"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, October 12, 2016

Cloudsplitter Confessions: Provisions

Most of us live within our comfort zones. I don't know about you but I am not a fan of being in awkward circumstances.
I pick my limits.
I try to control my little world, living with enough adventure to make my heart skip a beat but not too much that I go into cardiac arrest.

I may live a little wilder than most 42 year old moms but I still feel tame compared to others.

Cloudsplitter 100K was going to take me way out of my comfort zone.
For months, just the thought of running through the Appalachian, in the woods, with wild animals gave me heart palpitations and sweaty hands.

And for months, I even went back and forth on dropping down to the 50K.

I had so many fears. I knew I had NO BUSINESS running this caliber of an ultra.

I could train the distance but I had NO EXPERIENCE running to that level.

Each time I would read the 16 page disclosure, I would only make it a few pages before my stomach was turning over and I quit reading in fear.

BEARS, MOUNTAIN LIONS, WILD CATS, WOLVES...WHAT was I getting myself into?

"Due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of portions of the trail, the Cloudsplitter 100 differs substantially from other organized runs, and therefore adequate mental and physical preparation are of utmost importance to each runner, no matter which distance they choose to enter. The short but steep mountain passes and rugged terrain, although breathtakingly beautiful, are relentless in their challenge and are unforgiving to those not sufficiently prepared."

AHH..Yeah... Pretty sure THAT sent me into a tailspin.
GOD's Voice
Some people beg to hear from God. Some are confused on what he sounds like, is it a whisper? Is it audible? It is different for everyone.
Some of just want a SIGN. Something to know that He is there, that we are not alone. We beg for direction, understanding, comfort, wisdom and the list goes on.

God knew my fears going into training for Cloudsplitter in the beginning of this year. His word says  he knows even my "Murmurings".

Psalm 34:7 "The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. "
I think I thought about bears and wild mountain animals to the point of exhaustion. My friends would send me bear memes and jokes to get me riled up.
I would ask Ken and Matt if they ever saw any on their Ultra adventures. Ken would say they same thing "They are more afraid of you then you are of them." I didn't think that was possible.

Truth be told just 6 miles into running at Cloudsplitter  I hear the lady in front of me yell "LOOK, BEAR..."
I did what I was told and that was NOT play dead, I LOOKED! It was actually a cute little bear cub scurrying across the mountain above me.
I looked harder thinking "MAMA is probably close by." But at no time did I FEEL AFRAID.
God showed up early showing me I had nothing to be afraid of. He didn't just show up, he showed up as a bear cub! I think that lil bear winked at me!

    Psalms91:11"For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways."   
If you have been reading my blog long, you will know that I have gotten lost in my own city. I have gotten lost on the same trail I have ran over a dozen times. It takes nothing for me to get turned around. I am afraid of being in control of my own destinations.
There is no satellite on that mountain. I can't call Suri and I have no Google Maps.
I purposely positioned myself towards the back of the starting line to guarantee that I would have someone in front of me to follow.
I would stay close to the runners in FEAR that I would be left alone. I just didn't trust my judgment. At one point, I was in the lead of 4 guys. We had ran miles together all taking turns in the front. The problem was when I came to the fork in the road I was in the lead. "NO TRESSPASSING was spray painted on both sides. Each of the guys came down the hill towards me. With my hands in the air, I yelled "What do we do?" "Did we miss a turn?" 
Everyone was confused. I felt better knowing I had them. Together, we all went with one guys "GUT INSTINCT". I was grateful it wasn't mine!
And guess what, HE was right.
I  was never afraid I would get lost. I questioned the trail a couple times but each time I had someone there to help me. God always placed running companions next to me, giving me more confidence in myself. I had more comfort in the idea I was not left to my own vices.

MATHEW 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
I only trained once in the dark. I ran with Claudia and Matt. We ran at midnight to try and simulate how I would feel for Cloudsplitter. It was way to much fun and way to nice.

When I left the aid station, I left alone. I was quickened by FEAR.
Even though I left alone, I knew that there was a guy ahead of me. I was determined to catch him before it got dark out.
The mountain air dropped temps drastically. It was 55' degrees in the mountains and dark by 6:30pm.
Dampness came in with the fog. My skin was like ice to touch and yet I was hot. My nose never quit running.
It took a few miles to catch him but then it was keeping him that I had to contend with.
David was older than me. He was more experienced than me. He was not afraid to run alone or run in the dark. But for some reason, I am not sure why, David took me under his wing. He told me he would NOT LEAVE me to run in the dark alone. He would stay with me all the way through. Even when I picked up Andy to Pace me the last 15.6 miles I was afraid David would leave us. Andy even told him he could "GO AHEAD."  I boldly but quietly told Andy "NO!" I wanted David to stay with us. He was comfort, he was wisdom, he was experience, I trusted him.
He never left us. He crossed the finish line with me.

I prayed, I asked people to pray for me. SO many people prayed for me. God was in HIS glory as I ran. There was a spiritual cheerleading party going on as I ran up that mountain.
He took care of my EVERY need and every FEAR.

Psalms 18:2 "The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

I HAD a very significant fear at mile 8 and it continued to grow. My Piriformis was angry. Running up the sandstone cliffs and massive boulders that were cantered did a number on my booty.
I hobbled into the aid station where Team Harless was stationed.
"Anita, How are you?" Andy asked.
I laid on the ground to stretch out my butt muscles. I was cramping all the way down my leg. I explained to Andy it was the worse it had ever been. I had only ran 15 miles. How was I going to run another 46 miles? Andy worked it the best he could, having a nurse as a husband really has its benefits. I was shameless as he massaged my butt in the middle of the aid station.
I left the aid station FEARFUL I was not going to finish. Everytime I ran up I waited for my glutes to fire. I waited for my leg to start cramping. But it NEVER came.
HERE'S what I DIDN'T KNOW.....
Andy posted on Facebook that I was struggling with my Piriformis and asked people to pray.  So many responded in prayer. My Sister in Law, Deb, ALSO posted it on her FB page asking for prayer.
GOD worked a miracle for this PAIN IN THE BUTT, Literally!
I am still in awe.

Do you know what GOD can DO? He works Miracles. He Provides, He Protects and He Promises.
WHAT IF people were not praying for me?
Do you honestly think the outcome would have been the same?

If you are stumbling through Life Alone, Don't. I can not imagine going through this life alone, without him.
He has conquered my Fears through my Faith.

This is the SECOND Confession from Cloudsplitter. If you missed the recap Here is the LINK
And If you want to read my first devotional on Cloudsplitter Here is the LINK Cloudsplitter Confession: GRIT

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