THE FUNERAL OF CHRIST

The spectacle was over. The ground started to shake and suddenly there were storm clouds and thunder. A cold wind sent most of the crowd scurrying back to the city in groups of two or three.

The day was already a nightmare to me, but I stayed there at the foot of the cross, holding back my grief and despair. The governor had given Joseph permission to remove the body. We shivered in the wind while we loosened the boulders and lowered the cross backwards to the ground. There was my Lord, cold and pale, who only days before had been welcomed into the city by cheering crowds.

Mary bent down and gently closed his eyelids and removed the mocking crown of thorns. The iron nails that held his hands and feet to the cross could only be loosened by working them back and forth. As I worked I felt the pain that he could no longer feel. But my pain burned deep in my heart and frustration had become anger and then rage. I could not hold back my tears.

Must I believe him now? He had said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” He said, “Turn the other cheek.” He said, “Forgive seventy times seven.” He said, “Love thy neighbor…”.
Still, I wondered, where were those he had cured of leprosy and blindness? Where were those he had saved from death itself? He was alone, he who had taught and served us, he who had sacrificed everything for us.

I was young and strong then. I reached down and lifted the body of my Savior, heavy and limp, wet with blood that was not yet dry. On his back there were open wounds from the lash. I had never lifted such a weight. One of his arms slipped from my grasp. Joseph tried to keep it from hanging down as he walked beside me with the others. I nearly stumbled on the rough path going down the hill.

Now, heavy rain drops splattered on the dry earth and his body, washing some of the blood and dirt away. My arms were aching from the weight. They were so tired I was afraid I would not be able to carry him all the way to the tomb. Yet somehow, I found the strength.

We laid him on the hard stone floor of the tomb. Outside, the women wept as they prepared to wash and anoint his body. When they were finished we rolled the heavy stone over the entrance. A soldier stood guard so that his disciples could not take the body to claim that he had risen from the dead.

Except for the storm that was raging, I don’t remember the rest of that terrible day. I don’t even remember walking back to the city. My only thought then—he said he would rise again. Could I even doubt?

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WHY DO I GET FASTER?

Is it just me? Why do I get faster?

Why is the last part of my run always the fastest? As I tire out, shouldn’t I be slowing down? Or am I just an old horse heading for the barn? The best mile for me it is the last mile (or two) of any run. I’ve noticed lately that I usually knock at least a minute off of the average time for the previous miles. And, at that point, I feel that I am running very well.

Could it be because I choose to start the run “easy” until my body gets warmed up?

Unfortunately there is still no way to trick the body (if only!) into making me faster on really long runs. I know that if I kept going I would NOT continue to get better or faster.

But in previous posts I have suggested starting your runs “easy” to give the legs, lungs and heart some advance notice of what is ahead. Then, at the end, maybe you will have some comfortable energy available for a nice gallop back to the barn.

Don’t forget:
Great read, if I say so myself:
THE NEXT STEP http://www.amazon.com/Next-Step-Dennis-Leger/dp/1460939999/
THE NEXT STEP E book http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/55230

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CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT PART 2

Back in the north country on crowned roads, I thought this post was worth a repeat….

Imagine you’ve found the perfect place to run! You are training for the Marathon or the Half Marathon and have discovered a network of roads and streets with great scenery. There are just enough hills to be a challenge. Although the shoulders are not paved, traffic is very light.

Perfect! Are you ready for the BUT?

Many streets and roads are crowned so that rainwater will run off. They are built higher in the center, sloping away toward the shoulder ever so slightly. Even if you notice this, you can’t imagine what it has to do with you. Nothing, in fact, if you are doing maintenance runs, a few miles a day. But when you begin to stretch it out, putting on a lot more miles, take care!

Your legs are amazing in their ability to adapt to different and uneven surfaces. Fit runners wearing good shoes are able to take full advantage of the human body’s adaptability. When you start adding miles, however, you begin to tax the ability of those muscles and tendons to keep up the good work.

Of course, you’ll think it’s just the extra miles when the aches and pains begin. Or you might blame your shoes. Consider the possibility that it’s a combination of the extra miles and a slanted running surface.

Think of it this way. If you run against the traffic on the left side of a crowned roadway, your right foot may be striking the pavement an eighth or more of an inch higher and a microsecond sooner. Not a problem on maintenance runs, but now you’re putting on the miles! It may not bother your at first. But the last thing you need, preparing for an event, is to develop an ankle or foot problem late in your training program.

During long runs on crowned streets and roads, switching sides gives your feet and ankles equal opportunity to experience the different slant. So when traffic permits, change up and run with the traffic. Naturally, you will have to stay alert to the possibility of a car sneaking up behind you. Be safe! Pull the ear buds out for this part of the run!

Need a break? A short vacation? Read THE MILK MARKET a thriller about missing children.
Read reviews at http://www.themilkmarket.com
FREE download of the first 100 pages
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/4007

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9 WAYS TO TELL IF YOU’RE GETTING OLD

YOU are getting old if ANY of these apply:

1. You are always talking about your health. (No one else cares that much)
2. You don’t have music in your life. (outside of church)
3. You don’t enjoy food (or have a good appetite.)
4. You don’t care about sex (and don’t have a good imagination.)
5. You don’t go outside and play. (and your house smells like a nursing home)
6. You aren’t making new friends. (your old friends are fading away)
7. You brag about feeling good. (you know that it can change in a minute)
8. You don’t like dogs. (Really? Not even puppies?)
9. You don’t read books. (The mind is a terrible thing to waste)

OOPS! and Number 10, for runners, YOU are getting old IF: You stop running.

Every day you get a chance for a fresh start. Is your next step forward or back?
I suggest THE NEXT STEP

THE NEXT STEP http://www.amazon.com/Next-Step-Dennis-Leger/dp/1460939999/
THE NEXT STEP E BOOK http://www.amazon.com/Next-Step-Dennis-Leger/dp/1460939999/

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WHAT NEXT?

What would you do if you had to restart your life? Begin again? What would be your first step?

2011 saw the release of Amanda Knox, an American student, from an Italian prison. Finally acquitted of the murder of her room-mate, she returned home with a second chance for her young life. Imagine the choices ahead of her. What should she do next?

Her story is not unlike that of David Camden, the hero of THE NEXT STEP. With the help and guidance of his friend, a chaplain at Illinois’ Statesville prison, he has earned parole and he is back in the world at the age of 41.

Because he has dangerous enemies, David’s fresh start has to be in another state. There he finds a purpose and a love that he cannot afford to lose—but new enemies who want to take them away. Not without risk, David chooses well and begins to live a useful life.

He discovers that no one can take forward steps alone. As he says, “At every step forward, I needed help. And there was always someone willing to give me a hand, sometimes a crutch, sometimes a push…”
These days, David and Amanda Knox are not the only ones who need a new start. Lives are constantly being affected by calamities such as downsizing, outsourcing, unemployment and foreclosures. It is not unusual to need a fresh start. The question is: will the next step be forward or backward, toward success or failure?

The answer is: we can choose a fresh start every day when we look at our lives with new eyes and listen to our best impulses.

Read THE NEXT STEP to find the heart of a hero and to learn why a true hero deserves a second chance.

THE NEXT STEP http://www.amazon.com/Next-Step-Dennis-Leger/dp/1460939999/
THE NEXT STEP E BOOK http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/55230

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RUNNING VIRTUE

Consistency itself is not a virtue, but there can be no virtue without it. Think of it this way: you may make a great shot while playing golf, but that does not make you a great golfer. Great golfers make great shots consistently.

I suppose most runners are proud of their accomplishments. How far they’ve gone and how fast. How many races they’ve run. Like golfers who consistently make great shots. But runners need to be consistent too. The woods are full of those who run “once in a while” and full of those who like to talk about their running, but have excuses. “No time.” “Too hot.” “Too cold.” “Bad knee.” Etc.

In the long run (pun intended) it’s not what you say and not what you intend, but what you do that counts. The benefits of running only come with consistency, sticking to a schedule without excuses.
Then the fitness level can go up, the resting heart rate down, the stress evened out. Body and mind alike seek to prosper when running or biking (or the gym) is a good habit. Steady. Stay on course.

Don’t forget:
Great reads, if I say so myself:
THE NEXT STEP http://www.amazon.com/Next-Step-Dennis-Leger/dp/1460939999/
THE NEXT STEP E book http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/55230
THE MILK MARKET http://www.amazon.com/Milk-Market-Dennis-Leger/dp/1434811964
THE MILK MARKET E book http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/4007

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I AM BACK

In case anyone missed me, I recently returned from a family ski vacation and a blog sabbatical.
The ski-ing was in Idaho and W. Wyoming. The sabbatical was right here.

Running meant strapping long boards to my boots and either racing downhill or shuffling along cross-country. (Back at the fire station, that sport was referred to as ski-walking.) All who were concerned about our old legs breaking did not have to worry. We are safe. Old bones are not as brittle as they thought. But muscles are!

Ski-ing uses different muscles than almost anything else. My ski muscles protested soon after I began to use them. And again the next day and the next day after. I could not have had a better demonstration of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Yet, there we were in the mountains. We had to go ski-ing whether our muscles wanted to or not!

I am not complaining. I am still better off than old-timers who have NOT been running all year. And miles spent running at just less than 3000 feet allowed me to ski at 8-10,000 feet without being winded. The cold is something else. Miles spent in Southern Nevada do not help in the cold Tetons of Wyoming. I am back on the road.

Don’t forget:
Great reads, if I say so myself:
THE NEXT STEP http://www.amazon.com/Next-Step-Dennis-Leger/dp/1460939999/
THE NEXT STEP E book http://wwwsmashwords.com/books/view/55230
THE MILK MARKET http://www.amazon.com/Milk-Market-Dennis-Leger/dp/1434811964
THE MILK MARKET E book http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/4007

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HIGH NOON IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Is it my imagination or are we facing the next World War?

You don’t have to be a foreign relations expert to see that the Middle East is a powder keg with a short fuse. The following is apparent to anyone who reads the daily news.

First, there is Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons and its stated intention to destroy Israel. That alone is enough to alert the world that we are standing at the brink. Next, what do we expect Israel to do? Whether you like Israel or not, do you think they should NOT strike before Iran annihilates them?

Ignition could result from a minor incident while the consequences would have adverse effects involving every nation on earth. But our government, our allies and the United Nations are inert, motionless and afraid to hurt another nation’s “feelings”. Diplomatic? Yes. Statesmanlike? No.

While we enjoy the Presidential election, expecting hatred and fear to coexist in the region, we are looking at an historic set of facts and circumstances that appear to be immutable. These circumstances are independent of partisan politics in our country.

READ MORE AT: http://www.scribd.com/doc/109035202/High-Noon-in-the-Middle-East

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MY FIRST RUN

Today I ran for the first time as a 72 year old. It should have been no big deal except that I am in rehab mode again. It seems I am always trying to recover from something, illness, injury or life style issues that I can’t avoid.

This time, after a summer of really good runs, I was kept off the road by accidentally catching my leg between the boat and the dock. That was followed by a lower back spasm a few days later.

My triathlete son was the first to remind me, “take care of your core!” He must have read my recent post on the subject. I suppose someday he will have over forty years of running under his belt.

My summer in northern Minnesota had nice runs on slightly hilly roads. Now I am back running in Nevada. On the level, but two thousand feet higher. Aerobically I don’t seem to have a problem, just rehab of the leg muscles. It just takes longer, as I age, to recover from any interruption in the training. But I will get there. Hitting the road still makes me feel free and strong.

See my thriller about missing children “THE MILK MARKET” at http://www.themilkmarket.com
Ebook http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/4007

“THE NEXT STEP” when life gives a hero a second chance.
Ebook http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/55230

Both novels are also available in print at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com

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“LAZY” RUNNING

What’s golf got to do with it? When I play golf I have to keep reminding myself to relax and NOT overhit. When I try to really “pound” the ball my swing gets wild and inaccurate.

So what’s running got to do with it?

When I run I have to remind myself to relax, take it easy and NOT try to set a record. Going out slow, a little lazy, gives the legs, lungs and heart a chance to get warm. But even more than that, it saves energy for later in the run when those elements are ready to cruise. That way, the miles on the way home are faster and more comfortable….the way I wish I could always run.

Try running “lazy” at the start. You might find legs you didn’t know you had for the homebound “leg” of your run.

Don’t forget the next step:

THE NEXT STEP a Novel How to start over again…..when life gives you a second chance.
Ebook (all formats)
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/55230

In Print and Kindle http://www.amazon.com/Next-Step-Dennis-Leger/dp/1460939999

In Print and Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/the-next-step-dennis-leger?store=book

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