"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

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Super Simple Thursday, Headless Horseman RACE RECAP

Last weekend I raced in Howell, The Headless Horseman. This was by FAR my most obnoxious run I have ever done.
  • a 7:30pm Halloween race, in the dark through the cemetery.
  • Invited by Danielle, her home town, all three of us dressed up as witches.
  • Lacey and I decided we wanted to "FUN RUN" it.
  • Danielle wanted to RACE it. As Danielle coaxed us to the front of the runners, Lacey and I secretly looked at each other in fear!
  • We stayed with Danielle for about a block. Then looking at each other we started laughing and making really ridiculous jokes, about  Zombies, passing SpongeBob, and how we were gonna get our clothes off...
  • It was 65 degrees, we were overdressed. Between mile 2 and 3 we were on the side trying to take our layers off. Everything was pinned together, we both were glowing in the dark, bare white skin, with our sports bras and TU TU's on.
  • Laughing so hard at the looks we were getting as we tried to dress ourselves again we started peeing our pants.
  • Never done before in a 10K...we took off in the woods, forgetting we had glow in the dark bangles, we made a bathroom in the woods.
  • We never stopped laughing and cutting up with the volunteers. One group of 6 kids were located on a curve we hit 3 times, They LOVED us, they shouted, high fived us, low fived us and rocked our world in a runners sense!
  • SOMEHOW Lacey and I managed to changed our clothes, repin our bibs, pee in the woods, pass Spongbob, get passed by SpongeBob and still finish with a sub 9 minute mile!


Distance:8 miles
Temp: 36'  with wind chill 20'
Times: 1:09
Pace: 8:41
Easy run, if you don't include the cold and the wind that ripped your face off. We did see a nice size buck, it looked like a 6pt, he was majestic, stunning. We didn't auto pause, we made a couple stops for pics.
  1. 8:53
  2. 9:46
  3. 8:25
  4. 8:38
  5. 8:44
  6. 8:24
  7. 8:47
  8. 7:56
Another one of my favorite routines this time of year is running with Danielle every Thursday! ____________________________________________________________________________

I made Energy Bites this afternoon

2 cups Oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used Bees knees)
1/3 cup honey (Local honey is the best way to go)
1/2 cup flax seed, the recipes call for it ground, I like it whole
1/2 cup chocolate chips, I added white chips too
1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Mix together, refridgerate for 30 minutes, roll into balls, keep refrigerated.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Back on Track

Most of us runners are addicted to our weather ap. Mine said rain most all day. I had a small window to run outside at 11am or 2pm.
I got home about 11:30am from cleaning my maw maws house. In the car, I checked the weather for the hundredth time. I really didn't have time to drive to Genesys Athletic club. I could save so much time if I could just run outside. With the sky just spitting at me, I decided I would run outside, besides the temperature was 54'. Very Nice.
In the time I dressed, rolled and stretched, the spit turned to a more repetitious drizzle. I don't mind finishing in a decent rain, I just struggle starting out that way.

I haven't been to the gym in weeks. With the warm weather, I enjoy spending my time running in the elements. In the evening, in between commercials of Walking dead, the Strain, or whatever my family chooses to watch I do legs, stretching and core. I also fold laundry, but that does nothing for my training!
Today, I quickly packed my bags and headed to the gym. This will soon be my new routine.. I LOVE my gym, I just never want to leave. That's the problem.
I will be running more solo runs.
I will be running less miles and more intentionally.
I will be lifting more, to protect myself.
I will be icing more, prevention.
I will be more focused. Less distraction. I zone out.
I will hurt more. I am motivated by my surroundings.
I am excited.

My heart literally skipped a beat, like the first time you realize someone is flirting with you. I was on a date with the gym. I could hardly wait to step onto the track.
"HELLO TRACK, I am back, did you miss me?"
We picked up right where we left off.
The plan: 7 miles at a sub 8 pace.
I wanted the track to make me work, make me sweat, make my heart pound and my blood pump. Such a love affair.
I wanted to be on the brink of backing out but at the cusp of wanting more.
The mind is powerful. I love that place where you think, "Really, I am only at 3 miles...UGH." Then the great debate goes off in your head. I am screaming at myself so loud I wonder if people can hear my voices. Every once in a while I whisper "Go, shut up.."
I keep hitting the lap/split button on my Timex watch. "Hold on, Nita."
I started getting a little light headed and realized I forgot to eat after breakfast. Knowing that I decided I needed to run stronger, controlled. No excuses.

Plan: Accomplished.
And to add a bonus...I DID A PERFECT PROGRESSIVE RUN. Each mile I shaved off more time, ending with almost 50 seconds faster than my first mile.

SIDE Note, I did get distracted on the track. A little mouse was running around on the track. I was cracking up as I hopped over him. They leave the doors open, this lil guy was trying to find a dry place to warm up. I told the worker about him and later saw them carrying a bucket laughing.

COFFEE: I like to add some of My favorites: Peets CafĂ© Domingo is my favorite flavor of coffee, hence why I have the least amount in My Keurig holder.
Among the some of my flavors are : Green Mountain Organic Peru Calimarca, Seattles Best Breakfast blend, Green Mountain Brown Sugar crumble Donut and Donut Shop Regular 

Does your summer routine change when the winter arrives? What do you do differently?
Also, Is there a coffee I should try? If so, tell me, I will buy me some and YOU some if I try the flavor you share! I will add some of my favorites in there too!


Monday, October 26, 2015

The Boiling Frog

"Create in me a CLEAN HEART, Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

I struggle sleeping. I toss and turn, I am green with envy listening to Andy sound asleep next to me. There is nothing on my mind that would interrupt me from getting my ZZZ's. But then I am a chick, there is ALWAYS something on my mind even when I say "I am Fine".

I got up no problem, it was staying up that was a problem.

My morning started out great..My afternoon got a little chaotic.

CHAOS: I do not do drama or chaos. I prefer to communicate. I don't hide behind people, I can hold my own. I have always held my own. I teach people how to communicate and do pretty well at it.

*One thing I have learned about myself, I have to BREATH, THINK and PRAY before I respond.

T=Is it TRUE?
K=Is it KIND?

  •  "You don't have to go to every argument you are invited to."
  • It's none of your business what others think about you.
  • Build a bridge and get over it.
  • Life will make you bitter or life will make you better
  • Chaos operates better with participants, DON'T Engage
  • "People don't believe what you tell them. They rarely believe what you show them. They often believe what their friends tell them. THEY ALWAYS BELIEVE WHAT THEY TELL THEMSELVES."
** "The problem with the world is not that people know too little, But that they know So MANY THINGS THAT AINT SO." Mark Twain
I was so anxious to run the crazy out of me I forgot to pack my running shoes. I met Claudia in my Merrill's, sockless at Rose Oaks for a trail run. Oh Well! We didn't even turn our watches on. And "WHY yes, we did get lost!" It was so beautiful out there. Therapy in Gods Country. Just what I needed.
Claudia is great at perspectives and focus. She was able to calm me down from my afternoon events, reminding me not to react or engage.
You know the old saying " You can put a FROG in boiling water and it will jump out. But if you put a frog in LUKE WARM water it will BOIL to death.
That is chaos. If you are not careful you will become a product of chaos, it becomes your norm. It will suck the life out of you.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Scattered Trail: Distrations

Proverbs 4:25-27
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead,
And your eyelids look right before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet,
And let all your ways be established.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
Remove your foot from evil.
I have been wanting to get away from the pollution of man. Hidden in the shelter of the trees, void of distractions. I am easily distracted. When I am on the trails I have to stay focused. With roots and rocks scattered over the trail you have to be tuned into where you are planting your feet.
 Being alone I want to hear the noises circulating around me. It is sweet music. The birds, squirrels and chipmunks scurrying all around you makes you giggle. The creaking of trees, and the leaves floating to the ground is so peaceful. The sun dancing off the water and the dew resting on the branches adds a romance to the morning.
Every step, I am concentrating on how I will land my feet. On my tip toes, I imagine I am a deer trying to tap lightly over the path. With the switchbacks and the steep rocky declines I have to sharpen my footing. Looking just slightly off the path can lead me to injury. With the leaves covering the path I concentrate on my focal point. I wasn't just running, I was being intentional on my balance, my posture, my pace and every element to insure a successful run. But at the same time I was comfortable, I was at peace in the elements. It felt natural.

What happens when you get distracted...I took a phone call and ended up LOST! Not paying attention to my turn off, I did a loop I had never done. As pretty as it was, I began to get nervous. It was only a mile but it cost me my peace. I stumbled over my mistake. I knew better. One distraction lead to another as I tripped over hidden roots in frustration. My 8 mile run turned into 9.
I LOVE Honey Stingers, but I had never tried the chocolate. I found it at the Detroit Freep Expo. It was everything a girl could have hoped for!
Life is so full of distractions. I don't chat on the phone, I am not a busy body. I LOVE people, but if I am not careful I will get distracted. Too much social media, too many errands, too many events, too much confusion. I loose my focus. I let little things trip me up, I slip and fall on things that have no place in my life. I get tangled in expectations, emotions, or drama.
Its living life intentionally. Like running trails in the October.
You cant afford to get distracted.
Stay focused, keep your eyes on the path in front of you. Not your neighbors path, not your friends path, YOUR path.
At home I enjoy cooking and cleaning. I put my music in and begin to bake.
3 eggs
2 1/2 c.sugar
3tsp. vanilla
2c.cooked pumpkin
1/2tsp.baking powder
3tsp cinnamon
MIx together then divide into 3 greased and floured bread pans. Bake at 350' for 1 hour.
** I add raisins and sometimes nuts.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

My Mind a muddy mess.

This week has been a tough week for being a mother. Raising teens is not for the weak.

Monday I found myself running 7 miles with less than 24 hours from running my marathon. I was really battling a good attitude.
I did get a post race massage. What my run couldn't do, Holly's hands did. I literally fell asleep. I could feel my shoulders relax and turn into silly putty.

Tuesday I woke up early to make steak and eggs for the boys. My morning went to Hell in a hand basket. Again I pulled all the positive, grateful mantra but nothing was working. I had a little break and went home to put myself in time out. I needed to reflect, recover and regroup.
It took the edge off but I was totally not myself.

Today, a new day, a new spirit. Directly after dropping Alec off I left the house to run.  Maybe I wasn't running hard enough. I needed to sweat, I needed to hurt, I needed to loose my breath.
The sky was spitting when I walked out the door. Minutes later I could hear the rain nailing my windbreaker. I smiled. THIS IS WHAT I NEEDED. 
Holly High school put in a trail that circles the perimeter of the school. I decided to check it out.
Entering the school property I could feel myself falling in love with the rain hitting me in the face. The trail was smooth and wide. Trees lined both side with curves, large rocks and mud, lots of mud. The leaves gave me friction to catch myself from a slip and slide. It was stunning, the large mature trees with the leaves scattered. The smell was similar to something out of bath and body works. I was bummed it was only a mile and a half long. I took the dirt road back home. I got 5.5 miles rain, mud and sweat in.

But when Lacey called to run a little while later...Yup, I ran again with her!
7.5 miles total today.
Attitude check.
There is something magical about going for a run and feeling your broken world just fall back into place. My thinking changed. My outlook on dynamics changed. I was no longer stuck on stupid. I found myself thinking more of others and less of me.
When the rain fell on my cheeks I could feel unwanted emotions washing away. I embraced the cool wet drops against my bare skin. The mud even came welcomed. The dirt was still cleaner than the pain that had surfaced in my head. My mind was a muddy mess. I finished in love. I finished cleaned, recovered.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Detroit Freepress Marathon 2015

Detroit Freepress Talmer Marathon is a special one for me.
  1. Its DETROIT! Close to home
  2. Its close to my heart. 3 years ago I ran it 2 weeks after losing Ariel. I didn't think I could run, I could hardly breath. I  remembered her verse, Phil 4:13 and ran it crying most of the time. I started it with her and I finished it for her, the wind beneath my wings.
Team Harless stayed home this year. Every year we get a room at the Marriott, I asked Andy if I could bring my running group with me this year. He was good with it, my boys were very excited to stay home and watch the Michigan VS Michigan State game.

From the time they picked me up at work, until the time we fell asleep, us girls laughed.

We checked into the Marriott,  dropped off our luggage, passed out presents and headed to the Expo. We took the People Mover to the Cobo.
Laughing hysterically, we shot goofy pictures, spent too much money and absorbed the runner energy in the expo. It was all part of the experience.

Back on the People Mover, Mary Ann, Jama, Claudia and I headed to Greek Town for dinner. This was Claudia's first Marathon. We were all so excited for her.

We had dinner at Red Smoke in Greek Town. My chicken was so big and real looking, I thought it was going to get up and fly off my plate singing "Eat more Beef!"

We had a great meal with free entertainment when Michigan lost to Michigan State the last 10 seconds of the game. The restaurant went crazy, then everyone left!

The girls let me get my traditional dessert at Astoria before we headed home. We were all so miserable from dinner.
Claudia thought it would be good to walk to the hotel. It looked like a good idea while we were tucked inside of Greek town.
The closer we got to our hotel the darker and creepier the streets were getting. We all got real quiet after we were asked for change from a dark object that was leaned up against a pole.
Then one of the girls comments "WOW, it smells like weed!"
Trying to not be so nervous I giggled "Cultural Claudia wanted to take the scenic route....Andys last words 'Stay on the PEOPLE MOVER Nita.'
"Cultural Claudia" one of the girls bust out laughing, and walking faster.

We laughed ourselves to bed close to 11pm.

We got up great considering we didn't get much sleep.

Erin (another gal in our running group) met us in our hotel room before we left for the race. Erin was running the half. Erin was impressed by both our river view and our ridiculous array snacks and food lined up in the TV stand.

Claudia asked me the night before if I was going to say a runners prayer before the race. It was at this time we gathered hands, with heads bowed and humbly sought God.

On schedule, we headed down with all the runners to the starting line. The temperature felt much warmer than I thought it would be.
In front of our corrals, was the lobby to the bank. We went in to get warm. "ANITA!" I heard a familiar voice, It was Danielle, my running partner and friend from HS. I was shocked to see her, we didn't plan on something so perfect.
I hardly got to chat with her when my phone was going off. It was the hubby. I couldn't figure out what he was saying, I had to call him because his text messages were so cryptic.
He had surprised me and was by my "C" corral, only I was not there! The race was starting in 15 minutes. I told the girls that Andy was outside and I wanted to see if we could locate him.
It wasn't hard to find him. He was bummed, he wanted to ride his bike around to watch me but ended up with a flat tire. He left the boys home to sleep.
The first wave was going off.  The music to Eminem was rocking "Lose Yourself" and I felt my race tears surfacing.

The initial plan was Jama and I were originally going to run with Mary Ann at about a 4 hour Marathon. Claudia over the summer slowly increased her miles and her love for distance running. She signed up last minute for the marathon. The plan then changed. Lets get Claudia across the Finish Line for her 1st Marathon! After running with her all summer, I believed she was capable of a 4:10-4:30 marathon.

My target pace was a 10min/mi for the first 13 miles. If she was still feeling good, cautiously, we could pick it up the second half.

The MARATHON: The Story
It was a perfect morning to run 26.2 miles. The 5 of us started out together. Erin stayed with us until we got to the bridge. We lost her on the incline. The sun was coming up over the bridge, the skyline was amazing. Keeping your pace is equally as amazing!

The Detroit Freepress is one of the coolest races, you are in 2 different countries, over a bridge, in a tunnel and on a island. The first 3 miles we were actually followed by a helicopter. The border patrol were on duty and pulling runners left and right that were not wearing bibs or wearing their proper bibs. The patrol were so cool though. As serious as they were, they shared high fives, smiles and words of encouragement. They were hyping the runners and having a lot of fun with us.
Running in Canada is always fun. We were looking for Claudia's mom, Canada is Claudia's home.
As quickly as we enter into Canada, we are heading into the tunnel. I love the Tunnel too. I decided to video us girls. Everyone usually picks up the pace in the tunnel, I explained this to Claudia. Everyone's Garmin lost satellite but mine.

Andy was supposed to be outside the tunnel but I never saw him. I later found out he saw me.
The crowds outside the tunnel were hyped. Feeding off the energy I was raising my hands in efforts of  getting them more rowdy. "LETS GO DETROIT!!!" I screamed, then peed my pants. I jumped up to high five police officers, I peed my pants. "WAKE UP DETROIT!! WOOT WOOT" I screamed and jumped in the air, peeing my pants even more.
Laughing, "Girls I think I just emptied my bladder back there!"
I knew I had to use the bathroom but all the port-a-johns had lines. I have never gone to the bathroom in a marathon before. Today was going to be a first. A couple of the girls had to go too. The power of suggestion. "I think if we can hold it until after the half marathoners split we wont have any lines."
I didn't know how much more I had to hold. But it wasn't too much longer I was revving the crowds again and peeing my capris again. Claudia said "Anita, you need a panty liner." I replied, No, I think I need a catheter!"

We were all smiles and our pace was right on. I was breaking the marathon down for Claudia, telling her to look forward to the half marathon split.
I screamed into the crowds "HEY WE GOT A FIRST TIME MARATHONER!!"
As the split came we all joked about "Don't get any ideas!" Mary Ann took to the right heading to the Finish line of the Half Marathon. Jama yells "MARY ANN, where are you going?" Cracking herself up Mary Ann jumps over the tape and joins back with us.
The route is beautiful. We enjoyed Indian village and Corktown as we headed to Belle Island. This was unchartered territory for the girls. We all "Ohhed" and "Ahhed" at the beautiful homes.
I wanted to chat but the girls were all listening to their headphones. We were coming up to mile 18, each of the girls were in their special place. Jama was leading most of the time, Claudia was a couple steps behind me and Mary Ann mingled around. I would shout out our pace or our time and one of the girls would say "What?"  I decided I would turn up my tunes too.
As we entered unto Belle Island the sun was out and it was toasty. We all checked in with each other. Jama's knee was starting to hurt. Mary Ann was doing good and Claudia was hanging on. The 20 mile mat was in front of us. With the energy of a crack head I pumped up the girls "LETS GO, 20 miles Raise your HANDS OVER THE MAT!" The ladies in front of us even threw their hands up!
At mile 21, I reminded Claudia that she had now ran farther than she had EVER RAN.
Claudia was trying to smile but she was hurting. Jama  was about 10 feet in front of us. Mary Ann was beside me, "Mary Ann, Claudia's hurting, we gotta drop the pace."
We slowed up. "Today is YOUR DAY CLAUDIA, You got this."
She was holding her side. She had a side stitch.
She was holding on. Mary Ann went back with her. I stayed ahead holding our pace. We all hit the water station. "MARCO....??" I yelled this to make sure we were all together. Jama was the only one still replying "POLO".
Mile 22, was windy but refreshing. I stayed ahead of Claudia so she could see me.
Mile 23 "Claudia, Who you running for?" Mary Ann later told me she said, herself, her husband, her little man." I came back to her. I laid my hands on her praying for her.
As we exited Belle Isle our pace dropped a little. Jama moved ahead. Claudia was still struggling with the side stitch from Hell. "YOU got this, How's your cramp?" Half laughing she replied "You are my cramp!" Pretty witty, that's Claudia.
At mile 24, Claudia actually told me to "GO, Go ahead." Mary Ann stayed right next to her. We worked together to get her through those last couple miles.
"No Regrets Claudia, It's just a cramp, it won't kill you, run through the suck."
We had a couple turns, a couple hills but we kept coaxing her.
"You got this, I am so proud of you" I heard Mary Ann cheer her on.
I was like a caged animal as the crowds grew thicker the last mile. "First Time Marathoner Coming through!!" I pumped up the crowds.
The last mile, we were breaking it down by turns, lights and hills. "HALF MILE.." a volunteer cheered.
With the FINISH in site, I started screaming into the crowds, "LETS GO DETROIT!!" I was literally jumping with both legs 3 feet in the air. I was trying to get the crowds roaring for Claudia. My hands were hurting as I clapped at the spectators. The crowds were smiling and laughing. They were loving the energy. Most people get to the finish and are toast. I saw Andy as I was jumping around like a Mexican Jumping bean. I brought it in with the girls as the FINISHING Mats approached. Mary Ann, Claudia and I for the last time threw our hands in the air all smiles to Finish a perfect Marathon!

FINAL WORDS: We had a PERFECT Marathon. Our first half was 2:10:40 and our second half we shaved off 39 seconds with a finishing time of 4:20:01!
Us girls had an Epic weekend. We had a great Marathon weekend together.

Andy asked later that night "Anita, why are you so stupid?!" He saw me outside the tunnel but I was screaming so much I never saw him! That is Andy's way of making fun of me in a loving way.
I have ran Detroit half Marathon and Marathon about 7 times between the two. I have watched this race get more awesome with larger crowds and more runners.
It is one of my FAVORITES.

I LOVE pacing first time marathon runners. Last year, I paced Lacey at Detroit. This year, I was so grateful to cross that Finish Line next to Claudia and Mary Ann. It will always hold a special place in my heart.
Running is more than a time or a pace for me. There is a race for that, there will always be a race for that. But running next to your friends holds a special place. A place you can't replace.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Power of Touch

Physical Touch. This is one of the 5 LOVE languages Gary Chapman covers in his book The 5 Love Language. Andy and I went to the bible study to try and discover what Love Language we are. This would hopefully help to improve marriage more on an emotional level. Too bad for Andy when I did the test we only discovered that I was TOTALLY split between ALL 5.

I have gotten myself in trouble for being too touchy on multiple times. I don't mean anything by it.
Once, after leaving a recovery meeting Andy had to pull me aside. "Nita, I know you don't mean anything by it, but you need to watch who you are hugging and patting, these are men in recovery, some for more than substance abuse." He quietly continued "You need to remember, I sit with them at the tables, I hear a lot of men talk, I hear the things they are doing..."
Well, I had a hard time even looking them in the eyes after that. No more free hugs.

At work, I hug all my clients. Usually twice. A welcome hug and farewell hug. I had one client who was from Britain. "Alan", I sure do miss Alan. He looked like a rock star. We highlighted his tousled blonde locks multiple colors. He kept it longer, disheveled . He loved foreign sports cars and his Ducati. He was untamed and always reminded me of a blonde Mick Jagger. He died unexpectedly at 65. One of my favorite clients. He had a great accent and culturally he kissed on the lips. It took many years to get used to that.

Today was MASSAGE day. I always treat myself to a massage a few days before I have a big race. It has been a very emotionally few weeks for me. I had a funeral yesterday, my sweet cousin, 34 years old. She lost her fight to cancer. It was soo painful. It is the Mexican side of the family. She was an only child. So heartbreaking. Her mother just saying "Anita, you look just like her, Anita, did you see her? Did you see how much you look the same?" Tear my heart out. Her mother collapsed in my arms weeping. I just held her, I held her tight, touching her hair and rubbing her back. Touch.
For massage, I only go to women. They messed an appointment up a few years back and I was quite surprised when I heard a guys voice over top of me. It was unusually warm in the room, he was running late and I realized I recognized him. He was one of the servers at the restaurant we order from by my work.  I couldn't do anything. I could hear him breathing the whole time, he was sweating and I wanted to die.

Holly gave came in to warm the table and set me up. As soon as her warm hands touched my shoulders I melted into the sheets. I took a deep breath and felt my body relaxing. She has strong hands, digging deep but not making me wince. For as small as I am, I like a strong touch.
A massage with a period. Nice, very nice.

 Prerace Massage:
  • usually 4/5 days for marathon
  • Releases tightness, breaks up scar tissue and helps flush out stored lactic acid
  • Sports massage is deeper, helps remove knots and release tight IT bands

The Rundown:

I got to run with Danielle. It was a last minute thing. We met at some trails in Fenton for 5 easy miles. It was awesome. All of it but the part where we ran up on 2 black dogs with NO collar, leash or master. The smaller one approached us with enthusiasm, a black lab puppy. The larger one stared us down with a questionable look. The closer she/he came the more obvious it was a pitbull. I was glad I had released my bladder in the woods because I would have peed my pants right there! A young hippie looking man came out of the woods. "The little one is just a puppy..." He paused and tripped over his words "Uh, the other one is ..a ..bit skittish..." He was trying to get her but she was not trained and kept looking at us. I don't think I was even breathing at that point. She ran off in the opposite direction and the owner ran after her trying to get he. We took off!
SERIOUSLY?? No leash, No collar, and no training..really?!

Treat yourself to a nice massage. Even if your not running. Enjoy the soft music, the warm table, the soft hands that release not just muscle tension but emotional tension as well.
It is like therapy and you don't even have to speak. It was so amazing, I booked one for Monday after my race.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Consulting with Myself. My Dark Side.

I dreaded waking up today. With a guttural passion.
Three years ago...

"Anita, what are you going to do today?" Andy was trying to be positive.
"Hmm, I don't know, I think I will drive to Florida this morning." I said smirking.
Helping me make the bed he replied "I don't think you will get to Florida, its a 24 hour drive."
Not defeated yet and without a pause "Well then maybe I will run there, I will run to Ohio."
"Ahh, Nope, don't think you will make it there either."
I wasn't giving up "Fine, will run to Detroit.... I will just run all day, Yep, that's what I am going to do."

You REALLY wanna know what I wanted to do?? Let me introduce you to the dark ugly Anita. The dark place I fight desperately. If you like the Anita you think you know, you may not want to read any farther.
I wanted a bottle of pills and a fifth of Vodka. I wanted to stumble through the house in misery. I wanted to cut myself in grief. I wanted to turn off all the phones and stick my middle finger up at the world! I wanted to Punch someone in the face, Yeah I know, Real Christ like. Whatever. Judge me. Some of those who claim to love me already have.
Profanities flooded my mind as I pulled myself out of the covers. After Andy left I curled back into myself.
This is the ugly truth. All the things I should probably not share. All the darkness I fight to keep hidden.
Angry and sick I left the house. I am going to run all stinking day, I consulted with myself.
I got into my big Dodge Ram and peeled out of the road.
I hit the ramp at 75' and E Holly road and was already at 80 miles an hour before I entered I75.
I even found myself mad at Bordines where I picked out a beautiful Purple mum for her. I DONT WANT A MUM. I want something big, something bright, something amazing like her, stupid Bordines.
At her grave, I thought I was going to throw up. "Why am I here? THIS is not where you are, If you were here I would be here all the time." Still Angry with tears streaming down my face I left there.
"Your in my heart, that's where you are and my heart is broken and this doesn't make sense."

I needed to consult with myself. I needed to calm down. I needed to get control.
Just run. I needed God. I needed to beg him to forgive me. To strengthen me. To take this stony heart out. To soften me, hold me, understand me.

Life doesn't make sense. God takes people from us and gives people to us. It is all His plan. It hurts. Independence Oaks was beautiful. Just like Ariel. This is where she would want me. I reminisced about the hikes I took her on. I even laughed at the memories of her getting all dolled up to go for a hike. The weather was identical to that time 3 years ago.
How did I end up here again?

SO Confused

The more I ran the more I could feel my anger melting. I kept getting lost. I found myself cracking up looking at the map like I would do with her, pretending I knew EXACTLY where I was going.
After staring at multiple maps and several Trails I decided to just RUN. I needed to get lost in my memories, in my thoughts and in my prayers.
My phone was going off, I went off the grid. I didn't need any distractions. I needed God to comfort me and strengthen me.
Why Yes, I did Ted Gray, Lakeshore loop, The Habitat Trail and Spring Lake Loop

October is my hardest month. My mother was hospitalized in October from an overdose. She never came to.  My Grandma, my rock died in October and just this week I lost a cousin to cancer.

After over 10 miles and an afternoon of running, I had over 15 missed messages. I cried seeing so many people checking on me. It was time to get it together. It was time to be a light. Come out of the Darkness and be who God intended me to be.
The song OCEANS came on as was heading in. I deliberately didn't listen to any songs that I would cry from. How did this song sneak in? It wasn't even on my playlist?!
 I Laughed. I Cried, wiped my tears and I got in my truck like a responsible driver.

Andy asked about my day on his way home from work. "Anita, why were you so ANGRY?
"I don't know." I replied honestly.
Then Andy said one of the deepest things I have heard from him. "I think Anger is your comfort place."
I will save that thought for my next run!


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Run4Wine RECAP! Whining!

A couple years ago Andy ran Run4Wine alone. He got out of work and drove to the Jewel Golf course on a whim and had an epic PR. He came home pumped up on endorphins and left me feeling like I had just missed the Pope coming.
This year, Lacey and I decided to run it. I posted on my  FB (Running against the Odds) wall in hopes that some other runners would come out and join me. I thought the WINE and dinner would be a sure sell for my runner friends. But no bites, or sips.

Working till 3, I rushed home to exchange my dress shoes for running shoes.
It was 64' and sunny out. I was slipping into running shorts not capris or pants. I probably should have shaved but didn't think I would be running in so much bare leg.

Lacey met at my house for her first race since Bayshore Marathon.
Bayshore beat the Hell out of her. Literally. She didn't run all summer because her Boston Qualifiying time almost did her in.
Between her just starting running, me not doing much speed work and totally despising the 5k distance neither of us knew what our pace would be.
One thing I knew, Lacey is one of the strongest mental runners I know, I am so proud of her getting back out there, I was going to let her lead, sticking to her side.

Buddy System; May the Course be with you.
We took off together on the golf course. Both of us were giddy and laughing to cover-up our jitters. Lacey squeezed her little frame in between runners. I was a couple steps behind trying to let her lead.
The smile on my face quickly disappeared as my mind was trying to wrap around what my body was doing.
We started in the middle of the pack allowing us to keep picking people off. One after another we passed runners. However, we had some runners we couldn't get around, I embraced this pause to catch my breath and calm my screaming lungs.

Before we got to the 2nd mile, Lacey out of breath says "Anita, At mile 2, just GO, I can tell you got it, just go."
What I wanted to say was, "LACEY,Shut up and RUN." I think I was more polite and said something like, "No, we are finishing together, you are stronger than you think."

At mile 2, I was like "Good Job Lacey..." Lacey settled behind me pretty much at the half mile mark. I kept trying to fall back and let her do the work but she wasn't having it. I knew Lacey was making me pull her and I was not happy about it. Everything was hurting. "I Hate these distances." I cried.
Lacey caught her breath "Anita, Are you having Fun YET?"
"No Lacey, I am NOT having fun!"

Lacey stayed right with me. As we approached mile 3, Lacey made a brilliant observation. "This course if like a true cross country course."
Thank God the weather was dry and beautiful. We were running across rolling hills on the golf course. We would get a break from the soft grass to run on a gravel golf cart track. It was here we were able to pick up the pace. But as soon as that track ended and spit you back on the grass your
shoes melted in the ground. The rollers and curves of the course slapped your pace back down. It made you work harder to just maintain you speed. Somehow, Lacey and I were running negative splits.
The last mile approached and we were still passing runners. A volunteer lady at the last half mile mark yells "Great job girls, You have a half mile, pick it up." As we came on her we were actually climbing a hill, out of breath I laugh "THIS is Me PICKING it up!"
We had to do a little switch back, as we made the curve we could see the runners ahead of us all over the course with multiple hills and crevices.
Lacey was whining right away and I followed with her. The Finish might have been 5 miles away it looked so brutal.

Last quarter mile

We toughed it out together, I wanted to keel over and die.  I still was not having fun yet. And at this point I didn't even think I would enjoy the meal we were getting because I was so sick.
We made this last slight turn and saw the Finishing Bridge. Trying to conserve my energy I didn't say anything until Lacey did first. "ARE YOU KIDDING ME!"
The Finish not only ended UPHILL it also had 2 hills with a deep dip before it.
"Anita, GO, kick it in.."
I think I may have laughed, "Ahh Lacey, this is me kicking it in!"
But there is usually a little more juice in the cup, especially when another runner passes you. Guilty for leaving Lacey, I came after that hill. The faster I ran the more energy I found. I was on the heals of that runner.
I never passed him but I gave myself a run for my money. I could feel the vomit inching its way up. Lacey came right up to me putting her arm around me. We walked. I asked her if we could walk away from people in case I puked.

WINE...The only whine I tasted was my wining the whole 4 miles! Was it fun? Yes. We had fun. It is good like Lacey says to challenge yourself. It is fun to run different courses.  Change it up.
The pain is temporary. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone really is where the magic happens.
I actually placed 2nd in my AG.
4th in Masters
And the lady said we were top 10 females to cross the finish.
Course time: 00:30:29
Not a PR. But it was a lot of fun, I got drunk on my own wining but recovered well with a great dinner they served. I ran into a lot of runners I know making this race a great social event too!

And at the end I humbly remind myself how good God is. He continues to bless me with these great experiences, a strong body and amazing friends.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

A litttle piece of me: The wife of....

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is Gods's will for you in Christ Jesus."
Andy came and sat in on my Tuesday family recovery meeting. This was the first time in YEARS he attended with me.
I was curious how the group would welcome him and nervous on how Andy would do. After all, Andy was the "ADDICT" in my life. All circumstances are described differently amounst one another.
"Andy, what did Anita do? Why didn't you relapse?"
It is surreal to sit next to your husband and hear him talk about you in third person.
"Anita, never said anything about me not working for 3 months. She allowed me to work my recovery. I went to a meeting in the morning and often another meeting in the evening. She kept the kids quiet while I was working my recovery...."
I listened to him talk. I looked at him. 6'2, tall, slender. He was dressed in a pair of pressed Dockers, button down shirt, with his legs crossed in a very business like manner. His hair was perfect with his trimmed beard and perfect posture.
Did these people believe this same man was a drug addict? Could they even believe he was a dope shooting, potty mouthed drug feign?
Was I everything he said I was? I remember that wife, I also remember the resentments. The overflowing tears.
"BUT Andy, How did you know she would leave you if you relapsed?"
Andy chuckled, "Because of the way Anita grew up. Anita wouldn't leave me, but she made it clear that I would have to pack my stuff and leave."
I set the boundaries very early and very clear. I grew up from nothing, I came from NOTHING and come hell of high water I would loose everything before I lived that life of chaos again. You can have my car, you can have my house, I know how to live with nothing.
Material things are just that. Material. Don't get me wrong, I like my things, but not enough to ENABLE addiction. Not enough to trade in my peace, my sanity or subject my children around it.
Addiction is full of judgment. Andy shared his sister Kim, Aunt Lois and mom and day as key players in his sobriety. I was like a mother hen. Ready to take anyone out that hurt him. Family can be full of judgments. It was very difficult. We learned a lot.
But we both live life Giving Thanks to God for carrying us through it. I don't believe it was in the Lords for Andy to use, But I do believe it was in His will that we seek him for recovery and healing.
Just a few thoughts I wanted to pen.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Forest will sing for Joy

Psalm 96:12 

"Let the field exult, and all that is in it, Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy."

I am a BIG kid. I can't even help it. I love playing outside. I smile when I watch kids playing waiting for them to invite me.
I love feeling my body move, my legs jump, my heart skip beats, it is indescribable.
I headed to Holdridge to run the trails this morning. As I pulled in I saw 2 familiar cars, Matt and Ken. However, I never actually saw them.
As I got out of the truck, I removed all my extras. My extra jacket, My extra belt, and my mace. Something about knowing I knew other runners on the trail, made me more comfortable. Even though I knew I would most likely never see them.
With just my water bottle in my hand I entered the trail. Everything from the beginning felt perfect.
I could feel myself meshing with my surroundings. My legs were just hopping over the rocks and roots. It was more like I was dancing through the woods. My body was light. My steps were airy. I found myself singing out loud in pure joy. "How could I be so intimated by these woods?" They welcomed me with open arms. It was as if they were singing "Nita, where have you been, come play with us!"
It was stunning. The trail was dusted with leaves, and was damp from the evening dew. The air was moist with the smell of nature. I was in love. Pure LOVE.
I didn't walk the hills, I practically skipped up them, I bounced around the roots, I danced down the trails prancing across rocks and switchbacks.
I was so happy at the response my body was giving todays trail run. JOY. I was overcome and in love.
Like a child, I was anxious to see where the path before me would lead. I was curious how I would react to what the woods gave me.
It was an adventure, I had to laugh, not once did I trip except when I finished up and was walking!
9 miles total!

I got a little confused, could possibly be defined as lost..But I found my way just fine!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Detroit Freep Marathon. The plan.

My body is recovering from my 50m just fine. Good enough that I can move my mind and body into preparing for Detroit Freepress Marathon in 2 weeks.

I will have 5 weeks between races.

While that might not seem like enough, many coaches would suggest you wait at least 4 weeks between a marathon or half marathon.
  • The more miles that you run the more fit that you are. The more quickly you will recover from the damage you have applied to your body.
  • Another factor that is important when racing back to back is the effort level that you raced at and the effort that you plan to hit your next race at.
I have done this the wrong way, not knowing the importance of taking adequate time off. After running Chicago in 10/10/10, I was also signed up to race the Detroit Freep half marathon. At mile 3, my body started whining, at mile 8 my legs where screaming. It was no longer a fun run, I was hurtin for certain!

I am excited to run Detroit this year for a few reasons:
  1. I got a hotel room at the Marriott like we do every year but THIS year, the girls are all going to stay with me! Mary Ann, Claudia, Erin, Jama and I!
  2. I am not racing it. I am gonna have fun with the girls.
I am not a racing snob. I don't change my name to protect my racing times. I do not enter races to run blazing fast. I am not chasing my next PR. I do not introduce myself as "Anita The Runner".
Not every race has to be a BQ-er for me, I try really hard to REMEMBER why I RUN.
Some of my most sentimental runs are actually with someone else who meets their goals.
Yes, I love to race fast, hard and strong. But it takes a toll on you both physically and emotionally.
Not having the pressure that racing brings is a good break for me. I am really excited to be running with these ladies!
I get to do my favorite things, run and have the energy to be a cheerleader! For Claudia, this will be her 1st MARATHON!
I am stoked to be part of her story!

I HATE BEING COLD. I always struggle in the fall trying to figure out what to wear. Sure enough by my 3rd hill sprint I was stripping clothes off. I had a pile of clothes in the bushes on Rood rd.
For months training for WOODSTOCK I trained walking hills. Now it was time to start getting my strength and speed back.
At the base of the hill, I would pick out a tree or a mailbox and lunge forward after it. About midway through the hill it feels like I have a rubber band around my waist pulling me backwards.
I found myself barking commands at myself. My teeth were grinding as I dug my shoes deeper into the gravel.
"FEEL the Burn, GO, GO, Bring your knees up and GOO."
"Come on baby make it hurt so GOOD." I could almost hear John Cougar Mellencamp personally singing sweet nothings to me.
I wanted to cheat but then remembered I am only cheating myself. I wanted to quit but quitters never win. I wanted to whine but no one likes whiners.
After 4 miles of hill repeats, I headed home. I have one more nasty hill on my final strip towards the Harless Abode.
I not only knocked it out, my body without asking me, turned AROUND to do it again! I actually started laughing at myself halfway down the hill. "What just happened? When did I give my legs permission to turn around?"
I looked at the top of the hill. A bright yellow arrow pointed in the direction of the curve on the road and home.
UP! Pumping my arms, lifting my knees and focusing my eyes on the arrow I took off.
"All the way home Anita, no break, no rest, keep running till you get home."
ONLY I forgot about the hill my street in nestled on.
I caught my breath, I was in a comfortable pace and place. I decided to tackle this last hill on the home front. Holding my shirt, with my jacket wrapped around me, my bare skin was clammy and hot.
I looked down at my Garmin for my pace and kicked it back into gear. As I was clearing the top, I saw Austin in Andys truck coming towards me. He passed our street and pulled up to me. Out of breath I went towards the car. Nick, his friend was looking at me like a lunatic. "WOW, you are going hard, why are you going so fast?"
I chuckled, threw my smelly shirt at them and headed into our street.
All giddy I was like "HA HA,they thought I looked fast!"

ANYONE there RUNNING DETROIT FREEP Marathon? What is your goal time? You might want to join our posse!