280,000 miles

280,000 milesWe got home yesterday afternoon from our trip to the US. We had a great time. We were gone four and a half weeks. And tonight I head to the airport to pick someone up to start our next event. We have a group of national pastors and missionaries who work with the Deaf in Mexico coming to our house for a week.

During the trip we turned over 280,000 miles in our truck. The Suburban is a 1990 1/2 ton, 2 wheel drive. This is its second engine and transmission from what I understand. The first ones were replaced with re-built units at 100,000 miles. The truck does have some problems, but that is to be expected after all these miles. Some day we will own a vehicle younger than our children, but probably not any time soon.

We made the trip up through Mexico in 2 days. We pushed a lot and made 14 hours each day. Coming back we were not in that much of a hurry. We casually crossed the border at 8:00 Wednesday morning. The sun had already been up for quite some time. We drove until we got to Poza Rica, part way between Tampico and Veracruz, about 6:00 that night. On Thursday we drove on to Ciudad del Carmen in about 10 hours. Then we just had an easy 4.5 to 5 hour trip on Friday to get back home.

On the way home our transmission started acting strange. I will know more on Monday as to what the cause of the problem is.

It is good to be home. We spent most of Friday cleaning up the dust that had settled in the last month. Our landlord had the house painted while we were gone too. We knew he was doing it, so it was no surprise. It looks really nice.

Dogwood Dash, 2008

I ran the Dogwood Dash 5K race this morning. There were several really good things about the race, and a few disappointing ones.

I learned about the race on my Tuesday morning run. I was out with the Running Wild Six at Six running group in Pensacola. At the end of the run I saw a banner for the Dogwood Dash 5K. I got information and signed myself up for the race the next day. That was the cutoff for the cheap registration rate.

Later, I talked my son into running the 1 mile fun run. When I went to pick up my packet on Friday night, I told them my son wanted to run the fun run. They gave me a registration slip and I paid the $20 bucks they requested. I found out this morning at the race that he did not need to register since there were no prizes for the 1 mile run. I donated $20 to a cause that I am not at all sympathetic to. I just wanted to run the race.

For our registration, we each got a T-shirt and a free pancake breakfast. I got a fridge magnet and a coupon to Chick-Fil-A. My son only got the shirt.

It was very cold. I had planned to try for a PR since it was going to be cooler. However, I did not plan for 38 degrees. My previous PR was at 72 degrees. I am used to the warmer weather, but I have been running well in the cooler temperatures. The constant 10 to 14 mph wind did not help much either.

I stayed warm–as much as I could–getting ready for the race. We got there about 25 minutes early, which was planned. But with it being so cold, I think it was probably not a good idea to get there too early. I waited until 15 minutes before race start to do some warm up running. I usually like to trot around for 10 or 12 minutes just loosening up. I did that and gave myself just a few minutes of standing around before race start.

Right at the time we were supposed to start the race, 8:00, there was an announcement that the start would be delayed by 10 to 15 minutes. There was a problem with the company that was doing the timing and they packed up their equipment and left. That meant the race organizers were scrambling for everything they needed to accurately time the race. Something sounded fishy about the explanation. Maybe the truth will come out in the paper tomorrow.

Now we were left with a “10 to 15” minute delayed start time. How do you properly warm up again when you don’t know when the race will start? I was already cold and getting stiff (not that I ever really loosened up). I did another warm up trot and got back to the starting line moments before the start.

My 5K PR was on a course with a 20′ rise and fall. The course today was 100′ elevation change. We went over the same hill 4 times during the run.


  1. 4:54
  2. 5:06
  3. 5:25
  4. missed
  5. 10:24

I was trying to run 4:48 splits (to get a 24:00 time). The first one was a bit slow and I slowed down from there. I was not in the right mindset to get the PR and the wind, cold and hills were a factor. I think the bigger hindrance was my thinking though. I know with a bit more experience on hills I would know how to handle them in the future.

I am not at all disappointed with not getting the PR. I did not really feel it happening when I got up this morning.

One of the highlights to the race was the group of Marines that ran with us. They ran in formation and called cadence the whole time. They were just behind me most of the way. It was very motivating.

Post Race
It was not clear that there were post race snacks available. I did not know about them until 30 minutes after I finished my run waiting for the fun run. Having the bagels, bananas, oranges and water would have been nice.

Since we started late, the fun run started late. They did not start until close to 9:30. The pancake breakfast was being served until 10:00 at a different location from the race course.

My son ran a 10:25 mile, which we think is a PR for him. We ran it together.

We then went for the pancake breakfast and got there around 9:45. The pancakes were fine…all 2 of them. They were out of coffee. There was no indication that we could have more pancakes. I wanted more, but no one else was going back for seconds, so I stopped at 2. Sigh. So much for paying $40 for a nice breakfast.

We were inside the eating area waiting for the awards ceremony. They posted the results on one of the walls. Nothing was said to the 100 or so people inside, but they were giving out door prizes outside. We happened to wander outside shortly before my son was called as a prize winner for 2 free appetizers at a restaurant. About 20 people later, my name was called for the same prize. Now we have 4 free appetizers. We probably won’t be able to use them before leaving town, but, we won something. That is good.

The overall winner was someone in my age group (35-39 year olds). He ran it in 16 minutes and something.

I took 69th overall out of 336 runners.

I also got 3rd in my age group! I don’t know how many runners were in the group, but there were at least 5. They gave awards to the first 5 in each division.

The awards took over an hour. We left shortly after I got my award. I don’t know how much longer it went on.

I think things were terribly disorganized. I was disappointed with several little things in the event. Though I have had some bad experiences with races in Mexico, this was probably the most disappointing as far as just being non-informative. The one good thing I can say about the organization is that it was really 5 kilometers in distance.

Staying active

While I have not been boring you with my lunch choices here on the site, I have been keeping myself busy.

Highlights from the last few days include running, golfing, shopping and interviewing.

I have kept up my running the last couple of weeks. I am getting ahead on my mileage again. I really need this since I will be traveling again next week and my running will be short if existent at all. I have a 5K race tomorrow morning too. I am shooting for a PR. Current 5K PR is 24:39. I am going to try and push it close to 24:00. With the cooler weather it may be possible. I have been running very well in the cooler weather. But I have not eaten so well the last several days.

Yesterday I went golfing with my son, dad and another friend. My friend is a Deaf man that I have known for many years. We have teased him terribly for his lack of speed. Then there was another person in our party that does not use granny gear for doing anything…that is too fast for him. My son has not played golf since he was 6 years old. He was a little rusty and seems to have forgotten how to pay attention and know when it was his turn. Needless to say, it was a very slow event. Normal people play a round of golf in 3 to 6 hours. We spent 4 hours just hacking our way through 9 holes. At the end of the day though, I had the lowest score. That’s all that matters.

We have stayed very busy shopping for ourselves and friends. It has been fun to be in a place where you can walk in the store and buy what you want. Personally I have been stocking up on some clothing items.

I got two interviews this week. Both were from mission board representatives. They are interesting in that these men serve in very different capacities. I think you will enjoy the interviews when I get them posted. They should be up within a couple of weeks over at Missionary Talks.

Just a couple more days here in town with our family and friends and then we head back to Mexico.

Missionary Talks Update

I have not posted about Missionary Talks in a while. Recently I was able to put out two new interviews. I also have two others in my recorder and will get one more in the morning. There is a slight chance that I will be able to grab one other interview before heading back to Mexico next week.

The two recent episodes were really exciting for me. I enjoyed talking with Rob Willoughby about his planned ministry to Estonia. I met Rob at a recent conference for the first time. He and his wife are on deputation and plan to move to Estonia by the end of the year.

Today I just uploaded an interview I did with Harry and Gina Stanley. Dr. Stanley was a supporting pastor of ours until he was called to the mission field. He and his family will be going to England–also by the end of the year. Dr. Stanley and I worked together at camp. We have stayed in touch through the years and I always enjoy spending time with him and his wife. Their interview is very insightful.

Please take the time to listen to these interviews. If you have not listened to Missionary Talks in a while, you might be surprised with the better sound quality of some of the more recently recorded shows.

Do you shake hands?

This week I was reminded of how small cultural differences can make for awkward moments.

One is handshaking. In churches especially, but also in any social gathering in Mexico, you are expected to shake everyone’s hand and greet them when you enter an event. This would not be true at a place of business, but just about everywhere else.

Also, upon leaving the event you are expected to shake hands once again.

Many of us will enter a church here in the US and never think to shake hands with everyone. Typically we will hit a few casual friends and call it good.

I saw a lady today whom I have known for nearly 20 years. We were at church and I instinctively stuck my hand out to shake hers. When I did I realized something: close friends don’t shake hands in the US. That is not a hard and fast rule, but I am having trouble thinking of a time that I have regularly shaken hands with my very close friends. At the very least, you should not feel obligated to do so.

It seems like in the US we shake hands with acquaintances or people that we are meeting for the first time. It is almost a stale business gesture. Somewhat of a ritual, but not a warm action between friends.

My friend today seemed to take my shaking of her hand as a cold gesture. For me it was something I have become accustomed to while living in Mexico. Shaking hands is a very friendly gesture there, though it can also be used as an obligatory ritual.

Another cultural difference is the “excusing” of oneself from another individual. This has become more evident to me while visiting in the US for the last few weeks. When we finish a conversation in the US, it is not unusual for one party to just walk away. That is considered very rude in Mexico. You must ask permission to leave from a “one on one” encounter. Also, if you are at a social event, you are expected to excuse yourself from all the other individuals that you would consider your peers or those above you in the food chain.

You would never leave someone,s house without first shaking hands with the host or hostess and then asking for permission to leave.