Seeking God

This is not a post about running. 🙂 This is a cleaned up entry from my journal last week. I felt like I was supposed to share this, so I am – maybe someone else needed to hear the same thing.

Back at the beginning of January, I had scheduled a day this past week to be a personal retreat day spent in prayer and reflection – something I try to do a couple times a year. Typically what I do on those days (when it’s nice out) is go up to High Rock – it’s one of my favorite places to go, sit and read, pray, and then go back down to Pen Mar Park to sit and reflect. It’s where I met an Appalachian Trail through-hiker once who called himself “Voltron”, and said he preferred to hike barefoot. (I did not make a word of that up, by the way) I doubt he’d have wanted to be out hiking this day, though – it was not a nice day. It was cold, and on the way up the mountain it started to snow.

I thought to myself “why am I even going up here? It’s cold, it’s snowing, and it’s not like I am going to spend a lot of time sitting out in this stuff. why bother?” I decided to go up anyway… I guess because I’m stubborn. I just felt like I ought to. If nothing else, I figured, I could see the view, pray, and then go back. No sitting outside at Pen Mar to reflect this time, either way.

On the way up I was listening to the audio book of “Prayer” by Richard Foster, and as I drove past Pen Mar park, he was telling the story of how God once broke into his thought process unexpectedly but clearly and responded to him.

I laughed out loud, threw up my hand and said “I KNOW, RIGHT?” because twice I have had that same experience, and twice I knew that it was God… although to be fair, one of them I tried to talk myself out of it. It was the first time – sitting in the back of the sanctuary as Pastor Dick Wilson was walking up front to give the Sunday morning message.

A creative sophomore in college, the thought popped into my head “could you imagine me pastoring a church?” and I promptly smirked,  picturing myself walking up onto the stage with laser lights, pyrotechnics and an awesome entrance song playing in the background. I distinctly remember hearing God speak to me (no not audibly, but clear enough in my mind) “You know, I wasn’t joking.” As if to say that that thought was His, not mine. That was the first time that I had heard God calling me to ministry. Definitely not the last, but that was the very first and clearest.

The second was in college, either my Junior or Senior year, and I was walking across one of the parking lots at the University of Maryland. one early Saturday morning because I had a project to work on in the architecture studio. It was shortly after sunrise, and I just remember it being SO calm and peaceful that I smiled and said inwardly “I love you, God” as thanks as I walked. Again, in my mind, I distinctly remember ‘hearing’ “I love you, too.” clearly enough that I stopped walking for a minute before continuing on, thinking “what just happened here?”

The third was today.
I was going up to High rock to pray and seek God’s direction. Typically I am not one to assign meaning to every little thing that happens, but there are times that I feel it in my gut, and I think today was one. I got out of the truck thinking “oh, it’s going to be foggy, and God is going to be all like – ‘yeah, you know that it’s a beautiful scene but you can’t see all of it, just like you don’t know what’s going to happen. And just because you can’t see it right now, doesn’t mean it’s not good.’ ” (yes, I know I was putting words in God’s mouth – not smart – but it did seem like something He’d say.)

"Okay, fine Chris - here's your fog. :)"

“Okay, fine Chris – here’s your fog. :)”

I got up to the rock and it wasn’t near as foggy as I expected. The snow flurries had grown stronger, but it was decently clear. That surprised me, actually. I was sitting there on the rock praying and just looking around, and go figure – off to the far right in the distance, the mountain was obscured by fog. I chuckled. My God has a sense of humor, I know it. It was as though He was saying “okay, you and I both know that that message was true, so sure – let’s get the obvious out of the way.” That wasn’t where I heard him, though.

The snow was getting harder. It had actually begun to lay a little bit up on the mountain and I was sitting there thinking it odd – I didn’t even think they were calling for any snow today. As I watched the flakes, though, I noticed the wind was making them fly UP into the air, not falling down. “Oh wow!” I thought. “I’ve never seen that before!”

And it was just then that I felt God saying clearly and with a knowing smile on his face “Yeah, you like that, huh?”

Okay, not terribly insightful or deep and powerful words, maybe… but the implication to me right then was as if to say ‘You’re standing there watching the snow and you like this thing that you’ve never seen before. You haven’t even begun to see what I can do. You liked this small thing that was new to you, and it was good. I am doing a new thing, and it is going to be good too… so don’t worry, and trust me. and he pointed me to Isaiah 43:16-21

This is what God says,
   the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
   who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
   they lie down and then can’t get up;
   they’re snuffed out like so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened;
   don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
   It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
   rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
   —the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
   rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
   the people I made especially for myself,
   a people custom-made to praise me. (MSG)


Now What?

The Marathon was almost 2 weeks ago. The week afterwards I was a good boy and didn’t run until Thursday, then went out for 2 miles. It was at a good pace for me, and I felt good.

But now what? A couple people have asked me, and I do have a few goals moving forward from here, so I’ll just lay those out.


Before the race, I had said that I probably wouldn’t do another one simply because of the time commitment for training. It is just so hard to find make time for your runs, especially when they get up in the mileage (20 mile training runs took me over 5 hours just in running time). My official statement on doing another full marathon now… is that I am not going to consider one until I’ve dropped another 60-80 lbs. If I do another one, I want to not just finish, but finish well, and in order to do that, the weight needs to be gone.

So now that that obvious question is out of the way…


I want to lose another 80 pounds by this time next year. That would drop me out of the “obese” BMI range and down into the “overweight” category. When I get there, I can reevaluate whether or not I need to lose the additional 15 to get down into “normal”, “healthy” weight range. For now, 180 is the target and I am currently hovering around 260. So… if I can lose 8 lbs per month over the course of 10 months… goal met. Of course the problem with this is that if when I hit it, Somebody’s gonna remind me what I said about the marathon, lol.

Weight goals:

  • by November 30, 250 lbs
  • by December 28, 240 lbs
  • by January 25, 230 lbs
  • by February 29, 220 lbs
  • by March 28, 210 lbs
  • by April 25, 200 lbs
  • by May 30, 190 lbs
  • by June 27, 180 lbs


I have plenty of goals to still hit on this. While I’ve gone for a marathon distance, it was slow and there was a lot of walking involved. My running goals are going to focus mainly on speed and being able to run longer without stopping to walk.


  • I want to do a 10K race. Only because I haven’t run one before. I’ve done the distance, but not in a race. There don’t seem to be as many of them around, and for some reason I skipped right over that distance to the half, so I want to do one just to do one, really.
  • Half Marathons:
    • I want to do a Spring Half – most likely I will do the St Patrick’s Day Half in Hagerstown so I can take advantage of and train on the home field. 🙂
    • I also want to do a half in the fall as well. If I don’t find anything else that strikes my fancy, I will plan on doing the Freedom’s Run half again.
    • Depending on when they are, I might look into doing 1 or 2 more halves, but at a minimum I want to do those 2.
  • 5k’s – I wanted to do some 5k’s this past summer, but it seemed like every time one was scheduled nearby, I had something going on or it would have messed with my long run for the week. I enjoy 5k’s – I think they are fun, so I want to try and get out to some more this year. I really would like to do the Adenhart 5K (just down the road in Williamsport and where my 5K PR was at) and the Krumpe’s Donut Alley Rally (Always a fun event… and with donuts, lol).


  • 12 minute pace. This is the first goal speed for shorter distances that I want to be able to hit consistently. So I want to finish:
    • a 5K distance in less than 37 minutes.
    • a 10K in less than 1:14:00.
    • Once I am able to do this on a consistent basis, I want to shoot for a consistent 11 minute pace.
      • a 5K in less than 33:58 (34:06 is an 11 minute pace, but 33:58 is my current PR)
      • a 5K in under 30 minutes. I would love to be able to break 30 minutes, but I realize this is more of a long term goal.
  • 13 minute long-distance pace. Realizing that on longer runs, I’ll slow up some, I want to shoot for beating a 13 minute pace over a half marathon distance. So, I want to finish:
    • An average pace of 13 minutes on all of my long runs.
    • a half with a PR by beating 2:53.
    • a half in less than 2:50.
    • If I can manage this, I’ll work on shooting for a 12 minute pace, but my guess is that that might be a while in coming.


One of the things that I did not do as well in my marathon training was pushing up the distance i ran without walking. My thinking was to stick to my run/walk patterns to get used to them and make sure they worked for getting me through the longer distances. However, I’d like to push that run distance up further to actually RUN longer. So… I’d like to:

  • Run 4 miles without walking (Did tonight before I posted, 10/24/15)
  • Run 6 miles without walking (Did tonight before I posted, 10/24/15, made it 7.8, actually.)
  • Run 8 miles without walking
  • Run 10 miles without walking
  • Run 12 miles without walking
  • Run 14 miles without walking
  • Run up South mountain on Route 40 without walking.


I tend to be a one-track minded person, and over the last several months, that track was taken over pretty much by marathon training. Consequently, my eye exercises got back burnered. I need to get back into a routine of 3 exercises for 10 minutes each, daily.


  • I want to wear the Honduras soccer jersey that I bought there without it feeling uncomfortably tight. Just tried it on, and it’s close, but my spare tire shows a bit more than I feel comfortable with.
  • I want to be able to fit comfortably into the “Run for your Life” race t-shirt that I got at my 2nd 5K, 12 years ago. I tried it on, and I am close… but my wife told me I can’t have it back, since she commandeered it as a night shirt long ago. lol.

So there you have it. Next week, I’ll post the plan. You know me, I gotta have a plan.

Race Weekend – Chicago Marathon

So Monday we drove all day to get home, Tuesday was busy getting back to work, taking care of stuff at home, etc. Wednesdays are always crazy, so TODAY… I hope to finally get around to writing about the race weekend. Fair warning – this is gonna be a long one…

10985987_753585941435701_1475134239_nWe got there earlier than we expected on Thursday, so we were actually able to make it to the Team World Vision team dinner, and we were all very glad that we did. Dinner was good, but more importantly it was a chance to be reminded about why we were doing it in the first place. A chance to hear some amazing stories of our teammates, get a real sense of being on a team, and be inspired by people like Michael Chitwood, who started Team World Vision.


#OWNCHICAGO – this was actually out on the course during the last stretch

Saturday morning, we slept in a bit and then headed into town for the expo. Talk about sensory overload – This was probably when the bigness of this event started to hit home. This was also where I started looking around and realizing that just about everyone here looked like runners, and I felt a little out of place in their company. But hey – they had a Chicago Marathon jacket my size, and since I won’t likely be getting a Boston jacket any time soon, I grabbed one. 🙂


We ran into Michael Chitwood, the Team World Vision founder on our way out of the expo


T-minus 18 hours until start time.


After the expo we headed up to the Navy pier for lunch and just to walk around a bit. The skyline was beautiful, and it was a fantastic day out. We walked around a little bit, but most of us didn’t want to be on our feet too much on Saturday, so we headed back to the hotel in Naperville, arranged all of our gear for the morning, and turned in to bed early since we’d be getting up super early.




all laid out and ready to go in the morning

Surprisingly, I slept quite well. Woke up, geared up, ate my power bars, hit the toilet (multiple times), and then we headed back in to Chicago where we got dropped off  at Grant park before sunrise and walked over to the World Vision Tent. We checked our bags in with TWV, and sat for a while before getting our final pep talk from the coordinators and then having the entire tent standing and singing “amazing grace” together. That was a powerful moment.

We left the tent with our corral groups and marched up to the starting corrals where we made one last pit stop at the porta potties (or several last pit stops if you’re Andrea) and then stood in our corral to wait, taking pictures, chatting with other runners, and just bouncing off the walls wanting to get moving. It was supposed to get up to a high 77 that day, but before the race start it was only about 55, so we all had on an extra layer to get rid of at the start.


Still excited. Whoever Jessica is, did not seem to share our exuberance at the time.

An hour after the first runners crossed the started, we made it to the start line. Just to give you an idea of how many people there were and how fast the elite runners are, we literally were crossing the start line as Dickson Chumba (who won the marathon) was crossing the halfway mark. That is not an exaggeration at all.

The race was on!

Miles 1-5:
I felt great on the first four or five miles. The crowds were amazing, and the energy was huge from all the runners and people cheering. My only problem during that stretch was that I had been planning on using my phone as a pacer, having it tell me every two minutes how fast I was going. I relied on that input during my training to keep me from going too fast and getting tired or too slow and getting lazy.

The problem in the first four miles was that the tall buildings of downtown Chicago wreaked havoc on my gps. the plot line of my run looks more like a heart monitor than a run map. Consequently, my pace information that it gave me was useless. Also, by mile 13 it had added an extra 2 miles to my distance from all the gps jumping, so I couldn’t trust my phone for how far I had gone either.

Honestly, though, the first 5 miles felt like they flew by. the adrenaline, the crowds, the excitement… it was just electric.

Miles 6-10:

These felt pretty good as well. I remember getting to the turn where you start into Lincoln park and thinking “wow, we’re here already?” Still high-fiving people and enjoying the sights and sounds on the sides of the course. I remember seeing two guys on the side at one point… one wearing a Minnesota Vikings jersey and one wearing a Green Bay Packers jersey… I said “you are two brave men” and they got a laugh out of it.

Miles 11-13:

And then I knew I was coming back into downtown to where we would cross the river again, and then once more to turn west. Instead of thinking “wow, I’m here already?”, it was more like “how am I not to the bridge yet?” I was getting winded. I was feeling tired by mile 12.

By 12.5 I was getting worried, and so I backed off a lot on my pace thinking I would rest a bit and then pick it back up. In hindsight, that was probably a bad idea. It didn’t rest me, and when it still felt hard to keep up 2/2, I started to panic and pointing out to myself that halfway is not the place you want to be feeling like you’re tired. Looking back, I think the newness of the course scared me. Had I been doing this same distance on the canal that I knew, maybe I wouldn’t have panicked as much. They were the same distances, but there is really something to be said for familiarity with the actual course itself.

So I dropped to a 2/2 run/walk pace. I wasn’t happy about it, but at the time I felt like it was necessary. Around then, Prentice (another Team World Vision Runner) came alongside me and asked if I was running an interval. I told her what my new plan was and she asked to run with me. This was a Godsend, because having someone to run with and talk to got me out of my head and helped me calm down and settle into my new (albeit much slower than I wanted) pace.

Miles 14-19:


Me and my new running buddy

Prentice and I ran together for probably 5 miles before we got out of sync and parted ways. Around mile 14, I saw a Team World Vision runner on a stretcher off to the side of the road. Police cars eventually came along telling us to get over to the side, and then onto the sidewalks as they were opening the course to traffic again. This was one of my fears, that I’d be too slow to stay ahead of the opened course. Thankfully I wasn’t on the sidewalk for the remainder of the marathon, because the small section they had us on the sidewalk was incredibly annoying. Not only did you have to try to maneuver around other runners, but the people who weren’t running as well. I had to run up into some grass and around a tree at one point to get around a lady who was poking along with her stroller.

The aid stations, I am happy to say were still there, as were the occasional spray station. I think I hit every spray station on the course. I had started the race taking one cup of Gatorade at each station. By this point, I was taking two cups of Gatorade and washing it down with 2 cups of water.

One of my problems in this section was that I really didn’t know this part of the course very well, so I had no sense of where I was. Also, coming into mile 19 I was really starting to get tired, even when I was walking. I told myself that I couldn’t tired until mile 20, and just kept plodding along at my 2/2 until I finally reached the 20 mile marker.

Miles 20-26:


I didn’t realize this at the time when I took this, but you can actually see them taking down the sign here.

Easily the hardest part of the course. Everyone says that, and it’s true. My feet were killing me by mile 20, I really felt like I was out of gas, and then to add insult to injury, my time had slipped too far. Crowds of fans had dwindled to a handful of people here and there. The Chinese dragon was gone from Chinatown. They had started tearing down the course. banners were coming off the fencing as we ran and walked by, and mile markers 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, & 26 were nowhere to be seen. Now, not only did I not know the course well enough by the roads, but I did not have the mile markers to tell me how much further I had to go. All of this was hugely demoralizing on top of being the hardest part of the run, anyway. I came up on a woman who was clearly in pain and asked her how she was doing. It was her hips and knees. There was literally nothing I could do to help her, not even run up ahead to tell the medic tent, since I had no leg left to run the 1/2 mile to the next aid station.


What got me through this stretch? I figure three things. First, I had trained for months to keep moving forward when I was already out of gas, so I was used to that… sort of. Second, there were so many other Team World Vision runners that it seemed like I was never out of sight of one of my teammates. sometimes we would come alongside each other and give each other a quick encouragement. Having people alongside you, even if you don’t talk or even acknowledge each other’s presence… is huge. It tells you that you aren’t alone out there, and even though they aren’t telling you a word, you know that they are going through the exact same struggle that you are right now. That helped me. The third thing is that when I came up alongside the expressway, I was finally back in an area of the course that I was somewhat familiar with, and knew that I was nearing the home stretch, the last 3 miles. Once I had an idea of where I was, and knew I only had a 5k left, I decided that either I was gong to keep moving forward and finish, or fall over trying. I threw every bit of will that I had into that commitment.

My run times were starting to fade. I couldn’t keep running the full 2 minutes. my walk pace slowed. It wasn’t all gloom and doom though. somewhere beside the expressway, someone had drawn a giant blerch and written “beat the blerch!”. That made me smile. Around mile 23ish(?) there was a random woman handing out pieces of ice. That was amazing. Around mile 24 (?), a group of 5 or 6 people came out to walk with a woman that was walking near me at the time to be an encouragement for her. It was touching, even though i did not know any of them.

Coming down the straightaway on Michigan Ave, I kept looking for the turn that told me I was almost done. I saw trees on the side of the road. I thought… parks have trees, maybe that’s … no, it’s not. Maybe that next bunch of trees is… no, it isn’t either.

The last .2 miles:

A couple times over the last .2 miles, I started to cry. My feet and ankles wanted to fall off, but I was close enough to the finish that there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to get there. The thought that “I am about to finish a marathon” was too emotional a thing for me to just set aside. well, except for the little problem that when I started crying, I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and was afraid I was going to hyperventilate. So for the last .2 miles i had this cycle going of getting emotional… starting to cry… then freaking out because I can’t breathe, and getting all stoic again until the next time it hit, then just repeat.

Then a block or so from the turn, Andrea’s sister and brother in law were there cheering for me and came out and ran with me. Seeing someone you know at that point, cheering for you, personally, is just … well, I’m just glad I was wearing mirrored sunglasses.

They had to leave the course at the turn on to Roosevelt, and I climbed up and over that bridge and turned into the final stretch toward the finish. One last fan shouted to me from a balcony overlooking the bridge, and it felt so good. I had done it. The final stretch, though, felt a bit anticlimactic. Instead of running under the finish arch, we were told to walk around it to where we would get our medals, water, bananas, etc.

357485_208479553_XLargeI didn’t know what my time was, but right then I didn’t care. I figured I would be able to check it out on the results page later. Turns out I finished in about 6:50. I say about, because my finish time did not officially get recorded. My only guess as to why was that the 15 minute pace applies to when they shut down the timers, and somewhere between 40K and the finish, I fell behind the pace. What sucks is the knowledge that had I been in a different corral, and started just 14 minutes sooner, my time would have been recorded. There are lots of people who are recorded as finishers with times up to 7:30, but since they started in earlier corrals, they were able to finish within the window. The only reason i have the 6:50 time is from the course on the mapmyrun phone app. I have to admit, that left a bad taste in my mouth.

But I finished… and only 20 minutes behind my secondary goal.


A Finisher


After finishing and getting my medal I began what I affectionately call the death march – the 1.15 mile walk back to the World Vision tent. That was quite possibly more difficult than the last couple miles of the race, and it took me FOR EVER. I eventually made it back and was reunited with our team, had a coke, got my bag and sat there all weepy until it was time to get up and head to the car.

The heaviest pizza I have ever seen

We climbed in and ordered some pizza for when we got back to the hotel. Made a stop at Dunkin Donuts since we were going to be back before the pizza was ready, and waddled in and out. We got back to the hotel with our Giordano’s pizza, and then got comfortable in our beds, before Andrea talked us into going out for ice cream later on.


An Awesome experience with awesome people. unforgettable.

It was an unforgettable day. My short answer for when people ask how it was, is that “it was amazing and horrible all at the same time.” But definitely unforgettable.

Race Day Plan

First thing to do is get up, gear up, and get on the train to Grant Park – we are supposed to be at the Team World Vision tent at 5:30am for a team pep talk, team photo, and to get our bags checked in at the World Vision tent. At 6 am, we start walking to the start corrals. We’ll be there a while. Because the VERY first wave of the race doesn’t actually start until 7:20 am. We’re in the last wave.

7:20 – the wheelchair entrants start
7:21 – Handcycle entrants start
7:22 – Athletes with disabilities start
7:30 – the first wave of runners start. These are the faster folks, including the elite runners like Deena Kastor (who has won Chicago, and a bronze medal at the olympics) and Joshua George, who is a 6 time world Champion and 4 time Chicago Marathon winner. (LOL, I am in the same race as these guys!)

8:00am (central time, mind you – 9am EST) – WAVE 2 STARTS! (That’s us)

As for how I plan to run, I am going to go with an 8/2 run walk for as long as I can hold that up. (despite what the kids’ dentist and my friend Sharon tell me about 4/1… this is how i trained, this is how I am going to do it) Based on my 12 mile run two weeks back, I should be able to hold that until at least 12 miles, hopefully 13. After that, I am going to try and switch to a 6/2 until hopefully mile 18. If I can hold off on getting down to 2/2 until 20 miles, I will consider that a major success.

Below is where I expect/hope to be at each 5k split:

Goal time Expected time
5k (3.1 mi) 0:46:30 0:43:24
10k (6.2 mi) 1:33:00 1:26:48
15k (9.3 mi) 2:19:30 2:10:12
20k (12.4 mi) 3:06:00 2:53:36
25k (15.5 mi) 3:52:30 3:38:33
30k (18.6 mi) 4:39:00 4:23:30
35k (21.7 mi) 5:25:30 5:11:33
40k (24.8 mi) 6:12:00 5:59:36
42.16k (26.2 mi) 6:33:00 6:22:42

As for goals, here they are:
1. Finish all 26.2 miles.
2. Finish under 6:30, a hair faster than a 15 minute pace.

these should both be achievable, but in the event that things are going way better than expected, my “holy cow I did that?” goals are

3. Finish under a 14 minute pace
4. Finish under 6 hours

OK… signing out. I think it’s appropriate to reuse this pic. 🙂


Final Preparations & Last Training Run

Only 3 days until the race. I am not ashamed to say that I am REALLY nervous. Everyone has been very encouraging and supportive and telling me (as well as Nate & Andrea) that we will do great, and I don’t know about them, but I’ve needed that to kind of knock the edge off of the nerves this week.

Deep breaths… lol.

Only 3 days until the race???

Only 3 days until the race???

In the meantime, there is a bunch of last minute stuff to get ready before we leave tomorrow. For one, I need to pack my stuff. Hard to do, since we have our last training run tonight – just means a later night of laundry and then double and triple checking that everything is packed.

In fact, I had started throwing stuff into my suitcase yesterday, but I’m probably going to unpack it all, double check it, and repack it tonight. I can’t just run across town to the house for something when we get to Chicago and realize I didn’t pack it.

Race day stuff is getting put in a backpack. I figured my Chicago Bears backpack is an appropriate choice for this. 🙂 That way, everything I need for race morning is together in one place. Saturday night, I’ll probably lay it all out so it’s ready to go in the morning.

Another thing I had to get ready, might seem small, but I wanted to have it done before we left – I had to get my name written on my race day gear somewhere. People usually write it on their shirt so people can cheer for them by name, but my camelbak is going to shrink the space I have available to write on it.

ChumpamaniaNO WORRIES – I was at walmart last night and found the perfect solution, lol. I found a bright orange and lightweight do-rag for a couple bucks that I took my sharpie to last night. And yes, I went with “Chumpy”. with over 40,000 other runners, you know how many “Chris”es there are going to be? Now how many Chumpy’s do you think there will be? uh huh. 😉

Although, looking at the finished product for that, it does seem kind of Hulkamania-esque, lol. OOOOOH BROTHERRRRR!


Lastly, I’ve been trying to think of all the little things that I want to have taken care of, and get it done. Don’t forget device chargers… make sure I have my gels and race day breakfast stuff ready… Make sure my phone batteries are charged… pack my other pair of shoes in as well, just in case… don’t forget my participation guide so i can check in and get my race packet… make sure i have my camera… my racing underwear with the lightning bolts to make me go faster…

you know, all the the little things.

I am looking forward to our group run tonight, it should be fun. Our teammate is flying in this afternoon and we leave first thing tomorrow morning. ROAD TRIP!

UPDATE: our group run was awesome. I wish we’d have done it more over the course of training… oh well. Finally, the avengers, er… i mean the east coast tidal waves have assembled! Although Mikey was the real MVP for showing up with a box of amazing cookies for all of us when we were done!

I love these 4.

Training is done. there is nothing left that we can do to be ready for the race, so now we just wait and what happens, happens. I think, having done the run tonight and hung out with some awesome people, it’s calmed my nerves for now and I am more excited than nervous.

and of course I was joking about the lightning bolt underwear. It’s a cheetah print. Duh.


I have to admit, stepping out in faith is not one of my best gifts. Usually when I do step out in faith, it is kicking and screaming. I knew that Nate and Andrea were doing the marathon for a couple months before I decided to join them. And even then, I looked at the fundraising goal and thought “I am not a fundraiser. I guess I can raise some of that and then foot the rest of it to make the minimum.” There were several times when we didn’t think we would even make our goal.

I’ve said before, though, that if God calls you to do something (and I do think that this is something He has called me to do), he will put the stuff in place for you to do it. And once again, He has amazed me with the generosity of his people.

Our team has currently raised $6,890 – enough to provide clean water for ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN PEOPLE. As someone who was worried for a while whether or not I would even reach my goal, that boggles my mind.


4 more days…

We – you all who have donated for my race – have crushed my initial goal of $1,310 ($50 for each mile – clean water for one person for every mile I am running), and we are really close to hitting $2,000. That would be clean water for 40 people because of you all! So I am making a new goal of $2,000 in hopes that there might be 3 more people who had thought about donating but haven’t got around to it yet. We have four more days before the race, and I think it can be done… 😀

I am amazed at how far we’ve come. Amazed at the impact that this race has had on me, and will have on 137 people.


What’s In Chumpy’s Playlist?

birthday-fiveThe countdown continues… even if I missed posting yesterday… (and barely got this one in today… I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with a post a day. oh well. Onward!) 5 days left!

I will readily admit that I am one of those people who need to have something to listen to while I run. I grew up in marching band, so my feet instinctively try to get into step with music. In fact, there is a song in my playlist that  has an army-esque cadence saying “left, right, left, right, left right…” and I was out of step while running. I had to skip and correct it, because that just would not do. Band nerd, here. no denying it.

I’ve done audio books on my runs, too, but most of the time, I play music. Sometimes it’s the beat that helps me, sometimes the lyrics get me going, and sometimes… I just like the song so that’s all i need to put it in. So, with 5 days left… I thought it would be fun to give you a small peek into my admittedly eclectic marathon playlist. This post isn’t a drop in the bucket for all of them, but it wound up being longer than I intended, so without further ado…

The obvious:

No running playlist could be complete without Eye of the Tiger, duh!

The classic rock section:

If for no other reason, the opening guitar riff to thunderstruck gets you going!

Don’t stop Believin’ could have been lumped in with the “songs that make me smile section, actually. Reason being, it reminds me of sitting in the Waffle house with some of the (now older) teens from church and belting it out with the jukebox. Oh, and I can’t stop believin’ that I’ll make ti to the finish, too. 😉

I also added ‘slow ride’ to play at the start to try and remind myself not to come off the starting line too fast. All these guides that I’ve seen about the Chicago marathon (of course it’s probably every marathon) say that the most common mistake is coming out too fast.


because either you cannot stand the sound of them, or the mere sound of them make you feel like you are invincible. I fall into the latter category. I have a song in there that I can’t seem to find online now that happened to come on just as I was cresting the top of THE hill in our first half marathon, and it was like a choir of angels singing.


here’s one from a group called the red hot chilli pipers


I love when this comes on. It ins’t a song per se, but it always puts me back in a good state of mind to keep pushing forward.

This scene from Facing the Giants. I particularly like when this comes on later on when I start to feel like walking earlier than I should be.

“Three cord bond” by Propaganda. This may seem an odd song to have in a running playlist, but there is something in it that speaks to me of the connection that we all have regardless of race in a cultural milieu that seems to have a lot of racial tension recently. Add to that the opportunity to run through a bunch of different neighborhoods in Chicago, including Pilsen (the biggest latino area), Chinatown, Greektown, & Little Italy. I think of my friends in Honduras and little Biruk who Nate & Andrea adopted from Ethiopia. Our friends who are from Jamaica and Niger, and how we’re all people who have similar struggles and are all just trying to do the best we can. Anyway, I love this song.

“Awake, my soul” is another song that I love. It is a great song on its own, but you know how sometimes songs get attached to events or memories, and then forevermore, when you hear that song it reminds you of whatever it was? I don’t know that I’d be able to really express why I love this song so much, except that a very uplifting and personal experience with God one weekend wound up attaching itself to this song in my head. It also has a great driving beat that helps with the running, of course.

Songs that make me smile:

“She’s got legs… and knows how to use them.” “Legs” by ZZ Top just makes me smile, because when it comes on, I will probably have forgotten how to use my legs.

This is “Tunak Tunak Tun” by Daler Mendi. Don’t ask, lol. It just makes me grin when it comes on, and surprisingly has a good tempo to run to.

and no, I don’t know what he is saying.

“The walker”. Every time that whistling section comes on it makes me smile for some reason. (Same thing with the “woohoo” song)

“Greater” by Mercy Me. Partly because of the church youth band and them trying to figure out how to sing “no condemnation”, but partly because I really like the song. And partly because the point of the song reminds me that “greater is the One that is inside of me, than he who is living in the world.” and that if He calls me to do something, then He will empower me to do it.

“Me without you” by Toby Mac. This song will forever be tied to Zane Placie from youth group in my head, and it makes me smile every time I hear it. 🙂

Songs that just drive me:

Some songs just have a driving beat or rhythm and my band nerd feet can’t help but keep moving. That’s helpful when I don’t feel like putting one foot in front of another, and most of the songs are in this category for that reason. here’s a few of them.

“Love runs out” by One Republic. This is now my favorite running song, because it pushes me, and reminds me that a lot of this race is going to be run on heart, not athletic giftedness.

“Can’t hold us” by Macklemore. a perfect beat to run to.

a bunch of songs by For King and Country, and Capitol Kings.

“Daywalkers” by Propoganda has a beat that really gets me moving.

Like I said, this wound up being longer than intended, and I’ve barely touched the list. (figure, it takes a lot of songs to fill 6 1/2 hours!) Enjoy.