"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, September 3, 2015

The Ultra Countdown Woodstock T-minus 8

My house is screaming over the Michigan game. I am easily distracted. So I am going to be brief.

"Unless your not pushing yourself, you're not living to the fullest. You can't be afraid to fail, but unless you fail you haven't pushed yourself hard enough." Dean Karnezes

I am getting very nervous. Just  a little over a week until Woodstock ultra. I have really enjoyed training this summer. I have been blessed with great weather and amazing training partners.

I have gotten more experience on the trails.
The trails have beat me up pretty good but I  have been a willing participant. Woodstock is going to be more difficult than my last 50 miler, Hungerford.  Hungerford was 2 years ago but I remember it to be mostly flat. I think. I can barely remember where I set my keys but I think I remember it flat with more sand than the Sahara Desert.

I think it is going to hurt really bad. I am nervous. Walk, crawl but hopefully mostly run, I will finish.
Augusts miles. 287

RUNDOWN:
I SLEPT IN. Andy brought me coffee in bed at 7am. It was like liquid gold.
Mom text me "Are you running?"  "Its getting hot and humid." I new I better suck down my coffee and get out there.

I looked like a spokesman for Pepto Bismo. I was Pink from head to toe. I am not even a pink girl.
By the time I was done running, I was more of a STINK girl, My pretty pink couldn't even cover up the smell.
I went out for 10 miles. Erin brought her suburban to a halt to Cheer me on. That girl had me smiling for over a mile. Then I heard a BEEP BEEP. It was mom. I was smiling behind the sweat again. One of the great things about living in a small town is you know a lot of people.
I chose to run on the main road full sun. I needed to feel the fatigue, sweat, and humidity as part of my training. I also chose to try to keep my shirt on no matter how bad I perspired. I was so glad I did. At 6 miles, I saw our youth pastor Ryan. That would have been awkward. My shirt was soaked, my shorts were even sweating but I was still clothed, hot as hell but dressed!

"Man needs difficulties, they are necessary for health." Carl Jung
 

I was bent on maintaining even splits. I had a goal pace and knew I could hit it without totally slitting my wrists. It was going to be moderate.
My route was 5 miles of rolling hills. Because it was an out and back I had 5 miles of hills back home. With sweat dripping down my chin I would wipe it down with the energy I had but hardly enough energy to even drink. I didn't want to drink a lot. I wanted to hit this run depleted. I wanted to be hot, tired, thirsty and sore. I needed to run through misery.
Because Woodstock is going to be all kinds of pain. I have to be mentally strong to get through 50 miles of every element I can train for.
6 out of 10 toes are suffering from blisters. That last mile home I could feel one burning.  I looked down at my watch and whispered, "Maintain, Anita, hold it here." My legs were on autopilot as I hit that last hill. "Take it in."
One last deep breath. Finishing close to home I hit the stop button on my Garmin. I was nervous to check my splits and see if I ran my goal pace.
Nailed it! With sweat burning my eyes I still found myself smiling.

I have a question Ultra Runners..DO YOU TAPER???

Anita

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

From one Extreme to the Next

Last week, I camped out in recovery mode. I found myself tired, sore and emotional. We had a sudden death that rested deep in our hearts.

This week, I am on an adrenaline high. I feel like a crack head bouncing from one thing to the next. I am getting good mileage in, my body is upright, and I am even having fun. Yesterday, or more like this morning we had a BIRTH!
My niece Sarah asked me to be with her in the delivery room. Similar to coaching kids running cross country, I found myself using the same mantra! I was on her left hand side. Someone asked me to hold her leg as the nurse checked for the babies heart rate. I jumped to her side ready to help hold her legs during contractions. My sweet niece pushed for 2 hours. My arm and shoulder is so sore. It was truly amazing to watch a woman's body perform like that.
Us woman are just amazing what we can do.

I was driving home from the hospital in Royal Oak at 2 am. I had to chuckle as I drove thinking about what a party animal I was. Out till 2 in the morning! I haven't been out that late in years and had a clear conscious!

The Rundown:
6 easy miles on the back roads with Mary Ann and Erin at 7am.
14 miles at Holdridge, running the trails with Claudia. It was hot and humid. We both took a face plant on the trails. We laughed so hard at one another I about peed my shorts. I had to grab myself and lean on a  tree to prevent myself from losing everything in my bladder.
I did however find myself in a NOT SO FUNNY place.  I twisted that stupid ankle to the fifth degree. I lost my testimony shouting "OH S#@!!"
We did finish our run upright and thankful it was over as we were dripping in sweat and dirt. Between sweat, dirt and peeing my shorts I think I smelled like a wild animal.  Wild Mexican animal!
I wanted to get 30miles in. It was 88 degrees. I added another 4 miles calling it in at 25 miles today.
I am anxious to see how the ankle is tomorrow. Hopefully not a cankle.

Are there any tips out there for multiple twisting of the ankles? Does it heal? Or have I weakened it?
Woodstock is a blink away!

Anita

Monday, August 31, 2015

New Miles, New Smiles

"In an Ultra you should eat like a horse, drink like a fish, and run like a turtle."
 
I have a good friend who is honest and forthright with me. Qualities I LOVE. After reading my post yesterday she sent this question to me today.

"Why are you running an Ultra? Don't assume you know why I am asking. But, ask yourself deep down, why?"
 
I had a busy morning and afternoon. I had plenty of time to think about it and eventually respond.

I woke up at 5:30am to run 16 miles with Mary Ann. The temps were perfect, I  just needed my attitude to be in the same alignment.
We ran for about 45 minutes in the dark. It was exhilarating. It was also our slowest miles! The branches cracked, the bushes whispered and the dew made you feel like you were in an Alfred Hitchcock film. Every so often you would hear a crow release a creepy noise that made you want to run faster and look behind you.
It was hard to tell if I was struggling, Mary Ann and I were working hard at solving the worlds problems and inhaling a lot of air.

My miles were not where they should have been the last couple days. Sunday 18 and today 16. I should have been in the 20 digits. I am not fretting too much about it. I whined enough yesterday, today is a new day.

Every second I was inside myself, the question ruminated in my mind. I had some obvious answers and I had some questions for myself.
When I had some free time to respond my fingers flowed with words to her question.
 
"You know like days in the week, some runs are better than others. Most of my runs are fulfilling and enjoyable. The people I run with are a big love for me. Even when I twisted my ankle and stubbed my toes the outcome is usually positive. But..its so mental. Last week I had a lot of emotions, my body was sore, my heart was broken from our sudden loss, and my mind began to turn. I wasn't sleeping, I stepped back from running and just that quick, voices began turning like a bad record.
I had a couple snotty comments made tongue and cheek last week in regards to my running and that didn't help.
Haters hate.
But today was a new day. Temps were down, my frown was upside down and I decided I needed to get a good attitude. I didn't like the old one!
I finished 16 miles today with Mary Ann. We ran slower, did walk breaks and even walked the hills. Yes, I felt the accumulation of back to back runs, but it was the way I was supposed to feel. I like the ultra running because of days like today. I can stop and take a picture, I can walk, I can enjoy the turkeys crossing the road, I am not just running, I am soaking up the adventure in it."
 
We chatted a bit more, she encouraged me and reminded me to "forget the rest of the worlds opinion."
 
I was reminded today how grateful I am for the friends I am encircled around. They are truly like family to me. My running friends are such a blessing to me. You see when running an Ultra you are running a lot more miles, that means you get to run ALOT more with them!
 
 
Andy and I went to the funeral today of my good friend Lisa's mother in law. Andy grew up with so many of the people that attended. From teachers, to pastors, to students, it was like a reunion.
We sat back in the overflow room. I could barely walk. I left the comfort of my Hokas only to squeeze my blistered toes in 3 inch heels.
As we sat down this slender man about our age, bent down and spoke to us. As he whispered I strained my ear to hear. "...I run Ironmans...I follow you on Facebook and read your blog....I have always wanted to run Western states...Don't quit writing it inspires ...." Billy Hampton, Andy said his name was.
I was shocked that I could inspire a Triathlete. Or my writing, I always wonder who reads my writing with a multitude of errors.
We are in a society we don't give compliments or edify very much. But Billy went out of his way to edify me. It was so sweet.
Granted Andy made fun of me all day. But I can handle Andy.
 
Less than 2 WEEKS!! Woodstock 50m is fast approaching. I am gonna try and get a 30 miler in on Wednesday. Prayers Welcomed!
 
Anita

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Rid me of Myself

"My grace is sufficient for you, for MY POWER is made perfect in Weakness."
 
I have days when I feel so inadequate. Days when insecurity takes root in my mind. The ball begins to roll, growing into a monster of emotions. From inadequacy to insecurity, then I feel fear rise and turn into anxiety. The monster grows, clouding out my hope and faith not just in myself but in God.
 
My 50 mile race is fast approaching. I ran 73 miles the week of the Crim. I raced the Crim, a very challenging 10 mile course only to add on the 8K after.  I ran 20 miles with a group of beastly trail runners, making that a 30 miles run.  
My body got trashed. My mind felt confident, until my body wasn't recovering from the abusive week of running.
I did everything I could think of, trying to recover my broken body. I iced, rolled, stretched, took Epson salt baths, watched my diet closely and prayed.
 
Maybe I didn't pray hard enough.
Maybe I didn't pray right.
Maybe I didn't ask others to pray for me.
No one is going to want to pray for me. There are bigger things out there then Anita running 50 miles. No one cares.
Insecurity. Heart ache. Confusion.
I needed to run to RID ME OF MYSELF.
 
The voices are so loud. "But God, You care, You love me, You have great and mighty things for me...Right?"
"God, I know running isn't going to solve the worlds problems, or it isn't going to feed the hungry, its not going to impact anyone in a life changing way...but its special to me...And God I JUST can't do it with out YOU, and I just do not WANT to do it without you next to me."
 
That terrible insecure moment when you wonder if God is listening or if he has bigger things to move on to.
 
I mean RUNNING? Does he really care? Are you out there Lord?
 
My ankle got beat up in the trails, I tripped on this root that I beleive came up from Hell and tried to bring me down with it. I lost a toenail and my toe is black. Every muscle screamed for days at me. And sleep?! I didn't sleep for 4 days.
 
I brought my weakened body to rest. I took my miles down and 2 days off this week.
WEAK. My body and my mind felt confused and WEAK.
 
20 miles was my training run for the today. I had circumstances that took precedence over my run. I didnt know how I was going to pull any miles off in the heat anyway.
And my body? How was it going to feel? Did it recover?
 
I never quit today, but I wanted to quit a thousand times. The sweat was stinging my eyes, the heat was scorching my skin. And I was tired.  The voices in my head were arguing with each other, I felt like I was losing. Losing the battle.
With 4 miles in we were totally drenched in sweat, How was I going to make it another 14-16 miles. I felt so defeated.
Jama, my running partner shared my misery. Together, we just put one foot in front of each other.
I don't know what was more work, trying to drown out the chatter in my head or continue to run.

Sometimes we look at our circumstances and think;
 "How am I going to get through this?"
"I am so broken, I am so beat up, I just cant see the end of it all."
"Does it matter? What's the point?"
"HELLO?? God Are YOU out There, This is Anita...Remember me?"

Being WEAK isn't so bad. It is a reminder that I am HUMAN. I am not some super hero. It is the perfect reminder of who I am NOT and who HE is.
After I ran, I had to attend a showing. A dear friend of mine, Lisa lost her mother in law at 65. So young.
As I was leaving Coats Funeral home, a woman caught my eye. I barely know her but I stopped, turned and gave her a hug. We shared a few words and she finished our brief conversation with "...You inspire me.."

She had no idea how uninspiring I felt this week. I felt weak, insecure, inadequate... But then God showed up again in a great and mighty way. His POWER, gave me the strength to NOT quit. His POWER gave me confidence, gave me comfort and gave me security through her words. He spoke through someone else to remind me of His Power.
Weakness is not just a physical condition, Mental weakness breeds and reigns havoc.
Her words put a lump in my throat. Even in my Weakness HIS power is PERFECT.

Rid me of myself
Because I Belong to YOU.
 
Anita

Monday, August 24, 2015

Suck It Up Buttercup: Crim 2015

I took the day off work, to RUN. Makes perfect sense, right?
Not just any run, THE CRIM. It is a very popular race in Flint and it is my favorite.

The Plan: To Pace Joan at a sub 8. I was trying to get her between a 7:45-8/mi.
The Conflict:
  •  NOT to INJURE MYSELF for training. I still have a 32 mile run in a couple days. Trying so hard to not be stupid. Marry myself to the watch, pay close attention to my body and LISTEN to it. And again, don't be STUPID. I am really good at that.
  • This summer I did a weekly running club prepping the kids to run the 8K at the Crim. I really wanted to be there with them. I not only wanted to see their victory but I also felt responsible to make sure they all found their parents afterward.
Mom and dad showed up like clockwork, 6:30am. We had a couple extra kids with us. My car seats 7, we fit 8!

Cloud cover and 65' degrees gave a very welcoming Crim Day.
Austin brought his friend Nick and Alec brought his friend Gauge. Gauge was now a 51 year old man! My friend Claudia gave me her hubbies bib because he couldn't run.

We parked by the YMCA, this was closer for my parents to walk. It was great, We must remember this for next year.
My coffee kicked in and I had to hit the bathrooms. The bus station had public restrooms with low lines. Only I didn't see the 15 ladies INSIDE the bathroom.
By the time I did my business, gagged down the smell of someone elses's business and found Andy, he looked irritated. I just do what I do best, put on my big smile, say "Sorry, I had no idea" and move along!
We located Joan and her family about 20 minutes before the starting line. We gathered together to pray. I love this part. Knowing God is hearing us and with us gives me so much comfort. Running one step without seeking him just doesn't make sense. It is like trying to start your car with no keys. I work better seeking him.

Joan and I squeezed our 5' frames in between the bars to our B Corral.
I didn't feel nervous, I was anxious, Lets get this  show on the road.

At 8:05 we crossed the starting line. I noticed the 8/mi pacer, "Joan, we need to be in front of them."
I didn't think closing that 75 foot gap was going to be as difficult as it was. It took over 3 miles to catch up to them. They were clearly NOT running on pace. I knew how wiped  out I was, I wondered how they must be feeling.
We were running next to this Mexican looking guy with bright yellow high socks. He was laughing and cutting up with us. I nicknamed him "Smiley". He smiley, I want to see that smile through the Bradleys!"

I was still trying to catch my breath as we hit the Bradley hills at mile 4/5. Desperately trying to locate some energy, I coaxed the guy next to me to not let me pass him.  Well, he hung on and after that 3rd hill, he never looked back!
I did hear a voice to my right, It was Ken H. He spewed a couple jokes then dropped back.

And Smiley, he too was no where to find.

It took 6 miles to come into myself. I could breath, think and enjoy the Crim for all it was.
I had been letting Joan take the lead. A few times I had to remind her to bring it down.
It was at the 6 mile mark she was starting to feel it. She was reminding me to bring it down. We were walking the water stations. I kept reminding Joan how great she was doing. She was bound to have a Personal Record for the Crim (PR).

As mile 7 approached, I saw a  familiar pair of socks, It was SMILEY. "SMILEY! Come on, stay with us!"
He did. I could tell he was toast. He was probably mad at me for making him pick it back up. "Smiley, are you are boxer?" He had a boxer body. "NO, I'm a RUNNER." He replied winded. I loved the way he said that, "NO, I'm a RUNNER." Right on!
He stayed with us. There was a girl to Joans right who was struggling. She was beautiful, she was black, tall and strong. I drew her in trying to encourage her as well.

At mile 8, I saw Kris K. She is a local runner. Running up to her I said "HI Kris". She passed me a smile, but you could see the strain in it. I actually felt bad passing her. I wanted to string her along with us, but I also didn't want her to beat me. She beat me at the last race, Wings of Mercy 5K. So opted to encourage her instead of invite her.

We were all still hanging on at mile 9. All Joan and I had to do was maintain. Joan was killing it.
"Two more lights, then turn and your on the bricks to the FINISH!" one of the volunteers cheered.
I looked up and started counting them.
I assessed my body and began making my plan for the FINISH.

The final turn was behind us. The girl picked it up and headed in. Smiley followed suit in the excitement. Joan too began to turn it over. "Joan, it is a lot farther down there than it looks, settle here a bit more."
There is something magical when your shoes hit the bricks. You can not be tamed. Joan and I went after it.
Smiley should have stayed back with us. He slowed up, using too much energy too fast. I picked it up one more gear and passed him right before the FINISH.
My 10th Crim, My first CRIM I ran a 9:09

I was able to plant a smile right before I thought I was going to PUKE. I swallowed it down and turned around to get Joan. Joan hugged me and I could tell I was holding her up. She ROCKED it.
Joan knocked 6 minutes off her time.
And the guy that passed us up the Bradleys..he was there at the FINISH line holding up his hand for a fist pump!
Laughing in Joans victory we filled our arms up with post race food and beverages, apples, bananas, popsicles, chocolate milk and whatever else they were offering.
Javon, her fiancé was on the sidelines. "Andy is at the starting line for Alecs race."
OH CRAP. I took off, I had to get to the starting line.

This summer I did a running club and trained the kids all summer to run the 8K at the Crim,I had to be there.
I could hear the speaker doing the count down. He was moving the runners forward. "1 minute until start!"
Where was Andy? I was looking everywhere. I spotted Austin, there was Andy taking pictures of Alec with his friends. I came up behind Andy. I startled him. I dropped all my food at Andys feet and started ripping off my timing tag off the back of my bib. "I am going to run with them."
Andy gave me that half crazed face "What, Your going to do what?"

With my popscicle still in my hands, I was squeezing myself between the bars again!
Then I got the SAME look from Alec!
It was too late to think about turning back, we were running across the starting mats.

A grave MISTAKE. At mile 1.2, I was barely hanging with the kids. "Anita, TURN back NOW!"
"NO, You have got to run with the kids."
"You can NOT maintain this 8/mi pace, you will surely die."
"NO, I know that a couple of the kids will drop back, I can't loose them, they shouldn't  be out here alone with all these people."
I argued this for over 2 miles. At that point I had to stick it out.
So I waited for a couple of the kids to drop back and they DID!

"I have a side stitch.."
I gently replied,"Oh, do you need to walk!" Say YES,SAY YES...
A few minutes later, "Can we have a walk break, my stomach hurts?" For SURE!
It went like that all the way to the FINISH. My legs were JELLO, my body was fatigued and the sun showed up blazing on me.
BUT I FINISHED! And I had the kids in check up against thousands of runners.
Even though I was hurting really bad, it was WORTH it to be able to locate and find the kids. Being part of their victory was like part of mine as well.

THIS year was my 10th CRIM. And it was perfect. Victory is not just a pace, or a place in a race. Victory is sharing someone else's victory, helping others in their successes. I love helping others achieve their Victory. It is undeniably full of AWESOMENESS.
Tim Hortons at the FINISH line, Simply the BEST!

RUNNING on a PRAYER:
  • 16 miles on Saturday.
  • 3 miles on Sunday to try and "Shake it out".
  • 2 nights of complete crap for sleep and I had to get up to meet Ken H for my long run this morning.
  • My legs have been restless, my body feels overheated, I am kicking the covers off, tossing and turning. Andy is very patient. I wish I was.
  • I ran 10 with Ken H.
  • I Met Claudia at 8:50 and headed to Holdridge trails to meet a group of runners.
  • My legs were so sore. I had NO idea how I going to pullout 20 miles on trails. I was RUNNING on a prayer. LITERALLY.
  • I have a lot of people praying for me.
Me, Paula, Matt and Ken, Missing is Claudia

I just ran one mile at a time. Prepared to bail at any mile. I stayed back. Listened more than I spoke. I know, hard to believe. I was conserving as much energy as I could. Besides, I was afraid if I spoke it would be about all the pain I was in. I thought I better just keep my mouth shut.
I twisted my ankle, like a hundred times. Hardly graceful like Paula in front of me. She just danced around the roots, rocks and pickers. I was behind getting slapped in the face with tree branches, falling over roots, tripping in crevices and trying so hard to hang with the big dogs!

But I finished, as UGLY as it was, I Finished. The only thing cute were my New Hokas. There is NO returning them, they are totally BROKE IN! But even after 30 miles in them they looked better than I did!


Less than 3 weeks. Please keep me in prayer. I need to stay healthy. Running on prayers. Asking God to protect me and keep my strong.

Anita





Sunday, August 23, 2015

The WINNER is...

I thought I was typing for the last 2 minutes and looked up only to see a BLANK screen!
I am getting tired but not sleepy if that makes sense. I worked on my CRIM RECAP for an hour and LOST EVERYTHING!
So before I turn into UGLY and say words that I try very hard to not say I am pulling the cord!

BUT BEFORE I DO, I want to CONGRATULATE SAMANTHA for winning the CONTEST! She Guessed 1:16 for my CRIM time and I RAN 1:17 and some change.  Check out her running blog, I run these towns.

I am running my LONG run in the morning, Wish me LUCK! I am still super sore!
Could seriously use some prayers!

Anita

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Crim Contest!

SATURDAY is the CRIM.
One of my favorite races.

My knee is aggravated. I am not sure why it wouldn't be. I mean like 3 weeks in a row that I have ran a marathon plus. Almost 70 mile run weeks. I need a prayer!

Seriously, PRAYER. I brought my miles WAY down the last 2 days. I have brought my pace down as well.
So I guess we shall see.

So here's the game. CLOSEST to the hole for the CRIM. If you can guess closest to my race time I will send you out a fun care package!
Share in my comments below or share on my Facebook page. Running Against the ODds.

I am heading to the Expo to pick up my bib tomorrow night. So I am going to get some goodies for the WINNER!

To help you guess:
  • I am NOT racing. I am way to nervous to injure myself more.
  • I would be the biggest loser if I raced. I am NOT in Race Place!
Again, Asking for prayers. Less than 4 weeks out from my Ultra. I believe God can heal. But I also am desperately seeking prayer.

Anita