7 Essential Foods For Runners

If you want to be a strong runner, you most likely know how important it is to train consistently. While training is great, you won’t reach your full potential as a runner unless you also eat healthy. The challenge for most of us is that we’re not quite sure what “healthy” actually looks like. We want to eat foods that fuel our body, but are confused because of all the conflicting information.

Michelle and produceI’m Michelle, the founder of Faithful Workouts and I’m passionate about  helping people reach their health and fitness goals. Today I want to share with you 7 foods every runner needs in their kitchen and how to use these foods to make quick, healthy meals.

1. Quinoa

Sometimes mistaken for a grain, quinoa is actually a seed and is naturally gluten free. It is one of the best foods for lasting energy. It’s a complete protein which means it contains an adequate amount of all nine essential amino acids and it is loaded with antioxidants. This superfood also has anti-inflammatory properties and is actually a member of the spinach, Swiss chard and beet family!

When I cook quinoa I always make extra. It is great to have on hand so you can mix it with eggs for breakfast, sprinkle it over a salad or into a soup. It’s also a great replacement for rice when making your favorite stir-fry. One of my favorite recipes is our Quinoa & Black Bean Salas with Lemon Dressing. (recipe available at www.faithfulworkoutsplan.com/run)

2. Dark Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale and chard are high in folate and contain nitrites that convert fat-storing cells into fat burning brown cells which promote weight loss. Leafy greens also decrease the risk of cognitive decline thus keeping our minds healthy. Their anti-inflammatory properties promote heart health and decrease the risk of diabetes. Plus, they are a great source of non-dairy calcium.

I buy a bag of organic, pre-washed “power greens” almost every time I go to the store. One of my “go to” breakfasts includes putting 2 handfuls of greens into a pan. I cook them over medium heat stirring often. Once their wilted I crack an egg right on top of the greens. I cover my pan and cook over medium heat until my egg is set.

I also add handfuls of these awesome greens into my smoothies, soups, open faced sandwiches, and salads. At dinner, I put a little oil in a pan and heat it over medium heat with a large clove of minced garlic. I add several handfuls of greens and cover. Once they’re wilted, I stir in vinegar and a little salt and they make a nutrient packed side dish.


3. Avocado

Because who doesn’t love avocado… and for good reason! Not only is it awesome tasting, it also offers many health benefits. It’s high in mono-unsaturated fat which is good for you! When you eat an avocado with other nutrient rich foods it improves absorption of the nutrients. If you eat a salad with an avocado, you absorb up to 25% more of the nutrients from your salad!

Avocados also lower the risk of heart disease and improve blood levels of LDL cholesterol. Avocados are nutrient dense with high amounts of pantothenic acid (one of 8 B vitamins that helps the body convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose), which the body uses to produce energy), fiber and Vitamin K.

One of my favorite ways to start my day is with a slice of organic toast with 1/2 an avocado sliced thin on top. I’ve also been making amazing desserts using avocados. (Yes, you read that correctly!) For a yummy, yet healthy, Chocolate Cream Pie recipe (recipe available at www.faithfulworkoutsplan.com/run)

4. Wild Caught Salmon (or Cod, Flounder, Sole, Trout)

Salmon is a great source of protein and Omega-3 fat that helps to decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer anddepression while keeping the mind strong and improving joint health. I highly recommend wild caught salmon over farm raised.

We have many great salmon recipes included in our online cookbook, but here’s one of my favorites. Stir together 1 tblsp orange juice concentrate. 1 tsp minced fresh ginger and 1/4 cup soy sauce. Put one 4 oz salmon filet in a ziplock bag and pour the liquid over it. Marinate for at least an hour. Remove salmon and cook on a grill or in a hot pan. Such great flavor!

5. Organic Pasture Raised Eggs 

Eggs are an excellent source of protein, contain all the B vitamins your body needs and are high in Omega-3. It’s important to buy organic pasture raised eggs. They are worth the extra cost because eggs that come from pasture raised chickens means they are free to roam on open grassland, eat an organic diet, enjoy bugs and worms, see daylight, are not given hormones or antibiotics, have darker/richer yolks, have been known to taste better, and have better nutritional profiles in vitamins A, E, betacarotine and Omega-3’s.

I typically take my leftover vegetables from dinner and warm them for breakfast and eat them with a poached egg on top. I love starting my day with all the nutritional benefits from my veggies plus the protein from the egg. I also like to make hard boiled eggs at the beginning of the week so I can grab one when I need some quick protein.

6. Almond Butter 

Almond butter has high amounts of magnesium and monounsaturated fats for heart health. It also has high amounts of Vitamin E and is a great source of manganese, copper, Vitamin B and riboflavin needed for energy. Be sure to be a diligent consumer and check the ingredients to make sure there are only almonds and salt with no added sugar or oil.

When I am feeling low on energy I grab a spoon and scoop out some almond butter which gives me an energy boost. I also make great tasting cookies and smoothies that include almond butter. Check out this recipe that is loaded with flavor but not the sugar. (recipe available at www.faithfulworkoutsplan.com/run

7. Plain Organic Free Yogurt (with live active cultures) 

Yogurt is an excellent source of protein, improves digestive health and high in calcium for stronger bones. When I buy plain, Greek yogurt I look for more than 20 grams of protein and less than 10 grams of sugar (the sugar should only come from the naturally occurring lactose, no added sugar). I also check to see that it includes high amounts of live active cultures. Digestive issues are on the rise because the bacteria in our gut is out of whack. We eat processed foods that contain preservatives which disrupts our gut bacteria. The live active cultures in yogurt help to reset the good bacteria in our system.

One of my favorite ways to eat yogurt is it to put 1 cup of berries into a small pan. I cook them over low heat until they are soft and juices are released. Once they are cooled I stir the berries, and juices, into 1 cup of yogurt. I then squeeze fresh lemon or orange juice into the yogurt and top with cinnamon and chopped pecans.

I also make a great sauce by simply mixing together equal parts of plain yogurt and salsa. I put that on top of a grilled chicken breast and top it with fresh cilantro.

I hope I’ve taken some of the guess work out of healthy eating and shown you ways to incorporate these nutrient dense foods into your daily diet. If you’re interested in learning more about how to properly fuel your body, sign up for our Free Faithful & fit Plan. It includes 100s or recipes, cooking video and daily menu plans PLUS workout videos for all fitness levels that are proven to improve your running time and your overall health. **Bonus ll our exercise videos include upbeat, Christian music because we truly put God at the center of all we do!

I’m praying for you!

Michelle Spadafora


Defeating the Odds!

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 2.23.35 PMHave you ever felt as if the odds were against you? If you met Crystal Tucker she would list them one by one down to the first battle cry, but for the first time in her life, God has given her the desire to share her story and share how God removed her comforts and false securities from her life to remind her that He is the one and only source of strength. 

In 2006, Crystal served as a 68W (Combat Medic) with the U.S. Army with the 32nd Medical Battalion stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. In 2007, she was engaging in Afghanistan combat readiness training when something unexpected occurred. “During a 5-mile battalion run with my attending commander, I stumbled, and took a hard fall into a hole fracturing both of my legs,” says Tucker. Her injuries were much more serious than she imagined and resulted in fractures in both tibias, femurs as well as her hips. 

Throughout her recovery, Tucker went through vigorous rehabilitation efforts while relying on ambulatory devices. She was evaluated by military physicians who assessed her with a permanent profile of a non-deployable status, which led to her honorable medical discharge. “Since I had what was called a ‘Permanent Profile’, I was considered non-deployable and of no use to the military,” she said sadly, “I could not run, jump, march correctly, or lift over a certain poundage.”

CRYSTAL_6Upon receiving her medical discharge from the U.S. Army in April of 2007, she returned home to Georgia. “After returning home from the military, I rested for quite a bit, settled back into civilian life, completed my VA paperwork and got back into school,” Tucker said. And for the first time in several months, Tucker and her husband, Chris, received some good news and had a reason to celebrate – a new addition to the family. What Tucker did not expect were her injuries to return.

Throughout Tucker’s pregnancy, her symptoms became worse. “My legs would fall asleep to where I could barely walk. I had trouble sleeping due to the tingling in my legs. I developed arthritis and it became painful to leave my bedside and even participate in physical activity,” said Tucker. “After my son was born in February of 2008, I tried to exercise to help with the circulation of my legs, but decided to seek a vein specialist to correct my problems.”

After experiencing symptoms of numbness, pain and tingling, Tucker was evaluated by her doctor and was diagnosed with Venus Reflux Disease. “Basically,” Tucker said, “the blood flow – instead of making a complete circulation in my body, it was trickling back down.” Tucker’s physician best described her condition as a ‘leaky roof in her circulatory system’ and required her to have two separate surgeries, one on each leg, to correct and burn out the bad veins and reroute the blood flow. After the procedure and during a follow-up with her physician, told her she would never run again. Tucker did not lose hope.

God’s Word speaks a promise of renewed strength.

“Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will sore on wings like eagles; they will RUN and not be weary, they will not walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

If you have ever been in a place where you have been weary and tired, you have more than likely yearned for renewed strength. Being weary and tired can lead to discouragement and perhaps the desire to give up. It is in this place that we find it difficult to face life, to make decisions or to even take another step.

Tucker did not know what she would go on to accomplish after hearing that she could never run, not just from one, but from two different doctors– but through the Run for God program, God was able to show her that with Him all things are POSSIBLE. Tucker, now a Run for God graduate, found hope and strength during a time when others lost all hope and faith in her. 

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 2.30.16 PM“When I think of Run for God, I can’t help, but smile,” says Tucker. “I am so passionate about this group and ministry and I will never think of running the same way again. With all of the odds that were stacked up against me, God lead me right where I needed to be,” she continues. 

“I was looking through the newsfeed on Facebook when I came across a group that involved running and a Bible study,” she said. “At the time, I wanted to try out a Bible study, so I thought I would give it a try.” The class was a Run for God 10k/Half Marathon Challenge that began in January 2014 after the Run for God’s 10k/Half Marathon program release in December 2013. This challenge is a 12-week Bible study that parallels faith and endurance all while preparing experienced runners to run a 10k or half marathon. 

“Once I entered the classroom, I was terrified about the decision I had made,” she said, “I mean, I have only completed a 5k since my injuries.” The class met three days a week for the training: Tuesday evening after the Bible study, Thursday evening, and Saturday morning. “The weather could not have been more cold,” said Tucker, 

“I was bundling up as if I was heading to Alaska.” 

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 2.33.09 PMAs the program continued, Tucker thought of all the odds stacked up against her, including not being able to run again. They began to cloud her mind until a 12-mile training run. “I was listening to K-LOVE for motivation to push through the pain of a long 12-miles when a verse from a song said, ‘you are the peace in my troubled sea,’” said Tucker. “It was in that moment, while I had been wanting to quit and wallowing in my pain that God was trying to tell me something. Not only had I come to realize that God had completely restored my health, transformed my life and gave me hope and the renewed strength I needed to run again, but also He wanted me to use it for His glory – I am to run to serve His purpose,” she exclaimed!

“I can still remember our graduation day just like it was yesterday,” Tucker says, “when I ran down the hill of Prater Mill Road, emotional, exhausted, turning the corner to run the last few kilometers. Then hearing the familiar sounds of my Run for God friends cheering and shouting, ‘GO, GO, GO! YOU CAN DO IT!!!’ and God whispering to me, ‘Run towards me.’ ‘Remember your purpose.’ ‘All finished.’ ‘You finished.’

“I am impacted greatly by this journey. It is still a journey. Despite the odds that were against me that should have demolished my future, instead lead me to not stand defeated. With God by my side, He helped me stand up to defeat the odds and to serve a purpose larger than myself,” said Tucker. So when the odds are not in your favor, don’t think that God has abandoned you. Stand your ground and keep your eyes fixed on the LORD. With everything else stripped away, you will be amazed at what your God can achieve.

My Life In a Picture

Have you ever gone through a rough patch of time?  Of course, you have.  We all have. I went through one recently.

It was Sunday morning and I was getting all my last-minute things together for church.  I had my Sunday School lesson plans.  I run the sound and video screens during our service and I had prepared all of that material too.  I got in my car and drove to church on a chilly, rainy day.

On the short trip to church, I was thinking about our pastor.  He was headed to a new adventure and that Sunday would be his last.  I love our pastor.  I have become a better man over the six years he has served our church not in small part because of the great example he set every day in his life. I hated to see him go.

In addition, we had just completed our annual Run for God Run at the Mill.  The race went well, but our number of participants was down.  I had not done a very good job of promoting and getting the word out about our race.  It hurt me that I let the Run for God team down.

There had also been the text message that had gone out alluding to something on my other job that had gone undone.  In this case, it actually WAS done, but I was lumped in with a group that had largely failed and so I was guilty by proxy.

Oh, and there was that tax thing.  The IRS would be looking for my completed tax documents within the next two days and I had not started on them yet.

I arrived at church felling pretty inadequate.  I dropped off my Sunday School materials and went to the sound room to make sure all of my presentation and audio plans would work that morning.  It was on the thumb drive I carry on my key chain.  But it wasn’t on my key chain.  I had left it at home.

Fortunately, I live very close to my church and could go home and retrieve it.  As I drove home, what was earlier a sprinkle had turned to a hard rain.  I would get soaked because I was too forgetful to remember my thumb drive.  I ran in the house, picked up my thumb drive, and stopped dead in my tracks as I was about to exit the garage.

There in front of me through the pouring rain I could see the picture of how I felt about the circumstances of my life at that point.  My lawnmower was sitting on a trailer, where it had been for two weeks, with a flat tire and the grass grown up around it.  I had planned to take it to the shop because it had stopped running and needed several things done but had not been able to find the time to get it there.  I had gone by the shop with it once, but it was temporarily closed at the time.  Such has been my timing lately.

It hit me so hard that I snapped a picture of it.


Then I ran through the rain to my car to get back down to the church.  Feeling sorry for myself, nearly in tears, I took the thumb drive out and placed in the computer.  I went through the screens to make sure they worked and stopped when I saw a video playing. It was a video of the song “All My Hope” by Crowder and Tauren Wells.  Wow.  The words to the song:

I’ve been held by the Savior

I’ve felt fire from above

I’ve been down to the river

I ain’t the same, a prodigal returned

All my hope is in Jesus

Thank God that yesterday’s gone

All my sins are forgiven

I’ve been washed by the blood

I’m no stranger to the prison

I’ve worn shackles and chains

But I’ve been freed and forgiven

And I’m not going back, I’ll never be the same

That’s why I sing

All my hope is in Jesus

Thank God my yesterday’s gone

All my sins are forgiven

I’ve been washed by the blood

There’s a kind of thing that just breaks a man

Break him down to his knees

God, I’ve been broken more than a time or two

Yes, Lord then He picked me up and showed me

What it means to be a man

Come on and sing

All my hope is in Jesus

Thank God my yesterday’s gone

All my sins are forgiven

I’ve been washed by the blood

Now the tears came flooding. I realized that my hope isn’t in all the things that had gone wrong over the past couple of weeks.  ALL my hope is in Jesus.  Everything else pales in comparison.  Oh, next year will be different at Run at the Mill.  We’ll find another pastor.  It will stop raining.  My lawnmower will get repaired.  Things are already looking up because my taxes were done by the time I sat down to write this.  I thank God that, not only that my hope IS in Jesus, but that He sees fit to shove that fact right in my face when I need I need it most.  Praise God for His grace and mercy!

Dean Thompson

A God Wink


“…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”  Luke 15:10

If you could be a part of a movement that changes the lives of others simply by sharing the love of Jesus Christ, would you? What if I said you already were, would you believe me? Well, you are. If you are reading this email, then you are a part of the Run for God family, and our mission is to share the love of Jesus Christ through the sport of running.

So how do we do this? For starters, we have two entire chapters in The 5K Challenge, which has been taught in thousands of churches and communities, devoted to clearly sharing the Gospel of Christ. We pose the question from Matthew 16:15 “Who do you say that I AM? – Jesus” in Runner’s World Magazine and prompt individuals to visit www.RunforGod.com/PeacewithGod where they can find out how to have peace of their own. We encourage everyone we come in contact with to tell others that God Loves Them! We at Run for God are ACTIVELY sharing Jesus Christ.

Yes, we promote the Gospel at Run for God, but it wouldn’t be possible without you. Keeping the platform that God has entrusted us with, takes more than just our staff. It takes people who are willing to buy The 5K Challenge, Books and T-shirts. It takes people who are willing to support us financially. It takes an army of people who are willing to pray for us and this ministry. It takes people who are willing to sign up and run our races. Yes, God has put you in our path for a reason.

A while back I started sending a simple text to our Run for God Board of Directors. I call this text a God wink. Each time someone reached out to us and let us know that they had either accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, or they had rededicated their life to Christ as a result of what God is doing through Run for God, I’d send this simple text. No words, no explanation, no need for a response, nothing but a simple smiley face emoji with a halo over it’s head. We simply rejoiced together without saying a word.

Recently God laid it on my heart that I should give everyone who is a part of Run for God to be a part of these God winks. So that’s what we are doing. If you’d like to be a part of this, simply sign up by following the directions on the graphic.

Thank you once again for being a part of Run for God! You are the hands and feet of this ministry.


God is Love


He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1 John 4:8

Do you ever have one of those seasons in your life where you feel like God is just really working you over about something? A time where it seems that he takes an issue in your life and He shines a light on it from many different directions? Over the past few weeks I feel that is what He’s been doing with me on the subject of love. Love. Now you would think that love is pretty simple, and there’s not much that we can do to mess it up. You’d be right about the first part of that statement, but there are plenty of ways that we can mess things up when it comes to love.

This all started when my good friend David Hendrix passed away back in January. David was a joyful person. He was always laughing, joking, and more importantly loving on people. On occasion he would even sign his name “Love” instead of David. He loved life, he loved people, and he loved the act of loving people. David understood that when we love people, we give them a glimpse of Jesus.

Fast-forward a few weeks to the passing of Billy Graham. I have always been a fan of Billy Graham. I’ve always seen him as a pillar in society that steered clear of politics, scandal, and anything that could bring his ministry into question. He stayed on point, and that point was that God loves you, He sent His Son to die for you, and He wants to spend eternity with you. He often made the comment, “It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge, and my job to love.” Billy Graham loved people regardless of the sin they were dealing with which is what attracted millions of people to him.

Recently I was also introduced to a person that I will be seeing often. Most likely a few times a week for the near future. This person has a very different lifestyle than I do. They give the appearance that God has no place in their life, and it’s very obvious by the lifestyle they appear to live. Was my meeting this person coincidental? I think not. You see historically, I would have had a problem with the lifestyle this person lives, and for that reason I would have begun to distance myself. Not this time. God began to prompt me to love this person, accept this person, not their sin, but this person, and show them Jesus.

And today, it’s as if God tied it all up in a neat package with a bow on top. I’ve mentioned before that anytime I drop my kids off for school, the last thing I tell them is to “Tell someone about Jesus”. I feel that you can’t say that enough these days. But today was different. It was almost as if God brought three simple words to my mind. It’s three words that can be found at the end of 1 John 4:8. GOD IS LOVE.

God is Love. That’s it. Pretty simple. You see, it’s a principal that we all know, but it’s also a principal that we often complicate. Show someone love, and by definition you show them God because God….is…..Love. David Hendrix loved people, therefore he showed them God. Millions were attracted to Billy Graham; he loved people and showed them Christ. If I just love this person who’s been placed in my path, I will show them God. And if my kids just love people they will also shine Jesus!

Does it stop there? Absolutely not. The Great Commission is clear that we are to take the Word of God, the good news of Jesus Christ, to the ends of the earth. But 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us that we can have the gift of eloquent speech, the gift of prophesy, and the gift of great faith, but without Love, we are bankrupt. “Showing” others love is where the process of “Telling” them about Jesus begins.

Today, when you see that person cross your path who doesn’t look like you or live like you, Love Them. When you hear that person gossiping or causing drama at your workplace, Love Them. When you see a person you feel deserves to be in the predicament that they’re in, Love Them. Don’t judge them, Love them. Because what we are doing is taking a situation of judgment and turning it into an opportunity for God to shine.


God loves you! For more information on how to experience Peace with God, please visit www.RunforGod.com/PeacewithGod

A Race For The Crown

Quiet time is a special time for me. I usually set aside time in the morning to dive into God’s word and talk with Him about the things on my heart. Because I don’t do well with complete silence, I usually choose the time when my kids are eating breakfast and getting ready for school. I go to my office, close the door, and begin reading with the sounds of footsteps and muffled voices running around the house. It’s either this or sitting under my favorite tree listening to the birds chirp. Either way, I prefer to have “white noise” in the background.

Anyway, this morning was no different. I sat down, opened my Bible, and began to read. I was reading 1 Corinthians out of a fairly new Bible. It’s the NGJV Study Bible by Thomas Nelson. I love the way this group breaks down the passages and makes God’s word so easy to understand. This morning, I was reading through chapter 9. Many of you know this chapter because of verse 24 which reads, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.”

Chances are, as runners, we’ve all read that verse. But do we really know what that verse means. I had a good idea. I knew it was Paul telling us how we should live our Christian life. I knew that Paul set the example by some of the final words that he spoke in 2 Timothy 4:7 where he said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” But I had never heard what that verse meant in the context of that day.

Thomas Nelson does a great job of putting this verse into context, and rather than paraphrase what my study bible says, I’ve included the excerpt below. Enjoy.

The Race For The Crown

From The NKJV Study Bible, copyright 1997, 2007 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

“What does it take to be a champion in a given sport? For one, it is necessary to have a dedication to succeed no matter what the cost. A passion for the game is certainly essential, as is a single-minded determination to accomplish the task at hand. A willingness to train incessantly is also required. And a burning desire for the trophy or prize awarded to the one who wins is an absolute must.

In his letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul drew a direct comparison between the Christian life and an athletic competition. This comparison would have had immediate resonance with Paul’s Corinthian readers. Corinth was the site of the Isthmian games, a great athletic festival that was very similar to the Olympic games. Contestants in the Isthmian games endured ten months of mandatory training. Anyone who failed to complete this training was barred from competing in the games. The highlight of the Isthmian games was a great endurance race. It was this race that Paul used as an illustration to depict the faithful Christian life.

In the Isthmian games, several athletes competed for one prize; there could be only one winner. In contrast, the Christian life offers the opportunity for many people to be winners. The winner of the Isthmian games received a pine wreath crown. Those who faithfully complete the Christian life, on the other hand, will receive an imperishable crown.

Paul illustrates the “champion” mindset required to faithfully complete the Christian life with his statements, “I run thus: not with uncertainty” and “Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air”( 9:26 ). Paul was not an aimless competitor. He had a clearly defined goal. Like an athlete preparing for a race or a boxing match, Paul knew that he had to discipline his body; he had to force himself to maintain the strenuous, consistent practice needed for success.

The race that Paul prepared himself for, the race that all Christians need to prepare themselves for, was the calling of God. Paul taught that Christians are rewarded for the calling that God gives them. Paul had an apostolic ministry for which he sacrificed all things. He knew that if he was faithful to his calling he would receive a reward from the Lord for his service( 4:2 ). Paul also knew that if he ignored or treated lightly his mission he would not receive from God the victor’s crown for service. Having seen some of his close friends forsake their calling (see 2 Tim. 4:10 ), Paul recognized that the loss of the victor’s crown was a very real possibility for any believer, regardless of his or her standing in the Christian community. The apostle’s overwhelming passion was to fulfill his ministry at all costs, to stay faithful to the “fight”( 9:26) to the very end. In Paul’s last letter, written shortly before his death, we discover that he accomplished his goal (see 2 Tim. 4:6–8 ).

Paul’s spiritual training was the very best available. Yet he did not assume that he would automatically persevere to the end of the race. He continued to discipline himself, to fight, and follow his calling from God. In doing so, Paul provided an ideal model for all Christians striving to become champions.”

Leave a Legacy

Screen Shot 2018-01-10 at 11.29.26 AM

I sit here today, one day after laying my good friend David Hendrix to rest, thinking about his legacy.  There are so many things that I can say about David.  But I thought it best to simply share an article that we published about David several years back.  He was always sharing Jesus, even till the day he died.  May you rest in peace my friend, your legacy will be around for generations.

HIS COLLEAGUES DESCRIBE him as a man of deep faith, someone who is dedicated, and devoted to Run for God. Mitchell Hollis calls him an advisor, a mentor, and “the one who first said Run for God was going to be something big.” Although David Hendrix does not have a formal title, he is admired and appreciated by many, but more importantly, he loves God and has a desire to serve, which he believes is his calling.

Hendrix will tell you, firsthand, that he is thrilled to serve behind the scenes, helping others, rather than standing in the spotlight. “I believe God called me to enable others,” he says. “And when I am working for Run for God, I don’t really consider it work. It is just awesome to see God work.”

Performing tasks behind the scenes along with encouraging others is what Hendrix enjoys most. There are many projects he completes including setting up the finish line structure, taking inventory, preparing equipment, and other functions that may be required by the Run for God team. “It’s not Run for God ministry that excites me, it’s seeing God move,” he says. “Mitchell is following God and God is leading this ministry.”

Hendrix shares how God has been in this ministry from the beginning. “These days people do things by their own effort and they fail,” Hendrix says. “It’s a thrill to witness people like Mitchell do things when they spend time following God. It’s a fact, God’s leadership is going to prevail.”

David Hendrix has been with Run for God since it began in 2010 at Grove Level Baptist Church. “I was there from the beginning and knew God had His hand on this ministry,” he says. Hendrix retired in 2012 from Grove Level Baptist Church after serving 31 faithful years as the Associate Pastor/ Minister of Music. “I remember when Mitchell shared that God called him to the Run for God ministry,” Hendrix says. “I knew that God was going to help him because this was totally out of Mitchell’s comfort zone. He was in construction for heaven’s sake.”

“My role began helping Mitchell get things done at the church,” he says. “I am no longer involved in the intimate details like I was in the beginning. Mitchell has a lot of things going on, now that the ministry has grown, but whenever I see his number on my cell, I know it’s priority, and I am on it. I want to make God and Mitchell proud of everything I do.”

Hendrix was a part of the first Run for God 5k class at Grove level Baptist Church and shares how Run for God has influenced his life. “Run for God to me is deeper than being in shape,” Hendrix says. “If I had to give you a golden drop of everything in my life, Run for God has given me perseverance.”

“I have learned that pain is necessary, not fun emotionally or physically, but the rewards are greater when you persevere.”

“Before Run for God, I sold myself short,” he says. “When I reached mile 8 while running my first half marathon, I thought I was going to die, but I persevered through it.”

“The big question I asked myself was how many things have I quit because of pain? I knew I couldn’t do anything about those things in the past, but I could do something about tomorrow – persevere to the end,” he says. “It all comes down to this: It’s bigger than physical, it’s emotion. It’s a spiritual experience to run. You apply what you learn in Run for God to life.”

Connect Magazine – Spring 2015

Be Different

Be Different BannerHey everyone, Merry Christmas! You know, I just dropped my son off at school and there are two things that I often tell him just before he gets out of my truck. Number one, I always tell him to “Tell someone about Jesus today”. It’s my conviction that we just can’t tell our kids that enough. But there’s something else that I also tell him on a regular basis.

Be Different.

You know I’m wearing a Run for God shirt about 90% of the time, and when I’m not, people notice. They notice that the Run for God guy is not wearing his normal attire and many times they’ll even make comments to me. But there’s a lesson to be learned here.

Just like people notice a difference ABOUT me when I’m not wearing a Run for God shirt, they should also notice a difference IN me because I’m a child of God. My words, my actions, my attitude, and my LIFE should all point to the fact that I DON’T reflect this world, but rather JESUS.

The Bible tells us in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Bottom line, as children of God, we are CALLED to be different.

Merry Christmas Everyone! I hope your week goes well. Love on your family, love on your friends, don’t eat too much, Run for God, tell someone about Jesus, and be different!


If you would like to learn more about how to know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, please visit our Peace with God page at www.RunforGod.com/PeacewithGod.

The Thing About Iron

Fe symbol 26 material for Iron chemical element

Hello everyone, Mitchell Hollis here with Run for God. I want to start this blog off by making a few statements. First, I am not a medical doctor, nor any other kind of doctor. I’ve never been to medical school, and I do not claim to know much about the human body. This blog is not meant to diagnose anyone of anything, but rather tell you of my experience. Should you need medical advice, please contact your physician.

Now that all of the disclaimers are out of the way, let me tell you about why I’m writing a blog on the subject of Iron and Ferritin.

I have a 14-year old son named Lane Hollis. Lane in many ways is your typical freshman high schooler. He attends public school, makes good grades, plays the guitar, and loves hanging out with his friends. But there is one thing that is not so typical about Lane. He’s a very focused nationally ranked triathlete who trains 15-20 hours per week and has some pretty lofty long-term goals. He runs a mid-17 5K, and his current PR in the mile is 4:56. He’s also experiencing that dramatic change every young man experiences when their voice changes and they seem to grow 6-inches over night. With this background let me explain what happened.

On September 1 of this year, I showed up to Lane’s cross-country practice just like any other day. As Lane walked into the area where we all meet for practice, I could tell that something was wrong. He walked up to me and said that he did not feel good. Now let me stop right there and say, Lane is almost never sick, he never complains, and he’s always ready for a good practice. So when he told me he didn’t feel good, there was no question at all that something was wrong.

We immediately left the practice and walked in to our local family care physician to get him checked out. Lane was pale, weak, and fell asleep in the waiting room. My first thought was the flu or some other random bug that kids pickup this time of year. After a few minutes we were able to see the doctor and after she checked his temperature we found that he had a 101.9 fever. That would explain why he felt as though a truck had hit him, but what caused the fever?

After she had checked for the flu, strep throat, and ran a urine sample she came back into the room somewhat puzzled. Everything came back negative. He didn’t have any of those things. She indicated that he may just be fighting off something and he’d be better in a few days. Sure enough, by Sunday he was back to what seemed like normal, at least until he showed up for XC practice on Monday.

On Monday following his fever, Lane showed up to XC ready to go. Lane came into the season as one of the top runners as a freshman and was ready to start this season off right! As soon as Lane started running his warm-up, he knew there was something wrong. He couldn’t get his legs to work! He said that he felt fine, nothing hurt, but he was having a hard time holding an 8:30 pace. Lane’s slow zone at the time was 7:00-7:30. He finished practice frustrated, but not too worried. We assumed that the fever he had on Friday must have taken more out of him than we thought. Tuesday and Wednesday was the same story and it was Wednesday afternoon when I realized we needed to head back to the doctor. I made an appointment for Thursday afternoon, and let his coach know that we would not be at practice.

On Thursday, I picked Lane up from school and once again he stated that he felt great. By this point I’m thinking that something else is going on and the fever may have just been a coincidence? As we met once again with his doctor I asked if we could get some blood work to see if there was any kind of imbalance. I had read about athletes, especially female athletes, who had performance problems due to low iron. Right away, he sent Lane back to the lab for a CBC (Complete Blood Count). The doctor told me that he’d give me a call later that afternoon with the results. This is it! I just knew this was going to be the problem. I got the call later that afternoon, but it wasn’t the call I was hoping for. Everything was normal. It’s strange to say that I was disappointed with a normal result, but we knew something was wrong, and once again we hit a dead end.

On Friday and Saturday Lane’s run only seemed to get worse. You could tell by looking at him run that something was very wrong. He almost seemed uncoordinated and it looked as though he had trouble just putting one foot in front of the other. On Monday, his XC coach (a great friend and coworker), and I were talking about what might be going on. We’d been to the doctor twice and everything was normal, maybe it’s just that he’s going through a growth spurt? Lane had grown a couple of inches in a short period of time.

I’ve coached triathletes for many years now and I’ve seen the effects that growing can have on kids. Their body awareness gets out of wack, and they’re just not aware of how tall they are getting which can spell big trouble when it comes to running efficiently. That must be it, so we went with it. For the next two weeks, we backed Lanes volume down and had him do other workouts when the rest of the team was doing speed. High intensity and growing quickly in many cases can lead to injuries and we just wanted to let Lane get through this.

Asking Lane to run less than everyone and not run hard is like asking a basketball player not to dribble the ball. It just didn’t make sense, and if it did, he was not happy about it. One day at XC practice almost a month since he first had his fever, I could see that this was getting to Lane. He was upset, which in turn made me upset. Something just didn’t feel right! He had grown, but not that much! And if it was a growth spurt that was leading to coordination issues then why were we not able to see it anywhere else? If it’s that bad, then it should be at least a little noticeable just walking around while not exercising. It wasn’t.

That evening I got on the phone with a coaching friend of mine out of Des Moines, Iowa, Jenny Weber. Jenny is a high-performance triathlon coach and the head coach of Z3, which is a high-performance team that Lane is a member of. I began to tell her about what was going on with Lane. She listened and said, “It’s his Ferritin”. There was no hesitation. I knew Ferritin had something to do with Iron and I told her that his CBC, which does check for iron, came back normal. Jenny calmly ensured me that a CBC does check hemoglobin, which is the iron-containing protein in the blood that carries iron and oxygen to cells, but it does not check for ferritin, which indicates the amount of iron stored in the body, almost like your iron reserve tank.

It all made sense, but I still wasn’t getting my hopes up. That night I read article after article about this very thing, and how low ferritin would affect athletes in exactly the same way that it was affecting Lane. But why didn’t anyone tell us this? Why didn’t anyone explain the difference between hemoglobin and ferritin? Why did the doctors miss this? Because while this condition is very common in young endurance athletes (some estimates are as high as 40%), it’s very uncommon with the average active young person. The average active young person is not training at the volume and intensity as Lane and many of his peers are. This is exactly why someone who coaches athletes such as Lane was able to quickly point this out when doctors didn’t.

Needless to say, Lane was happy to get his blood drawn once again the next morning for a specific ferritin test. Unfortunately we would not get the results until Friday and this was only Wednesday. For the next two days we were on pins and needles. We stuck to our plan of low volume, low intensity, and as much as I wanted to go ahead and get him on an iron supplement, I didn’t.

Friday, the call came in and it was the news we wanted. Lane’s ferritin was extremely low. What a relief! Crazy right? I’ve never been so excited to hear that something was wrong with one of my children. It was because we had an answer. We knew what the problem was and now we could work to fix it.

The “normal” range for ferritin in a young athlete such as Lane is 70-300. Lane’s was 11. That Friday afternoon Lane skipped XC to get a crash course on how to manage your iron naturally as well as to find out a supplement regimen for his iron deficiency.   We decided on 65mg of iron with vitamin C twice a day until his levels are back to normal.

So what caused the fever a month ago? We’re not real sure, but I have read that in some cases low ferritin can lead to infection, which would explain the fever.

So what caused the low ferritin? Again, I’m not sure, but I assume that when you couple the fact that Lane trains year round with the fact that he’s currently growing like a weed, deficiencies are going to occur.

There are still some questions that may never be answered, but there’s one thing for sure. The solution worked. Lane took his supplement on Friday afternoon, two on Saturday, and raced the final triathlon of his season on Sunday. He was back to the old Lane, claiming second overall against a strong field of athletes two and three times his age.

One thing I found during this 4 weeks of not knowing what was going on with my child is that answers were hard to find. Reading clinical studies, visiting the doctors office three different times, and conducting trial and error experiments that only lead to dead ends was not the easiest route. I only wish I had read Lane’s story that someone else had written from the very start. My hope is that this story will find its way to those who are searching for the same answers as me.

Please share!

The Beauty of Unplanned Stuff

One morning when I awoke, I listened for the sound of the waves. “The tide is out,” I thought. There would be enough hard sand on the shore to run. I opened my eyes and saw a flash of lightening; “So much for running,” was my next thought. I wanted so much to go watch the sunrise as I ran. It is such an important part of why I love the beach. I hear God in the perfect recipe of the sunrise, the crash of the waves, the footprint of my running shoe in the sand, the sound of my breath, the fatigue of my legs and the quiet of my mind. Instead, I pulled out my Bible and read about Gideon and how the Israelites, time and again underestimated God and wandered away to do their own thing (Judges 6-8). I read a devotional based on Jesus feeding the 5,000 with five loaves of bread and two fish and how the disciples still questioned how the next group of people would be fed (Matthew 14).

After my reading, I got out of bed. I put on my running clothes and shoes and opened the door to witness the most amazing sunrise. There was a thundercloud in the horizon and the sky blazed with bright pinks and oranges. It was amazing. I stepped out onto the beach and looked to the south; it was just the way I wanted to begin my run. It was quiet—very few people, no high-rise condo buildings, nothing to interrupt the solitude. The beach was smoother, too, an easier run, but if I wanted to watch the sunrise, this amazing work of art God was painting before my eyes, I would have to go north.

I could already see people littering the beach that way and the buildings rising along the shoreline. I looked at the sky again and began to run north. The sunrise was absolutely beautiful. Bright oranges, pinks and purples surrounded the clouds, the sun rose above them, blazing orange and streaks of light filled the sky. My lesson for the morning, however, was not in the sky. As I skipped through tide pools like obstacle courses, looking for a dry place to put my foot, I thought about how life is like that. It’s not a nice, smooth beach of sand. Sometimes I have my pace set; I’m running through the days of life and I come to a rough patch. It forces me to change my pace, choose my steps more carefully and seek out the Creator of my path to make sure the next step is the right one. Slowing down, changing course, it’s not always a bad thing. “Your ways are not my ways, says the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:7-9). I looked up at the sunrise, just like in life; the beauty is worth having to change my pace.

There was a man fishing; he made eye contact and wished me good morning. I smiled and returned the greeting, anxious to get back to my pace and my thoughts. He wanted to talk more, so I stopped. We talk about the sunrise, the spectacular lightening show he witnessed in the sky this morning and told me a little about himself. I wished him a good day and returned to my run. I thought about how much my life is like this encounter. I’m in the middle of something, pursuing my goals or deadlines or just simply not wanting to break the pace of life when God puts someone in my path that needs something I can give because of what He has given me.

I looked up at the sunrise. The beauty of it, just like the beauty of reaching out to someone in need, is worth the break in my pace. I was to the part of the beach with the high-rise condo buildings, which did not add to the beauty of the morning. However, when I looked right instead of left, I saw the massive ocean, the beauty of the continuing assent of the sun. Life is like that, too, right? There is so much ugliness in the landscape of our lives. I can easily be drawn into focusing on that ugliness or I can choose to see the beauty that God has placed in my life. God says he works all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:27-29); it doesn’t get any more beautiful than that.

I had to turn around. My legs were tired and my body weak. I’d made very few good choices that week when it came to eating and my body was feeling the effects of the lack of fuel. My life is like that, too. Sometimes I choose to focus on the wrong things: worry, things that don’t feed my spirit, the negatives of life. I run out of fuel for my days or the things life brings my way. God tells me to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17), Jesus says he is the bread of life (John 6:35). What does my life diet consist of?

As I finished my run, I start to notice the people around me. A couple was walking together, but looking as if they were miles apart. A young mother was trying to enjoy the sunrise as her two young boys ran along the beach and her husband tried to wrangle them in. She looked tired and distracted. What had brought these people to this place in time? What choices or decisions had they made? What would they do differently if they could? I know what regret and disappointment feel like. Thank you, Jesus, that all things become new in you (II Corinthians 5:17). I no longer have to wish I could change the past. I only have to focus on what the Master has planned for right now.

I finished my run strong. I was thankful for the beauty of the morning, the beauty of life and the beauty of the unplanned stuff of life: the rough patches, the distractions of life and the people who enter my life, the things that fuel my days with positive things and the grace that forgives my past. Most of all, I’m thankful for a God who speaks into my life through the beauty of a sunrise and the unplanned stuff of a run.

Written by Bonnie Burnside.  Excerpt from Run for God – Devotions v1

Pick up your copy of Devotions at http://www.RunforGod.com