1 Day for the KIA

How far can you push yourself?

This is the question of running; the test of perseverance.

When I began running almost a decade ago, I was lucky to get around the block. Within a few months that built to a 5k, which led to a 10k, then a half marathon, a marathon, and an ultra marathon. Each run brings with it the test of pushing yourself to new limits, exploring new boundaries. 

But, in the end, it is only running. Running is a source of joy for me and an emotional and spiritual release, but it isn’t life.

I have met people who have pushed themselves in more difficult ways. Many of those are veterans and those who live in the shadow of wars.

As an Air Force historian I met those who have served in prisoner of war camps, landed on the beaches of Normandy, felt the Chosin Frozen, were poisoned by agent orange in Vietnam, flew in to Iraq not expecting to return, shot down and rescued in Serbia, and many who have never come home the same. 

My great grandfather returned from the First World War a broken man and my grandfather’s name is etched on the wall of the missing in action in The Philippines from World War II. Despite my grandfathers sacrifice, my dad was unable to get scholarship money to assist him in improving himself.

On April 8 I will be participating in a 24 hour run so others can have a better opportunity than my dad. The 1 Day for the K.I.A. 24 Hour Endurance Run is a fundraiser to create scholarships for the children of military service members who have been killed in action, missing in action, prisoner of war, or disabled due to duty. 

At 9:00am on April 8th runners will begin doing laps around the .7 mile OSU oval. Through nightfall, weather, and sore muscles, we will see how many miles we can accumulate by 9am Sunday morning. 

The result of this will raise funds for the Living Legacy Scholarship fund. Through the support of sponsors, 100 percent of all donations provide scholarships  for those seeking to push themselves forward, despite their loss.

If you would like to join me in this journey, you can make a pledge to sponsor me by clicking on this link

Thank you for the ways you help to push me forward.

Rise Above!


Lessons from Running: Diligent Acceptance

Running is an incredibly humbling activity. 

Following the Columbus marathon, my running confidence soared. I set my eyes on the next challenge, the 24 hour, 1 Day for the KIA on April 8. I started training for this around Thanksgiving and grew stronger with each week of December and January training. I thought nothing could stop me. That is, until I felt a tension in my hamstring that devolved in to a micro tear in my quad.

Three weeks later, the endorphins of running have completely faded from my body and the reminder of my injury is present with every step.

Yesterday I ventured out once again. My gait was the best in weeks, I could run without any limp or compensation. However, the pain in my quad reminded me not to push too hard. I decided to divert to the gym, get my cardio on the recumbent bike, and return home and stretch and rest. 

From this experience I realized that I can only control what I can control and that I need to be content with whatever my body gives me. I will set myself up for success and live within my limitations. Between now and April 8 I will eat the best I can, train as wisely as I can, and stretch and strengthen as much as I can. After that, the results will take care of themselves.


Top 10 Albums of the Year

Today I ran six miles in the ice and snow and at a temp that “feels like zero”. It was glorious.

One of the best things about running is that it gives me time to listen to music. 2016 has been an amazing year of music with a lot of songs I’ll be listening to for the next decade.

In case you are looking for some great new music, here are my top 10 albums of the year:

1. David Bowie-Blackstar. Maybe one of the most important albums ever written as Bowie deals with the meaning of life and death in the final months of his life.

2. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds-Skeleton Tree. Where Bowie deals with his own mortality, Nick Cave mourns the tragic death of his 15 year old son.

3. Beyoncé-Lemonade. Queen B struggles through the stages of grief as she works through betrayal.

4. LUH-Spititual Songs for Lovers to Sing. Favorite new artist of the year, by far. Not your hallmark love songs.

5. Chance the Rapper-Coloring Book. Groundbreaking work that includes my favorite lyric of the year, “Jesus black life ain’t matter.”

6. Sioux Falls-Rot Forever. What new and unknown artist has the guts to launch their careers with a double album? The Minutemen and Sioux Falls.

7. Kendrick Lamar-Untitled Unmastered. These may be the left over pieces of To Pimp a Butterfly, but that speaks even more to Kendrick’s brilliance.

8. Bob Mould-Patch the Sky. At 55, Bob continues to put out album after album that rock as hard as anything he has ever done.

9. Iggy Pop-Post Pop Depression. Same as above, another timeless masterpiece.

10. Lorelle Meets the Obsolete-Balance. The tension of the male/female duo, Mexican and English language, and upbeat music with an undercurrent of darker lyrics provide the namesake balance.

Getting Hangry

I have spent a great part of my life feeding people. Great, not only in terms of years spent, but great in terms of the impact feeding others has had on me.

The journey of finding joy through food began in high school as I pushed carts and stocked shelves at a grocery store.

After entering the Air Force, I worked in food supply: unloading trucks, cutting produce, supplying clubs and dining halls, and shipping food to humanitarian operations in northern Iraq, to the Kurds in Iraq, and to people dying from feminine in Somalia.

It was in sharing the gift of grace of food and worship at Community of Hope that I experienced a second calling to ministry and dedicated my life to ministry with the poor.

Today, through the Healthy Eating and Living program, Community Development for All People provides 600,000+ pounds of food a year to a food insecure community and teach families every week how to make healthy meals for a family of four for under $5. Every Tuesday night at the Reeb Avenue Center hundreds of people gather for a community meal where relationships are formed and a community gathers.

When a person is vulnerable enough to put his knees under the table of someone different than themselves, mutuality is formed and relationships are created.

Today, the Hangry race series took this same step of building community.


Four miles of hills at Highbanks. Photo Courtesy, Stuart Siegfried

img_0689On the surface, over 120 people gathered at a cold and beautiful Highbanks Metro Park to run four miles and to stand (run, walk?) against hunger. More than that, participants and sponsors raised funds that will be used to provide the Thanksgiving meal at the Roots Café. Taking a further step, racers were invited to come and follow their contribution and to be a part of the community. People signed up to prepare the meal and to eat with those who they have helped.



Me, Mr Turkey, and Molly

Something special happens around food. When shared, food becomes a gift of grace that fills hearts more than stomachs. Grace motivates the race director, Jonathan Flores, to create an event that makes a difference. Grace exudes from members of our community, like Molly Mustaqeem, who passionately shares the gift of abundant life she has experienced with others. Grace leads us to work to end hunger and in doing so we are the ones who are never the same again.


Oh, by the way, since this is a race report, I didn’t specifically train or prepare for this event and finished 14th overall and am happy with that.

Columbus Marathon Race Report

Running is one of the most individual sports.img_0543

The isolation of running struck me today, not at a moment on the course, but as I waited for the start of the Columbus Marathon. Around 15,000 people gathered together in the same place to run a half or full marathon. Yet, we all faced a journey we would travel alone.

While I felt alone and emotional at the starting line, preparing to run my first full marathon in the post-bike accident era, as I ran I connected with many of the people who have had an impact in my life.

I used thimg_0548is marathon as a fundraiser for our church, as we are taking 30-40 low-income people from Columbus’ South Side to the Holy Land in February. With the support of 31 donations, we raised $3,515. I made a list of those 31 names and carried them with me and thought of who these people are and the adversity that they overcame in their lives. In addition, friends held signs with my name and cheered for me as I ran. My family endured traffic and patiently waited for me at the finish line. I was surrounded by love and support the entire way. img_0546

I didn’t notice it before the run, but as I ticked off mile after mile it occurred to me that most of the names of the 31 donors were women, 26 of 31 to be exact. I not only noticed the prevalence of women’s names, but the strength of these women:  women who sacrificed for their families, raised their children as a single parent, helped their husbands and sons overcome addiction, faced disappointments in life with grace, graduated with degrees after caring for others, deployed to Afghanistan, cared for aging parents, overcame cancer and pain, lived faithfully in difficult conditions, and shared the gifts of who they are with others. As we ran around Ohio Stadium, I thought of my grandmothers: one who raised my dad as a war widow, single parent in the 1940s and 1950s. and the other who faced a heredity of depression in herself and which tragically manifest itself in her son. I thought of the love of my life, Jennifer, and all that she has given me.

img_0547Running 26.2 miles never happens without pain. No matter how well-trained or gifted the athlete, everybody hurts. I ran a great 20 mile race, but unfortunately still had another six miles in front of me on an unseasonably warm day. In the last three to four miles, my calves cramped every time I ran. When I took my shoes off after the run, I discovered a large blood blister on the side of my foot. But in those moments when my tired body hurt, I thought of those strong women. The things they overcame are much more difficult than a leg cramp. If they persevered over bigger obstacles, I could continue putting one foot in front of the other.

I didn’t finish in the four-hour and thirty minute time I hoped. According to my watch, I finished in 4:43, more than 20 minutes faster than any other previous marathon. I struck the PR gong with satisfaction and knew I didn’t achieve any of this alone.

First ever DNF: Hocking Hills Race Report

This morning I embarked on the Hocking Hills 40k. It was a beautiful morning as fog lifted from the rolling hills. The first six miles were flawless, even the steepest hill on the course that gains 200 feet of elevation in half a mile didn’t feel that bad. At a quarter of the way through the race I was exactly on my race pace. 

At mile 7 I began to feel a slight discomfort in my knee. Nothing bad, just the kind of thing that makes you go hmmm. I got water and a fig Newton from an aid station, crossed the bridge at Cedar Falls, and all seemed good with the world. About a quarter mile later, the discomfort became a sharp pain. For a moment I thought about running the next four miles and stopping at the half way point, but I listened to the voice of my doctor and physical therapist who said if you feel a sharp pain, stop. 

Over the last decade I’ve probably run close to 50 races. This is the first one I didn’t finish. It was very disappointing not to finish because of all of the people who supported me in helping to get people to the Holy Land. But, sometimes in life, the journey to the finish line is indirect. After all, we are taking people to the Holy Land and the original pilgrimage was longer than expected. I am hoping that I will be healed and strong enough to run the Columbus Marathon on October 16 so I can honor their gift.

Running others to the Holy Land

Yesterday I ran my first 12 mile, long distance marathon training run in over three years. Okay, it is an almost marathon. On September 16 I will be running the 40K version of the Hocking Hills Indian Run. Personally, this is a big step as it is my first return to the marathon in the post bike accident era. But it is not just about me.

I am using this (almost) marathon as a fundraiser for our church’s trip to Israel in February 2017. Just having been there, I am not going on the trip. However, we are taking a group of low income people from our church to the Holy Land. A trip like this is normally limited to the privileged, but the Church for All People is taking those whom Jesus called “blessed” in the Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew 5).

Running around Old Jerusalem

While I am training for the marathon, we can use your help. All proceeds from this (almost) marathon will go to cover the costs of the trip. Donations of any amount are accepted. For each person who makes a donation, I will carry your name with me on the run and dedicate a mile to you. More importantly, you will enable a low income community to experience the historic and sacred sights of Israel. In Jerusalem, I had some of the greatest spiritual experiences of my life, and want others to experience the same. You can help make that happen with a donation to: http://www.active.com/donate/runtotheholyland

Thank you.