By Mike Tenbusch | August 31, 2021

Many people are joining the great IntSam 5K  to get people the food they need to survive this global fight against the pandemic.  Others are running because it’s a fun way to get in shape with friends and family.  Not me.  I’m running this race to win it.

Maybe I can’t run sub 5-minute miles like last year’s winners, but the 50- to 60-year-old male division is wide-open and clearly my race to win.

The problem is, I’m running slower times on shorter distances than I did last year at this time.  I set a personal goal every time I go for a run, and I keep coming up short, painfully huffing out three or four miles wondering what is wrong with me.

Last week I played my mom in golf.  We’ve been playing once or twice a year for 42 years.  My goal every time is to beat her and to score less than 50.  This year’s result?  I shot a 57 and tied her.  Did I mention that she’s almost 82?  And that she was playing through a hip injury?  Or that my record against her now stands at 1 win, 57 losses and 2 ties?  I’m not making this up.  You can email her at and ask her yourself.  She’d be more than happy to discuss her life-time golf reign over me. 

Failing goes well beyond sports for me.  Ever since I married into a Puerto-Rican family 24 years ago, I have been trying, and failing miserably at learning Spanish.  I’ve hired a tutor, tried flashcards, tapes in the car, the whole thing.  Nada.

What do you do when you keep failing at the goals you set for yourself?

Golf legend, Julie Tenbusch, administering her annual lesson on the 4th Commandment.

I’ve learned a few lessons that have come with the scars I bear from troubles along the way:

  1. Keep getting out there.  Run slower, stop if you need to, or just walk, but never stop trying.
  2. Enjoy the journey.  Golf is my mom’s love language.  I’d rather speak that than hit a drive into the fairway anytime.
  3. Learn to pivot along the way.  After two decades of Spanish ineptitude, I downloaded the DuoLingo app three years ago and got hooked on doing a lesson every day since then.  Ahora, yo hablo como un rey, pero yo no todavia puedo oir palabras bien en espanol.  (You have to copy and click the quote to get it translated.  I worked too hard to give my expertise away so cheaply.)

In all seriousness, the one thing I’ve truly learned through all my failures during the years is to slow down enough and to be quiet enough to hear that still, small voice—and then to be humble enough and courageous enough to quickly obey.  I see tiny and large miracles all the time as a result.

As just one, otherwise-inexplicable example, last week DuoLingo became an official sponsor of the great IntSam 5K!   Reason and coincidences alone can’t explain that.  And now our scholarship students in Central America will get the professional certification tools they desperately need (for free!) to improve their English skills and employment opportunities.

A year after running their first 5k ever last year–and finishing at the very bottom of the pack in our team fundraising efforts–our scholarship students aren’t giving up.  They are forming teams again to run and raise money for food for their communities this year.  Please show them some love.  You can support any one of their teams by clicking on the link below.  Be a part of a miracle in their lives.

Click on any team below to give them a boost:

A huge thanks to all the sponsors of our race, listed below!  Let me know if you’d like your company, school or church to join them by replying to this email.

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