"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

Monday, November 13, 2017

Clarkston Backroads 1/2 Marathon Recap.

Sunday marked my 5th year running CBR half marathon. This race is 5years old. Each year they have improved it, making it better but NOT easier than the year before.

Clarkston Backroads: located at Independence Oaks County Park.
The Course:  Both Clarkston backroads as well as trails throughout the park.
Elevation Gain: 577ft
Max Elevation: 1,135
Weather: 35 degrees and sleet, which turned into rain. Lovely.

All 5 years I have ran it with Joan. Together we suffer through it. Each year claiming to make it a "FUN RUN".
Neither one of us really train to have a PR on their course. This is typically my first race after a long summer of training for a ultra. My body is just feeling recovered and I put it through the battlefield again.
Joan and I are a glutton for punishment. This year we actually got a wooden engraved ornament marking out 5th year running.
Joan and I. 

We started the race with smiles and a good plan.
FUN RUN! Happy miles, miles of smiles!
We tucked in near the 2 hour pacer in hopes to finish under 2 hours with little suffering or sweat.

We chatted, giggled even, as we ran through the park. I watched my old neighbor, Chris B. get smaller and smaller as he ran with a more strict and speedy pace.
With the miles slowly adding up our conversation slowly died down.

Somewhere around mile 5, "SO are we having FUN yet?" Joan whispered underneath her misery. I didn't even have the energy to reply, it was more like a guttural grunt. The sound an animal makes right before it DIES.

The back roads were unforgiving. They loomed ahead of us. My mind circulated so many thoughts on how to cut my losses. I was trying to figure out how I could lessen the pain.
  • Put my shoulders back more..better running posture
  • Breath more effectively, except I was gasping for air. 
  • Smile and confuse my body. 
  • count mailboxes...I was too dazed to count. 
  • Mantra...I think I can, I think I can..
We managed to get up them. We both had our music in our ears. I was trying to drown out the fact that my breathing sounded animalistic. We heaved up two more hills before the turn around.  I actually got a second wind as the runners began to pass me heading the opposite direction. 
"HEY Chris! Looking Good!" 
"Jill, OH HI!"
"Steve!" 
"Donna" 
"SPOCK!!!!"
"ERIN! HEY girls!!" 
I may have expended a little too much energy acting like "Lil Miss Social Butterfly." because after they were gone my lungs were burning and bad words were trolling in my head remembering I had to hit the stupid hill again. 

Joan and I were not communicating in full sentences any longer. Our suffering spoke volumes where our vocal chords escaped syllables. 

The sleet was gone, now a misty rain drizzled on us. We had made it to the half way mark. Then we made it to the 10 mile marker. We were still in front of the 2 hour pacers but we had not hit the trails of death. We knew we would lose time trekking up those hills around the lake. We came into the trails between 10 and 11. 

The hills were brutal. Sadly, the 2 hour pacers passed us. This was supposed to be a "FUN RUN". We hadn't chatted, giggled, or smiled in a long time! 
We were both in survival mode. 
The pacers were just a few yards in front of us. I could tell they had Joans attention. She was determined to stay close to them.
 
We both knew once we reached mile 12, the finish was not only closer it was easier. We slowly closed the gap between us and the pacers. They saw us and cheered us on, We picked up our pace, I shared our time with Joan and but she was already 2 steps ahead of me. 
We turned over the next gear as we saw the finish line and let the downhill momentum run us in. 

I hit my watch anxious to see if we had made our sub 2 hour goal.  
Time:1:58:32
Overall: 112th of 328
Overall Female: 38th of 193
F40-49: 6th of 52
Female Masters: 10th of 99 

WE DID!
Spock. That the trail name I gave him the first time I met him at Highland Loops. This is the 3rd race I have "Ran" into him now!

The weather was not inviting us to hang around. We did get our Union Mac and Cheese. We were lucky enough to find a spot at the picnic table UNDER the tent. We hung out for a few minutes, but I was meeting the rest of my gang at Honchos and Joan had a lot to do still that afternoon. As we headed out to leave they had to drag me because my friends were trickling in.
At this point, my sweat was mixed with cold and rain, I was shivering. We couldn't get to the truck fast enough.
The shirts were a new material, best shirts EVER. The medals were even kicked up a notch!

Another year under our belt! We survived!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My tribe. Melissa, lacey, Claudia, Me, Paula, Matt, Heather and  Erin 

I thought doing a shake out today would be good for me. I ran an easy 6 miles. Only it wasn't EASY. It had its moments. With each miles I felt my quads burning. My ankle that I twisted at CBH throbbing and my breathing...it was just BAD.
I wasn't this sore after running Hennipen!

Anita

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Out of Breath

"If you always do what you have always done you will always get what you have always had." 


This week has been an interesting week to say the least. It has not been a week riding the gravy train. Honestly, it has had a lot of struggles.
However, even in all the struggles there has been healing hearts and bridges being mended.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This evening I was with our youth group and a question was presented in our lesson.

"Have you ever felt like there was a time in your life when you did not hear from God? Why did you think that prayer would never be answered? How did you respond to that situation?"

The girls went around the circle each taking a couple minutes to share how the question related to them.
I particularly liked one of the girls answer, it went something like this:
I found that when I prayed sometimes I was not hearing the answer, I was listening for a answer and then I realized I was part of the answer. The answer wasn't waiting for God to do a miraculous movement..it was me doing some of the work....."
My Response:
I love Quotes.
"Rather than asking God for a change in Circumstance, ask God for a change in Character."

Seeking a change in character, seeking change, sometimes requires work. Be it physical work, emotional work or spiritual work. You can't seek change without a little blood, sweat and tears. Without making some sacrifices, taking a leap of faith, swallowing some pride, conquering your fears; change, positive change may not come any faster than a snail crawl IF AT ALL.


Whether it is in my daily life or in my running. The ultimate goal is to be better. To set and reach goals. To move forward. My season of running faster has began to plateau. This does not mean that I throw in the towel. It means that I reevaluate my goals, but I continue to set them.

This week my running is still in the Recovery Phase. I want to continue to take it easy, laugh on the run, chit chat with my friend's and just put in the miles.
BUT that isn't going to make me any better.
Thursday we had a group run. 8 people showed up to run 2 loops at Holly Rec. The first loop was planned to run easy, the second loop...I wanted to pick it up a bit.
About mile 7, I was running with Rachel. We both were trying to keep up. We picked up our pace and encouraged one another. We both wanted to push ourselves. We both needed to. Together we carried each other to the end of the trail, out of breath and accomplished in our sweat.

TODAY. Lacey and I took a chance in the misty rain to run outside. Thunder and lightning had danced around all afternoon.
We planned to run 7 miles. We didn't discuss our route or our pace. But Lacey and I are one of the same brain. We took off down E.Holly Rd both running with intention. At mile 2, we had nonverbally decided we were going to run pushing ourselves.
The run was quiet other then some dissembled conversation that mostly ended with "I can't talk right now." or "If you haven't noticed I am not answering because I am OUT of BREATH!"

We BOTH knew we need to start pushing ourselves. We need to start putting in some work. As the miles accumulated, so did our plan. The deeper we got into our mileage the harder it was to maintain our goal. My lungs had not worked this hard in weeks. My beating heart pounded in confusion. My feet hit the hard pavement striking it with enough forced to feel in my shins. We were not playing nice. We were not having social run time, there was no laughing or lolly gagging.
Our goal was to get this 7 mile run under a 9min/m. NO MATTER what.  My legs have been pampered by a slower pace the last few months. Every fiber in me was screaming.

Lacey and I took turns leading and carrying one another. As soon as the 7 mile beep hit our watches, breathlessly we hit STOP on our watches.
We both peered at our digits to see what our results were.

RUNDOWN
Distance; 7.02
Pace: 8:37min/mi
Time: 1h.33sec

We took a few seconds to catch our breaths. We DID it. Even though we were a little beat up, it did not measure nearly to the feeling of accomplishment we had. All smiles we agreed it was a great run.

Breathless:
Breathless is where the hard work is.
Maybe Forgiving someone leaves you breathless.
Maybe Loving someone leaves you breathless.
Maybe its studying for that exam or getting your butt to the gym that leaves you Breathless.

But whatever it is, its the Work you put in that produces results.

Anita~




Monday, October 30, 2017

Take it Easy

I am LOVING this whole run what you want, when you want and if you want thing. I enjoying running and I enjoy running even more right now when I don't have anything MAKING me run.

I was getting burnt out.
Tired
Whiny.
And ready to have nothing on the calendar.

The only thing I have on the calendar is Clarkston BackRoads. Sunday November 12th.
This is the 5th year Joan and I have ran this. Last year, we decided to FUN RUN it! We were both out of breath, in the hurt locker and not smiling, quite the opposite actually.
My body is usually recovering from something and I am a broken mess running this race.
But..This year, I am looking forward to running it, No PRESSURE.

Lacey set up our run today. I was so excited to run for the first time with my Pacers.
Lacey and I drove out to Paula and Matts house to run Orion Oaks. Paula ran 5 miles with us and ran back home to make us cookies and coffee.
Orion Oaks would have been more enjoyable if it was not sleeting, raining and 38 degrees out, not to leave out the winds blasting us in the face on the way back.

All the negative weather issues didn't disrupt our chatty conversations. It was fun to catch up and get to converse about Hennepin.

I was still feeling fatigue. Maybe it was all the jaw jabbing I was doing but I was whooped at mile 3!
We were running 10 miles.
At mile 9, I was ready to eat warm cookies and sip hot coffee.

Paula was like an angel. She had a fuzzy blanket wrapped around me, that added with the above yummies, I was in hog heaven.

RUNDOWN
Distance:10.5
Time:1h 48m
Pace:10:17


Anita~

Thursday, October 26, 2017

LAYERS and LEAVES

I am not a fan of cold weather running. The crisp autumn mornings have returned. This morning there was a glistening frost over everything. The frigid air took my breath away.

I never know how to dress in this weather. I always manage to overdress. Simply because I hate being cold.
This morning was no exception. The tempertures were in the 30's this morning. I laughed at my running skirt and compression socks I had laid out the night before.
I had thick running tights on with a built in skirt over. My sports bra was layered underneath a heavy running shirt, a running jacket and a vest.
I was Layered up.
And I was so uncomfortable. The layers made me prematurely sweat. And all the material was thick under my arms.

I was included in a last minute text from Paula and Matt to run Wilderness trail with the gang. I had planned to run solo but was so excited for the invite to see everyone.

Everyone planned to run 2 loops. I wanted to run 2 loops. The sky was blue, so blue. The leaves were in peak, the trails was decorated in colors of amber, red, orange and yellow. My friends were with me.
I lead the group.
Within a few miles I was so hot! I made it a full loop before I began taking off LAYERS.

At one point on the run, I separated myself from the group. I took a side trail down towards the lake. The lake looked like a mirror, perfectly reflecting the blue sky and white clouds. Along the backside of the trail the trees bordered the shimmering lake. I crouched down inches from the waters edge. I felt my heart heavy. OCTOBER. Layers and Leaves.
SO much loss this month. Death never LEAVES.  The heart never returns to its natural state.
I wanted to bury myself in the woods. I didn't even realize I had left everyone until I heard their voices ahead of me.
I left my sadness by the lake and returned to the gang.

Everywhere Leaves.
Michigan Mittens!

I wanted to remove another layer. I wanted to remove the hurt that was now covering me. It was slowly tightening its grip on me. And for a little while I did remove it. I smiled. I laughed. I engaged in the moment with my friends.

I was afraid to be alone. I felt the LAYERS growing. I tried to peel them off. Only to discover confusion. Or grief. Even Anger. So many LAYERS.

October. The month of Layers and Leaves.
With each Layer peeled back I am afraid to see what it Leaves.

However. I know that Life is Layered. And its comes down to what we LEAVE behind.
I Know that God had a plan for all that hurt and loss. I know that as abandoned I feel, it is just an emotion,  I know that I am not alone. God has put people in place to love me. No they are not my mother, or Ariel or my amazing Angel of a grandmother.

" I will not LEAVE you comfortless: I will come to you." John 14:18

Those LOVES of my life, they left so much beauty. There was so much I received from each of them.
Tears stream down my cheeks. my eyes are blurred, but its LOVE, that what they left behind.
LOVE. 


RUNDOWN:
Distance: 10 Miles
Legs felt pretty good. Fatigued. And I did something to my shoulder. NO BUENO.

Anita~

Sunday, October 22, 2017

10 things you didn't know about Hennipen

I am 2 weeks post Hennipen100.
The fog has been lifted. I have remembered things I thought I never knew, I wish I would have forgotten some things and some details I got wrong all together!

Lacey helped me put some of the pieces together. She also shared some questions she thought might be good in this post answered.

1. What did you eat during your ultra?
Aid stations, They were wonderful. They even gave out FREE HUGS. 

I brought with me, fresh berries, Starbucks Salted caramel expresso and gum. Andy opened the berries up for me somewhere between mile 40-50. These were like MANA from heaven. I used the aid stations for most of my nutrition. The winds and rain made me cold, I really enjoyed warm chicken noodle soup anywhere I could get it. I have had good luck with boiled potatoes with salt, peanut butter and jelly and grilled cheese sandwiches. I took a bag grapes eating most of them as I walked and sharing the rest. As I approached 65 miles my belly took a turn. Inside Out! Matt gave me 2 Gu's which he had to later follow up with two tums. I only remember one chocolate espresso GU but I remember waking UP from them and also getting SICK. Lacey and Matt made me drink coffee through the night to wake me up. The caffeine did miracles. I DID NOT want to drink it, but I was so thankful they MADE ME. The also fed me shortbread cookies and potato chips  at 3 in the morning to go with the warm coffee.

2. CLOTHING....
Dona Jo Skirts

I had 3 outfit changes.

A) My morning outfit, LuLulemon skirt, sports bra, buff and tank. The skirt was great until it WASN'T! At mile 50-ish my back was hurting from the elastic cutting into my waist.
B) My second outfit. DONA JO. This running skirt fit like a glove. I fell in love with the fabric, the fit and the design. I loved it soo much I bought Lacey one so we could be twinsies. HOWEVER, as cute as it was. My poor toosh. I chaffed. Something I have never done. 2 weeks later my bootie is still recovering! The price you pay!
C) I had one last outfit. I am very sentimental. I took something from each of my boys, I took Austin's "Free Hugs" pajama pants to rest in after my finish. He was supposed to be there but plans took a turn, and I took his Pj's to feel him with me. Such a sap.
* Another mistakes I made, I started out in low socks. They kept falling down and getting dirt in my shoes. I switched them out to 6 inch mild compression socks. These socks were perfect at mile 50 with a fresh pair of Hokas.
I knew I was going to look terrible at some point. After the race, a few days later, Lacey says "Nita, aren't you glad you wore those cute skirts, because if you were going to look bad at least your outfit was cute!"

3. Where did you go to the bathroom?
I attempted the port a john but the wait was so long I lead 2 other ladies, one was Kris, behind it, warning the rest in line we would politely do our business behind in the woods.
I only used a conventional bathroom one time. I did my business alone then called Andy to help me change my clothes. I was so exhausted. He was lucky he didn't have to fish me out of the out house.
I counted, that I remember 9 potty stops. I never poo poo-ed my pants but several times I thought I better check!

4. PRO's and CON'S on training for 100 miles. 
PRO'S:
We had shirts made for our tribe. #itsgoodtraining We all went to dinner the night of the race, wearing our shirts. We are just missing Claudia. 
  • I had a great tribe to run with. I meshed two of my running groups together about 9 months ago to create one big group. "Team Squishy Toes."
Everything on this cheer board had a part in my summer training. 

  • I ate guiltlessly for 6 months.
  • I learned to embrace all weather conditions.
  • I bonded so much with my running partners.
  • I never got injured.
CON'S
  • My average running pace slowed significantly. I was to worried if I did too much or too intense of speed work I would get injured.
  • It took a lot of time. As a mom, I felt guilty. Even though my kids had a good summer and we did a lot I still felt guilty.
  • I got used to being stinky, sweaty and dirty. YUCK. 3 and 4 hour runs in the heat leave you feeling far from feminine. I got to comfortable peeing in the woods, blowing snot rockets and forgetting to shave my legs.

5. Hennipen was the first time I ever ran with someone wearing their underware running.

This poor guy was coughing and hacking. I asked him if he needed a throat lozenge. He replied "No, this is the way I run." I was thinking "OK, and do you normally run in your boxer shorts too?"

6. WOULD you EVER do it again?
Hmmm... 2 weeks later I have had a chance to think about this. It takes ALOT of time. And it is a sacrifice on more than just myself.
All these people gave something up to be with Kris and I. Soo blessed by all the support, encouragement and love. 
I wouldn't want to run 100 miles without a pacer. Or a crew. Andy told me "Never Again".
This is Andys spreadsheet. He clocked my time I arrived at each aid station, calculated my estimated time to arrive at the next aid station based on multiple pace options. He was always waiting for me like clock work. It was A lot of work. 

As of RIGHT now. I would never do it again as long as I have kids at home. Time is limited. Alec is a sophomore. I want to enjoy him as long as I can.

7. First time I ever ran with a guy Yo Yo-ing for 100 miles.
"Yo Yo boy" that's what I called him, like a Superhero, he ran back and forth with me for hours laughing and cutting up.

8. After the race, I couldn't get my shoes off fast enough.
This picture doesn't do my feet any justice. My Face even swelled way UP!
My feet felt like they were going to EXPLODE out of the seams. My poor size 7.5 feet looked like elephant feet. Team Squishy Toes now looked like TEAM CHUBBY TOES. Every toe was a sausage link and I had cankles. It was like a horror show. My toes were white with blisters. The closer I looked my right foot actually looked like bubble wrap from all the blisters. I have sense lost 2 toe nails and believe the healing process has begun.

9. How did you feel when you finished. Exhausted but awake.
My legs twitched unable to settle.  I was not instantly hungry. I lost about 8 lbs. But I had gained 4 lbs for the race. I didn't start putting my weight back on for about a week. And to be honest, I have yet to get on the scale. I have indulged in everything I have craved. Cake was the first few days. Then pie, I made both apple and buttermilk. I still eat healthy. I have eaten a lot of whole foods to heal my body, berries, probiotics, fresh veggies and teas.

10. ARE YOU RECOVERING?
YES! I have not RAN in 2 weeks. My knee is about 90% better. I enjoyed a 3 mile walk with Lacey the first week. I have gone kayaking twice.
I am going stir crazy.
I take my running serious, and I take my recovery just as serious. You have to practice what you preach.
I like the art of Self Discipline. The battle between the ears. I love the raging voices. It reminds me who I am. I like the fight. I won. I went 2 whole weeks just like I promised myself.


Anita~

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Hennipen 2017: 100mile Recap.

Andy and I headed towards Illinois Friday morning, we dropped Alec off at school and kept on moving.
Hennipen100. My bib number was 81. I had registered for this insanity way back last December.
Most of my races this year were strategically planned as "training runs" working towards the BIG PICTURE, 100 miles.
I trained for 6 months. I ran Glass City Marathon as my ribbon cutting ceremonial race to kick off 50 and 60 mile run weeks, midnight runs, rain runs, trail runs and flat rails to trails runs.
My Ford F150 was packed with gear, shoes, food and excitement.
Kris, Rachel and I at the Prerace Meeting

MY TRIBE: Andy and I were driving together but we were not alone.
Just a couple hours behind us, Kris was bringing her crew in their 15 passenger van. Her husband, Chris, her son Brady and Rachel, her pacer.
Lacey would be on the course sometime on Saturday to pace me. Her hubby Scott and her were enjoying some time together in Chicago.
Matt and Paula were doing the same thing as Lacey and Scott. They too would be on the course sometime on Saturday. I didn't really know Matts plan for pacing. I knew he was coming out to help who ever needed it.
And then there was Ken, the culprit of all this insanity. He would be there with his wife Diane.
I was looking forward to seeing my tribe. We had quite the group of us coming in.

VOCABULARY: 
CREW: This is your support system. They follow you around, meeting you at aid stations prepared to service your needs. Andy crewed me. He is amazing at this. Andy has a always been able to navigate through a city to cheer me on as large as New York City or Boston and even Chicago. Navigating is just one area, he also assesses me, helps change my shoes, socks, makes sure I am eating, drinking and provides me with whatever tools I need to stay upright.
PACERS: These are your runners that will be running along side of you keeping you on pace, encouraged, and moving forward. Pacers help to keep you out of your head. They use their head, their strength and wisdom to help get you to the finish.
Hennipen does not allow you to pick up your pacers until after mile 50. Lacey was planning on running though the night with me. I would pick her up at the Candyland Aid station where she would run my last 50K with me. Surprisingly, Matt said he would be at the 50 mile to pace me for "however" long.

RACE MORNING, BEFORE THE STARTING LINE.
Everything was organized in gallon ziplock bags and filed into a box making it easy for Andy to pull out what I needed. 

Weather: 67' and dry. The rain was on its way and would later partner up by winds at over 25mph.
But here I was. I wasn't nervous, scared or even concerned. I was eager. I was so excited to see where this adventure took me. I was ambitious to see what my body could do, what it could overcome, endure.
Andy and I arrived at 6:30am. I met another runner waiting for Kris and her crew. When I saw Kris and her crew I was jumping into their arms delighted to see them all.
It was show time.

MY GOAL:
*To Finish.
* The Golden Goal: Finish SUB 24..And get that BIG BUCKLE BABY!
THE PLAN: 
* A Sub 24 hour calculates to a 14:24m/m.
I would need to pace myself below 14MIN/M to bank time for aid stations.
I planned to maintain a 11:30-12 m/m the first 30 miles. I would do intervals at the top of every mile for 1 minute. This would allow me to keep my pace down. The flat course makes it very easy to want to run faster than you should.
I would assess my body from that point and slow down to a 12-12:30 pace, maintaining the same intervals.
I knew that I would have enough time banked that I wouldn't need to blow out of the aid stations. I could eat, change and get mentally settled down.
I also knew that running through the night would be a slower pace. I would be able to slow down yet again to a 13-14min/mi. I would be changing my intervals, I just didn't know to what, I will share that with you further on.

READY SET GO!
I crossed the starting mat full smiles with Kris next to me. It was one of the first races I have ever ran that seemed to move in slow motion. No ONE took out of there like SeaBisquit. 
I asked Kris her plan, stating that it would be nice if we could run a few miles together. 
We had different plans but agreed it would be fun to run together for a bit. 
You can see we ran along the canal. I counted over 25 bridges or tunnels that we  ran through. I especially liked this one:RECKLESS

I had SEVERAL people praying for me. I had asked if people would dedicate an aid station to pray for me. In return, I would share a photo at the aids station they dedicated to pray for me. I wanted to use every mile to Glorify God. I wanted God to see His people all together, honoring Him, glorifying Him and being a witness for Him. It was MORE than me, Soo much more than me. 
Andy had the signs. He had to manage the signs as well as crew me. 

The Aid stations were set up on an average of 5 miles apart. It took about an hour to get to the first Aid Station, but I was SOO excited to see Andy. I wasn't sure he would be there so early on. 
Andy never missed an aid station. He was at all of them, even the ones they said had NO crew access. 
Andy, Best Crew a Girls could ask for

THE FIRST 50k (32MILES)
I had my hydration pack on with limited water. I wanted little weight, I could use the aid stations to hydrate, using my pack as a back up. The weather was warm, sticky and humid. So when the skies began to drizzle it was rather refreshing.
Kris and I SMILE!
We continued to crank out the miles. Kris had hung around with me longer than I had expected.
I was paying close attention to my pace and my plan. My body felt great. I was still foot loose and fancy other than my planter fascia getting angry. I found myself running on the grass to prevent the hard flat pounding.
I also thought of my friend Kay. She reminded me it is just "10 -10 milers." I would text her each 10 miles I completed.
I came into every aid station screaming "MARCO"! I had to do it sometimes a couple times to teach everyone how it goes..."I say MARCO...YOU say POLO"!
Andy would be waiting for me like clockwork. He would smile at my silliness and then get me moving again. "Anita, SLOW DOWN." He coaxed me. I tried to explain to him I was on pace. I was running my plan. At Aid Station 6 The Minions I could hear people cheering us on. I looked closely, Matt and Paula were dangling signs at the top of the bridge in the rain. There was NO CREW access here and yet Andy and them were both here with smiles, hugs and encouragement. They made us signs with mantra and pictures on them. I was soo happy. Paula had this smile that filled my love tank and a hug to match. It was nasty weather and that didn't stop them.

PAULA! I love this SMILE and my SIGN!!


Getting to 50 miles. 
"Kris, We are 1/3 DONE!" She was still next to me as we headed towards the next aid station. The drizzle had morphed to a steady rain mixed with gusting winds.
The path was so flat and straight it was easy to see the aid station. "Farmers Bridge".
Coming into aid station 7, Andy was getting more serious about assessing me. "How are your feet?"
"Do you have any hot spots?"  "Blisters?" "Do you need to change your socks?"
I would hit this aid station again 67.3. I would pick up Lacey at that time.
Andy was getting good at changing out my hydration pack and putting water in it. At this point, I was getting lil tweaks. I was keeping them mostly to myself, trying to remain positive.
I knew Lacey should be arriving sometime soon. She had text me she would be in around 1pm. I really wanted to see Lacey.
Judy J made this..I LOVED this collage.
AID STATION 8-Ten Junk Miles and Flatlanders (They sponsor this aid station) Mile38.7 and 60.7.
This Aid Station was what I needed to get the adrenaline going again!
And I really needed a pick. The wind and rain was beating me up both physically and mentally
It had EVERYTHING a girl could ask for! Loud MUSIC, a Disco Ball, coffee, soup, hot sandwiches, it was AMAZING. I was dancing, smiling and warming my cold wet body with chicken noodle soup.  Andy had me sitting, Lacey was there, everyone was there. I was so hyped. I kept jumping up and Andy kept setting me back down. He had his hands full!
I jumped up, stimulated and ready to get moving. I passed out high fives and good vibes but this time I took off solo. It was time for Kris and I to separate.
Coming into Aid Station 9 also would be 12- Moms run this Town at mile 43.9 and also 55.5 I was ready for some music.
This ladies here were all dressed up and giving out hugs. I was having so much fun Andy had to remind me to keep moving. Besides my next aid station was only 3.2 miles away.
Aid Station Goodies

I was still on pace. Averaging 12min/mi. My feet were hurting and the weather had beaten me up. The wind had blasted me for hours with spitting rain that felt more like sleet. It was a full on head wind.
I continued to drink and eat at every aid station. Potatoes, soup, potato chips, peanut butter and jelly, and washed it down with Tailwind. I knew I had to keep my calories up, to get behind in calories is a date for disaster. I also knew I worked better on real food. Gu's, chomps and gels are great but I can only do a couple of them before they upset my belly.
*You burn an average of 400 calories an hour running. You cant really replace them as fast as you burn them but you can prevent yourself from bonking by drinking water, electrolyte replacements and eating.

THE HALF WAY MARK. 
Aid Stations 10 & 11
Miles 47.4 & 52.3
It was a tease. You go through this aid station, see all your family and friends and leave empty handed. You have to run another 2.5 miles out and back to pick up your pacer.
This was a big aid station. It was a bit chaotic for me. Andy was there to help me change my socks and shoes. I was beginning to get fatigued and confused. My knee was now achy along with my lower back. I couldn't tell if my hips and back were hurting from my hydration pack or from my running skirt cutting into my lower back. Matt was ready to head out. He was more enthusiastic than I was. At the last minute, I decided to drop my hydration pack and run with a handheld water bottle. I knew that if this did not work I could switch it out again. But something had to change.
Before I headed out Andy remembered I needed my head lamp, it was getting dark and I wouldn't see him again before it got dark.
The night caught up with us fast. As the darkness fell, my eyes adjusted, the black night surprisingly surrounded me. It was really cool to see runners with their headlamps. As we approached the aid stations, the trail was covered in glow sticks. This was fun.
I wasn't much for conversation, I was trying to engage but I was getting tired. Matt gave me a chocolate expresso Gu. It went down smooth and even woke me up.
I was counting the miles down until we picked up Lacey.

CANDYLAND, NOT FEELING SO SWEET.
Aid Station 7&14
Miles 32.1 & 67.3
This is a large aid station. This station actually features Hennipens lift bridge that is decorated on our bibs. I needed to change my clothes. Andy walked me to the bathrooms. He helped me change my clothes. I had switched my shoes out at the 50 mile mark, my foot pain had dissolved.
MY GIRL, Lacey.

This aid station helped perk me up a little bit. Andy was able to get some soup into me.  I was able to strike a pose under the disco ball. This made Andy happy. I could see the worry on his face.
I barely remember picking up Lacey. Everything was getting foggy. I was a running zombie. I was struggling to keep my pace. I had told Matt and Lacey my goal. They were doing the best they could to keep me moving.

Andy had swapped watches with me at the 60 mile mark giving me his Garmin. It was like divine intervention. He still had his watch set for 4:1 intervals. Running 12 minute miles was too long. I was struggling to maintain my pace, my body began inheriting new aches, I decided 4:1's were perfect.
Poor Lacey was barely running with me when I felt myself getting nauseous.
I felt so weak, vulnerable, even embarrassed as my body turned against me. "Lacey, Oh God, I'm gonna throw up." I stumbled to the side of the trail while my body heaved emptiness.  "It HURTS, Oh it hurts so bad." Tears trickled down my face. My stomach continued to convulse. I couldn't control myself. Nothing was coming up. Lacey stood over me rubbing my back. "Ohhh, make it stop." Bile finally came up leaving a sour taste in my mouth. My belly continued to cramp. I had to just move on. I needed to go. Time was ticking to make my sub 24h goal.
I was running in my sleep, desperately trying to get to the next aid station.
I found myself almost sleeping standing up during the walk intervals. I whined how tired I was. It was barely audible. Matt and Lacey carried all my stuff. .
Matt and Lacey ran with me in the middle. They took turns pushing me back in the middle of them when I veered off the trail. I had never felt fatigue like this. All the food in my belly was making me toot and I was not even ashamed. My stomach was turning sour again. Matt had some Tums to help. They both had fun making fun of me. I was just glad that nothing more was coming out at that point. My body was slowly fading. When I had to pee, I would turn off my head lamp and squat and hope my legs would hold me up. I was shameless. I felt like dead man walking.
To get me to Aid Station 18, the 87 mile mark Lacey and Matt began to read the Facebook posts. I was moved to tears. "SEE Anita, You have to finish, all these people are cheering for you." "Yeah Anita, you don't want to disappoint them!"
Matt even turned on his phone and played contemporary Christian music to inspire me. Lacey and I sang the words of David Crowder together. Her voice was soft, it soothed me.
We could see the lights of the aid station..I was almost there.

THE BOTTOM OF THE BOTTOM
Aid Station 18
Mile 87.5
I shuffled to Andy. He sat me down. My eyes were closed. I could hear him talking to me. He was asking questions but I couldn't respond. I sat there whispering to just let me sleep. I could hear Lacey and Matt saying "She needs coffee, we need to get her coffee."
But Andy was trying to wake me. "Nita, are you ok?" "Nita, we can be done right now."
With all my energy "Please, please, just let me sleep..."
Lacey was in my ear, "Come on, drink this coffee."
Everything was awful. The fact that sleeping mats were just 30 feet from me was cruel. "Drink Nita, come on..."
I wanted to curl up and DIE.

Even the fuzzy blanket couldn't bring me to life. I look like DEATH

I could hear them telling Andy I would be fine. I could tell he wasn't convinced. Matt was doing the math to get me in before 24 hours. The coffee was working enough that I realized he had his math wrong. He thought I started running at 6am. I was going to have to really pick up the pace. But then I chimed in, "NO! I didn't start till 7am...doesn't that give me another hour to finish?"
It was like the Heavens opened up and the Angels sang "Halleluiah".
"Oh, yes, I thought you started at 6, you have almost 4 hours to finish."

The Beginning of the End.
Andy said he would see me at aid station 19, the 93 mile mark. By the time I arrived to him, I had already passed a couple runners. The coffee was kicking in. Lacey had ran farther than she had ever ran.  I was finding my happy place.
I counted the miles down, frequently asking what mile we were at.
It was not long before we were at Aid Station 19.
I was ready to finish. It was a brief stay before I headed out. Andy would skip aid station 20,just 3.4 miles away and meet me at the finish.
I had 7 miles to finish.
I was gonna do this. My body was broken but my mind was convincing itself it was time to bear down and bring it in.
My knee was aching without pause. The pain would get so bad that every so often a sharp shooting pain would go through it causing it to go out on me. I would wince, I was angry that I was so vulnerable and couldn't control my body. And at the same time that anger made me fight more. I refused to let my knee dictate the outcome of this 100 miler this close to the end. The only thing that had control over me was God, I prayed quietly to myself.
In front of me I saw headlamps. It was instinctual to pick up my pace. Unlike my first 50 miles I kept telling myself  "Pass NO ONE ANITA". Now I drew energy from each runner I passed like water from a well. I continued to reach in, thirsty for the competition. Lacey and Matt are highly competitive. They were instigating me, counting down the runners, telling me how far ahead they were and how far behind they were.
"No Nita, they are NOT catching back up to you..." There is nothing worse than passing a runner and they passing you at the end.
We basically ran through that last aid station.
A little more than 3 miles to go.
"What time is it?" I asked. "Can I make it in under 24 hours?"
They laughed. "Anita, You got this...."
The momentum was in place. 3 miles. I felt my body. I listened to my body. I took everything in. I tried to not cry. Everything was perfect. The night was still, dark, full of stars and a beautiful full moon. I could do 3 miles. I was going to do this. I could hear my heart beat, the passion, the gratitude, the love I felt sang inside my soul. My breath was heavy with the zeal to finish.
With 2 miles to finish we came off the Hennipen trail into the town. Houses and cars filled the streets. Lights lined the roads, awakening my senses that had not yet been aroused.
We came into a park setting with winding curves and small hills. My body was numb. I felt nothing but could taste the finish. I continued to pass more runners. Lacey and Matt giggled as they kept count. They were walking , most of them never saw me coming as we barreled pass them. I wondered what they must be thinking as they hobbled to the finish line as I passed them running strong. I couldn't believe I was running so strong.
"I think that is the Finish."
We were on a straightway. We were running on a bike path. On the right was a road lined with very large lights about a quarter mile between each other. On our left was a park, I believe.
"Let me run to that light post." I asked.
They didn't argue. I could hear them talking about how I had picked up the pace.
Then I saw the Finish. I saw lights, I heard people. My heart skipped a beat. My hands clenched. My legs left Lacey and Matt. I couldn't stop smiling. I looked for Andy. I smiled bigger. "RUN...RUN." The voices in my head cheered. Faster, stronger I crossed the Finish line with overwhelming JOY.

Unspeakable Joy. 
Time: 23:13
8th Female Overall
3rd in my age group
41 out of 127


BEST Pacers EVER! I couldn't have done as well without them. So thankful for these two.

Thank you to all those who encouraged me, loved on me, believed in me and prayed for me. 
I know for some it was hard to understand WHY anyone would do this. I wish I could fully explain it. I would have to get into "Who I am" and "What my make-up is" and you probably still would shake your head. But I believe LIFE is meant to be challenged. To be LIVED without regrets. I don't wanna go through life on auto pause. I want to live it fully, a little crazy, a little reckless and IN FAITH. because...
STRENGTH IS NOTHING WITHOUT FAITH.
ANITA~

Friday, October 6, 2017

Hennipen: the Plan



 It took us almost 7 hours to get to our bib pick up today in Illinois.   With the combination of a long drive and 2 cups of coffee I was wound up tight. Package pick up was easy and fun. They had so much to offer for merchandise.
The more people came in the more hyper I got. I kept looking at my watch waiting for
Kris and Rachel to arrive.
 I saw them walking in and came running to greet them.
MY TRIBE!

 Together we laughed, chatted, shopped and listened to the race info meeting.  By the time the meeting ended we are already to head back to our hotels. .

Tomorrow I will be starting my hundred mile adventure at 7 AM.
I have been asked several questions over the last couple days.
1. Why are you running this, 100miles?
2.  Are you going to run the whole time?
3.  Are you going to sleep?
4.  How are you going to do this? Do you have a plan?



Well... here goes.
1. Psalm 20:4-5 " May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy over your victory and left of our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. "
 I love the adventure. I love pushing myself to the limits,to be depleted and empty and allow God to direct me. To strengthen me. When I am at my end I find myself in full faith of HIM.  Are you with my running as a way to  be a witness for Christ. It is a form of ministry to me.

2.  I will be doing interval training tomorrow. I will be running with walk breaks averaging every mile.

3.  No I will not be sleeping! Until I have finished.

4.  I am going to do this through prayer and faith. I have trained for over six months. My plan is to run the first 20 miles steady, not spending very much time in the aid stations.
 I cannot have any Pacers until the 50 mile mark.
 Lacey will be picking me up at the Candyland aid station to run through the night with me, the last 32 miles.
 I have the greatest crew ever. Andy. He will be at the majority of the stations. He has all my supplies that I will need through the night, through the rain and through all those miles. I am so grateful to have him.  Crewing is a very stressful job as a spouse.  I am very grateful.
 My ultimate goal tomorrow is to finish in 24 hours.  For this to happen I have to average 14 minute miles.
 The weather is not ideal conditions, between the rain and 22 mile an hour winds it will be a challenge.

 In closing, the speakers today shared some great wisdom. Rachel shared some mantra.  And my tribe from home  showered me with gifts and incredible support. All this has me very excited!

 Thank you for all the support and the wonderful words and prayers so many of you have showered me with.
 Andy will do his best at updating on Facebook.

In love, Anita