Joyful Presence

Today I choose to express
In bucketfuls.

In a shot glass or a demitasse
there is but a taste.

Joy served in a teacup is nice
and civilised
and polite.

Joy served in a mug
lasts just long enough for curiosity,
but it will only dampen the grumps
(And to be honest, it’s a bit selfish!)

But in a bucket?
There’s way too much for me to drink alone
– I’d have to share and share.
Pouring it out for others;
Looking out for those frowns and downturned mouths and turned up noses.
For Joyful presence isn’t about
Nor is it about the division of difference in
us or them.
us for them.

THAT’s good news for the poor
the broken-hearted
the oppressed
those who mourn.

An abundant, generous Joyful presence.

I heard it in the shopping center today: “Joy to the world”
And then I looked at the faces.
Some were smiling and content and laughing.
But too many were grumpy. Too much to do, and way too much frustration.

Written for Advent 3, 2016.  Rev Nigel Hanscamp


A Hope-Filled space

When I hope,
I’m not wishing.
For I can live without my wish.
But if I am deprived of hope,
I have nothing to live for.

or hope-empty?
It is not a trivial thing to have hope
or to lose it.

Hope lost or held
lost and found.
They tell us that in
war, or concentration camps
in cancer and in unemployment
hope makes the ultimate difference.
For despair is the ultimate killer.

But a hope-filled space
That is a space for a spark
or a roaring fire
or a single candle flame like this one.

You have something the human race needs.
No, not your money, or your status.
It’s your hope.
Enough. hope.
Just enough.

Is that a wish?

– no. Far from it.

It is space for hope.

Still in One Peace

Some times when I meet you
I find … a peace
A missing peace

A peace of something I would like to have.
Something … still and quiet.
Not rushed.
Something that has time to pause
to observe beyond seeing
and listen beyond hearing
and read between my lines
and feel beyond the hard callouses of my opinions.

I’d love to have a peace of all the time in the world.

A peace of something
soothing like cool water on a hot day;
Or a single-origin coffee that yearns
to be savoured
with …

A peace of something that tastes like
curiosity and possibility
and a peace of contentment.

A peace of something infused with
hope and God
and grace
when all my infusions are bitter and selfish.

So bless me for a peace of that
which leaves me both
and hungry for more

For every time I leave you
I am …

One Peace


“Still in One Peace” is a reflection on a sign-off line in an email;
for a meal with the beautiful women from the Heathmont UC women’s fellowship;
with the words of Jesus who sat with them and said
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”.

Race Preparation tips #17: 4 days to go

Excitement / panic / bewilderment is building – it’s suddenly dawned on you what you have committed to … your first, or next, running event. 4 days / 5 sleeps to go. You’ve done your training … so what’s important now? Here’s my list … more or less in this order.

  • Every night – get to bed early / on time (set an alarm on your phone or watch)
  • Tuesday / Wednesday – trim your toenails.
  • Wednesday / Thursday – check the course and talk to friends and family about where they might stand to cheer you on – and where they expect to meet you afterwards (the ‘G’ is a big place!).  You may also want to check out post-race celebration spots or events!
  • Check train times or book parking (Hint: Hisense Arena do $7.50 prebooked parking).
  • Thursday / Friday – lay out your gear … pre-race, race, post-race. Remember gels, lubrication, bandaids, extra loo paper, cap, watch – and you’ll need a throw-away sweater or garbage bag for a start-line warmth and to keep out the rain. Note: Any clothing discarded at the start line will be collected for charity … so a visit to an op-shop can be a double charity gift!  If you are missing anything, put it on your shopping list!
  • Thursday / Friday – one final slow, short run before race day. Note: Both SLOW and SHORT are essential!
  • Thursday to Saturday – visit the expo and pick up your race goodies and number. Talk to the pacing team, chat to the Spartans, get lots of tips and buy some cool gear. JUST DON’T be fooled into buying something for race day that you have not tried out. Those new socks or shorts – save them for your first run after the big day!
  • Friday-Saturday. Drink water, eat healthy, get rest. Spending Saturday wandering the city would NOT be good for your race day.
  • Sunday … that’s another post!

Race prep tip #17: The last 4 exciting days!!


Race Preparation tips #16: Taper is not a 4-letter word.

Tapering runners are often pictured as out of control monsters, with voracious appetites and a deep emotional need to run further!  It’s all true! The Taper is hardest on our minds – but that’s normal.

The logic of the human body in training is that muscles build and the body gets stronger in the rest times – not when we are out on the track/trail/road. Our normal training programs include natural run/recover/rest cycles. The taper is the longer version of the recover/rest part of this, and is crucial to enabling your body to be at its peak for race day.

To be in top condition for any event, tapering runners need to pay particular attention to the following:

Body stuff – ‘Taper flu’, muscle niggles and gripes are common during taper. This can be a shock for first-timers, but even experienced runners experience physical and mental issues in the lead up to a race. Some of this is your fears messing with your body; some of it is just your body settling. It’s normal. Don’t panic. Trust your training. If you think it might be serious, see your physiotherapist or myotherapist who will often set a good plan for getting you through your event.

Sleep – Get at least 8 hours sleep every night. Your body does amazing recovery stuff while you do nothing! Tip: Set an alarm on your phone or watch 1 hour before bed. Turn off all electronic devices, lock up the house, prep for the next day, write in your journal / read / do a little yoga or meditation or breathing control, etc to prep for sleep.

Nutrition – In recovery, you might naturally crave more / bad food. For the next 10 days, stay the course with your nutrition. You can dive back into the pies, pizza and beer immediately after your event (if that’s your thing). Tip: have healthy snacks on hand at work, in the car and at home.

Stretching and massage – in taper time, use the extra training time to do careful stretching. Spend extra time on the foam roller and spikey ball, especially in those tight places like calves, feet and glutes.  Up to 5 days out is a good time to get a massage too. Your body will love you for it. Tip: Check out Caleb McInnes’ post here.

Focus – Your physical training is done, now is a good time to focus on some mental stuff. Calming your mind/heart is an important part of the Taper, as is visualising the course and your finishing. Tip: Check out Kate Atkinson’s post here

Running – Just because you are tapering, doesn’t mean you are not running. Your long runs should be getting shorter by about 30% at a time, and your speed work should take a similar cut. The normal rule for the first 1/3 of a taper is to cut distance, but not intensity. My taper is 3 weeks. For the last week, you should be only doing one short session at race pace (NO FASTER!) – I’m planning 2x2km on Wednesday (with a warmup and cool down). A short Monday and Thursday or Friday easy run are good too. Just don’t be tempted to dial up the pace when your body is feeling so good. Save it for race day.

9 days out!  Running tip #16: Use the taper to prepare your body and mind to be sharp and ready for race day.



Guest Post: Race Prep tips #15: The efficiency of your feet

Caleb McInnes is a Sports Podiatrist (Co-Director) at Freedom Sports Medicine; Multiple Age Group Australian Champion Duathlete & Triathlete; 4 x Australian representative at World Duathlon / Triathlon Championships and qualified Lvl 1 Triathlon coach.

Your feet are the only things that contact the ground when you run and they are one of the biggest shock absorbers we have, but they are also static support and dynamic spring.

Most runners train almost every other area of their bodies … but when was the last time you whipped off your shoes and trained the 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles of your foot and the 13 muscles below the knee which assist with you foot function?

Running requires efficiency, and being inefficient increases the stress on your body. To reduce the stress on your body there are a few key things to address:

  1. Mobility
  2. Stability
  3. Strength
  4. Technique

Today I am going to touch on a small part of just one component technique.

So many people ‘over-stride’ especially as they fatigue, but over-stride is not really a word I like to use. To address this issue, words and phrases like ‘RUN QUIET and CADENCE’ are cues to consider in order to start becoming efficient.

For the majority of people who run a 10km event you likely take 10,000 + steps in a single run and hence you hit the ground 10,000 + times. This in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing but what if you could reduce the stress on your body each time you hit the ground by just 5-10%. Guess what – you can (!), and that results in a MASSIVE decrease in the amount of impact stress on your body.

Those of you who run with headphones in, try this. Take them out and concentrate on the noise you make – even if for only short periods of time. Try making less noise and think about what you have to do to achieve this.

Our bodies have multiple in-built shock absorbing systems, but so many people can’t or don’t use them well. There is good news though! We can get stronger, more mobile, more stable, improve our technique and become efficient, resulting in less stress on your body, less fatigue, fewer injuries and enhanced performance.

So many more things to consider but start small and see you will see the improvements.

Caleb McInnes (Sports Podiatrist; Director – Freedom Sports Medicine & Feet Alive Workshops)



Race Preparation tips #14: Find your place in the crowd.

Running is an individual sport –  but it isn’t a solo sport. As often as we run alone, we are always a community – on trails, pavements, track, suburbia and wild places.

Community in an individual sport means that we have particular responsibility and massive opportunity.

Opportunity: My first marathon I ran with Dave – an extrovert with a story. He talked, I listened. I learned. If I’d had the energy, I might have wept.  After all my 2 years solo training, it took that event to realise that truth about connectedness and community.

Recently I ran with Stan – an introvert with an addiction. As an introvert, a bloke and sometimes a bit slow to respond verbally, running is great for conversation for me. I don’t need to look anyone in the eye – and they don’t need to see me struggling to think. And silence isn’t awkward … it’s just running.

So running is an opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t normally – addicts, astrophysicists, professors and hairdressers – and to value new stories that we get to join to our stories. One of the best questions to ask the person running along side you is, “So what got you into this running thing?”

Our responsibility is in both care and respect. Mid race it’s ok to ask a stranger how they are doing. Genuinely.  A conversation about cramping can chew up some miles; and it can also help ambulance or medical staff if you are present if your companion collapses.   When you grab water at the aid station, grab 2 cups and pass one on to someone else.

Respect is learned along the way: respect others’ journeys; respect the volunteers; respect the distance; respect the race director. Say thanks to those handing out water at aid stations; on Facebook after the race say thanks to the race director (who carries legal liability for you and thousands of others!); Cheer on the faster runners as they run past you!

That’s what I mean by community. No one else can run for us – but we never run alone. Those who try, only miss out on one of the sweetest parts of our sport – and don’t last very long.

Running tip #14: Find your place in the crowd – there is room for everyone.