"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, June 22, 2017

Old Trail, New Perspective

The morning started out good, my alarm went off at 5am to run the Wilderness Trail at Holly Rec. and my legs hit the hardwood running. Not to bad for 5 hours of sleep. I was able to get a half a cup of coffee down, however, the idea of eating that early was not appealing.
  • NOTE....this is one of the things I am going to need to improve in my training for Hennipen  100. I know if I am running more than 2 hours I NEED to eat. Quite realistically...I should be eating anyway!
Without giving my 6am trail run a thought I headed to Holly Rec. I was meeting Rachel, Claudia and Kayla was joining us for the first time on the trails.
Driving unto McGinnis, Rachel called to warn me. The gate was closed to the park, the park doesn't open until 8am! Rachel directed me to another parking lot on the other side, where the other girls followed.

We parked and headed into the trails from another trail head. I get so giddy trying new things, Even if it was the same OLD THING, it was a New Perspective.

We let Kayla lead because she was the first one that had to get out of the trails. She was in for 1 loop.
OK...Note to self, be prepared to sweat, huff and puff when you let a young whipper snapper lead who is trying to qualify for Boston in the fall.

Kayla was power housing it up all the hills that we normally WALK. She wasn't even sweating. She had to swing back around to connect back with us. I ran in the gap, in-between Kayla and the girls.
There was still quite the distance between Kayla and I. We were NOT in conversation range. This was actually really awesome, not just because I was not capable of complete sentences and thinking. I had no pressure to talk, respond, all I had to do was run. I was loving running at this challenging a pace. My body responded rather well, I enjoyed pushing harder than normal. The key was we were not conversing a whole lot. I was able to focus and grit it out better.

Kayla shared 1 loop, we brought her pack to the parking lot.
THIS little doohickie was hanging from a tree.

A park Ranger stopped us and asked us "Do you know who's truck that is?" It was mine.
He was not welcoming us like Mr. Rogers. He proceeded to tell us that we were NOT supposed to be in the park until opening hours at 8am and that he could give me a ticket because I was not parked properly AND we were parking in the campers lot.

I took Kaylas parking spot and off the three of us went. We were rather warmed up from trying to keep up with Seabisquit. We did slow up a bit and walk a few more hills.
  • NOTE: I discovered I was MORE out of breath walking the hills then just slowly and consistently running them.
After the second loop, I lost all my partners. I headed back out for a solo loop. I felt good. The bugs were dancing all around me and the temps were heating up. The trail gave had a nice breeze that cooled me down and allowed me to smell the woodsy funk I was sporting.
Its a HEART! I found a heart in the woods!

I got to thinking. It is funny how I have ran this trail for over a year but running a different trail head made this loop look all together different. I actually enjoyed the loop BETTER from this end. The draw back was this loop is a little shorter. I ran the last loop strong, running most of the hills. I even ran up the wicked steep hill I am usually wincing all the way up and gasping for air at the top. But running it made me feel better. I shortened my stride, pumped my little arms, looked at the top and got to the top in half the distance with twice as much air left in my lungs!


"If you always do, what you have always done, you will always get, what you always had."

That being said. Todays change made a HUGE impact on my training.
  • It reminded me I am stronger on the trails than I have been training.
  • God gave me 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason...It is good to just LISTEN. I didn't chat it up today. I didn't really think my words were really missed much anyway. I just enjoyed listening and adhering to what others had to say. You can learn a lot when you truly LISTEN. Listen WITHOUT RESPONDING...try that out this week. Enjoy someone else's words. Enjoy THIER story. And don't share yours...Try it, I bet you learn something new.
  • I am going to start running the hills at a slower more steady pace.
  • I need to start leading more on the trails. I am never going to get good at navigating if I am always following.
  • That I CAN run alone on the trails. It is good to listen to your inner coach. The quietness allows me to be inside my body, be aware of what I am doing, where I am at, how I am feeling and coach myself.

RUNDOWN:
Distance: 16miles
Time: 2h:53min
Pace: 10:48


*NUTRITION on my long runs. I prefer whole foods. I have used Honey Stingers for about 5 years. They are organic and clean. But I still get a belly ache after about 20 miles. I eat trail mix, Honey Stinger waffles and take Juice Plus gummies.  These are WHOLE foods, not a supplement. I never get a belly ache.


ANITA~

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pounding the Pavement..it has BEGUN



I am trying to remember the last time I ran SOLO. But being I can not remember to turn my watch off "Pause" most of my runs, trying to remember my last run with myself is baffling and pointless.

I embraced the Solo Run.
I also embraced pounding the pavement, this too is another run I can not remember the last time I did. I love running with people as much as I enjoy trail running and backroad running. I have not put many miles on the road, the paved road.

Since I am on a kick of "LOVES"...I LOVE listening to music. I am very motivated by music. I had all the elements to a good Solo Run.
  • 75' and sunny
  • A great running playlist
I had one thing missing...GUM. I gave my gum away and forgot to replace it. I was getting frantic looking in every pocket in my hydration vest. In my purse, my lunch bag, my gym bag, my truck, coat pockets and then I found a folded, dismantled piece of Trident. This little piece of gum didn't look salvageable. Dirty, mangled, melted, I slowly tried to make the best of it. Curiosity, got the best of me as I scraped it off the paper popping and it in my mouth, "Hmm, not bad at all".

It took me a couple miles to get moving. In less than 2 miles, I was sweating, whining, stripping my clothes off down E. Holly Rd and not paying attention to restarting my watch. I lost more than a half a mile. Typical Anita.

I love the "Out and Back" route down E.Holly. I prefer running loops but running an "Out and Back" allows me to TURN AROUND and know my mileage.
Navigation is not one of my strong suits. I still ask my running partners "Where are we going?" after running the same routes for seasons.

The route is hilly. Some great elevation. Slow climbs and long descents. It is challenging. It hurts, takes my breath away and motivates me to push through.

There lies what I call the "Three Step Sisters", 3 hills back to back. One is long slow fade, one is short and the last one is a bypass that makes my sweat bleed. The kicker is they are actually placed along in incine on E. Holly Rd. The beauty in these comes on the way back. This route reminds me of running the Boston Marathon. Even the hills beat your quads up, however, the elevation goes DOWN on the way back home.

I was on my last hill as I saw a familiar Ford. It was confirmed when I heard the BEEP, it was Lacey.
I chucked to myself. "Even on a solo run I still see my running partner..." It made me smile. Or maybe I was smiling because I was hauling butt on the downside of that last hill.
It felt soo good. I glanced at my watch,  holding my grin at a 7:20 min/mi.

Nothing lasts forever, I balanced my pace back grinding out the last few miles.
I thought I was going fast until I heard another BEEP. It was my son, speeding in his friends manual turbo sports car. UGH. I waved because I couldn't yell at him to SLOW DOWN. All I could do was pray for those two knuckleheads.

With less than a mile back home, I chased that last stupid hill. I really wanted to maintain my pace but I was going to need to pick it up and move hard up that steep hill.
I could see her.
I started talking to myself. You can do this when your are running solo and nobody will judge you.
"Pick it UP, go, go."
"Ohh crap, its starting to hurt..."
"Go! to the mailbox, the SECOND mailbox..."
"No, the third mailbox...."
"NO, to the END of the hill, Pick IT UP.."

I ran past the "8" mile BEEP on my Garmin. You can't quit on a downhill.

RUNDOWN:
Distance: 8.2 miles
Pace: 8:31min/mi.
Time: 1:09:53


HENNIPEN 100 TRAINING has begun.
Time to embrace the long runs.
The back to back LONG runs.
The hot runs.
The hours on my feet.
The extra calories.
More intentional eating and drinking.
Early runs, evening runs, night runs...

Its time to get serious. Time to get fall in love with suffering. I am so excited!

On account that it is NATIONAL SELFIE DAY...a picture of the greatest brother and I from this weekend at Rose Oaks.

Anita~

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Turtle and the Hare.



How do you manage to run in 90' weather?
Lacey suggested we run a half marathon a few weeks ago. This is one way to suffer through your miles with likeminded company.
  • It got us out there early.
  • It made us kick it up a notch.
  • We were able to use our competitive spirits to dig a little deeper.
  • Running with others suffering was rather encouraging! Birds of a feather flock together.
Everyone lined up, gun start..not really, more like a "GO!".
We ran another Run Michigan Cheap race. 30$ for a half marathon. No frills.  No timing mat. They do have medals, teeshirts for preregistered runners, water bottles throughout, some peanut butter crackers at the end and free pictures.

These races are typically on rails to trails. They are a great way to get some training in without spending your child's college fund.

Today's race was in Lake Orion.
Polly Ann Trail
13.1 miles
Starting time 8am.
RD giving us all a few reminders.

This was another fun race. I like some of these smaller races. Everyone hangs out waiting and cheering one another on.
Lacey and I took off together. It was already 78' when we started. Most of the route was in shade making us comfortable inside a safety net.

The course was very flat until you ran along Indianwood golf course. This hilly and cantered section of the route only lasted a little over a mile. We were about 3 miles in and the shade was still friendly.
Laughing it up...This only lasted a couple more miles!


I felt pretty good until I realized you had to run up this bridge in Oxford, then run down, turn around at the bottom only to run BACK UP. This was a evil placement for the out and back turn around. The sun was over top of us adding injury to insult.

It was not to long after I encouraged Lacey to "Go and catch the girl in the pink tank top".  

Funny, in 45 minutes how totally different the course now felt. We had a lot more sun torturing us.
My lungs felt like they were completely oxygen deprived. I slowed down to catch my breath and my thoughts on this suffering. I was grateful I had brought my hand held water bottle. This saved me a lot of energy, it was one more thought I didn't have to manage.

I remembered the turtle I had seen last week. I decided to just run steady Eddy like the turtle. This was a confirmed thought I will share with you in a minute....
Everyone began to slow down.
Bringing it down to a breathing pace, a thinking pace, I discovered I was not the only one who changed plans on this half of the race.
I was shocked when runners were walking. But I was happy when I passed them. It was crazy to think I was passing runners that had blazed ahead of me.
At mile 10, I slowly passed a guy walking. I tried to get him up and moving with me, afterall he had been moving really fast in the beginning, but he was not biting. He was smiling, even laughing but he was NOT running.
Several runners were struggling with cramping, It was a gentle reminder to DRINK, I still had 3 miles to go and it was hot.

The last 2 miles were hot but not unpleasant. I was still running a sub 9 but honestly had no one around me to get my wheels turning faster. I knew I should be running faster. But it was a training run....this little turtle just plugged on.

My watch hit the 13 mile marker, only I couldn't see the finish line. I was afraid to pick up my pace in case I was way off. This would be a "Typical Anita" move. Miscalculate my miles, the distance, take a wrong turn..anything is really possible.
I made a slight turn and suddenly EVERYONE appeared. I barely had time to pick it up. The finish line was packed with runners, they were cheering me on. Being cheered on by other runners is really a fun finish.
I finished smiling and still strong.
I was chasing behind a guy who was cheering runners on at the finish. He asked if I had see this certain guy. I said "Yeah, I saw him about mile 10, he was walking..." He responded 'Yeah, he took off really fast, I just decided when I saw him slowing down to run like a TURTLE, to just run steady all the way in, and looked who finished ahead...."
I was not the only one using that storybook wisdom!

Distance: 13.1
Time: 1:54:57
3rd female to cross...out of 24.
1st in my age group...out of 5.

In Closing:
Lacey never caught the gal in pink. However, we did meet her and her family. Her family were the best cheerleaders, so good I thought they were part of the race crew.
"Jordan" rocked out there today. She is running Disney in January. We enjoyed chatting with her as we headed back to the car.
Lacey and Jordan! These girls rocked it out in 90' weather!

Heading to Disney next January!




So, In closing, I finished upright, ran a half marathon in a sub 9min/mi. I had fun, smiled a lot. Whined a bit, but enjoyed knowing I pushed myself on a hot day. It was a great training run.


ANITA~

Monday, June 5, 2017

Ariel

I have half written a post on my running today. But my mind keeps wandering to you.

I miss you so much Ariel.
I sit on your comforter wishing you were next to me.
I read your text messages for the millionth time crying in the bath.
Life never feels the same.
Your words, you loved me so much.
You believed in me when everyone else was against me.
You brought me my favorites always "Making me smile."

Even now people discount your love for me. They don't want me to talk about you, they don't want me to grieve. They hate me for loving you.

But I will never stop loving you. You never stopped loving me.
I miss your love. You were my girl.

When does it quit hurting. God it hurts so bad.

I miss you. I hate that you left me.
I hate death.
I never get used to it.

never.

my baby girl, i love you.
Happy birthday.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Not so Picture Perfect.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
Isaiah 64:6


Not a cloud in the sky. The temperatures were ideal for running. The birds were singing to us. The sun was warming our skin. Everything was Picture Perfect

But it was funny...we were all a bit off. 

With ideal running conditions we headed into the woods. 

You couldn't help but fall in love. The trees were closer than I remembered them from a week ago. Vegetation was growing in all directions. The grasses and low covering greenery was moving with all kinds of hidden critters. The woods were alive.
In the distance, you heard a woodpecker echoing around you. It was like a song. All the woods worked together to make perfect hymns.

But there was a hollow in some of our hearts.

We crossed a section of the trail that was cut down towards the lake. We all stopped our watches and in sync went down to see this Picture Perfect scene.
Every step closer, it got more beautiful. More detailed. I was in awe. Almost breathless at the placement of each element.

BUT...

The closer I got, I saw the water wasn't as BLUE as it appeared. I stared deeper into the water and noticed it was actually mucky. The water was thick with leaves and even dead insects. This water was really a reflection to the perfect sky..yet a very imperfect lake...more of a swamp.

This was ME. At first glance you might think:
"OH that Anita, she is always so happy...."
"Oh that Anita....."
But things are not always so Picture Perfect. I shared this with the girls without sharing my personal burdens.
People judge us at a quick glance. At a Facebook post. From a distance. And we do the same.
But most people don't get in there close enough to really know what we are made of.

We are all deeper. All more detailed. We all have our burdens, our struggles, out handicaps, our ugly.
Its hidden, its covered, its there though.
None of us are so Picture Perfect.
"All have sinned and come short the Glory of God." Romans 3:23

If you thought that my smile, laughter or silliness is the makings of a gal that has it all together, than I will apologize now.
I will fail you. I will hurt you. I will disappoint you. My picture  like that lake tries to reflect God. But deep in the grooves you will notice a mess. 
And I fail everyday. 

We get back up, Smile, Love, Encourage one another, Forgive each other and try to look deeper into others before we judge them...

Because none of us are so Picture Perfect.

Anita*


Monday, May 29, 2017

3 Runs, 3 Parks.

    "Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy "
Psalms 96:11-12 


Thursday: Holly Rec.
I can barely remember yesterday but I do remember running with Kris and Rachel out at Holly Rec.
Poor lil guy....

I remember thinking "I hardly recognize this trail." Mind you I can get lost in my backyard, however, I thought I should know the trail so much better than I did. The trail was so green and thick with vegetation. Did you know that green is my favorite color? It was so pretty.
I remember going off the trail to discover this cool little fort. I hiked a little farther and discovered a very significant drop off. Just below rested a swamp I had no clue was tucked away from the trail.

The trail was soggy from the rain. As we headed back in from our 2nd loop, I witnessed Kris jump a mile high. A very very large frog planted his chubby butt in the middle of the trail.

RUNDOWN:
Distance: 11 miles

Sunday: Holdridge.

A last minute invite to run with Matt and Paula. It ended up just Matt and I.
The day was beautiful. Originally, we were supposed to get storms. But instead we got blue skies and warm weather. My favorite.
My running partners have gotten used to me seeing my "friends" just about every where we go. Everyone is my friend! Even if I just meet you once, you are now MY FRIEND! We no sooner got out of our vehicles when I heard a familiar voice "HI Anita!". It was a guy on a bike.  Because forgetfulness is a standing quality of mine, I forgot "HIS" name. As politely and with as little awkwardness as possible I asked his name. I knew where he lived, who his beautiful wife was, I had have been praying for his wife, Reagan and even saw her last week.  I knew what he did for a living but I couldn't remember his name! Typical Anita. KEN!!! YES, KEN and Reagan. Duh.
We chatted with him for a while. I was about to ask if he wanted to run with us. I would have loved to catch up.
But its a good thing I didn't. Matt was "Chatty Kathy" on the trails. Matt would have had some competition. The temps warmed up making Matt a little fatigued. I liked this!
He and Paula did a 30 mile bike ride the day before. I was getting his leftovers. This is good for me because he is a Seabisquit when he's running fresh legs. I let him carry the conversation sandbagging my energy.
The trail was tight in several spots with pickery flesh eating vines trying to tear my already ugly legs apart. I jumped, dodged and ran through them but not without scrapes, scratches and blood loss. If the needles like vines didn't attack you the mosquitos were out with a vengeance. We always stop at the 9 mile marking to drink, eat and pee...I don't pee. The 5 minute break left me nervous I was going to get West Nile I had gotten bitten so much.
And AGAIN..this time it wasn't just me. Even Matt got turned around. There was a trail I wasn't familiar  with. Both stumped we took it and discovered it was not OUR trail.
Holdridge was so pretty I had to quit looking around, I tripped and landed on all fours TWICE!
To think "ANITA" actually means Grace.
We saw a lot of bikers out there. It is great to see so many people taking advantage of the trails.

RUNDOWN:
Distance : 16 miles.

Today: Memorial Day: Orion Oaks

Another last minute RUN. Lacey and I went out to Orion and ran on Matt and Paula's stomping grounds.
The park is a hidden Gem. We jumped on the Polly Ann trail and took it to, I think, Clarkston Road to Baldwin road. We  picked it the trail at the Bark Park.
The trail is wide, lightly dusted in areas with gravel but otherwise grass and packed ground. We took several turns, I was beyond lost and confused. We went over a bridge that cut through a swamp, this area we all stopped and I took a few pics. I must have been really excited because they turned out all blurry. It was so lovely. Buggy but worth the bites.
Lacey had it in her head we were running 10 miles. When her Garmin went off at 11miles she looked at Matt and said "Ahh, I have 11 miles....."
Matt responded "Really, I have 7 something.."
I was running a step behind giggling because I knew this game..I have been victim to "Matts Mileage".
Great run, I cant wait to run out there by myself and soak it in a little more. If you haven't heard from me send a search party. I can totally see myself lost, a lot. I will make "It sure is pretty though" my anthem!

RUNDOWN"
Distance: 12miles

   Isaiah 55:12
“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." 

I am pretty sure I need to play in some new trails with summer, soo fun, adventuring. Any Suggestions?



Summer Critters:
Took this fun shot of this frog on my deck. He was totally an exhibitionist!
Anita..

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~