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Bruised Not Beaten: A Berlin Retrospective

Just over a year ago, my sister Tracy (@running4twv) and I announced our entry into the 2019 Berlin Marathon. And last Sunday marked the 6 month anniversary of the race itself. It seems somehow impossibly distant and remarkably recent at the same time. And, aside from writing a letter to my supporters at the end of the year, I have really taken very little time to reflect on the experience. Probably to an unhealthy degree. Because if I'm honest with myself, Berlin nearly got the best of me.
That's hard for me to grapple with. I had a great training season. The Summer was mild, I wasn't really pushing for a pace goal - instead I was really enjoying running with friends and family. And yet, my long runs continued to improve and I was feeling great! For the first time since I started running, I got into the rhythm of hitting negative splits, sometimes managing to put in a final 2-3 miles that would get me winded in a 10k. I found that I really enjoyed the feeling of keeping s…
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Community of the Heart

12 days. 12 days and I'll be recovering from my 3rd marathon in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate in Central Berlin. This will probably be my last post until then, but I felt like I had something I needed to say.
This past weekend I hosted an event with my friend and World Vision running buddy, Al Prete, at a local venue called Exit Strategy. We worked hard to create a welcoming space with fun activities and an energetic atmosphere. But all the planning would have been a huge waste of time without people showing up - people saying "We care about you, what you're doing, and what you represent." And they did show up. We were blessed with a great turnout. And as I moved about the crowd, I was struck by the array of groups represented there, all coming together to make up my Community.
But my Community doesn't end there. It used to, and not all that long ago. When I first started running for World Vision, I came to realize that my life priorities had tightened into …

It Starts with a Spark

How much power is in a spark?
There are many, many things that you can Google and get the answer you need within seconds, but I had to do a ridiculous amount of searching and math to get a halfway respectable answer to this question. But let's err on the high end and say that a particularly large and hot steel spark can represent up to 11 joules of energy. It just so happens that 11 joules could power an energy-efficient 10 watt LED light bulb (a typical lamp) for just over 1 second, if I did my math correctly.* There's nothing terribly powerful about turning on a lamp for 1 second. Not much can be done in the darkness with 1 second of lamp light.

But in 2018, a rancher in California hammering a metal stake struck a single blow that produced a single spark that ignited a patch of grass that spread to a tree that spread to a forest and became the largest wildfire in California history. By the end, this fire had burned for over 100 days and covered 640 square miles. And (here&#…

When We Struggle

I think probably one of the most consistent factors in the experience of any runner, in fact of any biker, swimmer, or athlete of any sort, is the struggle. It's inevitable, a rite of passage, a fact of life - and you could probably make the case that an athlete who never struggles probably isn't doing something right.

[Quick aside - it took me a long time to accept the moniker of "runner," but eventually it becomes a little absurd for someone who runs more days than they don't run to keep claiming they aren't a runner. But I still don't consider myself an athlete; I use the term here loosely.]

The past couple of weeks I have been struggling more than usual. I hit a perfect storm at the beginning of July: a family vacation (with all the overeating, overexerting, and under-sleeping that goes along with it), the first real heat of the Summer, and the steady strain of increased training miles. What's more, I have been plagued lately by blisters, nagging h…

Why Child Sponsorship?

It's probably fairly safe to say that if you've gotten so far as to open my blog, you likely have an idea of why Child Sponsorship is important. You may know some of the facts, or you're just generally aware of the vast disparities in quality of life around the globe.  You may even have some internal gnawing that nudges you toward action. If that's the case, then I don't need to tell you the statistics and logistics of Child Sponsorship. I don't need to tell you why you should sponsor a child.
What I do feel an need to share is why my family has chosen to sponsor children. I make this distinction because Child Sponsorship is a commitment that people often enter into for very personal and important reasons. Though the what and the how are similar, the why is unique to you. And to us.
At the core, my wife and I sponsor two little boys, Victor and Omar, because we couldn't justify reserving the blessings in our lives for ourselves. 
When our first son was sti…

My Battle Cry

In July 2017 I wrote my last post about running. I wrote of Goals and of Cost, of Declaration and Revolution. In the intervening months I carried a 40 lb jerrycan of water through the Global 6k for Water in Chicago. I trained for and ran my second Chicago Marathon, propelled onward by an overwhelming crowd of supporters. I welcomed my wife across her first marathon finish line, followed by my sister Tracy. But most importantly, with your help we raised over $10,000 for clean water - that's over 200 lives changed forever by a humble gift of $50, to bring them access to a clean, fresh well and end the cycle of hauling surface water carrying parasites and disease and risk of death. Those 200 lives were well worth every mile. But there's more to fight for.
Then came a season of recovery. Many of you haven't heard from me for over a year, because I didn't run a Marathon last year. But that doesn't mean I stopped moving. During the cool early months of 2018, I met weekl…