Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Hundred for Henry - Running Rocky Raccoon 100


Henry Douglas Bell was born August 1, 2014 at 24 weeks & 1 day old. He weighed 1 lb. 12 oz. and was 12” long. Henry needs your prayers.
 Although many people have been following & praying for Baby Henry, sharing in the joy as he overcomes challenge after challenge, there are also financial challenges that the family faces; challenges that are not in the forefront of our minds.
 Know No Boundaries has taken on the challenge of running the Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile Endurance Run in Houston on January 31, 2015 in efforts to raise money to help Henry & his family. Our goals, is to get at least 100 people to donate $100. All donations are Tax Deductible as Know No Boundaries is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit foundation. Donations can be made on our website at the top of the Main page; www.knownoboundaries.org. 
The point is that we will be running 1 mile for every dollar donated. 100% of the funds raised will go to help Henry & his family with their financial burden. PLEASE DONATE to help Henry.

Know No Boundaries will be doing all of the work. The donation is the easy part.
Thank you for your support & God Bless you.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Ultra Running & Finding God Within


"1 Kings 19:11 - The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave."

It is the gentle whisper, the still small voice were one finds God. For me; like many; the hustle & bustle of our world make it difficult to hear this gentle whisper. There are so many things that pull & tug us in all different directions that we do not have time to quite ourselves, to have time with our God who is within us always.

Running the popular 5k or 10k race in town may be a time to turn within, but often times it is too short of a time & there are still too many distractions.

When I got in to ultra distance running (I.e. distances longer than the 26.2 mile marathon), I often found myself alone with no other runners around me. As I run at quite a slow pace, most of the other runners are long ahead of me. Since many ultra marathons are run on trails, running alone results in my being out on some long country gravel road or in the forest or out in the prairie for hours on end. To give you some feel for the time aspect, most 100 mile runs have a 30-hour cut off time. This means that I have 30 hours within which to complete the 100-mile run. Most races start early on a Saturday morning; run all day, all through the night & into the next day often finishing around 2:00 PM on Sunday.

It is during the long stretches of running alone at night where this “gentle whisper”, this “small voice” can be heard. THIS is the time when I commune with God & HE with me. No hustle & bustle, no traffic or blaring music, no e-mails to check, just quiet darkness. The crunching of my feet on the ground, the cool night air, the rustle of the leaves in the breeze all work in a symphony to create that perfect environment for God, the Almighty Creator of All, to be heard. When I am running at night, alone, with no other person to talk to, God & I have the most wonderful conversations. HE shows me the real me, allows me to know the Real God.

When I am tired & thinking of giving up, HE encourages me & lets me know that HE is with me & strengthening me every step of the way. HE knows that whatever suffering that I am going through is offered up for others & for the souls in Purgatory. I am aware that my suffering is self-induced, but none-the-less, I still offer it up for others. I am thankful for my ability to do this as my “quiet time with God” is indescribable & intoxicating.

Why do I run ultras you ask?

To spend quality time with My Lord.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Know Thy Limits

Good evening Ruddies (that’s slang for Running Buddies). It is 19 days until the 2014 Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd. A big part of me is stoked, while the other part is apprehensive.

WHY you might ask?

As Know No Boundaries is one to help others “break through” their self set, self limiting boundaries by “walking the walk & talking the talk”, there comes a point when one must look at reality & make a call as to whether not doing something is actually allowing that “boundary" to define our abilities to be, do & become all that God has in store for us or if it is a smart move so that one can live to fight (or in our case run) another day.

If one is well trained, well prepared & ready to do battle with the obstacle in question & STILL does not, then they have allowed that obstacle or boundary to define them.

If on the other hand, they are not prepared or well trained & decide to modify the challenge, obstacle or boundary only to return at a later time to break through & overcome it, then they are approaching things smart.

Such is the case with the 2014 Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd. Not having had the chance to train properly & get in the necessary long runs. It would be a bad decision to attempt to complete a 100 mile run way undertrained.

We have decided to approach this like one would approach any monumental task - - One step at a time. Instead of the 100 mile distance, Know No Boundaries has decided to cut back to the 100K. For one, it is a smart move; and as we also have the Polar Bear Marathon in Churchill;, Manitoba Canada in November, it is best to run smart.

The 100 mile “boundary” has been broken three times already in the past, so it is not something that we have not done before. It is just something that should not happen now.

Many times one needs to look at the Big Picture & one’s overall long term goal and make adjustments along the way.

Stay tuned for race updates from the 214 PHH as well as previews for the 2014 Polar Bear Marathon.

And as was mentioned in our last post, we are still short of our fundraising goals by about $1500 so if the Holy Spirit moves you, PLEASE consider making a Tax Deductible donation to Know No Boundaries (www.knownoboundaries.org).

Until next time - - - 
God Bless You 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fall 2014 Events and Fundraising Recipients

Know No Boundaries has partnered with Athletes In Action for our Fall 2014 fundraiser and recipient.
Athletes in Action has been using sports as a platform to help people answer questions of faith and to point them to Jesus. They believe that sports has the power to open doors and create connections in a way that few other things can, and that’s why they are constantly working to create new ways of reaching out to athletes and sports fans alike. Ultimately, their goal is to see peoples’ lives changed as they discover God’s purpose for their life.
This is perfectly in line with the mission of Know No Boundaries. Our goal is to facilitate or be the catalyst to help people "break out" of those self set, self limiting boundaries to achieve this same thing - - to discover & achieve God's purpose for them.
This Fall's recipients for funds are the Aboriginal (needy First Nations Children) of Northern Canada in Churchill, Manitoba. This very remote village has many, many needs due to their remoteness hence their being "bound" by this fact. Additionally, Know No Boundaries will have a chance to minister to the community of Churchill about "breaking through boundaries" and achieving God's plan for them.
The events for this fall are two-fold. The first event is Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd in October. This is a 100 mile run on rural roads in the NortheasternOklahoma town of Tahlequah.
Know No Boundaries successfully ran this in 2013 and will repeat this same feat this fall.
Our second fall event, and the one where we will be ministering to the people of Churchill, Manitoba, is the Polar Bear Marathon in November in Northern, Manitoba, Canada. Proceeds go to help the community of Churchill as mentioned above.
This marathon is an "Invitation Only" marathon limited to 40 runners. Churchill is the "Polar Bear Capital of the World" so runners will be in pairs followed by a crew vehicle with supplies and for safety (it IS bear country you know). Temperatures in Churchill in November can be near -30 Celsius, so it will be a bit "chilly" during the run. This will allow Know No Boundaries to also break some of our own boundaries.
Please keep us in your prayers and consider donating to our cause. Our FUNDRAISING GOAL for both events
All donations are Tax Deductible.

God Bless;
Ken

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Making an Important Meeting - 2014 Prairie Spirit 100 Summary

With the 2014 Prairie Spirit 100 only 12 days ago, everything is still fresh in my mind. First & foremost, is the fact that I was running for a cause! A cause that was greater than myself.
I was running for (3) year old Lincoln Mouser from Bixby, Oklahoma who at (3) months old, had to have his right leg amputated above the knee due to complications that arose soon after he was born (premature, I might add). Lincoln was a tremendous inspiration to me as he is the perfect example of how we can all overcome obstacles. Although he no doubt will still have challenges as he grows up, Lincoln epitomizes the person who will not and cannot be stopped.
Coming  back to this year's Prairie Spirit 100, I had an important meeting that I HAD TO KEEP. A meeting with (3) year old Lincoln who was to be at the finish line of this race to meet with me, & for me to present him & his family with a check from our fundraising efforts.

We started out in the dark at 6:00 AM in Ottawa, KS for a short 1 mile out & back before heading out on the trail. Early on in the race, we hooked up with Carolyn Glenn who we stuck with all the way to the turn around at Iola.
The trail was fairly flat (actually, it could not have been any flatter for a trail run) so there were no undulating hills; mainly a beautiful tree covered chat trail.

Interspersed between manned aid stations, were unmanned water stops (a great place to top off my hydration pack). First stop was the Richmond Aid Station followed by Princeton. Breezed through these on the way out as there were no "real issues" to deal with. As always, the volunteers were AWESOME!
Leaving Princeton, was more of the same . . .
(Note: I always seem to think of my camera on the outward part of the ultra. On the way back, my mind id definitely focused inwards.)
Plodding onward (it did seem like plodding at times), we finally arrived at the Garnett aid station where I had my first drop bag.
My good friend & ultra runner Polly Choate & her lovely daughter Lauren, manned (or should I say womaned) this stop. It was the only one indoors (a Polly requirement). Russell Bennett (another awesome ultra runner friend) lent a hand as well.
The next manned aid station was Welda & it was run by the infamous Trail Nerdz.
"WOW", is all I can say. These guys really know how to pamper ultra runners.
As a Vegan (as of January 1, 2014), I was thrilled that they had hot lentil soup (aside from all the standard ultra fare of fruit, PB&J, etc.).

Onward we ran. Carolyn & I had some great conversations all the while. One of which I thought of throughout the whole race. Carolyn relayed to me that during the 2013 running of Prairie Spirit 500 & 100, she hear some "snorting" on the side of the trail. My thoughts were that it was probably a horse or cow (or some other farm animal). Having been raised on a farm, Carolyn quickly corrected me to tell me that "she just knew" it was a wild pig! (NOTE: Wild Pigs ARE NOT your friend!). Well for me, I had visions of climbing a tree every time I though I heard a snort!
We had many creek crossings along the way, & I know that they will look different in the dark. None-the-less, we did cross many a "bridge over troubled waters".
I MUST ADD; all the while through each of the outbound aid stations, one person who I CANNOT thank enough, was a good friend & awesome runner; Travis Owen. Travis had my car & crewed a bit for me before his turn to pace me later in the race.
Finally arriving to Iola Aid Station, & the turn-around point, it was a good feeling that we were in in under 13 hours, giving us a good start back out.
Here, I was greeted by one of my ultra running idols; Ken "TZ" Childress (aka K1) & his wife Dana.
TZ is always great to see & always encouraging. I know that he wanted to run here (to make up for last year's blizzard) but recent knee surgery kept him on the side-lines this year.

Here is where I picked up one of two special individuals who made this race happen for me. Mishelle Wiggs Hancock joined me here at the turn around (about mile 52) & paced me for approximately 20 miles; back to the Welda Aid station. (NOTE: Mishelle was also instrumental in pacing me last October at Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd).
We started off by me apologizing for what would probably be my lack of talking as well as my slow pace. Mishelle kindly tells me to "shut up" & that she understands all of this.
We move out as the sun begins to set on a great first half.
As the sun set & darkness set in, my mind began to turn inwards. I ALWAYS felt that ultra running is extremely spiritual & contemplative (it is for me at least). It is my way of being able to turn off the outside world, turn inwards & focus on God. As pain & discomfort come at you full force, this turning inwards allows one to "tune out" the outside world & give ones full focus to our relationship with God, the purpose of life & our place in it (a bit philosophical, I know).
After a couple of the unmanned water stops & another pass through the Colony Aid Station, we were back at Welds (you know, where the infamous Trail Nerdz were). sitting down for a tad bit felt like heaven as did that wonderful cup of hot lentil soup. By now, it was dark & the temps were dropping so the hot soup was most welcome.
Ken & Dana Childress were here now as well as was another running friend; Charlotte Lindley & her friend Dennis. I had though that they were miles ahead of me, but I heard that Dennis had some stomach issues that he was wrestling with so after a bit, I bid them a due.
Here is where Mishelle passed the baton to Travis, who up until now, was crewing for me. 
Travis jumped in full force & helped keep me mentally strong. From here, we had approximately 30 miles to go (not to mention numerous cut off times for each of the aid stations.
Off we went into the night; me trying my hardest to keep a decent pace & Travis providing what was going to be hours of conversation (even if it was often one sided).
Not too much longer after Travis & I left Welda, Kathy Hoover & roman Broyles cam in. Both looking strong (although Roman did seem a bit sleepy - - - really?)
Travis & I plodded (here is that plodding again) through the night on to the Garnett aid station.
At this point, sitting down inside was a very welcome luxury. Looking over across the room, I saw one of the aid station volunteers asleep on a bench & . . . . . (well, let me say a bit of jealousy arose for just a second).
I just HAD to close my eyes for a moment but as soon as Travis saw this, he immediately jumped in & said "Gotta go. We can't have any if this sleeping thing at this point."
Arriving at the Richmond Aid Station & grabbed a tad more hot broth to keep warm.
Travis was constantly aware of the cut off times for each aid station & stayed on me so we didn't dawdle too look (are you kidding me? I could use some dawdling at this point). He told me that although we were within the cut offs, we did not have much room.
Onward we marched (notice we are no longer plodding). Our last manned aid station on the course was at Princeton where I was able to see Ken TZ Childress & Dana again. Despite how I thought I looked & felt, they were extremely encouraging & bid me farewell as we took off on our last stage.
As we entered Ottawa (again) & I saw the Love's convenience store, I knew that we were there.
I was going to make my "important meeting"; my meeting with (3) year old Lincoln Mouser & his parents who were waiting at the finish line for me. 
ELATION is the only thing that I can say to describe this finish. Mishelle & Travis brought me to a 2 HOUR PR of 27:36!
Crossing the finish line, I took off my hydration pack & just wanted to lie down; right there on the grass. I was greeted by the Mousers & a GREAT BIG HUG from Lincoln. Giving them a check from Know No Boundaries for $1,100 made the tears come streaming!

Oh, and one more thing I might add, one main factor that kept me keeping up my pace was the fact that Travis kept telling me that we were "okay on the cut off times, but didn't have much leeway.
What he didn't tell me, was that the cut off times were HIS times AND NOT the official race cut off times.
He had me more than an hour ahead of pace!
I think that  I might have even been close to running negative splits!
WHAT!
All I can say is THANK YOU Mishelle & Travis. You made the 2014 Prairie Spirit 100 a truly EPIC Ultra.
God Bless all & always know to "know no boundaries.

Ken

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

100 Miles for Lincoln

Many of us tend to think that we have it rough. Challenges & obstacles just seem to block us every direction we turn. Do we quit? Or do we soldier on? Often both, right? One would say that it would depend upon the challenge or obstacle that determines whether we can or cannot “break through” this boundary or limitation.

I say that it is OUR OWN MIND that determines this. WE decide what is a boundary & what is not.

If you lost a limb, would you sign up for a local 5K? How about a marathon? Some might just decide that they “could not do it” & relegate themselves to a life that is limited & full of unfulfilled dreams & goals. All because of an internal decision. Others would take on the challenge & smash through this “glass” boundary.

Two year old Lincoln Mouser knows just this challenge. Born in 2011; nearly 4 months premature; he was fighting for his life right from the beginning. Shortly after birth, Lincoln was found to have an open Ductus Arteriosus which leads to abnormal blood flow between the aorta & the pulmonary artery. A week & a half after surgery to correct this, a blood clot was found in Lincoln’s right leg. This clot resulted in the eventual amputation of his right leg through the right knee joint. After several months of recovery, Lincoln was finally released.

In his short 2 years & 9 months, Lincoln has already had several prosthetic legs. And as quickly as most kids grow, he will need many more legs. Lincoln currently has (2) legs; one straight one & a new one with a knee.

And if you didn’t know, legs don’t come cheap! At approximately $16,000 a piece, getting additional legs as Lincoln continues to grow is a huge strain on the Mouser family; not only financially, but emotionally & spiritually as well. They are likely to need more than one a year.

Know No Boundaries has joined up with the Mouser family to raise money to help pay for legs for Lincoln. We are running the Prairie Spirit 100 Ultra on March 29th - 30th to raise the money. A $1.00 per mile donation is what we are hoping for from each person donating. The $100 total donation is the easy part. We are the ones making the physical effort. Know No Boundaries is a 501 (c)(3) Non Profit Foundation so all donations are Tax Deductible. Go to our website to make a donation securely through PayPal.

And stay tuned for more photos of little Lincoln & progress on our training.

Blessings;
Ken

Sunday, October 27, 2013

2nd 100 Mile Finish - Divine Providence

Driving to Tahlequah, Oklahoma Friday October 18th for my 3rd go at Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd 100 Mile Trail Run was exciting. I just “KNEW” that the 3rd time was going to be the charm. THIS WAS GOING TO BE THE YEAR TO BUCKLE! We had stopped at Walmart 


on the way to the camp ground to pick up a few things & so Skip could fix the plug on the trailer. It was dark at this point & drizzling (Yuck!) as I stood there holding a flashlight so he could fix the plug.

Once done, we headed off to Eagle Bluff. A block or two from Walmart, a nice lady pulled up along side us to let us know that the trailer door was open! A quick jump out of the car & back to the back & I closed the door & we were back on the road.

At Eagle Bluff camp ground & Skip and I began getting the trailer ready for bed when IT HAPPENED!

Me : “Skip, we have a problem!” Skip: “What sort of problem?” Me: “Skip, ewe have a BIG problem! I am missing a shoe! The shoes that I am RUNNING IN tomorrow morning.” By now, it was about 11:00 PM & still drizzling. Panicked that I was going to run in casual shoes or borrowed ones, Skip said for me to get to bed & he was going to had out to look for my lost shoe. (NOTE: Really? A dark blue shoe, at 11:15 PM in the drizzle?). At midnight, Skip opened the trailer door WITH MY LOST SHOE!

Now THIS MUST BE a Divine Sign that I was to finish & earn that coveted buckle this year.


After a good night’s sleep, I awoke to a cold morning & then a wonderful 8:00 AM start.

I was totally pumped! With my new found show (dry I might add), & tremendous excitement, we were off.

I have my crew in line & (2) pacers for loops (2) & (3). 

I was set!

Loop (1) was beautiful in the sun however for some reason, many of the aid station volunteers said I did not look good. I needed some “Go Juice”. I felt good, I just could not get my mouth & face to show it.

By the 2nd loop, I was in my groove. Mishelle Hancock jumped in & we headed off. When we made it to the Mad Dog aid station, it was not yet dark (although it would be on loop 3).
This has GOT to be the aid station of all aid station. Kevin Lemaster at Ultra Gator did a GREAT job!

Matt Wisnewski jumped in for a 1/2 loop before Mishelle (my Angel Runner) jumped in to run again until daylight.

By Mile 91, I was ready to be done. With no pacers left, Skip Gensert (my Crew Chief), jumped out; jeans & tennis shoes & all; & paced me in for the last 9 miles!

At the end, I was DONE!

Well, ALMOST DONE.

What I needed, was that coveted belt buckle. The buckle that alluded me for the past (2) attempts.

This time, I FINISHED! God & me!

I am TOTALLY indebted to ALL who helped. It was not easy, & I could not have done it alone.