NOV 1, 2017 WAWA: “Howling at the Moon!”

We’ve had a great run lately, pun intended, with WAWA workouts solely focused on running the streets around Myers Park and Dilworth neighborhoods.  This week, we’re staying closer to home and re-visiting the parking deck stairs at Queens University of Charlotte.  It’s been way too long……!

Here’s the general framework.  We’ll meet outside the Cornwell Center at 5:45 am, ready for a quick stretch.  Then we’ll run across the street to the Queens University of Charlotte “taller and newer” parking deck.

We’re planning a total of 8 sets.  Each set will take us UP the newer stairwell, then directly back DOWN.  Exit the stairwell and run to the “medium-sized” and older stairwell, and run UP that stairwell.  Exit the stairwell at the top to the parking deck.  Remember that this older stairwell exits to the open-air on top of the building!  Hello, moon and stars!

At that point, since it’s SET 1, we’ll complete 8 exercises as shown in the table below, 10 reps each.  Finally, we’ll run down the parking deck ramps, exit the deck and gather at the base of stairwell #1 for the next set.

Each set will drop the number of exercises by 1, but the number of reps might increase.  For example, SET 2 has 7 exercises, SET 3 has 6 exercises, …. SET 8 has just 1 exercise.

For the accountants and bankers in our group, each set has fixed exercises (stairwell #1, stairwell #2, and running down parking deck) and variable exercises as explained above!

This weekend, we’ll push the clocks back an hour which means we’ll (finally) have some daylight during the weekly Wednesday workouts.  But this also means it will be our last chance to see moonlight from atop the second parking deck!  Last chance to “howl at the moon”!

Weather this week will be slightly warmer than we’ve seen.  Temps in mid to upper 40’s when we start our workout.  Sunrise is around 7:45 am ET.

See you at 5:45 am, ready to stretch and burn off all the Halloween candy you ate the night before!

WORKOUT LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTION LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

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OCT 25, 2017 Devotional: “Recalling the time when God wasn’t there….”

We’ve all grown up knowing the God is “omnipresent”, right?  He’s everywhere!  But what if I shared with you a story from the Bible where God was not there?

Really?

Yes….really.

Hang on tight because this week I’m going to send you some scripture right out of the gate.  Recall from 1 Kings, chapter 19, the story of Elijah:

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  (NIV, 1 Kings 19:11-13)

Did you catch it?  Elijah was looking for God in all the chaos of the earthquakes and wind storms and fires, but the Lord was not there.  Rather, God speaks to Elijah from the stillness of a whisper….

What can we learn from all this?

Raise your hand if there’s any amount of chaos in your lives right now?

Most of us, truthfully, can fit that description.  We are working too hard, volunteering too much, sleeping less frequently, and putting unnecessary stress on our lives.  Then, when you add family and friends into the mix, the chaos seems to multiply.

Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall at my house between the hours of 6 pm and 9 pm during the week!  Bring your Kevlar helmet and battle armor!  I wish I could say that my wife and I have our boys’ routines on school nights down to a science.  We don’t.

If we’re lucky, we’ve got dinner at the table that includes some conversations like “how was your day”, “what did you learn in school”, or “who’s Georgia playing in football this weekend”.  After dinner, it’s a race to see which boy hits the shower first.  We have an “odd day / even day” plan in our house, where one of the boys will take his shower first if it’s an even number day.  And the other boy will go first on the odd numbered days.  Usually that starts out well, but ultimately the boys have to share the bathroom when it comes time for brushing of hair and teeth…and that’s usually where the chaos starts.

Boys will be boys….especially when they’ve had a long day with little sleep from the night before.

Still, before bedtime, there’s homework to check on, spelling words to call out, math problems to check, and notebooks to get organized for the next day’s classes.

And that’s half the battle.  You see, once the boys finally get to bed, my wife and I have our own tasks to occupy our time before we turn in.  Prepping for some volunteer activities, reading work emails, paying bills, folding laundry, etc.  It’s chaos … and it’s a repeatable process, not in a good way!

Can you relate?  Seems like the chaos will always be there.

At some point, however, we all need to realize that it’s the drifting away from the chaos where we are at peace.  Time and time again, Jesus would step away from the “noise” to find a quiet place.  And remember that verse about going up to your room and closing the door so you can be with God?

“When you pray, go to your room and close the door. Pray privately to your Father who is with you. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you. “When you pray, don’t ramble like heathens who think they’ll be heard if they talk a lot. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”  Matthew 6:6-8 

Why is this important?

God doesn’t want any of us to be distracted.  And when the noise is all around us, we can’t hear His voice or feel his pain.  We’re simply not focused.

Perhaps the title of this devotion is not fully true after all.  I probably set us up for that part.

God remains everywhere and IS omnipresent!  God was in the earthquake and in the wind, and even in the fire!  Maybe, Elijah was simply too distracted by the noise to even notice.  Butwhen the distractions disappeared, all that remained was the quiet, gentle whisper from the darkness and stillness of the cave.

“What are you doing here, Elijah?”

What are we doing here?

My prayer this week is that we all find those quiet places.  For in this world full of distractions, it’s the solitude that gives us peace.

Amen!

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OCT 25, 2017 WAWA: “Looking for Robin Hood Run”

For this week’s WAWA run, we’re heading down and (later) back up Sherwood …. avenue not forest!  So I’ve called the route our “Robin Hood Run“, tongue n cheek!

Planned distance is 4.3 miles.  Easy pace!  Finish as a team.  Most challenging part of the route will be a steady, 2-mile climb between miles 1.0 and 3.0, roughly.  About 100 ft of climbing over that stretch.

Weather will be low 40’s in the morning.  Remember to wear some bright colors, reflective gear, headlamp….or all of the above….since it’s still fairly dark this time of year for our morning runs.

Here’s your run route for this week (click here).

Meet outside the Cornwell Center at 5:45 am, ready to go!

We’ll see you then!

WORKOUT LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

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OCT 18, 2017 Devotional: “Finding My Way by Being Lost”

Have I ever told you my three favorite stories from the Bible?  Maybe I have…but let’s assume that I haven’t so humor me while I share some thoughts.

Here’s my three favorites:

First, I love the stories about shepherds and sheep.  Maybe that’s because I a self-proclaimed “urban chicken farmer” here in Charlotte….and when I read about a shepherd going out to find one sheep who’s missing, it really strikes a chord with me:

 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ …” Luke 15:4-6

Next, I love the story about the prodigal son, but not from either of the sons’ perspective.  No, I like to think about the story of the father, how he missed and loved his lost son so much that he went running across the field to wrap his arms around him.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”  Luke 15:20

And finally, my third favorite story from the Bible is that of Jesus’ miracle of loaves and fishes.  And just like the prodigal son story above, I like to look at this story from the perspective of the young boy, who gives up his lunch of sardines and rolls to Jesus.  In the gospel of John, we read:

“One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, Here is a boy with five barley loaves and two small fish. But what difference will these make among so many?”  John 6: 8-9

While all three stories have different meanings, there’s one common thread that weaves the passages together:  Each is the story of one or more people getting “lost”.

The sheep and shepherd one is pretty straight forward.  Jesus says the shepherd will leave the 99 while he goes out to find the one lost one.

And the prodigal son….is that not a story of a “lost” son, who’s found his way back home?

And finally, in the loaves and fishes story, at one point a disciple encourages Jesus to tell the large crowd to go home for they are gathered in a “desolate place”.  No one would go to such a place unless they were lost…both figuratively and literally!

But think about the flip side of each of these stories of being lost.  A shepherd finds the abandoned one and says His father in heaven would likewise rejoice when we come back home after going astray.  A lost son squanders all his share of the family fortunes, gets “lost” but finally finds his way through forgiveness.

And then there’s the crowd of over 5,000 who’ve gathered to listen to Jesus.  The people need to eat but there was nothing readily available much less any wages to take down to the local catering company.  The crowd is “lost” in a desolate place; lost in the physical sense and lost in the spiritual sense as well.

Jesus has a plan but turns to Andrew as if to say “what would you do, Andrew?”.

I have this vivid vision of what happens next.  A small child reaches over to Jesus’ cloak, tugs on it and says, “Here Jesus.  You can have my meal.  It’s not much….but it’s all that I have.”

Sometimes, we get lost thinking we have to make huge strides and changes in our lives in order to get God’s attention.  In actuality, that’s not even close.  God wants us to make changes, that’s true.  But He’s willing to see the small gestures that demonstrate our faith, trust and belief in Him.  Simply put, God wants our heart.

Pretty simple stuff.

A little boy gives up a small meal.  And thousands are nourished.  Did they have their own provisions and food all along and were just hiding it?  Perhaps being selfish?  After all, who would go off into the wilderness without some snacks for the journey?

We all get lost in our ways.  My prayer this week is that we find ourselves, make the small gestures in the right direction towards our heavenly father, and get on the proper path.

Remember its okay to be lost.  For it’s in being lost, that we ultimately find …. ourselves and our way … home.

Amen!

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OCT 18, 2017 WAWA: “Not Lost….Looking for Lyndhurst”

If you follow this Wednesday workouts site, you might recall that we missed a turn a couple weeks ago on an early morning run.  That “miss” resulted in nearly an extra mile to our planned run route!  Yikes!

That mysterious street name is Elmhurst Road….and I found out later that it actually doesn’t directly connect to the road we were running on, and that’s why we missed it.  Long story…..

This week, we’re running a 5.3 mile route that includes a street named “Lyndhurst” which must be the older brother of Elmhurst, but clearly more identifiable along our route!  I promise!  I actually drive past this street most days on my way home from work in Uptown Charlotte.

Here we go….this week’s planned route is at this LINK.

Generally speaking, we’re going to wind our way down Queens Road West to East Blvd.  Then we’ll run about a mile and a third into the Dilworth neighborhood, turning left onto LYNDHURST AVE.  From there, we’ll wind through Dilworth (west) along Lyndhurst, left onto McDonald, right on Park, left onto Princeton….and finally turn back towards the Cornwell Center.

Tomorrow morning will be a little chilly.  Temps in the mid 40’s so dress warm, keeping in mind that we’ll be feeling fairly “warm” about a mile into our route.

Meet outside the Cornwell Center at 5:45 am ready to go!

WORKOUT LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

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OCT 13, 2017 Devotional: “Thinking about the Unthinkable….10 years later”

My good friend, Bruce McCarthy, sent me a text message on Tuesday with a picture taken exactly 10 years ago this  week.  The image was of a lean guy, wearing an Ironman visor, race volunteer tee-shirt, slightly tanned, and military cropped “tight” haircut.

“Who is that guy”….I asked myself!

Then I realized it was me.  A lot can happen in 10 years, right?

This week, we are marking the 10-year anniversary of my good friend, Scott Rigsby’s, triumph finish of the Ironman World Championship.  That was on October 13, 2007.  It was an unthinkable accomplish made by the most unthinkable person.

Many of you know of Scott’s story.  I wrote about him in an earlier devotional.  In that story, I talked at a high level about God not always giving us what we want; but always giving us what we need.

And so this week, I was especially remembering that long day….at Kona, Hawaii….where Scott did the unthinkable.  There are many stories from that night.  Many are captured in his book, titled “Unthinkable“.   One of the stories shared is where Scott and I were in the hotel room trying to get everything organized for the race that would happen a couple days away.  We had piles of equipment and gear on one side of the room for the 2.4 mile swim portion.  On another side of the room, we had a similar pile for the 112 mile bike portion.  And then there was the third pile for the 26.2 mile run portion.   Lastly there was a pile for “everything else”!  This last pile was a hodge-podge of extra items.  This was the “just in case” stuff.  You know, all the items in case something was to not go according to plan.

Scott was also fortunate to have several companies and individuals who had generously agreed to provide some level of sponsorship for his race in Hawaii.  For some, like Delta Airlines, they provided airfare for Scott’s support team from Atlanta to the race.  For others, it was simple cash.  And for one company, they had provided a pair of LED headlamps for Scott to wear during the run portion of the race, where we expected it to be dark outside.  Well, we actually had something already to cover that “need”, so we found ourselves scratching our heads about what to do with these headlamps.

I recall, somewhat jokingly, telling Scott we could tape a headlamp to the front of the carbon sockets of each of his running prosthesis.  Then, if the run course got dark, he could reach down, turn on the lights, and it would be just like have automobile headlights.  We chuckled, but then thought….”why not”….and with some duct tape and careful placement, we affixed both legs with headlamps!

All kidding aside, I was worried about one area on the run course where it was known to be pitch black.  For most runners, we can feel the road through the soles of our shoes.  But for someone running on carbon blades, it’s not quite that simple.  And if Scott couldn’t feel the road or know where the divots might be, he was more susceptible to falling down.  And if he were to fall down, the probability of puncturing a hole in the polyurethane liners of his running legs could result in a loss of vacuum that ultimately provided the “suction” to suspend the legs to Scott’s stumps.  Simply stated, no vacuum meant non-functioning running legs…..end of race!

Honestly, we were probably more focused on providing a limited amount of coverage to a generous sponsor (of the headlamps) than we were about the risks of a punctured liner.  We had done our own internal risk analysis, and I recall that we mostly concluded that the probability of Scott stumbling on the run course was pretty low with the exception of one stretch of about 3 miles in an area call the Natural Energy Lab.  Some unimproved road areas here with limited visibility.  We concluded that perhaps Scott should just walk this portion of the race, assuming he was on track with his timeline to complete the race within 17 hours.

Easy plan.  Stay on track with your timelines.  Walk the Energy Lab portion to reduce the risk of stumbling.  Then pick back up to a running mode upon exiting the Energy Lab.

Guess what.  Scott got behind on the run course, early on.  And some small delays became dangerously bigger delays as fatigue and daylight began taking their toll.  Scott was now forced to have to run through the Energy Lab course.

Danger, danger!!

Scott stumbled.  Fell nearly flat down on his face in the darkness of that portion of the course.  Luckily he had turned on the lights, but his “luck” was not for illumination…rather, the separation between his liners and the ground was buffered by the tiny headlamp on his right leg….by approximately 1/2 of an inch!

Small distance…but large enough to break his fall and prevent gravel from puncturing the liner.

Now to put everything into a nice package with a silk bow on top, here’s your spoiler alert….Scott finished the race.  Made it just in the nick of time.  And when you see images of him crossing one of the world’s most famous finish lines, take note of the “pop-eye” headlamps on his running legs; one is on and one is smashed out!

Is there a Biblical message in this or is this just another great feel-good story? You be the judge.  Scott and I and his support team prayed about a lot of things….and we did it on a regularly basis.  I always felt like God was in the trenches with us all along this 15-month journey leading up to Kona.  But with all the things we were trying to plan for, we just couldn’t account for everything.

God was planning for everything, however.

This week, as I reflect on Scott’s accomplishment 10 years ago today….I am thankful for the times in my life, not just 10 years ago, where God was guiding me when I didn’t realize it.  He’s has always given me the provisions I’ve needed, especially when I felt like I had nothing.

My prayer today is that we can continue to be thankful.  Thankful for what we have.  And, maybe, thankful for what we don’t realize we have.

And….Scott…..blessings to you, my friend, on this special anniversary!

 

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OCT 11, 2017 WAWA: “The Octopus Returns!”

Bringing back the “Octopus Hills Workout” this week that I introduced back in June!

Recall, as I mentioned back then, that an octopus has 6 arms and 2 legs?  I assumed they were all legs…but Google told me otherwise.  For our run workout, we’ll follow the extensions of the octopus.  Our two “leg” routes will take us to-from the Cornwell Center to the starting point for the hills workout.  And I’ve got 6 “arms” (ie. hill routes) for the main set of the workout.

Here’s the planned route:

LEG 1:  Warm up run to Starting Point:

Exit Cornwell Center, turning right onto Selwyn Avenue.  Take left down Radcliff.  Turn right onto Queens Road West.  Then up the Booty Loop hill to the intersection of Queens Road & Hopedale.

Distance:  Approximately 1 mile

6 ARMS:  Main Running Set:

First Arm:  Starting Point up Hopedale (East) and back.

Second Arm:  Starting Point up Granville and back.

Third Arm:  Starting Point up Queens Road West, left down Ardsley, and back.

Fourth Arm:  Starting Point up Queens Road West, left down Coniston and back.

Fifth Arm:  Starting Point down Hopedale (West) and back.

Sixth Arm:  Starting Point down Queens Road West to bottom of hill, then back to Starting Point.

Distance:  Approximately 3.5 miles

LEG 2:  Easy jog from Starting Point back to Cornwell Center:

Starting Point up Hopedale (East), turn right onto Queens/Selwyn, then left into the parking lot for the Cornwell Center.

Distance:  Approximately 1 mile.

TOTAL Distance is approximately 5.5 miles.

Meet outside the Cornwell Center, ready to go at 5:45 am!

WORKOUT LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

DEVOTIONAL LEADER:  Mike Lenhart

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