"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

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Guardian Angel

I know God has plans for me. Sometimes I wish I could just get the memo. A memo that describes my purpose. A plan that is more specific. One that let me know a little more direction.

Sometimes I wonder how HE can use a heathen like me.

This morning was a morning that God sent many angels to surround me, protect me.
Without even a scratch I can not comprehend why.
I should be laying in hospital bed. I am still shaken up.

Lacey and I left my house before 6am to run. Our eyes heavy and our spirits still half asleep.
We had over 2 miles covered by the time we reached Grange Hall and E. Holly Rd. This was plenty of time to wake up.
Together we stopped at the intersection. Cars were deep in all directions.
Rain was trickling down on us. The roads were wet, not overflowing but saturated by a damp  humid rain.
Lacey lead the way across the busy intersection. I followed without looking, I trailed about 10 feet behind her.
I heard a LOUD screech to my left. A car laid on his breaks. The car fish tailed desperately trying to stop from hitting some dumb runner, me.  I instantly turned dropping both my hands on the hood of the car. My legs went weak, all the blood drained from me. The light was GREEN. This car was in full speed trying to hit the light and keep moving to their destination.
Trying to catch my breath I quickly through my hands up and mouthed "SORRY, my fault,SORRY."
I took full blame in the middle of the busy intersection. Everyones eyes were on me. Now people rolled their windows down screaming "PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE YOUR GOING."
I replied again, "Your right, I'm sorry."
He was not letting me go that easy, as I ran towards Lacey this one very special gentleman continued giving me grief.
Lacey was on the other side of the curb, PALE. All the color left her.
I couldn't talk. I could barely run.
"Lacey, were you trying to trade me in?" I tried to joke but I am not sure she could even hear me.

We finished our run, making our way to the backroads.
We managed to get 6 miles in. Even though we wanted 7 miles I was happy to still be upright.

I was more than upright. I didn't even have a scratch on me. This could have ended soo bad.

Thankful for another day.
Thankful for another mile.
Thankful for another breath.

A great reminder to live life like it is your LAST.
Love, forgive, appreciate.

Give back, Give yourself. Don't live life for yourself, That's not living. I am not sure my purpose even after 43 years but I know this, it is not to live for myself.

Anita


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Highland Loops Race Recap: MARCO...

This race may have been one of the best trail races I have ever ran.

The race capped off at 175 runners, this made the run intimate. It did not take much for me to get comfortable with EVERYONE.

My "Extroverted" self was on sensory overload right out of the shoot. My A.D.D kicked in before the race making any communication with me difficult. SQUIRREL... I had unfinished sentences, thoughts, my head was spinning and I think I lost my voice again before the race even started from yelling at everyone.
I had so many friends running the race, I knew some of the volunteers, I was like a soda can that was shaken and opened. I was exploding with energy and obnoxiousness. Full tilt. Total ridiculousness.

All my gang showed up. Rachel, Kris, Matt, Claudia, Jama, and Erin. All smiles.

Race Location: Highland Rec.
Race Time: 8am. waves 1-3
Race Temps: Overcast. 50's. Perfect temps. Oh Happy day!

I was not running in the first wave. That wave was for the runners who were in it to win it.
My plan was to have fun, running faster than a training run, see how I felt, then pick it up at the end if I was still uninjured and upright.

With minutes before the first wave took off, I quickly asked the girls if they wanted to say a prayer with me. Gathering hands, bowing our heads, we thanked God, asked God to protect us and let us have a good race.

Matt was in the first corral, minutes after he left we "trailed" behind him. I tucked in with Kris and Rachel.

TRAILING ON.

The trail is more of a single track. For the first few miles we ran toe to toe with other runners unable to pass them.
The first opportunity I got I whispered to Kris, "Kris, you gotta pass him, Go!"

We were cutting up with everyone. We had these 3 guys who joined in with us. We became a tribe making jokes and being very loud and proud. I taught them a game I do with the XC kids I run with. MARCO POLO.  I yell "MARCO" and everyone else replies "POLO". This lets me know where everyone is at and how they are feeling.
We were full of games.
We made another game. This game derived from one of the guys tripping. We started giving points out for each time you tripped. One of the guys quickly earned the nickname "Tripp".

I wanted to pick up my pace, and I knew I should due to my rowdy behavior. I was having way too much fun to consider my pace a race pace. I could seriously wake the dead I was so rambunctious.

But it was soo fun. I was torn.

Entering the "D" loop I made a decision. I broke away from my tribe.

I  felt great. Everything felt great. This was the last loop. I knew I had to pick it up. I had about 5 miles to go.
The course was well marked. The volunteers rocked. The aid stations were perfectly placed. Even though I wore my hydration pack I utilized the water at the aid stations. I only filled my pack up to about 16oz's. But I wanted my pack for my phone (which died right before the race)" they recommended that you run with it and my nutrition, I had my  JUICE PLUS Chews fueling me.
I drank every mile, keeping myself hydrated preventing myself from bonking. The sun was peaking out of the clouds and the temps were warming up, I didn't want to get behind the gun.

The "D" is one of my favorites. I'm sure it's because you know you are done. But the last 2 miles are relatively fast. I began passing runners that had passed us. I ran through the aid stations. I was on a mission. I flew down the downhills. The last aid station I ran in and ran out without stopping. I yelled my bib number,"55"  and moved out. I heard someone yell my name, I smiled  a roared "WOOT WOOT" then laughed as I saw 2 runners quickly gulp down their food to catch me.

I caught up 2 a couple guys. One guy dropped off.  I stayed behind the other one.
Jeremy. All I could see was him from behind. Over 6 feet tall, wearing a hydration pack and hardly sweating.
"I need you on my training runs, you are so motivating." His first full sentence. I could hear from his voice he was struggling.
I quickly learned he was from Adrian, Michigan and this was his first time on the trail. I decided to help him. I knew the trail. I knew that having someone there to share what was coming up would give him focal points.
"You have one more big incline."
"You got this, relax, walk the hill."
"Take the downhills, that's it, good job"
"You have a bunch of rocks to cross..."
"It's not 16 miles...You have about another mile, COME on, stay with me, bring me in Jeremy."
With a half a mile to go I passed him. "COME ON Jeremy...Stay with me, let's Finish this!"

All smiles, I came out of the woods looking for the finishers matt. But the first thing I saw was Matt and Chris. I was so excited I headed to them. Very loudly I heard someone yell "MARCO"!
Smiling I yell "POLO" and was quickly redirected towards the finish line.
BEST finishing squad. Everyone was hanging out in lawn chairs cheering every runner on.
Without much of a breath, my name was being recited on the mike.
I WON first place overall masters! Pretty good for having that much fun.
Great Shirt, medal fun mug and My Winning age Group Basket.
5th place female.
TIME: 3:03
OUR tribe!! FUN guys who liked to play games on the trails!

Great food, cookies, wraps, bang bang chicken, fruit salad, watermelon, great atmosphere, and the music, "DJ" the RD used his playlist and it was AWESOME! He has great music keeping everyone hype and having fun.
Erin,Jama,Claudia,Matt,me, Kris, Chris and Rachel.
This is NOT a race for the weak at heart. There is A LOT of elevation and hills. But hey, its more fun the more challenging it is. "It's good training!" that's what my running partners keep telling me!

This is a race I will do every year. Well DONE!

Anita~






Sunday, May 14, 2017

My Letter.. Guilt, the Demon that never sleeps.


Dear Mom,

Another Mother's Day has passed without you.
Its no easier.

There is a hole. A deep wound that burns. It takes my breath away. It floods my heart with confusion and indescribable emotions.

You can't read my writing. You cant hear my pain, wipe my tears, hear my stories or touch me. You cant see me, this is all in vain.

Dear mom...is void. Is Hollow.



But I am not. I woke next to your grandson this morning. He is stunning. Mouthy like his mom, he is crazy full of passion and deep.

I embrace them, your grandsons,grateful for every day I have them, knowing that life is short, we are all on borrowed time and guilt is a demon that never dies.

Mom, we are more alike than I like to admit.
Those damn demons of yesterday haunt me and Satan roars in my tomorrow's.
You never woke in peace. The days were dark, your eyes were deep with pain. Your pain rattled you, disillusioned you.
Funny how pain does that. Even in the brightest light darkness seeps in, trickles in the cracks. 
Those mistakes you made, God so soo many mistakes..Its Ok. I wish you knew how much I forgive you. I wish all my forgiveness could bring you back. I wish so many things.

Those sleepness nights never end. I could hear you up at all hours. I would beg God to put you to sleep.
I see you. I see you in that tattered nightgown. Stained with shame. The room is dark. Your glass is full of that numbing liquid that never removes your transgressions. You look at yourself and see someone that turns your eyes away.
Love.. forgivness. I soft touch. I wish I had given you.
Days you stayed in that bedroom. Days you stayed in that nightgown. Days,weeks you stayed in your pain. So so many bad choices. You never intended to hurt anyone. I know this. Your pain was so deep it chose your days. It owned you, like a puppet master. You couldn't break free.

You will always be loved. Your demons don't haunt me. Those dark days, those tearful nights, those screaming fits, those fights...
No, Damn THEM all. I would give anything to hold you the middle of them now, I would take one sleepless, abusive, broken night to just wrap my arms around you and tell you how much I love you regardless of all that.
I know you were broken.
I know that the sun wasn't shining on the brightest day.
I know mom. I know, I know. God I know.

I run every Mother's Day. For you. I ran up Canal St. today. I ran in an area unknown. Without any direction I just ran.
My hands were clutched.
I prayed. "God, why, why so many years later does this still tear me apart."
The familiar words whispered. "Guilt.. It will always be guilt Anita."
No goodbyes. No closure.
Guilt is a demon that never sleeps.
My chest heaved. Breathless. Weakness overcame me as a cemetery appeared. A large tree full of greenery stood strong near the entrance.
It was SPLIT. All the branches gone in the middle to allow the power lines to run through it.
Split. A Cemetery. You. Me.
I stopped and stared. Crying like a baby on the side of the road I saw you. I saw me. I saw us.
You will always be a part of me. I will always yours. We are Split but one.
You were Split. Torn, Broken.
I am Split. yes, those demons of yesterday will always haunt me. And Satan never sleeps. Never.
But I know...God never sleeps Either. He fights for me. You never knew that mother. He forgives. He believes. He Loves...

And I will Never Never quit loving you.
Anita Maria.



Thursday, May 11, 2017

Keep it simple.

Today, was our second run out at Highland rec for the week. that's 33 miles out on those trails alone.
The difference between Mondays run and todays run:
  1. Monday: Kris, Paula, Matt and Myself
  2. Today, Kris, Rachel and Myslef
  3. Monday, I twisted my right ankle 5 times that I counted.
  4. Today, I discovered I was wearing two different shoes on Monday, AND I never twisted my ankle once.
  5. HOWEVER...Today, I biffed it really bad. I landed on my hands, beat up a bit but no blood!
  6. As compared to Monday, sadly we saw no wildlife, snakes or deer.





Maps are great, When you follow them. When I run in a group on the trails I am typically in the back. This position is great for watching the persons footing in front of you, BUT not good for memorizing the trail. Today I felt like I was getting it down way better.

This was the one picture that Kris really wanted. This beautiful tree was nestled between large maple trees and greenery everywhere. She stood out with brilliance.

I knew within 4 miles that our fearless leader was on a mission. She had picked up the pace from the shoot. Our running was quiet other than the sound of sticks cracking underneath our feet and heavy breathing on the uphills.  My hips and legs were sore from plyometrics , lunges and squats with the XC kids on Wednesday but I tried not to complain and just do the hard things. With the race a little over a week away I knew running hard was good training. Every 45 minutes we took in nutrition. Normally, we would stop, eat and drink. But not today. Kris had us moving as we chewed down our chomps and quickly drank, trying to swallow everything down and get back up. It was a challenge I was enjoying.
At mile14, Kris finally confessed she her mission: To beat our time from Monday. We were really gonna have to push it to just make the same time. The last 3 miles are easier to pick up the pace and that is what we all did. Knowing the plan, we each coaxed one another up the hills, around the rocks blasted down the hills like a beast.  

We nailed it! with over 2 minutes to spare. Kris with a little left in the tank hightailed it to the nearest trash can, where she tossed her cookies. We giggled watching her like any good running partner would do! It was worth the puke to see what we could do!

We were on such a mission I opted OUT of my photo to keep us on pace. I told the girls "GO GO, don't stop, I will come back for my picture when we are finished. And that is what I did!
Gotta love Monkey-ing around.

Such a great run. It feels good to see what you can do. It is even better to do it with your tribe!

Anita~

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Catalyst to Crazy

It's 8:30 on a Tuesday night.
A total random night to write.

The last few weeks my head has been spinning.

The morning is gone in a blink and darkness closes the days out without a thought.

Some days I feel like I am hanging on by a thread. I am trying to make it to my next appointment, event, or doing with as little damage as possible.

I forget to eat, pee or where I put my purse like a dozen times a week.

Finding Balance.

I am in a season of life that balance means just keeping my head above water.

I am on week 5 of coaching CC. This is the catalyst to my crazy.

This is the Catalyst to my favorite Chaos.

I just have this passion for kids. I love them. I love their quirkiness. Their individuality. Each of their unique personalities. They are undamaged by the stresses of life, bills, and constant responsibilities.
They get to be ridiculous and silly and it is all accepted, even expected.
I think I am jealous.

This evening was our first home meet.
I wear my pink whistle and good luck  "Bucket hat". Every meet I wear a bucket hat.
You will see me running all over the course. I scream and yell.

"UP UP UP and OUT!!"

"PICK up those LEGS, TURN THEM OVER!"

"NEXT GEAR, NEXT GEAR, GOOOOO!"

"KEEP YOUR EYES ON THIER BACK! CLOSE the GAP!"

I hear parents repeating what I say to their kids as I run off to the next point to see other kids.

I see my fastest runner coming down the straight way and I turn in slow motion to find the clock. I know what he has to make to beat his course time. From 50 yards, I run as quick as I can to get to him, "GOOOO SAM!! GOOOOOO!"

Parents are looking at me like a lunatic. And I am. I am crazy for these kids.

I run back to the woods to locate my runners that are in a very competitive pack.

I shout their names, encouraging and coaching them on. I am desperately trying to get them out of their own head.
Sweat is beading across their foreheads. Some look scared. Some look determined and some look like they are savages ready to fight  till the end.

I race back to the straight way where I can see the clock.
"YOU GOT 10 SECONDS, YOU GOTTA GOOOOO!" I shout a reminder what they need to make for varsity. I get choked up watching these kids find that next gear. Pain swallowed down when they remember their goals and grit takes over.

Then there is THAT kid. The quiet one. They one you are trying to figure out why he signed up to torture himself for 12 weeks. He is a different mold. My favorite kind of mold.
I see him. His face is grimacing. He turns and sees me. "NOAH, YOU ARE AMAZING!" He looks like a stallion. His hair is flying backwards and his legs are moving like I have never seen from him. He looks like he is going to go airborne.
"NOAH!!! YES! YES! GOOOO!" I am screaming and racing to get to the finish. I just want to hold him. I want to tell him how proud I am of him.
I wrap my arms around him, tears are swelling in my eyes. He gave everything he had. He BELEIVED he could and he DID. He left everything out there. There was NOTHING left in the tank. I knew he was hurting and he ran through it all. He NEVER QUIT.

I had 2 athletes vomit today after the meet. I buy the kids slushies when they run that hard.

It is amazing what we can do when we have people believe in us.
"COACH HARLESS, COACH, I beat my time by 20 seconds..."
I could listen to these kids share their victories all day long. Their smiles, their eyes wide, with excitement is what fills my heart.

Am I tired?
YES. But I am not tired of loving what I do.
The greatest reward is not financial. This is a volunteer position. I actually loose money because I take work off. I don't work I don't get paid.

HOWEVER....

They greatest payments, greatest reward is the investment of you.
Your reward is NOT what money can buy, not something that collects dust and dirt.
No, the best reward is given from others.

GIVE yourself.
It is the greatest gift you can give.

Anita~



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Up and Moving Forward. GOALS

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.
Habakkuk2:2-3

My body really struggled after Toledo. The Toledo Marathon as beautiful as it was, liked to suck me dry. The suffering didn't end after 26.2 miles.

I was wondering if my calf was ever going to forgive me.

Even though I didn't run for a week, it felt like forever. I was tortured with warm temperatures and sunny skies. I saw runners everywhere, like they were taunting me. Teasing me. All I could do was hobble around asking for prayer and try not to choke on the green eyed monster.

I had one goal that kept me grounded, that planted me into allowing my body recover.
A 16 mile group trail run that following Monday, 8 days post marathon.
I took Saturday the 20th off to run Highland Loops Trail Run. Hence, why it was critical to heal up and get an idea of what I would be in for.  

PAIN AND SUFFERING.

I mean, sure, why not? Heal up, and do it again! Sounds like a great idea!

Friday, my calf made me very aware that she had yet to forgive me.
Saturday was day two of working on my feet for 9 hours. My calf reminded me she was disappointed in my poor shoe decisions. Running shoes are not in my dress code.
Sunday I poked my calf, rubbed my calf and still she sang sweet nothings to me. She wasn't ROARING at least,  it was more of a whisper.

It was a gamble I was going to take. I didn't want them to have all the fun without me!

Monday, Highland Rec.

I got a little turned around locating the parking lot for the trail head. But nothing that didn't take me by surprise. Typical Anita.
One by one everyone showed up. Matt, Claudia, Kris and Rachel.

We were all smiles. Mine was hiding concern but I decided to go for it.
It wasn't long before the grey skies opened up with a soft but flowing rain. The rain took turns with bouts of humidity for a couple hours leaving us all sticky and hot. The sun finally overtook the sky, warming us up and making us tap into our water sources more intentionally.
The trail was stunning. You literally ran through a valley. I was surrounded by trees entangled with vines and draping foliage. The ground covering was ankle deep, vibrant shades of green with vegetation that was unfamiliar to me. It was as if I was running in a fairy tale. Breathtaking. I tripped multiple times trying to see everything and run at the same time.
Between the rain, the humidity and the sun blazing at the end, I was so stinking geeked! The weather alone made me want to play on the trails more.
I made it. All 17 miles. Somehow I thought we were running 16 miles...Typical Anita!
Can you see Kris down there??

So we are on to full TILT into training for Hennipen 100.
Time to up my miles.
Up my Core.
Up my Legs.
Up my calories.
Up my prayers!

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal."
Henry Ford


Anita~








Thursday, April 27, 2017

Eyes to see the Little Things.

I woke up anxiously awaiting a miracle. As I stepped out of bed, I gently landed on my right leg. I knew that miracle hadn't came yet. My calf was screaming profanities at me.

No Running For Anita.

The morning was dusted with white billowy clouds and a warm sunshine perfectly centered. I might not be able to run but walking I could do.

I drove out to Holly Rec to meet new runner, Tracey and also Kris. Kris was waiting for me when I arrived. I had hoped I could run with the two of them but instead I introduced them and sadly turned in the opposite direction towards Lakeshore loop for a solo walk. BUT...Before I turned away Kris wrapped her hands around me and lifted me up in prayer. She had me covered in heartfelt prayer for healing. I am so Thankful for Godly friendships.

With a broken body, a busy schedule and some quiet time, I knew this was exactly what I needed.

I headed down the wide path towards the trail. It seemed like overnight that the trees had come alive with vibrant colors.
It was so quiet that I actually made little noises in fear that I would come across a snake bathing in the sun.
Every so often I would pick it up, lifting my feet, lightly but swiftly run over roots and around the crooked trees until my calf started to burn.


Enjoying the little things.
I am only 4 days out post marathon.
THE RULE OF THUMB is when is comes to recovery. You should allow your body to  recover  HALF the distance you ran.
4 days with a injury is not enough time to jump on the saddle again.

I embraced wearing shorts.
I welcomed the warm sun against my bare skin.
I listened to the birds singing and enjoyed watching them dancing between the trees.
I even laughed at myself each time a bullfrog jumped in the water because they were not the only thing that got startled.
Pure beauty and peace, not bought, not ordered, not given to me by anyone but the Good Lord.


This and That.
I was spoiled today. The calm before the storm. A nice 2.5 mile walk followed by a massage made a great beginning to an afternoon of "adulting"

My Dr. wouldn't fill my prescription for synthroid until I made a check up. I HATE going to the DR.s because I always end up with multiple appointments.
  • Weight, sucked. 100.4 lbs with my flip flops on!
  • Blood pressure was whatever. A bit high for me but healthy, 120/82.
  • He upped my synthroid because my numbers were worrisome.
  • Schedules me for more blood work, a physical, a mammogram and a girly check.
A mammogram...So funny. I am pretty sure that if something was different I would notice. When you are as small as I am a soft breeze changes things dramatically!

I even had to take a Depression Questionnaire. He asked me a dozen times "Anita, why don't you sleep? What is bothering you? What's on your mind? What are you worried about....??
AHHH!! Good Grief. NOT sleeping is on my MIND!


The day ended enjoying coaching XC. I love the smiles, the silliness and of course watching them run.

It's the Little Things. I love the little things. I am grateful I have eyes to see hope, to see love, to see joy, encouragement, and happiness.
Its the LITTLE THINGS, the birds singing hymns, the butterflies fluttering, the smell of spring blooms and the trickling of the creek..

Anita



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Glass City Marathon 2017 Recap.

When it comes to running I typically set 3 goals:
  1. My best case, Dream Goal
  2. My goal I trained for. Realistic.
  3. The goal I would settle for.
The Night Before:
As soon as I got out of work at 1:30pm, I hustled to pick up Lacey. The sun was shinning and we were busting out of the seams with excitement.
Lacey booked our hotel months ago. We decided to drive to the expo first.
When Lacey and I run races together I typically drive and she is my co-pilot, directing and planning our routes. Lacey even answers my phone and responds to my text messages. We are a great team, we get lost, we get turned around but ultimately we get back on track laughing at ourselves and not ever breaking a sweat. Always an adventure.

We were driving about 45 minutes behind the rest of our gang. MaryAnn, Andy, Jama, Erin, Claudia and Justin. We were all running on Sunday Glass City Marathon or Half in Toledo Ohio.  
By the time we arrived into the expo Lacey and I were "caffeined UP". I was off the charts hyper. I was talking to random strangers, asking people to get pics with me or take them for me but overall having a blast.  
We found our gang, took a quick picture with them and made plans to meet for dinner later that night.

After we made friends with the rest of the people working the expo we headed to our hotel.

WOW! Lacey booked us a GEM! We were at the Hampton Inn in a suite. It was a newer hotel. Our room was amazing.
I bounced on the bed and like a little kid peaked in all the corners before our text came through with dinner plans.
We met the gang for Mediterranean. Funny thing! One of the kids I coach was there with their family having dinner!! I chatted with them laughing at the coincidence! This happens to me all the time!

I wish I could tell you I was tired when we returned with a full belly back to our diva suite. I was so wired I actually took 1 1/2 Motrin PM's.

RACE Re-Cap.
The conditions for Glass City Marathon were as if Mother Nature had favor with Toledo, Ohio.
Even though it was 35' at 7am it was full sun!
Lacey and I got up, got rolling and headed out. We struggled with parking, this put us a bit behind, throwing my nerves into a tail spin. Mostly, because I knew I didn't have time to pee that one last time. This meant I was pretty much going to end up peeing my pants on the course!
The gang were waiting, everyone was stoked and full of smiles. I had already cried 2 times and I found myself crying all over again. Erin looked at me and said "Oh no girl, your gonna get me crying again."

It was just minutes later we watched the helicopter cross of the starting line, we listened to the national anthem and we closed our eyes in a brief prayer.

7:05 we took off!
I watched Lacey slowly move ahead and never saw the gang again.
Lacey had got with a 3:35 pace group. I wanted a 3:40 pacer, however, they not only didn't have pacer bands for that time, they didn't have any pacers for that time either.
I knew I had to be about a half a mile behind Lacey.

The First 13...BAD bad Bad...
My GPS on my watch was bouncing around different paces making it really hard to pace myself. I decided to just try and gauge my pace off of Laceys pacer.
BAD BAD IDEA!
Every mile my watch beeped it shared a pace that I knew was going to bury me. Even though I felt great, when I reached 13 miles I had over 2 minutes banked....BAD BAD BAD.
I do not bank time, I knew it was gonna be bad.
My right calf was aching, I decided I would walk the water stations briefly in hopes I could recover my body.
The course was stunning. Everything was green and lush. We ran through a paved park and along a railroad track out of the city. And the spectators were loud and proud. I didn't expect to see so many cheering us on.
I took my music out of my ears hoping the crowds would rejuvenate me.
Running to my left were two girls about my age. I overheard them talking about their pace.
"HI, watcha guys running?" I inquired.
"We are on pace for a 3:40 marathon..."
I knew I wanted to stay with them. They were my only chance at even coming close to my goal, a 3:40. The Dream Goal was out of the question at this point and honestly, I was entertaining the goal I would settle with, a 3:45..Still a BQ-ing time but not a time that would get you in to run Boston.

The Second Half of UGLY.
The 3 of us chatted and it appeared we were all following behind that pacer. We all were pretty upset we had ran soo hard. I was not the only one in the Hurt Locker.  
It was just a few miles when our threesome became a twosome. Me and Kelly. Kelly from Tennessee.
Kelly and I encouraged one another. Every once in a while, I would hear Kelly whisper "SH@%" followed with "I'm sorry".
It was hard not to smile through the pain. The sun was hugging you with warmth. Everything was bright and full of color. We ran along the road for a couple miles bringing us up a hill, I had been warned about. It was not as bad as I anticipated.
Kelly reminded me we would be going back through the park and we would get to enjoy some nice down hills. The time we had banked was diminishing faster than my goals. I was hot, so hot. My calves were burning like they were running through hell.
We came into the park and I wanted to stop and take pictures it was so beautiful. On my right, a canal was cut through trees and foliage. On my left, trees loomed overhead. We were running on a covered bridge that was very large and stunning. I wanted to come back to enjoy it because at that time I wasn't enjoying very much other than the fact we were going downhill! And even than was making my quads throb.
Kelli must have memorized the route. "We are going to turn left right up here."
When we made that left it was like full sun and my legs felt as though they were in a bucket of clay. Nothing wanted to move. The course was as flat as a pancake, my motivation to move felt the same way. Kelli and I were walking though water stations together.
I looked at my watch with less than 3 miles to go and told her to GO. My legs were cramping and I found myself walking with another group.
"3 miles to go and your walking Anita" I prayed harder. "God just get me to the finish line upright and smiling."
I knew my 3 goals were shot. I decided to make a 4th Goal.
To run with everything I had. Finish in pain, Finish sweating. Finish dizzy, Finish this Damn Race with all I had.
My body was shutting down. I had peed my pants with every drink. I couldn't keep anything in my bladder. I literally had no control as it dripped down my legs. My stomach was wanting to retch. I turned on my music to get me out of my head the last two miles.
Don't PEEk to closely....!
I thought about Lacey. Lacey was waiting for me at the Finish. I so badly wanted to run Boston with her. I knew she had finished. I knew she had qualified. I just knew. Trying to hold back the tears and keep my legs moving I turned my music up louder.
My watch had me finished and yet the volunteers were yelling "2 tenths of a mile to go"!!
Walking in was an option I wanted so badly to entertain. But it was NOT an option.
"Pick it up and turn it over Anita."
I reached the stadium and felt my legs pick it up. It felt so good to see the timing mat. I found myself thanking God for just getting me across that mat running!

FINISHED:
I was thankful for everything.
Lacey was there. I was so happy for her.
Andy J came across the finish line not to far after.
It was great having so many friends running it.
It was a great reminder that joy comes from other people victories as well.

Lacey and I hauled butt the best we could, all beat up and crooked to the rec center to get showers and make it back to see the girls finish.

Heading back after our showers Lacey spotted the girls coming down the course. Shouting and panicking we tried to run but it was more like a hobble. We were screaming from the top of the hill and trying to get our cameras.

Everyone had finished.

RUNDOWN:
“A failure is not a loss. It’s a gain. You learn. You change. You grow.”
Disappointed, sad and emotional. Yes, I would have loved to run Boston with Lacey.
I didn't make my time.
But God has given me that victory many times. It was time for someone else to enjoy the Glory. I may not have been able to reach my goals but the end result isn't the end. The end result isn't even the main moment for me. It was all the moments that came together to make this Epic Victory for Lacey. It was 16 weeks of training and bonding together as friends.
It was being there to watch others make their goals, to watch THIER dreams come true. I have been in the lime light, it was time embrace the emotions of my dear friends and their dreams coming true.
My tears could saturate my cheeks in defeat but I found more joy in others.
I was painfully reminded to DIE to SELF.
I was also reminded that God still gave me a great race. A great day. I great finish and Great Friends.

Glass City Marathon: 3:46:20
Course: So scenic. A park like setting with all this lush foliage, bridge and railroad was so lovely.
The Medal and shirt. The shirt, not much to be desired. The medal totally made up for it. The medal was so big and bingy everyone commented on it. Very COOL!

“It is better to make a thousand failures than to be too cowardly to ever undertake anything.” Clovis G. Chappell

Anita



Thursday, April 20, 2017

Jump IN!

"They waited for me as for the rain, And opened their mouth as for the spring rain."
Job 29:23

The rain came on and off all day. A sunless day, a day that you want to sleep in, wear fuzzy jammies, drink coffee and cuddle on the couch.
Or for me, another day to taper. I was able  meet Lacey to find ridiculous matching running outfits, have a fun lunch date with her and Melissa at Honchos, get a massage and still make it home to coach.

The rain really picked up for XC. It wasn't looking like we were going to get to run.
The thunder was rolling in the distance.
If I was running on my own I would run outside with bells on.

Rain Runs are MY FAVORITE!

I kept looking at the radar hoping I could take the kids out.
Then I saw a window.

I grabbed my group of 7 and together we headed out into the rain with pure joy.

The rain was coming down so hard we could hardly see. I couldn't stop laughing as the rain saturated my face and hair.
The smell and taste of the fresh rain water was very invigorating.
Initially, it chilled me as the cold damp water touched my warm skin. I knew the best way to get acclimated to the rain was to be completely sopped, drenched in wetness.
Hence, when I saw the biggest water puddle I could find, I lead the way right through it, jumping in the middle! Water splashed in all directions, my shoes were heavy with puddle juice and my running pants were now dripping. The kids were startled at my childlike behavior but all followed my lead giggling and laughing.

40 kids were running around the campus, all within about 15 minutes from the school. This made it easy to return if it should start thundering or lightning.
We were a minute farther out when we heard what sounded like a distant BOOM. It was hard to tell if it was thunder.
We were at mile 2, "Hey guys, I think that was thunder, we better head back in."
My group all started complaining. They did NOT want to come in. We headed into the coverage of the woods to see if it cleared up. The other kids began to thin out around campus as my group begged to go farther.
We snuck another mile in with no thunder and this allowed us to try and go for 4 miles.
One of my athletes says "Coach, can I head in? I got vaccines today and my legs are sore."
Being that there were no other athletes still running other than my group I replied "Yes, great job."
However, he wasn't gone a minute when he returned! " I don't want to go in, I want to keep running with you guys."
I wish you could have seen the smiles on the kids.
I was so proud of them. When everyone else headed in they wanted more.
We looked like drowned rats. Very happy and smiling drowned rats.

Rain RUNS. These are my favorite runs. Jama and I had a trail run a couple years ago. We got caught in the rain, in the woods and all we could do was run. The fear was quite a adrenaline rush.
Lacey and I got didn't just get caught in the rain last year, Andy actually came around to drive us home. The radar showed heavy downpour and storm. We waved him off and kept running. Oh Lordy! It thundered something fierce. We couldn't even see it was raining so bad. We laughed, tripped in potholes 10 inches deep, waved at people who sat on their porches shocked we were running and giddy in it.

When is the last time you ran in the rain? GO PLAY!

BIG SHOUT OUT TO ALEXIS N. She rocked out her 9th Boston Marathon!

Anita~

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

T-4 Days Glass City Marathon


Proverbs 23:7"For as he thinks in his heart, so is he."

The thought of running a 8:21min/mi for 26.2 miles makes my stomach turn inside out. Glass City Marathon this Sunday.  I have done the training to accomplish this but I am still overwhelmed with fear. This is the pace I would like to achieve to get into Boston. The qualifying standard for my age group is 3:45.
Its gonna HURT soo bad.

I never planned on running the Boston Marathon again, until Lacey. Lacey wants it, and I want it for Lacey. There would be nothing GREATER than running Boston Marathon with her for 2018.

Great things happen in Boston. This is where I met Danielle at in 2011. Danielle and I went to HS together,even graduated together but never hung out. I heard someone call my name as I was running the marathon, it was DANIELLE! We have been running together ever since.
I would be so stoked to share Boston with Lacey. It is one the greatest marathons.

We have trained many miles together. Almost every Sunday, Sunday Runday.
The Hotel is booked.
The driving instructions printed.
The expo directions printed.
Our goals verbalized.
There is NOTHING more we can do. Our training is DONE.

Many many miles in the snow, rain, sleet. Around a track, on a treadmill, sweat, fear and soreness.

It is time to remind myself to accept the pain and run on. My mind will program my body. My body is trained. It is very mental. Such is life.

You are what you think you are.

I am going to have to control my thoughts.

My thoughts right now...."Oh Lord...PLEASE keep me strong."


RUNDOWN:
Sunday. NO run, but I missed Lacey and met her for a sunset walk down the dirt roads for 3 miles.

Monday. This was a FUN RUN. Erin is running her first Marathon at Glass City. Lacey and I wanted to run her last long with her. Then I invited Claudia and Matt invited himself! We ended up with a really fun group run. 10 miles at Indian Springs.
The hardest part of this run was not getting to hear from everyone. There were so many conversations going on in all different directions. My mind was spinning.

TODAY: I met Jeff at GAC. He is so goofy. I was on time and looking all over for him. My phone was in my hand when I got a test message. "Hey dummie! Turn around" I was spinning around looking for him when I spotted him laughing at me. "HEY! Its not very nice to call someone a dummy so early in the morning!" I yelled at him from about 30 feet away. But I could tell he was thinking he was the next standup comedian so let him laugh it up!
We skipped the TM's and ran on the track together.
3 miles, easy peasy lemon squeeze me.
I had CC today so I had another easy peasy 2 miles to add to that.


My day was booked from 7am all the way to 5pm. Every 2 hours I had a appointment. No rest, no excuses. I had to get things done.
I am blessed with amazing friends. As busy as my day was, I was encouraged, motivated and even blessed with lunch.

I heard the voices of those that have helped me with this marathon. Jeff has been such a coach to me. He has been where I am. His experience and knowledge speaks volumes.
I have the greatest cheerleaders. I hear the words, read them and love all of them.

I see the faces of those who support me, encourage me and believe in me. I am so blessed.
I have the greatest tribe.

Glory is GOD'S. He is my strength and provider. I give him such gratitude for keeping me injury free, strong and healthy the last 16 weeks.
I am thankful for every mile, for every run, every person he provided me with. I deserve nothing and appreciate everything in humility and gratitude.

Anita~

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Let it Begin.

Coaching is a profession of love.
You can't coach people unless you love them.
-Eddie Robinson

Coaching has begun this week. I went back and forth on whether or not I should do it. I love kids, I love coaching and I love mentoring the kids.

I really use the term "Coaching" lightly.
I have no degree.
I have no special classes, documentation or certifications.
I really have no coaching resume that anyone would look at twice.

I have been coaching for 7 years with nothing other than my personal running experience, books, journals, tips from local coaches and my experience as a youth leader for the past 15 years.

If high energy, passion for running, the love of our youth, the voice of encouragement and acting like a 13 year old were qualifications for coaching I would totally be qualified!

Tuesday was the first day of CC. However,my first day was Wednesday. I walked into the gym with my signature bucket hat and pink whistle. I was greeted with high fives and smiles that quickly reminded me why I was coaching.

Coaching 5th-8th grade CC isn't about running them like Kara Goucher or Meb. It is about teaching them to LOVE to run. To want to run.
It is mentoring them. Teaching them about perseverance, about grit. It is helping them to learn where life and running intersect. There is nothing more that I love then to watch my atheletes do what they never thought they could do. Just teaching them to DREAM,  then to WORK for that dream and I get to be there when they watch those Dreams come true.

As a coach, we have the opportunity to BUILD these kids up or tear them down. I have seen both.
We have a lot of power.
Everyone has a story. Every Kid. Every Adult.
Some kids come in strong and arrogant.
Some kids come in weak and shy.
Some kids come in talented, broken, and some kids come in following others.
My job isn't to judge, condemn, confuse or criticize.
My job is to meet them where they are at and believe in them and all the possibilities they are capable of.

If you do all the above then the end result will be they love running and want to run. You will see numbers drop, smiles galore, sweat, tears and dreams come true.

We ALL have the opportunity to coach. It is merely speaking in someone's life.
This morning I met Kris and Rachel out in Swartz Creek to run backroads.
This was actually part of our conversation.
We have gifts and talents.
How are you using them?
It is such a shame, a loss to have gifts and never share them for good.
We have opportunities to speak life into one another but often times we compare ourselves, we get judgmental, we gossip, and we never step out of our box.
We allow insecurities, fear and complacent to keep us from doing something great...
Building one another up.

I got a couple messages from past XC athletes today. I love hearing from my former athletes.


"hey!! Heard cc season started and just wanted to say how much I miss u and I wish I was still there to run:( .......I love and miss you soo much. You always inspire me and I'll always be grateful for how hard you pushed me. you never let me give up and it has taught me a lot about life in general."


A good coach will make his players see what they can be
rather than what they are.
-Ara Parasheghian

RUNDOWN
Distance: 10.4
Pace: 9:08

Kris took me to2 awesome barns today!

TEA TIME: Gypsy Green Tea and Honey

Anita~