"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

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

I Saved You a Seat. Humbled

Three weeks ago today, I walked into church late, on time for me. I was out of sorts for me.
Not in a great place emotionally.
It is our Freedom from Bondage outreach night. I lead a group for families who have loved ones struggling with addiction.
But this day, I had my own struggles. My hurts. My burdens. To be quite honest, I really didn't even want to be there.
I didn't want to smile. I didn't want to mingle and be fake. I wanted to be alone.
This is me being HONEST.
I am just being real.

The auditorium is huge. Most of the seats were filled. I wanted MY seat. A seat on the aisle. Easy to get in and easy to get out. I could hardly find a parking spot and now I couldn't find a aisle seat. "UGH".
I stood against the outside wall searching for a seat, awkwardly. The music was loud, the band was playing songs of freedom and forgiveness.

I looked around. Its not a typical church service. I come often times from work. My make up is on, lips glossed. My hair has been blown out and styled. I smell like expensive perfume and even on my casual days I am dressed pretty well. I look churchy.
I stand out like a sore thumb!
I am circled by a room full of felons, prostitutes, drug addicts, alcoholics, some in recovery, some coming in still liquored up. Some haven't showered in days and smell like stale cigarettes.
Disheveled, discouraged, disordered but all working on another day, a day of hope. A day of recovery.

My Pastor makes us do this little exercise where we look to the left and tell the person next to us They Are AMAZING.
I wasn't in the mood.
I didn't want to play this little game.
But I didn't want the person next to me to think I was a snob, so I dug deeply for a smile, looked to my left and whispered, "Your Amazing."
This man was three seats from me. He was a very slender man. About 6 feet tall with ruffled gray hair. He hadn't shaven and looked tired and weak. He looked at me in the eyes, "Thank you."
The service moved forward.
As the closing song played,  I saw the man out of the corner of my eye. He was stuggling to get up and get his coat on. I saw him fumbling with his cane. I reached over, convicted, "Can I help you..?"
I reached around him helping him put his oversized coat on.
"Thank you, what is you name?"
"Hi, I am Anita." I replied with a smile.
He was glowing, "Thank you, are you here every week?"
Helping him with his cane, "Yes, I am."
"You are beautiful, I hope to see you next week,"
I smiled, blushing, "Thank you, I will see you next week."

Here is the thing. My Tuesday turned into Wednesday, then Thursday, and next thing I know it is Tuesday again.
I walk down the aisle, I find my seat on the outside. I set my stuff down in the seat next to me and I open my coffee.
Another Tuesday.
The service goes on like all of them. Powerful, inspirational and encouraging. I go to leave my seat to head down to the tables when..
I turn around...
"HI, Its Anita right?"
I turn around and there is that man. Cleaned up, bright and smiling.
"HI!" I was caught off guard.
"Anita, It's George, I saved you a seat."


I felt my face getting flushed. I felt tears wanting to stream down my face.
I forgot about him. I was a terrible person. I moved from Tuesday to Tuesday.
He SAVED me a seat. He thought of me.

He told me I was beautiful again, and that he liked my smile.
MY SMILE...You mean the one I forced. Oh, if he only knew.
He thought of me and saved me a seat.
All I had to do was SMILE.
I just had to come out of myself for a brief second, I had to just love on him. I had to look at him in the eyes, I had to tell him he was AMAZING.
So Powerful.

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. "  John 13:34

That's the problem. We get caught up in OURSELVES. Our little world. Our issues, our heartaches, our drama.
When all we have to do is smile.
To love on the unlovable.
To be kind to a different kind.
To share a good word.
To help those struggling, someone other than ourselves.

He thought of me all week from a smile.
I felt horrible. And I felt blessed. This man truly blessed me.
His smile, his kindness, his thoughtfulness, his humility...

He saved me a seat again today. I cried like a baby in church.
I couldn't stop the tears from flowing. Humbled. Broken and blessed.

Get out of Yourself and SMILE, Love, Give a kind word.

This Christmas season don't get caught up in gifts that you buy..
Get caught up in the gifts that money CAN'T BUY.



Sunday, December 3, 2017

Catching a Break :Patience

For weeks now I have been waiting for that one run that felt great and was not being ran at a turtle crawl.
Most of my runs my heart is pounding, my lungs are heaving and my mind is spinning in frustration.

BUT FINALLY...Today..Today was that day.
Today, the sun brightened a gorgeous blue sky.
For a December day, the temperatures spoiled us at 50 degrees.
I was a brave soul, I wore a running skirt and a tee shirt. However, for insurance purposes I also wore arm bands and compression socks. It was sooo refreshing to not have all those layers on.

We only ran 8.5 miles. Maybe that's what I needed. Maybe I just needed to keep the miles in the single digits.
We chatted, we ran hills, we ran flats, we laughed and overall it all felt great. I even barreled up a big nasty hill on Fish Lake Rd like a champ. Granted, it took me 2 miles after that to catch my breath but I felt like a rock star for a few minutes.
The best part, as good as it felt, we still managed to maintain a 9min/mi. This was very shocking considering we walked up a hill at Seven Lakes on a trail.

This is a simple post. Today was a reminder for me to be patient with my body.
Or just to be patient, but not give up. To not get too frustrated when things do not move at the rate that I WANT IT TOO.

For all sense and purposes, tomorrow I may feel like total poop on a stick again. And that is O.K..
Today was a good day.
I will remember the good day. The good feeling. The good STUFF.
I will remember no matter how good, how bad or how long each season lasts, Its ALL GOOD TRAINING!
Just keep moving forward a LITTLE BIT at a time.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Don't take yourself so Serious.

"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy...The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with JOY." Psalms 126:2-3

With just a few weeks left until the end of the year, I am loving not taking my running so serious.
I haven't added my weekly miles, monthly miles or even tallied up my miles for the year.
I have ran without my watch, I have quit on runs before I planned and I have even cut my miles down without a thought or a plan.
That's not saying that I am burned out or cutting back. It is just saying that I am enjoying not being so committed or serious.
I am enjoying other things. I actually enjoy cleaning my house when I am not in a hurry. Turning my music up and dancing through each of the rooms. I spent 8 hours cooking in one day last week and even enjoyed waking up at 6:30 am to make my friends desserts.

We have had a lot of FUN RUNS. One of the things I am doing differently is cutting my miles back to about 40 miles a week, and honestly even less than that.
But I am trying to pick my snail tail up.
I feel like Dr. Jekell and Mr. Hyde. I am rather high energy and overall happy kinda gal. But on these serious runs I shut down, get quiet and smile a whole lot less.

Lacey and I ran Sunday around town. Our aim was to run 7-8 miles @ a sub 9min/mi.
Feeling all adventurous I even wore a running skirt.
We didn't really pay attention to our pace the first couple miles. By the last 3 miles, we had picked up our pace and we both got REAL quiet.
The last mile towards my house is a series of rolling hills. Focused and determined to stay steady up the hills, we grunted our way to the top of each one. My legs were numb, cold and tired but we were on a mission. As we came up the last roller to my street, I was so excited to see our pace, I knew we had just rocked out the last half a mile. I looked down at my Garmin and wanted to cry. My watch had DIED! Lacey wasn't wearing her watch, therefore, together we grieved that lost half a mile.
We only pouted a few minutes, then we laughed and cheered each other on.
We are quirky.
Laughing over the little things, teasing one another and just being plain ridiculous.

There are so many places we can find JOY. Laughter.
If you run with me, like Lacey, you can start laughing at my outfits before I even say anything to make you laugh.
I can find laughter in the woods. I love watching each other prance around rocks, roots and dodging branches. Today, a tree had fallen and it made me giggle climbing over the big hunk of wood.
Laughter is everywhere if you don't take everything so serious.

Its a beautiful time of the year and it is also a hard time of the year. Sometimes life is serious and sometimes life doesn't feel real Joyful.
We all have hardships and hurts. Sometimes it takes a little courage to step out and seek Joy.
Even on our toughest runs with life, taking time to smile, to giggle or to find a little laughter makes things a little more approachable.
Laughter doesn't discount our hurts. It doesn't cheat our losses. Joy interrupts. A smile softens the blows. It realigns our thinking.

Distance: 12 miles-ish. 
Place: Holdridge. 
Find Joy.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Running in Circles: Discouragment

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.   
1 Peter 5:7

Wednesday, Nov. 15th
I was up and at em' early, My bags were packed and I had BIG plans to go to the gym. I was quite proud of my ambitious self.

I have to start getting reacquainted with pain. It is just not a relationship that I love. Its a LOVE/HATE relationship.

I was looking forward to wearing my new running shorts from Poshmark, NWT's!

I saw so many familiar faces, I had several double takes. It was like people saw a ghost, a really scrawny ghost. I mean it has only been about 5 months since I had been at GAC.

I always fall in love the second my feet hit the track. I get all warm and fuzzy.

I forgot my watch and really didn't feel like counting laps. I decided to try and run by time.

Funny, the things that circulate in your head when you are running alone.

Everytime I came around the track, I looked at the clock and felt discouraged by how slow I was. My body was tweaking and creaking.
First my right knee was achy.
Then behind my left knee, I felt little twinges.
Somewhere around milee 3, I was trying to count my miles based on my laps splits I was doing and I got confused from my heavy breathing. I found myself angry.
"Why am I out of breath? Did I run more than 3? Good try Anita, not even close." The dialogue in my head was maddening.
If my sloth like pace, animalistic breathing and  body aches weren't the beginning to my end the voices in my head were surely going to be the death of me. 

The one positive note was running less miles. I was bringing my miles down to attempt to pick my pace up from a sloth to a snail run.

Distance: 5 miles.
Average pace 8:20min/mi.
I stretched, rolled, and did core.
Funny, my pace could have discouraged me more but it was really just the stinking thinking that was getting the best of me.

Due to hunting season we stayed off the trails. We headed out to Seven lakes to run the roads. It was nice to run with the gang. With the week I have had being around their positive energy was a major mood booster.
Don't let my smile fool you. My goofy behavior, my extroverted self struggles with SELF. My yesterdays haunt me, my mistakes cling to me, my mind twists, my heart breaks..It's total chaos.

Distance: 9 miles
We ran from Seven Lakes to Dauner Park in Fenton. It was fun. Laughter, smiles, stories and food. I made the gang quiche. Food is always a mood enhancer!

When the chatter is trying to run you down you do what you do..RUN. I went to the gym directly after work. 2 days booked on my feet all day and I didn't think twice about running.
I jumped on my favorite treadmill. I knew that a good sweat mixed with pain would cure the slumber that was growing in me. At least for a little while.
I did a mile warm up on the TM. I set the incline at 2.0, my pace about 11min/mi  running 30 seconds sideways to the right, 30 seconds running backwards then 30 seconds sideways left and back to the front, walking it off for 30 seconds. I do this to help my balance, I don't touch the rails, I transition as steady as I can in a circular motion, my sideways running I get down low shuffling my legs, keeping it smooth, almost like a dance. After a mile I am sweating, and my legs are burning, I am ready to run.
Keeping the miles down I picked up the pace.
You know what the worst is?? When you are ready to run, ready to go, you have a plan. You are ready to execute greatness and BAM! The TM STOPS! Yep, I forgot to set the timer, it is automatically set at 20minute. I had a mile and a half in and it SHUT OFF. Forgetting I was around other people I moaned !UGH"?!
I hit the digits this time and picked back up my pace trying to increase my speed with each mile.

Distance: 5.4 miles
The last mile I ran farteks for every tenth of a mile. This felt really good, in a weird way.

I get ready for church. I wear my new dress, paint the barn, blow my hair out and get all prettied up. Andy and I drove separately, he was doing communion and had to be there really early. Alec and I snuck in 10 minutes late during the music. Andy and I were a bit snippy with each other before church, (keeping it real here) so I wasn't sure if he was even going to look in my direction. But he did, twice..three times...all throughout the service. He didn't even ask when I bought the new dress he enjoyed looking at me in it. This softened the morning, making me smile.
But when you are in a slumber moments are brief. The good moments are shadowed by the anger, sadness, confusion, discouragement.
I headed to the gym. Solo run.
I wanted to run 10 miles at a sub 9min mile.  I remembered my Timex Danielle bought me years ago. It made me smile...
So many things make me smile. I love smiling. I think I am pretty good at it too. I feel guilty when I don't smile.
I was hoping that running around the track would interrupt the dumpster of garbage thoughts I was having.
Afterall, I had to do a lot of math. I had to count my laps, check my pace, add my miles and check my time all the while remembering to hit my splits. I was not off to a good start. I forgot to hit my 1st mile split, therefore I hit my first split at mile 2..at 17: 50. I was on track, this was good.
All those digits, calculations didn't stop the truck from dumping more on my.

THE SLUMBER: It works like this. 
It just takes a "LOOK"  
or a " word.
Maybe it is the tone of someone's voice that clings to you. 
You can be having a great day and you see something on social media, or see someone do something you weren't expecting. 
Sometimes you are disappointed in someone, or your expectations were not made, or you didn't see something coming and it CAME. 
For me it is all of these. 
But in that you receive a gentle smile, a warm hug, kind words, loving touches and laughter. 
You giggle, you joke, you love, you share, you give and then...you are alone with yourself. 
The worse place for you. Alone with yourself...and all that is slowly shadowed.

You miss, you hurt, you fight, it is a slow death. 
You hear those words like a broken record, you see that image that you cant delete, you worry about your tomorrows that aren't here and you cant forget you yesterdays that are long gone. 

Distance: 10.5
10 miles @ 8:36min/mi
Time: 1:26
More CORE, stretching and rolling.
Each mile, I was able to suspend my thoughts. I asked God to get me to the next mile. I asked him to let me be a machine. Emotionless. Focused on the mission at hand. No distractions.
"God, help me to let go of those things that are confusing me, that are hurting me, keeping me from your Joy. Please God, please, it is hijacking the good I want to feel."
I want JOY, I want Love, I want to celebrate, smile and cling to beauty.
  • Negative thoughts steal your Joy. 
  • Expectations are premature resentments. 
  • Change the way you look at things and the way things look will change. 

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.   
1 Peter 5:7

I crawled inside myself today on the track. I gave every thought, every person, every yesterday and each of my tomorrows to HIM.
He wasn't audible to me today. But I have to trust he heard my heart. I have to remind myself He is always present even when I cant feel him or hear Him.

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."


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!"
"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.  
Overall: 112th of 328
Overall Female: 38th of 193
F40-49: 6th of 52
Female Masters: 10th of 99 

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!


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.

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 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.


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.
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.

Time:1h 48m