Category Archives: Fitness

My First Trail Run

In late summer a wild idea popped into my head. Our F3 group should do a trail run together in the rocky terrain of northwest Arkansas. I’m sure that is probably due to the event advertisement for the Bella Vista Back 40 Trail Run popping up on my Facebook timeline.

I had to talk myself into it before asking anyone else to join me. In the past I had told myself and others that I wouldn’t do a trail run due to the risk of injury.

After I decided I would do it, I sent a note to the F3 group and found out that Yazoo and Sniper were planning to go as well. So, we signed up for the 13 mile run.

Sniper and I trained together on the trails around Lake Atalanta in Rogers, Arkansas a couple of times. And I trained on those trails four different times.

I found out quickly during our first training run that I would need shoes specifically for trail running in this rocky terrain. I love my Brooks Ravenna running shoes. So the next week I went to Rush Running in Bentonville and asked them to give me the trail running version, it was the Brooks Cascadia 10.

My longest training run at Lake Atalanta was about 7 miles at a pace of 10:40/mile. This may sound like a slow pace to road runners, but I assure you I was moving quite well for a new trail runner in that terrain and elevation variance.

The Trails at Lake Atalanta in Rogers, Arkansas are well maintained and they are marked with various levels of difficulty. I highly recommend these trails for a new trail runner. It is near historical downtown Rogers and after your run you can quickly jog or drive up the hill and have a cup of coffee and breakfast.

There are also numerous paved trails around Lake Atalanta that I train on regularly including an option to train on the grueling hill between the lake and the Railyard Mountain/BMX bike park which adjoins the downtown area.

My first training run of two miles caused a good bit of soreness in the hips and calf muscles. So, I made sure to start using the lateral movement elliptical machine on my cross training days at the gym.

On the week of the Back 40 race I checked the weather forecast and everything looked clear but cold. So I geared up appropriately with my running gloves and UA Cold Gear top and leggings (I wore my branded gear from my online store). I also wore my Brooks Cascadia trail running shoes that I picked up at Rush Running in Bentonville and my Junk headbands to cover my ears and neck.

On race morning I ate my protein bar and drank a Zipfizz. I met Yazoo and Sniper at the parking area at Bella Vista Blowing Springs park and we started our pre-race prep. This actually just means that we went to the restroom a couple times until we had everything out before the race started. We also did a few active stretches and static stretches.

The starting line was packed and buzzing with excitement. The race organizers of this event, along with the volunteers, are amazing. The starting line area, as well as all the aid stations, are well supplied and supportive. And the runners are all kind on the trails.

This event had distances from 5K, 13 mile, 20 mile and 40 mile for the run. There was also a mountain biking event the next day with the same distances.

We started the race and had a fun time together running in the woods of Bella Vista. The trails were nice but challenging to a new trail runner. I definitely used a few different muscles and ligaments in my hips and legs that I normally don’t use as much in paved running. But my training helped mitigate that.

I really enjoyed the Back 40 trail run and the mumblechatter with the folks on the trail. And to top it all off, they had fried catfish for all the finishers at the finish line.

The Middle Mile

It starts to hurt. Push through. You can do this.

Run your race, push your pace. Don’t let the crowd distract you from the goal.

The middle mile will make or break you. It doesn’t matter if it’s 5k or a marathon, the middle part is where the goal is achieved.

At the start the adrenaline propels you, at the end the finish line drags you in. But in the trudging of the middle miles you prove yourself.

So is life and this race we run on the route to the glorious end set before us.

Lord, please give us strength to endure to the end with that finish line in site, and it’s you we see waiting on the other side.

Allowing Fear in the Face of Courage

I know that sounds backwards. It’s meant to.

It’s meant for those moments when you are so motivated to step out and act out, but then you chicken out.

Like when that awesome song you love starts playing in your earbuds and you think you could just bust the most fantastic moves in the middle of the gym. But then real life comes into focus and you remember you are just not that coordinated.

Yeah…too many other examples to list. But what big life changing things have you missed out on by allowing fear in the face of a moment of courage. What God thing did you miss out on by quenching the spirit.

As we start taking ourself less seriously and understanding that what other people think doesn’t matter as much, we’ll get a lot more big things done. Because it is only God and His glory that will matter in the end.

Keep On Keepin’ On

Trudging or striding, struggling or thriving, blindly or purposeful.

However you get there, make sure you are headed in the direction that the one true God has told you to go. As we know the path that leads to destruction is wide and there is no speed limit.

Stride, thrive and be purposeful. Trudging blindly through life and struggling aimlessly without purpose is not in God’s plan for you. You were made for a purpose, and in that purpose you will find rest that surpasses understanding.

I’m not talking about “rest” like you won’t have to do anything. I mean like the rest you feel when God gives you strength, and you learn that contentment and hope are not bad words.

Like the apostle Paul, we press on toward a future hope and a future reward. We live blessed lives, though maybe not in the same standard as the world. Our final destination is not death and a grave. Jesus lived, died and rose from the dead and He will do the same for us when He returns if we believe in Him. But before we die we have a purpose.

And when we think we don’t know what God’s purpose is for our life, well, then we plug in wherever a need is found while we wait on that big flashing sign. Lord, help us by sending a big flashing sign and please don’t let us miss it.

Our life purpose should bring glory to God. We should always strive to bring fame only to His name in whatever we do. And we should use every part of our being for His glory. Jesus told us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30). So, let’s use our whole being for His glory.

As we work, we work for His glory. As we exercise, we exercise for His glory. As we study, we study for HIs glory. As we speak, we speak for and to His Glory. This is our ultimate purpose.

“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.”
PHILIPPIANS 3:13‭-‬16 NASB

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