Monday, November 17, 2008

Whew, I am glad that is over!!

Whew, I am glad that is over! While we have shared that sentiment during various stages and events in our life, it seems like that is always the initial feeling after finishing a good long run. In this case, the long run took place in Tulsa, OK, as we were able to spend the weekend with Davin and Stacy and run in the Route 66 Half and Full Marathon. Trust me, I am not a hard-core runner and while my pace would certainly support that, I do enjoy the many benefits of running. Overall, I believe that running has taught me many things that are applicable both to running and to life in general. And while I am sure that there are some I already knew or would have found out eventually through another avenue, they are now deeply embedded in my mind. One of the first and most important things that you learn while running is that you will need something to keep your mind off of the fact that you still have a very long way to go. So please indulge me and let me share some of the thoughts and ideas that allowed me to get through yet another wonderful run.

  1. Preparation is everything. Many times we have to train for days, months, or years for an event that is over in a moment. It doesn’t seem fair to have to spend 12 weeks preparing for something that only lasts a couple of hours but I can’t imagine the results or the pain if the preparation wasn’t done.

  2. Pace yourself. -- If you start out too fast, you won’t be able to finish. If you start out too slow, you will be disappointed that you still have something left in the tank at the finish.

  3. You can’t compare yourself to others. Big and Tall, Fat and Small, one thing’s for sure, you see them all. I have to run with what I have and while I am sure that there are things that may make it easier, that doesn’t mean that I have to have them in order to finish.

  4. A good support system is vital. – All throughout the race Jill and Stacy would randomly appear and shout out words of encouragement. Although our moments spent together were brief, their words of encouragement provided a definite boost.

  5. It is better to go through life together than trying to tackle it alone. – Unfortunately, I often take Jill or others for granted. I don’t realize how nice it is to have someone there to pick me up when I am down or to give me a good pep-talk and most often I do not realize their value until they are not there when I need them.

  6. Preparation doesn’t always guarantee success. – Sometimes we do not get the outcomes that we desire. Someone once told me that if I prepare properly then I would not be disappointed. Not true. Sometimes you just have a bad day. Sometimes you find that your body aches in places that it hasn’t ached before, that you can’t breathe as easily as what you would like, or that it just isn’t was easy as you thought it would be. And sometimes you realize that you gave it your best and were fully prepared but things just didn’t go your way.
  7. Problems are often overlooked when things are going smoothly – Those first eight miles of nothing but flat pavement hide a lot of errors. When things are going well we don’t stop to consider our form, our posture, or other things that we may be doing incorrectly along the way. Instead we just keep coasting along. Many times that leads to problems later as we find that if we had paid more attention to them when things were going well, they could have been handled better in times of struggle.
  8. Size doesn’t matter. – Who would have thought that a 185 pound man would be termed a Clydesdale, but in the running world that is exactly what I am. Granted, being larger may limit me in certain ways or put additional stress on my body but that doesn’t keep me from finishing. I may never beat a 155 pound man and while I am sure that there are some that weigh 225 or more who I could never catch, the good news is that if you want to you can finish. It might not be pretty, but you can at least finish.
  9. There will be ups and downs, but it’s better if there is a break in between. – Who put the hills at the end? That was all that I was thinking at mile ten as the last four miles were up and down, up and down, up and down. How much easier would they have been if they were spread out throughout the course instead of all in one place? I don’t know but at least it would have seemed easier instead of seeming like I was always running uphill with no end in sight.

  10. Be proud of where you came from. All too often I look at where I am at and what I have in front of me instead of acknowledging what I have already accomplished. I am easily disappointed if things are going my way at that exact moment or if I have failed at something, but I never stop and reflect on everything that I have accomplished up to that point. Yeah, I might have a couple more hard miles to go, but look at the miles that I have already run!
  11. People running alongside you can get tired too. Although I have run in a handful of races I was able to experience a first in this one --- I was able to run a portion of it with my wife (who mind you had not signed up for the race). It was at mile 11 that I came staggering over yet another hill, looked up, and saw two ladies running along the route, sprinting about 150 yards in front of me. All I could see was two bundled up ladies running with backpacks and camera bags flopping behind them. As I had the luxury of coasting down the hill I realized that it was Jill and Stacy. Apparently they had misjudged how far away they were from the finish line and while Jill wanted to be there for me at the end, they just couldn’t make it. They ran but eventually I caught them and they were left to stand huffing and puffing on the side of the road, and the roles reversed as I was able to encourage them a little bit too.

  12. Laughter is the best medicine. Please see above. I have no doubt in my mind that my time would have been a minute or two worse if I had not seen Jill and Stacy dashing through the streets. It certainly added a spring to my step and made me forget that my body was aching.

  13. Trials never seem so bad at the end. Many times while we are in the middle of a battle, trial, etc. we think that there is no way out. The good news is that it is very likely that we will survive. We might not think that we will and it may feel like we can’t take another step, but somehow we fight through it and when we look back, it wasn’t nearly as bad as what we believed it was at the time.

13.1 Finish Strong – Sometimes you have to put the past behind you and finish strong. It doesn’t matter if that past spans 1 day, 10 years, or 13 miles. Move past it, stand tall, and sprint to the end.

Overall it may not have been my best race, but I enjoyed myself, had the chance to spend a great weekend with some friends, and I even learned some things along the way. And the best news of all is that I finished!

Do these guys look like they are about to run a marathon and half marathon?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Bike Rides

The past two Sunday afternoons have been spent bike riding on the newly constructed trials that we have discovered in Fayetteville. Although we are most definitely thankful that they are there we wish that they would have been finished earlier so that we could have enjoyed them throughout the summer, or that the weather would have stayed in the 60-70’s for another couple of months so that we could have enjoyed them for longer. Oh well, God has definitely shown us that timing is not in our control and shockingly enough we can’t control everything and so we will just be thankful that we were able to enjoy the trials twice this year instead of just once.

Immersed in the Experience

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous." Aristotle

While some people like to spread out events in their life, we sometimes take the approach that you just can’t get enough of a good thing. So once again, we were up before the sun to prepare for another wonderful day of hiking. With the knowledge that it is soon going to turn cold and we will be in a hibernation mode, we wanted to get in some last minute outdoor activities and take one final opportunity to stretch our legs a bit. While some may think that going out and walking around in the woods during the first weekend of hunting season and with temperatures hovering in the high 30’s seems a bit reckless, we found that we could not have asked for a better experience. What we have found over these past few weeks is that hiking is an outlet that provides us with an opportunity to get away from it all. We have come to realize that when you’re five miles deep in the woods and you haven’t seen another person for the last 45 minutes, you suddenly don’t care about looking for a new house or car, your struggles at work, our national economy, or anything else that bombards us when we sit inside and stare at a glowing 40 inch screen. Instead we take the time to stop and shot baskets through a hollowed out tree, climb on gigantic rocks, and we even find the time to just sit and stare endlessly at a small waterfall. And the best part about it is that never once did we find ourselves thinking about the world that was outside of the woods. Instead we were totally immersed in the experience. It was time well spent kicking the leaves, having a picnic lunch, talking to one another about our innermost thoughts, and sharing our most precious commodity with one another. And while it may be a while before we are able to have the experience again, we are satisfied because we know that it was definitely eight hours that we will never regret or wish that we had back.

Yes, that is us way over there!!

Our Title

Double Vision
A couple of weeks ago we had dinner with some long-time friends and it was during a discussion about their daughters name that her father mentioned “we wanted a name that means something. We wanted a good strong name, not something common.” Needless to say, we agree! A name needs to be strong and have some meaning! No offense to those of us with common names but doesn’t Elijah sound so much more powerful than Bob. And not to compare this simple blog to a child, but we also want to be intentional with its name. Simply put, we want it to mean something. So after much contemplation, (at least five long minutes, which we know some would not consider all that lengthy but that is about four minutes longer than we spent deciding on our first home) it hit us – Double Vision. Huh? That’s it? What is so meaningful about that? Well, we would be more than happy to share. While the name itself is quite simple, the concept itself requires more action or reaction than appears on the surface. You see, we have decided to challenge ourselves with the difficult task of looking at the events, occurrences, experiences, etc., in our lives and not only taking them at face value, but also evaluating them and acknowledging God’s hand in each situation – simply put, to have “double vision”. While we understand that it is common to look at things from a worldly perspective and make everything about us, which we do more often than we would ever care to admit, we also want to consider what God is trying to teach us or acknowledge how He is present in every occurrence in our lives. The good, the bad, the indifferent; it doesn’t matter – we want to focus on Him and make sure that we see what He is doing and learn from that. Simply put, we want to have “double vision.”
Honestly, don’t you think that name MEANS more than the idea that came to us two minutes into the process --- after all we could have gone with -- Ramblings from the Robertson’s!

Welcome to the thoughts we are thinking, memories we are making, lessons we are learning and the humor created along the way.!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hiking at Petit Jean and Mt. Nebo State Parks

Hiking is one of our favorite things to do, especially this time of year when the leaves are so beautiful. So last Saturday, November 1st we headed down to Petit Jean State Park around 7:00 and were on the trials by 9:30. The first trial we did was Ceder Fall, which is my favorite. Here are some pictures along the trail.

But at the end is a.... Waterfall!!!!

The second trail we went on is called the Ceder Creek Trail that goes above the waterfall.

This was my favorite spot-- Definitely an SSS (Super Scenic Spot -- book by Tim Ernst -Hiking in Arkansas)

Then we headed to Mt. Nebo which is about 30 minutes away, this was our first time here and we hiked around the top of the mountain.

We were surprised to find a pressed penny machine. We have collected these cheap souvenirs since we started dating.

Watched a beautiful sunset.

Then stopped in Russelville and ate at Stoby's Restaurant-- they are known for the cheese dip but don't forget to blow the real train whistle if you ever have a chance to go.