"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

Friday, August 29, 2014

Following my Shadow

I have not ran since the Crim, Saturday.

We recently moved out of our rental and into our new home. WOW, what a lot of work. I have not had a chance to run. I feel like I have ran a marathon every night my head hits the pillow. I am plum tuckered!

This morning was my FIRST RUN in our new house. I left for my run about 9 am. It was the most gorgeous morning. The new house is on a dirt road. I LOVE running on the dirt roads. This morning I chased my shadow. It was like a silent running partner. I would glance at my shadow to check my posture. I would even check myself out going down the hills thinking, "Dang girl, That's it, Get after it!" Which by the way wasn't that fast but it looked fast!
And going up the hills I let my shadow run ahead of me as I tried to catch my breath. I was very happy with my 5 miles. God continues to heal and strengthen me.

Last week Katie, one of my co-workers nominated me for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This was my 3rd nomination. Because of the move, I have been challenged in a million ways making the 24 hour challenge a challenge I failed.
Katie was relentless.
As I finished my run I decided that this would be the perfect time to Ice Down!

Here is my Video:

I just wanted to say that the challenge is supposed to be a positive thing. I am disappointed as a Christian by so many other Christians being so negative about it. I have read some comments that just shock me. I have had some non Christian friends who make fun of us Christians because we have taken what was meant to be fun and encouraging to a whole new level. We have dissected it with stem cell research, abortions and even boasting about our giving.
Millions of dollars are being raised not to mention the awareness.

I personally love to see so many taking up the challenge and having FUN doing it. Some may feel it is a fundraising scam and some of you may believe it is a stupid stunt to get attention and some of you may feel all that and more but regardless here are some facts:

  • More than 1.2 million videos were shared on Facebook between June 1 and August 13.
  • The ALS Association in the US has reportedly received over $94million in donations from  July 29.
  • ALS is one of the most common neuromuscular diseases worldwide, and people of all races and ethnic backgrounds are affected.

What are some of your thoughts on the Ice Bucket Challenge?


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Crim 2014

5 weeks ago you couldn't have convinced me that I was going to be able to run The Crim. My body had betrayed me.
I have not ran since the beginning of summer because I have been battling my It Band. I have been going to physical therapy now for over 6 weeks.
The most effective therapy I believe helped me recover has been Prayer Therapy.

The CRIM is my absolute Favorite race. This is a local race in Flint with over 10,000 runners.
The crowds and the course entertainment are incredible. You have a local race with a big city feel. I love people. On every corner you see runners that had  one goal all summer, to run The Crim.
There is something powerful about listening to people share their goals. There is a nervous excitement in the air. People are lined up in bathrooms, stretching in the grass and looking for their loved ones. Every shape, size, nationality, age and personality it out there. And for this one day we are all ONE.
Being in extrovert I gravitate to high energy. I very quickly transform into The Obnoxious Runner.  I talk to anyone that gives my eye contact. I am like a kid who didn't take their ADD medicine. My focus is ping ponging everywhere. But deep in the corner of my mind I have a space that is dense with fear.
Not the kind of Fear that absorbs you and overtakes you. The kind of Fear that drives you, excites you and empowers you.

Mom, dad and the boys drove up to Flint a little after 6am. We picked Austins girlfriend up on the way.
Andy and I wore Lime Green in Honor of our Aunt Lois who has Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I was dedicating this race to her.

Runners were scattered all over. We located Joan and Javon, we met them at the expo Friday and made a plan. I was going to try and run with Joan.
We ran into several of our friends.
Jeanette from the Hungeford races found us and stayed with us.
As we ran into more and more the time to start was counting down. I asked them if they would like to pray with us before we started the race. It was so special to see over 10 of us holding hands and seeking God. Dad prayed and his words were so perfect.
Austin was anxious. I could not keep up with him this year. I felt awful not being able to run with him.

Andy, Joan, Jeanette and I headed to our corral.
"Please God keep me strong." I prayed for the hundredth time.

In our corral, minutes before the race started, I lost Austin. All I could see was this tall young man confidently walking into the crowds away from me.
I couldn't hold the tears back. "He shouldn't be alone." I thought. "I am his mother, I should be beside him." All those people looked like they were consuming him until I could no longer see my boy.
As his mother and his number one fan I felt like I should be there to make sure he was going to be OK. I needed to be beside him to cheer him on. I needed to encourage him, push him. And there he went, without looking back. He didn't need me. I was crushed. It was a hard pill to swallow to see your boy turning into a confident young man.

Before the race we all realized we were running the same goals. it looked like we would be running together.
By the time the horn blew, it was obvious our plan was out the door.
Andy bolted ahead of us.

For about a mile I stayed with the girls. I really wanted to stay with them but I was so concerned with Andy going so far ahead.  I looked at my pace and couldn't figure out why he was goings so fast.
All I knew was the girls would be great. Andy was not going to be.
I looked back at the girls and started towards Andy.

I secretly ran about 10 feet behind Andy. He never would have known I was there had I not kept seeing people I knew and shouting at them!
At about mile 3 Andy turned around and located me.
I went through my drill.
"How are you feeling?"
"What hurts?"
"Why DID YOU take off so FAST??"

It was like I thought. Andy was trying to stay with the 8:30 pace group. Only the 8:30 pace group took off too fast. Their first 3 miles were all under pace. This wouldn't have been a big deal but Andy was already pushing it. The first 2 miles are always difficult. If you take off too fast you have potential to burn out.

And this is exactly what happened to Andy. He was holding his own until we got to the Bradley hills. This is a series of 4 hills at the 5 mile marker. As we headed up the hills I cheered the runners on. "Great Job RUNNERS, UP Up UP!"
Guys were hacking and spitting. People were slowing down and no one had their happy smiles on. I did everything I could to keep Andy. I coached Andy with all I had. One guy even yelled "Hey, I need a COACH!!"
On the last hill I turned around and he was no where in sight. I headed back to find him.
He looked bad. I knew I needed to leave him and let him run his own race. I would be more of an annoyance to him if I stayed.

It is at this point I could no longer see the 8:30 pace team. My goal was to catch them. My body good enough to make this happen. "Ok, Nita, steady up." I turned my music on in my ears and focused on the finding the pace team.

The humidity was rough. I had already taken my shirt off and my body was soaked with sweat. I reminded myself I was strong enough mentally to push myself physically.
Greater is HE who is in ME.

I found the pace team and closed the gap at mile 7. I stayed behind them for some time to catch my breath and work myself into this faster speed. This is faster than I have ran in weeks. My body was having a hard time catching up. My legs were at the beginning stages of numbness.

It was time to make my move. I began to pass them as I approached the 8 mile mark. I heard a woman say to the pacer, "Hey, that girl was behind us, she is passing us." The pacer replied "What Girl?"
And that was all I heard.

I prayed that I had made a wise move. I prayed that I would be able to hold onto this pace for the next 2 miles.

I turned up my power song and dug my heals in. Do or DIE. I told myself.
I slowly passed runners. How was this possible? How was I running like this? I gave God thanks asking him to carry me to the finish.
I needed to run this for me and for Aunt LO. I wanted Aunt Lo to see that Against the Odds Failure is NOT an Option. That we have to dig in and seek God for HIS Strength.
I wanted her to see Victory in Jesus.
Sweet Victory when I didn't stand a chance.

With one mile to go I continued to pass people. I was exhausted. I was at that place I wanted to walk. I wanted to breath. I wanted to lay down and call it good.
My feet hit the bricks. I knew I had to hold on just a little while longer. I made that turn and saw the finish. "Hold on NITA, be smart, be strong."
There was a tall man ahead of me I had been shadowing.
With less than  block left I could hear the crowds going crazy. Praying I was making the right move I began to pass him. He had already accelerated making my move more difficult.

"Everything you have, right here, RIGHT NOW."
"OH God it hurts."

"ANITA HARLESS From Holly, Michigan" came through the speakers as I crossed the finishing mats.

I was DONE. Thank YOU Jesus!

Austin was there waiting for me. He looked so strong. He did amazing!
He ran under 7:30 pace!

Andy struggled, but did very well.
Thank YOU for all your prayers, kind words, and support. Especially thankful to God for his love for me. Glory goes to God for my healing and opportunity to run when I didn't stand a chance.
Mom and dad continue to go and support us. So thankful for them.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

My day in pics

My kids went to Cedar Point with the church yesterday morning. The bus broke down multiple times and the van broke down that was following it. This pushed the 11:30pm pick up to 2am.
7am did not come with much enthusiasm.

The owners left us a very sweet gift. So thoughtful. The owners went above and beyond. They were so kind.

We closed on our home yesterday morning after a 2 hour closing. I had so much I wanted to get done today. I knew I was going to really have to suck it up.
Mom was ready to roll! The house we purchased is only a mile from her and dad. Needless to say she is so excited. And we are too.
Almost 2 acres

My dear friend Terri has been sincerely offering her help for months. I took her up on it.
Between the three of us we lined all the kitchen cupboards and unpacked all my kitchen. It was great to have their help but it was also great to have their ideas and input.
My back yard and Sheba

So I am whooped and wimpy.

I am hitting the hay. Here are some pics of todays run.!

THIS IS MY LAST RUN BEFORE THE CRIM. Thank you for all the prayers.
Intervals. Great RUN

This is the rental, last Run here.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Moving Forward. I little peice of me.

A few days ago, Andy and I went for a run. Finishing our run we added a easy recovery walk around the block. To my right stood a two story rundown house. The house was white, with paint chipping, broken windows and no front door.
In the front yard, sat a young boy playing alone in the patchy grass. He had dark disheveled hair, he had olive skin and sadness around his eyes. He never looked up from his toy cars he was playing with them. Behind him, the doorway to the house showed a picture of his life.
It was  a mess.
There were dirty clothes and boxes covering the carpet. It was dark and the smell of mildew spewed from the old house. There layed broken furniture and junk two feet high on all sides with a tiny path to get from one side to the other.
As we slowly walked by, Andy looks at me and says "That poor boy doesn't stand a chance."
My heart was crushed. I felt so burdened for him. I wanted to run back to him, pick him up and tell him he was amazing.
Andy continued "You know who's house that is right?"
It took me a minute but Andy answered for me, "That is the house we hear all the swearing and fighting at."
There is a house behind us to the left. You can not see any grass. The house looks like it is going to fall down. The back yard must have 20 bikes in it along with garbage piled on all corners of the outside of house.
Usually later in the day you will hear terrible screaming. Cuss words that make you grab your ears or your children's. The old man slaps his wife around and I am pretty sure she is returning the jabs. He is usually pretty drunk. The cops have been there multiple times to break up the domestic fights.
Here in the dirt sat this dark haired dark eyed boy who hardly stood a chance.

I turned around and looked back at the old house. I remembered a couple old houses like that. I remembered living on Seneca St in Pontiac. Or the old blue house on Johnson street in Pontiac. They were never dirty but they were old. They smelled like stale liquor. The carpet was old and musty. I remember the cockroaches running across the kitchen counters. I remember my moms old boyfriend, God I hated him. Tom Lambert, Oh I wish I could not remember.

Looking back at that house I thanked God. I was that kid who didn't stand a chance.
 I sat as a child with dirty fingernails playing for hours alone in the back yard. My dark tousled  hair would cross over my face covering my dark eyes.
I didn't know any other life. On all corners, everyone lived the same. You woke up to empty beer cans covering the counters. The ashtrays all had cigarette butts and "roaches" in them. The ZigZag papers and left over seeds sat on the burnt coffee table on a dirty paper plate.
The memories flooded my mind.

I am 40 years old now. My heart has mended but sadness shows up in my memories.

I have had to fight very hard to overcome my past. I am so thankful God showed me grace and mercy. You have a choice. You can either seek God or try to do it on your own.
Like me looking at that little boy, Our Heavenly Father looked at me. He was always carrying me, in the good times and the bad. I had a choice I could either grasp His Love for me or Not. God placed instrumental people in my life to help guide me and protect me.
My Big Brother, Bobby
Little sister, Gina

Today, I close a new chapter in my life. We are closing on our house. It is a smaller home with a bigger yard. We are so very excited.
I have never had anything given to me. I have worked so hard to overcome my past and the generational dysfunction.
I have no immediate family left. My brother and sister live in Florida. I was reminded again this week about Gods provision.
I am so thankful for my small family. There is nothing my brother or sister wouldn't do for me. We grew up in a place we didn't stand a chance. We made it out by the Grace of God.
Over 20 years later, miles between us there is a bond that can not be broken. We do not talk about our past very often.
My sister has blocked most of it out and my brother suppresses it. "Bobby" can look at me and I can see it, our bond. I can see that big brother that tried to protect me. Even today, he would do anything for me.
Moving forward with Enthusiasm. Looking back with Gratitude. And Always remembering where I came from with humility.

Jeremiah 33:3
Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Picking up Pace

"Good things come slow - especially in distance running."
-Bill Dellinger, Oregon coach

You often hear people say that life is like a marathon not a sprint.

My current training is a reminder that being patient is more important that being speedy.

I wanted to see if I was capable of running this Saturdays race, The Crim.  This race is a traditional race that I run every year.

Todays Training:
The Plan:
Distance: 10 miles
Target Pace: 9:30-10
Goal: 5 miles flat and slow, last 5 miles intervals, 5:1, picking the pace up.

Everything felt so good except my lungs. I always remind myself I can run through fatigue, pain is a different story. The key to running  through weariness is being your own number one fan;
  1. Remind yourself that being tired is not being broken.
  2. Learn how to run tired, it helps build mental strength
  3. The first couple miles are usually the toughest, challenge yourself to get through those then assess  how you feel.
Being quiet is not one of my more popular characteristics. I was short on words as Andy and I ran. My mind was churning, racing at a faster pace than my legs. I was hoping as my distance accumulated that my lungs would adjust, giving me more confidence in my goal. Mentally, I was struggling. It is so discouraging when you feel like weak sauce. I created mini goals to give me mini victories making me feel less discouraged. With my distance growing, I felt thankful I was being disciplined to go slow and steady.

A Little warmer out than we expected.

At mile 5, Andy and I picked up the pace by over a minute. We added walk breaks every 5 minutes. The idea behind this was to work on 5 miles of stamina, then 5 miles of  picking up the average pace,using intervals. Picking up the pace helped me with my pace and adding intervals keeps me out of the hurt locker.

Because I had taken the first 5 miles so much slower, it allowed me to have enough in the tank to finish strong.
Todays run felt t victorious, but more importantly it gave me more confidence for Saturdays run.

"Concentrate on small segments of your race at a time. For example, rather than obsessing about the distance that remains, simply complete the next mile in good form...try another, then another, until the race is done."
-Jerry Lynch


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Training for Truth

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." Col 3:15

Tears streamed down my face unhidden. "God, thank you, thank you for healing me and letting me run 6 miles today."
 The track at the gym was desolate. I didn't need anything distracting me. Moving slow, one mile at a time, I remained patient. I prayed before I ran and I prayed during my run.
My run was such an emotional experience. I was hypersensitive with so many thoughts and feeling wanting to confuse me before I even started.
Running is such a head game. Part of training includes training your mind. It is deciphering what is a feeling and what is a fact. The same goes through with LIFE.

I had to remind myself TRUTH:
"Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered."    Proverbs 28:26
  • I can run
  • I was made to run
  • I am healing, be smart.
  • It's not about pace or distance; it's about running.
I had to be aware of EMOTIONS:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? "Jeremiah  17:9
  • Disappointment
  • Discouragement
  • Weakness
  • Fear
The TRUTH will Set You Free!

"But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts..." Mat. 15:18-19
Being injured is like being hurt. You are full of emotions. We can control our emotions when we control our mind. But if we do not control our emotions they will speak to ourselves and others.

When I coach I train the kids Strong Mind.
As I ran, I exercised my mind, keeping it free from toxic thoughts. Thoughts that would prevent me from having a victorious run.

As the warm tears saturated my cheeks I felt my knees buckle. I wanted to drop to my knees in gratitude. Humbled by Gods love for me.

For those out there struggling. Keep your mind Strong. Keep your emotions under control. If you let your Emotions become Facts they will not only hurt you but you will hurt others with them as well. You will believe the feelings you let control you.

I have had those runs where I have allowed garbage in and I had garbage back out.

When I allow God to saturate my thoughts with his Truth and Promises I am secure in myself and my training. I go in His assurance leaving no room for insecurity to distract me.

Do you struggle with allowing your emotions to effect your training?
How does that effect your training?

Alec decided to go for a run today! 4 blocks! lol
I was riding a bike behind him. We were picking up my bike Austin left at the school yesterday. So thankful that Austin has left such a impression at the school. They brought the bike into the school to keep it for him. When he left it there, the workers actually got very concerned for him. They called the local police to try and locate Austin because he had mysteriously left and not taken his bike. It is the best feeling to have people tell you "your son is so polite, he is a really good kid."

Matt'sStory: Badwater


Ultra running is a sport in itself. When I trained last year for my ultra, Hungerford Games,  I welcomed advice from ultra runners. I had to retrain my thinking. The distance trumps the pace. Ultra running is about endurance. You add walk breaks, often walking up the hills, you train with nutrition and excessive water.

I gained a new respect for runners who train for races over 35 miles. I feel like a little kid meeting their super heros. I stand in awe. Being injured this summer really put a wedge in my plans. I loved running that distance.

I have met some great runners who run Ultras. Some of the humblest runners.
Andy was on Facebook a couple weeks ago, creeping "this guys" pictures. The pictures were breathtaking. He  was on a Team to support  a runner doing one of the most epic Ultras, Badwater.
It didn't take long for me to be engaged in all the pictures and all the comments. It was CREEPING at its fullest!

I asked Matt A. to share a little of the experience.
This is what he shared.
Jack Corey worked hard to make his goal of finishing Badwater 135 a reality, preparing for months for the race. He ran miles and miles - most of the latter in layers of clothing to experience the heat of Death Valley. He set up the logistics - the transportation, lodging, food, nourishment for the race, and permits. And he planned a 20 year anniversary trip to the area beforehand for his wife - always thinking about Mary Beth first.

Team Corey
Jack Corey is in Blue, Matt is on the right in white.

Throughout the time we were there, Jack would say, "I'm a midget among Giants". He felt that he wasn't worthy to be among the legends of the running community, runners most of us only read about. But he isn't less than the stars of the racing community. He ran with them, he finished strong, and he enjoyed the experience - smiling from start to finish.
Jack has had a great year of running and I'm lucky enough to enjoy some of his accomplishments. In April, I was able to cheer him as he finished his first 150 mile trail race. During Badwater, I ran with him - along with Derek, Bob, and Ray - as he climbed his way over 6000' to the Mt. Whitney portal and the finish of the Badwater 135. And I cheered from afar as he finished the Burning River 100 not two weeks after that.
Jack is a great friend, husband, father, teacher, runner, and he is one of the Giants.
Thank YOU Matt for sharing your story! Inspiring.