Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weekend Run and Reflections

Lymphatic Volcanoes

During CCF on Friday night, a friend came up to me, told me to turn to the side, and pointed at my pimply neck. She noted that I needed more sleep and that I had a lymph node around that area. I ended up sleeping in the afternoon today, and to my pleasant surprise, the volcanoes have become dormant. Sleep is helpful for recovery, be it for muscle, mind, and even skin!

Long Run

I was supposed to go running Saturday morning. Upon waking up at 6am, I felt fairly sick with a sore throat. Recalling my need of sleep, I decided to skip the group run with Team in Training and get some more sleep. To my delight, I woke up feeling much more refreshed. It has been a busy week.

I was supposed to run 27km on Saturday with the Team. I ended up running much shorter distances to ease myself back into training. After helping out with the Iron Dragons tryout, I went running with Andy - around 45 min at an easy pace around the AC track.

This morning (Sunday) I woke up feeling a bit sore. But I gathered my running gear anyways. I jumped into the van with my mom / sister. When they went to Sunday School, I took off for an 8km jaunt around the neighbourhood. This run was peaceful and helped clear my head. I stopped partway for a GD (term I learned from Jireh). I need to find a way to optimize this so that I am sufficiently fueled and hydrated, and at the same time, making minimal stops.

The Long Haul

Steadfastness. Long suffering. Endurance. What starts off as just a dream is tested through trial and time. What am I made of? Am I the real deal? These are some questions I wrestle with as I fight to finish the race. Here is a list of my current battles:
Research: Need to be diligent in my work. Not chatting or surfing when it's work time. To work with excellence and be the best that I can be. I'm resolving to put in 40 hours a week.
CCF: Chairing is tough. The vision has been casted. The vision has been lost. And the vision has been rediscovered. I wish people would tell me things to my face. I think too much of what others think of me. A friend told me that I need more confidence. In fact, my writing teacher also told me that when I gave my presentation last week, saying that it seemed that I was apologizing for my research! A friend (and past Chair) told me that no one goes through chairing CCF unchanged. While I understood that in my head at the time, I now feel it in my life. The weight of the Cross. The call of discipleship. The burden for the lost and for the new generation. The lessons learned in love and in leadership. Miscommunication and broken relationships. All these seem absolutely crushing to my spirit. "But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31. Despite of the heavy burden, I smile as I write this, smiling for the joy set before me (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Fundraising: Exciting at first. Goal still seems daunting. Given my other commitments, it has been difficult to organize events and keep asking others for support. Nevertheless, I'm incredibly thankful for everyone who has supported me thus far.
Marathon Training: Battling injuries and health. Learning to just run. Rediscovering the pure pleasure of running.
Relationships: With people, family, friends and so on. Who do I say I am? What do my actions say of my Identity? I'm in pursuit of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness (1 Timothy 6:11-12, link). Do these show or do the opposites materialize in my life?
I'd love to hear your stories too! What are some of your current battles in life? What is your experience with having to stick it through for the long haul? You can post up or e-mail me directly (

Smile w/ Lots of Love,


Friday, January 28, 2011

Just Run

Here's a quick post before I head off to the CCF office.

I went to the running room today and bought a fuel belt. Yes, I gave in. Running in my environmentally friendly canteen simply didn't cut it. The bottle's weight over the course of a few hours really adds up. The main reason, however, is the bottle is made of metal. And holding a metal bottle in this weather ... is not fun.

I picked it up at the Running Room. At first I got a size Large. After running with it, I realized that it was too big. So after my meeting with some friends from CCF (who are helping me out with this super cool initiative ... its tentative name being Photos for a Purpose ... more details in a future post), I returned to the Running Room. They graciously understood my predicament and switched the belt with a Medium size.

On my way out, one of the Running Room staff says "I don't run with that thing". I was a little taken aback, since I thought he would be trying to sell it to me. (I knew I was going to keep it anyways). He followed by saying he drinks water after. I probed more to find out he runs marathons and his personal best is ... 2:14! That's fast. He told me ... "Just Believe. Just Run." That stuck with me.

Smile =)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Boundaries and Being Spent

Life's Boundaries

A friend introduced me to the book, Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. While I generally prefer avoiding the "relationship" discussions if possible, I decided to at least read the description. What I read blew me away. This wasn't the typical 'do this' or 'avoid this' .. the rule-based lifestyle I wanted to avoid. What I saw was the underlying motivation for boundaries. Boundaries not only for dating, but for your life as well. I recommend you at least check out the link, with its discussion and sample chapter. If this resonates with you, I'd love to hear more.

How about 'being spent'?

In my previous post, I talked about being spent for His Glory. If you read from the link I posted above on Boundaries, it may seem like contradicting ideas. We are made strong to be spent for His Glory ... yet The Boundaries proposed by Cloud and Townsend seem to suggest that we should 'limit our spending'.

Now there are both good ways and destructive ways on being spent. The first chapter of Cloud and Townsend's book on Boundaries (see the link) give examples of being spent in unhealthy ways. The Call of the Christian is to be spent for His Glory.

Yes, it's good to help others. But sometimes, you can still do "good" and be spent on the wrong things. If you're deciding between doing good or doing ill, then the choice is obvious: do good. The problem becomes more challenging if you're choosing between a set of good alternatives.

And if you're like me, the problem becomes compounded because of the limited supply and excessive demand of your time. Learning to say "no" to some "good" things allows you to say "yes" to "greater" things. And by freeing yourself from these "good" things, you can be spent on these "greater" things.

Yes, I know I speak in abstractions, but if this clicks, cool! As a final analogy, I want to give two quick examples on energy expenditure:
  • Healthy: Being 'spent' after a tough, yet invigorating workout
  • Unhealthy: Being 'spent' sitting in front of the computer doing [insert activity]

The End of the Matter

So what? There are two key issues at hand. The first is in identifying what is healthy and what isn't. While it isn't always easy, it is generally something you just know.

The second issue, and a much tougher issue, is to implement this healthy lifestyle. To guard your time dearly so it can be spent without reserve for the Glory of Your King.


I am not against spending your energy. In fact, you must spend it. I'm an 'all-or-nothing' kind of guy. What I'm advocating is being wise with your spending. Be it with your time, money, energy, and so forth. To be good stewards of what you have been entrusted.

Here's a good example of how not to spend your energy:

I won't give you all the details, but let me just say ...
... I found a new use for yoga mats when spending the night at the office =)

Smile with Lots of Love,


Broken Bridges

This image of the Quebec Bridge is a somber reminder of the duty we have as engineers. Having collapsed twice in 1907 and again in 1916, the collapse of the Quebec Bridge spawned the engineers' Iron Ring. The original Iron Rings were made of the metal from this bridge.

Another image comes to mind when I think of broken bridges. This is the image of a relationship, or career, or something that you take hold of... something that you hold onto dearly. This "thing" is the Island that you're connected to through the Bridge.

At times, these Bridges are broken: Bridges to our past that should stay in the past. I have many such Bridges.

I knew something was wrong the moment I saw the "Bridge closed" sign. Looking beyond the sign, I saw that the Bridge was broken. Not realizing that it was never to be traversed again, I secretly sneaked around the sign and crossed the bridge. As I was crossing, I lost my footing due to the damage and fell into the water, being swept to the shore.

You thought I would have learned my lesson - like the engineers of the Quebec Bridge. Yet I crossed the Bridge again, desperately seeking to cross, and not seeking the Cross. I tried being more careful this time. However, this time around, lightning struck and the Bridge snapped in two. Not being able to levitate, I fell into the water and had my arm bitten off by a shark (ref: Shanks). I was visibly shaken from the experience and told myself that would never happen again.

The next day came as if nothing happened. The Bridge was still in a total state of disrepair and my arm was still left untreated. Yet, I left my heart untreated. Detaching myself from my reality, I crossed the bridge yet again in zombie-like monotony. You can imagine what followed after. Yes .. I fell.

Many Broken Bridge crossing attempts later, I finally burned the Bridge and moved on. I asked the Chief Engineer where a good place to build would be and any advice He has in building this new Bridge. He simply smiled and told me to wait.
"For everything there is a season, a time for every matter under heaven..."
--Ecclesiastes 3:1
Then He gave me this chorus from a song as the prayer of my heart:
Strip away all that remains,
For Your glory and Your name,
'Til there's nothing left of me.

Burn the kingdoms I have made,
You will shine and I will fade,
'Til there's nothing left of me.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Being Spent for His Glory

I love this!

As a preface, I've been feeling exhausted the past few days. Feeling weak. Sometimes, I want to just be strong so that I can do all that I want to do. But the call of the Christian is to be strong for His glory. To have strength to serve and to love, truly. To give of ourselves. The call to take up your cross (Luke 9:22-26) is one of sacrifice. Just as Jesus Christ gave His life for us, we too should give up our lives for others.

Around 6:45 into the clip... "it's not your skin and how you can save it ... but how you can spend it ... for His glory ... His glory [epic echo =)]"

Monday, January 24, 2011

From 33% to 42% of $6,000!

Hey friends!

Thank you so much for your support! I recently had a Tag Day this past Saturday at the LCBO. The donations from the Tag Day + the recent donations from friends bring me to 42% of my goal - that's $2,500 raised to date! Only $3,500 left! Haha =)

Life on the Edge =)

Okay, back to work!

Smile with Lots of Love,


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Freezing for Cancer!

It was a chilly day today at the LCBO. I got there and was set-up by 11am and stayed till 7pm, though I was tempted many times to leave early. When I arrived, I had just come out of a warm shower so I toughed out the cold for the first hour. Soon, however, the chill became unbearable, and with the permission of the manager, I moved inside the foyer (see below). This was also quite chilly, as the doors kept opening and closing, but at least there was a heater in that area.

My mom came by to visit during the first half and took these first two photos. She also helped me setup and brought me some food. What is more, she even stood there for several minutes, collecting donations, allowing me to take a much needed washroom break.

The photo below shows me towards the end of my 8 hour shift. By then, I had overcome my shyness, asking anyone and everyone for spare change. I had also become accustomed to rejection, taking it personally before. You never know if you don't ask, right?

Staying motivated was difficult. Always smiling was a challenge, but a friend sent me a text reminding me to make others smile :) I then smiled, thinking about a revised version of my dream: to serve my community and to make others smile. Other things that helped were reciting verses from the Bible (i.e. the Beatitudes and Psalm 19), singing, reminding myself of those who suffer, and laughing a little =)

Towards the end, I had the pleasant surprise of a friend coming by to visit. Andre, an accomplished athlete and friend from the dragonboat team, came by to visit and keep me company to the end of my shift. I really appreciate friends like him. The thought of such friends make me smile as I write this.

The end result was some bills and a lot of coins. The unofficial total is $389 - which isn't bad when you consider it's an average hourly rate of approx. $48 / hour! I'll update my fundraising progress once I confirm it with Natalie, my super awesome campaign coordinator :)

I had a great time freezing for cancer! Fortunately, I didn't actually freeze. I ended the night with a warm snack with family and dumplings with a friend. Dumplings. Are. Amazing. What a way to end the night! My bed beckons me!

Until next time ... Smile with Lots of Love,


Friday, January 21, 2011

1st Tag Day @ LCBO

I just got home after CCF's Social Justice Coffeehouse and I'm excited for my first Tag Day tomorrow at the LCBO! I'll be outside to help raise funds to fight blood cancer. It's definitely chilly, with tomorrow's forecast ranging between -16 C and -9 C! But, it's for a good cause.

If you look carefully, I'm also sporting a new hairstyle! Comb-overs are the way of the future! =)

Smile and L.O.L. (lots of love)


Fundraising Ideas: Josh for Hire

Hey there!

I'm training for the Rome Marathon to raise funds for cancer. One of the things I'm doing is trading service for donations. If you're interested, you can contact me directly at Interested in helping out by donating your time? Contact me too!

Here's a preliminary list - let me know if you have any other ideas!

Knitting a Scarf: Suggested Donation $100 / scarf
Yes, I can knit :) This picture is me knitting in Port Authority (NYC) en route back to Toronto from Washington, D.C. The final product is shown in the picture above.

Personal Training: Suggested Donation $50 / hour
I am passionate about fitness and helping people reach their goals. While I'm not certified, I have some experience in fitness and coaching.
Personal Chef: Suggested Donation $50 / person
Yes, I'll cook for you :) While not a professional, I love cooking and
Tour Guide: Suggested Donation $50 / hour
The options here are endless. Running tours to explore our lovely City? Walk along Queen St? Adventures on the TTC? You name it! Let's explore Toronto together!
Running: Suggested Donation $1-5 / km
Running getting boring or tiring? Need a running buddy? Want to help support a great cause? I love running with friends and have experience pacing the Niagara Half Marathon (2:30 pace) twice.
... and more!

I have some pretty big goals in fundraising ($6,000 by Feb 11) and in training (the Rome Marathon!). Your support in any way would be deeply appreciated and would mean a lot to me.

In gratitude,


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Training ... in sickness and in health

Photo credits: Kenneth Leung, UTCCF Winter Retreat

Looking Up

Looking back at my facebook photos, I found this picture, which captures how I am feeling at present. I'm tired. Sick. In pain. Desperate. And needing to look up. Needing to look to Jesus instead of myself or those around me.

Yesterday's Lethargic Run at the AC

I went to the AC yesterday to do some running and light weights. I quickly realized how weak I have become, likely due to the combined effect of my sickness and lack of energy recently. I was quite tired and was passed several times by New Dragons athletes, other runners, girls (!), and a speed walker! I would break into coughs after a few laps and my body would be quickly tired.

No excuses

I am usually not one to make excuses and have the reputation of pushing myself beyond my limits, often beyond what is good for me. In this case, this was the best I could manage in my given state of health. I thought about my sponsors who believe in me. About the people who are fighting cancer, or have fought. About the reason I do this. And despite everything, I still have to give it my best, whatever this "best" is.


Today I went swimming at the AC. Usually, when I go swimming after having not gone for a while, my lungs give out. This time, my arms gave out! My weakness really hit me. I still have a long way to recover.

I decided to swim to give my back a break. I even considered doing some Yoga as well. For me, showing up was my goal. To develop good habits. A lifestyle of discipline and consistency.

I ended up playing in the pool. After a few laps, I hung out underwater, lost in the deep sea of my thoughts. Moments like these are what I enjoy most about swimming or running. The clarity of mind and peace that ensues.

What next?

For those following my training, I apologize for my lack of strict adherence to the program. However, please know that I am doing the best that I can. On the fundraising side, I am quite worried about having the raise twice the amount I have raised so far ($4,000) in half the time (by Feb 11). If you have the means or fundraising ideas, I would appreciate it a lot. I will be at the LCBO this Saturday telling people about leukemia and lymphoma and raising funds for my run in Rome. Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Nevertheless + Pictures!

Yesterday, I went running with TNT (Team in Training). We were scheduled to run 23km (Saturdays are "long run" days). I ended up running only 5km, having to turn back partway due to my coughing fits. My coaches said I get an A for effort!

I went to GTS (Group Training Session) knowing that I was already sick and would likely have trouble finishing the entire course. I even bought a pack of triple strength Halls before the run. I give credit to these Halls for helping me get through 5km.

So, knowing this already, why did I go run? Am I crazy? "Josh, don't you know that your health is more important?"

The word that comes to mind is Nevertheless. One of my favorite characters in the Bible is David, a warrior and a king. There are several instances that would describe his issues or challenging situations. This would be followed by something like, "nevertheless, David ..." [insert super-awesome-epic feat].

My health is important. That is why I turned back. But I also turned up in the morning. I turned up because ...
... I missed a lot of runs already trying to recover
... Running in the cold, snow, and sickness pales in comparison to a friend struggling in the fight for cancer and trying to bear with the ulcer-induced pains from chemotherapy
... I'm helping to create a better future for others

In addition to this, I also realized something else through my sickness. I rediscovered the joy of running. Why I started running in the first place. I've been focusing on speed, on being the best, on being competitive, ... Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for that. But there's a simple and beautiful pleasure in simply running. Yesterday, I had the best 5k run in a while. Mind you, this was followed by repeats around a track with the Iron Dragons - I helped run dragonboat tryouts in the afternoon.

Now, for some ... Pictures!

First signs of my sickness (Jan 6). I got sick from the Beijing trip and my sickness became noticeable when I arrived in HK after our day trip to Macau. In this photo, I'm wearing a mask after health officials pulled me aside for having an abnormally high body temperature - sensors are cool :)

This was very random. I met Dan Gam on my flight back from Hong Kong. We were both on the same flight from Hong Kong to Newark! I bumped into him randomly when I had to recheck my baggage. It might be hard to make out in the photo, but I'm pretty tired in this picture - I might have gotten 1 hour of sleep at most on the flight from Hong Kong!

Some of you might have seen my facebook profile picture, where I'm posing with the Bruce Lee statue along the Avenue of the Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui. This is a photo of the waterfront that same night. My camera cannot capture the wonder of what my eyes beheld that night. The Symphony of Lights. Buildings along Hong Kong's waterfront, on both sides of the water, coming alive in a laser light show and coordinated music! It was such a unique experience!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Playing Catch Up!

Just got back from Hong Kong / Beijing! The photo above is taken in the Water Cube in the Beijing Olympic Park. They have this really cool water slide that has a steep drop and a crazy loop (the red slide)

Anyways, the fun 's over and more "fun" is about to begin. With $4,000+ to fundraise in less than a month and a 20+ km run tomorrow, I'll be playing Catch Up! More updates to follow soon!