Wednesday, August 22, 2007

It's Still Greek to Me

After a semester hiatus, I'm back in the classroom at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where I'm taking Intro to Biblical Greek this semester. Actually, I'm retaking Intro to Biblical Greek this semester. I took this same class with the same professor on the same night of the week at the same time slot a year ago, and struggled through it. I figured I needed a refresher before jumping into the second semester of Greek, so I decided to audit the intro class this semester.

Although I was fascinated by the Greek language and had an excellent professor in Dr. David Black, I struggled to grasp some of the nuances of the language in my first attempt at Greek and consequently felt like I was treading water just to stay afloat in the class. By God's grace, however, I'm determining to work diligently and master the concepts this go round so I can use all kinds of impressive jargon in talking about Greek words like aorist passive imperative.

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 19, 2007

No Rest for the Wounded

Despite the lingering soreness from yesterday's fall in the Ramble Trail 8K, I had to get out the door this morning for my weekly long run. With the Chicago Marathon seven weeks away, I'm entering the peak portion of my training program in which the distances of my weekly long runs build to the 20-mile mark. This morning, I went 16.1 miles in 2 hours, 45 minutes for an average pace of 10:14 per mile. In two weeks, I'll go 18 miles. In four I'll go 20. Then it's a three-week taper before heading to the Windy City.

Labels: ,

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ramble Trail 8K Race Report

Prior to the start of this morning's Ramble Trail 8K in Troy, N.C., race director Tim Long offered a few words of advice for the trail running novices like myself. "Road runners be sure to pick your feet up a bit more than you're accustomed to, or you might fall."

This being my first trail race, I heeded Long's advice...but still fell. Hard. It could have been worse, however. After stumbling and losing my balance earlier, I nearly face planted in some gravel before catching myself. That would have been bad.

After thinking, 'OK. That's my close call with the fall," it happened about a half mile later and about halfway into the race -- I fell on a stretch of uneven, rocky and rooted terrain. I suffered a nasty gash on my palm, some scrapes on my knees, a swollen right knee and a bruised ego. After all, why did I have to fall while running alongside Sara Neumann, an attractive young lady from Charlotte who had befriended with some words of encouragement just before the fall? Oh well. Nothing hurt but my pride.

I'm proud to say, however, that despite the fall, I brushed myself off, pulled myself back together and rambled to the finish with a personal best 8K time of 39 minutes, 9 seconds, good enough for seventh overall and second in my age group. Following the race, a fellow runner who must have witnessed "the fall" approached me and said, "Good recovery." Those words pretty much summed the race up. As the ancient Chinese proverb says, "Failure is not falling down, but refusing to get up."

Complete Results: 2007 Ramble Trail 8K

Labels: ,

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Longest Mile

Driving four hours and 233.5 miles one way is a long way to go just to run a mile. But that's exactly what I did on Friday when I made the trip from Raleigh, N.C., to Blacksburg, Va. for the 26th annual Draper Mile road race.

Crazy? Probably so, but having run at least one road race per weekend since Memorial Day, I needed to find a race to keep my streak alive. There were a couple races closer by on Saturday, but obligations during the day would prevent me from running those. The Draper Mile was only other option I found.

I set out for Blacksburg around 7 a.m. and arrived just before 11 a.m. for the 6:40 p.m. race. So what did I do all the time before the race? The Draper Mile is actually part of the annual Steppin' Out arts and crafts street festival held every summer in downtown Blacksburg. So I spent the day checking out the vendors, listening to some music by area musicians and strolling around the campus of Virginia Tech.

While visiting the town and campus, I could not help but think back to the tragic events that took place there just four months before. I had the sense that the community, while trying to move forward, is still healing from the tragedy, and that an event like the Steppin' Out festival aided in that process by bringing people from the community together.

That reflective, yet forward-looking attitude was on display in the message "We are Virginia Tech" or "We are the Hokies: We Will Prevail" that appeared on signs, in storefronts and on T-shirts throughout the town. During the festival, the Lyric, downtown Blacksburg restored, 1930s era movie theater, showed a slideshow of the events of April 16, 2007.

On campus, a memorial to the 32 victims who died in the shootings that day is still present on the campus Drillfield in front of the main administrative building, just a short distance from Norris Hall, where the incident occurred. Thirty-two stones -- each marked with the name of a victim -- were arranged in a semi-circle. Flowers, Virginia Tech flags and other items left for the victims rested among the stones. A placard among the memorial indicated the university administration's plans to erect a permanent memorial to the victims on campus in the near future.

After seeing the memorial and reflecting on the tragedy, running was, in a way, therapeutic. How blessed I am to experience life when these lives were tragically cut short. How blessed I am with the ability to run when there are many who can't. I decided just before the start of the Draper Mile to run the race all out and treat it as a time trial of sorts. I could push it hard for a mile, I told myself.

Aided, no doubt, by a downhill course, I posted my fastest ever recorded mile time, finishing in just under six minutes with a time of 5 minutes, 58 seconds. Then I made the trip back to Raleigh.

Eight hours and more than 467 miles was a long way to travel for a 5 minute, 58 second run of just one mile, but it was worth every minute.

Labels: ,