In Christ Alone I Run

A week or so ago I was out on a run and I decided to put a praise & worship channel on through Pandora because I was in the mood for churchy stuff.  Then a funny thing happened.  The song In Christ Alone started playing and I started running faster.  The song has powerful lyrics and music that builds up as it moves forward, and that’s exactly the type of music you want while running.  Since then I’ve gone on a few more runs where I play that station more, and I’ve been running better than ever before.  To me, that means that I’m being helped along.  Here are some of the lyrics to the song:

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all –
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

Anyway, I’ve started training to run the Chicago Lung Run 10k again.  I ran this race in 2011 and finished near the very end of the pack (I was the second to last male to finish).  Hopefully I’ll be able to do better this time around.  The plan is to follow Hal Higdon’s Novice 10k plan and update my progress here every week.  So here is a brief summary of my runs from this week.

Tuesday – I ran 2.85 miles, which is more than the plan called for but the run was going well.  My average pace was 12:20, but my goal for the run was to break a 10 minute mile.  I did it.  My first mile on the run was 9:29, which is a personal record.

Thursday – I didn’t run as scheduled because my legs weren’t recovered enough on Thursday morning and the rest of the day was occupied by 4th of July festivities.  Instead I ran on Friday morning, and made it 2.03 miles at an average pace of 11:55.  My goal for the run was to run for 15 minutes without having to take a break and walk.  I ended up running for over 20 minutes straight – almost the entire run!

Sunday – My goal was to incorporate my earlier achievements from the week into my “long” run, by going for 20 minutes straight before walking.  It was successful and I ran for 25 minutes before slowing to a walk for a 2 minute break.  The run ended up a little shorter than I thought it was because of a gps malfunction that made me think I had gone further than I actually had (apparently Runkeeper thought I could run at a two minute mile pace for a while!  too bad I had to correct it…).  The end result was 2.89 miles with a 12:16 pace.

One of the highlights of my runs the last couple weeks was these flowers:

photo (4)

Published in: on July 8, 2013 at 2:40 am  Comments Off on In Christ Alone I Run  

Nat King Cole as Workout Music?

Yesterday morning I managed (with some help from my wife) to get out of bed early and go for a run.  It was a significant achievement.  While I do tend to be more of a morning person than a night owl (usually up by 7 or 8 and in bed by 11, even on the weekends), I’m often a bit slow moving in the mornings.  So I’m sure it wasn’t easy for my wife to drag my crankypants self out of bed.  I didn’t want to get up, even though I had asked for help getting up.  However, it turned out to be a nice morning run.

I knew I needed to be back home by 6:30 in order to get ready for work, which gave me about 30 minutes to run.  My approach was to go as far as I could and turn around when my RunKeeper app told me I’d been running for 15 minutes.  It worked pretty well, and I think I’ll do that again the next time I run before work.  I did the thing again where I run for one song, then walk the next.  However, there was one song that came up but for some reason I found myself running halfway through it.  It just felt like a nice, upbeat song to run to.  It was this:

photo (4)

It felt weird finding Nat King Cole to bring me to run, considering the thing we all know him so well for is classic Christmas Music.  But when you think about it, his career was built on big band and jazz music, the type of music that belonged in night clubs that people would get up and dance to.  And isn’t running just a type of dance, when all is said and done?

On the playlist today:  Nat King Cole (photo credit: on flickr)


Workout summary:

photo (5)


Question of the day:  What’s the strangest music you’ve ever worked out to?


Published in: on April 16, 2013 at 11:29 am  Comments Off on Nat King Cole as Workout Music?  

It’s been a while…

It’s been far too long since I ran, but I made it out today!  In the past I’ve had trouble keeping with running because I always tend to expect immediate results – meaning I expect to be able to run a 12 minute mile this week and an 11 minute mile next week.  Sometimes that works, but over the long term it has consistently made me fail.  Today, instead of focusing on the result, I tried to focus on the activity itself, and ended up having a great time.

I made it nearly 3.5 miles and felt like I could keep going – not bad for someone who hadn’t gone for a run in months.  I didn’t actually run the whole time.  I started by walking about 3 minutes, then ran for about 1 minute.  I continued alternating like that for about 15 minutes while I listened to a Themis Bar Review lecture (yeah, that July Bar Exam is already weighing on my mind and starting to invade my life!). I switched to Pandora radio, and then I ran during one song, walked during the next, and continued alternating in that manner for the remainder of the run.

On the playlist today… this guy:

IMG_0602Then this:

IMG_0608And finally, a run summary:




Published in: on April 6, 2013 at 1:30 pm  Comments Off on It’s been a while…  

Finding Motivation

It’s been a while since I wrote, and my running hasn’t been much more regular.  Since I last wrote, I’ve had plenty of ups and downs and it all can be broken down into three periods in my running.

Lung Run 10k 
Back in August I went to Toronto and fully intended to keep up with my training schedule, but found it difficult to run in the hotel’s gym.  Then once I got back I was a bit discouraged after missing a bit and ended up falling further behind.  I didn’t run for a couple of weeks, but I was determined to still run the race!  Once September rolled around I found the motivation to get back out there because the race was scheduled for the 17th.  I had a couple of solid runs and felt confident enough to attempt the race.

On race day, we arrived about half an hour before the race started, so we hung out by the lake for a bit.  I did my stretches, and then it was time to start.  I did pretty good at the beginning, but lost some of my pace after the first mile.  By about halfway through, I was getting tired and my time was suffering.  In the end, I did complete the race and that’s all that matters!

Over the winter it was very difficult to find the motivation to go out running.  The weather was cold, and a lot of the time that kept me inside, but a couple of times I braved the weather and went outside anyway.  After a few times of running in the cold, I started trying to run at the indoor track at a nearby park, and that worked a few times.  But it grew old pretty quickly because it is just running around in a circle over and over and over again.  Later in the season we tried out the gym at my work, but that didn’t last long either.  I have so much trouble running on treadmills!

Early Spring and Soldier Field 10 Mile
With the warm weather this early spring, I have been able to get out a few times running.  It’s also helped that I’m hoping to run the Soldier Field 10 Mile run over Memorial Day Weekend – though if I don’t really start training for it, I’ll have to find an easier race to do instead.  At this point I can run about 4 miles without too much trouble, but I need to push myself to do at least 6 miles by now.

Overall the hardest part I’m finding about running is finding the time and the motivation to actually get out to run.  Here’s hoping that as the weather continues to improve, I’ll find it easier and easier.  After all, I was very good about running regularly during the summer last year.  Also, the more I get out running, the more of these I will get to see:

Published in: on March 26, 2012 at 1:19 am  Comments Off on Finding Motivation  

Interrupted by a Train

Today I had my long run for the week.  According to my training plan, I had to run 3 miles today, and I made it.  That’s now the longest I’ve run in a single session.  I had planned on running all the way from home to an intersection about a mile and a half away, but only made it 1.25 miles before being stopped by this guy.  Seriously, couldn’t the engineer see I was running and stop for me?  Oh well.  Lately I had been switching to walking for a break after the first mile but made it further this time.  After the train passed, I resumed my run and turned around at the intersection.  The way home was a little easier as the sun was to my back, but I still ended up going slower the second mile than the first.

The first mile time was great; I finished it in 10:32, which is now my personal best for a single mile.  The second mile time was 13:28, and the third was 13:56.  For a little bit during the third mile I pushed myself harder and ran at a pace of between 8-10 minutes for about a quarter mile.  It sure felt like I was going even faster than that!

This now wraps up the month of July.  During the month, I was able to run a total of 23.19 miles, increased my average pace from about 15 minutes/mile at the beginning of the month to 12:41 today, and my fastest single mile from 13:42 to 10:32.  I think it was a pretty good month!

This also wraps up the first week of my training plan for the 10k.  It’s a great feeling to have survived one week, but there’s seven left in the schedule.  Next Sunday I get to increase my distance on the “long run” to 3.5 miles.


Published in: on July 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm  Comments Off on Interrupted by a Train