"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 30, 2014

Too Little:Too Late

My son Austin, had his final meet last night.
There have been several meets I have watched Austin run pass me on the course and he looks like he is off daydreaming. He looks like he is just phoning it in.
Last week, he mentioned that he was burnt out, ready for the season to be done. He has his head ready to run the basketball courts.
It pains me to watch him go all mediocre.
He was "OK" with not pushing harder, trying more.
It was me that was not.

He even said "Mom, I am about 20% IN for next year."
Rip my heart out and push puree.

SO Yesterday was his last meet. I had no idea what to expect. I told him to "RUN till you PUKE"

The meet was massive, there had to be over a dozen schools there. From Okemos to Linden.
Austin toed up with some where around 100 runners. It was freezing, he wore his compression top, not his singlet. I had my finger on the START button waiting for the gun to go off.
"Come on Austin, Run, RUN with everything." I thought wishing he could hear my head speaking.
"Please God, Please give him strength, give him speed, Please God.."

"GO Harless, GO!" I shouted

I ran to the first place on the course to see him. They were like ants all on top of one another. It was crazy all the kids all clustered together. They flew past but I couldn't find Austin. Then one of his teammates passed who is slower. I felt dread in my stomach.

"Where was Austin?"
"What happened to him?"
"Is he OK? Did he trip? get spiked..?
"He should have been here..."

I quickly ran to the next place to locate him. I was tripping over my feet, I had to hurry or I would miss him.

Here they came, the first runner had a large lead, the second runner even had a larger lead.
I saw the pack through the wooded trail.
There he was, I forgot he wasn't wearing his singlet.
"WOW, he was doing great!" I chatted with myself. He was up there.
"That's it Harless, GO, GO, Turn em' over."

I could see it. I could see the difference in his eyes, in his body. Today, was his day.

I raced to the next place. Here he came, he was holding his own. "Everything, EVERYTHING Austin, GOOO." I screamed with excitement.

I looked at the time, He was doing good. 17:38.
I ran to the FINISH line. I located the FINISH, I tried to calculate how long he would take from where I was until he crossed the line.
Time was ticking, where was he at?

I saw the pack through the trees. My eyes darted looking for my tall blond son.
THERE he was. I started screaming confidently.
"HARLESS, Everything, GO, Turn it up, Turn it over!"
I could hear Coach Brinker screaming intensely right beside me.

Without taking my eyes off him, I turned around chasing him down the sideline, "GO, GO, Don't Stop!"
I watched him pick it up and pass 2 runners.

He was in the finishing chute.
I wanted to pick him up like the first time he rode a bike.
I had to wait. I watched them hand him a medal.

Austin gives me so much grace. Most moms do not come near their kids after a race. Austin is so kind to me. I wrapped my hands around his sweaty neck "I am so proud of you."
"Thanks Mom"
At that time, I didn't know what his time was. I honestly didn't care. It meant more to me that he gave all HEART.
He had a small PR.

He finished his last race of the season good, but he was not pleased.

Too Little : Too Late
"Mom, I wanted to break 19."
"Sorry son, that was something you should have worked on, you finished with a PR, take that victory and rest on that."
"I should have worked harder, I just didn't work hard this season."
Everything Austin told me, I already knew. As a mother, I have learned I can not put the pressure on him. I don't want Austin to resent me, I want him to WANT it for HIM, not me.
"Next year, I am going for a sub 19, a sub 18, I want the season to be here already."

He phoned in the season weeks ago. He had a minor injury but he gave up. He quit doing the work, he did the minimal, and he was fine with the bland results.
He pulled out that goal time at the last minute. He bit down on determination and in the heat of it fell in love all over again. The Pain showed Progress. The Grit gave way to craving Victory.
He felt more confident in himself, but his body was not prepared for what his heart was seeking. It was too late.

Rather than leaving defeated he was finishing revived. He was talking about times, goals and plans for next season.
This was the Austin I wanted to hear. He wanted IT. He knew he had it in him, He just had to work for it, and work HARD.

Lesson for ME:
This morning I ran 8 miles with Danielle. It was my longest run post Freep Marathon. We ran moderately.
It felt good to plan out our next races. Danielle talked to me about the next ones she was doing, while I told her I know I need to back it down.
The lesson is in Planning. Making Goals. Seriously, making Goals and aiming to achieve them.

On The Calender:
*November 9th- Clarkston Backroads- Not racing, just pacing at about a 9 minute pace.
*Dec.1st I am going sign up for Bayshore Marathon This is the spring of 2015.

That's the Calendar as of now.

What Races are You RUNNING?? Anyone Running these??

ALSO...Sunday is New York City Marathon. I am going to miss this one. There are some incredible U.S. Ladies going to be out there, Who Do you Have YOUR MONEY ON???
Kara Goucher
Desi Linden
Deena Kastor
or maybe even secretly training...Sara Hall..


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Another bonehead move: Judgementalism.

I walked into the gym in my oversized running pants and oversized sweatshirt. A day no different then another.
The locker room smelled like perfume and hairspray.
I walked back to my usual locker space with my head down. I am such a creature of habit. I like the lockers in the back, away from most and close to the cold plunge. As much as I like people, I also like to be alone. No eye contact, no chit chat. get in, get out.

As I dumped my purple duffle bag on the bench I was taken back my one of the lockers. The air was sucked from my lungs as I read "R.I.P. 10/19/14." I looked at her photo, her age and couldn't help but stare. I knew this woman. I always see her because I locker by her.
Be Careful how you JUDGE:
I would see this woman all the time. She was strong and solid. She was beautiful, in her 50's. But she never smiled back at me. I would think, "Why is she crabby?" "Why can't she squeak a smile back at me?"
Isn't this what we do? We don't like others to call us judgmental yet me are. We make an assumption based on a look, a remark, a assumption....
She had cancer, Myeloma. "Oh God, Forgive me." I felt awful. She didn't need to smile. Maybe she felt like she didn't have a reason to smile. Maybe she just physically couldn't smile. Who knows, who cares.
This is what we do. We are so quick to judge. Oh OK..Maybe you are reading this saying "NOT ME" Well, well then I guess you can quit reading and teach me a few things.

Other side of the coin:

I have actually had a couple people tell me that I am being "judgmental". You loved them so much but they were pulling a bonehead move. I loved them so much I wanted to prevent the pain that they were going to feel from the choices they were going to make. But what I realized so quickly from their comment was that THEY in fact were judging me! 

People who judge, conclude or have opinions usually aren't even aware that they're judging. They just think they're "right" and most of us are taught that having the right answer makes us brilliant (often times only in our own eyes) . See we all really judge. We are often on one side of the coin.

If I judge someone for judging me because they don't have all the information, I'm being just as judgmental as they are...and there's no freedom in judgement...freedom lives in curiosity and wonder.
Are you willing to walk in someone else's footsteps?  Are you strong enough to overcome the pains that they are carrying?

Today, was a tough lesson.
Today, as I saw that lady, I saw the most beautiful smile looking back at me. I was convicted. I felt horrible.
I beat the crap out of myself in guilt. I ran a mile and found myself at the punching bag. I took my socks and shoes off and just started laying out roundhouses. Bare knucked I punched the bag till I was out of breath. My heart was pounding through my chest. Shoeless and not wanting to feel anything but punishment I ran around the track finding myself back at the bag. ROUND 2.....Round 3
20 minutes later I put on my socks and ran out 2 more miles. Bring it down Anita.

I am very transparent. I have been burnt for my honesty. Writing for me helps me filter my thoughts. This is me just being honest with my faults. I am a work in progress. I hope you can hear my heart.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Hero never Dies

7 years now. It pains me to think of my grandma being gone. She was my HERO.

Mabel Murdock weighed in at less than 100 lbs and under 5 feet tall. Hero's don't have to be big and strong, gruff or fierce looking.
This woman raised 4 alcoholic children and was married to one also. She was my rock. She did the best she could. Yes, she made mistakes, we all do.
She loved the lord and she honestly loved her children with everything.

What a Hero looks like to me:
My Grandma was fierce. She grew up on a farm and was a tough as nails. It was nothing for her to still scare me in her 90's with her Irish temper.
My grandma would come into our trailer when mass chaos was breaking loose. Chaos was just aan average day. This little lady would catch me screaming and crying at mother. My mom would be flipping out at me, throwing things and telling me to pack my bags if I didn't like it. She would be two sheets to the wind. You can not reason with drunkenness. Only at 15, I didn't know that. Grandma would lift up her cane, "GET A HOLD of YOURSELF!" She would corral me with her cane back to my bedroom. "ANITA, SHAME on YOU, STOP it RIGHT NOW, DO YOU HEAR ME." She looked like she would wap me anytime with her cane. I was so scared of her I would just start hyperventilating. I couldn't breath. My body couldn't catch air. "LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT me ANITA." I could hardly bring my eyes up to her hazel gleaming eyes in shame for my behavior.

My mother was gone and my Grandma was all I had. And I didn't take that for granted. I visited her every week. I took her shopping at Aldi's and would pick up her house. I would permed, cut and roller set her hair every week. She loved me. One day she even apologized to me. "Anita, I am sorry." She said as I was putting rollers in her hair. "I never gave your father a chance, He really loved your mom, he was a good man to her." She continued. "But back then, you didn't like Mexicans, it wasn't right, but that's how it was, I am sorry."

She loved the Lord. I have her little note pads with her prayers and verses on it.
She collected "LOVE IS.... and never threw out a plastic butter container!
She could walk in the middle of 4 alcoholic children brawling without any fear. I would be so scared for her.

And she would cry. Each child, had his special place in her heart. She would go through each of them and tell me about all their special traits. Her eyes would tear up as she struggled with out living them. "Anita, I have climbed up that hill and I am on my way down."
 We always said "Grandma You are going to out live us all.."

I didn't want my grandma to ever die. She reminded me of who I wanted to be. I wanted to be Strong like her. I wanted to love the Lord the way she did. I wanted to be sassy and spry. I wanted to be doing my exercises till I was almost 100 years old. I wanted to have great stories like she did, traveling all over and afraid of nothing.

I didn't want to be alone with out her. She was the last of a legacy.
Hero's are hard to come by these days. Hero's live in our hearts forever. They may be gone but their greatness goes on forever.

Who is your Hero? Have you told your Hero how much they mean to you lately?


Monday, October 27, 2014

Running Around

If I could put miles in running with my legs as I have with my car I would make, Dean Karnazes look like he does 5ks.
No running Nita! I have stuck to my guns...(Danielle you would be so proud) and went a WHOLE week of keeping my pace nothing higher than a turtles. I have still eaten everything out of the pantry and there are no leftovers in the house.
I did this challenge with a friend of mine. It is called "Give to Gain". You have to give up something for a week. I think my brain shut down after my marathon. I gave up CHOCOLATE! I should have given up running, that would have been easier considering I am in recovery! But CHOCOLATE?! Between my husbands mother bringing over lava cakes, oatmeal scotches, my son needing 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies, and Mary Pope bringing in brownies at work all in 4 days, I thought there was someone trying to sabotage me. Not to mention, I gave up CHOCOLATE during Halloween? I think I really injured my head during my marathon!

I finally went out today for my first run. I was curious to see how my body would  speak to me. During the week I rolled, stretched, took the skin off my tail bone from sit-ups and then a whole lotta nothing!
I headed outside into a mild autumn morning. The air was brisk and refreshing. As I hit my START on the Garmin, my legs went ahead of my mind. It was wonderful to have my body just go on autopilot. My legs had a mind of their own. I didn't go far. I kept my miles down to about 4 today.
Let's not get to carried away.

My Running is soon transitioning over. I will be a basketball mama for the next several weeks. Both my boys play the sport. I love to watching the game. I am as obnoxious in the bleachers as I am in the trails chasing after them.

My oldest son is 15. He reminds me a lot of myself. He is very misunderstood. Even by me. Today, I had already been up to the boys schools' 5 times. I sat in the parking lot waiting for Austin to come out after cross country.  He was no where. His food was getting warm sitting in the passenger seat. I brought his dinner knowing he would be starving and I had to go back to the school to take him to basketball.
I watched kids coming and going. Austin wasn't returning any of my texts. My blood was beginning to boil. This was the highest my blood pressure had been all week!
"Calm down Anita" I kept trying to talk myself off the ledge. I was about to jump into "ugly mama mode."
"Don't jump to conclusions." I tried to reason with myself. I could hear all these voices begin to argue with one another.
Then he text me. With my voice cloudy from all the chatter, I didn't even know how to respond. Back and forth we went. Austin, was actually very calm, he was acting like the adult. "WOW, this was convicting." I thought. Then, he said, "..It just got lost in translation mom....I love you."
I heard the voices in my head.."He loves you when your a spaz, a hot head, a control freak, a hoover mom...He Loves YOU."

My legs might not be running. My car is always running after kids and my mind never quits running. Being a mom is so confusing. The dialogue in my mind is like constant babble. Then I have to try and make sense from senselessness. I need a translator in my mind to just understand what is being said. Then, I need a mediator to try and organize all the chaos.
It is one thing to make a mess of myself, but I have the responsibility of 2 children. I have to make good choices for not just THEM but also Myself because it affects them ultimately.
I Run so many thoughts through my head trying to do the best I can. I have to remind myself one thing when all things seem to run into a wall.
Just as My son knows my imperfections, He also knows my intentions.
God Too, Loves ME. He knows my intentions, my heart, my thoughts, my hang-ups, and all the things I can't make sense of.
"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:19
So Thankful that God gave Austin the words to share his Love for me. I needed that. Those words reminded me of HIS love for me. God knew all that was running through my mind, He knew EXACTLY what I needed.

Do you get confused as a parent? Do you find yourself reacting to quick?


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.