"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, July 28, 2016

You do what You have to do.

This has been a very eventful week in running.

Monday: We were scheduled to run 20 miles at Pontiac Lake. I was so nervous. The last time that I ran out there was when I was training for Hungerford 50M. I had never met any of the runners but knew that I needed the training.
Monday the temps were rising fast. Our first loop we ran great. Minus the bugs that left the other runners looking like "Connect the Dots." I was fortunate enough to not get bit, they must have felt sorry for my skin and bones and gave me grace.
The second loop DIDN'T go nearly as well. 5 miles into our run Ken rolled his ankle. Ken didn't throw in the towel. "YOU DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO". We didn't leave him as we walked/ran that last 5 miles back.
Matt said it perfectly. "..So when I fall I would hope you would stay with me." See it is not a matter of IF you roll, trip or twist, it is WHEN.
LESSON learned: What goes around comes around. Don't be that guy.

Wednesday: I planned a night run with Claudia and Lacey. EXCEPT..I never told Lacey it was a NIGHT RUN. We ran two  4 mile loops at Holdridge in the trails. After the first loop, we got our head lamps, flashlights and water. Lacey didn't have any of these items. I brought extra. She kept coaxing Claudia and I to hurry up. "Its getting dark guys, lets go." I was secretly cracking up. After the first mile Lacey says. "It's getting really dark." I could hardly run I was laughing so hard. I finally confessed. "Claudia, I may have a confession, I didn't send the NIGHT RUN portion of the memo to Lacey." Lacey started laughing.  I wanted Lacey to come so bad, "YOU DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO".We had so much fun. We will totally be doing that again!
LESSON learned: Probably should not eat dinner directly before you run. And you should go pee before you run. I peed my pants laughing so hard.

Thursday: Thursday was supposed to be a group run. We had Rachel, Kris, Ken and I meeting at Holly Rec. One by one they were canceling. I got a last minute meeting at work scheduled for 8:15am.  I decided to cancel all together at the same time Ken cancelled. His ankle was still sore.
I still had to figure out how I was going to run and make my meeting.
"YOU DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO". I ran to work, Holly to Clarkston. I thought it would only be about 8-9 miles. When I realized it was going to be AT LEAST 10 miles I began to get nervous.
That meant:
  • I was going to be late for my meeting.
  • I was going to need to pick up the pace.
  • I had to still run back home!
I couldn't hardly pick up the pace, as I continued to hit rolling hills on Holcomb. I was sore from the first mile, now I was concerned I would be picking limbs up off of Blue Grass rd.
I started looking for one of my co-workers in hopes I could catch a ride. " I will just get a ride, that way I won't be late." Lindsey drove her cute white Juke RIGHT BY ME!
It was 11 miles to work. I wasn't late. After the 45 minute meeting, the girls were going to breakfast and offered a breakfast invitation and a ride home. I fought the urge with everything I had. I was tired, hungry and sore. I was unraveling. Food sounded so good. "YOU DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO". I knew I needed to get out of there before I changed my mind!
LESSON Learned: NEVER QUIT. It is easy to find an escape route. I had a reason to bail. It didn't matter how fast I got home, I just knew I needed to GO. Training your mind is harder and more important than training your body. Don't quit on yourself. Believe in yourself.

"All shall be done, but it may be harder than you think." C.S. Lewis
You do what you have to do. There is so much noise clanging in our ears. Even when I am running I am desperately trying to change the channel of chaos. I find myself listening to the tune of FEAR, INSECURITY or DEFEAT. I need that gentle whisper that only comes from the LORD. Reminding me "Who I am" and "What I am capable of." I need to condition my heart to His TRUTH. I can hear him just fine when I am seeking him. His still small voice speaks volumes if I am willing to LISTEN. He doesn't have to shout.
He never said it was going to be easy.
AND "nothing is impossible" without Him.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

When the storm comes in.

I jumped out of bed right at 6:30am. I really like to have a cup of coffee before my day starts. I was not meeting Ken and Jama until 7:30.
This gave me enough time to snuggle on the couch with my coffee, stretch, roll, get dressed and get my water bottles filled.
I am learning from my Monday running crew to have a running essentials box. Mine is still in the form of a bag.
  • Bug spray
  • Salt tabs
  • Body Wipes
  • Nutrition (granola bars, chews)
  • chap stick
  • towel
  • Extra clothing
  • Gum
  • flip flops
  • extra hand held water
  • Mortin
  • Body Spray...Cause you stinky!
  • band aids
Andy decided to join me and the rest of the crew this morning. He was dragging getting out of bed.

West Loop with Jama, Ken and Andy, adding the Lakeshore loop and Tech loop. 
Then add the East loop for another 9.5 miles.
Total miles 15.

The West loop went smooth, the rain held out. Somehow, I was leading the pack. Andy had me setting the pace. The rain stayed at bay making this a nice dry run.

Then things changed quite dramatically.
Ken headed home, Andy changed his mind and decided to run another 2 miles on the East loop with us.
It was still DRY.
The radar was not concealing we were going to get drenched.
After Andy turned back to head in we were still dry. We all laughed that it would be great to just let the skies open. Our sweat was dripping through our clothes, if we were going to be this wet, we would rather be wet from the rain.

It wasn't just a couple more miles after Andy left that we heard the thunder.
"Jama, was that thunder?"
Jama laughed "I think that sounded like bears!" We laughed.
The sky roared again.
We could hear the rain but it was just misting on us. Andy text me. "Might consider turning around. Storm coming."
We were at a catch 22. It was just about the same distance either way.

The misty rain changed faces into a very consistent shower.
Something was magical about the rain in the woods. It really was amazing. The back country was illuminated. The greens glowed. The leaves dripped with droplets. The grasses danced around us with frogs and crittters. It was like we were in a fairytale. It was lovely.
The sky never got wicked.
The only thing that got wicked were the black flies. The harder it rained the more the bugs attacked. We both had full swarms over our head. They were like Super Flies. It was awful.

And the MOST AMAZING part...With me leading...We never got lost!! Thankfully I had Jama to help navigate me through the woods that I have ran now over a half a dozen times and still get confused in.

Distance: 15 miles
Time: 12:34

Now, heading to bed to do it all again in the morning at Pontiac Lake.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Its FUN until it just isnt fun anymore.

"Have you ever danced with the devil under the pale moonlight?" The Joker

I have danced with the devil. And it was fun until it wasn't fun anymore. I got myself in a lot of trouble. I had a lot of fun, but that ends so soon and pain arrives to take its place. The pain hurts far worse than the pleasure lasts.

Total Ascent 17,717

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

In order for me to train for this outrageous elevation I have to run a lot of hills. I think I am going to be dancing with the devil on this race in October.
Yesterdays elevation was only 95 ft gain. It sure felt like I was running in the hills of Kentucky though.
Filling our water up at the well.

Today I met Kris and Rachel out at Holly Rec to run the Wildwood loop and try to get in 16 miles. It all started out smiles. We laughed, joked and enjoyed each others company for about 3 miles! It was at that point the bugs were nesting on us, the humidity elevated to dread and the heat went from pleasant to appalling.
We all came very prepared. We brought extra water, salt tabs, extra nutrition, bug spray and a good attitude. Being prepared made our run tolerable. We had some quiet stretches on the trails but they didn't last too long.
We ran the loop twice with Rachel to account for 11 miles. Rachel ran it like a beast but decided to end it on a good note. Kris and I decided to go after another loop. If 2 is good then 3 should be better.
3 loops meant we saw the same dead groundhog 3 times. And each time we jumped over it we discovered it was being gnawed on more and more. The last loop its innards were completed erected from its body. Startled by the sight I commented "Better him than me!" I was just glad that I never saw the mystery animal was  feasting on him while we were gone.
While we are running you hear mystery critters running, you can hear the snakes slithering, you may catch a glimpse of a deer if you are lucky but they hear you far before you see them. The woods are beautiful, peaceful, quiet to the runners eye, but there is a whole lot more terror going on we never see. Hence this gutted animal being mauled in the middle of our trail.
Kris and I both running in our Hokas and dirty!
By the 3rd round, playtime was coming to a quick halt. The walk breaks were being elongated, the breathing was getting heavier, the sweat was saturated in dirt and the laughter was a distant memory. We were ready to be done. It was fun, but not the jolly giddy kind of fun. It was the dig your heals in and persevere kind of fun. The kind of fun that screams tenacity, endurance, courage, strength.
"It's Fun until it just isn't fun anymore" was in the comments of our run that Kris or Rachel had posted. It was true.

After finishing, we laid on the grass in the shade laughing in our perspiration. We chuckled at the dirt all over our legs. We were both very proud of ourselves. We wanted to finish in under 3 hours and it was done. I can not imagine running in the heat of the day. The trails kept us significantly cooler and God blessed us with a very gentle breeze.

Distance: 16 miles
Time 2:58:43
Elevation GAIN: 501

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

As we ran through the trails we shared scripture. It was a sweet time. This verse was Rachel's morning devotion. It is a great reminder in my training that no matter what my training looks like, or the elevation is going to be, no matter how many fears are a factor, God is with me wherever I go. And He COMMANDS me to be Strong and Courageous.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Take it like a Champ.

You know that fighting scene in movies where the guy is getting punched in the face. The scene we are often grimacing at because he just "takes it." He even entices the aggravator to release more wrath on him, smiling the whole time. Sometimes even saying something like "Is that all you got?"
Well, this little pipsqueak was taking the hills on today with swagger.

THE PLAN: failed at 1:39am. When I was still awake and counting my hours till I had to wake to meet Claudia at 6:30am.
This was the second night in a row I was living on about 4 hours of sleep. I cancelled on Claudia in the middle of the night. I fell asleep sometime after 2am, awaken to my hubbies alarm at 7am. I was UP.
And my day was messed up.

With a run starting at 1 in the afternoon I was going to have to accept the fact it was going to be HOT Hot Hot!

PUNISHMENT "Is that all you got?"
This is where I took the beating. It started in my head first.
I knew it was going to be hot so to add injury to insult I tacked on a hilly route.

When it comes to training sometimes you just gotta look pain in the eye and embrace it. You know it is good for training, you know it'll make you stronger physically and mentally, so you just gotta turn the other cheek.
As I got mid way through the hill, I would look down at my pace and whimpered. I had slowed down. I couldn't afford to slow down. My races demand hill training. My races coming up require hills and all the hills in Holly are still not still not going to be enough for Cloudsplitter in October.
I clenched my fists, got up on my toes and drove my knees into the air trying to pick up the pace. My heart was beating out of my chest, I felt all the blood drain from my body like I had been bitten by a vampire. I screamed at myself to "Get up the hill." God it hurts so bad I cried. At the top of the hill, I wanted to just STOP and BREATH. But I knew I couldn't waste a downhill to recover with.
Over and Over again I tackled the hills.
To a marathon runner, hills the size of speed bumps look like Mt Everest. So looking at my elevation when I got home had me chuckle. During my hilly run I thought I was a Rockstar, however; my elevation made me look more like a Disney Princess.
Oh Well. It Hurt. It was Hot, and I didn't Quit! I took my little hills like a champ!
The only bummer was I slipped my Ipod in my sport bra when I was running. I think the sweat got in it and now my Ipod is BROKE!

Time: 57:41


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Walked Home

“Integrity is keeping a commitment even after circumstances have changed.”  ~ David Jeremiah 

As I looked at my watch for the second time, I confirmed that I had over routed my run and my 6-7 miler was looking more like 8-9.
No big deal right?
This was my second run.
I had met Claudia and her friend John for 8 miles on the trails at 7am. I wanted a 14 mile run, possibly even 15 if I felt fine. After finishing a bug biting trail run we all left. I headed home to change shoes and run another 7 miles.
I am navigationally challenged. My perfect loop turned into me being more loopy with my math skills. I did this massive loop around Holly. By the time I realized I had overshot my miles I had to make a choice. Turn back for 4 miles in the beating sun or continue towards home for another 8+ miles on the back roads.
I chose the backroads.
I actually felt great. The temperatures were more forgiving than they had been. A cool breeze even circulated around me making me almost not notice my knee was aching.
But I tapped out when my Garmin read 8.5 miles and I knew I still had another mile home. I ran a mile and a half farther than I planned, worry was really what made me stop.
I was getting more and more nervous I wouldn't be able to keep up on my Monday trail run. My training for my ultra requires back to back long runs. I couldn't overdue it and sabotage my next days run.
SO I walked home. I entertained the idea of having my son pick me up but he is such a bad driver I didn't trust him driving my truck, over my legs just walking.

I LOVE BARNS! I post a lot of them on my Instagram@ nitasliferunning


Holdridge West: Loop1 one w/Claudia and John. Loops 2 with just Claudia
Pace: 13:32/mi
Distance: 8 miles

Double Time: Around town
Pace: 9:21/mi
Distance: 8.5 miles

Distance: 1 mile, DUH!
Pace: Who cares, I was walking nobody cares.

TOTAL Sunday Miles: 17.5
I added that myself, you might want to double check it!

Second week I am over 50 miles!

This week I have ran double runs, trail runs, a race and I even got 2 miles in playing Pokémon with my son!

The Huckleberry Hustle 5K Recap
Robin is at all the local race, I found someone I know and a mascot!
  • I hate 5K's. They never stop hurting.
  • A 25$ fee for speed work for the week.
  • Drove like a big girl to the race by myself.
  • Ended up taking 1st place in my age Group out of 10, 17th Overall of 165 and 4th female out of 96.
  • Time: 23:27 Pace 7:33
  • Not my fastest. I didn't barf.
  • Ran 2 miles behind a dad and his daughter. The last 2/10ths of a mile she broke away. I knew he knew I was just a shadow away. He dropped back. "HEY! Don't let her go, Stay with her, Pick it up!" I startled him. He looked at me and I yelled "GO! Your almost Done!"  HERE'S the TRICK: I needed the help too! He picked it up and that helped me pick it up. I passed at the Finish line. Only he never even knew it he was so spent. He located me a couple minutes later and said "HEY, Thank YOU!! You really helped me at the end."
The HUCKLEBERRY HUSTLE taught me 2 things.
  1. I'm not as competitive as I used to be. I didn't care if that guy beat me as much as I wanted him to finish strong.
  2. If you say you are going to do something than DO IT. I planned on doing this race weeks ago. I didn't plan on doing it solo. But S#*$ happens. Follow through even  if it doesn't effect someone else, Be true to YOU.
POKEMON: People are making fun of the whole Pokémon Go Game. Truth is, it is fun. I have had a riot with my 14 year old chasing these cyber characters all over. Not to mention listening to Alec laugh and get goofy over this has been fun for us. Finding that "Next Gear" after working all day to run around the park was worth the memories and the laughs."
Alec and Sheba walking around to get the 10K egg in Pokémon Go!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

One More Gear

This past Monday, I was running on the trails at Holdridge with a couple really good runners. I call myself the sidekick next to these two elites. I really can't figure out why they have invited me along to run with them but I am so grateful.  I learn so much about not just trail running, ultra running but also about myself.
I always "trail" behind the group. I like hanging out in the back where I can just watch and learn. I watch where they land their feet, I listen to their stories, tips and I try to keep up.
The plan was 20 miles of trails starting at 9am. The bugs were out for blood and gnawing on the rest of the group. Being in the back has its advantages;
  • They take all the webs and branches.
  • If they trip, you see where NOT to.
  • You hope the bugs get them first!
The last mile, one of the runners left me and Ken as he picked up the pace. Ken turns 60 this month but don't let his age fool you. He a tough cookie. Ken fell 2 times and was tuckering out.
"Anita, you can go ahead."
I laughed, "No, I'm good right here."
BUT then he said something else.
"Anita, remember You ALWAYS HAVE ONE MORE GEAR." He was sweating, tired, sore from falling I am sure and he still had enough energy to encourage me. "You always have another gear, You HAVE TO WANT IT."

That brings me to TODAY.

It was 12:30 and I was just getting home from the mall with my boys. I should have been DONE running not starting.
88' and 70% humidity.
Half naked, I headed out into the heat of the day for a 12-14 mile run. I have no shame when it is that hot.
I needed to feel uncomfortable, this run needed to hurt in order to get used to the heat. I needed to run through MISERY.
I ran the roads with no coverage. In the elements of the beating sun.
It wasn't long before the sweat saturated my body. My chest was tight and my mouth was dry.
I thought about walking, I entertained the idea of slowing down.
"One more Gear."
I knew I could maintain my pace, it was just going to hurt. I was running slower than I normally run but I wanted to quit running all together and walk.
At mile 6, I decided I would maintain my pace but cut my miles back and go for another run later in the day.
It was at that point I told myself it wasn't 4 more miles, it was ONE MILE at a time.
"Anita, you gotta want it...."
I picked up the pace until I could hardly breath. My legs were turning over but my heart was racing. I slowed down  and gave myself a few seconds to walk and bring my heartrate back down. It is amazing how those few seconds bring you life again.
With everything I had, I was going to finish strong. My mind was my biggest challenge. "Anita, YOU ARE what you think YOU are."
With sweat burning my eyes I looked at my pace. I had to pick it up if I was going to finish with a sub 9min/m.
It is when you are beatin up and ready to quit you HAVE to find that next gear. Then like Ken said you HAVE to WANT IT.

Distance: 10miles
Pace: 8:54/mi

After my run, I finished planting my flowers and shrubs. Being dirty and sweaty I never changed my clothes. I know gross, right.
It was catching up with me fast. I was hungry, tired and dirty. I really wanted a shower but I really wanted to just sit down. I was way to dirty to sit inside so I sat on the deck in a lounge chair.
Lacey called.
Lacey wanted to run.
Anita needed to run!
1 hour.
I had one hour to collect myself before I was lacing up my shoes again.
It wasn't long before Lacey was knocking at the door ready to roll. I was still in my original running clothes when she started laughing at me.
Only a good good friend gets away with making fun of what I look like in a non padded sports bra. I walked into the bathroom to see how pathetic I looked. I giggled at my childlike figure.
At 42 years old, I may not have a mature curvy figure, and I may have some dimples here and there and I am getting these crazy lightning bolt veins in my legs but my days of obsessing are much less than they were in my 20's and even 30's.
I loved that I could laugh with Lacey about my poor lil boobies. Never take yourself so serious that you cant laugh with others even if it is about yourself. Laughter is great. And great friendships are even greater.
Lacey and I had a nice jog through Sorenson park to add another 3 miles to my day. It was a slow go. The bugs were moving faster than we were and so was the storm coming in. But we got it in and did it together. It is great to have a friend who lives so close that you can pick up and run with when needed.

Learn to love yourself. Comparing yourself to others will never bring you peace.

"God grant me the Serenity to Accept the Things I CANNOT change, And the COURAGE to Change the things I CAN!"

Find your next Gear. You have to REALLY want it. But It IS THERE.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Trails Compared

Psalm 96:11-12
11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.

It is tough to REJOICE when your eyes are stinging with sweat, when the bugs are attacking you like dead meat, and the trails are overgrown with flesh tearing picker bushes.
But in a whisper one of us would say how beautiful it was on the trails. The bull frogs were loud and proud in the swamp. We couldn't run very far before some critter danced out in front of you and if you didn't see it, you heard it in the foliage. The forest changed its face from piney and open to dense and over grown. Both sides of the coin were equally as lovely.
The bugs swarmed us but never bit us. We picked our poison; Eaten alive by black flies or die by 98% DEET bug spray. We chose bug spray.

I ran with Rachel and Kris out at Holly Rec. We did the Wildwood loop twice. The trails are not as technical as Holdridge but the elevation is more brutal.
I lead the first loop in hopes that I would learn the trail better.
Yeah, I remember 2 left turns and that is it. The trail is not marked great for the loop but the girls have a great sense of direction and I had them back in the front the second loop. The two loops put you at about 11 miles.  I had to add a little more mileage. Kris and I came out of the loop and ran across the parking lot to the Lakeside loop to get our mileage to 11 miles.
We came out of the trail underneath the piping hot sun and temperatures already in the 80's.
A water well is located in the middle of both the trails. The water came out cold and refreshing. Our body temperatures only stayed cool for seconds as the heat of the morning quickly heated you back up again.

This is a comparison to the 3 trails I run:
  1. Holdridge West if you do the technical loop is 5 miles. Elev Gain 97 Pace 14:25 (pace isn't average, I think I must have had lunch out on the trails with that pace.)
  2. Holdridge East is 15.9 miles but due to the switchback it usually only logs about 12 on my Garmin. The elevation is not as bad but it is much more technical than the other 2 trails. Elev Gain 387. Pace 12:49
  3. Holly Rec, The WILDWOOD loop has some pretty nasty elevation but it is not as technical. More straight ways and a lot of scenery change. Elev Gain 752. Pace 11:56
I will have to do a comparison adding Sorenson and Highland lakes. Both those trails are not as elevated or technical but still great trails.

SHOES: This girl needs new shoes. I had a gift certificate for coaching at Red Fox Outfitters. If you live near Fenton you have got to swing in their business.
They sell much more than just shoes.
  • camping gear
  • kayaks
  • hiking
  • running
  • great variety of clothing and accessories
  • Hammer nutrition
The location has been renovated from the old mill that sat vacant for years. It is awesome to see what a great job they did restoring it.
They are still working on building their inventory for shoes. I had a pair of New Balance trail shoes picked out but at the last minute switched to my New Balance Road shoes.
I usually wear Hokas for trails but this NB trail shoe, the Leadville, was like heaven around my feet. I will be back for those!
The kids I coach gave me a very generous gift card to Red Fox.

A LITTLE piece of me: I didn't feel so good today. I tried so hard to eat right. I made a wonderful brunch when I got home. I made the boys and I eggs, Bison steak, English Muffins, Boars Head Bacon and fresh fruit. I also made myself a protein smoothie. Together we sat on the deck enjoying the sun and each others company. I got all choked up as I prayed out loud over our food.
Here I sat, with 2 healthy boys, on a deck that was decorated with flowers and furniture. In front of me was a brunch that was simple but more than so many others would ever have. I sat there humbled by the gifts God has given this very undeserving girl. I have more than I ever thought I would have. I live a simple life, but it is what dreams are made of. God has blessed me so very much. Humbled by brunch.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Off the Grid.

I'm finally sitting down at 9pm to look at all my hard work, yard work. I am sitting in my old lady robe with my feet up looking at my patio. The flowers are colorful, the birdfeeders are full and the grass is DEAD!
Oh well. Welcome to Michigan drought 2016.
The heat has been tough to run in but not impossible. I know it is good for my training so I make sure to get out there.
Last year, I managed to run pretty modest, This year I think I have been mostly shirtless. My sports bra has been drenched and I have been sweating like a man.
This morning I ran out to the track. It was a morning of suck. The humidity was as thick as snot. After 2 intervals, at a less than desirable pace, I wanted to walk with the old guys that were on the track. They were laughing, smiling and carrying on what appeared to be a fun conversation. It was probably about how thankful they were to not be me. I wanted to strip my tank top off but didn't want to give them more to laugh at. "Poor girl could wear a tank top that says 'front and back'"! I kept it on.
I couldn't even look at my watch, I was feeling embarrassed. My chin was literally dripping with sweat, my lungs were confused and full of hate and my legs felt like they were running through swamp water.
Shockingly, after I finished my run it was a decent pace.

Distance: 6 miles
Pace: Average 8:16
I had full intentions of running again this evening. It was a great plan until my day of cleaning, flower and shrub shopping and gardening caught up with me. I even had a running partner, Claudia wanted to run. However, it was 6:30 and I still had to fire up the grill for dinner. I tapped out.

Junes Miles:
My miles were down on account my father in law had open heart. My running was put on the back burner without a thought.
I was also a camp counselor for the last week in June, that really hurt my miles also.
TOTAL Miles: 177.
TRAIL MILES: 54 miles
RACES: Wings Of Mercy 5K.

Well, I am back on the radar. I am alive and well. Over and Out.