"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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Broom Bush

"Elijah was afraid and RAN for his life..."  1Kings 19:3
This is one of my favorite stories of Victories to Fear. In THAT order!
I have noticed in my running career (I have ran long enough to have a career according to my old friend Jeff) that often after my greatest victories I am overwhelmed with FEAR.
This was the Story of Elijah the prophet. He just under went one of his greatest victories, only to be now running for his life.
He even went as far to ask God to take his life. How does one go from beating their chest in success to hiding in fear under a bush? 1Kings (19:3-5)
I have been under the "broom bush" quite a few times. I'm not RUNNING for my Life, rather I am RUNNING from Life.
When I first started running, a little over 10 years ago, I slowly began to get faster. I didn't know anything about Garmins, BQ-ers, Yasso 800's, or PR"s.
It was fun, the faster I got. Age group awards, first place overall female awards, and multiple top 3 awards.
THEN came the injuries. 2 knee surgeries in a little over 1 year! Both ACL and Meniscus. It didn't end there. A year later, I am in an ambulance for an emergency appendectomy. This isn't even including my 2 bouts with IT band.
I was haunted by my amazing races. I looked at those times, those victories those medals and wanted to RUN..away.
The voices I heard were "You are old and washed up.", "The Glory days are over, be grateful.", "You are not as Strong, not as Fast..."
And my favorite.."People are going to pass you, they are better than you, you used to be the leader, now your the follower."
I listened to the voices of insecurity, defeat, failure...so many voices.
I knew my Victories, like Elijah were not done by my own strength, I gave God all the Glory.
But the pressures of winning, being 1st, being fast was all my mind was tuned to.
I read this quote and it had my name ALL over it. "Winning can be as exhausting as losing. Sometimes the pressure of success can drain you at an even deeper level than the frustration of failure." Steven Furtick
I had to have a "Come to Jesus" meeting. I felt like I was in a boxing ring. I was getting my A$$ kicked by Fear. And I was feeding it. I was allowing it to punch my teeth in.  I needed to sit out. The more I listened to my fears, my insecurities, my injuries the harder the battle was to fight. I had given Fear too much Power over me.
I realized rather than feeding fear, I had to feed Courage, I had to get out from under the "Broom Bush" and seek God. I needed to hear HIS voice. I needed His Security and Strength.
"2Timothy 1:7 "For the Spirit of God gave us does NOT make us timid, but gives us Power, Love, and Self-Discipline."
I felt Like the Cowardly Lion, battling fear of failure I was begging God For courage. What I got through great prayer...Not faster times, Not more medals, Not even age awards like I did in the beginning. I got Security. I got the PEACE that passes all understanding. I got a great passion for running. Running became MORE than a pace or a place. It became a Passion.
So the Question is "What voices are You listening to?" "What Battle do you keep fighting?"
Do you wrestle with insecurity? Fear? Failure?

THE RUNDOWN: Monday, I honestly thought I could OUTRUN my cold. I thought that if I RAN, I could Run it out of me! Too bad my 20 mile run was cut in half and I ran to bed.  
Still struggling, but much better and incredible stubborn, I laced up my shoes today to run 15 miles. I wanted to run the 15 miles at a sub 9. My Garmin glitched and after 10 minutes of trying to get satellite I gave up and ran with the timer. I have enough routes memorized I could make 15 miles.
The first 5 were tough against the hills. I saw a car load of pastors from our church and from there I found my rhythm. The wind was blasting me. I chuckled as a gust of wind pushed my 100lb body into the road. "EAT a CHEESEBURGER ANITA!" I got myself laughing at my puny body being pushed. The sand blasted my face by the gravel pit and I dug in deeper. I just put my head down and anchored myself forward.
At mile 10, I was smiling, footloose and fancy.
At mile 12, the burn came. I knew I could do it. I looked at my watch. "I got THIS." The closer to home the more I ached. It is so MENTAL. I told myself to get control of my thoughts, I just ran 50 miles, this last mile was NOTHING.
I finished strong, 15 miles, 8:42 pace. I so happy. I met my goal and felt great!
Its so true, the pain of REGRET would be worse than the pain in my body.
I have been WAITING to Put my 50 MILE Woodstock sticker on a Vehicle! My New Truck.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Running Makes Sense..

My head was pounding, making it real difficult to crawl out of bed. I looked at the time and thought of Sarah F. getting ready to run her first half marathon. I was so excited for her.
Then I felt my throat itchy and my body achy. "Get a cup of coffee, get moving." I coaxed myself.
It was almost 8am. I had totally slept in.
"Happy Birthday Mom." September 27th. Its been so long. So many milestones without my mother. So many moments you look to heaven and wonder "if she could see this."
So early, so achy and already so weepy.

I curled up on the couch with my hot cup of coffee. Sheba curled up next to me. I prayed for Sarah F. to have a great race, to do well and to have fun.

I moved on with my morning.

Pastor Jim was sharing the story of Mary witnessing her son, Jesus, being beaten.  "Mothers, I am talking to you, As a mother...
Every time he said "Mother" I felt myself shrink in my seat. I was so sensitive. I could feel the tears resting in my eyes.
"She loved you Anita, you know she did."

I just wanted to RUN. I sent Lacey a text. She replied instantly. She was in.

3 weeks until Detroit Free Press Marathon. I have no training plan over the next 3 weeks. Just run when I feel like it, run long, run well, run healthy, just run.

I got 7 miles in with Lacey. I pushed her a bit, she loved it.  She wanted it, I needed it.
Running is so therapeutic.

I still don't have a car from Austin totaling it last week. I painted both the kitchen and the office last week. I really don't want to look at a paint brush for a while.
So I think I will run long tomorrow. Makes perfect sense. Maybe I will run trails. Maybe I will run to the trails.
Not sure what I will feel like tomorrow, both physically or mentally. I am on my second cup of hot tea and honey. I took a bath and came out before I fell asleep in there. I am feeling so distracted.
You ever have days when you struggle to compartmentalize your thoughts. Its crazy in there. My mind is like a crash derby. Thoughts, ideas, memories, dreams are bouncing off each other. Voices are interrupting each other. There is static making it difficult to understand anything at all.
Running makes sense, it always makes sense..


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Roll down the Windows!

My body still loves me. And quite honestly I am so grateful for this beat up body. Every scar, blister, lost toenail, my knobby knees, my farmers tan, the wrinkles around my eyes from squinting in the blazing sun..I am SO GRATEFUL.

This week I ran:
Sunday: Lacey and I- 8miles
Monday: SOLO-7 miles
Wednesday: Mary Ann 21 miles
Thursday: that's a funny story..AIRHEAD

I was meeting DANIELLE for the first time all summer to run out at Kensington. Super stoked I drove the 45 minutes out there, waited 10 minutes..No Danielle..I  read our text, then reread it.
OH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD ANITA! We were not meeting today..it was NEXT week!
With no music I headed back home.

My rental car sped home under the radar of the police. Zippy little Hyundai. Sure was fun speeding around the curves with the windows down and the radio blaring.

I had a sneaky little plan. The jokester in me knew that Claudia and Jama were running their long run this morning on the back roads.
I decided to find them and sneak up on them!
Neither of them knew that I was in a rental car. I saw them come off of Addis road. They looked awesome. I pulled up next to them with my windows down and screamed boldly at them. They jumped 10 feet in the air, shrieked and may have even grabbed themselves. I was laughing so hard. I live for this stuff.
I parked my car and jumped out to join them for almost 7 miles.

Sometimes I feel every minute of my age. I never want to quit being playful. I always want to be able to run, to jump, to throw the football around with the boys. I love playing pranks, wrestling with Andy, sparring with Austin.
In her 40's, I remember my crazy mom still doing cartwheels in the yard.
In her 90's,I loved doing the Irish Jig with my grandma.

Some days, as I look at this body I see age more than others. But when I paint a smile across my face, find one of my deep guttural laughs, or find myself cracking up at my personal humor I feel so young again.
You just cant take yourself so serious. Life gets serious with no help.
Andy met me today to pick up a piece of furniture. He smelled amazing. I felt all flirty. As we left in our separate vehicles, we both headed to Tim Hortons. Ahead of Andy and still giddy from his cologne I ordered my coffee.
At the drive thru to pay the lady asked for 1.90$.
I replied giggling "Dang, that guy behind me is a cutie."
She looked at me like a was crazy.
"Hmm, he sure is cute, I think I will pay for his coffee too!" I winked
She looked confused, "Ahh, really?"
I ripped a piece of paper and wrote "CALL ME!!....and put my phone number on it. I asked her to give it to the driver.
Now she was totally laughing, I winked again and told her that he was actually my husband and drove off.
Andy pulled behind me and just shook his head with a big grin on his face.
I cracked up at myself almost all the way home.

Not every day is a flirty giddy day. Honestly, I have had a rough week. But its not going to own me. I have had a few temper tantrums, shed a few tears and been a bit discouraged. But I don't like camping out there to long. I have to find a positive channel to tune into.
Some days, you gotta turn the music up a little louder. Sometimes, you have to blow a kiss and wink like your a kid again.
Its fun to dance in the kitchen doing dishes, drive a few miles over the speed limit with the windows down and enjoy a ice cream cone the way you did as a kid.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Birds of a Feather

One week of no running is enough to make one go batty. OF course this week displayed epic weather. Everyday the sun appeared teasing me, toying with me, "Come on Anita, don't you want to come out and play?"
BUT I didn't. It took 3 days to walk again. 2 days of falling in the bottom of the toilet because my quads were applesauce. 3 days of NO sleeping.
My mind wanted to run. I was a good girl and stayed put...sorta.

I did run to my mother in laws house when I got the call my son had crashed my car this week. My son had taken my car and not 30 minutes and a mile down the road did I receive that dreaded phone call. "MOM..Mom...I got in an accident..."
My heart sank. I was sick. He was talking, he must be OK. Oh GOD...I didn't have a car, All I had was my legs. All I knew how to do was RUN. I had to GET TO HIM!
AND that is what I did. I threw on my shoes and started running to my mother in laws. My legs were in working order. I sprinted through the tall grasses. Weeds scraping my legs on the uneven path.  My legs just floated over the ground. I couldn't tell I just ran 50 miles.  RUN Anita, Faster. My mind was spinning. I would have ran all the way had I not saw my mother in the car picking me up.
One week to the day, Boy Wonder had his license. My car was totaled. Everyone was fine, beaten up, emotional but nothing broken.

It has been a very rough week. I couldn't run so I painted my kitchen.
I would have painted the house but I didn't have a car to get more paint.
What I really needed was to RUN. I felt like a locked up race horse. I wanted to feel the sun, the wind, I wanted to feel sore, I wanted to breath heavy and hear my breathing. I wanted to feel my heart pounding and all my burdens slowly dissolve.

Lacey shot me a text to meet her to run 5 miles this afternoon. I was all over it like white on rice.
I ran to Laceys house, only I never arrived. She picked me up on the dirt road. "GET IN!" YIKES! I did as I was told!
I didn't have to be Einstein to know she was not in a happy place. Lacey is one of the toughest people I know. We have similar backgrounds. She doesn't tolerate excuses, whiners, or being wimpy. She is one of those "PULL up your BOOTSTRAPS" girls. You get through it.
I run with some tough runners. I have a few partners that have a testimony that is drenched in adversity. They have been through HELL and back.
I listen. I love. I laugh. But I hear her. I hear more than their struggles, I listen to their Strength. The "Come Hell or High Water" I will not be defeated attitude.
Our five miles, turned into almost 7 miles plus the mile I ran before she picked me up.
My Posse, We RAN into Erin out there running 10 miles solo! 

By mile four, we were laughing at our crapshoot week. It's life. Build and bridge and get over it. Get mad, cry, then suck it up and move on.
I am so encouraged by the birds in my flock.
You have to surround yourself with those who push you to be the BEST YOU. People that don't stand in the way of your dreams but help pave the way or hold your hand along the way. Encircle yourself around people who DREAM big Dreams, who Believe, Encourage, and Love. People that Work Hard, don't live on excuses and are Positive. They put in the work and live to attain Greatness.

Pick your tribe. Your choice. Birds of a Feather Flock together.
"He that walketh with the wise shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed." Proverbs 13:20

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Run Woodstock 2015.

RUN WOODSTOCK 50 Mile: Rundown.

We headed to Hell, Michigan to pick up my bib. Hell Creek Ranch. Sounded suitable for ultra runners who would be pushing beyond their  physical limits to a  place that might feel like Hell.

We got to the ranch at dusk, the festivities were still on and popping. It looked like a Woodstock commune. My boys were curious and took off looking for a basketball court.  The Ranch opened up to way more than a place to pick up your packets. It had a stage with a band playing some nostalgic tunes. The 100K and 100M race had been going since 4pm so some runners were coming through. Everywhere you looked people had tents set up for the full experience. Campfires, pets, kids, food stands, pavilions and even the "Head Gear" (Merchandise shop). It was like sensory overload.
For an extrovert like me, I was in hog Heaven even in Hell,Michigan. But for an Introvert like my husband he was literally in HELL!
As I came out of the port-a-john, I was telling Andy "try not to suck the fun out of this", I saw a familiar face. It was Mike K. He was volunteering. I introduced him to mom, dad and Andy but kept it short, which is hard for me. My family had sacrificed a lot already, they still hadn't eaten so I was really on their clock.

I knew I wouldn't be sleeping good, If at all. I was paranoid that a spider or a bug was going to crawl in my ear. You might be thinking "I thought you were not camping." We weren't! But our hotel must have been vacant for weeks. We found spiders that were so big you could see their eyeballs, cobwebs that wanted to engulf you and layers of dust that gave you the heabie jeabies.
Getting up at 4:45am really was no problem!

I really was proud of myself, I didn't forget anything. I had my watch, my chews, my headlamp...  . Andy dropped mom, dad and I off at the Ranch and he left to park. Waiting about 10 minutes for Andy I screeched "OH NO MOM, I FORGOT my water container in the car!"
I quickly called Andy, who was almost to us. It was 12 minutes until the start. But I wasn't nervous if I didn't cross the starting line right away.
Andy arrived with his superman cape on holding my water bottle 3 minutes to START. We had enough time to gather together in prayer. While we prayed the race director was going over the directions for the race. I was desperately trying to pray because I really needed God for this adventure but then I really needed to hear the instructions. I chose Prayer in faith God would direct me.

We crossed the starting mat in the dark at 6am. At the last second, I took this guys advice and removed my headlamp.  He said that many people have headlamps and I would be fine.
We ran through the camp before we entered unto the trail. It was pitch black in the woods except for the lights, some bright, some blinking and some different colors. The trail was very narrow making running NOT an option with all of us.  The first mile took me over 16 minutes and I walked most of it. The second mile wasn't much better. It was still so dark that people were still walking, you couldn't pass them due to the darkness. You heard "ROOT", "STUMP"  nearly a hundred times. It was funny the guy behind me had a headlamp on and was running on my right to help me see. He must have tripped 2 or 3 times. We shared a laugh.
By mile 4, the sun was coming up and you could see the path. It was beautiful.
walking the hills, sun coming up.
 "ON Your LEFT",I learned to say when I was passing people. I ran behind too many people for too long afraid to pass. I followed the guy in front of me every time he took the lead.
I had to run 3 loops. They were about 16 miles each, give or take, it somehow ended up to 50.
There was so much excitement around me. We were like a big group. No one was individual. All of us chatted, laughed, encouraged and kept running.
I ran a long distance with this guy wearing a 50 mile running shirt. He was also the one with the headlamp. I stayed close behind him. He was running the 50K but we were on the same path.
GRACIE aid station was the first one we came to. I was looking forward to seeing KEN A. I have ran with Ken a couple times. As I came out of the path, I was staring at this multicolored HIPPIE wearing a black stringy wig. It was KEN!. I hit it at mile 12.
RUNNING TIP From Matt A: Check out the Aid stations, try things...
WATERMELON and OLIVES!  Seriously, it was wonderful. Like I was pregnant again. I'm not!
You would run with the same people until you got to the aid stations. At this point everyone would eat,pee, poo, stretch or even pass it by.
I took 5/6 minutes at the aid stations.
MIKE THE PACER. I met him on this loop. He shared a story with me. I will share it with you at the end of this post. He was an encourager, a philosopher and I wanted to run with him, I thought this guy needed to be my pacer. The path was still pretty thick with runners. There was so much camaraderie you had no desire to listen to music.

Before I arrived here, Andy called me. I was running with my phone. Before you judge me, you have to remember, I am a daughter, a mother and a wife first. I ran with my phone in case something happened. 50 miles isn't a jog in the park. I am clumsy, horrible with direction and a airhead. Running with my phone is important!
My phone was ringing, it was Andy.  "Anita, have you hit the first aid station?"
I couldn't figure out what he was asking. "Yeah, a while ago."
Andy replied "WOW, you are FAST!"
I didn't think that first lap was going fast at all. Awe, he was so sweet, such a great encourager. I thought.
I wasn't at the end of the first loop yet. This aid station was also the start and the finish. So I would pass it 3 times. It was the hub for all festivities, at Hell Creek Ranch. You could hear the music a half a mile away. I was so excited to see my family.
As I came through, I looked everywhere for my family. No where. I went through the aid station but I
don't think I ate anything because I just wanted to see my family. Disappointed and sad I headed into the trail. I called Andy, "Where are you?"
We were lost in translation. He forgot about the other stations. Us runners were going by loops and aid station names, Grace and Richies Haven.
Discovering that I had just now passed through the first loop AKA The first aid station Andy says "Oh, wow, why are you so slow?"
Back on the trail, I was able to see how bad the path was compared to when I was on it at 6am. It was full of roots. It was cool to see what I hadn't seem the first time.
Before I knew it I was hitting Grace Aid Station again. I was somewhere around 20 miles. My favorite hippie was still hanging loose. I walked around the table to see what new food I wanted to munch on.

Swedish fish, pizza, pineapple, chips,olives,pickles, watermelon.....
It was almost 12 and I was eating beef jerky and chocolate chip cookies.
I sent Andy a text to let him know my choice of fuel. He replied with humor. I started breaking my run down into Aid stations.
I headed into the woods and caught back up with some of the runners I had ran with earlier. Most of the time I would let them lead both by foot and by conversation. A lot of first time 50 milers. I was running with 2 brothers and we even caught up with Mike THE PACER. But even the brothers were struggling staying together. Off and on I was running with this tall older man who kept tripping.  He even tripped in front of me once. He was getting tired and struggling to pick up his feet.
I came up to Richies Haven. As I came through, I could smell the POO from the outhouse at the base of the trail. Before I could wince I was overcome with JOY. MY FAMILY was there! I could feel myself just light up.
In NO hurry, I hugged them all. We chatted and they all said HOW GOOD I LOOK!" I warned them I was only half way there, on my next loop not to expect the same. Mom replied "I am so happy that you are taking it slower this time." I chuckled inside thinking I was going as fast as my legs could. But for me to show mom a big smile was very important, she worries so bad for me.  I sat down to take off my socks and access my damaged toes. My blisters were ugly and my shoes were full of sand.  They had been burning for a few miles. A couple pictures, cup of warm salty soup, duck tape for my toes and I was back on the saddle again.
Does a bear fart in the woods? Fig newton's, Swedish fish, olives, pizza, pretzels, watermelon and orange slices, Oh my poor belly. It was so confused. Looking around, I was alone in the woods, toot toot, I just tooted and giggled all by myself. I was just grateful that was all that was coming out!
Being alone didn't last too long. I could hear someone catching up to me. I wasn't listening to music. I had made the plan to save my music for the last loop when I needed it most. It would be my prize for making it over 32 miles.
The last time I saw Andy...Not looking too well.

Their steps and breathing made me turn around. This person sounded like they were dying, they needed to catch up or call for help.  It was a younger guy. He asked me the time. I thought that was crazy, where was his watch. PAUL from PICKNEY. The more I talked to this guy the more interesting he was. Something was said about the beer at an aid station. I said I didn't drink. Very bold He questioned me. "Why, Why don't you drink?" Taken back by his straightforward question, I gave a very brief response, I have bad genetics, I needed to stop the cycle, drinking to me just isn't worth it. I have 2 boys, it has to stop."
Paul from PICKNEY then shared his testimony with me. 15 years sober. A beautiful family, 4 girls and a great career.
I was inspired, and awed. I LOVE hearing victories.
BUT he also shared something else..
"Paul, so who talked you into this?"
He laughed, a friend of mine, I wanted to do another Ironman but this was more affordable...."
With a childlike curiosity my questions continued. He mentioned that he had already ran farther than he had ever ran and we were only at mile 26,27...So I had to ask "So what was your longest training run PAUL from PICKNEY?
"16 miles" he said with a big smile.
I almost tripped over myself. "Wait, Wait! You have never ran an ultra, you got talked into a 50 mile ultra in the woods, only training 16 miles and show up not even wearing a watch?!"
To make it even more crazy he never trained on trails!
I looked down at my watch and we were holding a 9:45 pace. WOW!
I am the last one to give advice when it comes to ultras, so I passed on the tips that were given to me.
"Have you been fueling at the aid stations?"
It didn't seem like he was. I took the lead to the next Aid station. He was holding on strong both in conversation and foot work.
The Aid Stations broke the miles up perfectly. I let him take the lead and I held behind. He was hurting but still holding on strong. It was funny running in front of someone not knowing what they look like. When you finally see someone after chatting with them for so long it is really cool. They are not the back of a baseball cap or the writing on their shirt, they actually have a face!
"We just have to get to the end of this loop and we only have more loop to go, will your family be there?"
"Yes, and my girls."
I was so happy that his family were going to be there, PAUL from PICKNEY actually road his bike to the race!
I wanted so badly for PAUL to finish. I told him if we got separated at the last loop  I would wait for him at the fence going into the trail head.
As we came out of the trail, I loved that campers were camped out at the mouth and they were all cheering you on. You took the path around the ranch were you could see everyone lined up waiting to cheer you on.
"Paul, do you see your family?"
He was smiling, "Yeah, they are right there...."
Our families were actually right next to one another.

Paul  From Pickney and I.Last time I saw him.

The Third and Final Loop.
I loved seeing my family. They had been chasing me back and forth from Ritchies Haven to here.  I ate a bite,  some trail mix and filled my water bottle. I  looked for PAUL, then headed towards the trail. I waited a few minutes for him but I needed to get going before my body wouldn't let me. I began to wonder if maybe he didn't want to run with me. Or maybe he was going to quit right here.
"Go ANITA, Go." I coaxed myself on.
My quads were starting to burn, I thought my plantar fasciitis was tearing apart but my duck taped toe was happy happy happy.
Every step I begged my legs to just go numb. So I didn't have to feel each step that landed. Energy was not the issue, it was my body that was beating me up. Small roots sticking out of the ground looked like death traps. Minor inclines looked like the Rocky mountains and even the declines looked like a pit fall.
I had already tripped 3 times but only fell once.  I would have been better off just falling rather then trying to catch my fall, I wrenched my back pretty good.
It had rained softly off and on. It was refreshing. The weather couldn't have been anymore perfect. I tried to focus on all the positives in hopes I wouldn't feel the negatives that my body was screaming at me.
I was looking at a 10 hour run. I reminded myself I had ran farther than most people would ever dream. But then most people would never dream of wanting to run what I was running.
I listened to my music to encourage me. Runners were slowing down. I found myself passing several runners. The 100milers didn't look so good. Most of them were walking. I wanted to walk. I found myself on the rail trail. It was flat as a pancake. My legs were very familiar with this terrain. I just kept passing runners. The tall guy that kept tripping, he was a muddy mess. "Hey there, Are you still tripping out there?" I chuckled.
"OH man, I took a really bad fall and my hamstring is suffering."
He stood about 6'4, about 55 years old with a shoe that was every bit a size 13. I thought how bad it must be on him to fall like that.
I took advantage of the straight way. I picked up the pace knowing once I entered into the trails it was going to get ugly.
I saw a familiar face near the Gracie Aid Station, It was Matt A. He looked amazing. He carries a big contagious smile. He gave me a fist pump or a high five or something, I really was losing it. I did know he was almost done and I had another hour an a half of running. Matt A and Ken A ran at Holdridge with me a few weeks ago. They are rock stars.
When you see those big smiles the emotions are catchy. You ride on the tail skirts of their energy. I wanted to bottle it up and nibble on it like an energy chew.
But then you find yourself back on the trails, alone, listening to your body cuss you out.
I came up on the girl about my age on the trail. I thought about passing her but I tagged behind her a few feet and tried to open a conversation. She was not reciprocating. She actually picked up the pace. "OK, you want to be like that, I will stick with it." Picking up the pace was something I need motivation to do. We came out unto the dirt road, I could see her looking at her watch. She slowly starting backing down and I looked in front of me for someone else to run with. I needed help. I needed the motivation. When I was alone I just didn't feel mentally strong enough to combat the voices.
As I came along side of this guy he says, "Your from Holly." I recognized his voice but that was it. We stuck together. We didn't chat a lot but I knew he liked me there and I needed him there too. He picked up the pace a bit. He hit the last aid station before the finish and like a little kid I followed his lead. He didn't hang out. He grabbed fuel and ate it walking into the trail.
We had four miles to go. I looked at my watch and was disappointed I would not be finishing in the 10 hours I hoped.
I didn't shed too many tears over my time, my body was hurting and capable of much greater misery.
4 miles might have been 10 miles. I couldn't figure out how my legs were going to hold up. I focused on the runner in front of me. The last 4 miles into the camp are the worst. Hills that go on for what feels like infinity, hills that make your heart want to tear out of your chest. The trail was only wide enough for one and rutted deep in the ground. Once a mountain biker came towards
 me and I thought I would just fall over rather than make the leap out of the path.
With 2 miles left, my running partner was still maintaining a sub 10 minute pace. I slowly let distance come between us. I couldn't keep it up, I just wanted to walk. So I did. The problem was I didn't want to start back up, but then I knew if I didn't I wouldn't be able to move forward.
"You gotta get back up." I told myself.
I gave myself markers to run to, then I would add more distance trying to encourage myself to run more and walk less. I couldn't believe it, I caught back up to the guy I had been pacing with. We were bringing in the last half a mile together.
There was no doubt I was going to finish. I could practically hear them cheering. I just wanted to run it in. As we came out of the woods that final time he was gone. I honestly don't even remember where I lost him at in that quarter mile. My mind was a bit foggy and I just wanted to have my medal around my neck. I wanted to walk. I wanted to see my family. I wanted a CUP OF COFFEE!
The spectators cheered me on for the third and final time. I almost started crying to think that my body just ran 50 miles. Although I had ran 50 miles before I had never ran over 10 hours in my life. God provided me strength to go beyond anything I had ever done.  My watch actually had me over 50 miles! My feet hit the gravel path towards the finish and I picked up my legs a little higher. I turned my feet over a little faster. And I grinned a little wider. I could see my families eyes meet mine. I couldn't feel anything but going faster and making a strong finish. This spunky ginger to my left caught my eye. It was Paula and Matt. Matt had been done for almost 2 hours. Paula's smile and enthusiasm was charismatic. As I finished over the mats, my body just floated. I had no pain, no fatigue just pure JOY.
I literally fell into Andys arms. I wrapped my arms around him and even tied my legs around his waist.
My family looked like they had ran. And they had. They had ran from aid station to aid station for over 10 hours. They stood out in the wet drizzle waiting and worrying for me. The took care of me, they cheered for me and they prayed for me.
I am so blessed to have the greatest parents and family. I spoke to several runners who would be finishing alone. My family, even the ones that were not there were there for me in texts, calls, messages and prayers.

 Plato's The Allegory of the Cave:
In Closing:
MIKE the PACER and I were talking about why we go beyond the limits. He gives me the story of Plato. After reading the interpretation, I was given a very brief summary of a intricate and detailed illustration.
The story was told like this. A man is chained in a cave with others. He believes along with all the others, that is the only world. He escapes his chains and discovers a world outside the cave. It is so magnificent he is almost blinded. He soon realizes that there is another world outside of what He thought to be his reality. A life outside of the dark in bondage in the cave. Not hardly a life at all. But a life he lived without complaint.
Why would you run 50 miles? Many like those in the cave, could not fathom the thought of something outside of their reality. To them it is hard to believe that running could bring you Joy, Passion, Love, Pleasure and Euphoria. As the light stings his eyes, the pain of running 50 miles pains my every fiber. I wince as He does . But it is far more pleasurable to endure the pain than to go back to my cave.
Pretty Deep. The reasons I run. I love the deep stuff!


Thursday, September 10, 2015

WOODSTOCK T-2 days Final preps

"Anita, are you nervous?"
"Well, you have run 50 miles before."
"So, are you ready?

The top three questions/statements I have heard the last couple weeks.

AM I NERVOUS? AHH YEAH!! Its 50 miles in trails!
I remember giving birth to my second child. I was still as nervous as the first time. I knew the end result but it was getting from point A to point B!
Every race is different. Its 50 miles of trails, different trails, different scenery, different runners and I am a different runner, a different age and a different kind of NERVOUS!

Am I READY? Yes. I am. Its a barrage of emotions. The rollercoaster thing. 

  • I packed my bags today.
  • I got my massage.
  • I went to work to get waxed so I could be more aerodynamic! My eyebrows are arched to perfection, thank you ANGIE! I figured that if I look like death at least I wont have a mustache or a uni-brow!
  • My playlist is complete! I don't think I have 9,10 hours of running music, I just need anything playing louder than my mind begging me to quit!
  • My sister in Law, Kim is taking my baby girl, Sheba.

I only have 4 misfortunes and they are mostly going to work out.
  1. My Garmin isn't charging, But Andy has a way better Garmin, I will be taking his!
  2. I can not find my running pouch, AKA fanny pack! Jama has one she is going to loan me.
  3. My nerves trashed my face, I look like I am 15 years old with acne. I need zit cream and Botox! Great combination!
Well, we are at 2 days. My heart is doing a double tap. I have a cheesy perm-a-grin on my face. And I feel like I could cry with excitement and nerves. Its tough being a girl!

I am going to PLAY CLOSEST to the HOLE! Woodstock has some groovy shopping available! I will purchase some goodies! SHARE your time you think I will complete 50 miles! Not time of day, hours and minutes I will be running! If you follow my blog you may have a little heads up by knowing the time of my last 50 mile race.


I will try to check in tomorrow, If you follow me at Running against the Odds FB or Instagram at nitasliferunning I will be sharing my Woodstock adventure!

Please Remember me in YOU prayers!


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Two is Better than One: 3 days and counting!!!

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, lean not onto your own understanding; in all ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-7
This was my verse for the day.
Lean not on your own understanding
He will direct your paths.
My understanding is often a path that leads in circles. It goes around and around in circles.
Sometimes it is as if we over think things to the point we lose our direction all together.
The last time I trained for my 50 mile race I ran up to 36 miles. I didn't run trails but once.
This time my longest run was 32 miles but I have ran trails multiple times.
I am not going to overthink what is to come, what I should have done or feel insecure or fearful about what lies ahead of me this Saturday.
I am trusting on God to set my path before me. I have trained all summer. I have stayed dedicated, committed and disciplined even when I didn't feel like it. And TRUST me there were MANY runs I didn't feel like it.
I had runs my body was sore from a previous run. I ran in temperatures that were blazing. I had blisters that were rubbed raw to the point I never wanted to put my feet in shoes again.
BUT I continued running not just
because I set a GOAL. I continued running because I had some incredible running partners.
Claudia gave me this verse today:
Eccl 4:9-10 "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down one can help the other up."
In the days that my path has been crooked with confusion, exhaustion or burn out I have had God supply me with a partner to encourage, support and cheer me on.
Some of my partners never ran a mile with me. But they sent me cards, text messages, prayers and words of encouragement.
God has supplied me with this amazing group of people.
I want to give a shout out to those that have ran beside me in one way or the other:
  1. Andy, Andy came out tracking me to bring me nutrition, ice water and check on me. He always supports me crazy ideas.
  2. Claudia, she was always first to go after those 6am runs! I am so thankful for the accountability, great runs and great conversations.
  3. Lacey, She couldn't run but that girl came beside me on my 30 mile runs on her bike. She packed waters, bananas, ice and even tissue and wet clothes to cool off with. She could see me and know. She knew how much I needed her on my toughest runs and she put her life on the side to be there for me. Unbelievable. She is suffering a running injury and still came to my rescue. SELFLESS.
  4. Ken H. He came out for some dark Saturday runs.
  5. Mary Ann, Jama, Erin, these are running club rock stars! Best cheerleaders out there. They always show up with a smile and a great attitude!
  6. Maggie, Megan, Kay and Leeanne,  text messages, Fb messages, Memes, and running list music these ladies have been a great support. I could always count on them on a long run to send me something on before my run or after my run
  7. Matt, Paula, and Ken, even though I only run with them once a year these elites have a few things to share. I saturate everything from where they plant their feet on the trail to just listening to their stories.
  8. Fritz, I am sad to say I haven't ran this year with Fritz. He, however has commented his experience on my blog and shared his wisdom that has spoke volumes.
  9.  Rachel and Kris, these two are running besties. Rachel has the gift of encouragement. I shared some great miles with her. And Kris, I feel like I have ran with her because she has great words, wisdom and encouragement.
Thank YOU all. For two is Better than one. So Thankful to God for directing me through my training.
2 MORE DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, September 7, 2015

I Missed the Memo

I ran 3 easy miles at Sorenson Park yesterday. The hardest part of the run was running from the creepy noises on the trails. At some point the leaves rustled to my right. It startled me enough to make me jump in the air. When I turned my head to see what was lurking in the tall grass, I swear it was a anaconda! I put a little pep in my step to get out of his path before he swallowed me whole. I was jittery the whole 3 miles that  I kept looking behind me. I had myself convinced that some weirdo was following me.  Between the noises, the moving grasses and my paranoia I found myself laughing out loud at the biggest weirdo out there, ME.

This morning I met Claudia and Erin for another easy trail run. We were not the only ones at Holdridge. Both the girls had hand held water containers. This sparked my curiosity. With this being taper week I was wondering how many miles they were wanting to do.
"Claudia,  How many miles were you thinking?"
"I was thinking maybe 10 easy."
I swallowed hard "Ahh, this is taper week.."
Claudia looked confused "So what does your taper look like compared to mine?"
I replied "I was thinking like 5 or 6.."
You could tell she was not thinking those same digits. We went back and forth. I was actually trying to convince her less was more. It was not fun being the barer of bad news but it was fun seeing her so excited to want to run the mileage.
I loved Claudia's reply, Erin and I were cracking up "Well, what about like 6, 8 or 10..."

For the LOVE of running this girl has the BUG! Claudia is loving the trails. Today, was Erins first run out at Holdridge with us. I think Erin is sucked in as well.
We stayed upright. I was super proud of myself for not falling on my face! We did however get slightly lost and I only say slightly because we figured it out within a half a mile.
The farther we got into the trail the more people we began to see. We shared the trails with bikers, hikers but no other runners. We knocked out 6 miles.
The scenery was so different coming out of the trails. Everyone must have gotten the memo to go the Holdridge on Labor day. There was not a parking spot left. Families were at the picnic area, people were meeting up to bike it was like a party.
We chatted for a few minutes before we separated to go our ways. As we were leaving I saw Ken (I ran with him in a group a couple weeks ago) heading in. I let him know it was busy out there before I continued home.
The OTHER MEMO I didn't GET! I invited Matt and Paula to our last trail run this Wednesday before Woodstock. Only to find out you don't run trails the week before!
Makes sense. All the  advice I have gotten I didn't get that little nugget!

And the Count down Continues!  Woodstock T minus 4 DAYS!!
Claudia gave me a care package with another Starbucks mug, this one is from Ontario! I love my collection of City mugs! And this TIE DIE cake mix all ready for WOODSTOCK! If you can read the words to her card they are the BEST.  They are the Lyrics from the song Woodstock!
I have the greatest circle of friends. So thoughtful.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Ultra Countdown Woodstock T-minus 8

My house is screaming over the Michigan game. I am easily distracted. So I am going to be brief.

"Unless your not pushing yourself, you're not living to the fullest. You can't be afraid to fail, but unless you fail you haven't pushed yourself hard enough." Dean Karnezes

I am getting very nervous. Just  a little over a week until Woodstock ultra. I have really enjoyed training this summer. I have been blessed with great weather and amazing training partners.

I have gotten more experience on the trails.
The trails have beat me up pretty good but I  have been a willing participant. Woodstock is going to be more difficult than my last 50 miler, Hungerford.  Hungerford was 2 years ago but I remember it to be mostly flat. I think. I can barely remember where I set my keys but I think I remember it flat with more sand than the Sahara Desert.

I think it is going to hurt really bad. I am nervous. Walk, crawl but hopefully mostly run, I will finish.
Augusts miles. 287

I SLEPT IN. Andy brought me coffee in bed at 7am. It was like liquid gold.
Mom text me "Are you running?"  "Its getting hot and humid." I new I better suck down my coffee and get out there.

I looked like a spokesman for Pepto Bismo. I was Pink from head to toe. I am not even a pink girl.
By the time I was done running, I was more of a STINK girl, My pretty pink couldn't even cover up the smell.
I went out for 10 miles. Erin brought her suburban to a halt to Cheer me on. That girl had me smiling for over a mile. Then I heard a BEEP BEEP. It was mom. I was smiling behind the sweat again. One of the great things about living in a small town is you know a lot of people.
I chose to run on the main road full sun. I needed to feel the fatigue, sweat, and humidity as part of my training. I also chose to try to keep my shirt on no matter how bad I perspired. I was so glad I did. At 6 miles, I saw our youth pastor Ryan. That would have been awkward. My shirt was soaked, my shorts were even sweating but I was still clothed, hot as hell but dressed!

"Man needs difficulties, they are necessary for health." Carl Jung

I was bent on maintaining even splits. I had a goal pace and knew I could hit it without totally slitting my wrists. It was going to be moderate.
My route was 5 miles of rolling hills. Because it was an out and back I had 5 miles of hills back home. With sweat dripping down my chin I would wipe it down with the energy I had but hardly enough energy to even drink. I didn't want to drink a lot. I wanted to hit this run depleted. I wanted to be hot, tired, thirsty and sore. I needed to run through misery.
Because Woodstock is going to be all kinds of pain. I have to be mentally strong to get through 50 miles of every element I can train for.
6 out of 10 toes are suffering from blisters. That last mile home I could feel one burning.  I looked down at my watch and whispered, "Maintain, Anita, hold it here." My legs were on autopilot as I hit that last hill. "Take it in."
One last deep breath. Finishing close to home I hit the stop button on my Garmin. I was nervous to check my splits and see if I ran my goal pace.
Nailed it! With sweat burning my eyes I still found myself smiling.

I have a question Ultra Runners..DO YOU TAPER???


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

From one Extreme to the Next

Last week, I camped out in recovery mode. I found myself tired, sore and emotional. We had a sudden death that rested deep in our hearts.

This week, I am on an adrenaline high. I feel like a crack head bouncing from one thing to the next. I am getting good mileage in, my body is upright, and I am even having fun. Yesterday, or more like this morning we had a BIRTH!
My niece Sarah asked me to be with her in the delivery room. Similar to coaching kids running cross country, I found myself using the same mantra! I was on her left hand side. Someone asked me to hold her leg as the nurse checked for the babies heart rate. I jumped to her side ready to help hold her legs during contractions. My sweet niece pushed for 2 hours. My arm and shoulder is so sore. It was truly amazing to watch a woman's body perform like that.
Us woman are just amazing what we can do.

I was driving home from the hospital in Royal Oak at 2 am. I had to chuckle as I drove thinking about what a party animal I was. Out till 2 in the morning! I haven't been out that late in years and had a clear conscious!

The Rundown:
6 easy miles on the back roads with Mary Ann and Erin at 7am.
14 miles at Holdridge, running the trails with Claudia. It was hot and humid. We both took a face plant on the trails. We laughed so hard at one another I about peed my shorts. I had to grab myself and lean on a  tree to prevent myself from losing everything in my bladder.
I did however find myself in a NOT SO FUNNY place.  I twisted that stupid ankle to the fifth degree. I lost my testimony shouting "OH S#@!!"
We did finish our run upright and thankful it was over as we were dripping in sweat and dirt. Between sweat, dirt and peeing my shorts I think I smelled like a wild animal.  Wild Mexican animal!
I wanted to get 30miles in. It was 88 degrees. I added another 4 miles calling it in at 25 miles today.
I am anxious to see how the ankle is tomorrow. Hopefully not a cankle.

Are there any tips out there for multiple twisting of the ankles? Does it heal? Or have I weakened it?
Woodstock is a blink away!