"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God? ... So use every part of your body to give glory back to God..." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My Guardian Angel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anita


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Highland Loops Race Recap: MARCO...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRAILING ON.

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

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

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

But it was soo fun. I was torn.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anita~






Sunday, May 14, 2017

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


Dear Mom,

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

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

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

Dear mom...is void. Is Hollow.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Thursday, May 11, 2017

Keep it simple.

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

Anita~

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Catalyst to Crazy

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

The last few weeks my head has been spinning.

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

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

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

Finding Balance.

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

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

This is the Catalyst to my favorite Chaos.

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

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

"UP UP UP and OUT!!"

"PICK up those LEGS, TURN THEM OVER!"

"NEXT GEAR, NEXT GEAR, GOOOOO!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOWEVER....

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

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

Anita~



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Up and Moving Forward. GOALS

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

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

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

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

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

PAIN AND SUFFERING.

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

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

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

Monday, Highland Rec.

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

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

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

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


Anita~