New (Boston-Inspired) Believe Training Journal

Last December I reviewed VeloPress’s Believe Training Journal (here). I’ve been using a new edition for the last few weeks. All due respect to the teal cover on my last one, I like this “Boston-inspired blue and gold” much better:

 

 

The souped-up journal comes from Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas. As I noted with the previous edition, this one has:

  • a two-page spread for tracking run details each week… there are 54 undated weeks, so use them whenever you want
  • each week has a small box for “this week’s focus”… I consistently benefit from thinking through this each week (I otherwise never would on Strava, etc.)
  • similarly, each week ends with a few lines for a “rundown,” also the kind of reflection not built in to any activity tracking apps
  • quotes from different runners to inspire (this week it was Shalane Flanagan)
  • a guided goal-setting section
  • pages for logging races
  • what most sets this journal apart (and makes it more than just a blank journal): short articles on running-related topics like racing, recovery, community, setbacks, and more

Here are some pictures. You’ll see that I’ve been using the log so far to track my progress in injury recovery (I fractured my ankle in late October). I’d much rather be tracking runs, but right now recovery is my training plan:

 

 

There are “check-in” pages throughout, which has been a great place to record notes from doctor’s visits!

 

 

Here’s an article (this one was in the last journal I used, too):

 

 

As with other Believe journals, this one is undated (a year’s worth of pages) and includes an annual calendar where you could easily see multiple months’ worth of mileage at once.

This cover is “flexi-bound synthetic,” material which is a little stronger than softcover.

If your goal is to log your runs (distance, pace, mindset, weather, etc.), all you need is a blank notebook. Especially being in recovery mode, though, I’ve enjoyed having this journal with its additional reading material to keep me interested. I still appreciate the 6” x 7 ½” size and ribbon marker that keeps my place at the current week.

You can find the journal here, with other options available, as well.

 


 

Thanks to the great folks at VeloPress for the review copy.

One Album, Three Seasons! (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany)

Disclosure of Material Connection: One time when we were in college, hanging out outside Caribou Coffee, I put my hand on Steve’s forehead and started to fake push his head against the brick wall. But I didn’t let go soon enough, so caused him “actual pain,” the same safe words I had to employ another time when I was roughhousing with his friends in the chapel backstage area, and they broke my glasses. I don’t mean to suggest these two events are connected–just that, well… Steve and I go way back.

Disclosure of Material Connection, cont’d: Even at barely 20 he was a ridiculously gifted guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Some of my favorite college memories are Steve Thorngate concerts. Steve may remember most the time Abram Jones and His Loud, Loud Band opened for Steve and His Chair-Sitting Whispercore Corps, but the Steve concert experience I most remember is one he played at (now razed and rebuilt?) Pierce Chapel in Wheaton College. He and his band were loudly rocking an epic rendition of “If I Find You“, and Steve was, as the kids would say, absolutely crushing the major 7 intervals in the melody, as he scraped his pick–top string to bottom string–across an Fmaj7 with the top two strings open, walking the shape up two frets over the same melody, then sitting on an A minor while the melody resolved. Emo Abram was–and still is–in awe of that song. And I believe I may have witnessed its best performance that night.

Disclosure of Material Connection, still cont’d: In recent years Steve has brought his musical genius to bear in the church. There’s a lot of it here. Last year he released an album (digitally and now in CD form) called After the Longest Night: Songs for Advent, Christmas, & Epiphany.


One night as part of my kids’ bedtime routine, I played and sang them Steve’s song “The Thick Darkness Where God Dwells.” I introduced the song by saying, “This song is by my friend Steve.” At that point they’d heard After the Longest Night a few times. Two lines in to the song, I was interrupted by a resounding chorus of, “You KNOW HIM???” and, “Wait, is he famous?”

Steve has foregone the fame that was certain to be his, in service instead to the church. Last Advent I had to try hard not to quote Steve’s lyrics in every sermon. Listening to this album–and dialoguing with him about it over email–profoundly shaped my preaching last Advent, as well as stretched my understanding of light, darkness, and just where God resides.

Here are some highlights of this album:

  • A wide variety of musical arrangements
  • Many-part harmonies
  • FIVE Thorngates for the price of one
  • The melodies are immediately memorable, which bodes well for congregational singing, if you want to try some of these in that setting
  • Speaking of leading these songs with a congregation, Steve has you covered: the album comes with a PDF songbook
  • “The Thick Darkness Where God Dwells” was an early favorite track. For one, I love seeing a song based on such a moving Bible verse. For another, it’s a fresh exploration of themes of light and darkness… more than just light=good=God, dark=bad=devil, but a meaty exploration of what God-in-the-darkness looks like
  • I mean, just check out these lyrics:

    Winter days are so short. 
    In the nighttime keep watch for the Lord, 
    Who reverses our vision 
    With new order that we can’t see. 
    Yet we cry, “Jesus, come! 
    Here’s who needs to be saved; here’s who from!” 
    Learn to trust in the darkness, 
    Where our God of mystery dwells. 

  • Advent, Christmas, Epiphany: they are all here
  • One of the songs is called “The Night is Long (But Not for Long),” which I think beautifully captures the “already-but-not-yet” aspects of waiting

This is Steve’s first full-length album in 14 years, and I hope we’ll get to hear another one in less time. There’s more to say in praise of this musical offering, but I’ll stop there so you can go listen for yourself.

What’s New in Mounce’s Greek Grammar?

Earlier in 2019 Zondervan released updated editions of Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar (Pratico and Van Pelt, now in its 3rd edition) and Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar (Mounce, now in its 4th edition), as well as a suite of accompanying aids for students learning from those textbooks.

I haven’t spent as much time with the new resources as I’d like. But I recently came across Mounce’s own short summary online of what is new and updated in his fourth edition. Here’s his list of “major improvements”:

  • The layout of the book has been simplified. It’s gone back to its former size (6 x 9) but with a lay-flat binding. You wouldn’t need a brick to hold the pages open.

  • The layout is cleaner, which makes the content less intimidating, and the Professor has been moved to the website.

  • Vocabulary is the same (except ἅγιος is moved forward to chapter 9). However, pay close attention to the semicolons in the vocabulary listings. They identify the different glosses for a word.

  • Exercises 11 and 12, which are made-up sentences, now have space to translate them; hopefully, teachers will start requiring them.

  • A few exercise sentences have been replaced, and the order of the parsing exercises have been re-ordered in later chapters so that they go from easier to harder. Eventually, there will be a listing of those changes.

  • A free set of Keynote and PowerPoint slides for both the grammar and the workbook are downloadable for free, and they use Unicode so you wouldn’t have to download a special font. (They use Times New Roman.)

  • The FlashWorks database, paper flashcards, and the Compact Guide have all been updated to match the changes in the grammar. Roots are added to the cards, and a downloadable PDF listing all the words in alphabetical order is available for free.

  • Scholarship’s new understanding of the middle voice has been included, and teachers are invited to decide which approach to use. The same goes for the debate over σα and θη forms. QC codes will point you to YouTube presentations on some of these issues.

  • Aspectual language is now used throughout. So the book talks about the imperfective aspect, imperfect tense, perfective aspect, aorist tense, combinative aspect, and the perfect tense. I always include the words “aspect” and “tense” to avoid confusion.

  • Roots have been emphasized from chapter 4 on, are listed prominently in the vocabulary sessions, so when the student comes to chapter 20 it is natural and easy to think in terms of roots and stems.

See more here. Mounce’s grammar is available here.

Gone for a Run’s 13.1 Mile Running Journal

It’s often said that all you really need to run is shoes, shorts, and a shirt (even that is optional). True, but for those of us who want to combine running with data tracking, a little introspection, and the #analoguelife, there are running journals.

I reviewed the Believe Training Journal here. It’s a robust journal that includes training tips, articles, mini-essays (!) and more. Although much of it is guided, there’s plenty of blank space to just write down the runs you did.

GoneForaRun.com makes a series of running journals that are simpler. Here’s their description of the features:

  • 160 Pages with 280 daily Training log entries
  • Convenient 7.5″ x 5″ size with protective cover
  • Over 140 unique motivational + inspirational quotes
  • Includes pages for goals, weekly & monthly mileage summary, my race log, PR’s, bucket list + race registration log

So all the essentials are there, especially if the Believe journal is too much for you.

GoneForaRun was kind to send me a review copy of one of their journals, so I could write about it here (and write in it). They sent the 13.1 Math Miles journal.

The cover is a great-looking yellow and blue.

 

 

The cover brings makes me think of the old Langenscheid dictionary covers, a pleasant memory:

 

 

Each page has room for you to log two runs, so that a full spread with the journal open shows you four runs at a time. A downside to this is if you run more than four times a week, you can’t see an entire week’s workouts on a two-page spread. There are 70 front-and-back sheets in the journal for a total of 280 runs you can log. This number also is funny to me, since you’d have to run 5.3846 times a week to fill up this journal in a year. More serious runners (who run or work out six times a week) will need another journal before a year is up. There are two pages of weekly and monthly summary, which is enough for two years, but even for a more casual 3x/week runner, the total number of pages won’t be enough for two years.

At any rate, the layout is clean and simple:

 

 

There are places for goals, tracking PRs, and a bucket list:

 

 

There is lots of room (four pages!) for tracking your races separately, too:

 

 

I’m a sucker for sewn binding, and this journal has it! That combined with the plastic slip case will prolong the life of the journal.

 

 

My favorite part is the weekly and monthly summary, where you can track just mileage.

 

 

There are also six notes pages in the back, where you could do longer-range planning or perhaps sketch out your training plan.

The simplicity of this journal is great. The amount of runs it records (280) is odd; I would have rather seen seven spaces for runs spread out over two pages, like most weekly planners have. But everything else you need in a training log is here, so if you want a journal without the extras, take a look.

The 13.1 Math Miles journal is here (in four different colors). All the other GoneForaRun journals are here.

Chemex Might Make You Not Want to Use Your Regular Coffee Maker Again

It was fawning interest at first sight and then love at first drink with the Chemex Filter-Drip Coffeemaker.

I love to drink coffee, and the fact that our coffee of choice is Peet’s made me think I was kind of a coffee snob. (Wonderfully, our local grocery store sells Peet’s whole bean by the package, and often on sale.) But deep down inside I knew that my reliance on a standard coffee maker–and only very occasional use of a French press–meant coffee brewing snobbery was still an aspiration.

Chemex scratches that itch, but in a non-pretentious way. I’ve been enjoying regular use of the Ten Cup Glass Handle Chemex for the last couple weeks, which Chemex kindly sent my way for review.

It comes with its own filters. Behold:

Chemex even included an awesome leather coaster to put the glass on.

Now, it’s time to make the coffee. Pretty simple (and there was an instruction sheet included):

  • Grind the beans, medium coarse
  • Put them in the filter on top of the glass brewer
  • Boil the water (Chemex has this sweet looking thing, but I just used my tea kettle)
  • Pour the water over the beans and let them “bloom” for 30 seconds (Chemex tells me the bloom is “escaping gas that has been trapped in the beans during the roasting process”
  • Pour water over the beans, so that it goes almost to the top of the glass
  • Repeat

This is the smoothest cup of coffee I’ve ever had at home. There’s not an ounce of sludge, anywhere in sight. Even the pour from the Chemex to mug is perfectly clear and clean. Here’s an image of the drip brewing:

Mmmmmmm.

Drinking coffee from the regular coffee maker the next day was a serious step down. (Don’t get me wrong; I’m grateful for coffee in all its forms!) I had no idea what I was missing.

The design is awesome. The glass is strong. The filters are easy to use and don’t leak. The handle makes pouring easy. Maybe the only thing I’d add is some kind of cozy or heat cover. You can put this on the stove on low heat (if gas or glass stove top), but then I’d have to remember it’s there! (I.e., no auto-off.) But I put the brewed coffee right into a Thermos, so that works out well.

Learn more about the Chemex at its product page here. Two thumbs (or in this case, mugs) up!

5 Forthcoming Reviews

Just a short “in the mail” post today to share five reviews you can expect to read here in the coming weeks and months:

 

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  1. First Raise a Flag: How South Sudan Won the Longest War but Lost the Peace (Oxford University Press)  

    This book just arrived in the mail yesterday. Some years ago I read a few books on the Rwandan genocide, and have had occasional interest in African history. Time to reactivate that interest and learn more about what’s been happening in Sudan. (LINK)

     

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  2. The 13.1 GoneForaRun running journal  

    It will be hard to top the Believe training journal I use now, but this one looks good so far. (LINK)

     

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  3. Old Testament Hebrew vocabulary cards  

    I learned Hebrew using these more than 10 years ago; now the Basics of Biblical Hebrew suite from Zondervan is in a new edition, so I’m re-learning with the updated cards. (LINK)

     

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  4. A sweet leather wallet from Galen Leather  

    It holds a pen! Cards! A notebook! Money! (money sold separately) It looks, feels, and smells amazing. (LINK)

     

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  5. Harvard Business Review’s new book, Why Do So Many Men Become Incompetent Leaders? (and how to fix it)  

    I just finished the book yesterday, so will probably post about that next. (LINK)

Two More Winners from Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow.

We’re continuing to enjoy the recipes from Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow. by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky (publisher page / Amazon). (And we still use its predecessor, Run Fast. Eat Slow.) I think it’s safe to say that recently the majority of prepared foods in our house has used one of those two cookbooks.

Two more yummy ones to show in this post. First, the ultra-healthy Grain Salad, for which you can use quinoa or any other grain you have in the house.

 

A snippet of what’s in the book

 

Yum yum.

 

That salad was dee-lish-us.

I was eager to try the cardamom granola recipe, however aged our cardamom might be! I tripled the recipe so that we’d have some to share.

 

Recipe snippet

 

Used the biggest bowl I could find

 

 

It came out great. If anything, the recipe could have called for more cardamom; its taste wasn’t very pronounced, but that could be because some of my spice had lost its flavor over time.

Oh, and have I mentioned the superhero muffins? If you loved them from the first cookbook, this follow-up offers more variations. Lots of great grab-and-go (but healthy and nourishing) snack ideas here.

I’ve barely even gotten into the book’s racing tips and overarching eating/kitchen strategies; we’ve been so eager to just go the the recipes. But it’s got some really useful big picture stuff, too, like a compelling section on why the book doesn’t include calorie counts. And there are chapters devoted to things like “Jump-Start Your Kitchen” (chapter two) and some of Shalane’s training routine (the third chapter, “Rise & Run”).

This cookbook/guidebook is definitely a worthy sequel, and has a prominent place among our cookbooks. You can check out the Run Fast. Eat Slow. website here.

 


 

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of Run Fast. Cook Fast. Eat Slow., sent so I could review it, but with no expectation as to the nature or content of my review.