"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

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A Change in Plans

"Second chances are only for those who are not afraid to try again."

I started my morning thinking I was running solo. I would go to church, enjoy breakfast with my family then come home and run 14 miles outside.

Things changed.
Things changed in so many ways.

At mile 9, I was looking up at another looming hill.
My last hill. I just left Lacey. I was still smiling from our unplanned run. We ran a good pace, we had good conversation and dear Lord, we ran a lot of hills.

Here I was heading into my finish, 11 miles sounded like a good number to run for the day.

I looked at my watch, checked my pace and reminded myself, if this is the hardest thing I do all day I better do it RIGHT.
I just needed to maintain my pace coming up that hill. I fixed my eyes at the top, took my infamous heavy breath and little whimper before I dug in my heals.
"All the way up"
I thought of how easy it would be to slow down. How easy it would be to keep whining, make excuses or sell myself short.
All those thoughts did was make me run stronger.

My stomach tightened as I reached the top. I could feel my heart pounding out of my chest. I gasped for breath begging my body to relax and coaxing my legs to keep going strong the half a mile home.
I counted, 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 20, 30...seconds waiting patiently for my body to calm down.
I glanced at my watch, I did it. I maintained my pace.
I DID IT.
I knew I could do it.
I just had to do it.

With my change in plans...I am going to have to do this a whole LOT more.

My weekly Rundown:

MONDAY
Distance: 16 miles
Where: Indian Springs
Pace: 9:45 min/mi

WEDNESDAY
Distance: 8 miles
Where: GAC
Misc: Met Jeff @ the gym. 7 miles on the TM @ 8:15min/mi then 1 mile walk on the track. Abs

THURSDAY
Distance: 10 miles
Where: met at Seven Lakes, ran backroads
Misc: We had a group run filled with snow ball fights, ridiculous miles, goofy jokes and a lot of mud slinging. We somehow ended up with a 10:45min/mi pace. I have no idea how with all the silliness we rocked out. It was a good fun run that I think we all enjoyed.

SUNDAY
Distance: 11 miles
Where: Backroads
Pace: 9:08 min/mi
Misc: Lacey reaffirmed my new change in my training. Today, I made the official decision.

GET MY HEAD IN THE GAME. The game CHANGER. 
I have gone back and forth on this for a couple weeks. Then Andy got a phone call to go to Africa, sealing the deal.
This little phone call made my decision for me with out any hesitation.
I am NOT going to run Three Sisters in April.
Without tears or grief I was surprised at how easy it was for me to let this 50 miler in Tennessee go.

As it was, I was struggling to get my miles up.
The timing of this race was a crap shoot. I really wanted to run a spring marathon and try to qualify for Boston but Three Sisters nestled in the best time frame for a spring marathon.
I looked for spring Marathons from Michigan to Indiana to Illinois back to Ohio and kept lucking out because of Three Sisters.
So I decided to scratch it and run GLASS CITY.
I am going to try AGAIN to qualify for Boston. God Help me. Last year, I didn't qualify in the BEST conditions EVER.
But this year I am given 10 extra minutes.
Time to get my HEAD IN THE GAME. I am just not a natural quitter.

As I came to the end of my 11 mile run, I heard the beep beep beep of my Garmin and chuckled at my last mile. 8:35min/mi.
Time to get serious. Time to adjust my training. Time to invite pain and suffering back to the table.
Time to let go of the fear of failing again.
Deep Breath.

My Serious Side!
ANITA


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Febuarys Miserable Miles



I haven't seen the sun in 4 days.
I have seen enough snow that I think Michigan would need an arc if it melted.
My skin is pale and itchy, begging to be set free from layers and layers of tight itchy clothing.
And my running clothes are beginning to enjoy the sweaty outdoorsy smell not wanting to embrace my fabric softner. I am going to be throwing a lot of clothes away if I cant get the funk out of them.

The "Its so pretty" has worn off.
The "It's good training" is nothing but lies.
The "Smile" is blasphemy.

I AM over it.
My miles are down and my attitude sucks.

Monday
Where: Seven Lakes/backroads
Misc. Nice shake out after our race. 
Distance: 7 miles. 

Wednesday
Where: GAC
Distance: 5 miles
Misc: Mile repeats with a lap recovery shuffle jog. 

Thursday
Where: Holdridge- West Loop w/ Technical loop and Lake loop add on. 
Distance: 9 miles

Sunday
Where: GAC/ Track 
Distance: 8 miles run, 1 mile walk. 9 miles 

WEEKLY MILES: 30 miles

TODAYS RUNDOWN: 
I live on backroads. They have not been plowed or cleared. Running outside was not an option for me. I work very hard for my membership at GAC. I needed a solid run.
I brought Lacey with me.

I have had a couple things on my radar that have potential to changing my running schedule.

Todays run was more about Lacey than me.
I am blessed to have a good running partner. Lacey and I over the last few years have alternated running injuries. We have both taken care of each other and adjusted our training to support one another.
Todays run was one of those. It was a great reminder of how many times we have never bailed on one another in times of injury. Whether we had to take off the running shoes for bike tires or we added walk breaks more often. Sometimes we had to slow our pace down or even cut our miles short. But we have always had each others back.
We laughed as we ran around the track discussing the many races we have ran. Some I beat her, but currently she beats me mostly. We may run 10% of a marathon or a race together or we may run 80% of a race together but no matter what we always encourage each other to finish it strong.
We are not competitive with one another in a malicious way.
The key to a good running partner is LOVE. You have to truly want the best for them. If it means sometimes altering your training for their greater good then that is what happens. Because the reality is "What goes around comes around."

Many many times, Lacey has been there through IT band issues, Piriformis issues or me being irresponsible with my nutrition and I love to be there for her when she needs me. You are more likely to be successful with support and encouragement then being alone. So pick your tribe well.
And if you feel like you do not have great support maybe look inward.



Anita~

Monday, February 5, 2018

Snow Moon Run 25K race recap



After working all day Friday and Saturday, I was hoping my legs and feet would forgive me for Saturday evenings 25k race in Midland.

I had everything waiting for me when I got home from work. It was not possible to speed down I75 when Mother nature decided to follow through with her plan of snow dumping. 

With only 10 minutes, I changed, brushed my teeth and threw MORE stuff in my 3 bags. I had enough gear for a weekend of running. Claudia and Matt arrived to pick me up and I was still scrambling around the house. 
We still had to pick up Rachel and head to Kris's house to meet the rest of Team Squishy Toes, (our unofficial name we gave ourselves as a joke).

We all hopped in Kris's 15 passenger van with gratitude to her and her husband for driving us all to Midland, especially in really bad weather conditions.

We arrived about an hour early. This gave us time to relax, get our bibs, and get layered and lighted up. 
With a little light left, I was still able to spot a sweet acquaintance of mine, Dale D. I was already hyped, seeing her bright smile nudged more into outrageous Anita mode. 

After gathering our bibs, I located another runner friend of mine, Jeanette B. 

The problem with being a extrovert is you can not stay focused with so many distractions. I was like the Tasmanian Devil spinning from one thing to the next. Laughing, jumping around, hollering at strangers "MARCO" and just having a good time.

Play time came to an end at 7pm when we all lined up.

RECAP:
I started out with Claudia down the wide path through tall pine trees. The sky was red and eerie, sharing enough light that made me wish I could see my surroundings better. 
I would be running 15.5 miles-ish. They would be accounted for in 5-5k loops. 

Claudia and I ran side by side, having fun and maintaining a even pace. 

The aid stations were a riot. Everytime I went through them they kept trying to get me to drink a shot of Fireball. I would yell "NOOO WATER" and they would yell back, "FIREBALL?!" 

I don't drink but I think by the party like behavior we showed everytime we saw them they thought I did. 
The volunteers were all stoked and made it fun to see them each time. I looked forward to seeing them to help break up my miles. 

The path was NOT technical at all. It was relatively flat. It was wide, mostly smooth with only one rooty area. However, there was one section that was solid ice. My Katoolas sounded like tap shoes landing as I tried to get some grip. 

They had the course marked very well. The volunteers were alert keeping a close eye on us so we didn't take a wrong turn...Hmm, I wonder who may have almost done that....

Because it was a 5k loop race I would go through the finishing area 5 times. The announcer was awesome. You could hear the him about a quarter mile away. Hearing the cheers and the announcer got my adrenaline going each loop as I came through. I would head into the tent handing out high fives and yelling "MARCO".  All 5 TIMES he announced "ANITA HARLESS...." 
Its the little things that get you going and keep you going. 

The first 3 loops I ran steady but not hard core. I lollygagged through the aid stations and I hung with my friends. 
I realized that everyone was running their own race and decided that I should do the same. I was getting cold and fatigued and was ready to focus on finishing. 
I didn't pick up my pace rather I maintained my pace. This was enough effort for me. My back was hurting, a pain that I am not familiar with. 
I slowly started passing runners. This surprised me because I didn't think I was going fast enough. What was happening was, all those runners that went out too fast were pooping out and dropping their pace. 
I was actually kicking myself for not being a little more serious the first 3 loops. But I was having fun, and it was supposed to be a fun run. 

I heard the cheers in the darkness of the trail and got excited more to be warm than anything. My clothing was all soaked and I was beginning to tremble. 

It was fun coming through the finishing line and seeing my friends. 

The Race was well done and a lot of fun until it wasn't. The hardest part was the finish. My entire body was convulsing. I was shivering so bad that my back began to tighten up. It was horrible. I couldn't think, speak or  communicate.  I never looked up my time, heard them announce the awards, got a cupcake or got a cup of Starbucks coffee. 

RESULTS: 
LAP 1: 30:29
LAP 2: 30:35
LAP 3: 31:19
LAP 4: 30:46
FINISH: 30:03
TIME: 2:33:10

But it sure was fun. It was a great race but a rough ending. But then not everything has a happy ending...


The clothing was all very nice with not just a great design but also good fabric. 



Anita

Thursday, February 1, 2018

This weekends New Adventure


"Adventure is worthwhile" Aesop

This weekend will be a first for me in a couple ways. 
It will be my first 25K.
It will be my first night trail race. 


"In any adventure like this, there are always uncertainties." Richard Branson


Where: Midlands City Forest Ski Trails
When: Saturday, Feb. 3rd 6:30pm
Distances:
  • 5K walk, run, ruck
  • 15Krun/ruck
  • 25K run
Course: The race is composed of a 5k trail course. Midland’s City Forest on wide-track cross country ski trails and mountain bike trails.

Misc: 25K=15.53 miles
Temps: 25'

Last Saturday night,  we had a group run that met at Holdridge in Holly for a little practice run. We were actually spoiled with 40' degree weather..
It only took one 4 mile loop on the West loop to start layering up. The temperatures dropped dramatically. The cold air was a little more than brisk fresh winter air. 

A couple things I was REMINDED OF on that practice run:
  1. Do not LAUGH and run. I fell 4 times and peed my pants twice. 
  2. When speaking to people remember to turn off your headlamp or your friends will be blinded before they start. 
  3. Don't forget you can not sneak up on your friends when you glow in the dark. Oops
  4. Coyotes will not attack humans, but for some weird reason have been known to attack horses..Just keep running, that hackling is NOT puppies. 
  5. Bring layers. 
  6. Bring a thermos with hot coffee or whatever beverage you choose. 
  7. Don't forget your headlamp has angles you can adjust it...
  8. Bring EXTRA batteries for your headlamp and flashlight. 
  9. If you are coming to a patch of ice, error on the safe side: WALK. 
  10. Even if it is dark and cold...Have FUN, laugh, smile, and enjoy the adventure, but DON'T trip!

A few things to remember when running in the dark on snowy trails:
  1. Katoolas, mico spikes or screws, a must, we are supposed to get snow.
  2. Find your sweet spot on the trails when it comes to lighting. Sometimes it is difficult to see running with other peoples headlamps. Bringing a small Maglite may help if you struggle with multiple lighting. 
  3. Take a minute to turn off your lighting and enjoy your surroundings. The sky and the stars are amazing. 
  4. Don't be afraid to fall. If you run afraid you run tense. Relax and enjoy the ride. 


My Personal Preparations:
  1. I purchased Noxgear. I might not be cool but at least I can look cool! 
  2. I am wearing my Sealskinz. They will keep my feet both dry and warm.
  3. MITTENS. Mittens over gloves to keep your hands warm
  4. Hand warmers.
  5. Fuzzy blanket to warm up with when I am finished.  

One of the things I did was able to do this week was to getting one solid trail run. This would give me an idea what the trails could be like. Monday the trails were very heavy with fresh snow. This provided great training and prep for this Saturday. 
Todays run was in total avoidance of trails. I didn't want to risk injury. I also needed a solid pace. 

Kensington Metropark was calling my name. I brought my miles down. I ran a steady pace, really enjoying my canvas and my company, me. 
I stopped to take pictures of the lake every couple miles. I laughed when I saw my pace. I felt great running but then of COURSE I did, I kept stopping to snap a picture. You can run a lot faster, stronger when you are stopping to take pictures. It wasn't a serious run and it made me feel like a rockstar running sub 9min/miles at Kensington, not a path for the faint at heart.

"I'm still a kid inside, and adventure is adventure wherever you find it."
Jim Dale


One of the reasons I wanted to run at Kensington is the farm animals. Its the little things that make me smile. Goats, chickens, roosters, geese and really stinky pigs. It was fun to embrace the day, how ever it decided to unravel itself. 
The adventure in it is not taking yourself too serious. Life has so much opportunity to be serious. Every once in a while it feels good to go in with a flexible plan and an open mind. 


Anita

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Pursuing Conflicting Goals

"The secret to change is to focus all of your energy NOT on fighting the OLD but on building the NEW." Socrates

I am at the beginning stages of accepting reality. My yesterdays are gone, it is time to focus on my todays and embrace my tomorrows.
  • New Goals.
  • New Adventures 
  • New Attitudes. 
I have a few conflicting goals this year. Between ultra running and wanting to qualify for Boston I have to strategically plan my training.
There is a big difference between road running and running trails.
The running terrain is just the obvious. But the training is all together different as well. Running Yasso 800's are not necessary for running a 50k. It is rather pleasurable walking the hills on a 16 mile trail run in comparison to trying to maintain your speed up a hill on a long run. Running trails I rarely look at my pace because you run on EFFORT Level. However, running roads I am married to my watch. Marathon training comes with tempo runs, hill repeats, progressive runs, track work and each one placed perfectly in your week.
They are like the Jekyll and Hyde of running.

My weeks have been balanced with both road running and trail running.

Monday
Where: Holly Rec
Distance: 11miles
Misc: Wet, cold, rainy trail run. So sloppy and fun

Wednesday:
Where: GAC
Distance: 7 miles
Misc: 6 miles @ 8:10 pace TM. 1 mile walk around the track.
Strength; roll, stretch, core and legs

Thursday:
Where: Started at Seven Lakes & ran backroads
Distance: 16miles
Misc: Fun group run, ran 2 miles earlier with Claudia. We over shot our miles, but my legs kept up.

Saturday
Where; Holdridge, West Loop X2 and North loop
Distance: 10 miles
Misc: FUN group run. Every time I got tickled laughing I fell then peed my pants. Double Wammy.
I purchased the some new lighting, Noxgear. I just love how I glow in the dark now!

Sunday:
Where: Around town, Road running.
Distance: 15 miles
Misc. Lacey had a very intentional plan for this run. The first 10 miles, at the top of each mile add a 20 second walk break. The last 5 miles remove the walk break and PICK UP the PACE for a negative split. I felt great on this run today. I was able to pick up the last three miles and not even realize that I had. It was a good day in the running world for me today.

NEXT RACE: Saturday February 3rd. Snow Moon Trail Run. 6:30 PM. Nite RUN!

It was important to get back on the trails this week to be better prepared for my 25K next Saturday.
It is also equally as important to have a strong long run on the pavement to prepare me for a road marathon.
For me it is finding balance and trying to find a road marathon. Lacey and I are racking our brains to find the perfect placement for a marathon. The beginning of May would be great, one of the problems is I need to find one on a SUNDAY! Even the Beginning of April would be doable.
So until I find one we will keep on trying to find balance between the two!


Pursuing conflicting goals. I am really good at fudging my goals up because I do not plan properly. I am great at planning out my running and training. My daily life is another story. Getting a pocket calendar was a big step for me. Prioritizing is an organizational skill I need to work on. I have every day packed to the gills and it is no ones fault but my own.
Meal prepping and planning has really helped me stay on task. 
It is the little things that make a big difference for me. Sometimes the goal has to change, or be altered, the only thing that is the end of the world is the END of the world.
Anita~

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Information VS Knowledge

Monday: 
Solid run.
With who: Chris, Kris, Matt and Rachel
Where: We met at Seven Lakes, however, we did not run trails. We ran backroads and paved roads through the park.
Distance: 10 miles
Pace: 9:33

Wednesday:
Felt good, adding some speed and picked up my pace from the previous week.
Where: GAC (Genesys Athletic Club)
With who: Met Jeff.
Distance: 6 miles total. 5TM miles @ 8:20min/mi, last 200meter pick ups.   1mile recovery
Misc: Core and legs

Thursday: 
Great weather, ran in my Katoolas.
With who: Matt, Kris, Rachel and Ken
Where: Holly Rec. We didn't run trails. We ran Back roads and a lot of HILLS.
Distance: 11.5

Saturday: 
HUFFING and PUFFING, so pathetic
Where: Downtown Holly
With who: Lacey
Distance: 3.5 /
Pace: 8:12min/mi

Sunday: 
Long Run
With who: Lacey
Where: Through Holly and 7 Lakes
Distance: 15.25
Pace: 9:15min/mi
Misc: We saw ERIN while we were running! I just love that girl! She makes me SMILE.


Total weekly Miles: 46

Quote for the week: "Information is NOT knowledge." 
Just because you have a lot of information does not mean you have to share it. Sometimes, I will want to pipe in on a conversation to share "My Information" or I will hear wrong information said and want to correct it. But this week I have been very conscious of just listening. Not adding my random facts or correcting someone else's. 
You can be the smartest person in the world but TRUE Knowledge is HOW you share it.
Knowledge is not about being right, or having all the facts. 
"KNOWLEDGE is facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject:"
I would rather hear knowledge than information. I receive it better, I apply it and find that knowledge allows others to hold a conversation without insecurity or being discouraged by a lack thereof. 
Knowledge is more interpersonal, deep, personal experience, wisdom. 

Anita~


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Safe Pick Ups.

"Being mindful of your effort puts you more in tune with the running experience. Focusing on your effort, your breathing, your gait, and how you feel increases your awareness of the moment."


I was trying to recite these words, this quote, less than a mile into my run on the TM this morning. Jeff was on the TM next to me sweating with a very serious look on his face. To my right, I could see the track as I watched this man running like a gazelle. He ran effortlessly in his white high socks and hipster beard. 
I was trying to tap into their suffering to inspire me to embrace the SUCK.
"BREATHE"
"RELAX"
"PICK UP YOUR FEET ANITA" 


Here is the ULTIMATE GOAL for this SPRING. 

**To PICK UP MY PACE W/O GETTING INJURED OR DAMAGING MY LONG RUN. 

How I plan to do it, besides carefully.

  • Add a 5th day of training 
  • Add strength at least one day a week
  • Be mindful of what I am eating. 
  • When adding strength you can do legs and run but run FIRST. I do this on Wednesdays @ GAC
  • I am running 2 of the 5 days short. Less miles, FASTER PACE. 

WEDNESDAYS WORKOUT:
Treadmill workout. 
I started the TM punching in 7.2- 8:20min/mi. 
The idea is to get comfortable running this pace and slowly get faster.
2 weeks ago, I was running a 7.0 and my heart was beating in my ears. The problem is with the ultra training my body got used to a slower pace.
One of the things I did 2 weeks ago is I TIMED how long it took for me to get settled into that base pace of 7.0. 
5 minutes. 
Timing my agony helped to remind me that I was not going to DIE. I just had to count down the minutes till I could breath, talk or smile. 

BACK to TODAY. Even though I was running my base pace faster than I had been the last 2 weeks, I actually felt better sooner and my "BAD" feeling wasn't even as bad as it had been 2 weeks ago. This was a good sign. 
  • Goal Mileage: 5 miles. 
  • The TWIST. Don't let your body get too comfortable. Remember, this is what got me in this mess. The only way to get faster is to GET FASTER and for me, without injury. 
  • The LAST 200M of each mile I picked up my pace to a 10K pace. 
  • After doing 5 miles like this, I ran another 800M's, running strides
I felt GREAT. My face looked like a cherry tomato and my chin was dripping sweat but I felt accomplished and uninjured. 

Prior to running Jeff and I stretched, rolled and did abs. And again after we ran we walked a mile discussing training, stretched, rolled and I did legs. 

THE key for me is I do NOT want to sabotage my Thursday group run, often a long run.  I can run a little sore, however, it wouldn't be right to make others run slow because I put myself in the hurt locker. It is finding balance and being considerate. 
Increasing my speed, my distance and not getting injured. 

"Finding the right type and amount of training is the key to maintaining running as a healthy lifelong activity."

JEFF'S Golden nugget: Run NUMB. When doing a faster long run if you "feel" your legs towards the end of  your run you need to go faster. Finish feeling NOTHING, Empty the tank.

*One of the things I enjoy every evening is enjoying a cup of tea. Paula gave me a box of assorted teas at Christmas and I am going through them fast. Faster than my running fast! 
Tonight's tea: English breakfast with sugar cubes, sugar cubes because they remind me of tea time with my grandma. 

If you are running on the TM avoiding the icy roads and bitter temperature play with different combinations of intervals. 

Todays run: Faster than AVERAGE pace. Pick up the pace for the last 200 meters of EACH mile. Keep your incline at a .05%. 

Anita.