Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sports Hernia

Well, it looks like I have a Sports Hernia. The physical pain lately has been almost unbearable. I have had to grind through my runs, haven't been able to run fast without significant pain, and have needed a few days off between runs. At times walking and even standing has been difficult.

I'm going to go to the doctor tomorrow, assuming he can fit me in, and am going to see a physical therapist, who also doubles as my training partner, on Thursday. She specializes in runners.

I'm assuming I'm done running for a while and that I won't be doing the Boston Marathon in two weeks and six days.

Here is the 411 on sports hernias:


I keep hearing about "sports hernias." What are they, what symptoms do they cause, and can anyone get them? -- Minnesota


A hernia, strictly speaking, is an abnormal protrusion from one part of the body into another. For example, one of the most common types -- an inguinal hernia -- occurs when soft tissue (usually, part of the intestine) bulges through a weak point or opening in the muscle of the lower abdomen.

In the misnamed "sports hernia," however, there is usually no bulge. Occurring in the same general area -- the groin -- as that of an inguinal hernia, a sports hernia is a tear, strain, or weakness in one of the three muscles or the fascia ("gristle" that attaches muscle to bone) of the abdominal wall.

Sports hernias are thought to result from extreme, forceful and repeated twisting-and-turning movements, as in serious levels of play in sports such as soccer, hockey and tennis. As such, it is an affliction of professional athletes and is very rare among, say, two-mile joggers. Actually, it is even rare among heavy-duty athletes. While professional football players number more than 1,500, there may be only a handful of cases per year.

The symptoms of a sports hernia are similar to those of an inguinal hernia: sharp pain or discomfort in the groin or lower abdomen, especially when patients exert themselves -- for example, by lifting, running or even coughing. Unlike an inguinal hernia, however, a sports hernia is difficult to diagnose, as it presents no obvious external signs. It is also hard to spot one through imaging technologies such as MRI, CT or ultrasound because a small, subtle and nearly invisible muscle injury is the usual culprit.

Sports hernias are identified by default through a diagnosis of exclusion -- when other possible causes of the symptoms, such as inguinal hernia, appendicitis, bladder problems or testicular problems, are ruled out.

The pain of a sports hernia can be relieved with analgesics or ice packs, though they may also have the perverse effect of ultimately worsening the condition. If an athlete continues to play through the problem, the tissue weakness, strain or tear will likely worsen.

The best treatment for sports hernias is nature's own -- to lay off the offending activity and rest for a period ranging from a few weeks to a few months. It is also useful to engage in exercises that strengthen the abdominal muscles and increase their flexibility. This course is especially effective for professional athletes; because they are young and strong, they tend to have tremendous recuperative powers. On the other hand, they also tend to be exceptionally eager to get back in the game and seek a quick fix.

But quick, reliable fixes are not to be had. While surgical procedures exist -- suturing the tear (if it can be isolated) or patching the area with a synthetic mesh -- they offer no guarantee of solving the problem or preventing its recurrence.

Fortunately, though, given enough time, patience and self-restraint, the problem will usually heal by itself without such interventions.

-- David R. Farley, M.D., General Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

Monday, March 30, 2009


This afternoon's run was quite painful. It was a nice enough afternoon, but the easy 10.5 miles was anything but easy. I'm pretty sure I have a sports hernia and will be seeing a few medical professionals in the next couple days to see if this is the case.

When I was a chaplain at a mental health hospital, my supervisor, Father Sitzman had a saying: "Pain in life is inevitable, suffering is optional." Pain happens. Jesus said, "Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." -John 16:33

Tough times in life will come. God acknowledges this. But suffering seems to be more of a choice. God has overcome the world. We can let our pain define us or we can choose to define ourselves in spite of the pain in our lives.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I talked about giving this morning. You can listen here:
Here are my notes:
Give in the Greek is didomi. This word appears in the New Testament 413 times. I in most cases I translate it as “to devote yourselves by letting others have.”
Matthew 10:5-12
Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received! Don’t take any money in your money belts—no gold, silver, or even copper coins. Don’t carry a traveler’s bag with a change of clothes and sandals or even a walking stick. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve to be fed. Whenever you enter a city or village, search for a worthy person and stay in his home until you leave town. When you enter the home, give it your blessing.”
Matthew 10:39-42
If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God, you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs. And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.
1. If you can’t feed a village then feed a child.
Mark 12:41-44
Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins. Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”
2. Give in the dark.
Matthew 6:1-4
Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
3. Give like the rose and oak tree.
Luke 20:21
So the spies questioned him: "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.” (NIV)
4. Your candle loses nothing when it lights another.
Matthew 4:16
The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.
5. Giving is the highest possible order of living.
John 15:13
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Training Update
Post worship I went for 10 mile with with 10 friends. One of them, Scott, was celebrating his 40th birthday.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

20 Ways to Give

I'm speaking about giving tomorrow. I came across this list in my research. I think it is from Charles Swindoll.

20 Gifts to Give
  1. Mend a quarrel.
  2. Seek out a forgotten friend.
  3. Hug someone tightly and whisper, “I love you so.”
  4. Forgive an enemy.
  5. Be gentle and patient with an angry person.
  6. Express appreciation.
  7. Gladden the heart of a child.
  8. Find time to keep a promise.
  9. Make or bake something for someone else. Anonymously.
  10. Speak kindly to a stranger.
  11. Enter into another’s sorrow.
  12. Smile. Laugh a little. Laugh a little more.
  13. Take a walk with a friend.
  14. Kneel down and pat a dog.
  15. Lessen your demands on others.
  16. Apologize if you were wrong.
  17. Turn off the television and talk.
  18. Pray for someone who helped when you hurt.
  19. Give a soft answer even though you feel strongly.
  20. Encourage an older person.

Training Update:

No running today. Too sore.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beautiful Irony

I was reading a blog this morning from a woman I went to high school with. She came to Omaha last weekend and shared her experience. I encourage you to check out Jennifer's blog: Getting Down with Jesus.

Here is what she wrote. This is beautiful and powerful stuff:

I returned home Sunday night from a short mission trip called "Urban Plunge," where rural folks like me plunge headlong into the reality of urban suffering, a mere three hours from our doorsteps.

On the streets of Omaha, Neb., I witnessed the beauty of irony among the homeless, the lonely, the needy. For 48 hours, I experienced Jesus at work through prayer, the lifting of burdens, the reminder of God's provision for the broken. But, you see, the one on the receiving end -- of prayer, of lifted burden, of provision -- was me.

Me. ... One who is no less broken than Merced the Homeless, or Roosevelt the Poor, or James the Drunk, or Octavia the Fatherless, or any of the others I met here in the midst of their own suffering. What gift is this, that I should receive so abundantly from those who have so little?

Beautiful irony.


Vignette I: Reality Check

They were waiting for us, in a single-file line outside the doors of the homeless shelter. Fifty deep, I'd guess, hungry for what we'd bring. They trusted that we'd come -- like folks do every Friday night.

We came to offer a bedtime snack -- and a bit of hope.

Two miles south, you could spend $200 on a meal at the French Cafe in the Old Market, while sipping vintage Cabernet over candlelight.

On the menu at the French Cafe:

Le Carre d' Agneau
rack of lamb, thyme demi-glace
white beans, pomegranate relish

On the menu at the Siena Francis House homeless shelter:

Nacho Chips and Melted Cheese
Crispy, with a slightly salty finish
Cost: Free for the taking


Vignette II: Prayer

Rachel saw him first. Merced was alone, against the wall.

She clutched a handmade blanket and was in search of the one to receive it. The one. Not just any-one. This blanket was for a special someone, and she wanted to find him. And there he was, against the wall. I followed Rachel to Merced the Homeless. I was skeptical and wary and protective of my 12-year-old niece.

She offered the blanket. He accepted, then told the story of his trip from Guadalajara to Washington to Omaha, Neb., in search of work. He searched for answers to questions that required the digging up of old wounds. Was his oldest son 17 now? he wondered.

We prayed with Merced; Rachel wanted to go first. "Dear God, Please be with Merced and help him find a job. Help him to be happy and not alone anymore. God bless Merced."

I brought Rachel, my goddaughter on this trip, to influence her. Yet who was the greater influence?

A child shall lead them. Beautiful irony.


Vignette III: Burden Lifted

I was on shopping-cart duty.

At the largest food-pantry in Nebraska, needy families may come once every 60 days to fill boxes full of canned goods, frozen food, milk, bread, fresh vegetables.

The boxes are so heavy that the pantry assigns volunteers to wait at the back door with shopping carts to carry each family's food to the curb.

And that's where I met my friend Roosevelt the Poor -- in the shopping cart lineup. He was eligible to receive food from the pantry, but today, he also came to serve. For three hours, he and I and a crew of others carted groceries from the back door to the curb.

Roosevelt, a man of great poverty and suffering, was rich in giving and sacrifice. He's 42. He's single. He speaks with a stutter. And he can't drive on account of his drinking.

He took an hour-long bus drive through busy city streets to get there. To serve.

Roosevelt served me, too, you know.

Time and again, my shopping cart overflowed with brimming loads -- 50 pounds or more in one box. Would I be able to lift it over the edge of the cart and into the back of a trunk? Roosevelt asked me.

I said I could, but he didn't want to take a chance.

Here, n-n-n-now," he said, "that's too heavy. L-l-l-let me. You wait for the next one. This one can be m-m-m-mine."

My burden became his.


Vignette IV: God's Provision

On our final morning, Pastor John called us to the lobby of the dormitory for an impromptu communion service.

He used communion wafers. He poured wine into a Styrofoam cup, atop a crumpled paper towel -- disposable, headed for the trash.

John spoke of the condemned buildings that we had seen the night before -- reminding us of the broken lives within, calling attention to the condemnation we'd face were it not for the grace of God.

There was no music to heighten the mood. No choir to move us to new heights. No PowerPoint presentations to help us visualize Christ's sacrifice.

Just this:

"The body of Christ, given for you. The blood of Christ, shed for you."
"The body of Christ, given for you. The blood of Christ, shed for you."

We would be disposable and trash-bound, if not for God. Yet even within our own fragility, lies a treasure worth more than gold, a treasure that is not of our own making.

We are rescued from our condemnation for something more.

Beautiful irony.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I was able to do an easy 10 miles around the lake this afternoon at an easy pace, about 8:00 per mile. The hip flexors were just okay, but not good.

Here is an incredible story of a father's love for a his son. The footage at the end of the video is from the father - son team doing the Ironman together. This provides a glimpse of God's love for us as God carries us through the marathon of life and helps us cross the finish line to our final victory.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


The only time I could run today was at 4:00 a.m. I needed to try a long run and this was on the only block of 2.5 hours that I had.

7:00 - Amber leaves for work
9:00 - Soccer for Benjamin
12:15 - Benjamin goes to birthday party and David takes nap
12:16 - Craig prepares for a wedding
2:15 - Craig wakes David up
2:30 - Craig and David meet Amber at the church
3:00 - Craig does wedding
4:15 - Craig visits a new baby and family at the hospital
6:00 - Dinner and family time

The first lap at Zorinsky (7.35 miles) was easy running (mostly 7:15 to 7:30). I did just over 5 miles on F Street and continued with the easy running. The last lap at Zorinsky (7.35 miles) was 49:36 (6:44 per mile). 20 miles total.

My hip flexor got really tight the last two miles. I had trouble walking up the two steps in our garage when I got home. I don't know what to do. If I don't run, I wouldn't be in any kind of shape to run the marathon and if I do run my injuries don't get any better.

Regardless, here is the lesson from this morning's run:

I saw three people and one car during the entire run. The first 80 minutes I was all by myself. There were some rabbits. A few deer. The stars, the moon, a siren coming from Center Street. I was alone, but not lonely. Loneliness has nothing to do with being in the presence of others. Loneliness is a status of the heart.

Buechner writes: That you can be lonely in a crowd, maybe especially there, is readily observable. You can also be lonely with your oldest friends, or your family, even with the person you love the most in the world. To the lonely it is to be aware of an emptiness which it takes more than people to fill. It is to sense that something is missing that you cannot name.

"By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion," sings the Psalmist (137:1). Maybe in the end it is Zion that we're lonely for, the place we know best by longing for it, where at last we become who we are, where finally we find home.

As I ran in the dark through the woods and by the water's edge, I wasn't alone. As my hip flexors gradually started tightening up and the effort got a little tougher, I was perfectly content with who I am, who others are, and who God is. I was alone, but not lonely.

Friday, March 20, 2009


The hip flexors are really hurting today and I was busy with the church, so no run today. But it was a great day. I saw a lot of people and got a lot of stuff done.

I love this video. I'm showing it in church on Sunday before my message. Give somebody a hug today. You might just make their day!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Josh and Benjamin's JFK Report

I stayed home with David today. He has been feeling a little bit under the weather, so we kept him home.

I ran 7.35 miles around the lake after Amber got home from work. The extra hour of sunlight was a big help. My right leg is pretty messed up. The heart and lungs felt very strong, but I just can't seem to get over these nagging injuries. I ran pretty easy, around 7 minutes per mile.

Benjamin has been working pretty hard on a report about President Kennedy. He and his friend Josh made a video and it can be viewed here.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


My message this morning was about doing love, mercy, and compassion.

Do. (dôô) verb - To perform or execute

Love is best thought of as a verb. Compassion and mercy are things that we do. If we only feel or think about love, compassion, and mercy – what good is that?

Listen here.

If you want to dig a little deeper, I suggest reading chapter 11 of "When the Game is Over it All Goes Back in the Box" by John Ortberg.

Here are my notes:

Many of us are square fillers. Most of us have a sense that our squares are too chaotic, stuffed with too much activity, but that we’ll get around to what matters most one day when things settle down. –John Ortberg

Many of us say that we will get to the parts of life that we have been When things settle down. Do you suppose things will ever settle down?

I was reading the results from a survey. The gist of the survey was what is the one thing that prevents you from knowing God better and loving God more. Think about your answer. The most common answer was: I’m too busy. You know in the past the people who have gotten us this far were not stopped by: 1) Prosecution, 2) Poverty, and 3) Prison. But we have let busyness slow us down because we are confident that one day things will settle down.

We all have things in our lives that keep us busy: work, school, kids, household management, sleep, personal care, etc…


The first priority is a relationship with God.

Are these statements true of you?
  • I don’t want to get to the end of my life and not know God
  • I don’t want every prayer to be help
  • I want God’s heartbeat to be my heartbeat
  • I want to discover His dreams for me
  • I want to relentlessly chase and pursue those dreams
  • I have a legacy I want to pass on
  • I have patterns I don’t want to pass on
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. –Psalm 1:1-3

When we put God first:
  • We yield fruit
  • We don't wither
  • We prosper

Jesus knew this:

Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. –Mark 1:35


Another priority is our relationship with others.

Jesus was always present with the people he was with. We never heard him say: “Huh, I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.”

Jesus knew that people take time. Relationships cannot be microwaved. Intimacy is never convenient.

As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” –Luke 10:38-42

Martha – Distracted
Mary – Present


Part of our time should be spent serving others.

We all have an innate desire to add value to the world and make the world a little better place.

And we are confident in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we commanded you. -2 Thessalonians 3:4

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. -Micah 6:8


Our true home is life is the love of God, the love of people, and serving the world. And God wants us to enjoy our lives.

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! –Philippians 4:4

It’s kind of like this: If Satan won’t make you bad, he will make you busy.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Stay Here

One of my sisters was visiting today on her way to a skiing trip in Colorado with another sister. The boys had a great time with the cousins.

David wrestling Hunter - trying to get him to stay here
This picture was taken when they were getting ready to leave. David was wrestling with his cousin, Hunter, and telling him to "stay here." When Hunter tried to leave, David wouldn't let him go and kept telling him to "stay here."

That is a pretty good way to think of a friend: one party who says "stay here" when the other party relucantly has to leave. Friendship, family, and others we love are a gift from God.

David take a nap at dinner time after a long day.

Training Update

I had a nice run with Shannon, Scott, and Derek this morning. 14 miles at about 7 minutes per mile.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Embrace Yourself

I love cookies. Chocolate chip cookies are my favorite. I even like chocolate chip cookies a certain way: undercooked, gooey, and lots of chocolate chips. I like them best when they just melt in your mouth. No chewing is necessary. The Norwegian kringle is another of my favorites. If you know what these are then no explanation is necessary; if you don’t know what one is then no explanation is possible. I grew up eating kringler (the plural of kringle) thinking that everybody ate these. I suffered withdrawals my freshman year of college when no good kringle could be found in the city of Des Moines. I just recently purchased a number of boxes of Girl Scout cookies. I like them too. It turns out that our boys like Girl Scout cookies more than I do (or at least they were around the house more and had more access to them) and the boxes and boxes of cookies somehow disappeared.

So here is a question: Wouldn’t it be pretty boring if all cookies were the same? Variety is a good thing.

And so it is with people. When God created me, He made me unique. I have particular gifts and abilities. I am wired differently than others. I look dissimilarly than others. This is who I am. It is my true self. Only as I become who God intends for me to become will I experience contentment and freedom. It is at this point of authenticity and realness when I am one with God, myself, and others. And so it is with you.

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

-Psalm 139:14

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
–Ephesians 2:10

Think about that. Not only are you wonderfully complex. You are God’s masterpiece. You are living a once-to-be-lived and never-to-be-repeated life. God created you because the party wouldn’t be complete without you. God doesn’t want you to become like somebody else. Here are the lyrics to the song Persona:

Every morning I put it on. I walk outside and I am gone. And I don't seem to mind anymore. I can't think what it was like before. I wore it all the time.

In the evening I take it off, but there's another one underneath. And I can't seem to find the bottom of the stack I just might lose my mind and never get it back, but at least I'll get inside.

Some of us struggle with trying to meet the expectations of others and of culture, and we are losing our true self that God has created us to be. So today do God, others, and yourself a favor: embrace and be yourself.

Training Update

No running. No time.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


On Sunday I'm talking about how busyness prevents us from doing the things in life that are most important to us and to God. Here's a short take on busyness:

You can buy the book here. It is a nice little book on busyness and priorities.

Training Update

I did 10 miles with Christy this afternoon. Another great afternoon. We warmed up for about a mile and then did 10 x 800 meters hard with 3 minutes jogging between reps. We finished up with a cool down for about 2 miles.

Post run I met up with Amber and the boys who were enjoying the afternoon at one of the playgrounds at Lake Zorinsky.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fitness Test

I haven't been running much lately because of an injured ankle. Even if I wasn't injured, time has been pretty limited for running.

I tried to do about 15 miles this afternoon at marathon pace. I didn't lose as much fitness as I thought I did and ran exceptionally well on the nicest day of the year.

I did 14.81 miles in 1:39:44 for an average of 6:44 per mile. It's not quite where I wanted to be, but overall, not bad. Plus, my ankle held up and seems to be all better.

Monday, March 2, 2009

More Kierkegaard Quotes

I have been reading some of Soren Kiekegaard's writings lately. Here are some more of his best quotes to consider:
  • A man who as a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him.
  • Be that self which one truly is.
  • Boredom is the root of all evil - the despairing refusal to be oneself.
  • Don't forget to love yourself.
  • During the first period of a man's life the greatest danger is not to take the risk.
  • Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.
  • Faith is the highest passion in a human being. Many in every generation may not come that far, but none comes further.
  • Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good.
  • God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners.
  • How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech.

Training Update

10 miles easy in 75 minutes at an average of 7:30 per mile.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Soren Kierkegaard Quotes

I have been reading some of Soren Kierkegaard's works recently. Here are some of his best quotes. I hope you find them helpful.
  • It is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey.
  • It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important.
  • Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
  • Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living.
  • Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself.
  • Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.
  • Once you label me you negate me.
  • One can advise comfortably from a safe port.
  • Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.
  • Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.
  • People understand me so poorly that they don't even understand my complaint about them not understanding me.
  • Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.
  • Purity of heart is to will one thing.
  • The truth is a snare: you cannot have it, without being caught. You cannot have the truth in such a way that you catch it, but only in such a way that it catches you.
  • There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.
  • To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.
Training Update

Nothing today. Still kind of sick and still kind of injured.