Missionary Talks 58: Jonathan Anderson

I spoke with Jonathan Anderson this weekend when we were together in a missions conference in Georgia. It was great to talk to him about his goals and see his zeal for the ministry. He is a recent college graduate and has been on full time deputation for just a few months.

After we finished recording, he began to tell me about a prayer ministry that he does with young people in his church. It is all about praying for missionaries and mission fields. Unfortunately I did not record that conversation.

He was intrigued with the idea of recording phone interviews so that he can record conversations with missionaries and have them share with his prayer group their current needs. It was fun to tell him about some of the things I have learned in recording phone calls. I look forward to possibly working with him to get that set up.

I know I was hoping to be on a more consistent schedule with my interviews. I am disappointed that I have not been able to get more recorded, but I will still be grabbing them as I can. I will be in 3 conferences in the next 2 weeks. I am sure I will be able to get more recordings for the listeners.

Back in the saddle

We have been on the road the last couple of weeks and still have a few more weeks to go before we get back home. It is nice settling into a familiar ministry. Traveling and preaching in churches was our life for 10 years. And though we love what we do on the field, this has always been a very enjoyable type of work.

The whole feeling of being back in the old familiar ministry was brought home in a special way today. We drove south through Nashville and are back in the Murfreesboro area where we spent the first 6 years as the home base for our traveling work. Tomorrow morning we will drive through town before getting on the road to Atlanta. It will be fun to see what all has changed in the last 5 years since we were here last.

iPhone replacement

About a month (and 250 lockups) ago, we bought an iPhone. The phone is amazing and I am not disappointed with Apple’s ability to push technology. But, the phone has not been without its problems. Unfortunately, since about the third day it has been very flaky.

It did not really crash, it just would not come out of suspend mode. I would have to do a hard reset on the phone. Sometimes I could go a couple of days without the problem, but more often than not it locked up once or twice a day. This went on for about 3 weeks. I kept trying to find a pattern to see if there was some software that might be causing the problem. I am very patient with technological stupidity. I prefer Linux. That should tell you how patient I am.

I finally broke down and called AppleCare. I decided that there had to be something wrong with the phone and it was not my fault. I had gone through all kinds of diagnostic hoops on my own. It was time for professional help.

The AppleCare rep was very patient and he stayed on the line with me for about 45 minutes through the process of resetting my phone as if it were factory new. I was happy to think that the problem might have been solved. It wasn’t. The next day it was acting the same.

Another week went by and the problem got worse. Two days in a row I had to hard reset the phone at least 15 times each day. I was in Indianapolis and near an Apple Store. This was a good excuse to finally get into an Apple Store.

I took the phone to the Genius Bar. The Genius listened to all my symptoms again. He seemed to be completely uninterested in the fact that I had already spoken with AppleCare. He went through his diagnostics and concluded that since it was not displaying the problem at the moment, he could not do anything about the problem. His solution was that if it did it again to call AppleCare and they could send me a new phone (so that I would not have the 2 hour round trip back to the store). But if the problem did not present itself to him, there was nothing he could do.

He did completely wipe the phone and we went through the same steps that I had done with AppleCare. I drove the hour back to the house a bit disappointed that the phone had not been replaced, but hopeful that the problem was really resolved.

It was not 4 hours later that the phone locked up again. I called AppleCare for the next step. I also went through all the explanation again as if I had not spoken with anyone about the problem. I told the man that I was a bit disappointed that they could not pull up my case and read the problem for themselves instead of have me explain it over and over.

He finally put me on hold while he spoke with a “product specialist.” He came back on the line to tell me that they could either send me a new phone or I could go back to the Apple Store and pick one up. He then told me that the phone should have been replaced when I was in the store, but the Genius either did not want to admit defeat or felt the problem really was software related. He never even looked up my previous conversation with AppleCare.

Today I made the drive to the store again to exchange the phone. I arrived about 30 minutes before my appointment (yes, you must have a reservation to get customer service in Apple Stores).

The Genius today asked me to explain the problem. AppleCare instructed me to tell him that if he wanted to know what the problem was that he had to read the case file himself, I had already done enough explaining. The Genius was supposed to just replace the phone. He took the case number and got right to work on replacing my phone.

The conclusion is that they did replace my phone. But it took too much explaining the same problem and one too many trips to the store.

I have only had this new phone for 10 hours, but so far it seems stable. We will see what the next few days bring.

Funny bits of conversation:

  • Genius: You should completely shut down and reboot your phone every week or two.
    The phone had never run more than 3 days before having to be hard reset.
  • AppleCare: Does the battery last a normal amount of time?
    Often when the phone would lock up it would drain the battery very fast. So I don’t have any idea what a “normal” amount of time is.

UPDATE: I was very disappointed and disgusted when my new phone crashed the same day I got it replaced. I knew at that point it had to be something that I was doing and not the phone.

I ran the phone for several days with just the basic setup and with it checking only 1 email address by way of manually downloading messages. I suspected that maybe the problem was that it tried to download a message and either not come out of sleep state properly, or go back into that mode correctly. It still did not solve the problem.

Then I turned off the auto-brightness and auto-lock (to suspend the phone). Those two seemed to help with the crashing, but it was a red herring.

The phone went for several days earlier this week without crashing. Then it crashed twice in just a couple of hours. I tried to figure out what I could possibly be doing differently that day as opposed to the days previous. When I finally figured it out I was amazed that it did not come to me before.

I was using a phone case that attached to my belt that I have used with my previous phone for 2.5 years. That case had never caused any problems. But, the way the flap is held closed on that case is with a magnet. The magnet was causing something in the iPhone to go terribly wrong. Because it has been much cooler, I have been wearing long sleeved shirts with pockets. I carried the phone in my pocket as opposed to on my belt.

I am now on day 4 since discovering the problem and have not had a single issue. I am very happy to discover the cause. I was quite irritated with my whole phone experience. Now I need to call Apple and let them know what the problem was. It may help someone else in the future.

I wrote a follow up to this post.

Marathon Week

Week 16
I planned a short 2 mile run. I got lost and it ended up as a 4 mile run. Ran through Greenfield, Indiana.

I got an Amphipod belt to hold my gels. I had planned to make my final run on Friday, but felt I needed to test out the new equipment. The run really was just 2 miles this time. No getting lost.

I did not do a run, but went out for a late evening walk with my son. We walked by the old fashioned soda shop, but could not pull together enough change between us to get a fancy float. Maybe before we leave we will find enough change to get a sundae or a float.

Both Thursday and Friday I went to bed early. I got good sleep on Thursday night, but Friday night was typical in that I looked at my watch every 15 minutes to see if it was time to get up. That started about 3:00 in the morning on Saturday.

Saturday: Indianapolis Marathon Day

I got to the race start early enough to drop off my backpack which held my extra clothes and shoes. Since this was my first big race, I was a bit unprepared for the number of people there. I knew there were going to be about 6000 runners for the full and half marathons combined. But then there were the thousands of spectators hanging around the start. It was pretty exciting.

I got to my pace group of 10:00 minutes per mile. When we finally got started it took about 4 minutes to get across the starting line. Since we had timing chips, there was no real hurry to get moving.

Early Miles
Because we were in pace groups, there was not too much congestion at the start. Of course there was some, but I have dealt with more traffic in a 200 person 5K. Things moved very smoothly through the first mile. Somewhere around 3 things thinned out some. But there were some places on the course that were narrow and we bunched up again.

I planned a run/walk program for the race. I was going to run a mile and walk a minute. When the first mile marker came along, I felt awkward pulling over to the side and walking. I kept my pace up during my walk breaks and really did not lose too many places. I missed my walk break at mile 4. I just did not see the sign.

Miles 1-6 averaged 9:56 per mile.

End of First Half
I was pretty cold through the whole race. The temperature was 46 at race start and 55 at the end. I was wearing 3 shirts with the top one being a long sleeve that I did not want to toss (I originally had a sweatshirt on top of everything, but ditched it at the beginning of the race). My gloves were off and on several times throughout the race. Finally by mile 11 I pulled my long sleeve shirt off and tied it at my waist. I was still pretty cold and a few times considered putting it back on.

The half marathoners turned off at mile 12 and the crowd thinned out significantly. I finished the first half of the marathon in 2:11:16. That is a half marathon PR by 5 minutes.

Miles 7-13 averaged 9:58.

Beginning of Second Half
I just cruised through the first half knowing that I needed to stay on my plan and not try to go too fast. I was running faster than planned, but I felt very good and did not feel like I was pushing things too much. My calves tightened a bit around mile 16, but did not get any worse until mile 21.

Miles 17 to 21 were not as scenic as the rest of the race. It was still nice, but the whole race is, with the exception of some early miles, run through a park and greenways. It was a very beautiful course. I would like to go back and get some pictures before we leave the area.

My family met me just before mile 21. My brother and his family along with my wife and kids were there with signs. It was a pleasent surprise to see the signs. I hated that I did not take the time to talk much with them, but my race was going very well at that point and I was just getting the feeling that I might be able to break 4:30 if I kept the momentum going. I dropped off my long sleeved shirt and all my gels. I forgot that I still needed one more gel to finish out the course.

Miles 14 to 21 were at 10:15 pace.

Final miles
Mentally 21 to 24 were very hard miles. I did not want to push myself to the point of not having fun, but I also knew that I could maintain 11 minute miles and still finish in under 4:30. I finally left my gloves at the 24 mile mark. I was warm enough to think I would not need them any more.

Mile 25 was when my legs started getting stiff. I never got into cramping, but I was getting close. I took a bit more time to walk than I wanted. Mile 26 was also a hard mile. I just ran when I could and walked a bit more. When I hit the 26 mile mark I knew I could coast the rest of the way in, but I already knew that a 4:30 finish was not possible. I just took it easy and was able to smile through the finish line.

Miles 22 through finish were at 11:21. Maybe that final gel would have helped. I don’t really know.

Final time was 4:32:10 with a 10:22 pace.

I was met at the line by my family. They packed a picnic lunch and we sat on the ground and ate our meal. I had a meal provided by the marathon, but was really not too hungry.

At mile 18 I got a pleasant surprise. One of my college friends, and former supporting pastors, called my name. He has a unique voice, and though I never really saw him, I knew who it was. We heard his name called as he crossed the finish line and went over to meet him. His wife and family joined our mob and then we got another surprise. A mutual friend from college heard his name as well and came to see him. The third friend finished in just under 4:00:00, which was a first for him. We ended up with a group of about 8 alumni gathered shivering and congratulating one another. It was a really fun surprise.

Post race
I was pretty sore in my calves, but agreed to go run around in a corn maze with the family. It was probably the smartest thing I had done all day. As I write this all the tightness in my calves are gone. We will see if I can still walk tomorrow. But other than being tired, I don’t have any soreness.

Pre Marathon Thoughts

I have been asked many times what goals I have for tomorrow’s race. Some people have a specific time they are striving to achieve. Others are just trying to finish. My goal for tomorrow is a bit different.

I really don’t have a time goal, though I expect to finish between 4:30 and 5:00 hours. I have trained with the 4:45 time in mind.

And my goal is not just about finishing. I feel well trained without being overtrained. I have completed two runs of 20 miles as well as many long runs leading up to that. I have no thoughts that the distance is unattainable. My body is prepared and very healthy. Mentally I am ready. I have teased about being nervous, but really am not. I am totally confident about being able to cover the distance.

So what is my goal for tomorrow?

To totally enjoy my first marathon. I am not trying to race it. I have no plans to hurt my body in getting across the line in a fast time. But, if I do get through faster than anticipated, or even slower, I plan to have fun with the experience.

I realize that I can never run a 5K race and have it be my first one again. Also, I will probably never go to a 5K and just jog around the course for the experience. I will always be chasing a number. Always trying to beat my previous time.

I have a chance to do something tomorrow on that course that I will never be able to do again. This one is all about the experience.

Shirt: I will be wearing an ASD Athletes shirt for the race.