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Just a Duck or a Messenger of the Lord?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

For the fourth time in eight years, my wife Kim was laid off from her job. The implications of this are big for us because she has Multiple Sclerosis and therefore we have to have medical insurance. If we were to pay for it on our own, even with government help, it would cost between $1,000-1,200 per month and we don't have that kind of money.

We've been through this so many times, and have seen the Lord provide every time, that we normally just rest in that, pray, do what we can, and trust him. But we have our days, and a week ago Thursday was one of those days for me. I just felt so stressed out by the whole situation, and I felt so bad for Kimmy for having to go through this again when she's done such an amazing job at work the last couple of years. All day long I was preaching to my heart but I couldn't get it to turn toward the Lord and rest. "Consider it all joy when you face trials of various kinds," "God works all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose," "the mercy of the Lord has not come to an end, it's from everlasting to everlasting" (James 1:2; Romans 8:28; Psalm 77).

I preached these things to myself all day long, urging my heart to turn and yet it wouldn't.

That afternoon, while I was sitting on the couch working on a project for church, I looked up and saw a female duck waddling across the yard. I've seen ducks down near our drainage area but I've never seen one in the yard like that. And what struck me most was the casual pace at which she was walking. She seemed happy and content and just enjoying the day. I literally got lost for about three minutes as I watched her waddle along, but then she waddled out of my sight and I went back to my projects--and my stress.


But just a few minutes later she waddled back into my sight, only this time she was on our concrete porch, within three feet of our back door. I smiled. As I watched her make her way over to the far side of our porch and help herself to the food that had dropped out of our bird feeder, the Lord very tenderly spoke these words into my heart:

"Therefore I [Jesus] tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air [OR the duck on your porch]: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' [OR 'How shall we get insurance for Kimmy']. For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:25-34).

I cannot tell you what depth of peace washed over my heart at this moment. Jesus, my Lord and Savior and Sheppard, made these words live in me and to this day I have known his peace.

Later that evening, Kim and I sat on the same couch and I told her what had happened. Just as I was speaking, guess who waddled back into the yard? You got it, but this time she brought her husband with her! We laughed, and cried, and praised the Lord together, knowing that he was speaking to us through these little ones who were, in our minds, messengers of God.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COOP9002 5/30/2011 12:24AM

    You and your wife will be in my prayers. If God can speak to a rebellious prophet through a donkey, then i am sure He can use a duck.

Blessings upon you and your family.

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What a Glorious Day

Saturday, May 28, 2011

It was supposed to storm in our neck of the woods today but it's ended up being an amazingly beautiful day: clear skies, low 70's, slight breeze--near heavenly. I'm so thankful to God for a day like this, hope you're enjoying yours as well.

  
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HAILEYSMEMAW 5/28/2011 9:00PM

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Day Five: Final Report on the Week

Friday, May 27, 2011

At this time of year my training is 100% focused on The Ride Across Minnesota, a 5-day, 300-mile ride that benefits MS research. This year I decided to train by mimicking the event, albeit with shorter distances since I don't have the time to ride 300 miles every week--I wish I did! So this week was the first of those, 20+ mile rides (total of 116 miles) at race pace. The idea was to ride like there's no tomorrow, recover well, and do it again the next day. The goal was to come in at an average speed of no less than 18.0 mph.

So below I will (1) briefly report on each ride, (2) briefly describe my recovery process and how that went, and (3) preview the next few weeks of training.

Ride Report
Day One: The route was a 25 mile out and back with 11 or 12 climbs along the way, several of which were 1.5-2.0 miles. I came in at an average speed of 18.6 mph and felt very good about the ride.

Day Two: The route was a 21.5 mile loop with 6 climbs, two of which were very steep, relatively long, and difficult. I came in at average speed of 18.0 mph and felt very good about the ride.

Day Three: The route was a 27 mile loop with 6 climbs, one of which is long and steep in sections. The wind was not favorable, and it was only 46 degrees which makes it hard for the muscles to warm up and stay warm, but I still managed to come in at 17.7 and given the circumstances and difficulty of the route I was pleased with that.

Day Four: The route was a 21.7 mile loop with rolling hills, several of which are fairly steep but not too long. There are 13 are so total climbs on this route. I felt very good out there today, better than I have all week in fact, and came in at an average speed of 18.6 mph. My previous best on this course was 18.3 so I am very pleased with that.

Day Five: Today's route was a 22 mile out and back. It was fairly flat with several small rollers, only two of which were substantial. The wind was not favorable today but I still managed to come in at 18.9 mph, my third fastest time on this route, and I feel great about that.

Overall, I rode a total of 116.01 miles this week in 06:18:27 at a total average speed of 18.39 mph. I was secretly hoping to come in at 18.5 or higher but since this is .39 over target I'll take it, and I'm happy!


My Recovery Process
In addition to taking vitamins every day (multi, C, D, and E), eating well throughout the day, managing stress as well as I can, and getting plenty of sleep, here are the ride-specific things I did to fuel and recover from each ride.

1. Since all my rides were morning rides, I drank a bottle of Gatorade with 2 teaspoons of glutamine every morning along with breakfast.

2. On the bike I drank one 24 ounce bottle of Gatorade per hour of riding, as well as one mini Clif Bar or Clif shot per half hour of riding. I consumed about 400 cals per hour on the bike and did so at regular intervals (drink every 15 minutes, eat every 30).

3. As soon as the ride was over I did five things:

(a) I drank 1 serving of milk with 1 scoop of Body Fortress Whey Protein and 2 teaspoons of glutamine;

(b) I stretched for about 15-20 minutes from head to toe, being sure to breathe deeply along the way and drink one more bottle of Gatorade;

(c) I massaged my legs with a rolling pin and with my hands for another 10 minutes [I start at the bottom of my calves and roll the pin up in long strokes toward my heart, then roll the glut and thigh again toward the heart, then repeat with the other leg];

(d) I took a hot shower, enjoyed the water, and massaged my legs again. Some days I laid down after my shower for a few minutes and either napped or just rested my eyes. This is very good for the body as it releases certain things into the body that help with recovery.

(e) I ate a recovery meal of one sort or another, along with one serving of Body Fortress Creatine.

I don't have the time to go into the details of why I use Gatorade, Clif products, glutamine, whey protein, and creatine but suffice it to say that I carefully put this plan together based on a fair amount of reading on the subject. Perhaps I'll blog about that another time. The one thing I will say is that vitamin C, vitamin E, and glutamine are rich with anitoxidants and help to clear the system of lactic acid, thus reducing muscle soreness and fatigue.

I haven't had a lot of time to think about it today, but my gut reaction to how this recovery plan went is to say it was flawless. I really enjoyed the cool down time each day--it helped me in all aspects of my life--I never had any soreness at all this week, and I had plenty of fire power on the bike each day. I never even came close to bonking. In fact, after my final ride today I thought, "I feel as though I haven't biked much this week. I have a couple of days of recovery scheduled next but I don't feel like I need them."

I still feel that way now, but I'm going to take the recovery days anyway. I know that doing so will prepare me for the rigors of the coming weeks. And yet I'm very glad to report that my recovery plan worked!


Preview of the Next Three Weeks
The next two weeks will be dedicated to recovery, cross-training in the gym, and working on three cycling skills: cadence, strength, and body position. The following week will be another Mock-TRAM week wherein I'll ride 5 30+-mile rides in a row at race pace. My goal will be to come in at an average speed of 18.5 mph but given all the climbing I'm going to do that week, that will be a tall order!

Thanks for reading this massively long blog, hope you have a great day!

  


Days Three & Four: Report and Preview

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Several blogs ago I explained the phase of training that I'm in now so I won't repeat that here except to say that this week is a big one for me--I'm doing 5 20+ mile rides in a row at race pace. The goal is to develop the ability to ride like there's no tomorrow, recover well, and ride like that again 5 days in a row. Here's how it's gone so far and what's in store for tomorrow, the final day:

Day One: The route was a 25 mile out and back with 11 or 12 climbs along the way, several of which were 1.5-2.0 miles. I came in at an average speed of 18.6 mph and felt very good about the ride.

Day Two: The route was a 21.5 mile loop with 6 climbs, two of which were very steep, relatively long, and difficult. I came in at average speed of 18.0 mph and felt very good about the ride.

Day Three: The route was a 27 mile loop with 6 climbs, one of which is long and steep in sections. The wind was not favorable, and it was only 46 degrees which makes it hard for the muscles to warm up and stay warm, but I still managed to come in at 17.7 and given the circumstances and difficulty of the route I was pleased with that.

Day Four: Today's route was a 21.7 mile loop with rolling hills, several of which are fairly steep but not too long. There are 13 are so total climbs on this route. I felt very good out there today, better than I have all week in fact, and came in at an average speed of 18.6 mph. My previous best on this course was 18.3 so I am very pleased with that. This means that to date my overall average for these four days of riding is 18.25 which is above my target--so I'm happy!

Day Five: Tomorrow's route is a 22 mile out and back. It's fairly flat with several small rollers, only two of which are substantial. I've come in at 19.2 twice on this route this year so I hope to do pretty well tomorrow too and increase my overall average speed by 1-3 tenths of a mile.

Thanks for reading, hope you have a great day!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LILPAT3 5/26/2011 10:11PM

    Delightful, and I am pleased that you are making good progress! What do you have in your water bottle? I really started making progress when I started using Cytomax...it talks about working well with red blood cells to make it easier to breathe. I thought it was "bologney" until I started using it. emoticon emoticon

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TBRANTNER3 5/26/2011 3:37PM

  sounds like a great adventure and you are very dedicated!

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Day Two: Report and Preview

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A couple of blogs ago I explained the phase of training that I'm in now so I won't repeat all of that, except to say that this week is a big one for me--I'm doing 5 20+ mile rides in a row at race pace. Here's how it's gone and what's in store for today:

Day One: The route was a 25 mile out and back with 11 or 12 climbs along the way, several of which were 1.5-2.0 miles. I came in at an average speed of 18.6 mph and felt very good about the ride.

Day Two: The route was a 21.5 mile loop with 6 climbs, two of which were very steep, relatively long, and difficult. I came in at average speed of 18.0 mph and felt very good about the ride.

Day Three: Today's route is a 27 mile loop with 6 climbs, one of which is long and steep in sections. I hope to come in at no less than 18.0 mph, we'll see how it goes. I don't climb well and there's quite a bit of it on this route (6 miles) but I can really bomb the downhills so we'll see if I can make it up on the way down!

Hope you have a great day!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DAVEINSEOUL 5/26/2011 3:09AM

    Nice that you have some hills to train on - it's pretty much all flat where I ride - press on!

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NERDGIRL23 5/25/2011 7:46AM

    Good luck with the rest of this week's training!
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