Monday, February 28, 2011

Renewal

Ailing back

My back has been giving me some problems lately. As a result, I've been reducing my running mileage and looking at alternatives to train for my upcoming marathon (March 20, in Rome). One form of cross training I discovered was pool running. My therapist recommended it to me to help me stay strong. While I was initially skeptical, thinking pool running was not much of a workout (I was thinking aquafit), my therapist quickly countered by saying that the Varsity track team uses it for cross training. I later tried pool running and found myself quickly winded. Looks like I found a suitable alternative =)

For those interested in trying it out, I found two links that might be of interest. One is on how to make it fun from Runners' World, and the other is a blog post on aqua running for "real" runners. Let me know if you end up trying pool running or if you have experience with this.

Coffee

Day One (previous post) was also the last day. I quickly reverted to drinking coffee, but have only had 1 cup a day. My current goal is moderation. Long term, I hope to thrive on natural energy, derived from adequate rest, good nutrition, and an active lifestyle. In the meantime, Tim Hortons has its Roll of the Rim promotion, so I'll enjoy a nice cup of "Canadian" coffee and the fun of rolling up the rim.


"Cuddles"

This is "Cuddles". My sister thought of the name. "Cuddles, meet Internet. Internet, meet Cuddles." Okay, I'm about to barf just seeing the word "Cuddles" so many times - just kidding :) Anyways, the girl liked the Valentine's gift so that's all that matters.


Committee

We have our first committee meeting post Reading Week tonight. It's going to be fun =)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Feb 24, 2011 is Day "One"

I have had several attempts of quitting coffee. Many of my friends get quite sick of following my drama with coffee, while others find it quite entertaining. Previously, I had gone cold-turkey for a month. After that month of no-coffee, I decided that "life's just better with coffee" and started drinking again, but with much better control.

More recently, I've been drinking (coffee) too much. With low amounts of sleep, coffee has been my primary source of energy. Today (Feb 24) was the first day I tried not drinking coffee. This resulted in splitting headaches and multiple naps throughout the day. But no pain no gain right?

So am I getting off coffee? Not necessarily. I do not like making commitments that I cannot keep. My long term goal is to get off coffee and to get my energy from a healthy and active lifestyle. Day "One" represents the 1st day of no coffee - "one" being in quotations since I've had many "first" days of this "coffee purge".

Smile =)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Life's Seasons

A good friend of mine (Lorraine) shared recently about life's seasons:
There is a season for being stretched in harsh conditions (winter), shedding off the dead-weight of our lives (fall), growth (spring) and thanksgiving (summer)
The main theme is trusting in God's plan and timing for our lives. Just as God knows the needs of our ecosystem and has perfectly timed the seasons, He also knows our needs and has a purpose for each part of our life.

I find this analogy very powerful in helping me keep my focus. The idea of focus brings to mind the passage from the Bible I just finished reading. In Proverbs, chapter 4, verses 10-27, the father says to the child:
Pay attention, my child, to what I say. Listen carefully. Don't lose sight of my words. Let them penetrate deep within your heart, for they bring life and radiant health to anyone who discovers their meaning.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it affects everything you do.

Avoid all perverse talk; stay far from corrupt speech.
Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; then stick to the path and stay safe. Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.
Many of us today lack focus. Yes, we may be focused on anything at any given time. But very often, it's difficult to live consistently with our long term vision.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Lessons from the Dentist

Say "Ah" ... "Ah!!!!!"

I had a dentist appointment today. The moral of the story: brush and floss.

The dental hygienist told me that she would have to clean off the calcium deposits from my gums, apparently a result of lingering food that combines with something in my saliva. Basically, I need to floss.

To clean it properly, she said it would end up bleeding and would hurt. She could make it less painful, but it would not really help. I told her that it does not have to be comfortable to help me, and gave her my consent to do her thing.

I was struck by a phrase I have heard many times: It does not have to feel good to be good for you. I find this statement very true. Consider these examples:
  • Dentist cleaning properly (described above)
  • 100 jump squats (re: Iron Dragons 'bonus' workout on Saturday, a.k.a. the Century Club)
  • Working diligently
  • Being patient with a difficult person
  • Drinking bitter tea or medication
  • Running outside when I'm tired or when it's cold
  • Avoiding the salty / sweet snacks when I'm stressed
  • ... and the list goes on
How about you? What's an example of something you don't like doing, but it's good for you?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Fight Against Cancer: The Journey So Far

My next (and final) fundraising milestone is $6,000 - due Feb 11 (this Friday). This post is a quick entry on my journey so far.

Where I came from
I started off with no donations, having never raised so much money before. The idea of raising $6,000 frankly scared me. I remember the feeling when I got my first donation - I was ecstatic! Even still, every donation does a lot to encourage me in my fight against blood cancer.

And in terms of running, I have been running for fun the past few years and have done a few half marathons. However, this is my first full marathon and the first race where I'm using (and need to use) a training plan. 42.2km - respect the distance =)

Where I am
I'm currently sitting at my dining table at home typing this blog post =) I'm now at $2,814 (47% of my goal) ... I'm blown away! And not only gracious donors, but I've had some great friends who have volunteered their time to help me organize different initiatives to help raise money. Some of the initiatives include an awesome bake sale and selling inspirational postcards, with photos taken from my friends.

I've also become a stronger runner. I did my long run this past weekend and am currently sore every time I sit down or walk down stairs. I took a couple weeks break from training being too sick to run (my previous attempts are chronicled here).

Where I am going

I'm shooting to raise $6,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC). No more than 25% of this money covers administrative / logistic expenses. The rest of this money goes directly to the mission of LLSC, including funding lifesaving research, improving patient services, and educating our society of blood cancers.

I'm also training for my 1st full marathon. Having mostly recovered from my sickness, I'm pretty much back on track with my training plan. My eventual goal is to qualify for Boston. While this may not be realistic for the Rome Marathon, Boston is more of a long term plan (along with qualifying for the Ironman in Hawaii and running an ultramarathon!)

How about you?

Where did you come from?
Where are you now?
Where are you going?

In life ... relationships ... career ... fitness ... dreams ... or whatever you care to share

Smile =)

There are many things that make me smile, some more so than others. From the beauty of snow blankets in my backyard to thoughts of old couples holding hands, each moment is unique and precious. There are 3 things this weekend that made me smile in different ways.

Pain

My legs are sore. 2am run. 2 hour sleep. 20km run. 2 hour workout. This pain breaks me, but my shattered state is not irreversible. This is pain is the path all must walk to attain glory - okay, I just wanted it to sound epic. Nevertheless, pain, hurt, suffering is part of our journey to something greater. While some kinds of sufferings are meaningless, a great deal of them change you, transform you, and make you into a better person. So if you're in pain, smile :) Whether it's your muscles hurting, or your heart, smile =) Because there is hope.

Relationship

Relationships make me smile too. Yes, even "relationships". The ultimate smile comes from my relationship with our Father through Jesus Christ. Yet, a glimpse of God's love for us come in the form of relationships between a man and a woman. I have much to learn in relationships and am taking my study under the Master.

Church

I went to Markham Missionary Church this morning. The pastor talked about the camp where he works. His talk reminded me of the upcoming retreat we have with UTCCF. There were a few points that stood out to me:

Jeremiah 6:16, "Thus says the LORD, 'Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.' But they said, 'We will not walk in it'."
  • We can learn a thing or two from the ways of old. Many in the modern church community abandon hymns and scripture memory, among other traditions that enrich your life.
  • It reminds me of modern day fitness, which has been commercialized. The things that used to work (squats, running, ...., hard work) are slowly being recaptured.
Breath of fresh air
  • The pastor said that when you boil away everything nonessential from Christianity from a pot, if everything were to just vaporize, you would have at the bottom a breath of fresh air.
  • This breath is our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Come, Discover
  • I saw some of the most unique props on the pulpit today: porcelain sink / pitcher and a chamber pot. These were items given to campers when they would come to retreat (the camp has a 120 year history and there's a picture of the camping grounds - 1919 - with a Model T)
  • Today we are distracted. When going to a retreat, we think about the food, the washrooms, the amenities, ... and we forget that at the heart of it all, retreat is a place to ... retreat. A place to meet with God. An invitation to come and discover (and rediscover) Jesus Christ.
  • I can't help but think of modern day fitness gyms where some people "multi-task" by reading a book or watching television while getting a "good" workout in. But these days, there is much greater heterogeneity in individual motivation to show up in a fitness facility. I'll leave it at that :)
So whatever this day finds you doing, I hope reading this post made you smile =)

Smile with Lots of Love,

Josh =)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Learning from a master

Master: Ernest Hemmingway

Current masterpiece: The Snows of Kilimanjaro And Other Stories

Learning to read and write. Picked up this book from Toronto Public Library. Hoping to develop a consistent habit of reading good literature. Hoping to become more fit in the mind.

Notes:

Short Story: The Snows of Kilimanjaro
- Man dying with gangrene talking with his wife
- Death: personified by a hyena

Short Story: A Clean Well-Lighted Place
- Two waiters and an old man
- Time: its perceptions by two different people

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Crunchings and Soul Cravings

I woke up early this morning to arrive at Starbucks by 7am. I'm starting a men's group in CCF to explore the deepest longings we have as men. This is inspired by a book called Soul Cravings, by Erwin Raphael McManus. Intended for the seeker, his book looks at our search for destiny, intimacy, and meaning. These issues are also ever-present for Christian men. In my final months at CCF, I hope to meet other men and explore these deep issues with others, and in so doing, have a deeper understanding of who I am, why I'm here, and where I'm going.

On my way to the Starbucks, I was delighted by the sight of fresh snow. The snow crunching under my boots was a delightful sound. I can only imagine what it would be like to run in this weather.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

LeCrae - The Bride

I have this on repeat as I'm working. Good music and message.