"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

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Hennipen 2017: 100mile Recap.

Andy and I headed towards Illinois Friday morning, we dropped Alec off at school and kept on moving.
Hennipen100. My bib number was 81. I had registered for this insanity way back last December.
Most of my races this year were strategically planned as "training runs" working towards the BIG PICTURE, 100 miles.
I trained for 6 months. I ran Glass City Marathon as my ribbon cutting ceremonial race to kick off 50 and 60 mile run weeks, midnight runs, rain runs, trail runs and flat rails to trails runs.
My Ford F150 was packed with gear, shoes, food and excitement.
Kris, Rachel and I at the Prerace Meeting

MY TRIBE: Andy and I were driving together but we were not alone.
Just a couple hours behind us, Kris was bringing her crew in their 15 passenger van. Her husband, Chris, her son Brady and Rachel, her pacer.
Lacey would be on the course sometime on Saturday to pace me. Her hubby Scott and her were enjoying some time together in Chicago.
Matt and Paula were doing the same thing as Lacey and Scott. They too would be on the course sometime on Saturday. I didn't really know Matts plan for pacing. I knew he was coming out to help who ever needed it.
And then there was Ken, the culprit of all this insanity. He would be there with his wife Diane.
I was looking forward to seeing my tribe. We had quite the group of us coming in.

VOCABULARY: 
CREW: This is your support system. They follow you around, meeting you at aid stations prepared to service your needs. Andy crewed me. He is amazing at this. Andy has a always been able to navigate through a city to cheer me on as large as New York City or Boston and even Chicago. Navigating is just one area, he also assesses me, helps change my shoes, socks, makes sure I am eating, drinking and provides me with whatever tools I need to stay upright.
PACERS: These are your runners that will be running along side of you keeping you on pace, encouraged, and moving forward. Pacers help to keep you out of your head. They use their head, their strength and wisdom to help get you to the finish.
Hennipen does not allow you to pick up your pacers until after mile 50. Lacey was planning on running though the night with me. I would pick her up at the Candyland Aid station where she would run my last 50K with me. Surprisingly, Matt said he would be at the 50 mile to pace me for "however" long.

RACE MORNING, BEFORE THE STARTING LINE.
Everything was organized in gallon ziplock bags and filed into a box making it easy for Andy to pull out what I needed. 

Weather: 67' and dry. The rain was on its way and would later partner up by winds at over 25mph.
But here I was. I wasn't nervous, scared or even concerned. I was eager. I was so excited to see where this adventure took me. I was ambitious to see what my body could do, what it could overcome, endure.
Andy and I arrived at 6:30am. I met another runner waiting for Kris and her crew. When I saw Kris and her crew I was jumping into their arms delighted to see them all.
It was show time.

MY GOAL:
*To Finish.
* The Golden Goal: Finish SUB 24..And get that BIG BUCKLE BABY!
THE PLAN: 
* A Sub 24 hour calculates to a 14:24m/m.
I would need to pace myself below 14MIN/M to bank time for aid stations.
I planned to maintain a 11:30-12 m/m the first 30 miles. I would do intervals at the top of every mile for 1 minute. This would allow me to keep my pace down. The flat course makes it very easy to want to run faster than you should.
I would assess my body from that point and slow down to a 12-12:30 pace, maintaining the same intervals.
I knew that I would have enough time banked that I wouldn't need to blow out of the aid stations. I could eat, change and get mentally settled down.
I also knew that running through the night would be a slower pace. I would be able to slow down yet again to a 13-14min/mi. I would be changing my intervals, I just didn't know to what, I will share that with you further on.

READY SET GO!
I crossed the starting mat full smiles with Kris next to me. It was one of the first races I have ever ran that seemed to move in slow motion. No ONE took out of there like SeaBisquit. 
I asked Kris her plan, stating that it would be nice if we could run a few miles together. 
We had different plans but agreed it would be fun to run together for a bit. 
You can see we ran along the canal. I counted over 25 bridges or tunnels that we  ran through. I especially liked this one:RECKLESS

I had SEVERAL people praying for me. I had asked if people would dedicate an aid station to pray for me. In return, I would share a photo at the aids station they dedicated to pray for me. I wanted to use every mile to Glorify God. I wanted God to see His people all together, honoring Him, glorifying Him and being a witness for Him. It was MORE than me, Soo much more than me. 
Andy had the signs. He had to manage the signs as well as crew me. 

The Aid stations were set up on an average of 5 miles apart. It took about an hour to get to the first Aid Station, but I was SOO excited to see Andy. I wasn't sure he would be there so early on. 
Andy never missed an aid station. He was at all of them, even the ones they said had NO crew access. 
Andy, Best Crew a Girls could ask for

THE FIRST 50k (32MILES)
I had my hydration pack on with limited water. I wanted little weight, I could use the aid stations to hydrate, using my pack as a back up. The weather was warm, sticky and humid. So when the skies began to drizzle it was rather refreshing.
Kris and I SMILE!
We continued to crank out the miles. Kris had hung around with me longer than I had expected.
I was paying close attention to my pace and my plan. My body felt great. I was still foot loose and fancy other than my planter fascia getting angry. I found myself running on the grass to prevent the hard flat pounding.
I also thought of my friend Kay. She reminded me it is just "10 -10 milers." I would text her each 10 miles I completed.
I came into every aid station screaming "MARCO"! I had to do it sometimes a couple times to teach everyone how it goes..."I say MARCO...YOU say POLO"!
Andy would be waiting for me like clockwork. He would smile at my silliness and then get me moving again. "Anita, SLOW DOWN." He coaxed me. I tried to explain to him I was on pace. I was running my plan. At Aid Station 6 The Minions I could hear people cheering us on. I looked closely, Matt and Paula were dangling signs at the top of the bridge in the rain. There was NO CREW access here and yet Andy and them were both here with smiles, hugs and encouragement. They made us signs with mantra and pictures on them. I was soo happy. Paula had this smile that filled my love tank and a hug to match. It was nasty weather and that didn't stop them.

PAULA! I love this SMILE and my SIGN!!


Getting to 50 miles. 
"Kris, We are 1/3 DONE!" She was still next to me as we headed towards the next aid station. The drizzle had morphed to a steady rain mixed with gusting winds.
The path was so flat and straight it was easy to see the aid station. "Farmers Bridge".
Coming into aid station 7, Andy was getting more serious about assessing me. "How are your feet?"
"Do you have any hot spots?"  "Blisters?" "Do you need to change your socks?"
I would hit this aid station again 67.3. I would pick up Lacey at that time.
Andy was getting good at changing out my hydration pack and putting water in it. At this point, I was getting lil tweaks. I was keeping them mostly to myself, trying to remain positive.
I knew Lacey should be arriving sometime soon. She had text me she would be in around 1pm. I really wanted to see Lacey.
Judy J made this..I LOVED this collage.
AID STATION 8-Ten Junk Miles and Flatlanders (They sponsor this aid station) Mile38.7 and 60.7.
This Aid Station was what I needed to get the adrenaline going again!
And I really needed a pick. The wind and rain was beating me up both physically and mentally
It had EVERYTHING a girl could ask for! Loud MUSIC, a Disco Ball, coffee, soup, hot sandwiches, it was AMAZING. I was dancing, smiling and warming my cold wet body with chicken noodle soup.  Andy had me sitting, Lacey was there, everyone was there. I was so hyped. I kept jumping up and Andy kept setting me back down. He had his hands full!
I jumped up, stimulated and ready to get moving. I passed out high fives and good vibes but this time I took off solo. It was time for Kris and I to separate.
Coming into Aid Station 9 also would be 12- Moms run this Town at mile 43.9 and also 55.5 I was ready for some music.
This ladies here were all dressed up and giving out hugs. I was having so much fun Andy had to remind me to keep moving. Besides my next aid station was only 3.2 miles away.
Aid Station Goodies

I was still on pace. Averaging 12min/mi. My feet were hurting and the weather had beaten me up. The wind had blasted me for hours with spitting rain that felt more like sleet. It was a full on head wind.
I continued to drink and eat at every aid station. Potatoes, soup, potato chips, peanut butter and jelly, and washed it down with Tailwind. I knew I had to keep my calories up, to get behind in calories is a date for disaster. I also knew I worked better on real food. Gu's, chomps and gels are great but I can only do a couple of them before they upset my belly.
*You burn an average of 400 calories an hour running. You cant really replace them as fast as you burn them but you can prevent yourself from bonking by drinking water, electrolyte replacements and eating.

THE HALF WAY MARK. 
Aid Stations 10 & 11
Miles 47.4 & 52.3
It was a tease. You go through this aid station, see all your family and friends and leave empty handed. You have to run another 2.5 miles out and back to pick up your pacer.
This was a big aid station. It was a bit chaotic for me. Andy was there to help me change my socks and shoes. I was beginning to get fatigued and confused. My knee was now achy along with my lower back. I couldn't tell if my hips and back were hurting from my hydration pack or from my running skirt cutting into my lower back. Matt was ready to head out. He was more enthusiastic than I was. At the last minute, I decided to drop my hydration pack and run with a handheld water bottle. I knew that if this did not work I could switch it out again. But something had to change.
Before I headed out Andy remembered I needed my head lamp, it was getting dark and I wouldn't see him again before it got dark.
The night caught up with us fast. As the darkness fell, my eyes adjusted, the black night surprisingly surrounded me. It was really cool to see runners with their headlamps. As we approached the aid stations, the trail was covered in glow sticks. This was fun.
I wasn't much for conversation, I was trying to engage but I was getting tired. Matt gave me a chocolate expresso Gu. It went down smooth and even woke me up.
I was counting the miles down until we picked up Lacey.

CANDYLAND, NOT FEELING SO SWEET.
Aid Station 7&14
Miles 32.1 & 67.3
This is a large aid station. This station actually features Hennipens lift bridge that is decorated on our bibs. I needed to change my clothes. Andy walked me to the bathrooms. He helped me change my clothes. I had switched my shoes out at the 50 mile mark, my foot pain had dissolved.
MY GIRL, Lacey.

This aid station helped perk me up a little bit. Andy was able to get some soup into me.  I was able to strike a pose under the disco ball. This made Andy happy. I could see the worry on his face.
I barely remember picking up Lacey. Everything was getting foggy. I was a running zombie. I was struggling to keep my pace. I had told Matt and Lacey my goal. They were doing the best they could to keep me moving.

Andy had swapped watches with me at the 60 mile mark giving me his Garmin. It was like divine intervention. He still had his watch set for 4:1 intervals. Running 12 minute miles was too long. I was struggling to maintain my pace, my body began inheriting new aches, I decided 4:1's were perfect.
Poor Lacey was barely running with me when I felt myself getting nauseous.
I felt so weak, vulnerable, even embarrassed as my body turned against me. "Lacey, Oh God, I'm gonna throw up." I stumbled to the side of the trail while my body heaved emptiness.  "It HURTS, Oh it hurts so bad." Tears trickled down my face. My stomach continued to convulse. I couldn't control myself. Nothing was coming up. Lacey stood over me rubbing my back. "Ohhh, make it stop." Bile finally came up leaving a sour taste in my mouth. My belly continued to cramp. I had to just move on. I needed to go. Time was ticking to make my sub 24h goal.
I was running in my sleep, desperately trying to get to the next aid station.
I found myself almost sleeping standing up during the walk intervals. I whined how tired I was. It was barely audible. Matt and Lacey carried all my stuff. .
Matt and Lacey ran with me in the middle. They took turns pushing me back in the middle of them when I veered off the trail. I had never felt fatigue like this. All the food in my belly was making me toot and I was not even ashamed. My stomach was turning sour again. Matt had some Tums to help. They both had fun making fun of me. I was just glad that nothing more was coming out at that point. My body was slowly fading. When I had to pee, I would turn off my head lamp and squat and hope my legs would hold me up. I was shameless. I felt like dead man walking.
To get me to Aid Station 18, the 87 mile mark Lacey and Matt began to read the Facebook posts. I was moved to tears. "SEE Anita, You have to finish, all these people are cheering for you." "Yeah Anita, you don't want to disappoint them!"
Matt even turned on his phone and played contemporary Christian music to inspire me. Lacey and I sang the words of David Crowder together. Her voice was soft, it soothed me.
We could see the lights of the aid station..I was almost there.

THE BOTTOM OF THE BOTTOM
Aid Station 18
Mile 87.5
I shuffled to Andy. He sat me down. My eyes were closed. I could hear him talking to me. He was asking questions but I couldn't respond. I sat there whispering to just let me sleep. I could hear Lacey and Matt saying "She needs coffee, we need to get her coffee."
But Andy was trying to wake me. "Nita, are you ok?" "Nita, we can be done right now."
With all my energy "Please, please, just let me sleep..."
Lacey was in my ear, "Come on, drink this coffee."
Everything was awful. The fact that sleeping mats were just 30 feet from me was cruel. "Drink Nita, come on..."
I wanted to curl up and DIE.

Even the fuzzy blanket couldn't bring me to life. I look like DEATH

I could hear them telling Andy I would be fine. I could tell he wasn't convinced. Matt was doing the math to get me in before 24 hours. The coffee was working enough that I realized he had his math wrong. He thought I started running at 6am. I was going to have to really pick up the pace. But then I chimed in, "NO! I didn't start till 7am...doesn't that give me another hour to finish?"
It was like the Heavens opened up and the Angels sang "Halleluiah".
"Oh, yes, I thought you started at 6, you have almost 4 hours to finish."

The Beginning of the End.
Andy said he would see me at aid station 19, the 93 mile mark. By the time I arrived to him, I had already passed a couple runners. The coffee was kicking in. Lacey had ran farther than she had ever ran.  I was finding my happy place.
I counted the miles down, frequently asking what mile we were at.
It was not long before we were at Aid Station 19.
I was ready to finish. It was a brief stay before I headed out. Andy would skip aid station 20,just 3.4 miles away and meet me at the finish.
I had 7 miles to finish.
I was gonna do this. My body was broken but my mind was convincing itself it was time to bear down and bring it in.
My knee was aching without pause. The pain would get so bad that every so often a sharp shooting pain would go through it causing it to go out on me. I would wince, I was angry that I was so vulnerable and couldn't control my body. And at the same time that anger made me fight more. I refused to let my knee dictate the outcome of this 100 miler this close to the end. The only thing that had control over me was God, I prayed quietly to myself.
In front of me I saw headlamps. It was instinctual to pick up my pace. Unlike my first 50 miles I kept telling myself  "Pass NO ONE ANITA". Now I drew energy from each runner I passed like water from a well. I continued to reach in, thirsty for the competition. Lacey and Matt are highly competitive. They were instigating me, counting down the runners, telling me how far ahead they were and how far behind they were.
"No Nita, they are NOT catching back up to you..." There is nothing worse than passing a runner and they passing you at the end.
We basically ran through that last aid station.
A little more than 3 miles to go.
"What time is it?" I asked. "Can I make it in under 24 hours?"
They laughed. "Anita, You got this...."
The momentum was in place. 3 miles. I felt my body. I listened to my body. I took everything in. I tried to not cry. Everything was perfect. The night was still, dark, full of stars and a beautiful full moon. I could do 3 miles. I was going to do this. I could hear my heart beat, the passion, the gratitude, the love I felt sang inside my soul. My breath was heavy with the zeal to finish.
With 2 miles to finish we came off the Hennipen trail into the town. Houses and cars filled the streets. Lights lined the roads, awakening my senses that had not yet been aroused.
We came into a park setting with winding curves and small hills. My body was numb. I felt nothing but could taste the finish. I continued to pass more runners. Lacey and Matt giggled as they kept count. They were walking , most of them never saw me coming as we barreled pass them. I wondered what they must be thinking as they hobbled to the finish line as I passed them running strong. I couldn't believe I was running so strong.
"I think that is the Finish."
We were on a straightway. We were running on a bike path. On the right was a road lined with very large lights about a quarter mile between each other. On our left was a park, I believe.
"Let me run to that light post." I asked.
They didn't argue. I could hear them talking about how I had picked up the pace.
Then I saw the Finish. I saw lights, I heard people. My heart skipped a beat. My hands clenched. My legs left Lacey and Matt. I couldn't stop smiling. I looked for Andy. I smiled bigger. "RUN...RUN." The voices in my head cheered. Faster, stronger I crossed the Finish line with overwhelming JOY.

Unspeakable Joy. 
Time: 23:13
8th Female Overall
3rd in my age group
41 out of 127


BEST Pacers EVER! I couldn't have done as well without them. So thankful for these two.

Thank you to all those who encouraged me, loved on me, believed in me and prayed for me. 
I know for some it was hard to understand WHY anyone would do this. I wish I could fully explain it. I would have to get into "Who I am" and "What my make-up is" and you probably still would shake your head. But I believe LIFE is meant to be challenged. To be LIVED without regrets. I don't wanna go through life on auto pause. I want to live it fully, a little crazy, a little reckless and IN FAITH. because...
STRENGTH IS NOTHING WITHOUT FAITH.
ANITA~

Friday, October 6, 2017

Hennipen: the Plan



 It took us almost 7 hours to get to our bib pick up today in Illinois.   With the combination of a long drive and 2 cups of coffee I was wound up tight. Package pick up was easy and fun. They had so much to offer for merchandise.
The more people came in the more hyper I got. I kept looking at my watch waiting for
Kris and Rachel to arrive.
 I saw them walking in and came running to greet them.
MY TRIBE!

 Together we laughed, chatted, shopped and listened to the race info meeting.  By the time the meeting ended we are already to head back to our hotels. .

Tomorrow I will be starting my hundred mile adventure at 7 AM.
I have been asked several questions over the last couple days.
1. Why are you running this, 100miles?
2.  Are you going to run the whole time?
3.  Are you going to sleep?
4.  How are you going to do this? Do you have a plan?



Well... here goes.
1. Psalm 20:4-5 " May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. May we shout for joy over your victory and left of our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. "
 I love the adventure. I love pushing myself to the limits,to be depleted and empty and allow God to direct me. To strengthen me. When I am at my end I find myself in full faith of HIM.  Are you with my running as a way to  be a witness for Christ. It is a form of ministry to me.

2.  I will be doing interval training tomorrow. I will be running with walk breaks averaging every mile.

3.  No I will not be sleeping! Until I have finished.

4.  I am going to do this through prayer and faith. I have trained for over six months. My plan is to run the first 20 miles steady, not spending very much time in the aid stations.
 I cannot have any Pacers until the 50 mile mark.
 Lacey will be picking me up at the Candyland aid station to run through the night with me, the last 32 miles.
 I have the greatest crew ever. Andy. He will be at the majority of the stations. He has all my supplies that I will need through the night, through the rain and through all those miles. I am so grateful to have him.  Crewing is a very stressful job as a spouse.  I am very grateful.
 My ultimate goal tomorrow is to finish in 24 hours.  For this to happen I have to average 14 minute miles.
 The weather is not ideal conditions, between the rain and 22 mile an hour winds it will be a challenge.

 In closing, the speakers today shared some great wisdom. Rachel shared some mantra.  And my tribe from home  showered me with gifts and incredible support. All this has me very excited!

 Thank you for all the support and the wonderful words and prayers so many of you have showered me with.
 Andy will do his best at updating on Facebook.

In love, Anita

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Taper Blues

"Andy, Do you ever feel ineffective? Defective? Broken? Like you were created as a mistake?"
He laughed at me.
"Yeah, like all the time I have to talk to people, my skin curls."
My poor husband is a painful introvert that works every day doing the very thing he struggles with, people.

Me...I don't struggle with people, quite the opposite. I LOVE people.
But that's not my struggle. My struggle is ME.

"Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul" Job 7:11

I wish I could blame it on being Monday. But my day was a SH*!! show. The best part of my day was a quick coffee with Paula and Matt and going to the gynecologist. Yeah, seriously, you know your day was a bomb when having your feet in stir ups and being professionally violated was a good point of your day. UGH.

I had an entire day of tears just waiting for one slip up to drown me. My heart was double beating, I could literally feel it in my chest.
The thing is I had multiple slip ups. So many "Typical Anita" moments. I had worked so hard to stay organized for this race. I have made lists, notes and really thought I was prepared. And I still messed up ROYALLY. I wanted to punch myself in the face.

I was overwhelmed from the beginning of the day. I plastered a smile on my face and pulled up my boot straps like I normally do.
I just couldn't get it right today. The chatter in my ears was deafening. I could hear myself surrendering to defeat. I questioned myself.
"What is the Point?"
"Does it even matter?"
It was like doing a long run on tired legs, as soon as I mentally tripped the first time I found myself stumbling harder and more frequently.
All my passions were questioned. All my abilities were weakened. My mere existence was a BIG question mark.
"Andy, Do you ever just have days you don't like yourself and you can't figure out how to change who you are?"
Andy very rarely hears this dialogue from me. He laughs at me. It is an endearing laugh. He just knows I have to battle it out. No one can help me.
That's another problem with me. I am usually good, But when I struggle I go down hard.

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble." 
Helen Keller

I wish I could say that I am all better. I will be better. Tomorrow is a new day.
I am grateful for today, even in its suckiest moments I had genuine smiles.
When I struggle I try to remember what I am grateful for..
For good friends. I had a couple text messages from friends encouraging me for this weekend. They really took me off guard. In my insignificant state, it was as if God empowered they special ladies to text me and tell me different.
I am grateful for good health. At the Dr's I was reminded of how healthy I was. At 43 years old my father was a terrible diabetic and alcoholic. My mother had already had breast cancer, a horrific debilitating brain tumor, was a full blown alcoholic and a addicted to prescription pills before pill popping was even popular. And as I sat with just a gown on getting awkwardly examined I was reminded of my good health. I am very grateful.
I am grateful for another pound. I gained another pound! I was very excited. It is important for me to gain weight before this ultra. It is going to take a lot out of me.
I am grateful for a good run. It was low miles today. 5 flat miles. My legs felt great. I had to keep scaling it back reminding myself I was TAPERING.


I am not sure if this week is going to get any better. I will just keep smiling, praying and moving forward.
I could really use some prayers. I hate these feelings. I am not good with them.

Anita

Sunday, October 1, 2017

You Split the Sea for Me.

"You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
And I will stand and sing
I am a child of God.
"


It starts first with a lump in my throat. Then my poor wrinkled hands tighten up. My heart gets heavy as I think of my yesterdays.
Grief and Gratitude battle only to crumble into each others arms. 
Tears.
They slowly trickle down my cheeks. My hands are raised as the lyrics gently flow from my tear soaked lips. 

YOU RESCUED ME....
You SPLIT THE SEA...

It was just yesterday I was so insignificant. I child with no hope. Forgotten. Discarded. Lonely nights. Mornings without light. 
Lies. ALL LIES. 

What if I listened to the lies? 

Lacey and I sang this together on our last long run. 
When we felt so tired, I got super spiritual on Lacey. 
"Lacey, HE split the sea for ME...HE always believed in me..."

I didn't know how Lacey would respond in her misery. 
She finished the songs lyrics.."I am a child of God..." 

This week as I gear up for this new 100 mile adventure I call on HIM.
I remind myself HE SPLIT the SEA for me to do GREAT And Mighty things. 

I have had several solo runs trying to get myself in a quiet place. A place I can hear HIM remind me of his promises. 
I need to hear God remind me of who I AM. Where I CAME from. WHAT I have Overcome because OF HIM. 

I got a love lashing from a dear friend of mine this week. 
"By the way, quit stressing about this damn race." 
"Get out of your head. Let the training guide you. I am absolutely certain you will conquer this beast. This is nothing compared to what you've overcome and gotten through." 

I stared at those words. I had no idea how to respond. She was right. 
HE SPLIT THE SEA for ME..

My taper has started. This is it. The clock it ticking. I am so humbled that God has kept me safe all these weeks of training. He has strengthen me, given me wisdom and directed my paths. 
I deserve none of it. 
But HE continues to see me. Little ole me. Insignificant. I nobody in the big picture. 
A girl with an outrageous dream. 
I girl that came from nothing and lives with her cup running over, undeserving. Grateful but not even grateful enough. 

RUNDOWN
Distance 10.2
Time: 1:37:50
Pace: 9:42

My last double digit run. Lacey and I ran at 6:30am. It was our first cold run. I was in capris and long sleeves. BRR. As chilly as it was, our morning run was stunning. Breathtaking. 
The fog skirted around us, leaving a majestic hue over everything simple transforming it into splendid. 



"A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps."
Proverbs 16:9


Anita


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

That DIDN'T go as planned.

My run this morning started out sideways. I should have turned around in the beginning.

I couldn't make up my mind on how many miles that I wanted to run. Originally, 20 miles was in my plan.
But my coffee was so good, the couch was so cozy and my fuzzy owl pjs were in no hurry to come off.
I looked at Hal Koerners taper miles. He trains a very different plan. Hal runs 6 days a week with smaller long runs. This training plan doesn't work well for me because of my work schedule. I use his plan to navigate my weekly miles. I run longer  daily miles but have days to recover in between.
But as I examined his Wednesday miles, I liked his digits better than mine. I started bowing out.

The battle began there. 
I fought it. Back and forth too long. I should have been out of the house. And without another thought I jumped up, quickly getting my act together.
20 Miles. Suck it up Anita. Get it DONE.

I was out the door, better late than never.  Or so I thought...

My Plan:
First five miles: Nice easy warm up: Pace as close to 10min/mi.
Second 5miles: Pace between 10-10:30min/mi
Third 5 miles: 30 second walk breaks every mile, average pace between 10-10:30min/mi.
4th and last 5miles: 60second walk breaks every mile. Average pace between 10:30-11min/mi.

NOT IN MY PLAN:
The first hour the skies opened up. Not even a mile into my run I felt rain sprinkling on me. The cross guard, an elderly man whom I just love, jumped out in front of me with his hand spread wide "You better run faster, its gonna rain!". Passing him I turned around, running backwards, laughing, "Too LATE, I can feel it coming down!"
HOLY Turkeys

Within my first 7 miles I was DRENCHED.
"It's good training Nita, it could rain all day at Hennipen." I told myself.  I was at least prepared with a hat on to prevent the rain from getting in my face. I also had my phone in a ziplock bag to protect it from all the rain. I didn't have a dry stitch of clothing.

And just like that, the rain stopped.

Feeling good about my second 5 miles, I found myself running and smiling. Holly was more friendly than usual. The post man chatted with me, the garbage man cheered me on and even the local police officer waved at me.

Going into my third five is where it REALLY FELL APART.
I was drinking fluids well. But I hadn't taken any nutrition. I had a Gingerade Gu that I struggled swallowing. It was THICK, WARM and stuck in my mouth. I couldn't gulp it down. I squeezed almost the entire pack into my mouth and quickly chugged it down. It was like a lemony slug caught in my throat. I knew I needed it, I washed it down with water and tried to forget the entire experience.

I was staying on pace.
Alec started texting. He needed me to pick him up. Because I left the house late I was not done running in time to pick him up from school. I was 6 miles from the high school. Panicking, I called Lacey. She is so good to me. She left work and grabbed him.
It was so hard to stay on pace and make life work.

At mile 16, It all went to HELL in a Hand basket.
I felt my sugar dropping. I slowed down, and eventurally all together stopped. I had ravaged through my hydration vest looking for my Honey Stinger waffle. It was no where. But I did find a half a bag of cashews. I knew I was in trouble.

I started running and could feel my body getting confused. I started tapping my fingers, I do this when I am running to try and stay composed.

I was running the backroads, I had less than 3 miles home. Traffic was heavy, everyone was so polite, waving and smiling, I just wished one of them could have thrown me a Snickers.

I knew the peanuts were not going to SNAP me out of it. I dug in more pockets and discovered some Lifesavers. I chewed them, hoping they would work quickly.

“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” Confucius 
Nothing was working fast.
I was walking more than I was running.
I crossed over Grange Hall rd thinking of all the scenerios I could to get me through the few miles.

I finally called Alec. He had a half day.
About a mile and a half from home, 3 miles still to run I texted Alec.

"Alec can you start walking towards ++++++ rd with an orange juice. My sugar dropped and I'm not very good right now.
He responded "I'm taking the car, I'll be safe, be there soon."

Within minutes I saw my truck coming down the dirt road.
I was so happy to see that beautiful brown eyed boy. He had apple and orange juice for me.
"MOM, how many miles are you doing? How far are you going? Why don't you jump in and I will take you home?"

"Alec, I am gonna walk it home, I was supposed to do 20 miles but when I get home I am going to call it IN!"

And that is exactly what I did!

FIRST 5
1. 9:49
2. 9:53
3. 9:59
4. 9:39
5. 9:39
SECOND 5
6. 10:06
7. 9:51
8. 9:55
9. 9:51
10. 9:47
THIRD 5
11. 10:06
12. 10:07
13. 10:11
14. 10:11
15. 10:48----a puppy came out to play with me!
FORTH 5
16. 10:17
17. 11:41
18. 13.01
.05. 12:54

Total Miles: 18.5
Time: 3H 12min
Avg pace: 10:21/mi
Calories: 1,699

Well, That didn't go as planned. 
Such is life. I had plenty of time to think about this run. Over 3 hours. I thought about bailing on my training, doing the easy. I thought about the rain, pouting I convinced myself it was good training.
With each interruption during my run I thought maybe I should just forget my goals.
I even thought about jumping in the truck with Alec and quitting, after all, my run was a mess.
My hero for the day!

THIS is life isn't it? Life throws a few punches at us and we quickly find a way to bow out. We even find ways to justify it.
This run was not the perfect scenario. It was HARD. It was hard to focus and even harder to stay consistent.
Today was my MOM's birthday. She would be 78 years old. I thought about my mom. I reminded myself NOT to EVER EVER give up. NO matter what. I wish my mom could see how hard I work.
My running these ridiculous races is who I am. I cant help it. At 43 years old, I am still a child fighting all of hell like I did as a kid. I can't help it. It is a character defect I am sure. Growing up the way I did. I fight, I push the limits, I test myself, push myself and remind myself to always FIGHT, Always work hard, challenging yourself to see what I am able to do.
25 years later, I miss my mom like yesterday.
Life doesn't always go as planned. Life is full of change. If we can not accept change we choose to stop moving in a forward direction. Sometimes life stings, there are many growing pains, But if we don't find peace in the process we will find ourselves bitter and without hope.
Find something good in all things.

Anita.



Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Perfect Miserable training run

How can you have a "Perfect Miserable" anything? Especially a 20 mile run.
Most would think running 20 miles would be miserable.
Some would think 90' temperatures would be miserable.
And, I am guessing that if you add the two of them together there would be NOTHING perfect about it.

Oh but there were elements that just made this the PERFECT MISERABLE training run.


First of all, church starts at 9am and Laceys kiddos had soccer in the morning, this is why we didn't get out before the heat.
I had all ready been called out for missing 3 Sundays to run this summer. I had no plans of missing church, It was better for me to die in the heat than die being a heathen.

With Hennipen just 2 weeks away, I need all the flat runs I can get. We chose the Polly Ann trail.
I really left the planning up to Lacey.

We drove to Matt and Paulas house to hit the trail by them. Much to my surprise Matt said he was going to be an aid station for us. He would be at the 7 and 13 mile mark.

Laceys new van said 94'.
Shameless, I took off my tank top and put my hydration vest on. I didn't want to wear my weighty vest but I knew we would need extra water.

There was NOT a cloud in the sky. The sun was beating on us. Hot, scorching hot.

Almost the entire first 7 miles was FULL sun. Blazing, beating heat.
Our sweat was sweating.
We slowed our pace way down.
We added walk breaks every mile to keep our temperatures down.
We reminded each other to drink.
We ate our Honey Stingers.
But we were miserable. I found myself counting power lines just to get to the next mile.
Then we had the "Matt's Aid Station" to look forward to.
Love is sharing a sweaty hug..

It was like a mirage of wonderfulness. I think we wanted to pinch ourselves.
With perfect timing, we arrived to a magnificent display of goodies!
YUMMY! ICE ICE BABY!


Matt had everything, apples, potato chips, cheese and turkey roll ups, turkey only roll-ups, mixed nuts, Gatorade, Coke, water, ice, BACON and more. YES, BACON!!!

This made the run so much better.
We got to see this aid station 2 times. Each time we NEEDED it.
It's funny the things you think you would never eat only to find yourself salivating over it. At mile 13, I tried a cold cup of Coke. I don't even drink soda. IT WAS like MANA from Heaven.

Even after seeing him the 2nd time, Lacey asked if he would meet us at Clarkston road about 3 miles away. The heat was not as friendly to Lacey.
Lacey was struggling. I was carrying way more water to give her than I normally.
When Lacey Saw Matt across Clarkston RD!

This very miserable run was made perfect by good friends, by a soft breeze all the way home and God providing shade on our way home.

I don't think Lacey could have made it without the Aid station. It really was the Perfect Miserable RUN.
I think I peed my pants laughing so hard at Lacey in this Pic. I LOVE this girl. A BIG thank You to Rachel for the Cooling Band around my head, it was a SAVING GRACE!

Rundown:
Distance: 20 Miles


Grateful, so Grateful for good friends.

Anita

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Midnight 50k Training Run.

I am a cheater on these night runs. I like to try and sneak in a little nap before we run.

Last nights group run was no different when it came to the WANTING factor, however, the DOING factor was not in the cards.

Austin my college kid came home to surpirise me...AHHH SURPRISE!
Not only did I work all day Saturday, I rushed to the grocery store, came home to the boys wanting me to take the to the mall.
And if going like a banshee was not enough to mess up my mojo, Austin wanted CHINESE BUFFET for dinner.
I wanted to curl up and DIE.
8 hours on my feet working all day, 3 more hours of shopping and then eat Chinese before a 31 mile night right...The night was not looking in my favor.

Kris, Lacey and I are all busy moms. I was not a lone island. I was actually very encouraged to know that we were all starting our midnight right with our tail between our knees.


THE MIDNIGHT 50K
This run has been in the books for about 6 weeks. I was mostly concerned because Woodstock 50m was last week. I was really hoping my body would be forgiving from the havoc I reaped in it.

We met at Paula and Matts house.
Before we headed out to run, we left early to drop off my truck as a aid station. The location of the truck was important because Lacey would NOT be running 31 miles with us. She wanted between 23-25 miles. She would then drive back to Paula's, get cleaned up and take a snoozer until Kris, Matt and I arrived around 7am.

The 4 of us took off together heading towards the Polly Ann trail for about 7 hours of running.
We could not have asked for better temperatures. It was 71' when we started.

We ran most of the first 5 miles.  From that point we took walk breaks about every mile and a half-ish.
These walk breaks were a pleasant way to break up the monotony of flat boring running.
They were also great to remind us to drink and eat.

The Polly Ann is a lovely trail. We needed these miles in the dark and flat.
We all had headlamps but one of the things I learned was I like to run in the back and use the light from those in front of me. I also learned that wearing a hat gives you a funky shadow below your eyes. This shadow was making me get dizzy and disoriented. I quickly found my place behind their lights canceling out the shadowed issues I was having.

We had miles we were not feeling well. I personally discovered that all the food I had brought was mostly sweets, granola bar, Honey Stingers, trail mix.  This DID not favor well with my belly.
I forced myself to eat, looking forward to the potatoes Kris had boiled in veggie broth.

To get to the next mile and buy time, I began singing "99bottles of beer on the wall." This was my way of making sure I was still with it. Afterall, it was almost 4 am.
I thought they were gonna throw me in the nearest trash can between my singing being awful and the content being equally as bad. I waited and waited, only to discover that it was actually entertaining to them and helped get us through 4miles!

We had moments of silence but overall we were all enjoying one another's company.
We discussed our goals for Hennipen, held each other accountable to eat and drink and took multiple potty breaks in the woods.

We dropped Lacey back off at the truck, she got in a little over 23.5 miles.
She was DONE.
Before she headed out we ate Kris's potatos, drank, stretched, tinkled and headed back out there.

This last few miles were a bit quieter than the rest.
My plantar fascia was getting fussy along with my right quad. I did however have plenty of energy and strength.

The sun coming up over the gold course at Indianwood was breathtaking.
It was little moments of beauty that broke up the last 6 miles.
Each mile the sky slowly awakened. And like sunshine lights the day it also lightened our spirits. I felt my sore legs turning over faster, Horses to the Barn. I was ready to finish it up.

When we reached Paula and Matts condo, Matt had hit 31 miles but I had just barely hit 30. I was happy to be done.
I was looking forward to hot coffee and buttered pecan rolls Paula was going to treat us too.

It was a perfect run.
We all gained a little more confidence when we finished. Everyone did very well.

I ended up going to church at 9am, then breakfast and a very interrupted 2 hour nap.


A BIG thank you to the gang. Everyone that came out and those who did not were so instrumental in making this last long run so successful.
I am once again warm and fuzzy with gratitude for such a great tribe.




ANITA

ALSO!!! BIG SHOUT OUT TO JUDY! SHE WON THE CONTEST LAST WEEK AND GETS A GOODIE BAG WITH AMYS YUMMIES.

WHICH ...We drank a coffee drink at about 5 am..we rocked the last two hours home.
That Starbucks, kept me rolling!


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Woodstock 2017: 50 Groovy Miles & Smiles

Since when does a 50 mile trail race become a "training run?"
When you are signed up for a 100mile ultra 4 weeks later. Hennipen100.

Woodstock was by no means accidently put into my running schedule. It was quite deliberate.
My training for Hennipen might not make since to anyone but me, but I do have a method to the madness.

RunWoodstock is an entire weekend of all distance races ranging from 5K's to 100 mile ultras. With the theme being PEACE, LOVE and RUN you can not help but have a groovy time.
The run weekend is on the Hell Creek Ranch in Pinckney, Michigan. It is set up commune style. Most runners are camping and hanging out all weekend.
This is what I did, camped with hundreds of others!

You're probably  wondering "WHY would you do that?" "How did you sleep?"
Ha ha..well. I didn't really, but who really sleeps before a race event anyway?!
It is just part of the experience. It is the whole groovy package.

My client Paula is moving and set me up with a tent, a table and an air mattress.

Matt and Paula helped me set everything up Friday afternoon. I was so thankful to have their help, I would have given up and ended up sleeping in my truck if not for them.
Claudia, my camping partner arrived with goodies and smiles a lil later.

We were all rather chill considering we would be running between 6-10 hours the following day.

Race Morning.
5AM came real fast and REAL COLD!
Rachel and Matt met at our camp site ready to roll. I was struggling in the dark with my body shivering and my brain not turning over.

We barely made the start! I left my frigid brains in the tent but thankfully had my legs.

I had the girls, Rachel and Claudia and Jeremy from Highland Loops met up with us for his first 50miler!
One of the things I love about running ultras is that the community is very circular. You get to know so many runners, often planning your next ultra together.

6AM START.
Chatting, we were all caught off guard when runners took off across the start line.
The 50mile is 3 loops of approximately 17 miles.
The three of us took off together in the dark, full of energy, and the introduction to MARCO POLO!

You run around the camp about a half a mile before entering the trail head.
The first few miles are slow and tight. You cant really see to beyound anyone even with head lamps. And you are not passing a couple people, if you want to pass, its like double digits. The trail is literally grid lock.

My sleepy head was unrecognizable. I was a functioning lunatic on the trails going from one extreme, tired to the other...Fired Up. My endorphins kicked in like a crackhead and I was busting at the seams, animated with ridiculousness.

I liked the idea that I could be outrageous and no one had a face with a voice.

The first loop, the three of us were running steady, full of energy and laughter.
The sun comes out about mile 5. We were coming to my favorite spot on this trail. I LOVE crossing this bridge as the sun is coming up. This is my 3rd time running Woodstock. I am always in awe at this exact spot. The dew from the tall grasses glistens through the fog. It is breathtaking.

The other thing that was breathtaking was the crisp 40' degree chill in the air. I didn't wear a jacket, I didn't want to have it for 3 hours. Rather, I wore arm sleeves that would be much easier to remove and put in my pack or pull down.
Jeremy and I parted ways with the girls at the 50m and 50k divide, this would be the last time we saw them on the course.

The first loop, Jeremy and I separated  but planned to meet heading back into the trail.
I grabbed some food from the aid station, tore off my arm bands and looked for my bag to drop them in.
I made my way to the trail head, giving high fives and whooping up the crowd on my way out.
Jeremy never came, I began to think he might have left without me, I headed into the trail alone.
First Loop Average: 3h:20

THE SECOND LOOP:
The Gracie aid station is about 4 miles out. Roughly, 3 miles in I got a text from Jeremy.
He was a little more than a mile behind me. I told him I would wait for him at the Gracie Aid Station.
This was a TRAINING RUN. I was not to bent on time. This was also Jeremy's first 50miler. I didn't want to put any pressure on him.

"MARCO!!!!" I yelled as I came back into the Gracie Aid Station. SMILING when I heard the aid station respond "POLO!"
I cut up with the volunteers, buying time waiting for Jeremy.

Jeremy arrived with his own smiles and we were off again!

The morning was heating up, it really was a perfect day to run 50 miles.
We slowed our pace down a bit keeping it steady.
We broke the run up into aid stations, mile markers and farthest trained miles.
Jeremy was stoked when we reached 28 miles, his MOST ran training miles.
We saw Matt somewhere around there running like a beast. I knew I was in trouble as I laughed carefree and he responded "SLACKER".
OUCH...
I knew my plan.
Run a solid first loop with the girls.
The second loop get Jeremy through.
Third loop, Kick it into gear.
A well balanced 50 mile training run!

Jeremy was getting quieter. I tried to encourage him. He NEVER quit smiling.
"How ya doin Jeremy?"
With a great attitude and a smooth answer he replied "Everything is happy from the waist up!"
I LOVED that response.

 Distance slowly separated us  a couple miles before the loop ended.

2nd Loop Finish: average 3h:51

FINAL LOOP:
I felt great. I had skated through the last 7 hours of aid stations. I snacked on potatoes, grilled cheese, Swedish fish, veggie broth and trail mix. I alternated Gatorade with soda, for energy and electrolytes but drank water from my hydration pack the whole time. This was a TRAINING RUN. I needed to eat, drink and stay on top of it. I wanted to try a couple new things to see how my body responded, the grilled cheese and broth were both new for me. They were so wonderful. I thanked the aid station multiple times for the BEST Grill CHEESE squares EVER!.

I came out of the trail into the Ranch. I could hear the campers cheering and the music getting louder as I ran through the camp towards my final loop. I tossed my hands out collecting high fives and cheers. The spectators remembered me from my previous loops and got hyped with me.
"HEY!! THERE she IS!"
I lost myself in all the hoopla.
Directly in front of me, I see this larger than life smile and firey red hair. It was PAULA! I practically jumped into her arms as we spun around. "GOO GOOO GET BACK OUT THERE!" she gave me a quick coaching reality check.
YES, It was time to pick it up.
Play times over.
17 more miles.

My body felt good. I knew because I had played the first 34 miles so safe I needed to dance with pain.
I picked it up. Easy up. With no running partners, no music I was alone with my thoughts. I had so many thoughts running through my head.
I tried to stay focused.
As each aid station came, I quickly grabbed what I needed, and headed out, briskly walking, eating and drinking.
Grill Cheese and broth
"Back Up, Nita" I would whisper out loud. I ran about a half a mile behind several runners. I was on a straight way. They never saw me coming. I slowly made my way past them.
Most of them. The one girl, about my age, she was not letting go. She looked at me, startled and came close behind me.
I couldn't shake her.
I knew she was in my age group. I really wanted the age group award.
I thought how I would strategize my next couple hours to shake her. Several times I thought I lost her, then I would see her coming into the aid station as I was heading out.
"CRAP...Doesn't she have any GI issues?"
"Doesn't she need to stretch out, eat more, blow up the bathroom?"
I knew I just needed to continue to move forward. Run my own race, hit the downhills, climb the uphills more than normal and remember the tortoise...

WHAT GOES AROUND comes AROUND!
With a little less than 8 miles to go, I was coming out of a aid station and saw a younger girl. She looked at me, then at my bib and I knew she was going to take off.
And she did.
She was gone like Donkey Kong. I was able to stay with her for about 4 miles. I giggled every time I saw her look over her shoulder.
This actually helped me pick up my pace to loose the lady I had been trying to shake for 2 and a half hours.

I was getting tired. I had passed several runners. Runners I couldn't believe I had caught up to and passed. I was excited to see some of my friends, Rich Marr and some others that yelled "MARCO!".
They recognized and associated me with my game but I had no clue who they were. I played along, 'WOOT WOOT,POLO!"

The last couple miles were lonely and sad. I saw several 100milers making their way to the finish. I saw tears, sweats, the 100m shuffle from many. Their pacers were enthusiastic. I saw one poor soul wrapped up like a cocoon laying down, shivering with his eyes closed and 2 people taking care of him on the side of the trail.
It rattled me. "DEAR GOD, is this going to be me for Hennipen?"

JUST get to the finish.
I could hear the camp. Smiling, I got excited to see my friends. My legs were numb but not in pain. My tush was sore and I just wanted to wash the trail dirt off.

I came out of the trail for the 3rd time. I had a quarter mile to the finish.
So many people are cheering you on. It is a downhill finish, your legs just GOO. This incredible second wind kicks in and I found myself not just turning over that last gear but smiling at the same time!
Last Loop: 3H:15

RUNDOWN:
10:28:19
Overall: 28
1st in my age group
8th Female Overall.

I am pleased with my time, I was about 18 minutes slower than my last 50miler at Woodstock.
That time was easy to recover hanging out at aid stations too long the first couple loops.
I had a great run, a smart run and even a FUN run.

Jeremy finished under his goal time and was still smiling!


It was a great weekend, with great friends doing what we all love to do.
I am thankful for no injuries, God keeping me upright and safe. I am beyond blessed.

Anita~



Monday, September 4, 2017

I can do this..

I am such a SUCKER!


Woodstock 50M= 5 days, Saturday.
Hennipen 100M=32 days

Todays RUN:
Who: Lacey, Paula and Matt
Where: Holdridge
What: Two loops, East, 9.5, 1 North loop 2m
Total Miles: 21...A mile more than I was expecting...A mile more I had to convince my whiny body to keep moving.



My legs were sore starting out this morning. I knew that I was going to be running on sore legs and that it would be good training for me.
It was just going to hurt.

It is very comforting having people to run with when you know you really need the motivation and encouragement.
Today was one of those days.
I was encouraged knowing:
A) Lacey was coming to play on the trails with me, She is NOT a fan of trails.
B) Matt would be doing the same thing, with his back to back tomorrow.
C) Paula was rocking out 26 miles compared to our 21 today.

I made it through the first loop like a brick house.
It was the second loop I was a mess.
With fatigue really settling in, my legs were struggling to pick up. I had energy in the tank just no juice in the legs.

I flipped dipped and tripped. I had 2- four point falls...That's what I call a fall you land on your knees and hands!
I bounced up rather fast, trying to hide the mouthful of dirt and pretend I never fell. This is why I like running in the back. Each fall I actually landed rather gracefully, for what its worth, when it comes to dancing with dirt.
My left shin was a dirty mess. It was filthy from the sweat and sand I landed in. I actually tried to wipe it off so I wouldn't look like such a hot mess when we finished.

Each trip, each fall, the sweat dripping down my back, the snot drooling out of my nose (Gross), the fatigue I gathered with each mile I reminded myself was all good training.
I tried to remain positive in my head.
I tried to train my mind to find a happy spin on the negativity that wanted to surface.

I enjoyed listening to Paula and Matt. Paula was singing some song about a Labrador I had never heard, and even though I had never heard this song I actually found comfort in Paula's soft toned voice.

We made great timing as we came out of the 2nd loop. Paula headed to the West loop, we finished on the North loop for our final 2 miles. This loop was actually quiet friendly. Much flatter and hardly no switchbacks. But I was so delighted when I saw the opening to the parking lot. I was DONE!

I hung around and waited for Paula to finish.

It was nice to hang out for a few minutes eating apples and oranges gabbing.

It was a good run today. I enjoy running Holdridge. It is like my baby.
I ran all last year almost every Monday here.
I still laugh how I was talked  into running this 100mile race and they bailed on me. I must be the biggest sucker in the world. Who in their RIGHT mind signs up for a 100 mile race??
I am going to run this race. I really debated it back in March. I almost bailed too.

But I am grateful for my running partners who have stuck with me and encouraged me the last few months of training. My body is tore up, My legs are throbbing, my booty is whining but I had friends helping me every mile, reminding me what I have to do.
Teaching me.
Training with me.
Coaching me.

32 days...I can do this.


Anita.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Running FLAT HURTS.

"It is a sublime thing to suffer and be stronger."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There are 5 Love Languages: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch and Gifts.
I have mentioned before that I am split almost perfectly across the board. (Here is the Link to discover what your love language is. Love Language Quiz.)

When it comes to gifts this past week I have been so blessed. Every day I have gone to work, I have had clients bring me in gifts, From a sweetheart bracelet, to garden veggies, cookies and this incredible sentiment bag.
My client Amy, brought me in this gift bag with individual goodies that represented posts that I have blogged. I always joke about how "NO ONE reads this nonsense..." But Amy, wanted me to know she does. This was seriously one of the most special gifts I have received. These were treats for Hennipen. Thank YOU AMY.

At the bottom of todays post, I am going to post a little contest. In honor of Amy.


Sunday Runday.
Running trails or even back roads are NOT like training for Hennipen. Hennipen is going to be flat as a pancake, like Paint Creek Trail or the Polly Ann Trail.

Lacey was along for the ride today, letting me pick the location. We ended up in Lk Orion on the Paint Creek trail for a 20 mile run.
Off the trail unto another trail for a squat in the woods...

"Walk Breaks let you control the amount of fatigue on your legs and body."
Jeff Galloway

The weather was perfect, 62'.
I LOVE this trail. It is gorgeous. The river runs along side of you. As the sun came out, it slowly heated up. However, we were tucked away underneath a canopy of trees. A gentle breeze chased us our entire run making our run much more enjoyable then running in the baking sun.

The last time I ran this trail, Lacey and I were training for Glass City. It was a 20 miler in the spring. We ran in slush, ice, mud and I was MISERABLE. A whiny baby. We were running harder than we ran today. Lacey was very patient with me in the spring.

Funny how things turn. Today, Lacey was riding the struggle bus. She was not feeling good.

We actually had a lot of fun the first 15 miles.
The trail was tight with runners and bikers. Everyone was so friendly. We saw a group of bikers who cheered us on and several people smiling and greeting us.

It takes about 9 miles to get to the Clinton River trail. The two trails connect.
Even the river was being used by kayakers and people fishing or just enjoying the park.

Our way back the temps did warm up. Lacey and I giggled at the fact that back in the spring we got lost. Unlike today, we stayed on the trail with ease and bewilderment at how we got so turned around last time.
Typical Anita and Lacey.

Downtown Rochester we utilized the park to refill out water and use the bathrooms.
I LOVE deer. And right next to the trail walking around like they owned the place were 4 deer!
I was soo stoked. This was right after feeding a dozen ducks that hijacked the trail as well.
I am cracking up, we fed them my trail mix, they liked it as much as Lacey did, they just about took off her finger. I was cracking up! Yes, I am that friend.


Rundown:
My watch Died. According to Laceys:
Distance: 20 miles
Pace: 9:55
Time: 3:18
We ran 5 miles out, then did walk breaks at the top of every mile to the finish.

The Harsh Reality...RUNNING THIS FLAT IS HARD! My legs are sore and I need to run 20 again tomorrow.
Because I am using Woodstock as a training run this Saturday,  I am not doing a proper taper. I will taper after my long run tomorrow. But I still need to get my miles in, as well as my back to backs.
Hennipen is the BIG PICTURE.  And I need to keep that in mind, even with Woodstock.



AMYS Blue Bag Goodies....
First PERSON TO LEAVE their response BELOW...IN the BLOG COMMENTS what EACH of the ITEMS represent from my Blog posts, I will send you the same goodie BAG!
CONTEST ONLY  GOES TILL THIS THURSDAY the 7TH.