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I missed a week here as I hurt my back building some under-bed storage. I was smart and didn't push by doing things like "OMG I am scheduled to run" or "OMG I have to start getting my upper-body strength back and if I miss the gym I will be behind". I am already behind on both counts, and pushing through a back injury wasn't going to make things better. I took it easy, I did a metric boat-load of stretching and spent a week on my heating pad. I was smart.


I also had an OCR this past weekend on Saturday, 18 May. I figured if I wasn't healed-up enough by Thursday I would contact the organizers and just volunteer. I felt good, so I showed up, fully intending to just complete the course and try not to compare myself to who I was two years ago.


Frontline OCR




Frontline OCR is a smaller race, themed for First Responders. They have some unique twists on your run-of-the-mill jump/climb/carry. They have a Heroes class, where you must be an active-duty first-responder or active duty military. Special Forces (Elite) class must wear a 20lb weighted vest and all obstacles are mandatory completion, or the competitor must give up their vest. In addition to the Open class, there is also an Endurance class, unlimited multiple laps in eight hours.


Frontline OCR held their "Fourth Wave" - their fourth year putting on this event. I'd heard good things from some members of my North Star Spartans. I went in untrained and out-of-shape. I ran the course with another member of my NSS team who I would categorize as an acquaintance more than a friend, but she pushed me and she did really well on most of the obstacles, and this was a good kick in my butt.




I didn't have a great day on obstacles. I struggled with anything where it required more upper-body strength than technique. And there were a LOT of things that fell into that upper-body strength category. I figure I passed about half of the obstacles.


This thing was called "The Vest Collector". There was a massive backup here. I didn't make it through and I just did the penalty and moved on.


At just under the halfway mark, we ran into another of our people who was competing in the Special Forces class. She had been stuck at one of the obstacles for at least half an hour and had torn open her hands. We stuck with her for at least another half an hour before she finally gave in and lost her vest. Then it started to rain, and not drizzly little can't-make-up-its-mind rain. We stuck with her for about a mile before we hit a Warped Wall with a rope. I passed that - barely - but our Special Forces member decided to keep at it. The rain was getting cold and we separated off to finish out the course.




Right now I'm a poor runner, and it was raining with lots of muddy single-track. I did better those last two miles than I did for the first four.


There were major backups at some of the obstacles, and this outfit ran into the same issue as most of the smaller races in that they can't attract volunteers. Most of the obstacles were unattended. I watched some people fail obstacles, shrug, and keep running with their vest. I'm glad I wasn't out there as a competitive racer or I would have been upset. Also, we didn't just get rain, we got thunderstorms with lightning strikes, and evidently organizers would have closed the course, but there was no way to contact any of the racers due to the lack of volunteers, so they just let people finish out. It's hard to fault the event, but they really need to have more people on-site in case of things like this.


Overall, I thought it was a good event. They had unique obstacles and a good theme, and I like that profits go to charities. I had fun right up until the cold, driving rain started to fall.


But I've got a LONG way to go before November.

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the cw popcorn GIF

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"You have the heart of a Rebel"

"I'll take that as a compliment"

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Hello folks.


So, the sad fact is that it's been a bad three weeks or so. Spring allergies turned into a major sinus infection that knocked me out for five days over Labor Day weekend at the end of May. So far I've avoided getting pneumonia for the second consecutive June, but it's been hit or miss. Getting old sucks.


I'm in full-on Youth Mission Trip mode. We leave this Friday. I have personal packing to do and I have to put together the tool buckets for our vehicles. I also have to figure out a way to get the table saw I explicitly bought for these trips into the trailer. The one vehicle we have that can tow cannot tow the same size trailer as last year, and this year we are bringing a traveling party of 30 people(!). That's 10 more people than last year and it's by far the largest group we have ever had.


My week:


Monday: Get my paperwork notarized, and inventory our existing tools against the required list, separate the tools into the sets we need each team to bring

Tuesday: Fill the remaining items for the two tool sets

Wednesday: Everyone must deliver their luggage for Friday packing

Thursday: Haircut and Mission Trip Beard. 

Friday: Pack the trailer and hit the road by noon with 22 teenagers and eight adults and drive to St. Louis

Saturday: Spend the day at Six Flags Over St. Louis and then off to our hotel in Metropolis, IL

Sunday: Drive the last 3.5 hours to camp and start the week.


So I probably won't be around here much for a couple weeks, but I really, really appreciate you all checking in on me.


Peace and love, my friends.


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14 June to 23 June 2019




At some point a long time ago, I figured out that these weeks are not about the building of porches or sheds or wheelchair ramps. I'm a dim bulb. It took a bit, but I figured it out. The work is important, but it's not about the work. It's about the building of community, of building relationships with the kids I serve and the comminuties in which we serve. It's about building up my kids in every way.


I am a shepherd. I protect my flock from attack, both from without and from within. I will leave the 99 to rescue the one. And I will defend each and every one of them with every breath I take. The good news is each and every one of them, even the ones who do not know me well yet, know this fact. The bad news is that they had to witness as I proved it to them this past week.


This is my family, of whom I am insanely proud, and I am glad they have accepted me as a part.

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Weekend Update

Image result for star wars mud

Pictured: Not me, but not altogether different. Although I have more hair.



I did Warrior Dash. Last year I got to do it with my youngest daughter. This year she begged out. She told me that she wants to actually start running and that she would have been embarassed to show up and just walk through the course. I hope she does, she's pretty sedentery and I don't want her growing up like that the way I did as a young adult.


This is still an entry-level OCR. There was some mud and one hill. There were a couple places where there were significant obstacle backups, including the cargo net hill climb and a vertical cargo net as they only allowed three people to ascend at a time. Temps were very hot and humid and my Pink Princess would have been badly sunburned and dehydrated, so her opting out was not a bad idea. I am seriously out-of-shape, and I got a bit of a sunburn myself. I had fun.  It was a Good DayTM.


Grandbaby's baby mama has finally agreed to a consistent schedule. She will have The BoyTM on Wedesdays and Thursdays and every other weekend, meaning that Grandma and Grandpa Day Care becomes an every-other-weekend affair, and my older children go off-the-clock after he's picked up on Wednesday afternoons. This is a positive for everyone. I can start planning a regular fitness schedule and stop making excuses.



We had our Youth Mission Trip worship service during the morning. I delivered part of the sermon, probably the most important words I've ever spoken to date.




Feel free to watch the whole thing if that kind of thing interests you. My piece begins somewhere around the 27 minute mark.


Any thought of fitnessing was pre-empted by severe thunderstorms that started in the early afternoon. 


Today's a new day and a new month. I'm signing up for my Dallas Ultra and I believe the Michigan Super as my GF thinks I should do a 2x Trifecta this year. The Greece Trifecta weekend registration will happen at the end of the month. I've got five months to harden up. I need to be ready for the challenge. Five months should be plenty for a man in his 50s to go from basically Couch to 5k to 60 miles of OCR in eight days, right?



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You have a great voice. You do the same thing with your foot (at 28:19) in the pulpit that I used to do all the time. 


That was a powerful message. It's terrible what happened to your youth, and I'm glad you were there to see them through that. 

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"By the Most-Righteous-and-Blessed Beard of Sir Tanktimus the Encourager!" - Jarl Rurik Harrgath

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On 7/1/2019 at 3:41 PM, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

You have a great voice. You do the same thing with your foot (at 28:19) in the pulpit that I used to do all the time. 

Thanks for the compliment. I always feel like I sound super nasal when I speak. 


I noticed the thing with the foot when I watched it back and now I can't stop seeing it. 65% of the time I'm the one producing the live feed. I'm much more comfortable back in the booth.



That was a powerful message. It's terrible what happened to your youth, and I'm glad you were there to see them through that. 

Thank you. I've been telling my youth group kids for 15 years that I love them as if they were my own. Austin is no exception. I've known him since he was four years old and I've watched him grow into an amazing young man. It made me physically ill that it happened to him. In hindsight, I feel like we should have known we were putting our youth at risk after serving with this ministry last year. We saw the signs everywhere and yet we still went back. I liken it to successfully navigating a minefield in the dark and and thinking, "Hey, we can do this" and then trying to go back and do it again. I'm hoping that there are major changes the host ministry will make to their criteria for thos receiving services (starting with "You can't be a racist") because it's not just my youth kids of color who shouldn't have to be subjected to this.


Obligatory Star Wars GIF for transition



I have always wanted to pilot an A-wing. More than an X-wing, honestly.


I ran the Apple Valley Freedom Days ('Murica! Explosions!) 5-mile run through what was then my own neighborhood for three years. Two years ago, I woke up the next day at the height of my fitness and my knee pain was so bad I couldn't get out of bed. That was the start of my acute arthritis days. I haven't run on pavement since.


I agreed to run the 2-mile fun run followng a successful guilt trip applied by my Mud Brother Ed. He'll be running the 5-mile race and I joked that he may finish before me. It might not be a joke. We'll be discussing the Dallas Spartan Ultrabeast after we finish. Frankly, I need more of this kind of peer pressure in my life.

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It was hot and humid when I left work at 4:30 pm (86defF with a heat index of 92degF) so I decided to go trail run at one of my favorite parks near my home.




3.6 miles, about 1.2 miles of single track. I used to know this track, but it's changed a LOT, due both to park management and spring flooding that has closed a bunch of trails.Also, I chose to take the single track at the south end of the park instead of continuing on the groomed trail that goes closer to the perimeter. Far more challenging, especially since at the other end there were signs that said "Trail Closed" since there were stretches where it was flooded, including one spot that should have been impassible and at which point I should have turned back, but there was a downed tree and I crossed on it. 



I'm super out of shape and lots of things hurt today, but I've felt worse and done dumber things in the past and lived through them. I ate well and hydrated better for the rest of the evening and I got plenty of sleep on my heating pad, so a low-intensity day shouldn't hurt me in advance of my first road run in a couple years tomorrow.

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On 7/1/2019 at 9:07 PM, EricMN said:

The Greece Trifecta weekend registration will happen at the end of the month. I've got five months to harden up. I need to be ready for the challenge. Five months should be plenty for a man in his 50s to go from basically Couch to 5k to 60 miles of OCR in eight days, right?

You and me both, Jedi Master...

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Image result for yoda facepalm


So, update:


I did ~something~ to my left leg on my last run. I did not run on July 4. I saw my chiro multiple times over the past week. I've been doing body weight exercises and a metric butt-ton of stretching. I am mostly confident that I am ready to go again.


Saturday is Conquer the Gauntlet, a race at which I qualified for OCRWC each of the last two years. They changed the qualifying criteria for that race and I wouldn't have qualified either of the past two years, which is fine, and this year I had no shot anyway. It's going to be a "fun run" for me with some obstacles that I have no shot at completing (Pegatron and Stairway to Heaven, slack line, plus their rig).




I'm going to go out, not compare myself against the last couple years, and have fun. I'll complain a little afterward, but I'll do what I can, drive home, and then go spectate at the Toughest Mudder event here in town later in the evening.

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Weekend Update





Conquer the Gauntlet was fun, as always. We got up early, left the house by 6:30 a.m., and drove through a major thunderstorm in northern Iowa that made me think about turning around and going home. Fortunately the rain was all north of the race site and while it was wet and muddy, the obstacles were all fairly clean.


It's a well-done race series with what's probably the toughest bunch of obstacles Stateside, but they suffer from a lack of volunteers as it's a small series with races that are held in the middle of nowhere in the Midwest. However, it makes for a totally different vibe than the big series like Spartan, where everything feels "OMG AROO AROO" and the douche levels of the competitors is significantly higher.


I went out on course knowing full well my current state of self. I had a tougher time with a couple of the obstacles on course than I expected, but that's a wake-up call that is going to lead to some construction projects at home starting tonight. All in all I did about what I expected on the obstacles. 




I also had a recurrence of the leg issue - actually a glute issue - from a couple weeks ago that was really, really miserable during the 2.5-hour drive home, but instead of rest and recovery I've been engaging in ACTIVE recovery and it's so much better now than a couple weeks ago that I am ready to start doing things like my "four months until Dallas and Greece" running program.


Saturday evening I drove out to the other end of town and met up with some of my NSS friends to spectate at Toughest Mudder Central. A good dozen or more of my teammates were running, and another was playing Professional Pit Crew for a half-dozen runners (complete with logs and checklists and labeled items. Seriously professional-level). My Mud Brother Ed was running and originally I was going to pit for him, but his wife decided she was in for it and I left it at that. I surprised him by cheering he and our friend Ty at the end of his first lap.




I stuck around until almost midnight to catch more of our folks in the transition area before heading home at the end of a really, really long day.



Selfie inception.


The whole Toughest vibe was so cool. I hope I'm able to get my body able to do something like this in the future.



Rest and active recovery. After meeting up with friends at a Minneapolis craft brewery, my GF and I went home to a healthy steak and salad dinner, followed by a three-mile walk and enough stretching and mobility work on my leg to feel like a mild workout. 


My body is a mess and I'm figuring out life with not only pain but a different reality with the kids and grandboy that will require intentional scheduling to regain the person I know I am. But this weekend gave me hope, after about a year of pretty much walking away, that it's still possible.

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Monday August 19


Last Wednesday I sprained my ankle while trail running. I was only about .75 miles into a planned 4-mile run when I turned it and landed badly. I knew it was bad on the spot. It began to swell immediately. I haven't done this to myself in three years and I was worried.


It hurt like hell for a couple days, but by Friday, I was... walking normally. On Saturday I was standing normally, had nearly full range of motion, and I seriously considered doing my scheduled Trail Run, but thought better of it and just followed through with my scheduled recovery protocol.


It looks horrible:




Seriously, it looks horrible, don't look if you're squeamish.


It's tender to the touch, but it FEELS fine. I am probably going to put on a brace and start back up at the gym tomorrow.

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