"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

Monday, September 26, 2022

Don't lose Heart

"Don't let the limiting, self defeating beliefs hold you up. Remember,whether you think you can or you think you can't, your right." Henry Ford

Long miles. Lonely miles. Hard miles. 
Miles trudging through the snow. 
Miles drenched in spring showers. 
Miles in the deep summer heat. 
So hot, so tired, so exhausted, burned out, fatigued, questioning the "Why". 
Miles of thoughts, miles of prayers, humbled by my human deficits, I continued to run. 
I ran through the whispers. 
I ran through the insecurity. 
I ran through the wounds. 

Running, my illustration for life. 
Every minute and every moment serves a purpose.  
The victories, the defeats, the highs and the lows. 

2 Corinthians 4:16
"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day."  

I LOVE this thing called RUNNING. 
But not as much as I LOVE this thing called LIFE. 

Life is work. It is hard and beautiful all tangled together. 
I am less than 2 weeks for BEAR LAKE Ultra. 

This is the end. There is no more training I can do. I can make my ending worse but I cannot sink 4 months of training into 12 days. 
This week, my training plan has me running 50 miles. 
Last week, my training plan had me at 76, I did a step down early and did 60 miles. 

I look at where I was 4 months ago, every mile, every training run, every prayer matters. 
I think of where I was emotionally 4 months ago. I was going to bed with sleepless nights. 
I was battling the secret wounds and wondering how long I was going to suffer in silence. 
It matters. Every moment matters. 
Whether we are talking about miles or moments. 
Pace or Persecutions. 
We are training for this thing called LIFE. 
In our weakness, in our wounds, in our burn out, we keep going. 
We don't give up. 
We keep believing.
We keep hoping. 
We keep trusting. 
We keep on keeping on. 
We give ourselves Grace and we give others Grace. 
I am not the same Anita I was 4 months ago in training and in life. 
I am not the same Anita I was before Cancer, or loss, or injury, or addiction and we can go on and on. 

"In sport, people measure by winning or losing. But I think the measure of success is happiness and recognizing your own journey for self-betterment." Alysia Montano, Olympian Medalist

Do not lose Heart. 
 I am reminded as I come to a close in my training for Bear Lake that things do not happen over night. 
You can not just show up and expect to run 24 hours without doing the work. 
You can not quit when it gets hard. You can't quit when it hurts. You can't quit when you don't "Feel" like it and expect the same results. 
Do not lose Heart.
One day at a time. 
A little here and a little there.
It will pay off. You may feel so overwhelmed you can barely catch your breath. You may even feel defeated, like a black cloud is hanging over you. 
You may feel lifeless, barely able to muster energy to tackle the day, Don't give up. You may feel alone, without support or even attacked. 
Do not lose Heart. 
2 Corinthians 4:16
"Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day."  
More importantly than training my body is to train my soul. There will be a day my body will have a mind of its own. This life is not meant to be focused on the external rather the eternal. Though my external body is slowly perishing my inner self is in constant growth. I continue to grow in grace, in love, in forgiveness, in faith, in Christ. 
I started painting my rocks for Bear Lake! 

Andy and I snuck away for a camping weekend in Tawas. I have never been there and fell in love. We were very blessed to get a campsite off the water. And ever more blessed to have the the whole family join. The state park has beautiful camp ground, I recommend this one! The bath houses were clean and convenient. They even have a dishwashing station for those who are staying in tents. The sites were huge, so big we had to run to the local Walmart to buy an extension cord to reach the electric box!
It was so nice to have all my family together. 

BIG SHOUT OUT to Sarah! Sarah went to Chattanooga to do a Ironman. She PR-ed her last years time by almost an hour, 12H:09! WTG Sarah! 

In Peace, Not Pieces,

“The training field lies in overcoming trials.”―Lailah Gifty Akita

Monday, September 19, 2022

Branching Out


There are things on this side of heaven that leave me in awe. 
A morning sunrise of warm amber colors. 
An evening sunset painted in pastels. 
The silky subtle skin of an infant.
A morning cup of coffee by the campfire camping. 

And TREES. I LOVE big billowing oak trees or a majestic hovering willow tree. 
I stare in awe of the lofty old tree that sits stoically with his branches reaching out. Once magnificent and strong, the grandfather of trees in the forest. His arms once shelter, his trunk once a ladder for the critters of the woods to scatter up, its leaves once danced in the wind and glistened in the sun, the old oak that once branched out with nothing less than LOVE. 

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love branches out. 
Love is action. 
It does not matter what gift you have, if you don't have LOVE, it means nothing. 

We are all born with different gifts, different assets, different backgrounds and some of us like me are born just plain DIFFERENT! 

Maybe that is why I love trees. Because they have to arise from dirt to grow. I sure can relate. 
"Every flower has to grow through some dirt to blossom." 

I didn't come from much to have plenty. 
I don't have much but I have enough. 
I wasn't given anything to have everything. 
I have no real gifts. 
But I have enough in HIM. 
Enough Love to branch out. 
Enough Love to forgive, to endure, to have hope, to believe. 

This afternoon, I took my sweet friend to lunch, Jean. While we sat outside on the patio of Deer Lake, Jean solemnly says, "Anita, you have a lot of friends, I don't have very many..." 
I smiled, "You have me Jean..." 
We left to get manicures afterwards, a little date. As I was having the polish put on my nails I looked at little Jean, I thought about her comment at lunch. 
We come from completely opposite worlds. She was born from wealth and prestige in California. 
I was born from brokenness, out of wedlock, in foster homes and addiction barely able to keep the lights on or pay our lot rent. 
I was born from the untouchable places of life so I could reach the ones that feel untouchable themselves. 
Love branches out. I looked over at my sweet little Jean and had to choke back the tears. 
At the end of the day most of us just want to be loved. 
To feel LOVED. 
To be LOVED. 
To be accepted even when we are different. 
LOVE branches out. 
 BEAR LAKE is less than 3 weeks away. 
By the grace of God He has strengthened me and kept me protected and without injury. 
Saturday morning I was in a dark place. Burn out is creeping in. I didn't want to run. My training plan had me running 30 miles and I just wanted to crawl back in bed, truth is, I did. 
It was after 7am when I made my coffee and opened the bible. 
It was shortly after that that Rachel text me to run. I needed the encourament more than ever. I finished my coffee and quiet time before meeting her. But the feeling of anxiety and dread swirled around in my head. I felt like a big baby, I just wanted to cry, I definitely didn't want to run. Nothing in me wanted to run. 
But Rachel branched out to invite me not knowing I was struggling. 
I ran 30 miles on Saturday. Andy changed his running plans to help me also. 
I had to run 13 miles home by myself. I wanted to cut the course and come home. The sun was blazing hot on me and I had no one beside me. "This is life Anita" I said to myself.
 No one can do it for you, and it is not meant to be easy or everyone would do it.
I knew I was not alone. I knew God had already given me the strength to finish. I just didn't want to. Welcome to Burn Out. Let the TAPER begin! 
The Lord redeemed me to run 10 miles Sunday after church and another 21 miles today with miles of smiles! I am grateful for the hard days so I can embrace the good ones! 

Hey! If you have never volunteered at a race and would love to be part of helping out contact ROB the race director for Bear Lake Ultra
I would LOVE to see some familiar faces out there! And it is an awesome experience! 

In Peace, Not peaces,

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Comfort Zone

 "How do you eat an elephant?" 
One bite at a time. 

This morning my running partners were both pushing their goals. They both are building their mileage up with the shadows of injuries and the fear of the unknown. 
I am very blessed to have running partners that are believers. We are not just out running miles, we are praying over one another, encouraging one another, and lifting each other up. 

We met out at Rose Oaks. We do a 7.3 mile loop on the backroads. Each of my partners today ran more miles than they have in a long time. 
As we finished one loop, Rachel hits her watch, smiles cheerfully and says, "14 miles!!! I just ran 14 miles!!" 

"Sharers of suffering and sharers of comfort.." 
I was blessed with 14 miles to both suffer and share comfort with my partners. Rachel was over the moon excited about her added miles and then later shares a confession. 
FEAR. Fear was lurking in the shadows of her abilities. 

Comfort Zone.  FEAR
Today, One of the gals in my afternoon bible study talked about getting out of our comfort zone. 
Overcoming FEAR. 
Fear of the UNKNOWN.
Fear of FAILURE. 
Fear of being out of CONTROL. 
Fear of being UNCOMFORTABLE. 

Fear is the element that keeps us complacent. That steals our dreams, that sabotages our goals and fear is the voice that lies to us. 
We want to believe that trying matters, no matter the outcome. The only way to know is to just do it. 
Do it with fear. 
I am more fearful than I am fearless. I have more failed attempts but twice as many recoveries from those failures all dragging fear along. 
I drug fear, fear didn't drag me or I would never have had my victories or my failures. 
I have a resume' packed with both.
But the story isn't about either victories or failures, it is about OVERCOMING fear to try. 

It's one bite at a time.
One mile at a time. 
A little bit here and a little bit there. 
It might be inconvenient.
It might be uncomfortable. 
It might be unimaginable. 
It might be painful.
But it is not necessarily IMPOSSIBLE unless you never try.  

"Fear isn't the danger of missing out, often its much greater than the risk of stepping out." 

BEAR LAKE ULTRA is 3 weeks away. The Lord has strengthened me, protected me and continues to prepare me for this 24 hour adventure. 
Bear Lake is in Lapeer, if your in the area you should come out and cheer the runners on! It's a blast! 
THURSDAY is double Run. I ran 21 this morning, I tried to get quit after 2 loops but my running partner pushed me back out there. 
Andy and I had our date with Complete Runner for another 5 miles. Miles of smiles! 

I have brought my miles down this week, allowing my body to recover and rest. 
My belly is constantly hungry! I drink protein shakes and try to eat foods to help in the recovery of my muscles but I love dessert! 
From apple pie to peanut M&M's and Breyers Mint chocolate ice cream is like mana from heaven! 

I praise God for every mile he gives me, I give Him the glory for He has redeemed me. 

In Peace, Not Pieces 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Ordinary in the Land of OZ

 "The Lord gives STRENGTH to His people; The Lord blesses His people with peace." 

Psalm 29:11

Who's behind the curtain? I refer often to "The wizard of OZ" when it comes to honesty and transparency. 
As well as accepting of who we are versus who we try to be. 

Did you know that the word "Strength" is translated from the Old Testament as "OZ"?
Oz also means "security, force, majesty, might, and boldness." 
A powerful image the Wizard of Oz attempted to uphold. 

In a time where you can get almost anything overnight, Strength is not something you can hide behind a curtain or add to your cart. 
There are many things that are not available to all. 
But Strength is available to even the ordinary. 
Strength from the Lord can make the ordinary extraordinary. 

" Runners come in all shapes and sizes. You don't have to be a scrawny little punk to be a top distance runner, If you have the determination and work your hardest." Chris Solinsky 

Many are in search of true strength
I have searched in all the wrong places coming up more than short, I have been disappointed, duped, and depressed at my feeble attempts to pull myself up by my bootstraps. 
Many years ago I had a dream.  I found this late in life passion for running, I discovered the Lord had gifted me. God laid it on my heart to run a marathon and try to qualify for Boston on my first attempt. 
I was just a peon. 
I had no formal training. 
I had no knowledge of running. 
I had no idea how to run a marathon.
I knew no runners to coach or help me. 
Truth is I was just a mom of 2 little boys. A little less than ordinary is how I felt. 
But Andy believed in me. 
I prayed. 
I worked hard. 
I bought books to learn. 
I sought the Lord in my inadequacies, insecurities, and inabilities. 
Chicago 10-10-10. I DID IT! It was the hardest thing I have ever physically done.  But the Lord strengthened me. 
When I thought I was going to pass out at mile 20 in 90', I prayed. 
When I was getting the cold chills from the heat, I prayed. 
When I couldn't feel my legs moving, I prayed. 
When I heard discouragement and failure screaming at me, I prayed. 
I was a nobody, less than ordinary trying to do the extraordinary. I was out of my league. 
But GOD. 
A year later, I went out to run a race that ended up being my "Epic Failure". 
I fell apart. I had no strength, no stamina, nothing. 
The truth is. I was like the wizard. I had been hiding behind Ego and Pride. I took off to this race without the Lords blessing. 
I failed because I was hiding behind Self. I thought I could go out in my own STRENGTH
My Epic Failure. 

RUNDOWN: Training for Bear Lake 24hour
Weekly Miles: 105
Long Run: 35.5

Saturday was my long run, a 6 hour training run. I had been praying for God to keep me safe and strong. 
It wasn't about pace, it was about time on your feet. 
I started running a little after 6. 
6 miles to Rachels house, in the dark and racing a train to the tracks, I ran solo. 
I jumped in her truck and we headed to meet Kris on Groveland Rd. The 3 of us shared 8 miles together. 
I headed back out alone when I heard a car coming up to me, it was ANDY! 
Pickles to help with CRAMPING!

He surprised me to shared 12 miles together before he got back in the car and headed home. 
I had a little over an hour to run but it was 8 miles home, my watch had me at a little over 26 miles. 
I knew I was going to be over 6 hours but I had no other way home but to run. 
It was 85 degrees, I was almost out of water, I smelled like road kill and my body was sticky with sweat. I found myself laughing to the Lord. I felt good. I just kept thanking Him. 
Mile 31 was a 8:58 min/mi. I was humbled by the strength and perseverance the Lord was showering me with.
I am ordinary. A simpleton. Your average Joe. 
The Lord gives Strength to the weary.
The Lord gives Strength to His people. 

I have many epic failures when I have attempted to go out in my strength. But The Lord gives the Ordinary the Extraordinary! Seek HIM if your in a season your struggling to find strength. He sees you. He loves you. 
At Mile 34 I was out of water, I saw my friend Melissa outside through the trees and started YELLING! 
"GATORADE, Melissa, do you have any...!" She just happened to be outside and came running to my rescue with Gatorade!

  • Bear Lake 4 weeks away.
  • BIG SHOUT OUT to Jazz, Sarah, Doug and Donny. The four of them ran Holland Marathon crushing goals! 
  • WTG Meagan on her first Triathlon!
  • And Great job to all those who ran Woodstock, Steve, Sean C, Tina and her hubby, Mary, Dave and so many more!
In Peace, Not pieces, 

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Training in GRACE

 Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

ANITA: my name means GRACE. Interestingly enough my middle name Anita, means Bitter. Bitter is a place I do not like to camp at. 
But Grace is a place I like to reside.

  • Grace Saved me. 
  • Grace Taught me.
  • Grace Secured me.
  • Grace Covered me.
  • Grace Accepted me. 
  • Grace Healed me. 
Here I am, 3 years out from finishing my chemo and finishing almost 80 miles of running. Grace taught me to Believe. 

Not to believe in the world.
Not to believe wholly in people. 

Not to believe in my feelings.
But to Believe in HIM. 
To Believe not in my circumstances rather in the Grace He has given me Over them. To overcome. To conquer, to love and to forgive and the Grace to forgive others. 

This summer is the first summer since my cancer in 2019 that I feel whole. Healed from physical injury. 
Many of us still struggle with injuries, injured hearts, injured finances, injured friendships, we all suffer. 
Part of training is more about the INWARD discipline. 
We live outward in this world but our inward discipline reflects the results of our training. 

Grace reminds me He has Redeemed me. To humbly go out in who He says I am, yet with confidence and security in HIM. 
This week I will have close to 80 miles for the week. That is many 5:30am wake ups. Because my morning doesn't start lacing up my shoes, IT STARTS in the word. It starts under His wing, He sets my path. 
He asks us to naturally what we do not want to do.
  • Be courageous.
  • Be fearless.
  • Be brave.
  • Be strong. 
  • Be confident.
But when when we try to do this on our own, we fail. 

The Rundown: 
We labored on Labor Day. 
We have a limited capacity for the strength we need daily. This is why I seek HIM first. God is my source of strength.
There is also strength in numbers.  Monday, I was united in the strength of others to complete 26.2 miles of trail running to prepare me for my Ultra in October, Bear Lake Ultra. 
The humidity was so thick it was like manna coming down. Sarah and Rachel came out to start me out. Sarah was there for the long haul with me. We made an aid station outside of the Wilderness loop to fuel as we would venture out for another loop. 
Justin D would join us for a loop and Antonio and Emily came out for a few hours to support and encourage us. 
Each person showed up with more then their presence. They came with their wisdom, their experience, and their strengths. 
We are meant to BUILD each other UP. That is what each one did. 
Each loop was a different kind of Awesome. 
Thank YOU for all that came out!!

After everyone had left, Sarah and I were left to finishing it out. We shared a special conversation of faith and love. Both in agreement that we have made mistakes, we have made some wrong turns, but to give ourselves GRACE and to give others the same GRACE. 
But in doing so, to remember to LIFT each other UP, to straighten one another crown and keep training in Grace. 

"Grit determines Life Challenges will neither defeat nor define us.
Grace gives kindness to ourselves and others even when its hard."

IN Peace Not Pieces,

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

The Gift, To Give.


 “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — William Shakespeare

We have all been on top of the mountain and have cried deeply in the valley.
The tears of humility, swift reminders of our fragility. 
My running is a perfect illustration of this. 

On that Mountain, Team Harless chased me all around from Michigan to the mountains of West Virginia, from 5K's to a 100miles my family always supported me and encouraged me. 
And when it was their turn, I was on the sidelines, cheering, hollering, their biggest fan. 

In the Valley, when I was sidelined by injuries, cancer or surgeries, when I crawled inside myself with just a breath to hope. 
It was in the Valley that my tears, my desperation, my solitude, my brokenness was lifted.  Not by anything I did, but by the love of others. 
In the Valley, my wounds were cared for. The Lord circled me with the cheer and love of so many. 

To Give: 
I have ran races encouraged by others and I have taken my turn on the side lines encouraging others. 
To Give is truly to receive. 
You get Love when you give Love
You get Encouraged when you give Encouragement
You get Inspired when you give Inspiration
You get Cheered up when you give Cheer

CRIM 2022: Pacing with the Carebears. 
 Pacing the Crim came at the last minute when Lacey asked me to take her place. The crazing thing is I was supposed to pace in 2019 when I asked her to take my place and now she was asking me to do the same thing. 
This summer I had been doing speed work and ready to actually RACE! But it was more special to give back to a race that has given me so much. 
My running group, wanted to bring back the Carebears!  Our costumes had been hibernating since March when we ran Ashville in them. 
Even though Lacey asked me to pace she still joined us that morning to run! It was just like 2019 only the roles were switched. I was so happy she was with me. 
2019 Lacey and I

All of us bears with Traci, my pacing partner and Lacey lined up at 7:30 am to pace the 10min/mi group.  Complete Runner, our group we all run for showed up in their Carebear outfits and a stroller carrying a loud boom box to get everyone hyped up. 
The  news crews also showed up! 

But it wasn't about being in the spotlight. 
It was about spreading encouragement, cheering people on, and giving unlimited smiles and kindness. 
It was "Hey, Your doing BEARY good!" or "Your almost Bear..." 
We were not emBEARassed by all our ridiculous bear puns because we saw so many runners having fun.  We could Bear-ly stand ourselves. 

To Give.

Its about giving back. I think of all the amazing volunteers that have rallied and motivated me and what an impact that has not only had on me physically but emotionally too. 

Pacing it In
The Crim is my favorite local race. I am coming close to having 
ran it almost 20 years in a row. There is an energy there that is bountiful. It unites everyone; every pace, every color, every age, everyone with excitement. 
I love the energy. I get so carried away in the fullness of excitement. HOWEVER, this is a blessing and a cursing. 
It's like sensory overload! I am bouncing all over the place trying to stay on task. With music rousing the crowds, the comradery of the runners and aid station entertainment we some how managed to finish 30 seconds ahead. The target is 10 seconds, we may not have won closest to the time for our pacing but we had so much joy in the journey! 

  • Biggest shout outs to all the volunteers throughout the course. It was delightful to see the school bands back out there along with so much course entertainment we used to have before covid. 
  • THANK YOU for all the encouragement and kind messages! 
  • Thank You Complete Runner for showing up with Awesomeness!
  • It was fantastic to see the quantity of runners again lining up the streets along with spectators! 
  • And I loved seeing so many familiar faces. Congrats to the runners for crushing their goals and running their hearts out on such a BEARY Good DAY!

"Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving

IN Peace, not pieces,

Monday, August 22, 2022

Rise Up: Be Strong


“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” —Arnold Schwarzenegger

I have been reading the book of Joshua. I continue to be encouraged by Joshua who was born into slavery and was close to 90 years old when he became Israels leader. What might seem a man at his end was only just beginning!
Multiple times we are reminded to "Be Strong and Courageous." 

"Army against Army" 
There are many battles in Joshua. Battles that on the outside looking in were not in favor for Israel. 
I sure can relate. 
I have had seasons and situations where I feel the odds are not in my favor. 
I didn't stand a chance.
It looked like I should just throw in the towel.
We are all fighting battles. 
We come into many battles, with ourselves, with others, with life, with our health, you can fill in the blank.  
Army against army we are fighting. Sometimes we feel like we are fighting all of hell. We feel like we have put our armor on, we think we are equipped, we feel prepared, and we take our army into battle and when the fight doesn't quite go our way, we retreat. 
Our Strength is depleted before we barely start. 

"Rise UP" 
I have had battles that I have fallen on my face. Battles the army of my heart have led me wrong. 
These are my mistakes, my mishaps and my miscommunications. 
I am reminded to not stay down. To rise up and get back out there. 
We have to find our Strength to RISE UP. 

"In whom we had boldness and access with confidence through our faith in HIM." 
Eph 3:12
This life requires Strength. 
Relationships require Strength.
Jobs require Strength.
Families require Strength.
Our faith requires Strength.
Our health requires Strength. 
But in my own capacity, I am not supplied with enough strength to battle life on life's terms. 
I am but a ragamuffin. 
But when I lock in my confidence in HIM, that is where I find enough sStrength to conquer the armies against me and the battles within me. 

"Anita, why do you think you run?" Terry from the recovery class I facilitate asked me on Tuesday night. 
I paused. 
I felt my heart double beat, my face get flushed and tears begin to well up. 
I tried to locate the simple answer to a complex question. 
I answered the question very generic, however; pondered the thought all the way home. 
My running has never made sense to most. I have had many people give their opinions, their judgements and their wisdom. 
For me running has become a ministry of strength, perseverance, stamina, endurance and so many characters we need to be reminded of before we quit, giving God the Glory. 
The odds were stacked against me. I learned how to fight, army against army very young. 
The army of addiction. 
The army of a misfit.
The army of insecurity. 
The army of loneliness
I lost a lot of battles. I fought a lot of battles that never needed to be fought. 
But when I found Jesus, I discovered how much strength I had and how much MORE I had with HIM.

When I was diagnosed with TNBC in 2019, I never fully fell apart. I coached myself from the strength the Lord had given me through my running. I believe the Lord has given me this crazy gift called RUNNING to give HIM the Glory as He fought my battles. 
He gave me strength when I was weak.
He made a way when there seemed no way.
He gave me confidence when my identity was stripped away. 
He gave me hope when I was hopeless.
Another round of chemo. Another blood draw. Sick, lifeless and hurting He secured me under His wings. 
When people ask me "How...." It's not me, It is Him, His strength in my weakness. 
I am just a pipsqueak.  He get the Glory. 

Rise UP. Be strong in THE LORD. He will move mountains. 

"When life gets to hard to stand, kneel." 

IN PEACE, not Pieces,

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” —Ernest Hemingway