"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God? ... So use every part of your body to give glory back to God..." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Laceys Side of the Story: Detroit Marathon


This is Laceys Story, Unedited. I really wanted to share her experience from the Detroit Marathon. Lacey is a private person, this was very generous of her to allow me to share her intimate details.
I shared my experience with her, this is her experience with me!

October 19 2014

I woke up at 5:00am and first thing I did was brew a cup of coffee and get my breakfast ready. Toasted (the night before) Ezekiel bread with 2 tbsp. of peanut butter and half an apple sliced on it. I woke up not feeling nervous but feeling excited I had waited a long time for this, I had registered for this race January 1 2014. I had ten whole months to think about this and the last four months to eat, sleep, run and breathe marathon training.

Scott and I met the Harless family in the lobby of the renncenn at 6:00am, after introductions were made we all (Anita, her husband Andy, there two sons and Andy’s parent’s) headed out in the 35’ chilly morning air to the starting line many blocks away.

The starting line was like nothing I had ever seen before, there were so many people and so many spectators. As Anita and I made it to our corral (corral E) to find our pacer person (3:55) it was all so overwhelming an emotional. I looked over at Anita to see her wiping tears from her eyes and found myself so overjoyed and happy to be standing there. Anita had told me a couple of days before that she would be starting the race with me, I was so very grateful and had such a sense of calmness knowing that I would not be starting this 4 hour journey by myself.

The first half marathon was amazing, the sights were amazing the crowds were amazing, my body even felt amazing. The energy was so high it left you on such a runners high. I was able to see Scott, my sister, my brother and law and the Harless clan cheering us on twice during that first half.

And then reality set in right about the time those half milers turned to the right to split off from us and finish their race, Oh Crap I have to run thirteen more miles. I remember saying to Anita "It’s all fun and games till you start the second half of the marathon", I think she thought it was funny but man I wasn’t joking.

I kept waiting for Anita to leave me but she said she was sticking with me and that she would re-evaluate once we hit 20 miles. So we maintained our 8:45ish pace right on thru to mile 20. At that point I was starting to feel a little guilty- was she sticking with me because she felt she had to, was she sticking with me because she felt she wasn’t sure I would finish. She was so encouraging, reminding me to breathe, reminding me to pray, reminding me to relax and have fun. I truly felt how Anita looked to me, full of energy, happy, excited. I would have loved to express all of those things but all I could do at that point was run remembering to put a smile on my face because I was happy, so happy to be there doing what I love to do, run.

My long run training had taken me to mile 21 and that’s about the time in the race when my body had decided it had had enough. It actually was screaming at me to stop, why you are doing this to me, why have you decided to put me thru this. I remember Anita-I think it was Anita at that point say to me at mile 22, "this is the farthest you have ever run before, you’re doing great". She also reminded me that from this point on it was all a mental game.

You would think that at mile 23 there would be some relief knowing that all you had left was a 5k, but there was no relief there was just 3.2 more miles of running. The most painful 3.2 miles of running that I have ever done.

All I could wait for was to see the 25 mile flag, knowing then that I only had about 1 mile left. And then there it was the 40k flag (24.8 miles) and I knew I was in the homestretch. I could run a little over a mile, I had just run 25 miles. "I got this", I thought, "I can finish this". And if it wasn’t for that last little hill that looked like I was about to climb up Mount Everest I think I would have kept that mindset and had finished the race strong. That hill put me over the edge, I think that I had a tear running down my face when I saw it knowing that I had no choice but to run up it. I remember Anita encouraging me to make it up that hill, was she struggling, I truly had no idea, I could not think about anything else but keeping one foot in front of the other.

I remember seeing Andy, Anita’s husband running that final stretch, not knowing where my family was did they watch me cross that finish line. Later I found out that yes they saw me cross that line and heard my name and my time announced over the loud speaker, I heard my name and time announced as well as I crossed the finish line.

I was delirious after that, I think Anita said I was drunk from running, I remember that because I thought it was so funny, being drunk from running, but that’s what I was, drunk form running.

The rest of the day after my first marathon did not go to great, I was nauseous, and my body felt like it had gotten hit by a semi-twice, I spent a lot of time in the bathroom. I could not take care of my kids I could not do anything, I iced my legs on and off and took a 2 hour nap that afternoon and evening and went to bed at 9:30p. Scott got up with the kids and took them to school the next day and I did not get up until 9:45am.


Ephesians 4:9-10 
 "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.…"


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Looks of Recovery

What does Recovery Look LIKE!

Recovery for a Marathon looks like this for ME:
  • Motrin and Nyquil for bedtime
  • Falling into the toilet because my quads are toasted
  • Stuck on the toilet because I still manage to use my legs
  • Walking down stairs backwards
  • Walking like I have a load in my pants
  • Not hungry but starving?!
  • Exhausted but can't sleep
  • Excited for the next marathon!P
For the best Recovery I am called to do the following:
  • Hydration, for me this is just drinking water! I am not a water drinker. I don't like the flavorless, odorless,tasteless liquid. Just give me COFFEE!
  • Double up on my Juice Plus and whole foods for recovery
  • Stretch and roll. I have to wait a day to do this. My whole body is usually hypersensitive, just a finger poke and I want to go the ER.
  • Rest the day after
I am about 3 days out now. I met the girls for a walk around the track to get moving again. It felt great to be able to walk normally. It was great to hear each of the girls stories.

ME, Mary Ann, Erin, Jama, Alisha

  1. Jama ran the half marathon with a great time of 1:41, Placing top 10 in her age group!
  2. Alisha ran her FIRST half marathon
  3. Erin and Claudia also ran their FIRST half marathon together meeting their goal time.
  4. Mary Ann ran the Half Marathon and had a PR!
Each girl had a great story to tell. It was fun to listen to all of them share their experience, thoughts and laughter.

Recovery is different for everyone. The rule of thumb is to take off HALF the days in Distance that your ran.
EX.- If you ran 13.1 miles- 6 days off
If you ran 26.2- 13 days off.

I believe it alters by your years of running experience, type/intensity of the training program you trained with and energy/effort expended during the marathon you ran.

Running and Life Collide:
noun \ri-ˈkə-və-rē, -ˈkəv-rē\
: the act or process of becoming healthy after an illness or Injury
: the act or process of recovering
: the act or process of returning to a normal state after a  period of difficulty
: the return of something that has been lost, stolen, etc.

We have all had some kind of RECOVERY in life. We have been hurt physically, emotionally, financially and then some.
In todays world, we do not know how to recover properly.  We just take the punches and move through them, never actually getting better or more effective. We may win the battle but we never really win the war if you may.
Or we try to put a band aid on open heart surgery.

RECOVERY is work. Sometimes it even feels like a set back. I want to RUN. However, part of my RECOVERY is to REST.
Recovery is often doing the very opposite of what you are used to doing.
Recovery means we have to feel, we have to live in the moment, we have to accept the damages and then have a plan to move through them in a healthy manner.

We are in a instant gratification society. We want everything yesterday. If the bottle says to take for 10 days we quit after 7 days when we feel better.

There is a lot of loss these days. At 40 years old, I look at the first 18 years of my life and can honestly say it took close of 15 years to recover.
I can see so many life lines that God gave me and I am so thankful for the wisdom to grab on and hold on tight.
Recovery is a process. To me recovery isn't just getting better, it is being better through the process. It is learning from yesterday, so I can be better tomorrow.


A mini van showed up in my driveway this afternoon. I don't get very much company so I got excited.
This sassy blonde walked up to my front door. I hardly recognized her with make up on and her hair down. It was Lacey.
When she smiled I just melted. Our marathon flooded my mind.
Lacey was holding a manila envelope. "Hi, I wanted to give you this."

After she left I pulled up a chair, sat down and read it.
I wept.
She journaled her experience.
I have never had ANYONE ever do this before. I will cherish it forever.
I am waiting to see if I can post HER story.
Check in Tomorrow to see...!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Detroit Free Press Marathon 2014: Strong Mind: Strong Body

Outside Our Hotel..BTW..was OVERBOOKED and had a lot of ANGRY guests!

I first ran the Detroit Freepress Marathon in 2012. Last year, I paced Andy in the half marathon. I was recovering from my Ultra and preparing for Ing NYC Marathon. I used the half marathon as a training run.

This year was a whole new marathon experience. The Marathon doesn't change, we do. Yes, marathons themselves are different from one another, the distance remains the same though. This year, I have been struggling with injury. I was lacking training, therefore: I was lacking confidence.

The Freepress Marathon is like part of my framework. I have ran it for years now. We have a little "Thing" going together.

I am a traditional gal.
  1. Always stay the night down in Detroit. (Grateful to Rachel D. for making this happen for me)
  2. Eat a Pizza Papalis..to much, and all the wrong stuff
  3. Walk next door and get ridiculous amounts of dessert from Astoria.
  4. Get back to the hotel later than I should and eating everyone's dessert
  5. Go to bed in a food coma with a 6 month looking food belly!
This year, I was thinking I might pace a friend of mine, if she let me. I had been training with Lacey for the past few weeks. I knew I couldn't "Race" this year. Lacey and I had similar goals. This would be Lacey's first MARATHON.
I was hoping she might let me join her in this first time epic experience.

We were both downtown picking up our bibs in different directions but doing the same stuff. I kept in contact with her, giving her tips on different things she was doing the night before the race.

Mom and dad arrived at our hotel at 5 am for the marathon. I was so happy to see them. Mom is a great encourager. I always feel so calm when she arrives. Mom, brought me a banana and safety pins for my bib. Which I later found in my bib bag, I got so nervous I never saw them.
I texted Lacey after I got settled in with mom and dad. I was curious to see if she responded. I still didn't know if she would want me beside her running.
"Good Morning" I bated her.
She quickly replied "Super excited"

We met Lacey and her hubby in the lobby of the Marriot. After just a little bit of conversation with Lacey, mom whispers in my ear, "She is just like you!"

It was a cold morning, 32 degrees. With a half a cup of coffee in me, we headed to the race about 6:15am. We followed the herd of runners into the darkness.

I laughed to myself, as I heard mom coughing. They left their house at 4am. My brother in law Matt and Andy always mess with each other calling each other "The Favorite". Matt was teasing Andy earlier about dragging his mom out to watch me race being sick and coming at the butt crack of dawn. She coughed again, then I see dad as he favors his bad knee gimping behind us. They are my number one fans. I am so grateful to them for being here for me. They know that I wouldn't be upset if they couldn't come. I know they would be upset if they didn't come. I am so happy they are beside me, Team Harless.

The corrals were packed by the time we arrived at 6:40. We all grabbed hands and gathered in prayer. This is one of my favorite parts. Humbly asking God to protect and provide for us.

It was time for Lacey and I to get into our corral. I was in C, we were by M but we needed to get to E for our pacer. Lacey went to go into the corral. I grabbed her hand, I said "Follow me."  Both of us about the size of Smurfs, maneuvered our way through the sidewalks toward our Corral. I could tell Lacey didn't know how we were going to get over the gate. When we arrived, I very delicately slid my body through the angled gates. People were looking at me and saying "I thought you were going to get stuck." Directly behind me Lacey did the same.
WE were IN.

The emotions always collide together for me. I could feel the tears coming. Lacey was there too!

We were OFF. With hundreds of people touching you from all sides we all headed to the Starting mats. Our pacer was ahead of us to the left.

Running with a Pacer:

We were with the 3:55 pace team.
The bridge is always the first to run over. The bridge was so calm. No wind. The sky was perfect. We had no problem getting over the Ambassador bridge. We stayed with our pace team.
The next milestone was the Tunnel. I love the Tunnel. It is normally really rowdy in the tunnel, I think the runners were still sleeping as they ran through. I shouted a few times but when no one responded I gave up.
Our pace was not real consistent. I could tell it was messing with Lacey. We were off at times up to 40 seconds. I heard people saying they were going veer off from the pace team.
We thought we should too.

On Our Own:

We left our pacer after mile 6. Our last  mile we had ran a 8:10. It was the inconsistency that we were struggling with. Ultimately, the race is YOUR responsibility, not a pacers. You have to know your training and what works for you. There are not many things I am good at but God has given me a good pacing ability. If you let me lead, I might get us lost but we will have a even pace!
Coming up to mile 8, I saw my family. I was so excited. I felt great. I ran to Andy and really wanted to jump into his arms but didn't want to risk either of us getting injured! I saw mom and dad. Family support is so amazing. I have ran many races but mom and dad never quit cheering for me. My sister in law Leeanne is the same way. She may live in Florida but she is always cheering for me, encouraging me and wishing the best. I love to see her support like I love when my family comes out to support me.

Getting to the Half Way Mark:
I kept checking on Lacey. I knew she was doing well because she was not only engaging in conversation she was initiating it. She was laughing and enjoying the miles. We both had to pee. So we tried not to laugh too hard.
I asked Lacey "How are you feeling?"
She told me if I wanted to go ahead I could.
I replied "Lacey, I have had my share of great races, this is not that time." I finished my comment reminding her I was not in any condition to race this year. I would have more fun helping her have Victory in her first marathon. I knew I could run faster. My body felt remarkably well. But lets not get stuck on stupid. In the moment we can let emotion trump reality. And the reality is I want to get over this injury so I can run more.
"Lets get to the half way mark, then we will access how we are feeling and see what we need to do." I commented.

NO Turning Back!
The Half Marathoners separated from us. "Well, we missed our turn, No Turning Back now!" several of us joked.
We were doing good. We were maintain a average 8:47-8:52 pace. I had remembered something Lacey had said to me the night before, "I picked up a 8:45 pace band...." I was going to let her lead and hope I could then push her close to that dream pace.  I was one step behind Lacey. I was letting her lead. Every once in a while I noticed we would be in the 8:30's and I would say "Bring it down."
It was the crowds. The crowds were awesome. It just took a few High Fives and you would lose your pace in the excitement.

The wall came at mile 17! Only it wasn't the mental wall that you might be thinking. Some volunteers created their own "WALL" for you to run through. This was great. Laughing, I said "Come ON Lacey, Lets RUN through!"
We had not mentally hit the wall. Running through this wall broke up the miles with some laughter and fun to keep up energized.
We also took some time to pray. We prayed for those running, for our running , those struggling and gave Thanks to God for a incredible day to Run A MARATHON!

The Zombies Are Coming!
Everywhere you ran the signs were great. One sign said "Hey, Where is Everyone Running?"
Laughing at their sign I yelled "The Zombies are coming!! The Zombies are coming, you better RUN TOO!"
We hit about every other water station. We took a few seconds to walk and drink. "Try to stretch out Lacey as you walk" She was doing really good staying hydrated, you need to stay hydrated to run from zombies!

Entering Belle Isle:

This is where the REAL wall came. I hadn't heard much from Lacey. I could tell she was struggling. "Lacey, get your music out, you are going to need everything you have." She fumbled for her Ipod. Our fingers were frozen.  "Lacey, EVERYTHING should hurt right now. Right now you are going to need God to get you through." told her. I knew Lacey was going to finish, but I also knew Lacey was capable of more than just finishing, she was capable of finishing beyond her average goal of 3:55. I had slowly moved her pace up. We had been running in the 3:40's for a while now.  I had to be careful not to push her too hard. I wanted her to finish well.
We came to a lady passing oranges out. I reached over and grabbed one. Lacey wasn't paying attention. I stuck the orange slice all in my mouth with the big orange rind outside my mouth. With the biggest grin I turned my head close to Laceys, staring at her, I waited for her to look at me. She turned to me just inches from my face, she  started laughing at my big Ole Orange Smile. I too was trying anything to get her through.  If just that small moment of laughter gave her another half a mile it was worth it.


We had just finished mile 21 when I said, 21 is my niece Ariel's mile. My voice began to quiver as I worked very hard at not crying.
We were almost to mile 22. I was really speaking to Lacey now. "STRONG MIND, STRONG BODY!" "Come on Lacey, Today is your day!"
I was so proud of her. I knew she was hurting. I could see her face. She wanted to hate me but she didn't. She knew I believed in her and I was not going to let her not finish this.
"Stay with me Lacey, Come on."
As we came out of Belle Isle I said "We are almost there."
We were actually passing people. A lot of people. Each one I encouraged. It isn't easy being passed at this point in the race.
"I'm not leaving you Lacey" I said to her a couple feet ahead of her.
I somehow missed mile 23.
I was now about 5 feet in front of Lacey. I kept turning my head yelling at her. I was not going to leave her. She had asked earlier how I felt. Truth is I felt great, But I wouldn't have felt great if I left her. I felt great because I was watching her dream come true. It then became my dream for her too.

We had a small hill that seemed like a mountain. "Look at the TOP, Keep your Eyes UP". I was still about 5 feet in front of her. "Stay with me" I didn't have the heart to tell Lacey that there was actually a really bad hill around the corner.
She stayed close. The hill must have looked like Hell to Her. I felt so bad. She had about a half a mile left.
"That's it, Lacey! Your there, You got this!"
When I knew she could see the finish I began to break away. I saw my family on my left. I heard Andy yell, "GO, PICK it UP ANITA!"
My body was confused for a second, before it realized I was trying to make it go faster and harder than it had in weeks. It was like driving a granny car trying to get it to move like a sports car.
I focused on the FINISH banner. With everything I had, my arms in the air and a BIG smile across my face I crossed over the mats!

I quickly turned by body to see Lacey cross right behind me. I reached my arms out and held her little body up. I was so proud of that girl. I just held her.
She looked at me and very simply said "Have I told you how much I LOVE YOU?"

I wouldn't change ONE thing about that Marathon. This was one of my favorite marathons. To be part of someone else's Victory and dream is the greatest.
There are so many races to run. There are so many medals and PR's. But for me, Running isn't just about the PR or placing. I have done all that. I love giving my love of running to others. To cheer someone else on is the best gift. I love being LOVED. I also LOVE to Love others.

Great Race to all. I am so Thankful for God giving me this opportunity. For keeping my body strong and healthy.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

4 Ways to Beleive what YOU can Acheive

Last Run Completed
Massage Completed
Bag mostly packed
Hotel arrangements confirmed- BIG thanks to Rachel D. who offered me her room last week!
Garmin Charged and packed
Ipod Charged and Packed
Unbalanced Emotions Check!
Bib Number: Complete #472

Detroit Free Press 2 days 10 HOURS!!!

No major catastrophes. No major meltdowns.
I have over eaten, ridiculous amounts of late night snacks, I have no symptoms of Ebola. A few snot rockets out there today, but no red flags.

I peed my pants yesterday, so I think I may have even got that out of my system. Yesterday, was my sons CC meet. I was running around trying to find him on the course. Going up a hill, running, and screaming was not complimenting the bladder, a little too much all at once!

I have asked all to Pray for ME! CHECK.
I had someone ask me "How long is your next marathon?". Check!

This is my segway into my closing thoughts: DREAM BIG.

A MARATHON is always 26.2 miles.
So you can guess a HALF Marathon is always.....13.1 miles!

Now, Sunday morning a little after 7am I will stand toes up with thousands of runners to embark on a Dream.

This Dream wasn't delivered from the UPS man.
This dream came with weeks of training. Eating, running, stretching, sacrificing, track work outs. Sweat, blood, tears, blisters, disappointments, victories and many other elements.
For me you can add on hundreds of dollars of physical therapy and Dr appointments, more tears, depression, confusion, and GRATITUDE.

GRATITUDE!! I told Danielle today, on our run at Indian Springs, how I KNOW that NO matter what GOD has me RIGHT WHERE he wants me. I can look at my body and my training and COMPARE it to my other training or I can RELATE it properly.

Don't Compare-Relate!
I ran the at the end of August and EVERY week I have been so blessed to add 2 MILES a week! That's nuts. God didn't take my injury away but he kept it at bay.
I can sit on my pity pot and complain about not being where I want  OR I can see how far God has brought me so I could achieve this DREAM.
This is a Dream come true. You couldn't have convinced me that I was going to be able to run this Marathon 14 weeks ago. I could barely run 5 miles. I would walk it home defeated and discouraged. I LOVE this Marathon. And God Gave it to me. Against the Odds I AM RUNNING!

4 Ways to Achieve what you Believe:
  1. Forget Your Failures: I had to let go of what I couldn't do, looking at what He could do in me. I had to remove all thoughts of failure or I would let that defeat me and never reach for my goals or dreams.
  2. Develop Determination; Phil 4:13.- Jer 33:3- Never Never Never Give up. Dig down deep and coach yourself beyond your limits.
  3. Conquer Criticism: Do not let others define you. Some of our worst critics come from within.
  4. Practice Positive Thinking: Stay Positive. Keep the Glass half full! If you think positive thoughts you are going to have more positive result.

In the next couple days I will be running. My knee is still mad at me. Chasing after Austin during his CC meet really ticked off my knee. I am NOT going to be able to pull off a 3:30 marathon. I am not even grieving over that. I am so happy that I think I can even run this marathon, that I never set that goal. I would like to be able to run a sub 4 hour marathon. I am REALLY Praying for that. I think that I can do that, I KNOW that I need to remember those 4 techniques above no matter what.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Call Me Crazy.

I Love this guy! He is at the cross walk on my runs. He makes me smile with that big old STOP sign.

6 days away until I will be lined up with thousands of runners. Together, we will let our training lead us to conquer 26.2 miles. We will run over the bridge, under the tunnel and into Canada. The Detroit Free press Marathon and half marathon is one of my babies.

Training hard for the marathon is very important to me. Running those miles puts your body at the brink of crazy. It is physically insane. I try very hard to be trained so that I can feel confident at the starting line.

This year is some kind of DIFFERENT.
I am not confident.
I am not trained perfectly.
I am not whole, my body is broken.
I feel 40.

I had signed up for the marathon before the price increased months ago. When I was healthy and whole. Before I ran Boston.
Before I got injured.

I was financially and emotionally invested in the Free press Marathon.
I am just stinking crazy. Officially crazy. I can not believe that I am going to run THIS SUNDAY.

I am scared. Yes, I said it. I have NO idea what my body is going to do. I have no idea how my body is going to carry me or recover for me.

I ran my last long run later than most. My calves were still tight on yesterdays 3 miler.
I ran with Lacy today. I ran 2 miles solo, and 4 with her.

Crabby, starving, angry, edgy

Lacy chatted with me about her emotional status. She was so hard on herself. I reminded her of her training. The taper is brutal. It leaves you like an emotional toilet. You are full of toxic emotions that are floating around. You know you smell and you know everyone can smell your attitude a mile away!
You just want food, all the time, all food. Not even food makes the runner happy..

For me, already being under trained, I am emotionally stressed out. I want to run more to make sure I have all my eggs in the basket, except I would be cutting off my right leg off in that process.

It doesn't even matter. I couldn't run more if I wanted. I am barely out of the woods with this injury of mine. I am already playing with fire. This marathon has potential to do me in physically for a very long time.
But the crazy addictive part is I CAN'T turn away. I Don't Quit. I Can't Quit. That just isn't an option. I guess the crazy part is I would rather take DOOR #2..Injury. All the time praying that Door # 2 really is "Victory W/O Injury"

With everything I have and everything I am calling on God for, Which is EVERYTHING;  I CAN'T Quit.

Call Me Crazy, Some of you probably are even saying "You get what You Deserve". Your right.
But I believe God called me to RUN.
God calls me to that Starting Corral. Not FOR me, FOR YOU.
Because TRUTH is, I am scared. But I know that he is calling me to run this marathon for someone else, not me.
These miles are not about me.

They are for those that want to Quit. Those who want to Give Up. For those who Feel Weak, Insufficient, Broken, and Discouraged.

"He gives Power to the Weak,
And to those who have no might He increases in strength."
Isaiah 40:29

I am running Sunday for those who are Scared, for those who are Confused. I am running for those who are Injured and those who are Alone.

"Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10
I feel your pain. God Feels your pain too. I am not going to give up, for myself and for you.
I am asking for prayers. My legs are weak, I need God to provide continued strength both physically and emotionally. I am asking you to Pray that God keeps my legs and body from being injured after the race.
My thinking has to be on target. My mind has to be focused and positive. My body will do what many mind tells it to.
I am being very transparent when I say I am scared. Please know my heart. I will NOT Quit. No matter what. With Everything in me, I will make it to the Finish Line.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Real Training is Maintaining: And other lessons

There are times that I am running where my whole mind is saturated with a dense feeling of defeat. That place that your mind tells you "It's ok to slow down."
Then the voices begin to argue. Slowing down was NOT in the plan. Quitting was not in the plan. Or compromising my run in any form was not an option, although, the voices seem to be really convincing.
"Just Maintain" I tell myself. I wasn't going very far today. Only about 3 miles. It was some of the hardest miles that I had run though.
Today, was the 2 year anniversary date of Ariel. Running was exactly what I needed to do.
Only at mile 2 "Arms of an Angel" came on again. This song sucks the life out of me. I went to turn the song off,  only to find myself replaying it over again.
This is what I came out here for. I needed to just feel it. I needed to "Just Maintain."
I ran and cried. "..Out of the wreckage...". Those words, I could see them pulling Ariel out of her vehicle. So beautiful she was, So broken I was running down E. Maple street.

There are moments in my runs when I hurt so bad that I tell myself to "Stay Inside Myself." This means maintain, hold on, control yourself. It means that I want to fall apart, I want to collapse, I want to heave over in guttural breaths. My voice wants to cry out, my face wants to grimace, my arms want to wail and my body wants to change plans. This is that place that I want to come out of my skin. I want to unleash the weakness and let that dictate me.
"Stay Inside Yourself, Anita" This is where I say to myself to stay in control of not just my actions but my emotions, my thoughts, my plans. I don't have to kick it up, the training here is to be disciplined enough to stay in control of myself and not let my pain control me.

 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.    2 Tim 1:7
There is pain we all must endure. Pain in life has the same effect on us. It controls us. It hurts us so bad that we find ourselves coming out of our skin. We change plans. We say things we shouldn't. We do things we never thought we would do. We see ourselves and do not even recognize who we are.

Today, as I ran I felt both the pain of running and the pains of grief. That last half mile I wiped my tears off my cheek. "Ok, Nita, Stay inside yourself, Maintain all the way home." I coached myself back in the game. I didn't deny the pain. I accepted it. I chose to move through it. The pain wasn't going to stop me. The pain wasn't going to hold me down. I was going to run in my pain. I was going to be strong enough to maintain. I was going to stay strong enough to STAY INSIDE MYSELF. I didn't need to prove anything to myself. I didn't need to go harder, or faster. I just needed to be in control of myself in that place. The real Training was Maintaining.

The Lesson of Forgiveness:
I work with the youth on Sunday nights. This was our lesson. At 40 years old, I have found that FORGIVENESS is not a destination it is a journey. It is a process. We have all had someone wrong us. Someone hurt us. Someone fail us. There are people in our life that we have hoped would support us or love us, accept us and so forth. The disappointment and disillusionment leaves us bitter and hurt. Those high school girls had tears of deep pain. It was so awful to see how the world had already failed them, hurt them and broke them in such a short period of time.
How do you tell these young girls to forgive when it has taken you years to forgive others, yourself. When the pains you have dealt with are so ugly that you have never shared it with one soul....
With Love. Your teach them forgiveness is a process. But the only way to forgive is to slowly start. Just like most great lessons they come back to running. Forgiveness is not about the swift or the fast, it is your journey to do at whatever pace you decide. Just Begin.


Special love to those who came out to church today in honor of Ariel. She would have been so happy to see Amanda, Taylor, Joan, Mo,  Rebecca out there. She would have loved to see Nelly and Brad come out with us to honor and remember her together.
I was so blessed by my friends that thought of me the last couple days. Ali, Brttani B, Amy C. Terri W and the others. I don't have a lot of family but I have some incredible friends that are so loving and supportive.
I can feel God healing through the love and support and comfort of those that took the time to share a sweet message or text to me. God heals. God hears the Brokenhearted.
I am so grateful.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Honoring Ariel in her Death

I remember growing up as a child my mother always said something to me that still daunts me to this day. "ANITA, your father is looking down on you."

Almost 30 years older and a little bit wiser I can understand her tactics with this statement. I knew she wanted to instill conviction and guilt . My mom knew I loved my dad more than anything. She knew I missed him more that anyone. She knew I wanted him to be proud of me. A daughter always seeks her fathers approval, even if he has left this earth. At least this one did.

That seed planted a wild tree. A tree that would grow seeking not only my deceased fathers approval by everyone elses' as well.

I know my father can not see me from heaven. And to be really honest, I am not even sure my father made it there.

And for my mother. That is yet another daunting thought. I can not even say my beautiful mother is dancing in Heaven.

I will tell you this. Whether they can see me or not. I still carry them with me. I still try to honor their name.

In just a few days, it will mark the 2 year anniversary of my Ariel's death. I have to clarify that she was my NIECE. I have to clarify that because there are people that come in here and read my heart and read MY blog only to be offended. They have taken  my words, my thoughts, my heart, my prayers, my memories, my truths and have said terrible and awful things to me.
Death can bring out the ugly in people. I have taken the verbal abuse for 2 years with this thought:
How can I HONOR my beautiful niece in my response.

Just turn my other cheek.
Forgive when I wasn't even asked.
Cry out begging for God to protect my heart.
Try not to hate

Remember my Foes are many..
LORD, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
But you, LORD, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the LORD,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.  – Psalm 3:1-4

But ALL the time I remind myself who I WAS TO HER.
I Remind myself Who SHE was to ME.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss her so bad. My world is 100% different. I don't have her calling me asking me for things. Advice, ideas, scripture, support, love...I don't have her texting me things. Funny quirky girl things. I don't have her stopping over. I don't have those deep conversations anymore. I rarely go shopping anymore. I have no one to shop with. I would buy her whatever she wanted. I cant even go to Somerset Mall without wanting to leave because she is not next to me.

I love my boys.
But she was the daughter I never had. She made my world so beautiful. Don't misunderstand me. I am very thankful for my boys. I live a blessed life. But it is like a garden. It is full of foliage and greenery.. My garden grows with beauty. It is lush and flowering. But there is a magnificent flowering plant that made my gardens splendor, that just isn't there any longer. And Nothing will EVER grow in that Place.

I never had so much empty space.
I try not to even think about it because when I open that door I can not close it. That room hurts. I go to the door daily but I don't open it.  It is one of my favorite rooms to look into, it is also one of the hardest rooms to come out of. I want to crawl into it. I want to escape into it. Hide in her memories. Caress her hair. Bury myself in her big brown eyes. I want to feel the love she gave me, I want to wrap myself in her love, curled up in her world....

So I run...And I run..

People ask how come I have I been so injured the last year. Because when I couldn't breath. When I couldn't think. When the stab of death bites you so deeply you do what you know how to do. And for me that was RUN.

The last 2 years, I ran my self into the ground. I wouldn't change a thing. I wouldn't change a mile. Every mile I needed 2.
I had to run down the hurt of her and the hurt of others.

People in their pain can't help but hurt you. They are hurting so bad that just want you to hurt like they are hurting.
I know this. Most of the time I can brush this off. I can even forgive them and pray for them.
Hurting people Hurt People.

You have to come out of their words, their actions. You have to remind yourself WHO you are.
We do not have to define our self to anyone.
We do not have to accept someone's opinion of us.
We do not have to entertain their actions.

As a child so many actions of mine filtered through "What would my dad think of me?"
As a young adult so many actions sifted through "What would my mom think of me"
I failed them so many times.
I failed them, I failed myself and I failed God.

Today, I think "How would God want me to behave, respond, react." And I fail him still.

With the anniversary of Ariel coming up ever so close I think.."Anita, what would Ariel want you to do?"
"How can you Honor Ariel in your grief the next few days."
"Have you honored Ariel? Would she be proud of your actions over the last 2 years? If she was looking down on you would she say, 'Yup, That's my Aunt Nita' with a smile"

I will never know.
But I will continue in my life to honor her as her Aunt Nita.