Sunday, October 31, 2021

Competitiveness: Good Or Bad?

A little anecdote from the Gospel of John about Easter Sunday has got me, a runner, smiling out loud. You remember what happened. John and Peter had gone to the tomb of Jesus -- a tomb the women had reported as empty. John records that he and Peter had a little "race" there and that he had reached the tomb first (John 20:1-10)

When Peter finally arrives, puffing and panting, John has stopped at the entrance while Peter goes straight in. Finally John tells us that "the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside, and he saw and believed." I think it's hilarious that John goes out of his way to tell us not once but twice that he had reached the tomb before Peter had. Never underestimate male competitiveness. 

I believe there is a competitive streak in every one of us, whether you are a runner or not. If we keep that tendency under control, the competitive push within us can become a great motivating factor in our lives. It can stimulate us to train harder and push ourselves further than we might have otherwise. But there are many other benefits of running that have nothing to do with age group awards, bragging rights, or finish times. I find that when I am in a competitive mood, I sometimes no longer value my weekly runs for their own worth but only how they can prepare me for races. The tendency is to push too hard, and finally you push too far and break down with fatigue or injury. Then you either can't or won't run. When, however, we put competitiveness in perspective, we can gain pleasure and joy from running at any pace, even a slow one. 

Remember: the goal is to become an athlete, not necessarily a winner. Someone has said that competitors look for races they can win, while athletes look for races that can bring out the best in them, win or lose. Yes, there's a lot of fun in low-key competition. But it's important that we never lose sight of our main goals in running, which for me are health, relaxation, and the good feeling I get from exercise. 

I hope this was helpful. I am learning so much about myself through running, even about the kind of competitive spirit I have at times. My two cents: Don't compare yourself to others, or base your self-worth on running (or anything other than Christ for that matter). In a race I like to be competitive with others, but not to the point where I don't enjoy the race if I don't meet my goals. The only thing that matters at the finish is that I did my very best during the race and that I gave it my all. 

P.S. Today's bike:

My Latest Book

This morning I've been working on the final draft of my forthcoming book. I'm stressing simplicity and common sense. Once you've learned a few rules of the road, you'll be well on your way. Bible study should be fun. If it's a chore, then something's not right. 

I join my heart with that of our Heavenly Father to encourage all of us to read the Bible more and come to know the Father better. 

Here's how the book starts: 

Reading the New Testament is a straightforward task. It deserves a straightforward book. That’s why I wrote How to Make the New Testament Come Alive!

This book doesn’t attempt to explain everything there is to know about New Testament interpretation. It only explains what you need to know. It drills down to the essentials.

Everything you read in these pages has emerged from my four and a half decades of experience as a New Testament teacher. I’ve organized the book in a clear and easy-to-follow manner. There are just four main sections: Getting Started, Reading the New Testament, Interpreting the New Testament, and Applying the New Testament. Each section has additional “chaplets” (as I call them) that provide short, concise summaries of key information.

I’ve tested every piece of advice in How to Make the New Testament Come Alive! Over the past 45 years, I’ve taught courses in New Testament interpretation over 100 times – more than enough to make lots of mistakes (not good for me) and figure out a better way (good for you). I believe that every time I open my New Testament is a new adventure. I hope How to Make the New Testament Come Alive! will make you feel the same way.

Tablespoon (TABSP) Running

 Good advice here on running form.

Even after 6 years of running, I'm still trying to improve my running form. I'm excited to focus on the 5 things mentioned here. 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Improving My Running Cadence

Cadence! That's the topic for this blog post, ladies and gentlemen, having just finished an easy 5-mile run. 

The optimum cadence -- or "steps per minute" -- for runners is 180. My cadence has always been significantly lower than that. But in my running of late, I've focused on improving that number by taking shorter strides -- smaller, quicker steps. 

This goes hand in hand with reducing heel striking so that your feet are landing more underneath you than over-striding. Looking forward to more training days like this one to see if I can become a more efficient runner. We need to have a higher cadence in order to run faster. The more contact with the ground we have, the more opportunity we have to propel ourselves forward.  

Always learning and improving, that's for sure! 

New Lenovo Desktop -- and Thank You!

My thanks to my former assistant Rodolfo for helping me set up my new Lenovo desktop today. 


When Crosses Become Gifts

Sometimes I hate writing about grief because it's such a loaded subject. Yet it's such an important issue. This coming Tuesday will be 8 years since Becky went home to heaven. I just made the reservations at the Ethiopian restaurant for our family meal celebrating her life. I probably won't take any pictures that night nor will I blog about the evening; it's just too personal a subject for that. I am overwhelmingly grateful for the way God has sustained me through these years. I will always treasure the times I was driven to my knees because he too had an intimate relationship with suffering and pain. When I did the St. George Marathon in Utah, I had to drive through the desert from the airport to my Airbnb. I had forgotten just how long those desert roads can be. Life is like that desert road. Sometimes the barrenness makes it hard to see the wildflowers all around you. But they are there. Beauty is always there if we will look for it. Sometimes the hot desert wind seems like it'll never stop blowing. But the wind will eventually die down. It always does. For the first two years after Becky's passing I was on that long desert road in the darkness. My heart hurt. But even in the darkness of that night the stars still shone brightly. 

Feel free to write all this off as psychobabble if you like. I'm no psychologist. But I do know that I have gone through a metamorphosis in the past 8 years. During Jesus' earthly ministry he knew what it was like to be weary, hungry, homeless. The religious elite couldn't stand him, but the am ha-arez (the "people of the land," that is, the everyday man and woman) loved him. His suffering had made him accessible to them. It was thus that he "learned obedience" and demonstrated for us the discipline of suffering. 

To walk with Christ is to walk the way of the cross. To live and love is to be vulnerable. It means to open ourselves up to loss and pain. When I married Becky, I never thought in a million years that she would be the first one to go. Marriage, however, means the utter abandonment of all rights to the Master. It will mean pain. But the Lord has been so faithful. I have prostrated myself before him in agony because I know that he has gone before me and that there is a future and a plan. I have learned to love shamelessly, bravely, boldly, and daringly. To take chances. To surrender. What I've slowly come to realize over the years is that the people I admire the most are extraordinarily normal. They aren't superhuman freaks. They are just people who have ignored the temptation to take the easy route in life and instead are doing something with their lives despite the suffering and loss. I'm trying to make that my philosophy of life too. Becky and I had 37 years and 2 months together. And then the Lord in whom there is "never the slightest variation or shadow of inconsistency" gave me singleness as a gift of his love. Would I accept it? Would I thank him for it?

I did, and I have. I have found peace. I'm not saying that I'm never lonely. Or that I don't miss her. I do. But the peace that Christ offers comes through acceptance. At the feet of Jesus our crosses are changed into gifts. 

In the meantime, let's not forget to rally around those who are suffering, just as they do the same for us when we can't get up. Let's be there for each other. That's all we can do -- love each other and be loved.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Zuckerberg's "Meta," Speaking Swiss German at Bojangles, and Billy Graham's Ministry in Russia

In today's blog post I wanted to show you that I am indeed capable of talking about subjects other than running. I never liked blogs that were single-focused anyway. I'll start by calling out Mark Zuckerberg for incorrectly defining the Greek word meta as "beyond." "Zuckerberg," reported CNN, "who said he loved studying classics in school, said the name was inspired by the Greek word meta, which means 'beyond.' 'For me, it symbolizes that there is always more to build.'" 

Sorry, Mr. Zuckerberg, but if meta means something other than "with," it means "after" or "behind." 

From Bauer's lexicon.

The word you're looking for is huper. Just sayin'. 

Then this morning I had to take my van into the Honda dealership in South Hill for an oil change, and while there I decided to grab a cup of coffee at the Bojangles across the street. And who should sidle up to the table next to me than an elderly couple dressed in Amish clothing. After they had eaten, I greeted them and we began to chat in High German. We could understand each other reasonably well, but when I learned that they hailed from Bern, Indiana, I switched over to Swiss German, which they spoke fluently. They were a delight to talk with. I also met their driver Nancy. I learned that they had just attended a wedding in Virginia and were now on their way to Virginia Beach to stick their toes in the Atlantic and then on to DC to visit the monuments there. Sometimes such conversations turn to spiritual things, but even though that didn't happen today I was glad to have been able to welcome this couple to my state of Virginia and assure them of my prayers as they continued their trip.

After they left I watched a wonderful interview with Billy Graham at Gordon-Conwell Seminary. 

As the interview progressed, I was reminded of just how dependent Billy Graham was on God to open doors of ministry for him. He told of his four visits to Russia, each of which had been sponsored by -- believe it or not -- the Russian Orthodox Church. He spoke in one orthodox cathedral after the other "and would preach the gospel as straight as I knew how." After one of his messages, the Orthodox Patriarch of Russia himself invited Graham to return to Russia and "teach our students and our ministers how to preach like that. That's the kind of sermons we need. We need to know how to know God and how to talk to God and how to have a new heart and a new life." So the next year Graham held a "School of Evangelism" at the University of Moscow with 5,000 Russian clergy in attendance. Then, in the Lenin Stadium, Graham held a great crusade where hundreds came to know Christ personally. 

I almost started sobbing when I heard that. How can you not love what God is doing among the Orthodox people of the world? I recall one of my own trips to Armenia, where the Orthodox Church is very influential. I had been asked to teach at the Baptist Seminary there. But while I was there the Orthodox Seminary got wind of my visit and invited me to lecture to their students as well. 

If that wasn't amazing enough, on that same trip someone arranged for me to give a lecture on the subject of Greek morphology in the Linguistics Department of Yerevan University. 

The passage I chose to illustrate the way morphology works in Ancient Greek was John 1:1, with its explicit reference to the deity of Christ. How is it that a trip to teach evangelical believers in a Baptist seminary led to speaking engagements with Orthodox students as well as with men and women who were studying linguistics (many of whom came from neighboring Iran)? Rarely have students paid more careful attention, even when I shared with them about Christ. 

You know this already, but let me remind you that the Christian life is simply walking through the doors of ministry the Lord opens to you, and some of these doors will seem unbelievable. 

Billy Graham was an extraordinary man, of course. But that's not to say we shouldn't learn valuable lessons from his life. We consult the exceptional among us to inspire our lives, ordinary though we may be, by displaying to us their potentialities as well as their vulnerabilities. Men and women like Graham guide us, warn us, fire our imaginations, and remind us that we too have a calling of God to pursue. John Glenn, the first American to rocket into space, defied conventional wisdom when he asked to return to space at the age of 77. By passing the same physical he took 36 years earlier, he won a place aboard the shuttle Discovery and shook up our stereotypes about aging. 

Here's what I know: Life isn't about success and money. It's about trying to find ways to put what you know to work for the Lord. That's why we need to retire the word "retire."

Thursday, October 28, 2021

I Dare You to Watch This Video

What a whirlwind it hasn't been today. I had planned to drive to Boone, NC, in order to get some pictures of the fall foliage this region is famous for. But a good friend of mine who lives out that way told me that the colors should be much better next week. So instead of going on another hiking adventure, I am a homebody today and tomorrow, which meant, at least for this morning, another trip to the local Y.

As I was working out, I listened to a sermon by the one and only Haddon Robinson. Now I'm sitting here at home trying to recover from the whiplash. Every sermon should look and sound like this one. I mean that. EVERY SERMON. Can you say "communication"? Lots of sermons have lots of talking, but very little communication. So if you are a preacher, I dare you to watch this sermon on the Lord's Prayer in Luke 11:1-4. 


No, I double dare you. I mean, am I the only one who can't stand it when somebody just reads their sermon notes, or when they repeat the same old same old, or when there is little to ZERO connection with their audience? When Becky and I would visit Dallas to spend time with her mom and dad, we would often have the chance to hear Haddon Robinson in person at Grace Bible Church. His messages came to be very predictable to me -- "predictable" in the sense of always being fresh, always innovative, always humorous, always self-deprecating, always deep, and yet never boring. Sure, there's very little anyone can say about the Lord's Prayer that people don't already know or haven't already heard a gazillion times. But the key to effective communication is taking obvious truths and packaging them in such a way as to leave your audience saying, Wow, I've never heard THAT before! Haddon Robinson never disappoints when it comes to taking a timeless message and communicating it in a timely fashion. And please observe: He uses absolutely no notes. Never does. There is nothing, my friends, and I mean NOTHING, that will help you build rapport with your audience and keep them engaged more than positive eye contact. Isn't this being taught in our homiletics classes? If it isn't, it should be. You will never see Haddon Robinson read from a notebook. How does he do it? He knows his stuff. 

Well, not sure what right I have to tell anybody what good preaching looks like. I'm certainly no homiletician. Okay then. I'll shut up. Do not watch this video. Do not try and improve your sermon delivery. Do not, under any circumstances, know the message God has put on your heart backwards and forwards before you speak. And please, do not depend on your memory. Use your note cards even when you're telling a personal anecdote. Gotta get the words down just right. 

In all honesty, it's been a couple of hours since I listened to this message and it is still percolating in my heart and mind. I heard truths about prayer that I had not heard in 61 years of following Jesus. Furthermore, many truths that I already did know came back to me with new power and conviction. All this to say -- Haddon Robinson proved to me once again just how effective biblical preaching can be in making us better and stronger spiritually. 

Suffice it to say, my prayer life will change, starting today. Maybe yours will, too, if you dare to watch this video.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The 2021 Richmond Marathon Preview

Lord willing, in just over two weeks I will be running the Richmond Marathon for the third time. It will be my 18th marathon since I began running 6 years ago. This year I am running it as a charity race for UNC Lineberger Cancer Center, where Becky was treated. 

The Richmond Marathon is a fantastic race. Here are some things I like about it:

1. The all-downhill to the finish line on Brown's Island is pure adrenaline and a great way to end any race. There's plenty of space to stretch out, lots of grass, and the junk food stations and the pizza are delicious.

2. The combination of running along the James with the urban vibe is amazing. 

3. There are hills that you don't really expect but nothing too major (unlike the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincy or the St. George Marathon in Utah).

4. Packet pick-up is always easy and well-organized. 

5. The crowds are amazing, and even when there aren't many crowds the views are incredible.

6. Lots of bands along the course.

7. Wet washcloths are handed out twice along the route. There are also pretzels, gummy bears, and muffins.  

8. The finisher's medal is lovely. 

9. There are water stops every mile starting at mile 20.

10. The volunteers are fantastic and I am always very grateful for them.

A marathoner can hardly ask for more. My thanks so much to everyone who has a hand in organizing this awesome sporting event. Run Richmond if you can!

Celebrating the Seasons of Life

Care to go on a run with me? 

On our run I would be thinking a lot about the seasons

The seasons of the year. And the seasons of life. Truth be told, I've been working a lot on letting go these days. It's stunning to me how quickly life can change. Life is tough sometimes, but it's infinitely easier when you remember that God is in loving control of your life and when you remember to be thankful. Today I was so thankful to be able to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful fall foliage, reminding me that God has plans for me, wonderful plans, that I always have hope, that the Bible is not merely a guidebook for life but an anchor for the soul, and that when we move from one season of life to the next, the transition can be terrifying and yet there is something indescribably beautiful about it. 

How are you handling the seasons of life? The changes God is allowing to happen to you? How committed are you to transitioning wisely and graciously? 

Change is a necessary part of the Christian experience. Nothing develops our character like letting go and moving on. Let us leave our lives in God's hands without worry and fear, and then we shall be free to celebrate the new challenges -- and opportunities -- he sets before us. 

The Importance of the Opening of Philippians

One of our presenters in our Advanced Greek Grammar class yesterday walked us beautifully through the Greek text of Philippians, showing how the theme of the letter -- working together to make known the Good News about Christ until he returns -- is seen even in the first two verses of the book.

This is what's often called the letter opening or the "salutation" -- and we often simply gloss over it so that we can move on to more important things. So this morning, in my Bible time, I slowed down and paused to try and digest what these verses are saying. Before Paul launches into his great subject of unity in the cause of the Gospel, he first calls upon God to:

1. Give each of the Philippians his fullest blessings (grace) and

2. Give them harmony (peace) in their hearts and in their relationships. 

This is brilliant. There can be no "working together as one team for the Gospel" without God's grace and peace in our lives. How can the Philippians' love for one another overflow more and more (1:9) unless God fills them with his grace? How can they possibly be humble, think of others as better than themselves, and put aside their differences (2:3-4) unless the God of peace is with them? This is the beginning point for Paul, and it should be the beginning point with us. For new life to come forth in my students, I need to pray upon them the grace and peace of God long before I enter the classroom. 

Christ grows lovelier to me with each passing day, and so does his Gospel Commission to go everywhere and tell everyone (Mark 16:15). I keep meeting brothers and sisters who will work with me to accomplish this goal in the strangest of places. "Fellow workers" Paul often calls them, and that's because it is who they are. They know they are recipients of God's grace and peace; now they want to become dispensers of both. 

I think my discovery of the importance of the letter opening of Philippians -- a discovery, by the way, that shouldn't have been a surprise after all -- has changed the way I read the New Testament epistles. Paul was not in the business of wasting words. "May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ bless you!" he writes as he begins his letter. "May he grant you his grace in all its fullness, and may he give you peace, a peace in your own hearts and a peace between each other, even between those of you who are feuding."

Today, you and I are living out our faith because of God's grace and peace (Paul will add "mercy" in the Pastoral Epistles). I like that thought. God's grace and peace will shape my thoughts and words and deeds if I allow them to. The message of Philippians is simply this: we are called and sent out into this world to proclaim the kingdom of God, and to do this together. If we're not doing this, maybe we are glossing over the first two verses of Philippians. 

Phil. 1:5-15.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Congratulations to Ben Merkle!

Mega congratulations to my colleague Ben Merkle on his installtion today in the Dr. M. O. Owens Jr. Chair of New Testament Studies. 

Here we are with Dr. Owens' daughters at the reception for Ben after the service. 

Ben, I could not be more grateful for your friendship through the years and for your partnership in the guild of New Testament scholars, nor could I be more excited to see you hold this distinguished chair. Ad multos annos! 

Perseverance and Salvation

 We're discussing the article in Greek class today. 

James 2:14 will be discussed in depth: Can [the] faith save him?" We will, of course, have to think about the relationship between faith and works in the Christian life, and I will cite from this excellent book

I will do just about anything to get my students to think about how Greek affects their everyday lives. 

Monday, October 25, 2021

Thank You!

Two quick thank you's before I retire for the night:

1. Thank you to my esteemed colleague Jake Pratt and the Ph.D. office for asking me to do a Zoom call today with prospective doctoral students. I enjoyed it. 

2. Thank you to my good friend Doug Bookman of Shepherds Theological Seminary in Cary for inviting me to speak to his New Testament class this afternoon. Our topic was the historical origins of the Gospels. What great fun. 

I do love my work.

Night night! 

History as Harlotry (New Book by Tracy McKenzie)

 I was thrilled to hear that my colleague Tracy McKenzie's new book will shortly appear in print. 

It represents the work he did for a second doctorate in Old Testament at the University of Goettingen, Germany. Mega kudos to you bro! For details go here

"To Live Is Christ" Means What?

Does teaching the infinitive excite anybody else? That's exactly what I'll be doing in Greek class tonight.

Be aware that the significance of these little verb forms is often overlooked. Here's a shot of my Greek New Testament. 

I was in Philippians 1:21 this morning. And yes, Paul uses not one but two infinitives in this verse that we have all memorized. Does it matter that one of them is in the present tense: "For to me, to go on living is Christ"? 

More importantly, does it matter that Paul isn't just talking about having "Jesus and me" moments throughout our day? In light of the theme of the letter, to go on living must have a greater purpose. And it does. Which is another reason why I love the Bible everyone told me I should hate when I was in high school. Here's how The Living Bible (as opposed to The Dead Bible) renders the passage:

For to me, living means more opportunities for Christ, and dying -- well, that's better yet! But if living will give me more opportunities to win people to Christ, then I really don't know which is better, to live or die!

It's okay to tie this verse into the Great Commission. Paul does. Right along with my daily, moment-by-moment walk with the Lord, I am learning to simply be available on a moment's notice to share the love of Jesus with anyone, anytime. I'm learning that faith isn't only a personal experience but a shared one. It's faith partly because it's to be declared. It's joining in the lamentations of this world in order to further heaven's hope for mankind and summon God's healing in ways big and small. 

Set out, pilgrim. Set out this day to know Christ intimately and personally. "To know him" -- that's our goal. But don't stop there. Again, to cite TLB (Phil. 3:10):

Now I have given up everything else -- I have found it to be the only way to really know Christ and to experience the mighty power that brought him back to life again, and to find what it means to suffer and die with him

I cling to my Jesus now more than I ever used to. But this Jesus is a serving, giving, selfless Jesus, always putting the interests of others before his own. And because of my daily walk with him, I find myself  being changed ever more into his likeness, into the heart God has for the world. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Biking in Richmond (Instead of Watching TV)

This morning's message from 1 Cor. 13 has been on my mind all day, including the time I spent this afternoon cycling the Virginia Capital Trail in Richmond. I was really surprised to get a parking space at the trail head.

My objective? The Malvern Hill National Battlefield Park.

The first mile or so of your ride you are treated to beautiful views of the James.

Just over midway you reach Four Mile Creek Park.

Otherwise, this is what the trail looks like for most of your ride. I never tire of it!

I biked for just under 3 hours.

Afterwards I was famished. I was tempted to eat in Richmond but decided I would prepare a spaghetti dinner at home.

You can be sure that I made plenty of leftovers for work this week. 

You know, there is something crazy about doing a 33 mile bike ride the day after a 10 mile race, but I am truly feeling great despite having just eaten too much. I am 69 years old. I should be napping all afternoon, or at least sitting in my easy chair watching NFL football (go Tampa Bay!). But, see, that's the point! Doing crazy things is sometimes necessary to get you out the door and into the crazy, wonderful world all around us. That's precisely why I do all these zany activities. I can't quite bring myself to live vicariously anymore (except, maybe, when it comes to watching the Bucs or the waves at Pipeline on YouTube). My advice to you -- be sure to live life to the fullest while you still can. There is something waiting for you that only you can do. It might not be easy, but you will love it, trust me. 

P.S. After I check up on the animals I will watch today's NFL game summaries, beginning with the Bucs and the Bears. Shhh. Don't tell anyone.

No, We Are Not Done

Today I'm feeling surprisingly good for just having raced 10 miles at (what for me was) a pretty quick pace. Over the past year I've been working on what is called phase 4 of the running cycle and snapping my foot back as I land to reduce the pounding. I've already noticed the reduced amount of shock my body endures. Each stride just feels so much smoother when you have a full back swing. 

It's been quite a journey since I began running 6 years ago. Progress is slow but it's definitely there. I have noticed that all the fastest runners out there are way younger than me so I have been working on reducing my age. I need an age transplant! 😇 In the meantime, I'm social distancing from wheelchairs and walkers. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference" LOL!

It's been a year of twists and turns, transition and renewal. A little bit of disequilibrium and disorganization as well. You too? As long as you cling to the Lord, as long as you have courage, as long as you embrace each moment of life, good or bad, everything will come together. That's why I spend every morning in the Word. As I go through my day it's a tap on the shoulder by God at every step. Just be true to yourself. Nobody wants to see Usain Bolt run a marathon. We want to see him thrive at 100 meters. 

Nobody wants to see Courtney Dauwalter run a 10K. We want to see her succeed at 100 and 200 miles. Eudemonia is an ancient Greek concept of thriving by you being you. You thrive how you thrive. Having turned 69 in June the goal now is to just keep active for the Lord as long as he allows. Patience and consistency both sit well with me these days. As you start new adventures, new chapters in your life, it's important to stay consistent and to not let excuses or laziness get you down. I am so excited for what the future might hold. I have the vision and I have the desire. Anything worth doing takes time, planning, and execution. Moreover, upward progression does not mean that we have to constantly climb. The valleys and plateaus are a necessary part of growth as well. Overall, I'm ecstatic to finally get back into a routine of life. It's definitely part of my personality to reduce stress by decluttering life and getting organized. 

Now is the time to take your next step, seize it if you will without hesitation. Yesterday's 10-miler was a little shot in the arm for future goals on the horizon. I pose to all of you the same question I pose to myself: Are you done growing? Are you done getting better and stronger? Are you done growing deeper in Christ? Let us run on toward our lofty goals, all of us, one day at a time, one step at a time. No, we are not done here on this earth.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

The 2021 American Tobacco Trail 10-Miler

Marathon training is going well, thanks for asking. In fact, today's 10-miler in Cary was a tune-up race for the Richmond Marathon in November. Ha! "Tune up" race? Who am I kidding? I love to be competitive in 10-milers every bit as much as I love to compete in marathons. Plus, the thought of being outdoors today was almost as fantabulous as finding a verb with imperfective aspect in Philippians. Care to see a few pix?

I knew it would be a good day when this view met me in the parking lot in Cary.

From there we were shuttled to the starting line. At first I thought, "Where are all the old yellow school buses?" Then I remembered: "Oh yeah, this is Cary."

Let's get the show on the road.

Looks like we weren't the only people out on the trail today. This was maybe the 12th high school track team that passed me during the race. Hey dudes. Where's your respect for the elderly? Shameless.

And then everywhere you went you saw dogs walking their masters. 

Sorta makes you want to stop and pet those furry creatures until you remember that you still want to beat that 75-year old in yellow shorts. 

Most everyone out there was fast, as in FAST.

And then there was me.

Still, for a card-carrying back-of-the-packer, I was pleased with my time and pace today. 

Incidentally, the guy who won the race finished in less than an hour. His name was -- I kid you not -- Peace Man. Bet he didn't even know he was up against his 69-year old nemesis, Dances with Turtles.

For you map lovers out there, this is what the course looked like today. 

To all ye citizens of Cary: if you were wondering what that noodle-like thing that invaded your fair city today was, well, now you know.

Reading this blog post to this point (one of us has to do it), I realize I've highlighted only a few of the great things I saw and experienced during today's race in Cary. But all the the good stuff will have to wait. It's time for me to take a long nap. *Creak.*

Friday, October 22, 2021

When in Cary ....

When I am in Cary, I do what I always do -- try and enjoy some Ethiopian food at the Awaze. Tonight did not disappoint. 

I ordered Becky's favorite dish -- doro wat (chicken stew). 

Afterwards the owner, Azeb, spoiled me with some hot milk with a touch of sugar (a tradition in Northern Ethiopia) and a plate of fandasha (Ethiopian popcorn -- a tradition in the south of Addis). 

I told you I love traditions. 

Happy Weekend!

Friday Odds and Ends

This is kind of funny. I failed to register online for tomorrow's 10-Miler and so have to drive down to Cary this afternoon to register in person. I NEVER forget to register online for a race. But there's a silver living. The running store that's hosting the packet pickup is only about a mile away from one of my favorite Ethiopian restaurants. 😉

Earlier today I did some weight training at the Y. 

I did strength training long before I got involved in running. I still use some of my old routines. Nowadays, though, I'm concentrating more on using weights to complement my running. I also spent part of my morning at the local German Baptist bakery doing a deep dive into 1 John 3. 

Here the tense of the infinitive in verse 9 is rendered nicely by The Living Bible (and completely missed by your more literal translations):

The person who has been born into God's family does not make a practice of sinning, because now God's life is in him; so he can't keep on sinning, for this new life has been born into him and controls him -- he has been born again.

I don't know about you, but there are TONS of people today arguing about verbal aspect, but at the end of the day, if aspect doesn't affect translation, what good is it? 

Finally (for now), what do you do when you accidentally put a drop of ear wax remover in your eye instead of eye drops? You make awful sounds. The bottle sizes are identical. That's a mistake I hope never to do again.