Friday, 20 September 2013

Run forest run

I am not a great runner, i just took up running to give me head space and for general fitness. Yet since I have started I have caught the bug. I love it but now I am hitting the point where I am looking at ways of improving my running by tracking what I do and getting comfortable in my running.

  • You can learn from my mistakes!

So it is a case of spending lots of money? 

Well no, I started with an ordinary pair of trainers with a pair of trainer socks.

This brought a painful problem, blisters, but since then I have brought a better fitting pair of running trainers and 3 pairs of anti blister socks. Not a massive outlay, less than £10 for the socks and £40 for the trainers. No more blisters!

I started with a couple of pairs of old shorts, one I still run in but I had to buy a second pair as I needed one with a secure pocket. Again no need to spend a lot of money just find a pair which are comfortable.

As we have had an amazingly warm summer I needed a running vest as it was too hot/ Again run in what's comfortable for you, cotton t shirts don't work for me as I sweat a lot!  Short sleeve means you will need a sweat band especially if you are like me.

  • Join a club or run with a friend

Running on my own lost its appeal. As I tracked my running I found that I had improved by around 5 minutes  for 5km, but plateaued, I was also getting bored. The same routes after 5 months were getting dull. So I went running with a better runner than me and ran another 5 minutes quicker for the 5km and gained a new route too. It felt great. But I can usually only run first thing so not easy to arrange a running buddy for then. So a running club seems the way forward, for two reasons. 1/ Membership brings membership to SPORT ENGLAND and reduced entry to running events but 2/ More importantly people to run with. This has been the biggest boast. Talking to others who run, which is inspiring. One of the runners is on his 18th Great North Run!

  • Tracking:

So far I have tried Nike+IPod & Mapmy Run using the GPS on my phone.

Neither option has been seamless.

I don't have Nike trainers, I have odd feet and find they are not very comfortable, so I have the nike trainer wallet with the Nike+ sensor in it. This is fine plugging in...
However, I have stopped running with music or podcasts for two reasons, running hazards-plenty of them around from people reversing out of drives to uneven surfaces. Most races and the running club have a no headphones rule, so need to run without!

MapMy Run has been great for logging my runs providing the GPS works properly on my phone and the 3G can connect, this isn't always possible, two of the local villages have poor 3G reception. However, once you have established a few training runs and map them providing you time the run on a stop watch you can deal with any issues this throws up.

Yet it is becoming a pain for training. ie circuits or club training. This is because of introducing laps, cool down periods, and not knowing the routes well. This isn't a long term solution.

So watch this space I have two options I am looking at GPS watches to deal with this issue...

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Sing the songs

The thing about song writing, which is nice, is that you can take real life-which we all know can be imperfect and messy- You can take real life and shape it to how you want it to be- Jarvis Cocker
Radio 5- Octoberfest Sheffield

Pulp were one of those bands which I listened to a bit when I was a student, I liked some songs, didn't like others but I always thought it was a 100 times better than anything by Boyzone, but I was hardly their demographic!

Last year's Diocesan Conference on "Living Worship & the Transforming Mission of God" was thought provoking and I have been having a few thoughts. I can't do justice to the sessions by Paula Gooder on Psalm 145, Matt 28 and Rom 12. Though I must confess to reguarly pointing to the Psalms for real life praise. I realise this short blog post may be my only post on it but it is something I am playing with in my journal.

Bernadette Farrell the liturgist & community organiser (ie hymn writer and justice campaigner as an imperfect paraphrase), talked about:
The world as it is and the world as it should be, justice brings it together
On our table we discussed living worship as opposed to what? I felt this was probably best summed up by if it is not living worship it is not worship. However, that means I have to ask myself some significant questions as someone who spends a lot of time arranging corporate worship. I realise it is not about the style of the service or the quality of the music team(our music team are great) or even about the amount of time that has gone into preparation. I am also aware that it is not something we always feel (though the person next to us might). I think it goes back to what we think worship is all about. I maybe naive but I would say that many of our services do not tick all the boxes and some of our hymns and chorus' are a little twee... not so much longing for heaven or providing a picture of the world as it should be but an airbrushed version.

Off the shelf services can tick every box when it comes to the words that are spoken, reminding us of the justice and mercy of God but it has to be inhabited. Which is where Jarvis Cocker's quote comes in. I think Christian liturgy should not remove the imperfect and messy but help us to see the world as it should be.

At last year's conference I received some sad news about someone we loved. I was angry with God I had no words of my own, but was reminded simply of the verse "Jesus wept" John 11.35. The Psalmists could be angry with God he is big enough to deal with that and if Psalms mean praises, then even in the midst of  our expressing our hurt, anger and pain we are still praising God. I sometimes think we arrogantly assume that when life stinks, when we see the evil one, steal, kill and destroy that God is not aware of this or unmoved by it. He is and we should be too.

How can we sing the songs of the redeemed in the land of Egypt? Gospel music has had this at its heart, there is plenty of songs which include lament but also hope. We may feel life at times is dark and weary but the light cannot be extinguished. After Jesus wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus, he raised him from the dead. Jesus' words can change our lives. God can and does bring life out of death.