Showing posts with label cross-country. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cross-country. Show all posts

Monday, December 30, 2013

Upcoming Events and Club Involvement

There are a few upcoming events in my life that I want to talk about.  I've been thinking about this for a while and I'd like to air my ideas here.

First, (not in precedence in timeliness) is another trip to Korea.  I was privileged to visit Korea some years ago for a language class, and I'm slated to go back in late January.  Of course the timing could be better, what with it being winter and all my winter clothes are stored with all the rest of the stuff I didn't think I'd need living on a sub-tropical island.  So, I'll be spending about a month in Korea where the average high temps in Jan-Feb is between 34°F and 40°F so, yeah, chilly.  Oddly enough, last time I went to Korea it was in January.  I'm excited though, I had a good time the last time I went and I'm sure I'll have a good time again.  It'll be nice to be in a place where I'll be able to read the street signs.  I know a few Kanji (漢字, pronounced hanja 한자 in Korean) and some but not all of the kanas, so I can read some of the street signs here but the vast majority are a mystery to me.

Secondly, I've been looking into Focus on the Family's introductory apologetics program, The Truth Project, and I'm going to host a small discussion group that'll be going through the program when I'm back from Korea.  I've asked around and watched the promos and taken the host training program and I'm excited for this also.  I've enjoyed my own personal studies (and the one introductory college course) in apologetics and it will be neat to get a chance to discuss these topics with fellow believers.  The program is twelve lessons, each video about an hour long followed by discussion time.  That's the only downside to it, the time consumption.  Assuming some time to mingle and chit-chat, then an hour-long video, then discussion time.  In order to keep the total time for each session only two hours I'll have to limit the fellowship time and the discussion time.  I don't think everyone will want to sit around for hours discussing these things (I don't understand that, but I know it's common), but I'm sure there'll be enough good conversation that it'll be difficult to limit the discussion so people will be able to get back to their lives.

Third (and related to the second), I've been invited by a former coworker to start a Reasonable Faith apologetics group here on Okinawa.  There aren't any in Japan, so that's kind of a cool idea, to be the first group in Japan and the first in Okinawa.  I like Dr. William Lane Craig's apologetics lectures and his podcasts, though honestly his lecture voice is kinda dry, not unlike my own (main reason I don't do a podcast here, though I've thought about it).  His logic is pretty clearly stated though at times a bit high level.  This kind of group would be a great encouragement to deepen my own studies in apologetics.  Which brings up two final points.

I'm thinking about two or three other potential groups in which I'd like to participate.  I am always reminiscing about my high-school days when I ran with a cross country team and I was much faster and I think that if I could somehow get involved in a running club again, I might have more motivation and camaraderie to get some of my old speed back.  I've also been thinking about finding a language club to practice teaching English, while at the same time practicing Korean and Japanese.  And, I've recently discovered a chess group that meets on Saturdays.  It's only three older gentlemen right now, but my boys enjoy(ed) playing and I could use some over-the-board chess experience to improve my overall chess skill.  Maybe it's just rose-colored glasses but I've always felt that a group setting with encouragement and mutual support is the best place for training in a variety of disciplines.  Are any of you involved in similar clubs that have really made your life/studies/hobbies/etc. that much more enjoyable?  I've been in a variety of clubs and I hope that I can find/start some good groups while I live here in Okinawa.

Being a hippo is a rough life, especially at the zoo.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Farmer Blow & Getting Hit by Age

This entry could be titled "Farmer Blow Getting Hit by Age Random Thoughts While Running Twelve Miles in the Rain on Okinawa" but I thought that might be a bit much!

So there I was, as I said, running; I've been doing quite a bit running lately as I'm training for the Okinawa marathon in February.  By the way there's a decent chance that I'll be off island for work during the month of February, so if any of you are going to be in this neck of the woods and want to buy my registration I'll sell it to you for half price.  Back to my run.

I was around the three-mile mark (of twelve), and I found myself in need of a handkerchief.  So. For the first time in my life, I performed what is commonly called the "farmer blow."  For those of you that have never had the pleasure, a farmer blow is when one places one's finger on one nostril to close it, takes a deep breath (as much as one can while running), and blows hard out of the other side of one's nose; thereby expelling anything lodged in said nose.  Usually much to the vexation of anyone who happens to be running near (especially downwind) the person performing this classy maneuver.  Fortunately there was no one around that night.  Well, as I was contemplating this act, it hit me like a rock to the side of the head: "This is the first time I've done this, and I'm thirty-two."

I got to thinking, I've been running about half my life and that is about sixteen years!  I've been running over twice as long as my eldest son has been alive.  I started soccer in my middle-school years, continued until my freshman year of high-school, then I started cross-country and track.  So I've been running since my '91-'98 school year.  Yeah, see I'm old, I graduated in 2000!  Wow, that seems like such a long time.  Doing simple math in my head as I run really makes time go fast when one is on a little over two hour run.  Reminiscing is rough though, it leads me down memory lane and it reminds me of how slow I now am.  Not really bragging, just remembering; In high-school I could run about five-minute twenty-second/mile, and now, I struggle to do ten-minutes per mile.  Even just a few years ago when I was in language school in California, I had just finished my first (and only full marathon), and I was training for more marathoning.  At that time I was running about seven-minutes forty-seconds  per mile, and I was up to eighteen miles at a time.  So, I went from high-school times around sub-nineteen minute 5K to somewhere around twenty-three minutes.  Though of course I was working on much longer distances.  I often wish I had the camaraderie of a team and the knowledge of a coach to get me back to faster speeds.  I read a Runner's World article many years ago that a distance runner's prime is usually in his/her thirties.  I've never forgotten that article, but life has gotten in the way so much over the years that I don't think I'll ever get down to those times again.  It's kinda sad, but hey, life goes on.

Anyways, I've enjoyed this little break from heavier topics, may God bless you this Christmas season.