"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

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ann Arbor Marathon Recap

"Only as High as I can Reach can I grow, only as far as I Seek can I go, only as Deep as I look can I see, only as much as I Dream can I BE." Karen Ravn

4am comes very early no matter what time you go to bed.
We had to be in Ann Arbor by 6am. Surprisingly, I got up before the family and made it to the Keirig for coffee with no problem.
As we all headed to the car I was really pleased that we were moving so smooth. I walked along side of the drivers side of the car and I almost spilled my coffee on myself.  I jumped seeing passengers already in the car, it was mom and dad! They surprised me and came out to cheer me on. It is the best feeling in the world to have support and encouragement.

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." 1 Thes 5:11

I seriously can not stress enough how much of an impact support and encouragement means in all arenas of life and all ages as well.

The car ride wasn't too painful heading to Ann Arbor once the kids settled down from bickering with one another.  I didn't have the pre race jitters this time. I had a good night sleep and had decided early on that I was using this race as a training run. I was not going to go all out but I wanted to run this respectably for myself.

We parked the car at the local high school. Where was everyone at? I was surprised to see very few runners. Even as I headed to the Port-O-Johns there not only was no line but they didn't smell like sewage either!
The Ann Arbor Marathon started at 6:30am and it was a few minutes past 6am. Some of the runners were lining up. During this the time before the race I continued to feel more relaxed. This was not a large race like I am used. "Go out and have fun Nita." I told myself.

Right before the start we gathered together as a family and prayed. I  can not imagine not seeking God in such a enormous feat.

I headed towards the other runners just minutes before the start. This darling 85 year old man spoke of how he has ran over 150 marathons. His words were encouragement to all.

With not much of a plan for my run I found myself sneaking in behind the 3:40 pace group. "I think I can maintain this." I told myself.
With the start of the race I laid low in the shadows of the pace group. There seemed to be about 15 runners all together.
I put my music in my ears while allowing my body to embrace the run. Emotions quickly began to erupt from my body. "Oh My Goodness, I am running a marathon today." I heard the inner voice speak out of shock. Even though I had mentally told myself I wanted to run this marathon I had not physically signed up until 5 days before.
Humility overcame my body and my mind. I knew that there was NOTHING in ME that was going to get me to the 26.2 mile Finish. I also knew that there was NOTHING in me that could have even got me to the START! I am a Nothing deserving of Nothing and YET HE has given me Everything I do not deserve. My Heavenly Father has given me so much, STRENGTH, STAMINA, ENDURANCE, HEALTH, PASSION  and so many gifts and all He wants in return is for me to seek Him in obedience and glorify Him in everything I do.

By mile 4 or 5 I was still hidden with in the pack upon hearing this very loud and excited female voice. She was yelling to a friend of hers "I GOTTA GO POOP!!, I Gotta POOP Right NOW!!!"  This is when I was noticed because we all looked around with wide eyes and were cracking up.

My family was waiting for me at MILE 10 full of smiles. Touching each of them I smiled back and  tucked their encouragement inside for fuel.
The course was not an easy one. It was a very scenic course full of rolling hills, switchbacks and turns. Our group was slowly dropping off.  We had a switchback so I was able to see my family at mile 10 and at mile 16. This was very ideal for family cheering you on because they did not have to move.
The course not only had you running through the city but it also had you running through a park and alongside of the Huron river. I was not prepared when the course took us into a secluded park and unto a trail. This part of the course had me a little apprehensive which I was quickly forgot  with the beauty of the forest. The large trees and foliage smelled crisp and fresh. This trail was a bit rolling but otherwise smooth.  Out of the woods suddenly came a VERY large doe almost taking out the 2 runners directly in front of us!  Running with that excitement I was not prepared for the uphill exit out of the park.

With just the pacer and myself, "Jessica" and I caught our breath and headed towards mile 18. Cruising along "Jessica" she shared with me her story of running Boston this year. I didn't mind listening I just didn't want to talk at this point.
By mile 22 there was an even larger gap between us and ANY other runners. My legs were comfortably numb and I was running on auto pilot, telling myself to just turn the legs over.
"Jessica" was keeping track of all the woman we had in front of us. She had a very competitive spirit telling me "You will be able to catch them and pass them." Together we actually passed 3 more ladies. But by mile 24 she was encouraging me to take off on my own "You have more in you, you can finish faster than this pace, you need to go ahead."
"Thank You" I replied and I put my music back in my ears and focused my eyes on the woman "Jessica" had showed me to try and pass.

It didn't take long to pass her. Just after I passed her I saw Andy ahead of me. He was alone with a camera in his hand. " With a smile larger than life he came along side of me yelling "You are doing great, you have a down hill, then a uphill, then a down hill finish, You got this now FINISH STRONG!"
All I could yell back was " OK, Ok...I LOVE YOU."
At that moment I felt strong. I had a mile and a half to go and I could feel God putting air in my lungs and power in my legs.
I saw another girl at the last switchback and was determined to pass her. I felt bad for her because I could tell she was exhausted. As I passed her I yelled "You are doing good, You are almost there."
Coming into the home stretch they have both the half marathon and the marathon finishing together. I passed several more people and found myself running along side two guys who were running together. The one looked at me and he could tell that I was going to try to hit the finish mats first. He challenged me and kicked it into gear. "Ohh No you Don't" I  looked at him laughing and grabbed the invitation to race to the finish line...I beat! Not by much though I can assure you!
I am so thankful for mom and dad being there. They both wore their Team Harless shirts that they wear only to our runs. It was a perfect day for a race.
Time: 3:27:36
Pace 8:18
Overall: 70/402
2ND Female in my Division..there were only 20!
11TH Female to cross the Finish line out of 141.

Great Race. But a TOUGH course.


  1. You are awesome!!! :) Love your race recaps... love your family there cheering you on & giving you that support that IS so important! Great job!

    1. Thank You Rebecca Jo. I really was glad that they were there for as hard as it was.

  2. Love this event. Here's my stream of consciousness thoughts as I read your post. "No line for the potties? I always do the sign of the cross in the chute, like a prayer. Powerful description. Yes, all of a sudden, a trail out of nowhere, wild, right? A doe, a deer? a female deer? Your time kicked ass on a tough as nails course"

    1. Ha ha Mark..Ok..Maybe it wasn't a DOE..It may not have even been a Deer..Or even a Forest the way I felt at that point. I was running in the brain fart mode and was most likely entertaining my mind with anything that sounded better than the quads burning and the bladder releasing at it own will! What ever the creature was that darted out of the woods..It was cool. Lol. Thank Mark for the compliment..that course still has me in the hurt locker.

  3. Great job Nita, and another inspiring write-up, as usual! I work in Ann Arbor and love to go for lunch-time runs whenever I can. See you soon.

    1. Hi Tony, I love Ann Arbor. The course was a butt Kicker and a half However it was one of the prettiest I have ran. Unfortunetly I do not thin I am going to be able to make tomorrow night. I am incredible bummed. I forgot I promised a friend plans. I could almost do both but it is almost an hour of driving. I am terrible upset.
      BTW...I loved your right up but noticed it said that "It was my first Boston"....Opps..It was actually my 2nd. The Oakland press put that also in paper.
      Tell Vic Faust I said "Hi" have a great time and I can't wait to see you for Down and Dirty. If not before!

  4. Congratulations and thank you for the excellent recap! I love when athletes share their stories :-) I had just checked the results and saw you on the 1st page of the leader board! 11th female overall, that is awesome!! Love the "Run With Jesus" guy. And obviously you did. Praise the Lord!!

    1. Ken, He seriously was the cutest guy ever! He reminded me of you! Full of encouragement and energy.
      BTW. I Just love your wife. She is such a Light. God is using her in a Mighty way.

  5. This was a really fantastic recap! I have to tell you that the most encouraging part (for me) was the photo of the 3:40 pacer (Jessica?)! I always bemoan my depending-on-the-time-of-month Athena body. I wish I could be petite and lean like the more successful runners. But that photo reminds me to just make the most of the body God gave me! For me, a 3:40 marathon pace seems unachievable... but with God all things are possible!
    BTW, What is that top you are wearing? It seems very light and airy (and I'm always in need of airy tops here in S Georgia!)

  6. Hi Flaming June...I feel like this is not your birth name!
    But Jessica was a sweetheart. And she runs a 3 hour Marathon! Her shape was exactly what God Gave her and SHE used it to its fullest let me tell you! Not to mention she could talk throughout the entire running process. I was wanting to die and she kept on chatting!
    That top..I do not even know where I got it. It is nothing special. Isnt that the way it always goes, the cheap no brand shirts become our favorite! I have had it forever. It is nice because it is so thin that if you get hot you can roll it down to your waste and it isn't bulky. This is what I ended up having to do.
    Running in S Georgia..How do you even keep a top on Sister! LOL!
    God Bless, Love hearing from ya