotsa Variables

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Aug 042008

Aerobic. Anaerobic. Base. CT recovery. PPM on the roads. PPM in a race. LR = long run. LD = long day. Short Summit. Long Summit. Summit Mile. Lactic acid threshold. Oxygen delivery system.

I just finished a wonderful coaching session with long time friends Moses Castillo and Steve Long. Moses has 12 years experience in Fremont, Indiana. Steve has 10 years experience and is currently with Otsego, MI. Both programs celebrate histories of great success! (I take great pride in once being their leader on the cross-country team at CHS where we finished 2nd and 5th at state).

I am in what I hope is a transition period in my coaching career. There are some kids on my team that had the benefit of a 30 year veteran coach that is now retired. There are other kids on my team that are freshman and sophomore (and even middle schoolers) that are beginning to implement the philosophy that will hopefully insure I become a 30 year veteran coach!

It is so hard for the ‘winner’ personality I have to be patient in the transition. I’m sitting in a room listening to these two now very successful coaches tell stories of their wishes and buts. Of course, I can’t wait to get back to my room to record the successes and how they reached them.

I pray that God will give me the opportunity to reflect on the wishes and buts. I also pray that He will give me the opportunity to be in a room with a newer coach and inspire him/her to run back to their room to record the kernels of success that will lead this region, state, and country to a window of success in the sport of running. Whatever happens, all the glory goes to You!

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