"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.

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