The Journey Of Ascent

My Path, His Call, Our Adventure

2017 Weekly Training Blog: Week 7 — February 18, 2017

2017 Weekly Training Blog: Week 7

The word of the week is unpredictability. This was a week where illness took its toll on our whole household. It messes with schedules and consequently my running totals for the week were about 13 miles under the mark I need to average per week to hit my 1,500 mile goal. I did get my 3 weight lifting sessions in, but my runs were fewer and shorter this week. I’m glad to see this week go away.

Sunday, February 12 – Rest Day

Monday, February 13 – 4.5 miles at a 9:02 pace on the treadmill followed by circuit training.


Tuesday, February 14 – Unplanned rest day (sick)

Wednesday, February 15 – 4 miles at a 9:14 pace followed by strength training. On a side note, I went over the 200 mile mark today.


Thursday, February 16 – Another unplanned rest day. I got no sleep last night and then had to pick up Hannah early from school to find out that the Flu has hit our house. Yippee!! She’s a tough kid!

Friday, February 17 – 2.5 hard miles on the treadmill at an 8:54 pace followed by strength training. I did this workout beginning at 8:30pm on the treadmill and then lifted at the Y. I absolutely hate working out late. Long run tomorrow and the big UNC/UVA game tomorrow night!!

Saturday, February 18 – Long run plans got scrapped due to lost sleep and sick children. The only positive thing I can say is that I got out there for a few miles. 4.7 miles at a slow pace of 9:48.


WTD – 15.7

MTD -65.8

YTD – 207.40

Miles to Goal 1292.60

Weight – 241.8 (up 5.4)

Drain The Swamp?  — February 17, 2017

Drain The Swamp? 


Relax. This is not a partisan political post. These are my observations about the political climate in this country as it stands right now.

For the last several months, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been filled with a lot of ‘colorful’ political posts (and that’s being nice). Everyone has their opinion on the state of our government and many have chosen to voice said opinions. That’s the First Ammendment at work.

The last eight years have been some of the most politically polarizing years that I can remember. I wasn’t alive during the Nixon years or the Vietnam War so I can’t speak to what it was like then. Social media no doubt plays a huge role because, as I stated earlier, everyone is sharing their opinions for better or worse.

At the very least, the election of President Obama in November of 2008 exposed a racial divide that exists in this country. His supporters were accused of casting their votes solely for the sake of electing an African-American president and his opposition was equally accused of simply opposing because of his race. Those sweeping generalizations created a firestorm of racial tensions that we have seen boil over in recent years.

Those 8 years of political posturing by Republican and Democratic lawmakers created a culture where most average Americans lost faith in Washington. This created an environment where a political outsider could defy the odds and win the presidency based largely on his mantra of draining the swamp in DC.

Here’s my take.

Draining the swamp needs to happen, BUT elected officials aren’t the ones that can drain the swamp. They will ALL (regardless of political affiliation) seek to drain only their opposition and work tirelessly to keep their legislative friends in power. This will solve nothing. It will only continue to advance to hate-filled, insulting dialogue that we’ve been hearing for years now.

WE THE PEOPLE must be responsible for cleaning house in Washington. The era of the career politician has to come to an end. It’s absurd to me that a president can only serve 2 consecutive terms, but Senators and Congressmen can continue to win their seats for an indefinite amount of time. It is even more absurd to me that judicial appointments are lifetime appointments. These judges can say what they need to say during their confirmation hearings and then once appointed behave however they want with ZERO checks and balances on their power.

So how do we solve the problem?

1. Term limits for all elected officials. I am of the opinion that every member of Congress should be up for election every 2-4 years. The 6 year Senate term is ridiculous. No member of Congress should be able to serve for more than 8 consecutive years. Why are they more privileged than POTUS in this area?

2. Voters need to hold their elected officials accountable. If they aren’t doing their job, if they are spending more time obstructing than they are working to reach across the aisles, if they are padding their own pockets at the expense of the taxpayers…..vote them out.

3. Stop voting based on a candidate’s name recognition. Do your homework before you go to the polls. This should apply to every level of government from municipal all the way up to the federal elections. I know way too many people who don’t bother to research and walk in and vote a party ticket just because that’s the party they belong to. Blind party loyalty by Republican and Democrat voters alike have landed some of the most unqualified and incompetent people in office. This has also led to some of the worst candidates imaginable being on the ballot.

Since 2008, I can only recall casting a vote for one candidate that I was truly voting for that candidate. That’s sad. Every other vote I felt like I was simply trying to prevent a candidate from winning. Is that the best that our 2-party system can offer us now?

I urge all Americans to pay attention to the political landscape in your community as well as in Washington. Don’t vote party lines. All Democrats aren’t George Soros and all Republicans are not Donald Trump. Engage in civil dialogue with people who don’t share your views and respect the fact that you may not change their mind just as they might not change yours. That being said, neither party has a platform that is right on every issue. It’s ok to change your mind on some things or at the very least be open to the fact that you could change your mind.

You want to drain the swamp of American politics? Don’t count on a politician to do it. Do it yourself!

2017 Training Log: Week 6 — February 11, 2017

2017 Training Log: Week 6

This was a weird week for me. I think my body was revolting against those weeks of 35+ miles that I had been putting in. Fatigue was a real factor and consequently I had 2 days of absolutely no workout (running or weights). On a positive note, the scale is moving in the right direction again. Woohoo!!

Oh, there is one other piece of news that I feel I should share. I am officially signed up for the Richmond Marathon on Saturday, November 11. It will be my first full marathon. I’m nervous and excited. It was one of those things that was just gnawing at me because I figured if I’m ever going to get into marathon shape, this is the time. My longest run has already eclipsed 14 miles so I have a great base to build on. Anyway, here’s this week’s work.

Sunday, February 5 – Complete Rest Day. Much needed. No lifting and no running.

Monday, February 6 – 4.6 miles at a 9:17 pace. I ran around the neighborhood and the legs felt so heavy.


Tuesday, February 7 – 3.2 mile around the neighborhood at a 9:13 pace. I then went to the Y for a round of strength training.

Wednesday, February 8 – Rest Day

Thursday, February 9 – 3 miles on the treadmill at a 9:12 pace followed by a round of strength training.


Friday, February 10 – Back on the hamster wheel today for a couple quick miles of hill work. Long run scheduled for tomorrow morning! 2.2 miles at a 9:45 pace.

Saturday, February 11 – 11 miles at a 9:57 pace to wrap up the week. I ran Galloway intervals of 2:00/:30 for this run and ran mile 10 straight through. I’ll hit the Y this afternoon to get my circuit training in.


WTD – 24.0

MTD -59.10

YTD – 191.70

Miles to Goal 1308.30

Weight – 236.4 (down 1.8)

2017 Weekly Training Log Week 5 — February 4, 2017

2017 Weekly Training Log Week 5

It was another very solid week of training. Over 38 miles total as well as 4 strength training days make for a good week. I’m not even sweating the 1.6 pound increase this week as I feel stronger and I am noticing a difference in how clothes are fitting. The number will start to drop again. I am confident of that!

Sunday, January 29 – It was supposed to be a rest day after a long 13 miler on Saturday. However, I woke up early and wanted to shake my legs out so I logged 3.3 easy miles at a 9:41 pace and cleared my head a little bit before church. I wrapped up the afternoon with 40 minutes of strength training followed by watching the WWE Royal Rumble!

Monday, January 30 – 5 miles in the neighborhood this morning and then some strength training after the kids left for school.


Tuesday, January 31 – I met up with my running group at Mount Trashmore and got 4.2 miles in at a 9:23 pace. That finishes up January with 141.6 which is one of my highest mileage months ever.


Wednesday, February 1 – 2.2 miles on the treadmill to warm up for my strength training.

Thursday, February 2 – 5.2 miles at Mount Trashmore with the Running Turtles. Ran at a 9:23 pace.


Friday, February 3 – 4.6 miles at a 9:04 pace followed by some strength training at the Y.


Saturday, February 4 – 14.1 miles at a 9:52 pace. Like last week I did a :90/:30 run/walk ratio up until I hit the final mile. I ran from 13.0-14.1 with no breaks. It felt great to have enough gas in the tank to do that. 


WTD -38.60

MTD (January)-  141.60

MTD (February) -26.10

YTD – 167.70

Miles to Goal 1332.30

Weight – 238.2 (gain 1.6)

Day 1 of Weight Training and Current (2 weeks)

2017 Weekly Training Log – Week 4 — January 28, 2017

2017 Weekly Training Log – Week 4

Diet. Diet. Diet. It is possible to work your butt off in the gym or out on the roads and gain weight. I was painfully reminded of that this week. I had a great week of training, but my diet wrecked it.

Having said that, on Thursday night we took the kids out for a meal at Zaxby’s. It’s one of our favorite places, but the closest one is a good 20-25 minutes away so we don’t eat there often. I cherish family time so it’s not possible for me to regret this meal. Then on Friday, Beth and I had a lunch date at the newly opened Chipotle here in town. Time alone with my wife is also very valuable to me so I don’t even care that I had 2 not so good meals. (Who knew a chicken burrito with brown rice, black beans, cheese, and sour cream from Chipotle came in at 1,025 calories?) I had one final splurge on some popcorn when we went as a family to finally see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Three splurges in a week for me is an anomaly so the diet will be back on track next week. Besides, when your youngest daughter is this excited about Star Wars, how can you be mad.


Sunday, January 22 – 2.2 miles on the treadmill at a 9:14 pace followed by strength training at the Y.


Monday, January 23 – 4.1 miles at a 9:22 pace


Tuesday, January 24 – 5.1 miles in a nasty driving mist at a 9:40 pace followed by my Fit Quest weight training program.


Wednesday, January 25 – No Workout

Thursday, January 26 – I ran with the Running Turtles at Mount Trashmore and did 5.5 miles at a 9:07 pace. I then went to the Y for my strength training program.


Friday, January 27 – I ran the neighborhood and logged 4.5 miles at a 9:05 pace.

Saturday, January 28 – I went to the oceanfront and ran a solid 13.1 miles at a 9:55 pace. I ran miles 1-12 with a :90/:30 run/walk ratio and ran the last 1.1 miles in. It felt great to have that reserve in the tank at the end. On the down side, I did come close to puking when I got to my car. I should also note that today was supposed to be a lifting day as well….that didn’t happen after my 13.1.


WTD – 34.50

MTD – 129.10

YTD – 129.10

Miles to Goal – 1370.90

Weight – 236.6 (up 4.6) I’m not at all happy about this, but I have to get my eating under control. Snacks, Chipotle, and Zaxby’s did me in this week.

Here’s my before/after 1 week on my new lifting program.

2017 Training Log Week 3 — January 21, 2017

2017 Training Log Week 3

What a week! I logged my highest weekly mileage in a pretty long while and I began a strength training program at the Y. I had a surprisingly large weight loss number on the scale, yay!! I feel like I am starting to get my eating habits reigned back in.

Having said that, let me ask a question. What is your biggest struggle on the nutrition side of things? For me, it is late night snacking. At times I have set an alarm on my phone to remind me that I should not eat after that alarm goes off. Why is it so hard to not grab some chips or popcorn or ice cream late at night? Do you have any tips that help you beat that craving?

On to the training!

Sunday, January 15 – Rest Day. Hopefully this week will allow me to get back into my normal schedule.

Monday, January 16 – 5 miles around the neighborhood today at a 9:15 pace. Hit the mileage with no walk breaks so I definitely feel like I’m starting to get my endurance back. Also made it back to the gym and did some chest/back work. This needs to be a regular part of my routine.


Tuesday, January 17 – I met up with the Running Turtles at Mount Trashmore and got in a solid 5.2 miles at a 9:11 pace. It was also leg day at the gym. Leg day after running 5 miles is absolutely no fun.


Wednesday, January 18 – Horrible day today. Hill workout the day after leg day is not a good idea and I’m going to have to tweak that. I managed a whopping 1.16 miles on the hamster wheel before the legs won out.

Thursday, January 19 – Met up with the Running Turtles at Mount Trashmore and got in 5.24 miles at a 9:18 pace. Today’s run also included a wipeout right into a mud puddle at about the 4 mile mark of my run. That was awesome!!


I decided to sign up for the Fit Quest program at the Y so I went in for my initial evaluation tonight. The first thing they did was put me on the hamster wheel so I got another 1.5 miles in along wth some miscellaneous strength training for my evaluation.

Friday, January 20 – 4.1 mile run at a 9:16 pace, followed by my first Fit Quest workout. It feels so good to have a game plan in place to try to get off of this plateau.

For reference, here is my Fit Quest Day 1 pic. I’ll post comparisons as I go through this process.


Saturday, January 21 – Long run Saturday! 12.1 miles at a 10:09 pace. For my long runs I am currently using the Galloway Running method and am using a :90/:30 run/walk ratio. I feel much stronger at the end of these long runs when I use this.


WTD – 34.30

MTD – 94.60

YTD – 94.60

Miles to Goal – 1405.40

Weight at end of the week – 232(down 7.8 pounds)

The Longest Journey May Only Be 18 Inches — January 17, 2017

The Longest Journey May Only Be 18 Inches


We know things. We feel things. In the physical world it isn’t very difficult to connect what we know with what we feel, right? 

How many have touched a wall or a fence that had a ‘Wet Paint’ sign nearby just to see if it really was wet? How many as a kid just had to touch the burner on the stove to see if mom’s warning about it being hot was really true? Maybe that connection between what we know and what we feel isn’t quite as easy to make as we think. How else do you explain the desire to touch what we’ve been told not to?

Spiritually speaking, I believe that connection is even harder to make. Consequentially, a large number of Christians today fall into one of two camps: intellectual Christians and experiential Christians.

Experiential Christians tend to base their relationship with God around their feelings. They want to ‘get their praise on’ and aren’t incredibly concerned with learning anything that can’t be learned through experience.

Intellectual Christians base their relationship with God around what they have learned from study. They know a lot about God and tend to be cautious about experiences because they have a hard time wrapping their head around those things.

If I were to simplify even more, I would say that intellectual Christians worship with their head and experiential Christians worship with their hearts.

Here lies the problem with those approaches on their own.

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.””

‭‭John‬ ‭4:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We are told that we should be worshipping in spirit (the heart) and in truth (the head). Somehow we must find a way for our relationship with God to cross that 18 inch bridge from the head to the heart so that we can engage in the kind of worship that truly pleases God.

This is essentially the challenge that I have laid out to the worship team that I pastor. I want our worship to go to a new level. I want the roots of our faith to spread deeper into the soil of God’s truth so that the fruit of our experience can be seen all around.

The real question is, ‘How do we bridge the gap?’ I’m not sure that there is a definite answer, but here is where I would suggest starting. If you find yourself to be more of an intellectual Christian, make a conscious effort to relate what you know about God to your everyday experiences in life. Similarly, if you tend to be more experiential, when you have an experience with God, dive into His Word to learn more about what He is choosing to do in your life.

Could you imagine the depth of our worship if we could bridge the gap and begin to worship both in spirit AND in truth? I think that would be a very powerful experience for all involved and I believe that it would carry us outside of the four walls of the church.

What group do you identify with? How can you try to bridge that gap in your own life?