"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, May 21, 2018

My Mindful Chaos.

Being alone with myself is a place I prefer to go alone. I spent almost 4 hours today inside my own head.
I hit the trails alone.

Within minutes of being on the trails, my thoughts were colliding.
I looked down the trail head, everything looked so different. Just a few weeks ago the forest was bare and vacant.
Greenery landscaped everything. The woods were full of life. chipmunks raced across the trail completely unfazed by my presence. Squirrels squealed at each other having full conversations.
The spiders were hiding but left their hardwork across the trail, webs everywhere.
The forest was so fragrant. Flowers bloomed leaving a sweet smell wafting through the cool morning breeze. It really was lovely.

The trail was wet and muddy. I was trying to watch my footing all the while dodging picker bushes that seemed to be reaching out for me.
My skin was cold to touch leaving a welcomed chill.
But my thoughts were colliding.

With all my thoughts I had roaming in my mind all I could focus on was the trail.

The ROOTS, they tangled around each other. The PICKERS stretching out, reaching out in my direction. The MUD, so dark and black, a very unwelcomed puddle of slick, thick sludge.

ALONE, I ran, praying for safety, security, and serenity.

This was LIFE. We are all just trying to get through our path in life. The trail looked so different than it had just a couple weeks ago. I ran confused on how I could run this trail so many times and yet it felt so foreign to me. It left me confused and nervous. I felt like I had experienced this trail enough I should be more confident in myself. But I wasn't.
The ROOTS were stronger, thicker, wild and ambitious to take my footing.

As the miles added up the sun burned the chill in the air creating a warmth that wanted to fatigue me.

The SUN peaked through the open trees. I smiled. Gods Light shining on me. Reminding me HE was in my presence. Even in some of the darkest parts of the forest I felt him leading me. His rays cut through the thickest of the woods. Even the PICKERS appeared to retract.

In my mindful chaos, I felt Gods presence seeping through my darkest places. I was tripping over my thoughts and being poked by mistakes, regrets and fears. I found myself getting stuck on stupid letting negativity hold me down.
LIFE. That's LIFE.
We are all trying to get through the path before us. I wondered if I should create my own path. I saw several footprints in the dirt laid out by those before me. At first, I tried to land in their footprints. But there was a small voice that said "Leave your own prints, don't follow someone else's, create your own..." I pounced up, looked forward to faithfully make my own path through the thick soil braded with angry roots.

We all have places to be. We all are desperately trying to get from point A to point B with as little damage as possible. We get so tired. Bruised and beaten up by life sometimes we feel like we just want to throw in the towel.
I felt Gods presence...In the stillness of the forest. No distractions from the rest of the world. Quiet inside myself. Just trying to get through.
I felt comfortable, maybe even a little too comfortable. I should have made a left turn at the trail marker. I had finished my 3 loops.
But I didn't. I made a right and decided to push on, another 5 miles. The real character is birthed in discomfort. Faith is exercised in emptiness. Trust is brought forth in uncertainty.

I didn't know what the next 5 miles would look like. I knew it was going to be hard and I knew I was tired.
But I did it. I think it is important to not stay too comfortable. Don't just coast through life. Yes, life will beat you up, hold you down and even trip you up.
I encourage you to look for that ray of light dancing through the darkest places of life.
Don't give up.
Don't Quit.
Stay on Course.
Make your own footprints.
Push your limits.
Have Faith.

Distance: 20 miles
Pace: 11:30min/mi
Time: 3:45
Where: Holly Rec

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Highland Loops Recap: MARCOOO!

Highland Loops 16 mile trail Run RECAP. 
Where: Highland Rec
When: May 19th, 8AM
Who: Claudia, Rachel and Kris..saw Steve H and a few other faces without names.
Weather: 60' Rain. Humid and Moist (yep, I just had to say it!)

"Weather Bug" did not match the conditions that we were hiding from in Kris's Van. It was raining, at times it would sprinkle but then down it came. When we eventually ventured out.

My goal was to stay upright, have fun and beat last years time.

Us girls all started out together. Rachel took the lead and the rest of us came in behind her on the single track trail.
The trail was wet with occasional mud puddles. I tried to avoid the puddles because I am a big baby and don't like sloshing for miles in my shoes.
You had to be careful maneuvering too much due to the slick mixture the dirt and rain created.

That would be me!
The first two miles I yell my infamous "MARCOOOOO"! Before I even have a second to enjoy the FUN response "POLO" I get another response.
The guy two people in front of me barks back "OH NO! Not YOU! I remember you from last year and you were so annoying!"
He quickly sucked the fun out of the air leaving all of us runners awkwardly silent. I had a half dozen things I really wanted to say, saying nothing and reserving my energy to beat him was my best revenge.

The Rachel the Rabbit. 
I wanted to run with my girls. I wanted to run faster than last year. Rachel was strong and leading us. She was keeping a great pace, thinking about my goal and pushing herself as well.
Every so often she would ask me if I wanted to break off.
I didn't want to leave them. I would say "Naw, not yet."

My Cake and Eat it too: My Strategy
To run through the aid stations, no dilly dallying.
I wanted to run with the gals for about 2 hours. I was hoping at that point I would only have about 6miles or less. The last loop "A" loop is mostly downhill.
The 2hour limit came and Rachel coaxed me to split.

Breaking Away:
I hate breaking away. But I knew I should have before I did. I had been running very comfortable. Within minutes of me separating from my girls I felt the adrenaline surge.
I felt my nerves puckering. My breathing was louder. My heart was pumping and my skin was prickly. This is what it feels like to RACE. I had to beat the clock. I had to dig in because I was going to really be cutting it close.

I slowly began to pick people off. When you pass someone it is a mental battle to make sure you can maintain your pace and not have them comeback on you.
My legs felt so light. I had slipped a few times but never tripped, dipped or flipped.
I was drinking water and grabbing orange slices from the aid stations. Claudia had given me a redskin potato and that was like Mana from Heaven before I had split off  from her.

But what I didn't know, Is that Claudia split off right after me. She was just a few seconds behind me. I was so proud of her. I would see her on the switchbacks and yell. "GO Claudia."
I even saw a old trail friend of mine, Steve H and pulled him out of a aid station to run with me.

Racing the Clock.
I was afraid to look at my watch. With 2 miles to go, I knew there wasn't any time banked. The last loop is mostly downhill.
Because of the wet trail I was afraid to fly down the hills. I was so nervous I would slip on the slimy leaves, or trip on the hidden roots or even twist my ankle on the rocks scattered everywhere.
But I HAD to run scared, run fast to beat my time.

The last marker reads "16.5".  I had a half a mile-ish to go and 5 minutes to do it.
I recognized the bridge, the rocks, that little incline turn, I was close.

It is so fun coming out of the trail head, especially knowing you made your goal and see your hubby at your Finish LINE!
I was so delighted to see Andy standing there ringing cowbells. Totally shocked too.
Best RACE food ever!

Time 3:00:50

I beat the mean guy.
Choose your words wisely. I would like to think us runners don't behave like that but unfortunately we are all human.
Words HURT.
Yes, I am a bit high spirited, but I am not malicious, mean or purposely hurtful.
I know I drive some crazy, Jeesh, I drive myself crazy. But as a runner, I will cheer you on, I will encourage you, pump you up and be your biggest fan.
I may do it obnoxiously, ridiculously and full of energy but I don't do it to be mean.
I am NOT GOING to lie. His words STUNG. He stripped the smile off my face, and sucked the joy out of my run. I struggled for a few miles in silence.
Eventually I got my MOJO back and reminded myself to SMILE. To be ME.

PS...My tribe ROCKED out our age group!
I got 2nd
Claudia 3rd
Rachel 4th
Kris 6th
WTG Team Squishytoes!


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Warrior Attitude

" The key ingredient, in my opinion, to successful mental training is what I refer to as a "warrior attitude."
Bob Glover and Shelly Glover, The Competitive Runners Handbook." 

The Warrior Attitude.

To me that is grit, sweat, sacrifice. The warrior attitude is a little bit of fear mixed with adrenaline. It is setting goals, dreams and ideas that are bigger than we are.
It is tackling what life brings you with perseverance and integrity.

Tuesday our XC team was preparing for our second meet. I asked a few kids how they felt.
"I'm scared."
"I'm nervous."
I RESPONDED "GOOD! That's where I want you. Use that fear to drive you, that fear will turn to adrenaline. That is what will power you."

As I get older I question my "Warrior Attitude."
Some battles I choose to no longer fight. I like to think of this as strategic battling. It is not really throwing in the towel rather letting go to protect yourself. You are not going to go into battle and come out without a few wounds.
Some battles are not worth the damage.

Choose your battle wisely.

 Everyday we are presented with a new battle. The battle to forgive. The battle to Love. The battle to not use drugs or alcohol if you are an addict. The battle to fight the mental demons that want to defeat and confuse you. The battle to not flip off that person on the expressway or the battle to be a good parent.
So many battles we are ALL fighting.

Fighting HURTS. Pain HURTS. The wounds will heal far faster than the feelings of quitting. Quitting doesn't make it easier, it just prolongs the inevitable.
Learn to feel. Learn to feel the pain of persevering.
Having a "Warrior Attitude" is exactly that. It starts in the mind. Then let your actions follow.

I KNOW God carries in me my Fear. "Fear NOT for I am with you." I am not alone in my fears. I know I just have to give Him my BEST and He will take care of the rest. He wants me to trust Him. When I am nervous, scared, confused that is when He strengthening me. I love that feeling.
That is PEACE. He is going into battle with me.

T-3 DAYS for Highland Loops.
This is my 17 mile trail run. The course is very technical. Last Monday, when I ran out there we were running a pretty good speed and I went head over heels. The rest of my clan didn't even know I had biffed it. My fall was actually at epic proportions. I tumbled like a gymnast, I was more sad no one was there to see it!
Lacey, Claudia and I ran it again this past Monday. We ran it steady and easy. I still tripped like 2 times. I think once one of the roots reached up and grabbed me. The spider webs were so bad maybe I just couldn't see...Or maybe it was the greenery that sprung up overnight that tricked me and caught me "off guard."
The good news is, running the 17 mile trail run 5 days before the race was good training. My legs didn't feel any soreness confirming we ran it steady and smooth.
MY "Warrior Attitude: for this race....
Hmm. I want it all. I want to have fun and laugh but I also want to run well and beat my time from last year.
I am not sure if I can have both sides of the coin. If I have too much fun I am going to need to punch it in the second half of the race.
We shall see.

Monday: 17 Highland Rec. + 2.5 miles at XC coaching.
Tuesday: OFF
Wednesday: 2 miles XC with kids.

The weather has been hard to NOT run. But having fresh legs for Saturday is more important. Thankfully, Life has been VERY busy making it easy to taper.

"As a man thinketh so is he"
Proverbs 23:7
The Foundation for a Warrior Attitude. Crash the chatter in your ears. Coach yourself out of the negativity.
Not a good Warrior Attitude!

There is NO room for NEGITIVITY. Do not make space of hate, hurt, defeat, anger, bitterness, regret.....


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mothers Day Miles

This was the first year in several years that I did not spend it inside a basketball gym.
The driving, the hotels, the sweaty smell of perspiration and athletes foot mixed with fast food, late night dinners and junk food was actually missed.

My Origami from Alec 

However, waking up to coffee in bed, having my boys home, and walking into church as a family, a crazy dysfunctional family, was very nice.

I never planned motherhood the way it planned for me to be a mother.

I was young, dumb and broke.
Things haven't changed much accept age!

There is no greater love and heartbreak than being a mother. It is by far one of the hardest jobs. I have failed many times. I have cried tears of joy and cried tears of brokenness.
And I will continue to as long as I am a mother.

Tears lightly rolled down my eyes as the music played. I didn't know where the tears were coming from. Without warning my cheeks began to feel wet with warmth streaming down my face.
I tried to blot them as quickly as they rolled to save my makeup I had worked so hard on.

Why am I crying? I looked at my boys to my right. I looked at my mother in law to my left. I felt Andys hands holding mine tighter.
I felt so blessed. I felt so undeserving. I felt so honored to be a mother.
I still missed mine.

Church came to a close. Together we all walked out, heading to the car.
"So, where are we headed now?" Andy asked.
Without hesitation, and yet without even thinking about it I responded "Can we go see my mother?"

I can not think of a Mothers Day that we have ever drove out to Rochester, Christian Memorial to see my mother as a family.

It made my day. To have the boys see their grandmothers resting place meant more to me than I realized. For many reasons. More reasons than I think even I realized.

I am tapering for Highland Loops this coming Saturday. Tomorrow I am running 17 miles. This is a lot to run the week of the race. My thought process on this goes as follows:
1. Mohican 50M is in 4 weeks.
2. I need to get my miles up.
3. I am not racing Highland Loops as my sole race rather using it as a training run for Mohican.

That being said. I kept my miles down today. I was excited Lacey was able to run with me. I needed the accountability. My family had dinner at Shepherds Hollow Golf course and I was in a food coma when we left there this afternoon. Had Lacey not got me running I would have been FOB on the couch.
TIME: 1:06

Lacey decided since I was cutting my miles short I should run HILLS. She is MEAN. Mohican AINT not JOKE. We have a lot of hills, hurt and hard miles to run.
From the time I started running until we finished my stomach was battling. My food was not digested, the running was not a pleasant feeling. Then the hills were not so much fun either. I am not sure HOW our pace was this decent considering the hills we climbed and the hills we walked!
Each hill we came to I was reminding myself..."MOHICAN,MOHICAN....."

I Loved this line from Austins Mothers Day Letter to me.
"....you have taught me more than any teacher and have loved me like no girl will ever be able to. You are my first love mother."


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Trail legs

It is taking some time to get my groove back on the trails. Last Monday, I ran 18 miles at Holdridge. I had my butt handed to me. The rest of the week I was trying to play make up. There was not a day in the week that was kind to me. I camped out in the hurt locker all week.

I knew it was going to hurt all week and then some. This week I am trying to slowly increase my miles both on the trails and weekly miles.

I was actually quite surprised to add my miles up last week.
Monday: Holdridge trails: 18
Tuesday: XC: 2 miles
Wednesday: Roads recovery 6miles , XC 2miles=8 miles
Thursday: Wilderness Trail: 18 miles
Total miles= 46 miles

I had a full week of recovery after my marathon, running only 6 miles afterwards.
Racking up major miles is second to running quality miles. My goal was to get between 40-45 miles for the week. Adding XC miles is really not miles to count, they are  just "Junk miles",miles that look like a ran numbers.
My second goal of the week was to get 2 long runs in. 2 quality long runs. This is one of the reasons I was so sore. I ran my long runs more solid. They still hurt but I let my body recover in between them so I was able to run more efficient.

Date: May19th
Where: Highland Rec
Distance: 16 miles..more like 17!
Last years time: 3:03:15

This weeks goal: Keep running stronger, faster and more miles at Highland Rec.
Matt Claudia and I ran the course today.
I felt good most of the time. I took up the rear letting those two do most of the chatting. The last few miles Matt had Claudia lead.
I knew I was in trouble when Claudia was up front. She took out like a bull out of the gate.
I had already took a pretty good tumble but I recovered well. Claudia was cruising on the down hills. I tried to keep up but there was a lil gap in there where I had fell back. I struggle moving out that fast. It felt great to run downhill, hit the switchbacks and feel the wind against my face. The gap between us was a gentle reminder that I still have some work to do and only a week to do it!

I am going to be patient with my body. But I am running sore again this week. Tomorrow is a day to recover.
We ran great today. We also had a little mid run fun.
Wednesday and Thursday I need to run hard.
I am curious to see how my body recovers.

 If you want to clear you head, run alone, if you want to run faster, run in a pack.
I liked the push today.
Where: Highland loops
Distance: 17 miles
Time: 3:03
We had a lot of fun. We got through our 17 miles in 3hours and 3 minutes. A good solid run.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Road VS Trail Running

I was on a site several weeks ago there the writer engaged his readers in a forum about running roads and running trails.
The OVERALL response generated was "I wish I had started running trails so much sooner..."
There were several reasons why but the majority stated:
  • it was easier on their body
  • they suffered less injuries
I would agree with those comments with this side note. I twist my ankle a bit more, I have taken a few more crash landings and black flies are a real blood sucker in August. 
This does not compare to my marathon training of  IT Band issues, Piriformis injuries, achy runner knees, Plantar Fasciitis or shin splints. I have had bouts of all of these over the years. 

Road running HURTS me way more. But it is invigorating to run at a faster clip.
Some other differences for me....

"I would be prime minister or the moon, than running another marathon. I have been really lucky, I didn't have any toenails fall off or anything disgusting like that. I still have 3 nipples." Ryan Reynolds
  1. I live in the country, we do not have a lot sidewalks, I run mostly on the shoulder of the road. I have been flipped off, almost hit, dogs chase me into the roads, A dog actually got hit one summer chasing after me unto Grange hall road and sun burnt. BUT...I have been cheered on, honked at and even given water due to the fact friends of mine have seen me running down the road.
  2. I am able to run a faster more consistent pace on the roads. Pace is more manageable. 
  3. Road running doesn't protect you from the elements as well. If it is 80' and sunny you are baking out there without relief and praying for a little cloud to reign mercy on you. 
  1. There is always an adventure. I have seen deer, fox, skunks, snakes, dogs and weirdos. Weirdos that don't include those that I am running with! We have climbed over trees, trudged through puddles ran through the night and shenanigans that stay in the woods. 
  2. I don't have to look for a bathroom if I am running in the woods..I just need to find a bush!
  3. Trail running lets me WALK the HILLS as opposed to road running where I have to barrel up them. 
  4. Trail running teaches you to run EFFORT LEVEL. Road Running you are running more by pace. It is always funny to watch a road runner hit the trails for the first time and just about kill themselves trying to maintain their average pace through roots, switchbacks hills sand and other woodsy factors. 
  5. Trail running I get to run with my hydration pack, this frees up my hands. The hydration packs stores all my goodies too. My phone, Kleenex, water, food, ect..
  6. I run better fueling with REAL FOOD. I prefer running trails because I can train with trail mix, cheese sticks, Honey Stinger Waffles and not eat in a hurry sucking down a GU or choking back chomps. 
  7. Trail running strengthens my overall body not zoning in on a specific section of muscles. The hills, roots, turns, switchbacks keep me more agile, aware and actively moving different muscles. 
  8. The trails offer more protection from the elements. Less windy, less sunny, the temps in the winter often feel better and the temps in the summer are usually cooler. I have run through thunderstorms in the woods and "felt" safer. 
  9. There is something FUN about getting dirty on the trails. It is always fun to see your  dirt lines when you take your socks off! 
  10. Trails running is for me humbling. It allows me to embrace Gods beauty. The sounds, the smells, a little flower creeping through the dirt in the early spring. I am always in AWE of nature. The trails are not polluted by all the noise and hustle and bustle of everyday life.  Running trails are like Stolen Moments. They are my moments that are special to me.
TRAINING differences:
For me, when I am training a marathon I am focusing more on getting my LSD run in properly. I am more intentional in my running. 
Training for trail races I am more easy going.
I am still particular about my diet. I enjoy sweets but keep them in moderation. Like the box of truffles Lacey bought me are sitting by my bed but out of the 6 truffles I still have 3 left and I am VERY choosy when I indulge.
I am not a drinker so I don't drink and train. I have watched runners make this mistake and really struggle on their long runs. 
Running trails I find I struggle keeping weight on. I will not EAT just ANYTHING to keep my weight on. You are what you eat. Food is fuel, it helps you recover. 
I still do core work and stretch and roll to prevent injury.


Mondays 18 miler on the trails felt great, until it was time to go to bed! My poor legs twitched and ached. 
I took Tuesday off other then run around chasing my XC kids at their first meet. 
And even today to prepare myself for a strong run tomorrow I ran:

WHERE: Sorenson park trails. EASY trails.
DISTANCE: 6 miles, 2 loops
EVENING: XC kids, 2.5miles. 
Finished off with lunges and squats 
Total Miles: 8.5

 DINNER: Wild Caught Sockey Salmon, mashed sweet potatoes and Summer Salad.
Recipe to Salad HERE

TRAIL runner or Road Runner? Where do you like to play?


Monday, April 30, 2018

Goals. Back in the dirt.

Say Goodbye to pavement pounding for the rest of the summer!
Back on the Trails.

What a Glorious Day for a 18 miler on the trails.

RECOVERY from Glass City this week is what made all the difference.
I ran so minimal and so slow it was hardly any kind of a run to log.
The couple days that I ran made all the difference in getting my shoes dirty on the trails for a 3 1/2 hours today.

For Breakfast I had:
A cardboard breakfast. 

1 cup of Starbucks Verona dark roast coffee.
1 Vans Whole Wheat blueberry waffle. It took EVERYTHING to swallow it down. I probably should have put syrup on it. The puny pad of butter did it no service. It was like chewing on cardboard, nothing like Hungry Jacks buttermilk waffles!
I try to convince myself that food is more than just for pleasure. It is to sustain a healthy life...so eat your cardboard and washing it down with coffee...gag.

Quick pick on the little loop, Rachel and I. 

I ran almost 2 miles with Rachel on the North Loop. I was chasing these deer through the trails, actually they kept switching back in my direction after I would startle them. I was just glad they didn't pummel into me they were that close.

As we came back to meet the rest of the clan I was ready to shed my jacket and my long sleeve shirt. I was so happy I had put on shorts and brought a short sleeve shirt, I was sweating.

Holdridge Grubers Grinder: East Loop 16miles. 
I followed to the back of the group tagging behind. The person in the back of the pack usually speaks the less because they cant hear the conversation in the front.
Sounds travels forward not backward.
After a few miles I was glad I was in the back. We were running a good pace and I wasn't sure how my body would react throughout the run. I was hoping if I was suffering no one would remember I was back there and I could just hide my agony.
I was so excited to bask in the sun after our run. Shoes, Brooks Cascadia's 

However, other than a few tweaks here and there, my legs were strong. I knew we were running faster than normal, it all felt so good. "One mile at a time."
Switchbacks, roots, hills, tumblers, rocks and downed trees. I was seriously having so much fun.
Not a cloud in the sky. Everything just fell into place!

I am a sap. I am very sentimental. SO much so that after running Hennipen last fall I hung my hydration vest up and NEVER touched it again. I didn't rinse it out or clean it out. I wanted it to stay that way until the season opened up again for me to jump into my next adventure.
extra batteries for my head lamp, wipes to refresh myself, chocolate waffles because chocolate makes me so happy!

My bladder in my vest had a silky film all inside it. It was so nasty that even Andy came into the kitchen to make sure I cleansed it properly. He actually took over and I was happy to let him!
It was fun to look at all my goodies in the pockets. I even have Ginger tabs from Cloudsplitter the year before.
This little trinket was still in there from last year. A very special gift from Erin.
The other side read GOALS.

This was a reminder that I accomplished a very big GOAL last week. Qualifying for Boston. I stared at it for several seconds. GOALS.
My goals came with failure and success.
BUT is Failure really Failure if you didn't Give up? Or is it a tool? A tool in your tool box to use and work harder.

Distance: 17.8
Trail: Holdridge, North and East
Temps: started at 38', finished at 65'.
Nutrition: 16oz water, 1 Honeystinger chocolate waffle and gum

My next adventure: Highland Loops in May. Trail run. It closes out. This is a GREAT RACE.