"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

Friday, August 29, 2014

Following my Shadow

I have not ran since the Crim, Saturday.

We recently moved out of our rental and into our new home. WOW, what a lot of work. I have not had a chance to run. I feel like I have ran a marathon every night my head hits the pillow. I am plum tuckered!

This morning was my FIRST RUN in our new house. I left for my run about 9 am. It was the most gorgeous morning. The new house is on a dirt road. I LOVE running on the dirt roads. This morning I chased my shadow. It was like a silent running partner. I would glance at my shadow to check my posture. I would even check myself out going down the hills thinking, "Dang girl, That's it, Get after it!" Which by the way wasn't that fast but it looked fast!
And going up the hills I let my shadow run ahead of me as I tried to catch my breath. I was very happy with my 5 miles. God continues to heal and strengthen me.

Last week Katie, one of my co-workers nominated me for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This was my 3rd nomination. Because of the move, I have been challenged in a million ways making the 24 hour challenge a challenge I failed.
Katie was relentless.
As I finished my run I decided that this would be the perfect time to Ice Down!

Here is my Video:

I just wanted to say that the challenge is supposed to be a positive thing. I am disappointed as a Christian by so many other Christians being so negative about it. I have read some comments that just shock me. I have had some non Christian friends who make fun of us Christians because we have taken what was meant to be fun and encouraging to a whole new level. We have dissected it with stem cell research, abortions and even boasting about our giving.
Millions of dollars are being raised not to mention the awareness.

I personally love to see so many taking up the challenge and having FUN doing it. Some may feel it is a fundraising scam and some of you may believe it is a stupid stunt to get attention and some of you may feel all that and more but regardless here are some facts:

  • More than 1.2 million videos were shared on Facebook between June 1 and August 13.
  • The ALS Association in the US has reportedly received over $94million in donations from  July 29.
  • ALS is one of the most common neuromuscular diseases worldwide, and people of all races and ethnic backgrounds are affected.

What are some of your thoughts on the Ice Bucket Challenge?


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Crim 2014

5 weeks ago you couldn't have convinced me that I was going to be able to run The Crim. My body had betrayed me.
I have not ran since the beginning of summer because I have been battling my It Band. I have been going to physical therapy now for over 6 weeks.
The most effective therapy I believe helped me recover has been Prayer Therapy.

The CRIM is my absolute Favorite race. This is a local race in Flint with over 10,000 runners.
The crowds and the course entertainment are incredible. You have a local race with a big city feel. I love people. On every corner you see runners that had  one goal all summer, to run The Crim.
There is something powerful about listening to people share their goals. There is a nervous excitement in the air. People are lined up in bathrooms, stretching in the grass and looking for their loved ones. Every shape, size, nationality, age and personality it out there. And for this one day we are all ONE.
Being in extrovert I gravitate to high energy. I very quickly transform into The Obnoxious Runner.  I talk to anyone that gives my eye contact. I am like a kid who didn't take their ADD medicine. My focus is ping ponging everywhere. But deep in the corner of my mind I have a space that is dense with fear.
Not the kind of Fear that absorbs you and overtakes you. The kind of Fear that drives you, excites you and empowers you.

Mom, dad and the boys drove up to Flint a little after 6am. We picked Austins girlfriend up on the way.
Andy and I wore Lime Green in Honor of our Aunt Lois who has Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I was dedicating this race to her.

Runners were scattered all over. We located Joan and Javon, we met them at the expo Friday and made a plan. I was going to try and run with Joan.
We ran into several of our friends.
Jeanette from the Hungeford races found us and stayed with us.
As we ran into more and more the time to start was counting down. I asked them if they would like to pray with us before we started the race. It was so special to see over 10 of us holding hands and seeking God. Dad prayed and his words were so perfect.
Austin was anxious. I could not keep up with him this year. I felt awful not being able to run with him.

Andy, Joan, Jeanette and I headed to our corral.
"Please God keep me strong." I prayed for the hundredth time.

In our corral, minutes before the race started, I lost Austin. All I could see was this tall young man confidently walking into the crowds away from me.
I couldn't hold the tears back. "He shouldn't be alone." I thought. "I am his mother, I should be beside him." All those people looked like they were consuming him until I could no longer see my boy.
As his mother and his number one fan I felt like I should be there to make sure he was going to be OK. I needed to be beside him to cheer him on. I needed to encourage him, push him. And there he went, without looking back. He didn't need me. I was crushed. It was a hard pill to swallow to see your boy turning into a confident young man.

Before the race we all realized we were running the same goals. it looked like we would be running together.
By the time the horn blew, it was obvious our plan was out the door.
Andy bolted ahead of us.

For about a mile I stayed with the girls. I really wanted to stay with them but I was so concerned with Andy going so far ahead.  I looked at my pace and couldn't figure out why he was goings so fast.
All I knew was the girls would be great. Andy was not going to be.
I looked back at the girls and started towards Andy.

I secretly ran about 10 feet behind Andy. He never would have known I was there had I not kept seeing people I knew and shouting at them!
At about mile 3 Andy turned around and located me.
I went through my drill.
"How are you feeling?"
"What hurts?"
"Why DID YOU take off so FAST??"

It was like I thought. Andy was trying to stay with the 8:30 pace group. Only the 8:30 pace group took off too fast. Their first 3 miles were all under pace. This wouldn't have been a big deal but Andy was already pushing it. The first 2 miles are always difficult. If you take off too fast you have potential to burn out.

And this is exactly what happened to Andy. He was holding his own until we got to the Bradley hills. This is a series of 4 hills at the 5 mile marker. As we headed up the hills I cheered the runners on. "Great Job RUNNERS, UP Up UP!"
Guys were hacking and spitting. People were slowing down and no one had their happy smiles on. I did everything I could to keep Andy. I coached Andy with all I had. One guy even yelled "Hey, I need a COACH!!"
On the last hill I turned around and he was no where in sight. I headed back to find him.
He looked bad. I knew I needed to leave him and let him run his own race. I would be more of an annoyance to him if I stayed.

It is at this point I could no longer see the 8:30 pace team. My goal was to catch them. My body good enough to make this happen. "Ok, Nita, steady up." I turned my music on in my ears and focused on the finding the pace team.

The humidity was rough. I had already taken my shirt off and my body was soaked with sweat. I reminded myself I was strong enough mentally to push myself physically.
Greater is HE who is in ME.

I found the pace team and closed the gap at mile 7. I stayed behind them for some time to catch my breath and work myself into this faster speed. This is faster than I have ran in weeks. My body was having a hard time catching up. My legs were at the beginning stages of numbness.

It was time to make my move. I began to pass them as I approached the 8 mile mark. I heard a woman say to the pacer, "Hey, that girl was behind us, she is passing us." The pacer replied "What Girl?"
And that was all I heard.

I prayed that I had made a wise move. I prayed that I would be able to hold onto this pace for the next 2 miles.

I turned up my power song and dug my heals in. Do or DIE. I told myself.
I slowly passed runners. How was this possible? How was I running like this? I gave God thanks asking him to carry me to the finish.
I needed to run this for me and for Aunt LO. I wanted Aunt Lo to see that Against the Odds Failure is NOT an Option. That we have to dig in and seek God for HIS Strength.
I wanted her to see Victory in Jesus.
Sweet Victory when I didn't stand a chance.

With one mile to go I continued to pass people. I was exhausted. I was at that place I wanted to walk. I wanted to breath. I wanted to lay down and call it good.
My feet hit the bricks. I knew I had to hold on just a little while longer. I made that turn and saw the finish. "Hold on NITA, be smart, be strong."
There was a tall man ahead of me I had been shadowing.
With less than  block left I could hear the crowds going crazy. Praying I was making the right move I began to pass him. He had already accelerated making my move more difficult.

"Everything you have, right here, RIGHT NOW."
"OH God it hurts."

"ANITA HARLESS From Holly, Michigan" came through the speakers as I crossed the finishing mats.

I was DONE. Thank YOU Jesus!

Austin was there waiting for me. He looked so strong. He did amazing!
He ran under 7:30 pace!

Andy struggled, but did very well.
Thank YOU for all your prayers, kind words, and support. Especially thankful to God for his love for me. Glory goes to God for my healing and opportunity to run when I didn't stand a chance.
Mom and dad continue to go and support us. So thankful for them.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

My day in pics

My kids went to Cedar Point with the church yesterday morning. The bus broke down multiple times and the van broke down that was following it. This pushed the 11:30pm pick up to 2am.
7am did not come with much enthusiasm.

The owners left us a very sweet gift. So thoughtful. The owners went above and beyond. They were so kind.

We closed on our home yesterday morning after a 2 hour closing. I had so much I wanted to get done today. I knew I was going to really have to suck it up.
Mom was ready to roll! The house we purchased is only a mile from her and dad. Needless to say she is so excited. And we are too.
Almost 2 acres

My dear friend Terri has been sincerely offering her help for months. I took her up on it.
Between the three of us we lined all the kitchen cupboards and unpacked all my kitchen. It was great to have their help but it was also great to have their ideas and input.
My back yard and Sheba

So I am whooped and wimpy.

I am hitting the hay. Here are some pics of todays run.!

THIS IS MY LAST RUN BEFORE THE CRIM. Thank you for all the prayers.
Intervals. Great RUN

This is the rental, last Run here.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Moving Forward. I little peice of me.

A few days ago, Andy and I went for a run. Finishing our run we added a easy recovery walk around the block. To my right stood a two story rundown house. The house was white, with paint chipping, broken windows and no front door.
In the front yard, sat a young boy playing alone in the patchy grass. He had dark disheveled hair, he had olive skin and sadness around his eyes. He never looked up from his toy cars he was playing with them. Behind him, the doorway to the house showed a picture of his life.
It was  a mess.
There were dirty clothes and boxes covering the carpet. It was dark and the smell of mildew spewed from the old house. There layed broken furniture and junk two feet high on all sides with a tiny path to get from one side to the other.
As we slowly walked by, Andy looks at me and says "That poor boy doesn't stand a chance."
My heart was crushed. I felt so burdened for him. I wanted to run back to him, pick him up and tell him he was amazing.
Andy continued "You know who's house that is right?"
It took me a minute but Andy answered for me, "That is the house we hear all the swearing and fighting at."
There is a house behind us to the left. You can not see any grass. The house looks like it is going to fall down. The back yard must have 20 bikes in it along with garbage piled on all corners of the outside of house.
Usually later in the day you will hear terrible screaming. Cuss words that make you grab your ears or your children's. The old man slaps his wife around and I am pretty sure she is returning the jabs. He is usually pretty drunk. The cops have been there multiple times to break up the domestic fights.
Here in the dirt sat this dark haired dark eyed boy who hardly stood a chance.

I turned around and looked back at the old house. I remembered a couple old houses like that. I remembered living on Seneca St in Pontiac. Or the old blue house on Johnson street in Pontiac. They were never dirty but they were old. They smelled like stale liquor. The carpet was old and musty. I remember the cockroaches running across the kitchen counters. I remember my moms old boyfriend, God I hated him. Tom Lambert, Oh I wish I could not remember.

Looking back at that house I thanked God. I was that kid who didn't stand a chance.
 I sat as a child with dirty fingernails playing for hours alone in the back yard. My dark tousled  hair would cross over my face covering my dark eyes.
I didn't know any other life. On all corners, everyone lived the same. You woke up to empty beer cans covering the counters. The ashtrays all had cigarette butts and "roaches" in them. The ZigZag papers and left over seeds sat on the burnt coffee table on a dirty paper plate.
The memories flooded my mind.

I am 40 years old now. My heart has mended but sadness shows up in my memories.

I have had to fight very hard to overcome my past. I am so thankful God showed me grace and mercy. You have a choice. You can either seek God or try to do it on your own.
Like me looking at that little boy, Our Heavenly Father looked at me. He was always carrying me, in the good times and the bad. I had a choice I could either grasp His Love for me or Not. God placed instrumental people in my life to help guide me and protect me.
My Big Brother, Bobby
Little sister, Gina

Today, I close a new chapter in my life. We are closing on our house. It is a smaller home with a bigger yard. We are so very excited.
I have never had anything given to me. I have worked so hard to overcome my past and the generational dysfunction.
I have no immediate family left. My brother and sister live in Florida. I was reminded again this week about Gods provision.
I am so thankful for my small family. There is nothing my brother or sister wouldn't do for me. We grew up in a place we didn't stand a chance. We made it out by the Grace of God.
Over 20 years later, miles between us there is a bond that can not be broken. We do not talk about our past very often.
My sister has blocked most of it out and my brother suppresses it. "Bobby" can look at me and I can see it, our bond. I can see that big brother that tried to protect me. Even today, he would do anything for me.
Moving forward with Enthusiasm. Looking back with Gratitude. And Always remembering where I came from with humility.

Jeremiah 33:3
Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Picking up Pace

"Good things come slow - especially in distance running."
-Bill Dellinger, Oregon coach

You often hear people say that life is like a marathon not a sprint.

My current training is a reminder that being patient is more important that being speedy.

I wanted to see if I was capable of running this Saturdays race, The Crim.  This race is a traditional race that I run every year.

Todays Training:
The Plan:
Distance: 10 miles
Target Pace: 9:30-10
Goal: 5 miles flat and slow, last 5 miles intervals, 5:1, picking the pace up.

Everything felt so good except my lungs. I always remind myself I can run through fatigue, pain is a different story. The key to running  through weariness is being your own number one fan;
  1. Remind yourself that being tired is not being broken.
  2. Learn how to run tired, it helps build mental strength
  3. The first couple miles are usually the toughest, challenge yourself to get through those then assess  how you feel.
Being quiet is not one of my more popular characteristics. I was short on words as Andy and I ran. My mind was churning, racing at a faster pace than my legs. I was hoping as my distance accumulated that my lungs would adjust, giving me more confidence in my goal. Mentally, I was struggling. It is so discouraging when you feel like weak sauce. I created mini goals to give me mini victories making me feel less discouraged. With my distance growing, I felt thankful I was being disciplined to go slow and steady.

A Little warmer out than we expected.

At mile 5, Andy and I picked up the pace by over a minute. We added walk breaks every 5 minutes. The idea behind this was to work on 5 miles of stamina, then 5 miles of  picking up the average pace,using intervals. Picking up the pace helped me with my pace and adding intervals keeps me out of the hurt locker.

Because I had taken the first 5 miles so much slower, it allowed me to have enough in the tank to finish strong.
Todays run felt t victorious, but more importantly it gave me more confidence for Saturdays run.

"Concentrate on small segments of your race at a time. For example, rather than obsessing about the distance that remains, simply complete the next mile in good form...try another, then another, until the race is done."
-Jerry Lynch


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Training for Truth

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." Col 3:15

Tears streamed down my face unhidden. "God, thank you, thank you for healing me and letting me run 6 miles today."
 The track at the gym was desolate. I didn't need anything distracting me. Moving slow, one mile at a time, I remained patient. I prayed before I ran and I prayed during my run.
My run was such an emotional experience. I was hypersensitive with so many thoughts and feeling wanting to confuse me before I even started.
Running is such a head game. Part of training includes training your mind. It is deciphering what is a feeling and what is a fact. The same goes through with LIFE.

I had to remind myself TRUTH:
"Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered."    Proverbs 28:26
  • I can run
  • I was made to run
  • I am healing, be smart.
  • It's not about pace or distance; it's about running.
I had to be aware of EMOTIONS:
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? "Jeremiah  17:9
  • Disappointment
  • Discouragement
  • Weakness
  • Fear
The TRUTH will Set You Free!

"But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts..." Mat. 15:18-19
Being injured is like being hurt. You are full of emotions. We can control our emotions when we control our mind. But if we do not control our emotions they will speak to ourselves and others.

When I coach I train the kids Strong Mind.
As I ran, I exercised my mind, keeping it free from toxic thoughts. Thoughts that would prevent me from having a victorious run.

As the warm tears saturated my cheeks I felt my knees buckle. I wanted to drop to my knees in gratitude. Humbled by Gods love for me.

For those out there struggling. Keep your mind Strong. Keep your emotions under control. If you let your Emotions become Facts they will not only hurt you but you will hurt others with them as well. You will believe the feelings you let control you.

I have had those runs where I have allowed garbage in and I had garbage back out.

When I allow God to saturate my thoughts with his Truth and Promises I am secure in myself and my training. I go in His assurance leaving no room for insecurity to distract me.

Do you struggle with allowing your emotions to effect your training?
How does that effect your training?

Alec decided to go for a run today! 4 blocks! lol
I was riding a bike behind him. We were picking up my bike Austin left at the school yesterday. So thankful that Austin has left such a impression at the school. They brought the bike into the school to keep it for him. When he left it there, the workers actually got very concerned for him. They called the local police to try and locate Austin because he had mysteriously left and not taken his bike. It is the best feeling to have people tell you "your son is so polite, he is a really good kid."

Matt'sStory: Badwater


Ultra running is a sport in itself. When I trained last year for my ultra, Hungerford Games,  I welcomed advice from ultra runners. I had to retrain my thinking. The distance trumps the pace. Ultra running is about endurance. You add walk breaks, often walking up the hills, you train with nutrition and excessive water.

I gained a new respect for runners who train for races over 35 miles. I feel like a little kid meeting their super heros. I stand in awe. Being injured this summer really put a wedge in my plans. I loved running that distance.

I have met some great runners who run Ultras. Some of the humblest runners.
Andy was on Facebook a couple weeks ago, creeping "this guys" pictures. The pictures were breathtaking. He  was on a Team to support  a runner doing one of the most epic Ultras, Badwater.
It didn't take long for me to be engaged in all the pictures and all the comments. It was CREEPING at its fullest!

I asked Matt A. to share a little of the experience.
This is what he shared.
Jack Corey worked hard to make his goal of finishing Badwater 135 a reality, preparing for months for the race. He ran miles and miles - most of the latter in layers of clothing to experience the heat of Death Valley. He set up the logistics - the transportation, lodging, food, nourishment for the race, and permits. And he planned a 20 year anniversary trip to the area beforehand for his wife - always thinking about Mary Beth first.

Team Corey
Jack Corey is in Blue, Matt is on the right in white.

Throughout the time we were there, Jack would say, "I'm a midget among Giants". He felt that he wasn't worthy to be among the legends of the running community, runners most of us only read about. But he isn't less than the stars of the racing community. He ran with them, he finished strong, and he enjoyed the experience - smiling from start to finish.
Jack has had a great year of running and I'm lucky enough to enjoy some of his accomplishments. In April, I was able to cheer him as he finished his first 150 mile trail race. During Badwater, I ran with him - along with Derek, Bob, and Ray - as he climbed his way over 6000' to the Mt. Whitney portal and the finish of the Badwater 135. And I cheered from afar as he finished the Burning River 100 not two weeks after that.
Jack is a great friend, husband, father, teacher, runner, and he is one of the Giants.
Thank YOU Matt for sharing your story! Inspiring.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Red Fox Shoes Footwear

Austin is working in Linden right now. This is practically in my back yard, making the drive out there no big deal. There is incentive to pick him up; I pass a Tim Horton's in Fenton on my way to Linden!
They Boys videos me running to the car!

100% chance of rain was scheduled for today. The day was a gloomy sort of day. On our way home, I asked Austin if he would want to check out the new running store in Fenton.
I have been hearing about Red Fox Footwear and wanted to check it out since they opened in the spring.

Red Fox Footwear is located in downtown Fenton. I recognized one of the young men right away. He used to work at Baumans in Flint.
Because of the infancy of the store they are still acquiring brands. The brands they have are not found at any of the local running stores making them unique.
They are currently targeting newbie runners, trail running and hiking.
Merrells, Patagonia, New Balance, Altra are some of the shoe  brands they have to offer.
Nick and Jesse co-owners
They also have Smartwool, Wigwam and for nutrition Hammer.

Red Fox has shoes available for fitness, outdoor, work and weekend needs. The store also stocks the apparel you need along with your shoes.

Nick and Jesse said they will give 10% off to ANY person that comes in and mentions my blog or promo code "RATO"
(Running Against the Odds)

They are located at 104 S Leroy
Fenton Mi. 48430

Red Fox gives all the local cross country teams 15% off!

Support your local running stores. They are very knowledgeable and friendly.
They are getting more apparel in if you like Patagonia and Prana clothing and accessories.

Let me KNOW if you stop out there and purchase something, I will send you a Gift for supporting them also!


Sunday, August 10, 2014


At times, life has the ability to  lead us to the edge of chaos. Our schedules get busy, relationships get altered, our health may fail or we may even be struggling with the health of our loved ones.
There are a million scenarios that lead us to instability.

I personally find myself unstable in different arenas and in different seasons of life. Sometimes we find ourselves unstable emotionally, physically, financially or even spiritually to name a few.   

I wanted to share our sermon with you today. It really spoke to me,

"A doubleminded man is unstable in his way." James 1:8

" Draw near to God and he will draw near to you, cleanse your hands ye sinners; And purify your hearts ye doubleminded." 4:8

1. What do you do about DOUBLEMINDEDNESS?
Discover where is comes from.

Cleanse Your Hands: Proper Actions
Purify Your Heart: Proper Attitudes

In this world we are tossed to and fro. Todays message reminded me that I will be tossed into elements of instability if I do not keep my focus and heart towards the Lord.
When I draw near to him he will draw near to me and set my feet on solid ground.

Being doubleminded is not being focused on what Gods will for me is. I have allowed my thoughts or actions to not line up with Gods purpose and plan for my life. This is my version of being doubleminded in the season I am right now.

Sometimes I find myself doubleminded when I let others rent space in my head. I have too many thoughts worrying about what others are thinking or saying about me . I forget that God is my judge not man. No matter how righteous man may appear to be they are not our judge. People have the right to define you however they choose. But we have the right to accept it or accept our identity in Christ.

Gods word tells us to not be offended. I find myself instable when I get offended or hurt by the words or actions that have been spoken by others.
I was so grateful for Gods wisdom in the message today.

God speaks to everyone differently.  God spoke to me today reminding me to;
Cleanse my hands, Have proper actions.
Purify my heart, Have a proper attitude.

How do I do this, Draw near to God?
God will draw near to me. He will comfort me and convict me with love. He will give me security in a place I may find myself confused or insecure.
He will give me what I need in HIS time, all the time giving me Peace in the process.

The Rundown:
My body felt more secure than my mind today. I was so thankful God made my body strong so I could run both physically but also emotionally as well.
I ran without my Garmin on again. I ended up running 4 miles.
Andy ran with me. We are both nursing injuries. We were running down a side street, and saw a old man sitting on the back of his tailgate. He was sitting with his dog when he shouted in a gruff voice, "Hey! You two need to quit running so fast!"
We laughed politely and kept running on. At a safe distance I whispered to Andy, "He thought this was fast? Good grief, if we go any slower the turtles are going to lap us!"

I was at peace with my pace knowing the passion is to RUN right now, that was my Happy Pace.  

Prayers PLEASE. Aunt Lois is struggling with extreme fatigue and discouragement from her 14 hour chemo treatment last week. She could really use some prayers for strength and reassurance.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Trying not to get stuck on stupid

When wisdom enters your heart,
And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
Discretion will preserve you;
Understanding will keep you,
Proverbs 10-11

They say smart people learn from their mistakes BUT brilliant people learn from others.
Well I am not sure what to think of myself now.
I am smart enough to know better and dumb enough to get stuck on stupid.
I got some really simple advice at physical therapy this week. And it worked.
CLINT SAYS like every week, "HOW are you doing Nita?'
My less than enthusiastic response, "UGH, We have to fix this!"
Wednesday Clint did some serious ultrasound treatment on my IT Band. I had the marks left over to prove. I could feel the vibrations down in my toes.
"That's it" I told myself, make it hurt so good.
Clint gave me some simple and basic advice as he toilet plunged my IT Band, novel concepts really. But only good if they are used like all ideas, wisdom and knowledge.
My issue, I want to run too fast. My body is programmed to run at a certain pace but my body isn't capable of healing.
Wisdom Enters Your Heart: Wisdom is a treasure. We have opportunities to receive golden nuggets of wisdom if we choose. God gave us 2 ears and 1 mouth so we could listen more than we speak!

"And Knowledge is pleasant to your soul": I really enjoy learning. I am no Einstein, However; I love to learn something new. It is empowering, Knowledge is one of the only things NO ONE can ever take from you.
"Discretion will preserve you": You can have all the wisdom and knowledge that the library offers but if you do not know how to use it there is no POINT.
"Understanding will keep you." Understanding is difficult. We often wonder why and find it easier to question God and his plan rather that accept it and use Wisdom to understand it is his Will.

I struggle with understanding my injury. I have learned a lot of wisdom to overcome my injury emotionally. I am grateful for my teachable heart to receive Clints knowledge. I am always working on trying to discern my knowledge from my experience. My experience wants to run too much or too fast.
The knowledge I received from Clint to remove my watch was spot on!
This is the technique I used when I first started running.
I took my watch off this morning to meet Danielle. We have not seen one another almost all summer.
She is always so soft spoken with me. I am like a crazy wild animal and she is like a wise owl.
She went with my plan, No watch for me, walk breaks every 5 minutes and easy does it.
It was the perfect conversational pace! We had a lot to catch up on.  
I did it, with out any IT Band issues! 4 MILES!!
We were slower than molasses but we did it.
Clint said this and it really stuck with me, "Do you want to run??? Then take off your watch."
I learned a lot today.
I also learned that: It is not about the time it takes you to get where you are going. Sometimes it is about not worrying about the time and enjoying the Journey!
Couple Thoughts:
Are Your Teachable? Do you receive instruction well? Take advice well? What is some of the beat advice you have received?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Running for Aunt Lois

I have been struggling with sleep the last few days. I find myself up in the middle of the night looking for some moves on Word With Friends.
It is hard to get motivated at 6am when you fall asleep at 3:30am.

I had 1 goal for today: To dedicate my miles in prayer to Aunt Lois. Andy's Aunt Lois was diagnosed a few weeks ago with Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
Cancer SUCKS.
It truly effects everyone. It hurts me to see others hurting so bad. The confusion, the fear, the unknown saturates like a bad stain on a white cotton shirt.
You can't hide it, you can't disguise it, you can't cover it up.

Today was Aunt Lois's first Chemo treatment. It was scheduled to go 8 hours.

I wanted so bad to run for her. I wanted to run and run and run. But I couldn't . I wanted to dedicate my passion to her. I wanted to give her everything I had.
But I couldn't.
What I could do was ask as many runners as I knew to dedicate THIER run for HER.
I posted on a couple running pages asking for support.

Running was not an option for me because of my injury, but BIKING was. Aunt Lois has 8 treatments. I wanted to dedicate 8 miles to her.

The morning was chilly. I wore lime green in honor of lymphoma.

I came up a wet soggy hill about 4 miles into my bike ride. As I looked up, I instantly felt discouraged. I didn't want to hurt. I wanted to ride fast and ride easy. I didn't want to ride hard in the hurt locker.
I thought of Aunt Lois. I pictured her sitting in a big room. I could almost see the fear on her face as she thought "How did this happen? There is no other way..How bad is this going to be?"
How she must have been overwhelmed with anxiety and terror.
Thumbs UP Aunt LO.

I pedaled with everything I had. Dirt spit up under my tires as I dug my heals down.

At mile 5 the tears spewed. I cried for life. The night before Pastor Jim was speaking at our Freedom service. He was talking about doing a funeral on a young 24 year old.
"How many times do you try to teach someone before it is too late?"
"How do you convince someone about life and living when they take it for granted?"
Then with tears in his eyes he looked straight into mine. Tears were resting in my eyes as I thought of my Ariel.
"Then you have some that want to LIVE, that want to LEARN, that want to be different..And God takes them....."
It was almost too much to bear.
As I rode my bike I cried and cried. She called me and her Pa Pa all the time for advice. She was always trying to do the right thing. She truly wanted to live a life to honor GOD. I sit some nights reading her dozens and dozens of text messages.
LIFE is so fragile.
I cried for those I love that do not grasp the intensity of LIFE.

I tried to gain back control.  Aunt Lois knew how fragile life was as she prepared to fight for hers.
I reached the park, approaching 7 miles.
The park was quiet. Heading to the back of the park I debated on the route to go. The route I wanted to go entailed me going down then back up a very large, winding hill.
I did NOT want to do it. I was getting tired and still had to ride about 3 miles home.

"Aunt Lois I am sure does not want to do this either." I heard the voices in my head barking at me.
Again, my thoughts were for strength and perseverance.
I GOT THIS, I motivated myself for HER.
I am not doing this for me. I am going to get up this hill and do it with passion for her. I don't want HER to give up. I don't want her to be discouraged by the obstacles she may encounter. I don't want her to be afraid to go all the way to the TOP.

And with that I finished 8 miles for Aunt Lois and 2 miles for myself. (In case you haven't noticed I am a bit OFF!)
Alec Giving Aunt Lo Smiles and THUMBS UP!

I want to say the response from the posts today on Running Against The Odds Facebook page was unbelievable. Thank YOU ALL so much for being such a great encouragement to Aunt LO.
Thank you for the pictures, Stephanie and Kade, Donna and her running partner and Mike running BAREFOOT with his son for Aunt LO.
I sent the biggest bouquet I found today to Aunt LO!

Living Life for oneself is independently lonely. Some of the loneliness people I know never sowed their life into others.

Not trying to be abrasive of mean, however; the truth is:
Life is fragile.
I have an innumerable amount of friends. I am so blessed with random cards, gifts, phone calls, text messages that I always feel loved.
I am bound with people who LOVE me and except me for my crazy self.
I am a little nuts, a little goofy, a lot forgetful, I have lots of character defects BUT I have so many that accept that from me.
I try to be teachable. I understand how to use the words "I am sorry"
I can lay my head down on my pillow after 40 years as honestly say "I have tried to love those who do not love me."
I finally after 40 years HAVE PEACE.
I love sharing myself with those who love and appreciate me.
I love to LOVE people.
There are so many that want to receive love and there are those who do not. I am at peace with Letting GO.
Invest your life into others and you will always see your return.

A few ramblings of my the thoughts I had during my bike ride.

Please Continue to LIFT Lois up. She will be having treatment once a month. I will be asking you for continued support and encouragement.

GAL 6:2 "Bear ye one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of CHRIST."


Monday, August 4, 2014

Back to the Basics

Looking back over my running career I have had my share of injuries. The current injury seems so defeating to me. IT band is a jumbled nagging injury.
"Sure you can run on it, if it hurts stop."
You can't tell me that. I will run on the stupid thing. I will run until I can no longer run.
Yesterday, I decided to run 2 easy miles. And even in the hot temperatures they were so easy I didn't get much of a sweat going.
I saw Ken H. out there rocking out a tempo run. As he passed me, he shouted out his speedy digits. I kept running hoping he wouldn't see me turning green with envy. I smiled as I passed him and yelled something like "Nice JOB BUTTHEAD!" Then I moved along at my turtle pace heading back to home.

That run felt great.
Todays 3 miler, not so good.
Back and forth I go. I think I am able to get back in the saddle again only to follow up my good run with a crappy one.

I feel so torn. Back and forth.

It is like life. One day you are on top of the world. You have life in the palm of your hands. Then BAM! You get this sucker punch that knocks the wind right out of you. You are on the sidelines confused and discouraged.
How do we go from everything being Jim Dandy and Peachy keen to beaten up and left for dead?

I need to go Back to the Basics. Look over everything and to see what I am missing.

In RUNNING the Basics go like this:
  1. Interval Training: start with the walk run method, gradually running more than you are walking.
  2. Stretch and ROLL: warm up well. (Active stretching)  you can be  stretching and rolling or you can briskly walk before you begin running.
  3. Mix it UP!: Vary your running surfaces.
  4. Proper Running Form: Run with a strong core.
  5. Inspire to Perspire: Find what inspires you, a friend, a log, power music..
  6. Easy does it: Try not to over do it. Use the 10% rule.

In Life the Basics for ME go Like This:
  1. Pray. Seek God in all I do, Give thanks, seek forgiveness, wisdom and direction. Ask him to do great and mighty things:  Jeremiah 33:3 "Call unto me and seek me and I will show you great and mighty things which thou knowest not"
  2. Remove the things holding me down: "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." - Hebrews 12:1
  3. Finding JOY in my circumstances: James 1:2-4 "Count it pure joy my brethren whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
I am like a child in so many ways. I want what I want, right now, even better yesterday. I have to go back to the basics to study my training both in running and also in my walk with Christ. Christ is bigger than All things.
Sometimes in our Pain we forget our true Purpose. 

Side Note: We will have a special blog on Matt A's experience out west. He has a inspiring story of being on a team to support a ultra running to his victory.
Should be sometime later this week.

Special Prayer Requests:
Aunt LO. Andys Aunt Lois from Chicago has been diagnosed with lymphoma. She starts her chemo-treatment this week. Please lift her in prayer for Strength, Courage and Healing.
A dear friend of mine just lost her father unexpectedly. Please Pray for Rachel and her family in their heartbreak and loss.

"God Made you as You Are In Order To Use You As He Planned."

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Swinging from Trees

We thought it would be fun to surprise the boys with a afternoon hanging from trees. Raising kids is not for the weak. We were barely out of church when the nit picking had already begun. All of our intentions to have a great afternoon was not starting out the way we planned.

We headed to Birch Run to take the kids for breakfast at Tonys. From there, to Frankenmuth to go to Adventure Park for an afternoon of zip-lining.

Tonys restaurant was a bust, the line was half way out the door. Andy was looking bummed out. We went a couple lights up the road to eat at my least favorite place, Big Boy.

The kids found a few more reasons to make me question my parenting. But just when I was ready to go home defeated the check came. We continued to our destination in hopes the kids would be surprised, grateful and we would come together like the Beaver Cleavers.

When we pulled in the kids were smiling enough that they forgot they were enemies just a few minutes prior.

We all forgot the last 2 hours of back talking, arguing, bad breakfast and pouting.

Everyone had the same idea to swing from trees on this perfect 80 degree day. There was about an hour wait.
I needed the wait to get my courage up to tackle the heights. Not to mention the knowledge of the harness, all the clipping in, out and tazzling, or was it tizzling..

I looked at young kids and older people with more confidence. "Hmm, if they can do it I can do it!"

One of the first things I had to get used to was TRUSTING my mechanics. The ropes, the harness and the clips. If done right I was safe. I couldn't rely on my physical strength to get me to the other side of a 40 foot moving obstacle.
I needed to have faith in the equipment that I was attached to. This was very hard for me. I am the person that spends half their life looking for my keys and they are wanting me to do all that clipping? What if I forget something and go zipping between trees ending up toppling through the branches like a handicapped monkey?
Trust; Everything at the park was top notch. The park is just over a year old, the equipment, the cables and the harnesses was in great condition.

HARNESSING YOUR FEAR: We did 2 of the 5 obstacle courses. As a family we all did the green obstacle course. We stayed together as a family. We all coached each other, supported, and helped each other through the 40 minutes intermediate course.
As a group we felt more secure. Power in numbers.
However, we separated for our next obstacle course. Andy and Austin headed off the Black Diamond.
Alec and I looked at them like they were NUTS. Men with muscles were struggling over 40  feet in the air pitting out and wiping sweat off their face with each challenging step. Forget about the fact that their course was higher than ours, it was also more challenging hands done.
Alec wanted to do the green course again. I convinced him to harness his fear and dare to conquer the Blue Course.
The second obstacle really made me question my courage. I wanting to pee my pants. The obstacle had you about 30 feet in the air. You had to walk on a rope in between 2 ropes at shoulder length. You had to grip the rope in front of you and balance yourself on the little rope about 40 feet down to the end.
I was so scared. I knew I was secured in. Falling would be  horrible even with the harness. Most of my fear came about half way down. "How is Alec going to do this?" I was so concerned for him. "Please God, let Alec have the courage to make it across." I prayed.
Alec, was as white as a sheet as he slowly approached me one step at time shimming himself with precision.
"Alec, I am so proud of you." I wanted to cry as a mother seeing him overcome his fear.

The course was so much fun. There is something empowering about conquering you fear and chewing on it!
I loved learning to trust not just myself but also trust the construction and design of the course.
The feeling of just releasing your grip on the tree and flying through the air towards the next tree was exhilarating.

NO ONE told me about the end. You have to free fall off a 40 foot tree, it might as well as been a NYC skyscraper. Andy,Alec and Austin walked me through the harnessing part. I looked down and freaked out "I am supposed to just jump off this ledge?" I quickly turned around to look for stairs. When I couldn't find any stairs I looked for another exit. "Mom, just turn around and drop." Austin coaxed me. It looked like suicide. No way. I looked for a worker. "HEY, is it true? I just jump?" I yelled at the guy in orange.
Laughing at me he confirmed my fear. My family was right. "Just walk off the ledge and LET GO MOM!" They all were screaming now.
People were looking at me and laughing. I was shaking. My hands were sweating.
"Just LET GO???"
Closing my eyes I walked to the edge and jumped. Down I went as easy as pie!
My legs were shaking so bad I just crumbled to the ground thanking God!
The boys were all laughing.
"I told you mom was going to have a hard time with that!" Andy chuckled.

Our afternoon started out a bit dysfunctional. We struggled with getting along with one another. The first challenge of the day started with coming together. We needed to forgive one another, build a bridge and get over it in order to enjoy a great family day.
We had a great day as a family. We bonded, we encouraged, we supported and we finished the day with love. And Love Conquers All.

Special Thanks to Thomas. He was a great help to us at the park. He shared the other location in Bloomfield Hills and invited us to try their 10 course park. The staff at the park was very helpful. Their laughter created a fun atmosphere.

SIDE NOTE..I am going to have a Guest next WEEK. Watch for Matt A's story next week!