Archive for January, 2014

Five Mile Journey in 8 Weeks – Week 4

 

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Week 4 – Stay committed 

Be sure to read weeks 1 -3

This week’s schedule – This is a milestone week!  This week you hit 3 miles in your long run.

Day 1

  • Walker – Walk for 2 miles
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 2 miles alternating between running and walking
  • Jogger – Run easy for 2 miles

Day 2

  • REST

Day 3

  • All
    • Add core exercises to this day in addition to the walk or run below.
      • 10 push-ups and 10 set-ups.  Do 3 times.
      • Leg lifts (lay on back and lift both legs 6” off the ground), hold for count of 15 to 30.  Repeat 3 times
      • Planks  – Hold plank exercise for 30 -60 seconds.  Repeat 3 times.
  • Walker – Walk for 2.5 miles
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 2.5 miles alternating between running and walking, easy (you should be able to carry on a conversation easily; if not, you are going too fast)
  • Jogger – Run easy for 2.5 miles.

Day 4

  • Walker – Walk for 2.5 miles
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 2.5 miles
  • Jogger – Run easy for 2.5 miles.

Day 5

  • All – Core Exercises
    • 10 push-ups and 10 set-ups.  Do 3 times, each.
    • Leg lifts (lay on back and lift both legs 6” off the ground), hold for count of 15 to 30.  Repeat 3 times
    • Planks  – Hold plank exercise for 30 -60 seconds.  Repeat 3 times.

Day 6 – Long Distance Day

  • Walker – Walk for 3 miles, steady
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 3 miles
  • Jogger – Run 3 miles, steady.

Day 7

  • REST

CONGRATS on accomplishing 3 miles as your longest walk/run in the training.  Pat yourself on the back, you deserve it.

Reminder:  Always stretch after your workout:  Simply a good habit and practice to get into.  Lite stretching of the same muscle groups you did in your warm up for 15 to 30 seconds and repeating two to three times will help keep you flexible.

 

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Run Tall

Training Tips for the week:

  • Too tired to exercise? – Try walking/running early in the day when you have more energy; don’t stay up late – turn off the TV and get your sleep.  Reduce your intake of high-sugar foods.  If you exercise after work, eat a healthy late-afternoon snack to give you energy (e.g. bagel, fruit or yogurt)

3 Tips to think about this weekend while you are exercising – focus on one of these as you do your walks/runs this week

  • Foot Strike – Runners – be careful not to over stride. If your lead foot lands in front of your center of gravity, you create a jarring and braking effect, causing your knee to be less able to absorb shock and sooner or later pain results.  To eliminate over striding, be sure that with each stride your foot strikes the ground under your hip and with the knee slightly flexed.  Walkers – your foot strike is slightly in front of your center of gravity – keep your natural stride and stay relaxed.
  • Shoulders and Arms – Your arms should swing naturally, starting at the shoulder joint.  Walkers should keep their arms slightly bent at the elbow, wrists relaxed, whereas runners should bend their arms at the elbow and keep hands cupped.  Runners should also focus on keeping their shoulders square and driving their arms backward, which will create a rebound effect, sending the arms forward.
  • Conversational pace – You should always be able to maintain a conversation while on training during your walks/runs.  If you cannot talk, or having trouble breathing and talking, then you are going too fast – ease back.

See you on the streets,

Coach Dan

Coach Dan Blankenship

Coach Dan Blankenship

 

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Doubt, Faith and Truth – Part IV

Just as my fitness had improved—I could run much longer distances now—I agreed with Immanuel Kant’s observation that there were two things we cannot ignore: “the starry skies above and the moral law within.” While the first cause argument (“the starry skies above”) had impeccable logic, the moral lawgiver argument (“the moral law within”) appealed to my more intuitive side. Like adding distance gradually in my running, I was growing in my understanding of the philosophical basis for a belief in God. For my purposes, I was making real progress.  (from The Race Before Us)

Recently, in “Doubt, Faith and Truth – Part III,” we reviewed our discussion of the truth of the resurrection as part of a a Sunday School class I am teaching based upon my book.  Because the book takes a fairly thorough approach of considering many of the traditional arguments for the existence of God and the truth of Christianity, the potential exits to extend the class for many weeks as we try to “knock off” the cosmological argument (“the starry skies above”), the teleological argument, the reliability of scripture, etc.

Just as it was audacious to try to review the proof of the resurrection in a blog post, this post will be equally ridiculous as I try to summarize the “moral argument” in a few hundred words.  Those who have read The Race Before Us may recall that this “argument” probably had the single biggest impact on me.  It is featured in chapter 6 and then revisited in Chapter 16 when I try to tackle head-on the arguments of today’s most prominent atheist, Richard Dawkins.

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One way to consider the issues raised by the moral argument is to try to answer the question – “why are we (sometimes) good”?  Recalling that Jesus said “No one is good except God alone,” perhaps this question is posed better – “what causes us to do altruistic acts”?  Many are confounded by the source of “good” acts because, even as Dawkins admits, “natural selection seems ill-suited to explain such goodness as we possess, or our feelings of morality, decency, empathy and pity.” Christians would say that there are certain things that are clearly right and wrong – at all times.  Further, they would say that such an objective standard must be based in something eternal because being based on man or society means it can change with opinion.  In The Race Before Us I captured this idea by concluding, “Absent an unjudged judge or divine arbitrator, any determination of right and wrong results from to the assertion of power by either a majority or a despot.”  

The point then is that when we look at “reasons” for God or “clues” of God, we can look to this moral sense (“the moral law within”).  We can conclude that it is very real and we can conclude that there must be a source for such a standard but be outside of man, which leads us to something (someone) eternal and unchanging – God.  It is one thing to understand and even embrace this rational argument.  yet, that would be, like many things, understanding with the head, but perhaps not with the heart – existentially.  But when we recognize – really understand – that not only is there a moral code (something C.S. Lewis calls the “Law of Human Nature”) and that we do not measure up, we begin to understand with our heart, with our soul.  The idea of God – the idea of a Power beyond ourselves – leaves the abstract or purely intellectual and becomes a real part of our everyday existence.  We sense it, we feel it – we know it.

As usual, few ever capture these ideas as well as C.S. Lewis, who wrote in Mere Christianity:

Christianity tells people to repent and  promises them forgiveness.It therefore has nothing (as far as I know)to sayto people who do not know they havedone anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need any forgiveness.  It is after you have realized that there is a Moral Law, and a Power behind the law, and that you have broken that law and put yourself wrong with that Power – it is after a lll this, and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk.

If man is simply the product of time, matter, and chance – and we evolve by natural selection – what explains Mother Teresa, CARITAS or Boaz and Ruth?  Anyway, that was our Sunday School class.  There is a Part V – stay tuned.

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Five Mile Journey in 8 Weeks – Week 3

Dan Week 3

Week 3 – Carry your own torch

 Be sure to read week 1 and week 2.

This week’s schedule – focus on distance:

Day 1 – record your time.

  • Walker – Walk for 2 miles (or 3.21 km)
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 2 miles alternating between run and walk
  • Jogger – Run easy for 2 miles.

Day 2

  • REST

Day 3 (same as day Day 1 but finish 15 seconds faster)

  • Walker – Walk for 2 miles (or 3.21 km)
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 2 miles alternating between run and walk
    • Add core exercises to this day.
      • 10 push-ups and 10 set-ups.  Do 3 times.
      • Leg lifts (lay on back and lift both legs 6” off the ground), hold for count of 15.  Repeat 3 times
  • Jogger – Run easy for 2 miles.
    • Add core exercises to this day.
      • 10 push-ups and 10 set-ups.  Do 3 times.
      • Leg lifts (lay on back and lift both legs 6” off the ground), hold for count of 15.  Repeat 3 times

Day 4

  • REST

Day 5

  • Walker – Walk for 2.5 miles (4.02 km)
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 2.5 miles
    • Add core exercises to this day.
      • 10 push-ups and 10 set-ups.  Do 3 times.
      • Leg lifts (lay on back and lift both legs 6” off the ground), hold for count of 15.  Repeat 3 times
  • Jogger – Run easy for 2.5 miles.
    • Add core exercises to this day.
      • 10 push-ups and 10 set-ups.  Do 3 times.
      • Leg lifts (lay on back and lift both legs 6” off the ground), hold for count of 15.  Repeat 3 times

Day 6

  • Walker – Walk for 2.5 miles, easy
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 2.5 miles
  • Jogger – Run easy for 2.5 miles.

Day 7

  • Walkers
    • Add core exercises to this day.
      • 10 push-ups and 10 set-ups.  Do 3 times.
      • Leg lifts (lay on back and lift both legs 6” off the ground), hold for count of 15.  Repeat 3 times
  • Walk/Run & Joggers
    • Add core exercises to this day.
      • 10 push-ups and 10 set-ups.  Do 3 times.
      • Leg lifts (lay on back and lift both legs 6” off the ground), hold for count of 15.  Repeat 3 times
      • Planks – Hold plank exercise for 30 seconds.  Repeat 3 times.

Always stretch after your workout:  Simply a good habit and practice to get into.  Lite stretching of the same muscle groups you did in your warm up for 15 to 30 seconds and repeating two to three times will help keep you flexible.

See you on the streets,

Coach Dan

Coach Dan Blankenship

Coach Dan Blankenship

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Five Mile Journey in 8 Weeks – Week 2

 

RunLikeKid

Week 2 – Training to be a kid again!

Be sure to stretch or warm up before you run.  This is especially important on cold days.   Read Week 1 and see the link to basic stretching:  http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_1/126.shtml

Remember, this program starts gradually for each level (walker, walk/run, or jogger).   Be patient and don’t do more than what is listed in the schedule.    Our goal is to help you complete 5 miles in 8 weeks so it is important to stay true to the schedule below.

This week’s schedule:

Day 1

  • Walker – Walk for 36 minutes
    • 5 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk; repeat.  4 min brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk, repeat.  3 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk, repeat
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 2 miles (or 3.21 km)
    • Run 3 minutes, followed by followed by 2 minute brisk walk, repeat.   Continue doing this until you have reached 2 miles.
  • Jogger – Run easy for 2 miles.

Day 2

  • REST

Day 3 (same as Day 1 schedule)

  • Walker – Walk for 36 minutes
    • 5 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk; repeat.  4 min brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk, repeat.  3 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk, repeat
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 2.5 miles (or 4.02 km)
    • Run 3 minutes, followed by followed by 2 minute brisk walk, repeat.   Continue doing this until you have reached 2.5 miles.
  • Jogger – Run easy for 2.5 miles.

Day 4

  • REST

Day 5

  • Walker – Walk for 40 minutes
    • 6 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk; repeat.  5 min brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk, repeat.  3 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk, repeat
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 2 miles (or 3.21 km)
    • Run 3 minutes, followed by followed by 2 minute brisk walk, repeat.   Continue doing this until you have reached 2 miles.
    • Add core exercises to this day.
      • 10 push-ups and 10 set-ups.  Do 3 times.
      • Leg lifts (lay on back and lift both legs 6” off the ground), hold for count of 15.  Repeat 3 times
  • Jogger – Run easy for 2 miles.
    • Add core exercises to this day.
      • 10 push-ups and 10 set-ups.  Do 3 times.
      • Leg lifts (lay on back and lift both legs 6” off the ground), hold for count of 15.  Repeat 3 times

Day 6

  • Walker – Walk for 40 minutes
    • 6 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk; repeat.  5 min brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk, repeat.  3 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk, repeat
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 2 miles (or 3.21 km)
    • Run 3 minutes, followed by followed by 2 minute brisk walk, repeat.   Continue doing this until you have reached 2 miles.
  • Jogger – Run easy for 2 miles.

Day 7

  • REST

Always stretch after your workout:  Simply a good habit and practice to get into.  Lite stretching of the same muscle groups you did in your warm up for 15 to 30 seconds and repeating two to three times will help keep you flexible.

See you on the streets,

Coach Dan

Coach Dan Blankenship

Coach Dan Blankenship

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Five Mile Journey in 8 Weeks – Week 1

The Race Before Us celebrates our physical journey as well as the spiritual.  In the early chapters of The Race Before Us I talk about being unable to run even one mile, but I finally adopt a routine that eventually got me through my first 10K – its all about taking it step-by-step as Coach Gan will do over the next eight weeks.

With this post, Coach Dan offers a program for first time and novice runners (and walkers) to “get off the coach” and start walking or running – just in time for many New Year’s resolutions.  Commit now and run your first mile and your second mile and continue on with this program and complete five miles in just eight weeks.  Begin here with Week # 1.

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Week 1

This 8 week walk/run program is designed to gradually take you from the couch to walking or running  5 miles. The program is designed for 3 different levels: Walker, Walk/Runner, or Beginning Runner (I will call a Jogger here).   It is important that you follow the schedule for your level once you start the program.    Our goal is to help you be successful in completing your first 5 miles.   Make the commitment now, then lace up and let’s hit the roads together.

Before heading out for your walk or run, it is important that you warm-up the major muscle groups used in running and walking first.  Let’s start with a low intensity jog or walk for 5 to 10 minutes to warm your muscles.  It is important to warm up progressively using a limited range of motion to increase muscle and body temperature gradually to minimize the risk of injury.  (Note: cold muscles work less efficiently and are more easily injured).  Once your muscles are warm, then move into your pre-training stretching exercises that focus on stretching your calves, hamstring, Iliotibial band (IT band), quadriceps, hips, lower back, and shoulders.  The rule with stretching, before, during or after exercising is to listen to your body.  If it hurts, you have stretched too far.

Link to basic stretching:  http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_1/126.shtml

Day 1

  • Walker – Walk for 24 minutes
    • 3 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk; repeat.  2 min brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk, repeat.  1 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk, repeat
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 18 minutes
    • 2 minute easy run, followed by 2 minute brisk walk, repeat.   2 minute easy run, followed by 1 minute brisk walk, repeat.  1 minute easy run, followed by 1 minute brisk walk.
  • Jogger – Run easy for 12 minutes.

Day 2

  • REST

Day 3 (same as Day 1 schedule)

  • Walker – Walk for 24 minutes
    • 3 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk; repeat.  2 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk, repeat.  1 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk, repeat
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 18 minutes
    • 2 minute easy run, followed by 2 minute brisk walk, repeat.   2 minute easy run, followed by 1 minute brisk walk, repeat.  1 minute easy run, followed by 1 minute brisk walk.
  • Jogger – Run easy for 12 minutes.

Day 4

  • REST

Day 5

  • Walker – Walk for 30 minutes
    • 4 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk; repeat.  3 min brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk, repeat.  2 minute brisk walk, followed by 2 minute slow or easy walk, repeat
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 20 minutes
    • 3 minute easy run, followed by 2 minute brisk walk, repeat.   2 minute easy run, followed by 1 minute brisk walk, repeat.  1 minute easy run, followed by 1 minute brisk walk.
  • Jogger – Run easy for 15 minutes.

Day 6

  • Walker – Walk for 15 minutes
  • Walk/Run  – Walk/Run for 20 minutes
  • Jogger – Run easy for 15 minutes.

Day 7

  • REST

Notice that this program starts gradually for each level.   Be patient and don’t do more than what is listed in the schedule.  Remember, our goal is to help you complete 5 miles in 8 weeks so it is important to stay true to the schedule.  If you miss a day, that is okay.  Just try to get back on schedule as quickly as possible.  In the following weeks we will mix in some core training and we’ll be setting distances to achieve so you can measure your progress.  A sports watch can help you time the walk or run segments and mapping out your walk / runs in distance will help beginning in week 2.

Stretching after your workout:  It is a good idea to get in the practice of cooling down your muscles after a workout.  Lite stretching of the same muscle groups you did in your warm up for 15 to 30 seconds and repeating two to three times will help keep you flexible.  Muscles tend to tighten during exercise and stretching afterwards is probably more important than stretching before your workout.   If you have to skip one of your stretching routines, don’t skip the post- exercise stretch.

See you on the streets,

Coach Dan

Coach Dan Blankenship

Coach Dan Blankenship

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Doubt, Faith and Truth – Part III

Little could be more compelling, I thought, than to become convinced of the truth of Christ’s resurrection. It is so central to the Christian faith that the apostle Paul wrote, “If Christ was not raised from the dead then your faith is in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:17). The objective was very clear: How to become convinced that the resurrection really happened?  (from The Race Before Us)

A couple of weeks ago we featured “Doubt, Faith and Truth – Part II,” which touched on a Sunday School class I am teaching based upon my book.  The class is called:  “Doubt, Faith and Truth in The Race Before Us.”  Originally planned to be just two sessions, the class has continued to grow.  Somewhat belatedly, here is Part III:  “Proof of the Resurrection” – one of the many “arguments” referenced in Part II and examined in the book in trying to “get at” the “truth.”

Again, it is probably foolhardy to even start a blog post on a topic like this that usually requires thousands of words if not pages.  Many books have been written on the topic, including perhaps the gold standard in this area – N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God (approximately 800 pages), which Tim Keller acknowledged (in The Reason for God) had a profound impact on his own thinking (“. . . when I closed the book, I said, at a time when it was very important to me to feel this way, I said, ‘He really really really did rise from the dead”).

With all of those disclaimers, I will mention briefly how Sunday School topic and discussion.  The Race Before Us has a chapter devoted to my exploration of this issue – chapter 10 is entitled:  “Colson’s Proof: Running from Watergate.” The title comes from Charles Colson, former White House counsel to President Nixon, who was convicted of crimes in connection with the Watergate break-in and cover-up.  Colson was known for saying that “Watergate proves the resurrection.”  Specifically, Colson said:

I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, and then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world—and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.

Charles Colson (1931 - 2012)

Charles Colson (1931 – 2012)

We used this interesting observation in class to discuss (as much as you can in an hour) the historical basis and evidence that supports a conclusion, as Tim Keller said, that Jesus “really, really, really” did rise from the dead.  Because we had limited time, I focused our discussion on Colson’s observations and the “minimal facts” approach (emphasized by many apologists, but in my journey I specifically looked at the work of Gary Habermas and Michael Licona (The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus) –   “minimal facts” about which very few historians disagree.  These authors suggest that a focus on these five essentially undisputed facts compels the conclusion that Christ must have risen from the dead:

1) Jesus died by crucifixion.
2) Jesus’ disciples believed that he rose from the dead and appeared to them.
3) Paul, a persecutor of the church, suddenly changed to faith in Jesus.
4) James, skeptical of Jesus during his ministry, suddenly changed to faith in Jesus.
5) The tomb of Jesus was empty.

In light of these facts, Colson’s conclusions about human conduct, and a variety of other observations, I concluded, as Tim Keller wrote, that for the atheist, for the skeptic, it is not enough to simply say that Jesus did not rise from the dead.  You must come up with a historically feasible alternate explanation for the birth of the church. You have to provide some other plausible account for how things began.

Even staunchly atheistic historians have great problems finding an explanation for the rise of Christianity other than perhaps – just perhaps – Jesus really did rise from the dead.  (Or, as Tim Keller has said – “He really, really, really did rise from the dead.”)

 

Postscript – Not surprisingly, in our fourth class, we covered the moral argument in an hour as well.  So  in the near future Part IV of “Doubt, Faith & Truth” will attempt the equally outrageous take of taking on book-length, thesis-worthy topics in 400 words or less.

 

 

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We are not made to be sedentary – physically or spiritually

 

“Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize?  Run so as to win.  Every athlete exercises discipline in every way.  They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.  Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing.  No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.” ( 1 CORINTHIANS 9:24-27)

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The Bible does not state anywhere anything like “Thou shalt exercise or run daily, taking time off on the Sabbath to rejuvenate.”  Yet, what I do know is that God designed our bodies to be physically active, which is why He gave us such a complex human body system that is capable of extraordinary things – a system that only God could create.

Through science and medicine we try to understand, but still it is such a mystery how the twelve major systems of our body work in harmony.   He designed our skeletal and muscular systems, which consists of 206 bones with 230 moveable joints and some 700 named muscles in our body, not to be sedentary, but to be active.   We’ve learned through medicine that the best way to maintain our bodies, God’s body, is through exercise and rest.

We know that exercise, along with eating healthy, is critical to helping us decrease our risks of cardiovascular disease (hypertension, stroke, and heart disease), reducing the risk of some forms of cancer, improving our mood, preserving our cognitive function, helping us sleep better, controlling our weight, and overall, increasing our energy level (as our fitness level increases).  Research confirms that regular exercise prolongs life and diminishes the burden of disability and disease, as we grow older.

So why is this need not clearly highlighted in the Bible?  Why are we not more clearly enjoined to be active physically?  Or are we?

God gave us a body capable of many physical things.  But let’s not forget the mental aspects of our body too.  Like our physiological needs, we must feed our spiritual requirements as well.  We need also to renew our minds.  Paul also tells us:  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV).  Being active spiritually is equally crucial. This is one of the many reasons I teamed with Bruce Matson to help promote health, fitness and Christianity.  Starting this New Year, we will begin a walking and running training program that you can follow at home to help make you more active and fit.   Along with this program we hope to offer some food for thought in your own spiritual journey.

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There are many things clearly stated in the Bible but other things are not as clear.  We will see that the Bible provides great lessons and encouragement in both our physical and spiritual journeys.

In the scripture above, Paul is actually emphasizing the spiritual journey – our challenge to know and become more like Christ – by using the more easily grasped illustration of our physical challenges, but also that we do so with purpose and direction (“I do not run aimlessly”) and that the matter of training is of great significance (“I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing”)

So let’s finish up the celebrations of the season over the next few days, and then return next week, prepared to be active physically and spiritually for a fantastic 2014 and beyond.

See you on the roads soon.

Coach Dan

Coach Dan &  Bruce

Coach Dan & Bruce

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