"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, October 16, 2011

The 3 Second BOMB!

Getting our bibs!

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength
of my heart and my portion forever."
Psalm 73:26
I should have known from the beginning when there was only one pacer for both the marathoners and the half marathoners there could be a problem. This single man was going to take on the role for both goal setters.
That's some big boots to fill if you ask me.
For the Chicago Marathon there were 6 or 7 pacers for my time.

As I got into my corral I looked at this small man and thought OK..Let's see what you have. He was very friendly and encouraging to those of us in  "B section".  He was a simple man with a bald head and a red band around it. He didn't look elite or like he carried any super powers but I have learned in running not to judge a runners form or figure!
Before Race.

When the voice came to Go, I kept my eyes near to him and tried to shadow his every move. For me this was more than trying to finish 13.1 miles in 1:37. It was wanting to get into ING NYC. I have been wanting this for several months now. From deep within I have been gauging my training with this single goal as my destination.

Andy is in the shorts..WTG!
But by mile 2 I started second guessing my decision to stay with this pace team. Our first mile out we were running over 8 minute miles. And at mile 2 we caught up a bit but were still running slow at 7:29.  There was this female runner who thought she was a gladiator as she pummeled anyone near her ornear "Mike"  the pacer. By mile 3, between  GI Jane runner elbowing me and pushing me and our chaotic pace I thought I may have to pull some courage and run my own race. We were running a 7:35 pace. So between the 3 miles I was down 48 seconds. I had a million questions running through my mind that were not encouraging me or building my confidence. When "Mike" our pacer left to use the bathroom and gave his pacing pole to one of the guys this was my confirmation, I needed to exit needed to separate and use my Garmin to bring me in.
I am sure "Mike" would have done a fine job but I had lost confidence in him. I had heard a nagging voice now for over a mile, "Go, Nita, disconnect." I knew I had to be more confident in my training, my Garmin and my God. But now I had to make up time.
Mile 4 I started catching up, running a 7:11 pace. I had a couple guys ask me our pace and I shared with them our pace for about the next 7 miles. We ran together laughing and encouraging one another.

As we entered the tunnel you were welcomed by a deceiving warmth. At first this warm air was received well. We were out of the elements of wind and a light misty rain. But soon it began to fatigue you as the air got stale and the walls of the tunnel felt like they were vacuum sealing you. The down hill decent into the tunnel was like being pressurized. And then the up hill ascent out of the tunnel you found yourself looking desperately for the light that leads to the great outdoors again.

It is the most invigorating feeling to have the fresh air greet you. And then when you add hundreds of people waiting outside to cheer you on along  and see that sign that says 9 miles you suddenly get your second wind. I found myself giving high fives and waving the crowd into cheering us on. People were shouting my name as they read it off my bib, " Great job NITA" , "Run NITA Run"!

Moving forward with my little group I never did see my Pacer "Mike" and the group come up behind me. Each mile I was gaining speed but I didn't realize how badly the first 3 miles hurt me.
At mile 11- I was doing the math.  I was trying to stay on target running now against the wind with drizzle slapping me. I knew it was going to be tight. I was going to be coming in within seconds of my Goal time of 1:37.  I was panic stricken and praying hard.

I was dancing between 6 and 7 minute miles coming into the last mile. I looked down at my Garmin and saw I had to finish in 4 minutes!!  I could hear the DJ but I could not see the finish. "Please God, Please. give me strength, make me swift. Oh God Please."
2 minutes and what looked like a lifetime away. I pulled so deep, my stomach started cramping and I thought for sure I was going to loose my bladder or my stomach. I was approaching this young girl who I decided I was going to stay behind and follow her swift speed. But I quickly passed her knowing the clock was ticking away. I was soon facing the timing clock. "Anita Harless of Holly Michigan". That was all I heard as I crossed those blue mats. I must have looked like death as they put my finishers medal around my neck because several volunteers asked me if I need assistance.
I looked at my Garmin and it read 1:37....This was not good. Too close. I didn't have time to cry, I had to get our baggage at the check in and get back to find Andy cross the finish line.

Waiting for Andy my calves took turns cramping up on me. I am so short I could barely see him coming and every time I stood on my toes my calves went directly into a charlie horse. "Oh, for Pete's sake" You have got to be kidding me I thought in frustration. I got a glimpse of his bright green shirt and regardless of the pain I just started shouting his name. I was so thrilled to see him. And I think he was equally as thrilled to see the FINISH!

Andy Amazing race...My Epic Fail!

We met some of our friends and through exhaustion and endorphins found enough energy to laugh together and snap a few photos. "Scott" took his phone and looked up all of our times. To be honest I really didn't want to know because I think I already knew.
"Scott", Andy and I..Scott met his Goal also!! WTG Scott!!

Andy met his goal of under 2 hours! WTG. Less than 1 year from a ruptured Achilles tendon injury. He is a monster!
3 Seconds off. If I didn't throw up crossing the finish line now I really thought I was going to.

"EPIC FAILURE"!! That is how Andy sympathetically described it. "Nita it would have been better for you to be 1 minute off then 3 stupid seconds!"
There was a pit in my stomach and tears that just waiting to explode from my eyes. I was in total Grief Mode!
First ANGER.. Mad at the world. Mad at mom and dad because they were not there for my race, mad at Andy because He is ANDY (Husbands get it by default).. Mad at me because I failed. And REALLY mad at the Pacer.And Mad at the ING NYC for not having a grace period and such tight qualifications.
DENIAL- Maybe the timer is wrong. Maybe they have a grace period. maybe....
BARGAINING..I am sure it was in there somewhere....
DEPRESSION-Trying not to be a girl and sob. The flood gate was wavering. I still as I type feel the lump in my throat and struggle seeing the keyboards through my glassy eyes. It just sucks 3 seconds. 3 measly stupid seconds.

ACCEPTANCE- "My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure. " Abraham Lincoln

'Tis a lesson you should heed, Try, try again.
If at first you don't succeed, Try, try again. - Thomas H. Palmer
Well I am not mad at anyone soo much anymore ( Mom and Dad you are amazing and are always there for  me, forgive me.) Just at myself. I should have left the pacer before I got to mile 4.  Lesson learned.  Trust in your training. I put to much faith  in another person and not myself and what God had prepared me for.
Sadly I got so upset of my failure that it trumped my great race. It really was a great race. I had a Personal record for the half marathon. I should be happier. I am just stuck on stupid right now.  But I am not going to give up YET......there are a couple more half marathons around the corner.......We will see....
Best recovery drink...this makes things a little bit better!!



  1. I don't know what's worse - you missing your goal by 3 seconds, or my waiting too long to register and facing the brick wall of a sell-out. Sorry it didn't work out for you this year, but try to focus on the positives - finishing, not getting hurt and setting a pr! See you in 2012!

  2. LOl...Yeah I think you have it right. We waited to long 2 years ago and it sold out. I too was pretty bummed. We have those painful lessons here and again. Sometimes I am just my own worse enemy! Thanks for the post!

  3. Hi Anita,
    I had such a similar experience at Las Vegas last year. I was very disappointed initially, but then I got over it pretty quickly. In fact, I felt like a total butt head for moping about my 1:31:40 (needed 1:29:59) when I am so blessed to be able to run at all, let alone be competitive. I went back to the road/gym and hammered away until I got another chance in April. 1:29:54 and I am running ING NYC in less than 3 weeks. You know the drill. Its not about the falling down, its about the getting back up. You can do this!

    Check the dates you must run your race by as there will be a cutoff for 2012 qualifications. I missed it on accident, but the race director gave me a pass after I told her my story.

    PS: Great blog!!!

  4. Ken,
    Thank you first~
    WOW, did I need you to post this to me. What an encouragement. I am going to try and another race in 3 weeks in Indiana or Illinois. If I fail again I will wait till next year. I emailed then but have not heard anything in response.
    I am so excited for you. NYC is something you worked so hard at. And with the story I just read that you wrote It is not only a testimony of your perseverance but also an encouragement to others..Like me~

  5. I do remember you too! I did not stay with the pace group after I realized that a couple guys I knew were also in the corral, and wanted to just run my own race. I had a fail getting a BQ in Detroit in 2007, not really due to the pacer, but I did end up passing our pacer on belle isle, and missed the 3:40 by a TON.
    I remembered when you passed me. I tried to follow you for a little bit too. At that point, though, I had already felt like my lungs were failing me at that pace, and I am glad I eased up so I could at least finish and not be removed. I am trying again on Nov 5th, I think, if I can work out a few logistical things first. I got the "whatever" from my hubby!

  6. Nita, thanks for reading my blog (13.1 Blindfolded, Alone, Determined). Hope you don't mind I visited yours too. You are AMAZING! Your speed, your heart, your passion. Hope you don't mind if I follow along with your journey! :)

  7. @Melissa...Your husband sound like mine. Andy was willing to take me to another state to try again he felt so bad. He actually had a pretty bad conversation on the Detroit Free Press FACEBOOK page trying to defend me against a couple woman who didnt READ my blog but commented on the post I put. My Fault...I should have been a little more gentle with my title. But the Husband went off his rocker defending me...They support our craziness in their own way!
    Nina..You are quite the warrior. You have internal strength, Your Blog show this. Keep running and keep writing is is both therapeutic and encouraging to others!!