Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Climbing Mt. Sequoyah, Day 2

Still in Fayetteville.

I had another evening running session up Mt. Sequoyah tonight. A late afternoon rain made the warm air very heavy. I didn't even bother putting on a running shirt as it would have been soaked within minutes. My Nike running hat, that keeps the sweat of my face and the sun out of my eyes, is going to need some serious washing when I get home tomorrow.

I ran a two mile warm-up and finished with a one mile cool-down. In between, I did 4 x .89 mile uphill repeats up the mountain. The total climb was well over 400 feet which makes for a grade of just over 8%. The whole .89 miles was uphill--no exception. My recovery was a .89 mile jog down the mountain. Ironically, the hill was so steep that my recovery jogs down the hill were faster than my hard runs up the hill. The four uphill repeats were 7:17, 7:13, 7:37 (ouch), and 7:31 (very ouch). I had nothing left at the end of this workout. I had four fresco style hard shell tacos from Taco Bell, a Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Clif Bar, 24 ounces of Go Grape Cytomax, a 12 ounce can of Cranberry Apple Juice, 2 chocolate chip cookies, 48 ounces of very cold water, a kind of cold shower, a phone call to Amber and the boys, and I fell a sleep before my head hit the pillow.

A bicycling team was training on the hill as well tonight. Up the hill they weren't going much faster than me. On one really steep section, I think I may have been going faster than they were able to. Downhill was another story. These guys were flying. Without even pedaling they had to be going 40 miles per hour. I appreciated their company and encouragement.

Running the hills wasn't the plan today. The plan was to get up early in the morning and run around a lake near the hotel where I was staying. I enjoy exploring new places and it would have been about a 13 mile run round trip. But, I woke up in my room this morning and it was completely dark. I felt really rested. I looked at the clock because I was curious what time it was. It said 9:03. Oops. I was supposed to be somewhere at 8:15 and I was scheduled to be running by 5:30. I don't even remember the last time I have slept past 8:00. Benjamin and David and a busy schedule take care of that.

So I showed up fashionably late for my meeting. I came during the first break so nobody seemed to either notice or care. I wanted to run, so I ate a normal lunch and skipped dinner. I waited for it to cool down a little bit and enjoyed an evening run. Looking back, it was a good day. I got extra sleep. My nine hour meeting was turned into a seven hour meeting. I missed the early morning run around the lake, but I got to run the hills one more time. It would seem that the best life isn't holding to a rigid schedule, but but having a simple openness and a readiness of the heart to embrace whatever the day brings.

Faith seems to be this way as well. Faith has very little to do with a rigid set of dogmatic beliefs on complex issues that intelligent theologians have disagreed about for centuries. Faith is more or less something like this confession: God, I don't know everything and trust that I never will on this side of the grave. I don't know what tomorrow will bring. I don't even know what the rest of today will bring, but I am open and I am ready to embrace whatever the present and the future holds because I know You are with me.

Here is a picture from the top of Mt. Sequoyah. The picture I took turned I really bad, so this is a picture taken by somebody who actually knows how to take pictures.

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