Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Book List

At the beginning of 2010 I challenged myself to read more throughout the year. Over the course of the past year, I read 20 books, a result that I am very pleased with. After crunching the numbers, I discovered that I read 7,251 pages, which is an average of 139 pages per week, or 19.87 pages per day.

Books I Read in 2010:
Brotherhood of Heroes: The Marines at Peleliu, 1944 -- The Bloodiest Battle of the Pacific War – Bill Sloan
From Peanuts to the Pressbox: Insider Sports Stories from a Life Behind the Mic – Eli Gold (My Review)
The Jesus You Can't Ignore: What You Must Learn from the Bold Confrontations of Christ – John MacArthur
The World Without Us – Alan Weisman
The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America – Timothy Egan
Religion Saves: And Nine Other Misconceptions – Mark Driscoll
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One - Thomas Sowell
66 Love Letters: A Conversation with God That Invites You into His Story - Dr. Larry Crabb (My Review)
Firewall - Henning Mankell
The Road to Serfdom - F.A. Hayek
Fading Echoes - Mike Sielski
The Complete Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle *
Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion - Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck
ABC Murders: A Hercule Poirot Mystery - Agatha Christie
Holy Vocabulary - Michael Kelley (My Review)
Ship Ablaze: The Tragedy of the Steamboat General Slocum - Edward O'Donnell
BoneMan's Daughters - Ted Dekker
Riven - Jerry B. Jenkins
Race To The Pole - Sir Ranulph Fiennes
* I finished this book this year. I read over 3/4 of it in 2010 (well over 800 pages of it), so I am counting it.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Stay Through Life

After successfully reaching the South Pole (the second group to have ever accomplished this feat and the first to do so without the aid of dog's or horses), Captain Robert Scott's team ran into terrible weather on their trip back to their home base. After several members became incapable of continuing on due to health reasons, it became apparent that the group's chances of survival was quickly fading due to the lack of food and fuel, which lay 11 miles away on the frozen plains of Antarctica. The following quote was written on March 22, 1912 by Lieutenant Henry R. Bowers in a letter to his mother. The letter was found in the tent next to his body, where he had died a few days after writing it.
"I am still strong and hope to reach this one (the depot) with Dr. Wilson and get the food and fuel necessary for our lives. God only knows what will be the outcome of the 22 miles march...but my trust is still in Him and in the abounding Grace of my Lord and Savior whom you brought me up to trust in and who has been my stay through life... There will be no shame however and you will know that I have struggled until the end."
- as quoted on page 332 in Race to the Pole by Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Friday, December 24, 2010

Much to Hope From the Flowers

Today I was reminded of this portion of the story of "The Naval Treaty" in which the following dialogue of Sherlock Holmes is captured:
"…What a lovely thing a rose is!"

"He walked past the couch to the open window and held up the drooping stalk of
a moss-rose, looking down at the dainty blend of crimson and green. It was a
new phase of his character to me, for I had never before seen him show any keen
interest in natural objects."

" 'There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion,' said
he, leaning with his back against the shutters. 'It can be built up as an exact
science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence
seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires,
our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But
this rose is an extra. Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life,
not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say
again that we have much to hope from the flowers.' " 
pp 455-456 The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Weighing In

A few weeks ago, I was thinking about the upcoming Holiday season and became focused on all of the cookies, treats and snacks that I knew I would consume. Having just started to lose and redistribute some weight through a consistent running program, I kind of bemoaned the fact that I would inevitably gain weight during this time. (I realize that I could choose to abstain from the goodies, but I am being much more realistic in my thinking than that.)  The more I thought about it, the more I disliked the idea of gaining back the weight I have lost already. So I have devised the personal challenge that I am currently involved in.

Here is my simple challenge:
- Weigh in on the Friday before Christmas (December 17th).
- Weigh in on the Friday following New Year's Day (January 7th).
The goal is to maintain the initial weight or lose weight if possible.

That's my challenge. It's not hard, but I think it is already providing me with some extra motivation to keep up with my running. I realize that I am consuming more calories than before, but my running program also has me expending a few more than before as well. This challenge has also caused me to rethink eating that next cookie a couple of times already.

That's how I am attempting to not gain weight over the next two weeks.
My initial weigh in was 210 lbs.

So far, so good.

On a related note, my running has been going really well. I have been able to remain consistent in my running and have seen a great amount of improvement. In fact, to easily see the results, consider this:
- I ran the Eye Run For Haiti 5k on October 30th and finished with a time of 32:28. (10:58 mile)
- I ran the Jingle Bell Run 5k on November and finished with a time of 28:22. (9:09 mile)
- This morning I ran 4 miles in 33:38. (8:24 mile)

 I don't have a firm goal at this point as to any specific race or anything, but I am hoping to reach the place where running 4 miles at a sub-8 minute pace won't kill me. I'm not there yet, but give me a month or two...