"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, August 28, 2011

Crim 2011. My Story and Thanks~


The mile walk to the race.
Like clock work mom and dad are at the house at exactly 6:15. As I finish brushing my teeth I head downstairs to greet them. I have my nerves in check and feel like we have everything ready to leave. Right on Time. Team Harless now ready to take that drive into Flint for one of the biggest races in Michigan, The Flint CRIM.

10 Miles. The famous "Bradly Hills" and August humidity.
All smiles..Before
Amazing crowds, course entertainment, and a perfect day!
Meeting Friends at The Crim!

Heading to our Corrals
This race is a favorite of both Andy and mine. It is located in the city Andy works at so there is location emotion attached to it for him!

"The important thing is to strive towards a goal which is not immediately visible.  That goal is not the concern of the mind, but of the spirit. "
Andy- To finish in 90 minutes. 9 minute miles.
Setbacks. This race is both hilly and long. Both distance and elevation effects Andy's Achilles rupture just 10 months ago.
Less than a week ago he also injured his foot on the Dreadmill.
Anita-To run my pace, I will have to run at the Detroit Free Press 1/2 marathon to qualify for NYC.
Andy is soaking WET with SWEAT..I went the whole race without puking...it is a possibility now!

I have gone through my list of items I use for a race. Chomps- Check, Ipod-Check, Garmin-Check, Gum-Check, Camera-Check, and gloss Check. I have all the equipment, I have gone to the bathroom and  I am just looking at the clock now, 7:45. Mom and Dad walk us towards the mass of runners all corralled and roped off like cattle. It is now setting in. Wanting peace, I request our family prayer. We gather together holding hands in the grass and Andy leads us in a prayer that I feel God is giving us his ultimate tool:Strength and Stamina. I know that if He is not in this then I do not stand a chance.
I walk Andy to his corral and stay with him a few minutes till I know I have to move up towards mine. Kissing him goodbye and wishing him a great finish I make my way through the tightly woven crowd. "Excuse Me, Sorry, Pardon Me." I politely say as I slide in and around people. Being that I am only 5'1 I feel like I am cutting through a forest. I feel so small and have to look up and around to see where I am.
When I arrive in between the 7 and 8 minute section there is a significant difference in people. For one I am a minority, being a female and for two, this section of the corral is not as dense. I look around and know I am with the serious runners by the $300  timing devices on their wrists.
I have less than 5 minutes till the start, my left leg is shaking uncontrollably. I look around shyly hoping no one notices. How embarrassing. I cannot even control my limps. I feel so inadequate next to these runners. I listen to their training programs and their goals and feel my leg just quiver more.
The National Anthem finishes and the elites take off. As we are moving towards the starting mat I lift my head from my Garmin to notice everyone is in the same positions, heads down hovering over our watches preparing to hit the START button. And as we do you hear every ones "Beep" and I am off.

To keep my pace Andy set my Garmin watch to beep at me if I ran slower than  a 7:30 pace. My son said it would be more effective if it could send a shock through you to jolt you into moving faster. At this pace I thought I would be getting a lot of "beebs" so I did not like the idea of being electrified into running faster technology!
There is so much anticipation on running day. I know all the pain that is going to be required of me at this pace, I just question when it is going to rear its ugly face and to what degree. There is so much head work that is involved. Having a strong mind is equally as important to having a strong body.
What mile will I feel my chest heaving? When will I feel the heaviness of my legs? How will my stamina endure under the heat and hills? But its the Mind. When will I question my ability? This is my biggest fear. Battlefield of the Mind. If your head is not in the game you body WILL follow suit. You have to Believe in your ability, you have to Trust in your training, You have to see Victory.

Running through mile 1,2,and 3 were pretty routine. Getting into your pace. controlling your breathing and just sinking into your rhythm. It takes for me about this long to get comfortable in my myself.
Mile 4,5, and 6 consisted of hills. They are more than just the infamous "Bradly Hills", which consist of 3 hills back to back then one enormous rolling hill to just pound you down. From this point there are also several rollers and long inclines mixed with turns. The course is challenging but not foreign. As I am desperately trying to maintain my breathing and catch my breath, I hear the nagging, "BEEP, BEEP." I look down at the Garmin to read the words "Speed Up." EHHH...!
Mile 7 Everythings in working order. This is where I am feeling my best. The majority of the hills are now nothing but a memory on the  bottom of my sole. I am wanting this feeling to never end. I am in some shade and my body is methodically working like it is being operated by batteries. I am trying to remember to enjoy and have fun. I encourage the 30 Plus runners. These are the runners who have ran more than 30 years the CRIM. They really appreciate the cheers. I notice those struggling and send them a good word. I have less than 21 minutes to go. Why can't this feeling last till the end?
Mile 8 and 9. Some things are just to good to be true. And just that quick that euphoria is over. Slammed shut. As I feel myself draining I think about the tools I have to help me. I pop another Chomp in my mouth and look for the water station. I search for a powerful song to revive me on my ipod and begin another prayer.
Mile 10. Time to bring it in. I think to myself I have made it this far. I have ran with a lot of the same people through out most of the race. There is one particular girl who keeps passing me, dropping behind me then speeding up to catch me. She looks like she is having a difficult time pacing herself but her pride will not let me pass her. But in her strength she is weak. She is choosing the wrong times to pass me. Like up hills. She isnt being very strategic and it is hurting her stamina. As we are coming into 9 I as passing her again, I look to my left and cheer her on " You are doing great, come on you can do this." She didnt even look my way. She was tapped out. And so I moved forward. I have 7 minutes. I replay my power song from a couple miles back and realize I want to hear the crowd. Taking my ear buds off I soak up the energy of the crowd. I move to the right because that is where the family should be. Finish strong, Anita.Listen for the family. I turn left onto Saginaw from Court st and see the FINISH BANNER. I know it is still to early for me to push hard so I force myself to not look at that banner rather focus on my watch not beeping on me. "Steady Girl", "Run Smart." I see the bricks, they are my invitation to GOOOO! In my zone I kick my legs into gear, I buckle down and Go. I am so focused I hear this man right next me me scream at me "COME ONNNN>!!!" It scares me so bad I actually jump like I have been electified by that device my son was talking about. At this same time I hear my family screaming at me but I am so startled I start sprinting like a cheetah and actually pass him but as I am running by him I turn around and yell back, "GOOO" And HE does passing me by a split second. How fun. I finish with a huge grin on my face. This guy fist pumps me and we go our separate ways. What a finish.
OH, and the girl..She found me as I was walking away and said," Great Run, I wish I would have just paced with you. Thanks for the encouragement."~~ 
Barely catching my breath all I can think of is ANDY. I grab my medal and sneak through the gates and run to where I thought I heard my family. I struggle to find them because the crowd is so thick and being vertically challenged makes it hard to see through the crowd. But I find them. Smiling and relieved I hug them and wait for Andy. Tick Tock..The clock is really pinching to his deadline. Any minute. Where is he? Dear God please let him be ok." Then Austin says, "Mom, There's dad, Look. There he is!" I cheer him on only to rush pass my family to break back through the crowds and jump the fence to welcome him to the finish.
When I find him he looks sick, but he has finished in his goal. He looks like death but he is truly a warrior. I do not know any person with the strength and tenacity of my husband. I actually feel convicted because you can tell he ran harder than me. I am so proud of him.
We both achieved our Goals! Thank you Jesus!! In My weakness YOU give me STRENGTH~

There is nothing better than TIM HORTONS at the Finish Line!!

Isn't she Cute...MY Niece! Came out to be a encouragment! Love that girl!!
Red Robins Post dinner Burger!!YUM!


A personal note~ I just want to say thanks to all the encouraging words and cheer. It means so much to feel the love and encouragement. I know each person that has said kind words to me and I hold them dearly. As I have heard your words I have imprinted them in my heart and thoughts. You have taken the time to write them, you have taken my passion and not judged me, rather believed in me. Through your kindness I am reminded to always play this forward because I know how much it speaks to me I want to be that person to someone else. Sincere thanks.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What The CRIM means to me...A little piece of me

 When things do not go the way we planned...
Gal 6:9” And let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.”
From the moment Alec was able to sit up I put him in some contraption to take outside with me. From walking to biking he was riding along in a conventional or recreational stroller.
I couldn't make it to the gym but I could pack up the boys and head outside. The boys loved being outside with me.
From being a gym rat, to classes, boxing or biking I have always used exercise as my therapy. To prideful to actually see a professional this form of purging and peeling seemed to work just fine.

It was the summer of 2004. Alec would be turning 3 this summer and Austin would be 6. I no longer had a stroller that would fit both kids and I could not afford a double jogger. I wanted to be outside.

I had no one to watch the boys. The odds seemed stacked against me. No tools  to allow me to exercise. I had no way to seek physical counsel. No release. My marriage was crumbling, my head was exploding and I had no way to sift through all the emotions that were raging inside me. I was burdened by failures, mistakes, guilt and confusion. I had no outlet. I shared with no one.

One day I just had to come up with something. The wagon. My boys Little Tykes Wagon. I opened the doors to this heavy duty plastic vehicle and piled the boys into it. Without much looking back I moved forward pulling those boys till my lungs were gasping for air. I would stop briefly and go again. I felt the demons that had been haunting me back down. I saw the fog lift with every step forward. Problem solving became part of the pavement. The more I ran, the more I felt equipped to deal with those hang ups that tortured me.

And so something beautiful was birthed. Alec and Austin loved going for a wagon ride. I pulled that wagon one mile at a time. Slow and steady. People began to recognize me. I would come around that familiar corner and see people pointing at me" Hey, That's the girl." They would say as I waved with my free hand towards them. Feeling the warm air and hearing my breath became a new love of mine.

I started mapping out the miles I was going to run. My arms would go numb and I would have to switch the handle of the wagon quite frequently but there was no other option.
This was the summer I heard of The CRIM. I heard there was a 5k and a 10miler. The 10 miler was not an option but the 5k seemed like a goal I could achieve.

With something to work toward I felt purpose. I had a destination to work for. And work I did. The boys sat in the wagon and I ran  pulling that them one mile at a time. I would stop to breath every few mailboxes then  run and continue to pull that wagon over 3 miles straight. From 3 miles to 5 miles. I had fallen in love.

The beginning of August came and I began thinking I may actually be able to run the 10 miler. I was now up to about 8 miles. I really believed I could do this CRIM thing. So I signed up to do the 10 miler.
I would run down Grange Hall road now. Once a week I would do a run alone and go farther. My lungs were struggling. The race was the last weekend of the month. The heat was intense, I had a difficult time breathing. There were even times my head would hurt and my nose would run. But no one gets sick in August so I ignore it.

3 days before my FIRST race ever. I am now not only having issues breathing but now I am coughing. And coughing a lot. I am not going to the doctors. I have ran 9 miles and know I can do this.
Mom and dad showed up at 6:30 am on race morning. It was pouring outside. I was so discouraged to see the weather conditions. I had not slept at all that night and it was not because of nerves. I had been up coughing all night. I could not catch my breath or breath deeply with out a full blown attack. My lungs had turned on me, my body was against me but Against the Odds I got into that car after begging them to take me.

We got a mere 10 miles..similar to the distance I was to run that morning when defeat was inevitable. I was hot and shaky. My lungs were heavy and wet.
We turned the car around and I cried all the way home. Defeated. Discouraged. I wanted this so bad. I did everything right. What Happened? This was not HOW I PLANNED It?? Why?? Why??

I spent 3 days in the hospital. I had pneumonia, my left lung collapsed.This was the end of my beginning.

I was not throwing in the towel that fast there was always 2005, right?!
No more wagon.Only when desperate I would pull Alec and Austin would now ride his bike. This of course was extreme purposes.

I felt more confident this year. I KNEW I could do this. About a month before the Crim I started getting belly issues. Of course I do what I do best. I IGNORE THEM.
I chalk it up to be bowel issues. I even take laxatives to try and self diagnose myself. Right before I go for a run I take a little pill only to find myself stopping every mile on the road squeezing and wiping sweat off my face. Running home looking for a secluded ditch and a clean leaf was not what I thought I would be experiencing that soon after that little pill went down.
Needless to say the problem was way bigger than constipation. I found myself  2 1/2 half weeks before my debut at The Crim in the Emergency room. After a series of inconclusive tests they try one last test and call me an ambulance saying they were rushing me to St. Josephs hospital for emergency surgery.
I was going in for a appendectomy.
Again this IS NOT WHAT I PLANNED. This is not the way things should have gone. 2 years in a row??!!
I found myself like a spoiled little girl not getting what she wants and I start bawling. Questioning my running, questioning God and feeling like my mind was just a huge punctuation mark.

I wanted this miraculous healing. The Dr's said they didn't think it was a good idea to run. They recommended that I didn't. But with race day fast approaching I was feeling better everyday. Although I had not gotten to 10 miles in my training I felt confident I could do it.
I had my incision drained the week before the CRIM and again my Dr was against me running this race.
But when race day came I laced up my shoes, prayed with my family and we all got into the car and headed into Flint.p
1:32:31. I DID it. My First Crim.
This was my reading today....Exodus chapter 5..So applicable for this entry..!!


Exodus 5:22  Moses returned to Yahweh, and said, "Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Why is it that you have sent me? 5:23  For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people; neither have you delivered your people at all."
Moses obeyed God but not without debate and fear. He has done what God has asked and the outcome is not the way it was planned in his mind. It is much worse. Moses feels defeated and confused.
So many times I too have gone to God and prayed and sought his vision. I have thought I was doing everything right. I have read his words and memorized Gods truths and yet the outcome is not the way I thought the occasion was going to be. But As the verse above states. Do not give up. Continue doing the right thing because it is right to do right. Even if you collapse in the process of doing right, it is still better. Gods timing is perfect. He will bless you in his timing. Like Moses,when things do not go the way we think, it is Gods Handiwork and timetable.

Top 5 Favorites.
*Had a massage today to prepare me for my run.
*Did a easy 6 miles.
*Enjoyed the lady at target saying,"You have happy boys."
*Best bowl of Oatmeal this morning
* Reading time with Alec this morning.