FEB 1, 2017 WAWA: High School Crushes

We’re back to dedicated run workouts this week and next.  This week, we’ll revisit the Myers Park high school stairs that lead up to the football stadium.  Relatively short set of stairs that we’ll combine with laps around the parking lot.

Please meet in front of the Cornwell Center, ready to stretch at 5:40 am.  Our run route will be at a comfortable pace and will take us behind the Cornwell Center along Roswell Avenue, left onto Colony Road, and then up the hill into the high school parking lot near the football stadium.  The run route to the school is approximately 1.6 miles.

From there, we’ll do 6 sets of stairs as follows:

SET 1:  2 sets of stairs and one lap around the small parking lot

SET 2:  2 sets of stairs and one lap around the small parking lot

SET 3:  1 set of stairs and two laps around the small parking lot

SET 4:  1 set of stairs and two laps around the small parking lot

SET 5:  3 sets of stairs and one lap around the small parking lot

SET 6:  4 sets of stairs then comfortable pace back to the Cornwell Center

The small parking lot is approximately 1/8th of a mile distance.

Our route back after the six sets will take us all the way up Colony Road, turning right onto Selwyn Avenue, and back to the Cornwell Center….approximately 1.6 miles again.

Total WAWA running distance planned minus the stairs is about 4.1 miles

Weather forecast for tomorrow morning is a “cool” 45 degrees!  Still dark this time of year so wear reflective gear and a headlamp if you have those items!

With your legs barking after this workout, you might feel a little bit “crushed”…..!

See you in the morning!

WORKOUT LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTION LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

 

Advertisements
Read more "FEB 1, 2017 WAWA: High School Crushes"

JAN 25, 2017 Devotional: “Six Years Old and Hitting My Brick Wall”


Ever heard the term, “hitting your brick wall”? Sure…we’ve all probably heard that before or perhaps in a simpler form of just “hitting the wall”.  I checked the Internet to find the origin of the phrase and nothing striking came to fruition.  But I think we all know what it means to “hit our wall” in the figurative sense.

What about in the literal sense? I remember being 6-years old and my dad teaching me how to ride a bike.  Dad was a career Army officer and it’s no surprise to many of you that my Dad had a very straightforward way of teaching me, his eldest son, how to ride the bike without the aid of training wheels.  Dad’s way was pretty much “sink or swim” or on the particular hot afternoon at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, it was “downhill all the way and you’d better remember to steer”! To a six year old, that hill behind our government quarters on the Army base seem ginormous.  Years later when I had graduated from West Point and was myself an Army captain stationed at Fort Bragg, I drove by our old house to see the massive hill.  I remember parking my car and walking around behind the old house and scratching my head asking “where’s the hill”?  Things seem a lot different to a thirty-something year old than they did to a six year old, right?  That rule probably applies to more than just this story….so maybe I’ll preach on that another day as well.

Dad grabbed the back of the banana seat and before I could squirm off the bike, away I was zooming down the hill. My tears and fears, gave way to cheers and laughter…..until, I forgot that final bit of instruction from my dad…..”Don’t forget to turn….!”

BAM….! Smack I went right into the back of our brick government ranch home.  Yes….I hit the brick wall that day….literally!

Years later, I hit the wall another time…this time in a more figurative sense. I was running in my first marathon distance race and like many of my peers who were “young, dumb second lieutenants”, we blew off most of the required training.  We were all in school at the Army’s Infantry Officers Basic Course or “IOBC” as it was commonly referred….and many of us were classmates from West Point.  “Training……who needs training…..?”  We were the Infantry branch’s best and brightest, or so we thought.

So more than a dozen of us registered for the Blue Angel Marathon at Pensacola Naval Air Station, just a little over an hour from Fort Benning, Georgia…without any regard to what would be required to get to the finish line….literally.

For me personally, it was a miserable day. The sights and scenes were beautiful during the race.  I seem to even recall a flyover by the world famous Blue Angels fighter jets at some point.  But then around mile 23, with just under a 5 km distance to go….my legs buckled underneath me and my head began to spin.  I “hit the wall”, so to speak, and had to walk the final 2 miles to the finish line, much to the ridicule of my IOBC classmates, and detriment to my own personal pride!

Those are just a couple stories of time where I’ve hit my wall….both literally and figuratively.  I’m sure you have some examples of your own as well.

What about hitting our spiritual wall?  Have you ever done that before?  Maybe once, twice, three times?  For me, I’ve hit my spiritual wall time and time again.  Do you know what I mean when I say “spiritual wall”?  It’s that point in your life where you look up to our Heavenly Father and say “why me, Lord?”  It’s the days when you can’t seem to do anything right and we call out to God asking “why are You punishing me?”.  Or it’s the low points in our jobs, in our schools or even in our relationships, where we blame God because things won’t go according to our plan.

Yeh, I’ve had those days more than I care to admit.  What about you?

Scripture is full of stories of individuals hitting their own spiritual walls.  Moses is a great one.  He thinks he’s on the right track, has God’s backing, and …bam….Pharaoh says “I have another plan for you, Moses”.  At the end of Exodus 4, Moses returns to Egypt after fleeing as a murderer, but now a redeemed man of God.  Moses has some great confidence and declares to Pharaoh in Exodus 5, “Let my people go into the wilderness to honor their God”.  Pharaoh sees this as the Israelites becoming lazy slaves and makes things doubly hard on them.  Nice job, Moses.  Watch out….that brick wall hurts when you hit it going that fast.

And Peter, who Jesus had chosen to lead the church after He returned to heaven, is helpless to save his friend, Jesus, when he gets arrested, beaten and dragged off.  When confronted, Peter denies Jesus three times.  Some might argue that Peter’s denial was due to the fact that he didn’t know how to help Jesus….Have you ever banged your head against the wall, figuratively speaking, when you can’t find a solution?  Maybe you’ve banged it once, twice, then three times against that wall?

Did anyone see the cock crowing on top of that brick wall?

I think the lesson for us today is that we will all have spiritual brick walls in our lives.  Some of you may have them right now…and others may have unknown walls on the horizon.  And for some, those walls will be minor setbacks where you’ll just need to wipe the dirt and blood off, stick on a Band-Aid, and lick your wounds….like me learning to ride a bike.  Others will have bigger challenges where the walls will be more like impassible objects that God has placed as obstacles on our path.

Whether those obstacles are meant to change your direction, slow you down, or cause you to look up to see how high the wall is, give some thought that the wall is there for a reason.  If you must turn…then turn.  If you need to need to go backwards, well, then try that route.  If you need to climb over it…by all means start upward.  And if you must tear down the wall….piece by piece….then chose your bricks carefully.

Walls provide us with the ambiguity that perhaps we need in our lives.

I’ll leave you with a quote by Gilda Radner, a comedian some might remember from the early days of Saturday Night Live, who was taken by cancer much to soon.  Upon facing the inevitable, Radner embraced her “wall” by saying:

 “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”

Here’s to the walls in our lives……

 

Read more "JAN 25, 2017 Devotional: “Six Years Old and Hitting My Brick Wall”"

JAN 25, 2017 WAWA: The Twenty-Twenty Workout….no brick walls!

This week will be a hybrid workout, of sorts.  No….you can’t pick one or the other, however!  After our warm up, I’ll break apart our WAWA into two 20-minutes segments.  The first segment is a running focused workout; the second segment is a conditioning and interval focused workout.  Truth be told, the second segment is slightly less than 20-minutes.  See the details below.

Meeting location is at the Cornwell Center.  We’ll meet outside the center.  Be ready to go at 5:40 am!

The Workout:

Segment 1:  “Run Focused”

After the warmup, participants will go outside the Cornwell Center for a “run at your own pace” workout.  Here’s the catch:  You will need to pay attention to your pace, time and distance.

Everyone will take off running at a moderate pace to the left along Queens/Selwyn.  Run for 1 minute, then turn around and backtrack towards the Cornwell Center for a minute again.  The goal is to finish exactly back at the Cornwell Center at the same pace.

Next, turn around and head back down Queens/Selwyn.  This time your “interval” is 2 minutes out and 2 minutes back.

Third interval is 3 minutes out and 3 minutes back.

Last interval is 4 minutes out and 4 minutes back.

Remember, the goal is to “hit” your turnaround points at the Cornwell Center on the designated minute interval.

After the run workout, we’ll gather in front of the Cornwell Center for the second half of the WAWA.

Segment 2:  “Conditioning / Interval Focused”

Here’s the basics for this “benchwarmer intervals” workout.  Seven stations with two exercises at each station.  The first exercise at each station will be a prescribed number of reps.  The second exercise will go until the end of the interval.  Each station’s interval is 2-minutes.  So, if you complete the reps of exercise 1 in 30 seconds then you have 90 seconds to complete exercise 2.  30 seconds rest in-between stations.

The second half of the WAWA will be outside, as well.  We’ll use the brick walls to the right of the Cornwell Center.

Here’s the breakdown of stations:

Station 1:  Exercise 1 (Step Ups x 25 per leg); Exercise 2 (Bench Dips)

Station 2:  Exercise 1 (Jump lunges x 15 per leg); Exercise 2 (Flutter Kicks)

Stations 3:  Exercise 1 (Bulgarian Split Squats, 15 per leg); Exercise 2 (Hand Release Push Ups)

Station 4:  Exercise 1 (Step Up Squat Step Up x 15); Exercise 2 (Clocks with pushups)

Station 5:  Exercise 1 (Elevated Crunches x 30); Exercise 2 (One-legged Deadlift to Reverse Lunge)

Station 6:  Exercise 1 (Step Ups x 25 per leg); Exercise 2 (Scissor Kicks)

Station 7:  Exercise 1 (Downhill Pushups x 15); Exercise 2 (Walking Lunges)

We’re going to be outside for this WAWA…and it will be crisp, clear, and dry!  Mid-40’s in the morning.

Very “do-able” workout.  The only brick wall you’ll hit is when we’re doing the second half of the WAWA!

Cool Down and Devotion

Workout Leader:  Mike Lenhart

Devotion Leader:  Mike Lenhart

Read more "JAN 25, 2017 WAWA: The Twenty-Twenty Workout….no brick walls!"

JAN 18, 2017 Devotional: Just Pray About It….

Occasionally, I suffer from “writer’s block” and cannot seem to put thoughts together enough to have any sort of reasonable message, much less a devotional.  This week was one of those times.  I tried a few things to generate some ideas….first, I thought about what’s going on in the news, perhaps.  What big events have just taken place or will happen in the not so distant future.  Well…there’s the MLK holiday we just observed.  “I know”, I thought.  “I can write about Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech and draw some contrasts or parallels to today?”.  Nah….nothing.

“Okay”, I strategized.  “Let’s see if I can draw some sermon from the NFL playoffs this past weekend.  Isn’t that quarterback from Green Bay, Aaron Rogers, king of the Hail Mary touchdown passes this season….?”.  Nah….could come across as sacrilegious.

Then there’s the obvious story of this week’s inauguration of a new American president.  “Not a winnable devotion”, I concluded.  “In a much divided nation, I’m more likely to anger or alienate half of the WAWA audience.”

What to do what to do…..

Then it hit me.  What I really want to focus on this week is prayer.  I don’t do it enough.  It’s challenging for me many times.  And, sometimes the words don’t flow as smoothly as I’d like them to.

But I know I need it….and I know you need it….and I know our nation needs it.

How far have we come since Dr. King preached on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial back in 1963?  What would he say today if he were still alive?  Would he say we’ve reached his dream where his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  Are we there yet?  Most might say “not yet….”.  Others might say, “We’re even farther away than Dr. King’s day…”.

Dr. King also said, “I have a dream that one day, every valley will be exalted, every hill and mountain will be made low.  The rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight……this is our hope.  This is the faith I go back to the South with….“.  So today, I ask you….where is our faith in the South…in the North, and stretched out across the globe?

Like it or not, this week marks a new chapter in our country.  We will be okay, in spite of the stretching out of the doomsday stories on all the major cable news networks that the “end is near”.

It will not be easy.  And there are perceptions of great divides that could be closer to reality.

So, let’s just pray about it.  Join hands, physically or virtually.  And pray about it.  Pray around your dinner table at night.  Pray in the stillness of your mornings.  Pray in your church or your synagogue or even your mosque.  Pray at the end of your workouts and, for some of you, pray at the beginning of the workouts too!

“My country ’tis of thee.  Sweet land of liberty.  Of thee I sing….”

Just pray…..

I need it.  You need it.  Our nation needs it.

 

Read more "JAN 18, 2017 Devotional: Just Pray About It…."

JAN 18, 2017: Pyramid Relays

The last two weeks of WAWA have been primarily run-focused.  So the next two weeks will be mostly non-running focuses.  I’m bringing back a workout we did very early in 2016…but updating it, of course, for 2017.  We’ll do 3-4 sets depending on time.

Meet at the downstairs basketball court, ready to stretch at 5:40 am

WORKOUT TIME:  5:40 am

WORKOUT LOCATION:  The Cornwell Center (basketball court)

The WORKOUT:

-Light warm up

-5 laps around the upstairs track court

-10 minutes explanation and practice on the respective relay stations.  These stations include:

  • Bench Dips
  • Dumbbell Squats
  • Band Overhead Presses
  • Marine Burpees
  • BOSU Pushups
  • KB Russian Swings

HERE’S THE “SKINNY”:

I will divide the group into 2 or 3 teams depending on number of participants.  Stations will be set up between basketball baselines; each team will have their own set of stations.  Starting on the baseline, first person on each team will start completing 15 repetitions of exercises at each station.  Once that individual reaches the opposite baseline, he/she will sprint back tagging the next person in line.

The next person will do the same stations, but drop the number of repetitions to 14.

Next person does 13 reps….etc.  Final person will execute one repetition of each station.

Here’s the update from 2016, however.  The person waiting on the baseline for his or her rotation will stay in a plank position until tagged by their partner!

Subsequent sets will be different exercises at the six stations.  Participants will get a short break in-between sets to get some water while I reset the lanes.  We’ll also change out what the non-exercising person is doing in-between rotations….wall sits, jump rope, etc.

SECOND SET:

  • Bench Step Ups
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curls to Overhead Press
  • Band Squats
  • Get Ups
  • BOSU Slams
  • KB Goblet Squats

Person Waiting:  Wall Sit with Exercise Ball

THIRD SET:

  • V-sit Crunches on Bench
  • Dumbbell Butterflies
  • Band Tricep Extensions
  • Plank Up-Downs
  • BOSU Situps
  • KB Russian Swings

Person Waiting:  Jump Rope

Fun stuff!

See you in the morning!

Read more "JAN 18, 2017: Pyramid Relays"

JAN 11, 2017 Devotional: Orange is the new……championship!

I’ll turn 50 years old later this year and I have no qualms admitting that I have a new “man-crush” in my life….perhaps an aspiring “bro-mance” down the road.  Clemson head football coach, Dabo Swinney.

Ironically enough, my brother-in-law, Kermit Murphy, bears a very striking resemblance to the coach and on a recent occasion when I asked Kermit if he ever heard that before, he just smiled.  Beyond the comparisons, Kermit shared that he had the opportunity a couple years ago to hear Coach Swinney speak at an event here in Charlotte.  “Best speaker I’ve ever heard,” said Kermit.  “Better than (Coach) Meyer; better than (Coach) Dungy; and (Coach) Richt shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same category,” added Kermit much to the dismay of Butch Tuck, my father-in-law, and longtime Georgia Bulldog fan.

Kermit’s thoughts are shared by many, including thousands who probably don’t care a thing about Dabo as a football coach.

So, in preparation for this week’s devotional, I did some research on the coach.  His biography is amazing.  His Christian testimony is breath-taking.

I Googled several videos and pieced together a pretty good story of Swinney’s character, coaching and more importantly, the events in his life that shaped those things for him today.  Dabo grew up in Pelham, Alabama, the youngest of three sons, with a loving mom, and a father who ran a small family business.  When things tanked in the economy, Dabo’s dad couldn’t maintain that business, and that failure became the catalyst for his father’s alcoholism and the eventual break-up of the family.  Growing up in those conditions were certainly hard and often times embarrassing for Dabo, having to explain why he couldn’t have some to of the things other kids had, or why he was sleeping on a friend’s couch.

Dabo was determined to be the first in his family to get a college education and when he qualified for a college grant, he began attending classes at the University of Alabama.  In 1989, he earned a spot as a walk-on wide receiver on the school’s football team.  He eventually earned a football scholarship to the team.  And in 1992, that same team won the national championship.  Dabo’s stats during his college career, you might ask?  In three seasons, he caught 7 passes for a total of 81 yards!  Obviously, no NFL team was going to be looking to draft Swinney.

Dabo was offered a dream job as a member of the University of Alabama coaching staff in 1995 and held a coaching position until the head coach was fired along with most of the assistant coaches on staff.  Dabo was without a coaching job, and questioned God as to how he could have lost his dream job.  He left coaching altogether and started a new career with AIG in commercial real estate in Birmingham.

Things were slowly picking up financially for Dabo after two years.  He was married to his elementary school sweetheart, Kathleen, and they had two young sons and another son on the way.  Swinney’s phone rang in 2003.  It was Coach Tommy Bowden at Clemson University and he wanted to talk to Dabo about possibly joining his staff.  Dabo was once again faced with a crisis of belief.  Accepting a job at Clemson would mean he’d be leaving a lucrative amount of commissions, close family, and his home state of Alabama, to pursue his dream of coaching.  Through prayer and discussions with family, Dabo joined Bowden’s staff in 2003.

There’s a lot of events between 2003 and today in Dabo’s life to cover and, well, we simply don’t have the time in a morning WAWA devotional to give all the details.  Dabo became the interim head coach at Clemson in 2008 when Coach Bowden resigned 6 games into the season.  7 weeks later, Dabo was offered the head coaching role “full time”.  And this week, Dabo’s Clemson Tigers won the national championship game defeating…..wait for it….the University of Alabama!

I’d encourage you to Google Coach Swinney’s background and make your own judgements.  I hope, like me, you’ll see that his life is a testimony well beyond football.

I’ll wrap up today by sharing four lessons that Coach Swinney’s says he’s learned from his own walk of faith.

First, handling adversity early in life will give us the ability to weather storms later in life.  Second, always stay humble with your success.  Third, always love other people.  And last, never forget to serve others.  Dabo says these are four pillars of his life and provide the foundation for his Christian beliefs today.  Many times, Dabo found himself asking God “why”.  However, today the Coach serves as an example of trusting in our Heavenly Father, and the plans He has in store for us.

Finally, on the day Coach Swinney was introduced as the new “full time” head of the Clemson football program, he shared a piece of scripture that he had received randomly earlier that week.

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.”  REV 3:8 (NIV)

Nicely put, Coach.  Congrats on being a champion well before this past Monday night.

Read more "JAN 11, 2017 Devotional: Orange is the new……championship!"

JAN 11, 2017 WAWA: Reaching New Heights!

After nearly a week of morning temps in the twenties and below in Charlotte, this Wednesday will bring balmy low 40’s.  So…this week’s run-focused workout will take us outdoors, across the street to Queens University for a new stairs workout.  I’ve conducted a little reconnaissance, and found ANOTHER parking deck stairwell for us to use!  Joy!

This new stairwell is in the parking deck next to the one we’ve used for over a year.  The biggest difference between the two, however, is that the NEW one has two additional floors….6 floor total!  And the new stairwell is completely enclosed and well lite.

Meet in front of the Cornwell Center ready to go at 5:40 am.  Bring a set of medium weight dumb bells from downstairs with you.  We’re doing a “Dumb Bell Run” with focus on stairs!

The WORKOUT:

Light stretching then jog over to Queens University with dumb bells in hand; we’ll take Wellseley Avenue to the west stairwell of Byrum Parking Deck.

6 SETS of stairs:

Set 1:  Run up the stairs, 10 dumb bell curls, run back down.  Repeat 2 more times.

Set 2:  Run up the stairs, 10 dumb bell overhead presses, run back down.  Repeat 2 more times.

Set 3:  Run up the stairs, 10 dumb bell kick backs, run back down.  Repeat 2 more times.

Set 4:  Run up the stairs, 10 dumb bell squats, run back down.  Repeat 2 more times.

Set 4:  Run up the stairs, 10 dumb bell butterflies, run back down.  Repeat 2 more times.

Set 5:  “Burn Out” set.  Put down dumb bells.  Run up and down the stairwell 5 times!

Once Set 5 is done, we’ll grab our dumb bells and head back to the Cornwell Center for cool down & devotional.

 

Workout Leader:  Mike Lenhart

Devotional Leader:  Mike Lenhart

 

Read more "JAN 11, 2017 WAWA: Reaching New Heights!"