Monday, July 25, 2016

Weekend Report; July 25, 2016

People around me joke (or at least the ones that are willing to share), "Where will Jon end up next?"

I know.  It seems like I'm always on the go.  I can assure you that I don't sit down well.

There are some reasons why I have a lot of time on my hands, other than with Waverly spending the last three school years in Virginia (with a fourth fast approaching), but they're not for publication.

I feel, though, as if I'd be wasting the time I've been given if I sat around and did nothing.

I also suppose these notions have been exacerbated by the passing of my sister, Holly, two years ago.

I guess I'm coming face to face with my own mortality.

And, honestly, it is scary.

Not in the sense that I don't know where my soul will go for eternity - as that's been settled, but just that at some point in time, you won't see the next day.

Through the heartaches and all that life can be sometimes, I still don't ever want that day to come.

I enjoy the most of what life has to offer.  And even though I'm an introvert, I enjoy interacting with all of those I choose and the majority of everybody else I suppose.

I say "majority" because I'm not sure how much I enjoy those who just decide to go 85 on the freeway and come up behind you because they think the road is theirs alone.

I headed north Friday evening to run a 5K race (Up And Away 5K produced by the Longview Running Club) Saturday morning on and near the grounds of the East Texas Regional Airport in Longview.

To me, life is about experiencing new things.

I had wanted to run this race a year ago, but when I came out of my hotel room in Marshall that morning I had a flat tire.

And talking with one runner, I'm glad that things - for me - got delayed a year because the course the year before was simply running along the far right-hand line of a busy two-lane road.

The race started on the grounds of the Airport just outside the LeTourneau University hangar.  (Like Liberty, they have a school of Aeronautics.)

It ended up being a complete, out-and-back course that took us onto a small portion of one of the taxiways and then on to a road that led off the airport grounds to a public road.

Looks like I went 15:42.34 out to the turnaround and then  4:38.26 to the two-mile marker for a total of 20:20.60.  But I'm thinking that the marking might have been suspect.

Followed that with 11:55.54 for the last 1.1 for a total of 32:16.14 -- 15:42.34 out and 16:33.80 back.

During that last mile, I actually stopped and walked to talk to a couple of fellow runners so I could have been under 32.

I went back to the hotel to shower after having breakfast at Corner Bakery Cafe - a new place for me to eat at -- and mapped out my path to get to Waco.

I had heard that the traffic was bad around the south loop of Tyler so I decided to follow state Highway 31 to and around Kilgore.

Stopped in Leverett's Chapel because I thought they had played 6-man football, but when I saw the field I could definitely tell it was an 11-man field.

The road didn't take me directly to New London, but knowing about the 1937 gas explosion that killed more than 300 I had to go there since I was close.

I saw the Memorial in the middle of State Highway 42 that was adjacent to incredibly new, modern West Rusk High School with a really nice football stadium, Bruce Bradshaw Stadium.

From there, I stopped in Overton, but not Arp.  Troup, Jacksonville at the Tomato Bowl (which I had never laid eyes on before) and then Westwood High School outside of Palestine, which now had field turf.

I made a couple of stops for Texas Historical Commission signs on the way to Fairfield, but stopped just once more in Teague before making it into Waco.

Dinner at Jason's Deli and a 4 a.m. wakeup call to be able to help out RunFAR at the TriWaco Triathlon, held near the banks of the Brazos River and finishing at the Waco Suspension Bridge.

Owner Raul Najera really didn't need much of my help, so I ended up helping clear the area in front of the finish line to give athletes a straight shot to sprint across the bridge and not be impeded by spectators.

Didn't know it at the time, but the announcer was the voice of the Baylor Bears, John Morris.

Really nice guy and in fact, a class act, as he didn't say a word about broadcasting for the Bears.

Most would have scoffed at me, even though I do a lot of race announcing.

I did what I would have done for anybody and that is help him to be able to be heard.

There were four speakers close to transition.  They were positioned so that everyone could hear when transition was closed, when the pre-race briefing started and where and so on.

John did an incredible job of clearly communicating all of that.  Things went incredibly smooth and a very good public address announcer can lead to that happening.

After the race started, John, though, was announcing off the reader mat from behind the finish line.

So I had one of Raul's staff turn the speakers in such a way so the athletes could better hear their names being announced by John as they finished.

I think it turned out well.

I left at about 9:30 a.m. to go to church at Greater Waco Baptist Church, which was located on the east side of Waco - along Loop 340.

It is a member church of Baptist Bible Fellowship International (BBFI), the organization that North Park Baptist Church affiliates with too.

In fact, there's at least one missionary family - the Reaps - who both churches support.  When Pastor McKelroy introduced himself and welcomed me to the service - as it was easy to see that I had never been there before, he said that he went to Phillipines once a year to visit the Reaps.

It was a great service and it felt very home to me because for many years North Park Baptist was much the same with our founding Pastor, John Gross.

That's not to say that there's anything wrong with how North Park is today or that Greater Waco is set back in time.  Neither.  It is just that if you're in (or were in) a BBFI church, you'd know and understand.

We actually sang three songs from the hymnal, which used to be a staple in North Park for many, many years.

Made the drive home and after resting a little bit, Waverly and I went to eat at some place new in The Woodlands, Grub Burger Bar.  It was pretty good.  Got the Ghost burger and took the jalapeno head on.  That was a mistake -- and it took a good bit of Dr. Pepper to put the fire out.

What's up next weekend?  Not sure, but there'll definitely be a plan.  It is already in the works.

Have a great rest of the week.

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