"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, September 29, 2013

Hungerford 50 miler.

I had everything laid out for my morning race. The weather was a cool 54 degrees. We all got up easy. I went into the bathroom to get some Kleenex to blow my nose. As I blew my nose I waited to see how bad it was. "YUP that's great!" I thought as I looked at the thick orange mucus. My chest was tight, my nose was running, however, I had no body aches. This was where the rubber meets the road. An entire summer of training. Back to back longs runs, cold plunges, blisters, sleepless nights, constant hunger and still looking like I have an eating disorder. Sick or not I was running this.
As I was having mom pin my bib on me I could see her smile but her nervousness was still transparent.
Andy and I had matching "Team Harless" shirts made for mom and dad a few years ago. They wear them to all our races. Mom and dad are the best support group anyone could ask for.
The Agenda:
It was going to be a long day for Team Harless. I was predicting a 9-10 hour run. A lot of the race was through the Hungerford Forest. It was on a two track. My family would see me on the main roads. On the second loop I could have pacers, this is right around mile 25. I would really need the encouragement at that point.
My Goal:
My goal was to finish before sunset. They had these really cool walking sticks for everyone that finished before sunset. They were engraved with the symbol of SUNRISE. I wanted to finish between 9&10 hours. I also didn't want to get eaten by bears!  
The Starting Line:
We were running at 7:36am sharp. We were huddled together in a small group. 33% of runners ever run farther than 26.2 miles. So what does that say to the overall population? Marathon runners are in the 1% club. Ultra marathoners are small in number but we were hoping to run numbers most wouldn't even consider. I was not the only first time 50 miler. The race director asked how many first timers were lined up. I raised my hand and looked around noticing about 5 others.
Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
As the gun went off, we all casually started running. There was a younger shirtless guy with beautiful sandy blonde hair and a full grown beard who instantly took the lead. You could see his curls dancing as he widened quickly widened the gap between us and him.
It was different not being on your toes to speed through the course. The morning was cooler but I knew the temps were going to reach 76 degrees. I wore a tank top and my arm sleeves that I planned to shed when I started to heat up. The arm sleeves are one of the best running gifts I have ever gotten. I volunteer coached a group at my kids school and the Johnston family bought them for me when I ran Boston. I have gotten so much use from them.
Mile 1-15 "Fun and Games"
I was just trying to get into my groove. It didn't take long till I started heating up. I was so excited to see mom and dad at mile 9. I gave them my arm bands, smiled and kept moving. I didn't get far when I heard noises in the woods. It startled me at first but then I saw Alec hiding and the car. I was laughing so hard at my family trying to make BEAR noises that I peed my shorts. I needed to go to the bathroom. There was no bathroom out here and only a few port a john, most ultra runners just go off the trail. After giving them high fives I kept moving. I heard a car coming up with the familiar bear growls a little while later and started laughing again. This time I ran into the grass asking them to keep watch as I squatted and did my business.
They really made the first 20% of my run entertaining.
We had a turn around this first segment that we had to sign in. The "turn around" allowed me to see who was behind me, There were a group of guys that I laughed at saying  "Hey is this the Man Club?" We all were still feeling good therefore laughing and joking came easy. I would pass mom and dad one more time about mile 15. Here I ate some pretzels, filled my H2O bottle and kept moving. Andy yelled " I will pick up with you at mile 25."
Mile 15-25 "Run Your Own Race"

The sun was beating on me as I ran down a flat wide dirt road. There was nothing protecting you from the suns rays. I thought of all the runners I had passed on the turn around. I had the opportunity to see who all was running behind me. I saw a few other gals but mostly men. It appeared that I was trailing behind about 5 others. I thought there were 4 women ahead of me but I didn't see them. I had ran the first 13 miles pretty fast because I didn't know there were that many people behind me. I just saw those ahead of me so I was desperately trying to keep them in sight. It was running out of FEAR. I honestly was scared to run alone. I didn't trust my navigation or the wildlife. I had to run my own race knew I couldn't stay with the few ahead of me. I made a left turn into the woods. This is where it got creepy. For the next 9 miles I NEVER saw a soul!
The breeze wafted through the trees making strange sounds. I heard the cracking of branches and critters running across the path. I remember "Danielle" saying to make it apparent your out there. So I talked out loud, I coughed, I  laughed (You had to at how ridiculous I was behaving) and even whistled back at the birds. I got so paranoid that I actually thought I saw little cubs out there. As if that isn't no the peak of craziness I started wondering if maybe my clamoring might ATTRACT wild life.. So I did what I probably shouldn't have done....I ran faster.
I just kept counting my miles down until I got to see my family. "Anita, you can run a marathon, think of this as that,, steady and smooth." The trails were on a two track and very hilly and sandy. Once I figured out my footing I kept my eyes on the trail trying to stay calm.
Mile 25-31 "Falling apart, when your sons now YOUR Coach!"

Towards the 23 mile mark I wasn't feeling well. I was really looking forwards to company. This was driving me. When I came out of the woods and saw my family at the aid station I was so happy. I felt like Hell but didn't want them to know. Andy would be so worried. I had burnt everything up. I didn't realize there was not going to be an aid station that long and should have eaten more. On top of that I had ran the last 25 miles faster than I should have.
 Mom was like an Angel as she held a handful of gems in her palm. Motrin and gum, it was like she was reading my mind only I had no energy to speak. Austin came up along side of me full of energy and ready to go. Mom, dad Alec and Andy were a team. Getting me drinks, food, accessing me and encouraging me. Taking a second to stretch I realized that I had caught up with one of the men.
I took a second to stretch and get a cup of trail mix. "Love you, see you soon" I yelled.
After less than a mile I asked Austin "Hey, are you seeing spots?" "No, Mom...You gotta drink" He coached me. I had first seen blue spots everywhere. Now they were bright yellow. I thoughy maybe it was from the sun only we were not in the sun. "Austin, I am not feeling well. I am seeing a lot of spots." I confessed. I was getting nervous. My legs were feeling fatigued, my belly was nauseous and I got suddenly very hot.
I ate more trail mix and gulped down the water. "Keep drinking mom." Austin coached.  I asked him to peel my clementine. He not only destroyed it but he also dropped it in the sand. He handed it to me peeled apologizing. "It's ok, Austin, thank you." I gently replied as I ate it sand and all! It was wet, cold and juicy. So refreshing I didn't even care about the gritty sand in my teeth.
"Mom, do you think you will finish?" Austin said as he darted off the trail to play around. "Yes, if I have to crawl sick across that finish line I will NOT quit!" I said trying to convince him and myself.
We came out of the woods and the sun was baking hot. He took his shirt off and I dropped my tank top down. I finished off  the trail mix as I began to feel more normal.
Austin was a great encourager to me that I hated to see him leave but I was happy to see the family again too.
 Mile 32-41 "The farthest I have ever ran"

Team Harless waited with goodies. This was my favorite Aid station. you actually pass it 4 times. they had the largest cheering section and largest variety of food. I took a large vine of grapes as I chatted quickly with my family.  
I only trained 36 miles. On this stretch Andy and I were doing the loop of pure sun. He grabbed a tortilla full of peanut butter and we headed off. Andy was stuffing food down me. I was begging him to chill out. The grapes were divine but the peanut butter looked revolting. "Anita, I am begging you, please please take a bite." He waved the tortilla inches from my mouth. "Ugh" I mumbled as I bit into it. I wanted more trail mix as that seemed to agree with my belly.
"Nita, how do you feel", "What hurts on you?" " I am so proud of you."
I told Andy I got scared with Austin because I had gotten so sick and he responded "Yeah, you have to slow down. You have 18 more miles, please slow down, add walk breaks." During 5 miles of the stretch with Andy we ran that loop where you sign in again. It is all sun, flat and a turn around. I was anxious to see who was behind me and how far ahead the others were in front of me. I was most anxious to get to 36 miles. This was a milestone for me.
Andy paced me adding walk breaks in every 5 minutes. We were coming to a walk break when we passed the "Man Club" again and I whispered to Andy "I know this is going to see silly but can we do our walk break AFTER we pass the "Man Club?!!" I let Andy make fun of me for a while after that one! I deserved it!
We got to see mom and dad one more time before heading into the woods. I ate another clementine, watermelon and more peanut butter. When we reached 37 miles I was smiling and thanking God for the longest distance I had ever ran. "Anita, you have already accomplished more than you ever have. You got this!" Andy cheered me on.
As we came into the woods I had warned Andy it was brutal. A lot of fresh sand and rolling hills which he is not used to, for that matter neither was I. Already running it I was more prepared but less eager. It was just so beautiful that I tried to focus on the beauty of the forest. I zoned in on the smells of the woods, even embracing the cracking of branches and creepy forest echo's this time around.
It was nice to share with Andy all the beauty. To listen to someone encourage me was so much better than the voices of crazy in my head.
We parted ways a little early because Andy was nervous he wouldn't make it out of the woods and to the finish line in time.
Mile 42-48 "Hurt Locker"
My Quads were on fire. This pain far exceeded running Boston. I was so sad to be alone and in this much pain. "Get into your groove Anita." Both Garmins died. I had Andys but it was having a hard time picking up satellite in the woods.  I had a plan: Walk every 5 minutes unless there was a hill. Keep it steady, Just Move FORWARD. Pray Harder. Give Thanks.
I saw that man in front of me. He had slowed down. I was approaching him slowly and steadily. It gave me something to take my mind off the pain. But then I was within yards of him. He had no idea I was right behind him. I knew he had to be deaf to everything but his voices of pain because I was not that quiet. I said a prayer for him and felt guilty passing him. I actually stayed behind him for a bit not wanting pass him afraid it would discourage him. I actually felt bad passing him this was a first for me. I tried not to think about how much more time I had to run. Every time my legs hit the surface pain shot through my quads. My right quad and glute were toast. I knew I was first female back at mile 25 but I questioned whether I could hold that. I questioned everything, I remembered my goals only I had no idea where I was to that. I just knew my legs were begging me to walk. I recited "I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me" Dear God Please fuel me. DRINK DRINK Drink more water Nita. I knew that yes, water would help, calories would help, electrolytes would help but Ultimately I NEEDED God to give me everything man could not and that was a Miracle.
Mile 48-50 "A MIRACLE"

I was praying to see my family. I had been crawling to each mile marker. Praying for another mile. Praying for my family to be around the next bend. I just needed to see them. I need to see mom because I knew she was worried, I needed to see dad because I knew he was proud, I needed to see Andy because I knew he was my coach. I needed to see little Alec because he was my giggle. And I needed to see Austin because I was hoping he was my finishing partner. Another hill, another turn more pain and another mile.
I looked trying to focus. It was them!! Down the hill came Austin. He looked so nervous. "How ya doin mom?"
"It hurts so bad. I'm ok though just help me get to the finish." I winced.
He started reciting mantra that his coach recites to them.
"2 and through mom!"
Every step I could feel. I was aware of every pebble, every grain of sand and every incline and decline. The hills seemed worse than ever. My quads cursed me as we went down them.
Austin asked if my arms hurt. "No Austin believe it or not nothing hurts but my quads and my glutes and they hurt so bad that I might not even know I have pain anywhere else." I cried.
That mile seemed like it went on forever.
Mom, I think that is the 49 mile marker up there!" Austin said trying to encourage me. He had driven the ending of the course so he was helping me with markers trying to break it up for me. I have always been HIS cheerleader. coached Him, CHEERED him on. And now he was trying to get me to the FINISH.
As we came to the mile marker I said "Ok, walk break." I wanted to run that last mile in but I had nothing. We took a minute to walk where that little competitive spirit asked Austin "Is there anyone behind us?" Austin looked and said "No mom, there isn't anyone behind you for a while." 
And back up we went ,Ouch, ouch ouch ouch..every step pounded though my legs. It felt like a sledge hammer hitting my quads over and over again.
"Mom, 1 And YOU DONE"!  More Coach Brinker mantra Austin was cheering into me. I actually found the energy to laugh over this. My pace picked up and bit too much. I wanted to run it in but my legs thought otherwise.
One more walk break. We saw the 26 mile marker for the marathoners and Austin said you have .2 to go mom. Wow, his brain was so crisp. I didn't even correlate that.  Ok, roughly 2 minutes.
We made one more turn and I could see the flags. I could hear mom cheering. I was so happy to see them. I actually felt my legs moving faster and almost missed my entrance into the finish.
I wrapped my arms around mom and couldn't let them go. I just wanted to collapse into her.  She had tears in her eyes and this made me cry with her. I was so happy. I hugged each one of them and felt my body just melt in their arms.
I am ever so grateful for my family.

Distance: 50 miles
Time:8h 37 min.
I was 4th overall.
1st female
BUT...it was a really small field.
So thankful for all the amazing responses I have gotten from so many friends and family.  I am beyond words towards the encouragement I have received.
I give Thanks to God. He is my Strength and Endurance.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Bright and early Hungerford 1 minus 10 hours

Well we are about 10 hours out!
We are in our Hotel. Mom and dad arrived. We had the guy next to us come over and complain. He said something along the lines of "Did I hear somebody say something about somebody getting hit in the face with a pillow?" Gotta love having BOYS! UGH. I couldn't wait till they all went to the pool!!
We ate at "Shuberts" upon recommendation of Lindsey I work with.
I had the "Rachel"..A rueben with coleslaw. I had some yummy greasy fingers!!
We picked up our registration. We found the starting line with some work.

Well still stuffy, sneezy and annoyed by these sinuses. But I guess I am going to have to just suck it up. On a good note it is going to be 75 degrees out. That will be awesome.

Heading to bed.
7:36 race starts.

Remember me in your prayers!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

We all have a little bit of CRAZY in us!

"Focus on our abilities rather than our limitations."

I find myself wanting to throw up when I think that I still have over 2 hours of running past what I have trained for. I have trained being on my feet for almost 7 hours so 2 hours seem like a possibility. But then I think of all that CAN happen in 2 hours along side of what has the potential of NOT happening!
And my stomach turns.
My stomach turns a lot as of lately.
Today I called to confirm the hotel and they did not have me booked.
Barf in the belly #1
Then I thought I had better confirm my lodging for Detroit. This would be all great only I can not remember where I booked that hotel!!
Puking point #2
Jeff B called to ask some questions about Boston regarding travel for the marathon. This just about threw me into a financial tailspin.
 Vomit point #3
UGH..And none of that even touches NEW YORK CITY in less than 6 weeks.

One day at a time.
We are 2 DAYS out from my ULTRA. I am feeling like this is a bit crazy.
I am feeling I may be a bit CRAZY.
We ALL have a little bit of CRAZY in us.
The Crazy part for me is when people tell me I am CRAZY for all the running. But if I didn't run I would be a WHOLE lot more CRAZY.

As of late I have been struggling with different personalities of CRAZY.
Yesterday evening after my sons Xcountry meet in Flint I drove out to Brighton for a meeting at Brighton Hospital. This is one of the better rehab facilities in Michigan. I really enjoy going to the meetings. I feel that there is always a tool that you can take from the meeting to add to your toolbox.
It may be on forgiveness, anger, enabling, worry, or even being naïve.
Well, a lady was talking about her depression as a result of her child using drugs. My ears perked up to listen to the advice and encouragement that would be given to her from the facilitator.
"You do not have to be depressed. The Circumstances involved in your loved ones addiction are DEPRESSING."
I was trying to relate that to myself. I wake up in a funk and I go to bed in a funk. My mind is completely hijacked by grief losing Ariel. Every day seems like it is getting worse. I am my best when I am around people yet I do not really want to be around people. All I really want to do is RUN. I just can not out run this broken heart. The circumstances are Depressing. I can not hear her voice. I can not touch her hair. I can not see her smile at me in a crowd of family chaos. There is just so much lost. And it is all so depressing. I have never felt like this before.
It is just CRAZY.

I got to run with Danielle. She allowed me to scale back from our 8 mile run. We ran 5 miles then went into Paneras for green teas and water. Together we walked another 2 miles enjoying one another's conversation for a total of 7 miles.
I went home afterwards and stayed there till it was time to get Alec.
My massage was at 4pm. Unfortunately I am getting SICK!  This is pretty common for runners directly before a big race like this. Remember how sick I got before Boston? I thought I was dying. I have never vomited like that in my life. MMM!
This time it is sinuses. I have sneezed a million bazillion times which leads to repeatedly peeing my pants! The boys don't even look at my weird anymore when I quickly grab myself  and cross my legs before my body goes into hysterics from sneezing. It is nothing shy of ridiculous and totally UNLADYLIKE in every way! My entire body lunges forward 2,3,4 5 times as the sneezing belts out.
I have doubled up on my JUICE plus. I have drank enough green tea to start changing colors and I am just about to go into my prayer closet in begging mode.

My bags are packed. I am bringing both pair of shoes. I also have 2 pair of socks. I have my Stinger chews, my Kind Bars, Motrin and both Garmins. I have my amphipod H2O bottle and my belt.
I have my roller and Vaseline (good reminder from Michelle B.)

I am getting a little warm so I am going to take me a big swig of Nyquil and follow that up with prayer. I am going to focus on owning my health and getting better. I am trying not to let being sick trip me up to much.

Today I was entertaining sadness to much. I gave it a foothold and it got the best of me.
 But once again God showed up. The door bell rang, and the most beautiful flowers were staring me in the face.
"Bea" one of my husbands workmates sent them to me. She has been such an encouragement to me. I burst into tears when I saw all the shades of purple. Ariel's favorite color.

God knows that there are circumstances that are depressing. But he has also equipped me with tools to overcome them. I know this. I believe this. It is hard to play out sometimes. God does not want my grief to limit me.
SO Saturday I am going to RUN. And I am going to run for God and allow Ariel to encourage me along the way. I am going to use the abilities He has given me to Honor and Glorify Him.

Please Pray for me.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hungerford T minus 5 days

Here is a funny recap to yesterdays post.
I went into Dunkin Donuts this morning after my run and ordered a Egg White Veggie Breakfast sandwich with NO cheese and a medium cup of coffee. My order got all messed up but I just smiled and said "No problem!" I finally got my order and headed to the car to go grocery shopping. I opened up my sandwich and lo and behold it had CHEESE! I chuckled for a second then bit into it.

2nd funny of the day that was actually NOT that funny. I looked like dookie and had no business at the grocery store. I went into Krogers in Clarkston another place I should not have been. I work in Clarkston therefore I am destined to see a client there. Seriously I am so embarrassed I should have taken a better look at myself before I walked in.
I did see 1 client of mine but she was kind and laughed my appearance off.
A few aisles away I was unable to get through the path because of 2 carts blocking the aisle. I recognized one of the ladies as a salon client. I smiled and gently said "I am sorry may I get through here?" She looked at me twice and I could tell she figured out where she knew me. Letting me by her she kept me in eye contact. "I said "Hi, and thank you" confirming we knew one another.
THEN it GOT Awkward...
Her countenance drastically changed as she bluntly responded "Are you OK??" Making sure I had my most healthy smile on hand I quickly replied "YES!" and AGAIN she said "Are you sure your OK?" with a Dr. Phil look of great concern.
"Seriously?" I thought. I knew I looked bad but she looked at me like I was dying.

"Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true." – Leon J. Suenes

Hungerford 50 Miler: T Minus 5 days.
We have a Holly Running Facebook page and I posted on there to see if anyone might want to join me to run today. "Jessica" jumped on board with me. I wanted to do between 5-7 miles however "Jessica" is tapering for her first half marathon, The Brooksie Way this Sunday.
It is so exciting to see how well she has done. It was just a year ago she was touching her foot at the base of running. She was feeling discouraged and even said "Anita, I just don't think I have the mental strength to run." Now she is out there encouraging others.
I ran the first 3 miles alone before she arrived. The leaves are changing and the air is brisk and chilly. The sun was bright and all the elements circled all around me perfection. There was no way that I was giving this run away. I was all in.
And it felt oh so good.
I met back with "Jessica" and her pooch and we brought it down. Nice and easy run. Almost 4 miles. We chatted, laughed and Ran!

I am bringing this down even more this week.
A few thoughts on Running my first Ultra.
  1. What if I see a bear, cougar, MT lion or any other crazy flesh eating animal? The first loop of the Ultra I have to do solo but the second loop allows you to have pacers. I was thinking about anointing the other runners with bacon grease so they will be better bait!
  2. I want to wear my headphones the first loop but I am scared I wont hear the wild animals pursuing me!
  3. What if I get LOST?? I came out of the womb lost. Remember Carrolton where I turned a half marathon into almost 16 miles because I got so lost. I have countless runs that I have gotten lost in my own neighborhood. When I get tired the only thing I can count on are my legs because my brains turn OFF.
  4. What if I get such bad blisters that I can't walk? should I have a extra pair of socks? Shoes? Legs??
  5. And my Garmin. UGH. I like the Garmin 10 but it only holds a charge for 5 hours. My other Garmin holds a charge forever but the blisters on my wrist seem to stay forever as well.  
I have other little thoughts like what I am going to wear, should I bring my own water like I have been, how long do I stay at the aid stations, and should I hit every head station?

I am bound and determined to finish this. Last night Andy asked me what trait I wanted the boys to share that he had and in return he said "I want the boys to have your mental fortitude. Of course that has been a blessing and a cursing!"

I am in need of prayers. I am asking readers for prayer, I know that I can only do this with Christ. He is my personal trainer. He is my Coach. He is my Strength. I Pray I feel his presence to carry me the distance. I pray he keeps my footing safe, my body healthy, my mind clear and uses me to Glorify him.

"The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible." – Arthur C. Clarke -


Sunday, September 22, 2013

T minus 6 days :HUNGERFORD GAMES

 "Each one of us has the power to make others feel better or worse. Making others feel better is much more fun than making others feel worse. Making others feel better generally makes us feel better."
Martin Luther King Jr

I am enjoying the taper. This week I am going to try and get my massage and enjoy running less and getting more done. I am going to try to put on a couple pounds as well. Oh yeah, I am going to try and remain calm. Breathe, Pray and desperately try not to panic.
It is here. There is NO backing out now.

Things I am thankful for during my Ultra training the past 16 weeks:
Thankful I remained injury free.
Thankful I had people to run the majority of my long runs with me.
Thankful I never hit a big wall of discouragement in my training.
Thankful for the encouragement of others. I am always so shocked at the people that are rooting for me that I  hardly know.
With that in mind it brings me to something my pastor said today. Funny how we get so crabby when things do not go our way. We often feel like we should "Let them have it." Someone messed our order up at the drive thru or that person cut you off on the highway. We have gotten so ultra sensitive. WHO cares they added cheese on your burger..TAKE IT OFF. But because we are slightly inconvenienced we think we should make someone feel as lousy as we do over a piece of cheese or having to put our breaks on and turn off our cruise control.

WHAT if...What if we smiled at that person who looked like they were having a bad day rather than point out they look like they swallowed a turd?
What if we told the cashier "Your doing a great  job, thank you!"?
What if we called a family member and said "I just wanted you to know I was thinking about you."?
What if you just waved, or smiled, or opened the door for someone?
What if you said things like: "Have a good day.", "No Problem" Or "Thank you"?
Rather than walking around with a chip on our shoulder.
What if we woke up and said I am going to try to make someone smile. I am going to be an encouragement to someone today?

I am not all of the above at all. I try and then there are days I don't try.
This has been a tough week. I have had to try a lot this week. I have actually isolated myself this week. There are calls I should be making to different family members but I have been in my funk. I know I should try harder. It is safer for me to be alone with myself than to be something I can not be right now. Thank God for second chances.
Joan and I

The Rundown:
Distance: 5.09
Time:51 min.
Pace: 10.01
Easy run but fun RUN. I ran with Andy and "JOAN". "Joan" was one of Ariels sorority sisters. Her and her fiancé "Javon" came over after church and breakfast. We had so much fun. I get so excited when newer runners ask questions about running. "Javon" picked my brain for about 20 minutes. I am setting him up with a basic training plan to prepare him for a half marathon.
This week as hard emotionally as it has been it is so amazing Gods timing. He has put "Ariels" friends around me. I have gotten messages from a few different ones. I know God is holding the tissue box for me.

There was more I wanted to share but I am tapping out.

Have you encouraged someone lately?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kicked out.

Another emotional day. It has been over 20 years since my mother passed away. There were many years that I would go through several weeks of feeling "Off" only to correlate it with the approaching anniversary of her D****. (I hate that word) I have been pretty good around people. You wouldn't know that I am all tore up inside. But when I am alone I feel it creeping over me. The sadness of Ariel.
This morning I was really looking forward to seeing Danielle. I miss running with her. I miss our sweet time together. She is very good for me. Together we had a great run.
I wish the rest of the day went as well.
I had a good size hiccup in my day. I decided to go home and find therapy in painting. I really wanted to run again but I knew that I might do irreversible damage.
I put my ear buds in and turned up the tunes.
I LOVE music. I get saturated to the words, I feel my shoulders dipping, my voice singing and my mood rising. I quickly turned the song if it was too emotional. I had white paint every where. But my mind was like a blank slate. I had the music up so loud I couldn't hear the phone ring or anyone text me. I was officially in "The Nothing Box."

I just cant help Baby-ing him. So Cute!
Alec had a dentist appointment today. He was having one of his baby teeth removed. Before we arrived he told me I was NOT to leave him. We had just been there yesterday, where he had another baby tooth removed. I had gone to schedule some appointments and they took the tooth out within minutes of my departure. Alec didn't even know that they took the tooth out!
While I sat with Alec the female dentist comes  in and says to me "Ok mom, you may leave now we will get you when we are done." Alec looked petrified.
It was only minutes before they came back and retrieved me. But the dentist actually pulled me aside and said "He is a big boy mom, you don't have to baby him."
I never thought of myself as the babying mom type. It is a sad place when your baby doesn't need to be babied any longer.

One lesson I have learned from running: FLEXIBILITY.
"The only thing that is the End of the World is the END of the World!

When it comes to training not everyday goes as scheduled. Sometimes the weather changes. Sometimes my mood changes. Sometimes life interrupts. But if you take a minute to look outside the box most of the time you can find another route. And sometimes, not all the time but sometimes, things even work out better,
But when we get "Stuck on Stupid" we set ourselves up. We end of disappointed, discouraged and often times suck the fun right out of our training.
This goes for life in general also. Maybe it is having kids that has made me more flexible.  Or maybe it is because I have become less serious about non serious issues. I watch people set such rigid guidelines that they can hardly keep them themselves. They get so caught up on perfectionism that they actually hurt themselves and people around them. They panic when things do not go as planned and can not even see themselves out of it.

It is always good to have a PLAN.
But it is also good to be open minded to CHANGE.

Distance: 8.02
Pace: 8:44
Easy run with Danielle. Forgot to eat afterwards. So I made an over sized dinner. Grilled Chicken marinated in Italian dressing, Corn, Garlic baked Redskin potatoes, biscuits, Garden salad, and cottage cheese.

Are YOU Flexible?
Are you the type of runner that likes to run alone because you don't want anyone to mess with you routine, pace, or distance?


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sack Lunch.

Alec is my youngest son. He is the stinking cutest thing you have ever seen. He seriously came out of the womb breaking hearts, mine mostly.
Problem is he is an airhead. This may be a bit of a genetic disorder. If you have met me you will know where he got this trait.
Monday Alec forgot his picture money as you may remember.
Today he forgot his lunch on the kitchen table.

Andy was home today from work. This interrupts my mojo a little bit. Today I had 20 miles to run and was concerned that Andy was going to throw a kink in my plans.
Surprisingly though Andy asked if I would like company on 10 of those miles. Because Andy takes 20-30 minutes to stretch and roll I thought during that time I would get a few more miles in. I decided to  RUN Alecs lunch up to him at school.
I guess I didn't realize how big or heavy of a lunch I packed the little guy. It was a very awkward 2 mile run up to the school. I looked so goofy carrying his sack lunch in my hand. I felt like I should have been working in New York city as a carrier or something. I had plenty of people staring at me making me laugh during half my bag lunch run. As if the dork factor was not already a 10- I had those goofy looking Hokas on my feet for the first time.


I have never ran in anything like this before. It is a oversized shoe that appears like a shoe that would help a extreme over-pronator or disabled runner. It is the goofiest shoe I have ever seen.
Big thank you to "Kristy" one of my readers and a gal I went to high school with over 20 years ago who GAVE me a pair she wore only a couple times. The crazy part about this is we are the same size.
Andy thought I was nuts for running 20 miles in them. But how else are you going to test them?
REVIEW of the 170$ HOKAS:
As I put my foot into them my first thought was "This is a lot of shoe." And it was. It took a while to get used to them. They felt incredibly foreign on my feet.
On the cement they were more clunky feeling to me but as soon as we hit the back roads I felt enmeshed with the terrain. The soles are a spongy feeling with a lot of cushion. They were very secure around my feet. After dropping off Alecs lunch I picked up Andy for 10. Andy laughed at me saying "YOU LOOK LIKE  A DORK in those, you have these little legs and these BIG boat shoes on!" I am glad that I only ran 20 miles in them. Towards mile 18 my legs had little random aches and pulling that didn't let up the last 2 miles.
I have never cared what my shoes look like. My recent Mizunos are the most girly shoes I have ever ran in. I couldn't wait to dirty them up because I felt like a diva princess in the bright pink color.

Overall I think that I am going to really like them. I am so thankful. I want to do more trail running to break them in. Problem is I am a little paranoid of weirdos hiding in the woods so I will not go alone.

Turning Heads.
I lead a family group on Tuesdays directed towards addiction. It is a arena I am much more serious and composed. The last person to speak mentioned that they wanted to share something that would only take a few seconds but didn't pertain to a loved one struggling. It went like this:
"Yeah, so I was driving on Grange Hall Rd near Alexs gas station and all of a sudden these cars start coming to a sudden stop. Someone then beeps their horn and I see this guy yell out his window "WOO HOO". I am trying to figure out what is going on then I see you, Anita running. Totally oblivious to the fact that you have stopped traffic!"
I think I must have turned 15 shades of red. I had my hands over my face laughing so hard. I had no clue. And nor would I just a few months shy of 40 years old my head turning day have long surpassed me. This was indeed flattering and gave me a little smile after such seriousness.

HUNGERFOLD Countdown: 9 DAYS!!!
This is the Medal..Wood, from local forest!

Well I can honestly say I trained this committed and disciplined. If there is one thing I wish I could have altered with my training it would have been training more trails. But then you know why I do not hit the trails alone.
My last 3 long runs not including todays 20 miler:
36 miles, 30 mile, 28 mile run.
It is amazing what you are capable of doing if you stay committed and disciplined. Having a plan and following helps lead to success.

Distance: 20.02

Monday, September 16, 2013

When even running doesnt help.

This morning I crawled out of bed. I just wasn't feeling the motivation to move today. I followed Andy downstairs to get coffee.  There was 1 KCUP left that was not flavored. Andy generously let me have it. With my eyes still half shut I pushed the button to the Keirig and waited. Andy sweetly complimented me, giving me a little kiss and heading off to work.
I stood there looking at the coffee streaming out. "I just want to go back to bed." I rehearsed several times.
I had 20 miles to run today, however I had already established that was just NOT part of todays agenda.
I was going back to bed. It was one of those morning I couldn't get it together. This rarely happens but when it does it is ugly.
I am not superhuman.
I am just an ordinary person that struggles like everyone else.

I tried to crawl back in bed after I dropped the boys off at each of their schools. I actually laid there and played a couple games of Word with Friends.
But I had so much to do. It was nagging at me.
Today was Alecs "Picture Day" and he forgot the money so I had to run up to the school to drop that off.
Poor Alec while we were at the beach in Hilton Head got stung pretty bad by a jelly fish. The area surrounding his burn has multiplied in size and looks terrible so I had to make him a appointment first thing this morning in hopes he could get in today.
But I just wanted to throw in the towel and do nothing. I didn't want to be responsible or any task that came along with being a big girl.
Struggling to put my body and mind into drive I convinced myself maybe I could lay down later.

After getting my errands done I headed out for my run. 20 miles was exchanged for 10 miles.

I got through the first 4 miles with ease. But somewhere down N.Holly road I felt as if someone had hit me from behind. The wind was knocked out of me. I suddenly could not even breath. I was being pummeled over by an emotional 2 by 4. The flood gates opened. My knees began to buckle and I couldn't see where I was going. "God I miss Ariel so so bad."
There is not a day that goes by I don't think about her, But today the pain is almost unbearable.
I couldn't breathe. My legs were sloppy, tripping over themselves. I cried and cried. My stomach was nauseas from swallowing snot and not breathing right. I could see her beautiful smile right there at the crest of my mind. I begged God to just let her visit me. Could she just touch me. Could she hold my hand and tell me everything was going to be alright?? Please God.
It hurts so damn much. I am sorry for my words but it just does.
I could hear Andys words a few days ago." Anita, do you miss Ariel?" I had to look away and breath, afraid if I let my emotions out I wouldn't recover.
Yes, Dear God I miss her.
I know she is in a better place But I am not.

I guess it is just going to be like this today. I didn't run the heartache away. Things are not any better than they were before I started. Usually I can run it out of me. Not today.
It hurts so bad that running can't even fix it.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

When Pain trumps Influence.

Never are my senses more engaged then when the pain sets in." Dean Karnazes

I ran a lot of miles in just a few days. 67 miles in 5 days. This week was a crazy busy week.
My nephew has been home from bootcamp. He leaves tomorrow for Camp Lejeune North Carolina.
We had the privilege of his company on Thursday.  I made him a feast. In addition, we also had his going away/welcome home party on Saturday and we had family pictures today.
I so badly wanted to do 70 miles. But 67 miles is more than I have ever ran. I am quite happy with the numbers. All my runs this week I am happy with.

Monday: Miles 10.17 Time 1:37  9:34 pace
Wednesday: Miles10.02  Time  1:26 8:36 pace  Ran with Jama. HUMID. Ran hills.
Thursday: Miles 1:04Time  7:59 pace .Missed running with Danielle.
Saturday:Miles3 Time 21min. 7:04 pace
Austin had a CC meet this day and this inspired me to see how fast my legs would go. OUCH. Everything burned and ached. I thought I was going tTho throw up for a while after. I was so completely surprised the pace I pulled out on this run. Maybe there is something to muscle memory!
Sunday:Miles 10.17 Time 1:37 9:37

This has been a tough week with all the family things. It has been 11 months now since the loss of my Ariel. All these family things are so awkward without her. Well to be completely honest..They were awkward with her only she made me more comfortable with it.
I miss her so bad. Things will just never be the same. Never.

There are so many ways we engage in pain.This week I ran farther than I have ever ran. This week I also had one of my fastest runs I have had in months. Everything hurt. My body screamed in agony from the moment my legs hit the pavement. I remember putting my running shoes on and how my feet just slipped into them with ease. My feet felt foreign to my flats and my heels and my running shoes felt like Cinderella's slippers. The perfect fit. I wanted to feel the pain and run so hard that it hurt to even think. And I did.
Whether the Pain is physical or the Pain is  emotional...How are you engaged??
Today the entire family were all taking turns getting our photos for our family shots and it was a bit stressful. All those personalities in one house. After it was almost finished a person of great influence looks directly at me and comments "I could use a drink after this!"
This person doesn't drink. They want so badly for everyone to be happy.  This was said is in a passive aggressive way. It was  also said it in front of the little ones. This hurt me. It hurt me because we have seen the abuse of alcohol. We forget that our influence should sometimes be more important than our pain. Our influence can last longer than our pain and hurt.   We have to just deal with the pain. Life is not always comfortable. I grew up watching people cope with life through a bottle. Pill bottle or a beer bottle, the pain never went away.
There are runs I so badly want to take pain reliever during my run and yet I know I need to feel the pain. It is just part of being real.
Pain shows up in many different ways. Pain Hurts. Period.

It has been an emotional week. I could totally see myself wanting to use something to not be so engaged in the pain. But by engaging in the pain I know that I am leaning on GOD to do a work in me. Sometimes life hurts. People hurt us. We hurt ourselves. But the best way to get through the pain is to journey through it.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Do you have the COURAGE??

"It is curious that Physical Courage should be so Common in the World and Moral Courage so Rare." Mark Twain
As of late it seems like more and more people have vocalized how they think I am a little crazy for running these miles.
One of the questions is WHY??
WHY would I run this distance? I have been thinking about this on many long runs. Over hours and hours of meditating during my long runs I have thought this through. I have asked myself this.
As simple as it is.. it is so much more than just a surface explanation.
It is a spiritual explanation.
The courage isn't in running 50 miles.
The courage isn't in training for 50 miles.
The courage isn't even the concept of dreaming big dreams.
The Courage lies in Believing that God has already given me the Victory to accomplish whatever HE calls me to do and GIVE him THE GLORY in it ALL.
It takes a lot of COURAGE to do the things that we do not always want to do.
And then it takes equally the same amount of Courage to do the things we KNOW we should be doing.
Physical courage is something we can train. We can dedicate our bodies and our time towards.
But what about MORAL COURAGE.
It hurts me to see this world so broken. We justify our bad descisions. We manipulate honesty, truth and integrity. We look around and compare ourselves to bad :weighing ourselves better than bad.
WHERE is the COURAGE to Stand UP and do RIGHT??
WHERE IS the COURAGE to be something MORE than AVERAGE??
This world is so GODLESS. We have become our own little GODS. We Believe in OURSELVES. We Believe in OUR ABILITIES and take Ownership over Our Worlds.
There are days when running long distance is FEARLESS. Days that giving God the Glory out loud amoungst the world takes more courage than any 30 miles run.
People look at you like a Jesus Freak.
Well I am.
I have the COURAGE to Tell you:
I came FROM nothing.
I can ACHEIVE nothing.
I have Nothing.
I want Nothing.
  • "Greater is He who is in You than he  who is in the WORLD." 1John 4:4
  • "I Can do ALL things Through Christ Who Strengthens ME." Phil 4:13
  • "Call unto me and I will show you great and mighty things which thou knowest NOT." Jere 33:3
  • "Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
I had gotten a email from a client of mine "Cortney". It said this:


I hope you thank God every single day that you have the ability to get out of bed and run. I have to be thankful for other things but right now I would love nothing more than to get outside and run, walk or even ride a bike. I'm too tired :)
Keep running girl! Run for Jesus!!
Not everyone can run. There are gifts that each of us have. And there are gifts that some of do not have and wish we did. I know that my legs are nothing to take for granted. I believe that God has given me this body. It was a gift. I do my very best to honor that gift. I try not to abuse it, neglect it, poison it or take ownership of it. God gave it to me to manage, to glorify him. And with EVERY fiber in me I want people to know how thankful I am.
I am humbled by the love he has shown me, I truly do not deserve it.
WHY do I run this crazy distance?? To be a witness to YOU. So you can see what God can do if you have just a lil faith.
Where Does your COURAGE lie?
Do you have the COURAGE to Stand Out against the crowd?
Great run with Jama. It was a little steamy out there. I offended. I didn't think girls could smell like dudes. There wasn't enough florally deodorant, body lotion and perfume that could cover up the funk today.



Monday, September 9, 2013

All the faces on a 36 mile run!

“Now bid me run, and I will strive with things impossible.” – Shakespeare, Julius Caesar
I had this run planned weeks ago. I actually was looking forward to this long run. I was going to drop the boys off at school and run...ALL day long till I had to pick them up again.
While some people would be going to work, I would be working on my longest run, running over 6 hours.
A few weeks ago, "Megan"  asked it I would ever run from my house to work. Thinking "Megan" was working today I planned to run to work today.

I had barely made it to the end of the road when I saw someone waving at me. It took me a second to figure out who the girl with the cute hair cut was. It was "Sara M". She is a gal that I went to school with and has since become a runner herself. This really boosted my motivation.
Only a few miles down the road there was a guy smiling at me coming out of the gas station. He looked like he knew me as he waited for me to come closer. He then started yelling at me so I took me ear buds out to see it was "Brian" from church. "You RUN WAY TO MUCH!" he yelled with his hands around his mouth funneling his words.

It was 14 miles to work. I had planned to drop off my running coat, eat something, pee and fill up my water bottle. Usually there is food in the backroom. I was going to mooch some calories only the counter was bare of even crumbs to scrape. I usually have food in my station so I went to investigate. Oatmeal, Dark chocolate Reeses, and Juice Plus. Oatmeal wasn't going to happen so I scarfed down a piece of chocolate and took 2 for the road. I swallowed 4 Juice Plus and started to head back out. "Andrea" and "Gina" were sitting by the dryers. Somehow conversation got rolling about me running to work. "Andrea" says with curiosity "So how far did you run to get here?
I replied "It was 14 miles."
Totally serious she replies "So like how are you going to get back home?"
Laughing I said "RUN! I have to run 35 miles today."
Andrea was trying to figure out if I was serious or not. When she realized I WAS she comments "ANITA..That is NOT good for your body!!"
Laughing, I  looked over at "Gina" who looked MORTIFIED. She had this look of absolute terror on her face. Her eyes were wide with concern. She was even more concerned when she found out I was not carrying a phone. "Anita" she says leaning towards me like a mother getting ready to talk you out of something.
Smiling I thought I had better get out of there quick before they talked me out of running the rest of 20 plus miles.

From M15 and I75 I headed towards downtown Clarkston. I turned left on Dixie Hwy without a plan other than running at least 17 miles before I turned around.

At the light on Maybe Rd a van caught my attention. I looked closer to see "Holly P" waving at me. This made me fill with joy. She is such a prayer warrior. I just knew she would be praying for me as drove off.
Heading back home I saw "Pat" the Fed Ex man and heard several cars honk at me but I couldn't make out who they all were.
"Courtney" a client of mine actually turned her car around and asked "What are you doing out here?" At his point I had ran over 20 miles with rain beginning to sop me. "Are you sure you don't want a ride? You are crazy."
Standing at the side of her car window laughing again I told her I had better get going before I took her up on the ride home.

I love seeing all the faces on my run. It is like a little cheering section. The smiles, waves, honks and words encouragement supported me on my run.
Todays long run started at 7:45am and ended about 2:20pm.
6hours and 35 minutes.
36 miles.
My Average pace was 10:30.
The time includes my stop in salon, stops to get water and stops to say "Hi"
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and Banana Muffin a good friend of mine "Terri" made.
During my run I drank over 45 oz of water, a bag of Stinger chews, a maple glazed KIND bar and of course my Reeses peanut butter cups!

In 6 hours I found myself praying a lot and trying to solve the worlds problems. When I couldn't come up with any solutions I tried to narrow the problems to just mine. I am not sure I am anymore ahead with my life although I do feel after running, my chaos is more organized and balanced. With almost 7 hours to compartmentize my crazy world it became a little more manageable. Some of the issues that appeared catastrophic became needless drama and was dissolved quickly. And some of the head spinning issues seemed miniscule in comparison.
It appeared Life was going to go on in a orderly fashion. My super powers that were ignited on the run worked their magic. My legs moved spinning my mind into wisdom to solve just about everything!

"It hurts up to a point and then it doesn't get any worse."
- Ann Trason
Gratitude. 36 miles is crazy. Less that 1% of the population run a marathon..So running this distance is a bit crazy. But to me it is even more crazy that God has given me the power and strength to do it. He has kept me healthy and injury free. I am so humbled by this distance. I felt like the "apple of his eye" today being given the gift to go this distance. 

The Taper.
We are now going to be bringing it all down! Hungerfold is September 28!!
ALSO..Registration for BOSTON was today! Mine opens tomorrow.
Who's running Boston 2014??


Saturday, September 7, 2013


We have been packing out days so full that I was beginning to wonder how I was going to get another run in before Monday.
We woke up in Gatlinburg this morning and asked mom and dad if they would watch the boys so we could go for a small run. My knee has been reminding me that I am far from invincible the last couple weeks therefore the shortage of miles has been welcomed.
This week the weather has been simple amazing. I love the heat. This morning was no exception to beautiful weather for our 4 mile run.
There is just no avoiding hills in Gatlinburg. I took off anticipating my knee to crash my running date. Surprisingly with the 2 mile incline and 2 mile decline my knees did great. Of course I am also about 15 miles short this week, however, I am going to embrace the lack of miles in hopes it is beneficial to the healing of my knee and other parts.
After all I am going to really need my strength and health for my 6 HOUR run on Monday.

A couple weeks ago I shared about a pair of shoes I had tried on at Complete runner, Hoka's. I really like the shoes but they were out of my comfort zone and price range for running shoes.
Well, I got a surprising message from "Kristy" who just happened to have a pair she had purchased and couldn't get used to. She offered them to me sharing that they were a size 8...MY SIZE!!
Very thankful.

After cleaning up from our run we headed to Roaring Fork. Beautiful was an understatement.
I Love hiking and exploring. I could spend all day on the trails and off them. The boys never quit smiling. They went off the trail and jumped and climbed and even adventured into the water.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Beach Run

We have arrived in S.C.. My Nephew Brian is graduating from the Marines. I am so very proud of him.
We brought my other nephew Lucas with us. Alec loves his cousin Lucas. They are very close. They were easy driving partners.

We promised the kids we would take the to the beach. It took about 30 minutes to get to the nearest beach. It was in a state park down here.
The water was like bath water. It was so warm. Not real pretty but very enjoyable. The beach had woods on my one side of it. The landscape was breathtaking.
Andy and I took turns playing with the kids in the ocean while the other one went for a quick run. That's the problem with training. Just because you are on vacation does not mean you get a break when you are training. I am not getting the miles I want in but I am still getting the old legs turning.
Some of my most favorite runs have been on vacation.
I LOVE Running on VACATION!!

Today was the first time I have ever ran on the beach!
Ran 3 miles and walked 1 mile.
SO Awesome. I wish I ran as fast as the hermit crabs!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Your a "Walking Billboard"

I loved this statement my client "Darren" gave me earlier this week. It really had me thinking all week.......
What do I project?
How do people define me?
What am I advertising??
We will come back to this.....

Double Dose. Sunday and Mondays runs:

Sunday was my 15 miler. I have no idea where I came up with that number but it stuck. I assumed I would be running this solo due to Andy's back going out in the morning.
"Another long and lonely run..UGH" I whined to myself. However,  Andy started stretching and rolling and decided to try to run with me. He was walking crooked with the look of pain written all over his face. Trying to be encouraging I went along with it.
We took off for our run and didn't get a half a mile when Andy stopped and winced "I can't do it..." But then he kept going, replying  "It'll loosen up." But less then a mile farther he threw in the towel turning back towards home.
I felt bad for Andy and selfishly I felt bad for me.
At mile 2 I heard someone yelling. It wasn't the voices in my head, they usually don't start screaming till about mile 12. I turned around to see saw Andy moving pretty fast down the dirt road trying to catch me.
Andy decided that it was muscular and running was not going to make it worse..so he came along side me.
All the way down the back roads we saw large tvs thrown into the woods. We counted 9 TV's. This helped break up the monotony of our run.
But then the gardner snake did a fine job too! I jumped ten feet in the air , it might as well have been a king cobra! Andy was cracking up laughing at me. We both went over to investigate the slithery creature. It wasn't even startled by our presence. Upon close investigation we discovered it was dead, however, it was in really good condition. I got an idea. PRANK!! I told Andy I was going to carry it home so I picked it up and started running. The reptile dangled lightly from my fingers, bouncing all around as I ran. "Anita. you can not run all the way home carrying that thing." Andy chuckled. Just as I said "Yes, I can." its lower end flipped around and wrapped around my wrist. I jumped another 10 feet and tossed him in the air. I looked at Andy to notice he had quit running and was crying he was laughing so hard. I knew it was dead I just got freaked out. I was bound to bring this critter home. I decided we could fit it in our water bottle pockets. We laughed for over a mile coning up with a plan to trick the boys.
We finished our run. I dropped Andy off and finished my 15 miles. He did 13 with me which was more than I expected, I was so happy. I was struggling from the moment my legs hit the road so his company was instrumental to my completion.
Well we put him in the pantry and had Austin put the groceries away. He opened the door stopped cold and stared then quickly slammed the door shut. He didn't know what to do. It was so funny!

Labor Day RUN.
So I feel kinda un-American because I am not sure what Labor day exactly is. To me it was laboring 30 miles of running.

I went into this run with a lot of anxiety.
WORDS are very powerful. I have been struggling as of late wondering if I bit off more than I can chew. The night before my run Andy got called into work therefore the boys all made beds in my room. I love this.
Austin started asking questions...
"Mom, 30 miles is a long ways from 50 miles..."
"Mom, how are you going to run 50 miles straight?"
"Mom, you still have like 4 more hours to run after your 5 hours...."
"Austin Please go to sleep." I could feel his words poisoning my spirit. I already find myself in the ring battling fear and now I was getting knocked down by it.
I am very aware of all the numbers, all the scenarios, and now the doubts were sleeping in my bed with me.
They stole my peace. I was restless all night.
I got up easy at 6am. On schedule I headed to the gym to start running by 7.
What if....
I had to start praying. I needed a voice bigger than my own. I needed a miracle. I cried out to God.
I was running around the indoor track at Genesys. I needed the people. I pretended they were all my running partners. I really needed them as I begged my sore legs to move. As I made it to 2 miles then 3 miles I counted all the miles I still had to go. I just wanted to cry.
I prayed more.
I left the gym at 8 miles and headed towards home. "1/3 of the way done Nita" I  encouraged myself on the route towards home.  By the time I got home Andy was pulling out to go back to work. I stopped and spoke to him briefly reciting my mileage "I am half way done." Andy's eyes were bloodshot and tired from a lack of sleep. "Good job hunny, Please be careful."
We both headed in the same direction only I was not moving near as fast.
Somewhere around 20 miles I could hear myself thinking. I could hear something Austin had said, "Mom, you know that most pain if in your head."
So I claimed that asking God for swift legs, for strength and power. I asked God for a miracle. I wanted to finish strong. I wanted to finish encouraged. I wanted to finish.

My legs moved like they were not attached. I felt encouraged by the power in my legs. My thoughts were full of gratitude. Humbled by the distance I praised God.
I thought to myself,
"Who AM I?"
"How Do People SEE me?"
"What billboard as I Advertising?"

Yes, I LOVE running. I am passionate about running. BUT...I hope My CHARACTER defines me and NOT my RUNNING.
I hope people do not just know me from being a runner. I don't mind that as a part of my Identity but I don't want that as ALL of my description.

As a walking Billboard I hope I advertise Christ in me. I hope I advertise my Character not just  abilities. My abilities are only a gift. A God given Gift.  For that matter everything I have is a gift.
And I am ever so grateful.

What Billboard are you advertising????
If you had to advertise yourself what would it say???

Mondays RUNDOWN:
Time: 5:17
I took a pancake with peanut butter, banana, and a Kind Bar for my run. I enjoy my STINGER chews. They are so good, they taste like fruit chews.
I was so happy I had quite a bit of energy and legs to keep moving. We celebrated as a family MOMs 65th Birthday. I am so blessed to have the greatest mother in law in the world.