Often times the struggle in life comes from not knowing who you are. Knowing what you can be versus what you want to be. Like the little kitten who thinks that he is a lion. Yes, he may have the heart of a lion, but that does not mean that he has the body on one. There are some things that one must accept.

Often in life, our struggles come from reality versus expectations. Some realities with dedication and hard work can change. Then there are times that no matter what you do, how hard you work, or what you are willing to change that reality can not. Often that is where the battle comes in. Where disappointments come in.

Some may have the heart and soul of an elite marathon runner. That does not make it so. That being said, that does not mean that you can not become the best version of you at a given point in your life. Trying to live where you are not at a point in time will put you in constant battle with yourself. If you can accept that reality as it is and not how you want it to be, than you can not only enjoy the process but be happy with it too. Again, easier said than done. This holds true for much of our lives.

I will admit that I do not have the dedication or will to be an elite athlete even if I had the body which I clearly do not. I like to sleep in too much and maybe ice cream more than I should. That being said, I do have a drive to be more than I am. The reality though is that I am now a (ahem) middle aged runner with Hypoparathyroidism who can never compete with the image in her head of how things should be or where I was prior to surgery. The beauty is that doesn’t stop me from trying to be more.

So off I went plugging away. Getting my runs in. Doing what needs to be done. Going about my business. Going out for my longest run this training cycle. 10 miles. I didn’t know if I could do it. I reminded myself of my last post where I clearly said that what you do without the fanfare is more important than when you have it. I also reminded myself to stay true to the training. So I went out thinking no matter what I would just get the run in. My plan actually called for 9, but mentally I needed the 10. So I went out and just plugged away.

Just keep running. Just keep running. Running, running, running.

You know what? I did it. I finished the run. I felt good about it. I felt like I could have kept going. Although I was very happy to be done. It was hard, but it was not impossible. Sometimes you don’t need to be the lion, you just need to be the kitten that is not willing to give up.

Here’s the thing too…… Sometimes though it’s ok for the Kitten to know that maybe it’s not her time to be the lion. Sometimes we need to step back because as fierce as we are, sometimes life has other plans for us and that’s ok too. Every battle does not need to be fought. Sometimes it’s ok to find a new path. Often it is the acceptance of that new path even if it’s just a temporary one is what makes you as fierce as a lion.

The world is filled with people getting shit done. Doing what needs to be done to get through the day. Most you might walk past and not even realize the struggle it may have taken them to get from point A to point B. This is why one of my favorite expressions is “Be Kind” because you never know what someone is struggling with…. be it depression, be it an injury, be it giving up a dream, struggles at home, or maybe they are just having a bad day.

So be the lion. Be the kitten. Be you. Most of all… just be kind.

You Can’t Hide From You

We all do it. Have our moments when we are by ourselves and think…. No one is around. I can….. eat the cookie, drink from the cereal bowl, stay in my PJ’s all day, skip a workout, ect, ect…..

Most of the time what we do in private is our business and it doesn’t matter. That being said, often what we do when no one is watching is more imporatant than when you have an audience.

Easy case in points….. Making sure that someone notices you giving a big tip, doing a good deed but making sure everyone knows you did it, being an ass to someone who can’t say anything back because you can, playing the martyr to anyone willing to listen but leaving your part of the story out. This also holds true to training.

What we do in private is our own business. Everyone has their own thing. Focused on their own goals as it should be. Everyone has to stay true to themselves, their goals, their expectations and just focus on doing what they need to do. Just do it. Do what you can. What you’ve trained to do with no doubt.

The problem arises when people aren’t true to themselves or their training. Anyone can make a training run look spectacular if you stop your watch every time you stop, walk, or take a break. While the miles may get done, it does not give true sense of what you can do or prepare you for where you are going. For some this leads to pressure to perform on a given race day for a performance that you might not be ready for. For some this may lead them to cross lines that shouldn’t be crossed and cheat. In the end though, they really are only cheating themselves out of seeing what they really can do..

Training isn’t usually glamorous. Training isn’t usually all that fun. It is hard. It isn’t always easy and honestly if it’s easy then you aren’t training hard enough. Truth be told, sometimes you just don’t want to do it. (Sounds fun, right?) But the truth is that no one suffers from short changing your training than you. Only you can be honest with your effort, your outcome, and knowing if you pushed when you needed to push. Not your friends. Not your running group. Not the crowds. The only thing that can push you to both train and cross the finish line is you. It comes from a place deep inside. Internally. If you wait and need external motivation to get you there, you will fail.

Now I’m not saying that external forces can not be motivating, because they can be. The crowds of NY can carry you in ways that someone who has never experienced running a marathon can never understand. That being said, when you are out running a 50K in the woods, there tends to not be any crowds to carry you and even during a road race there are solitary places. There certainly aren’t any crowds to carry you through training. This is why every runner, every athlete, needs to find their inner voice. They need to find their why?

Everyone has their own why. Everyone has their own reasons. Some have more than one reason.

When you push yourself to run when you don’t feel like it….To run faster, farther, and for longer than you want without the crowd, without the finish line, without the medal; you are better for it. You are a better runner. You erase doubts. You gain confidence in yourself and your abilities. Because the biggest truth is if you can’t do it when no one is looking, it will be almost impossible when everyone is.

So find your Why? Find your inner voice. Do what you know not only needs to be done, but what you know you can do if you allow yourself to do it. When I started training this cycle, I had my doubts. I had trouble completing 3 miles. I’ve been plugging away. Then last night, I noticed something. I ran my 5 miles and could have kept going. I felt good. I felt confident. This is what training does not just to the body, but to the mind.

Keep doing you.

Great Expectations

We all have them. We all have the thought of how things should be. The what if? The maybe it will happen this way. Maybe it should happen this way. The if then thought process.

What happens when things don’t live up to these expectations which more often than not is true. Sometimes these expectations are not based in reality. Sometimes we don’t like the reality. Sometimes we ignore the reality to our own peril. Sometimes we think our expectations weren’t so lofty, but in reflection we realize that we didn’t prepare for the reality of life and how it doesn’t always measure up to our great expectations. That’s ok too because while not what we thought it would be, sometimes reality isn’t as bad as we think as long as we can let go of the expectations

I’ll be honest. I’ve been on my Natpara for a few months now. It has been amazing the changes. On face value, I could not ask for more but… I had great expecations. I thought that taking it would be like a reset to prior to my surgery and I could just take one shot a day and go about my life.

Reality…..The one shot a day has given me so much back including being more friendly on my kidneys. No more muscle cramps, muscle spasms, dead tired beyond tired, and all the other fun side effects of being Hypopara. Reality is pretty darn good. My expecations though were overblown. I thought that I would no longer need to keep a pill box and reminder to take my calcium and other supplements. Yes, I’m taking much less calcium now but I thought I’d be taking none.

And while my running has improved exponentially, I am still out of shape. I still need to walk. I am still not where I was or thought I would be. I still need a reset of expectations. Expectations are not reality but a dream. They are goals. They are a driving force, but when life doesn’t live up to them you have two choices. You can choose to be disappointed or you can choose to look around, accept and appreciate the reality of where you are on a given point in your life.

Sometimes with running, we get so focused on the hitting a certain time, training a certain way, or realizing that maybe we can get to the finish line but we must adjust our expectations to do so. It’s easier said than done, but reality is what it is. Training will be what it will be and each person must do what is right for them and their body. Sometimes it’s all about what we are willing to accept. I have learned to accept a 6 hour marathon time when once I had dreams of a 4:15. If I had not faced the reality of where my body was last year, I would have been disappointed with that 6 plus our time but to date it was my favorite marathon.

Truthfully in the recess of my mind, I still dream of the 4:30/4:15 marathon. Reality is that will never happen for various reasons. Although I never say never. Truthfully, I believe that this year I might be able to make a 5:30 time and 5:00 if I’m lucky. Is it where I would want to be? Nope. Is it honestly where I will most likely be? Probably. If I did not adjust my expectations/goals, I would not be able to enjoy the process and the eventual finish. I can do this. I will get there, but only if I am honest with where I am right now.

Another year. Another race. Maybe I can adjust those great expecations, but for now…. I would rather do what I can than not do anything at all. That is the point.

Do what you can.

Accept where you are.

Enjoy the journey and smile for the finish.

Today is the Day

Today marks the official beginning of my NYC Marathon training. 18 weeks till I step up to the starting line and I am a hot mess. Today on this hot 85 plus degree day, I went for my first run. It was a short run at only 3 miles, but for me for now that might also be a long run. I intentionally kept the pace slow as I’m trying to work on regaining control of my pace. That being said, I really haven’t been running much and as already said it was hot. Oh did I mention, I’m also out of shape. Although round is a shape, so maybe I’m just a shape shifter.

There might be some people who start marathon training thinking this is going to be great, that they are ready for running and training, or that they’ve got this. I am not one such person. I went out for my run which I pushed off as long as I could. Then I doubted my sanity for doing this, but kept going and got it done.

The reality is that this is the beginning of marathon training. Day 1. If I was ready to run a marathon at the beginning of the training cycle, I should be training for something bigger, longer, or faster. As they say, if running a marathon was easy, everyone would do it and isn’t the point of the next 18 weeks to prepare me to actually run said marathon.

The mental training for a marathon and life also begins immediately. Self-doubt if left unchecked will creep in. Like a weed, it will start small and if not plucked out will take over everything destroying all in it’s path. Doubt grows quicker than confidence which really isn’t fair. So I am working at keeping the doubt in check and building the confidence. I know that every run won’t be great but with each mile checked off the list I am one step closer.

For today this is enough. My goal is to run a good race this year. To find what my body can do with my new medication. To be kind to myself, but also push myself at the same time. Another delicate balancing act that I will work on with everything else

It will be what it will be and that is enough

.

Fire

I’m preparing to start training for NYC Marathon. I’m dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s. Picking my training plan. Kind of doing some pre training. Thinking about goals. All the things that I’m supposed to be doing. With all that being said, I am noticing one thing missing this go around.

Fire.

Don’t get me wrong….. I’m excited to be getting ready to train and run NYC Marathon for Sandy Hook Promise. I’ve got the fire to get to both start and finish line. Let me explain….

When I first started this journey years ago, I had fire and determination. I pushed myself to the limit. I trained. I ran far. I ran fast. I pushed myself to and past limits that I didn’t know I could push through. I got up early. I ran late at night. I had serious goals. Some I reached. Some I didn’t. But I always pushed through.

Now….

I like to sleep in….. I’m comfy on the couch at night. I’m missing that fire to push the limits. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been running (not as much as I thought for pretraining). I’ve been running some local 5K and being pretty consistent in my times. Faster than I thought I’d be. I’ve run 3 5K’s this year. All of them, I said I was just going to run and see what happened. All of them were hard and I pushed myself. All of them I finished around 31 minutes.

Now that being said, I think the reason my fire is a little damp right now is I’m not sure what is going to happen as I start adding the miles. Am I going to fall apart. Is my body which thanks to my Natpara has been feeling good going to give me issues. I’m worried. I like the way I’ve been feeling. You know… feeling like me. I think that I may be afraid to rock the boat. I keep saying I don’t want to go back to how I felt both mentally and physically before I started my Natpara. I love running. I love racing. I love being able to cross any finish line but a marathon finish line is special especially when running for a cause you believe in. That being said as much as I love that…… I love waking up not feeling like grandma. I love not needing a nap in the afternoon. I love not having muscle cramps, spasms and all of those other funky sypmptoms of being hypopara.

So I guess what I will say is…… I have the fire, but I’m afraid to let it burn too brightly right now. I’m going to tend to it. I’m going to care for it, but I’m not going to let it burn out because while I love running; I love being able to live my life like I did before my surgery.

If there is one thing about being hypopara is that it does make you more cautious. Where I used to throw caution to the wind and let the chips fall where they may because I knew I could easily pick up the pieces; I don’t do that now. When they fall, they fall too hard and it takes too long to pick them up.

So I will go into my training following a very low key plan. I will put in the miles. I will do what I need to do and as the 3 miles turns 5 and so forth and so forth; I will reassess. I will adjust. What I will not do is stop….

So I guess I do have more fire than I thought:)

5 Years in and Not Done Yet

When I did my first marathon, I said I was one and done. Then number 2 was a fluke as everyone said how hard it was to get into Marine Corps. I was done. Then I had to run NY because everyone says you’ve got to do it. Then Chicago was another “oops I got in again” moment. Then the call of running for Sandy Hook Promise led me to NY again and now again… This is it… I’m pretty sure. Yeah, really.

I’ve been tooling along right now. Getting runs in, but have not settled on my marathon training plan. There is a reason for that too……

Picking a plan means that I have to set a goal of some type. Then there is the whole picking a plan that is realistic for where I am now in my training, where I will be as I train, and the toll it might take on my body. I also need to decide what I am willing to give up to reach any goals I set.

Currently I am settled on following a Hal Higdon plan. I’m torn between a few of his plans.

“Novice 1 Marathon Training Program. If you are training for your first marathon, this is the training program for you! Even if you are an experienced marathoner, you may choose this as a gentle and low-mileage approach to your favorite sport”

“Novice 2 is designed to fit comfortably between the Novice 1 and Intermediate 1 marathon plans. It is designed for runners who may already have run and finished their first marathon and want to add just a bit more mileage while training for their second or third marathons, hoping to improve their times”

“Intermediate 1 Marathon Training Program is one step up from Novice 2. It is designed for runners who may have used the novice programs to run their first marathons and who are now looking to increase their training levels and hoping to improve their Personal Records.”

In looking at a side by side comparison, the Novice 2 & Intermediate 1 are very similar in mileage. Obviously though there will be differences in pace and training runs. Novice 1 is where I am if training started today, but I have a month so I could get myself ready to start one of the others if I push myself. I’m not looking to PR as I just don’t see that in my future. Although maybe I could PR as Hypopara athlete. Last year I crossed NY in 6:10. Chicago I crossed in 5:48. Maybe I could realistically cross in 5:00 or 5:30? Who knows. My speed has increased since being on Natpara but not sure how that will translate on longer runs with endurance.

It really depends if I want to just train to run a good race and finish or if I’m willing to push the boundaries. I’m not sure that is worth it anymore. When you go through periods that it’s all you can do to make it through the day and then start to feel better again, it’s hard to put it on the line for a finish line.

Every person training for a marathon has to decide how much they are willing to give up and be willing to do to get the finish line and reach their goals. You have to be willing to give up time with your family. You have to push your body to its limit. You have to learn to push through pain because there is always pain at some point. You have to be willing to train even when you don’t want to. You have to run further than you realistically want to. You have to take care of your body, so that it can take care of you and some people will view this as luxury when it is necessity.

Training also takes a toll on you mentally. There will be times when you feel like you can’t go any further. You will doubt yourself, your abilities and your body. Your mind will play tricks on you telling you that you can’t do it, that you should stop, that it’s not worth it and more. You will hear everything from your inner voice from “I’ve got this” to “WTH are you doing?”

That being said, seriously, crossing the finish line always makes it worthwhile.

I’ll be honest…. One of the reasons that I’m having a hard time picking a plan is because I’m not sure how much fire that I have in me anymore. There was a time where I trained hard for a 4:30 marathon. I was 8 minute shy and to a runner, you know it might as well been 8 hours. During that training cycle I got a sub 2 half though. I’m not sure I have that in me anymore. Getting to the finish line might just be enough. Some days not taking a nap is enough.

So as I ponder this, I think I might start out with Novice 1 and am taking intermediate off the table. I will start with 1 and see how I feel. If as the miles increase I feel that I can push it further, I can take it up to Novice 2. Mentally it is better to go up a training plan than have to downgrade.

So the next month, I will start pre-training. Getting 3 solid runs in building up to the fist long run of 6 miles. I’ve got this….

One Month In

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been here. I’ve thought about it. I’ve had ideas of what I wanted to say, but never got further than that. Here’s the scoop.

I’ve been on Natpara for 4 weeks now. I’m loving the way I feel on the new medication and I’ve even gotten used to giving myself a shot every morning. It’s a noticeable change. I am happy with not feeling like grandma in the morning. No more muscle spasms either. As said before, my head is much clearer and I do feel more like myself. More energy and other symptoms disappearing too. I will say that I’ve also noticed that my running has improved too in the sense that I’m actually able to run:)

I ran a local 5K in May, United for a Cause. I finished in 30:41 which is a 9:54 pace. This was my first race on Natpara. I had done a St Barts 5K in early March where I finished in 31:18 with a pace of 10:04. While it may appear that my races were similar, it really couldn’t be further from the truth. The first 5K, I had to prepare by making sure that I took my meds and calcium prior to the event. Plus I had calcium in my water. I also rested a few days before event and pushed myself to the limit for this event. On top of that, the two courses could not have been more different. The St Barts event was a fairly flat course with really only one hill at the mid point. The United for a Cause was a constant up and down of hills. Also the St Barts event is first thing in morning while United for a Cause is in evening. Comparing the two actual events is like comparing and apple and orange.

Now with that being said, there were also very notable differences in recovery. Where St Barts left me exhausted and needing downtime, there was no such recovery needed for United for a Cause other than stretching. I felt fine….. no twitching muscles, no need of extra calcium, no need of extra I felt like me.

It’s funny though how in life acceptance is a funny things. I don’t mean funny as full belly laugh, but funny in that you go back-and-forth with acceptance. I really thought that I had reached a stage of acceptance for being hypopara. I was wrong. I think I was just holding on to that everything would disappear with the Natpara and poof everything that comes with hypopara would be gone – no more monitoring for sypmtoms, balancing pills, and anxiety of what comes next.

All that being said, I did have unrealistic expectations for Natpara. I really thought of it as a magic pill or in this case magic shot where I would no longer have any symptoms or even think about having Hypopara. It would all just disappear. Now don’t get me wrong, it has been life changing I have also been able to stop taking Calcitroil and have lowered my calcium supplement intake while having great calcium levels. That being said, I still need to juggle supplements and symptoms.

I’m back to relearning what my body needs with my calcium intake. I pretty much knew what I needed when before starting and now I’m kind of back to square one. I’ve got it pretty down pat without heavy exercise, but as the miles increase I will need to add some more calcium to my routine especially during the hot summer months. It will all be worth it though and already is. I keep saying that I can’t go back and am so thankful to be able to feel like myself again.

So once again I’m back to the acceptance stage, but it is easier to accept when your feeling so much better.

Coming Out of the Fog

When you have an invisible illness to the outside world everything looks good. You look normal. You look healthy. You look like you’re doing ok. What they don’t see is the internal struggle. The internal dialogue to hold it all together. They don’t hear your internal pep talks to keep going. Where you tell yourself you can make it through the task at hand. That you can make it and keep going. That you promise you can take that nap/stretch/ect once everyone gets where they need to go, dinner is cooked, or any of the daily activities of life.

I’ve said it before and I really think it is true for me. I think one of the reasons that I am able to push through when literally all my body wants to do is collapse is because this is what marathon training does. It trains you push your body to the limits. Push your body further than you think it can go. That even when you feel the tank is empty there is just a little bit more to get you to the finish line. So I’ve fallen back on this training not for training but day to day life. Some days it is easier than others.

That being said, I’m tired of living like this which is one of the reasons I wanted to start Natpara. That and the fact that I want to protect my kidneys and the other side effects.

I was nervous about starting my daily injections of Natpara. It was overwhelming. There was a lot to think about with the pros and cons of starting this medication. I was also nervous about the actual process of mixing medication and giving myself an injection. There is a lot to this, but both my doctor and I felt the benefits outweighed the risks.

So I started.

The process: The medication once approved and all cost factors are taken care of is mailed by a specialty pharmacy. The fact that this medication costs $10,000 a month makes for a lot of hoops to get to this step. It is shipped in dry ice and must be refrigerated upon arrival. Once medication is on hand, an appointment is made with a Natpara nurse to walk you through mixing medication, using the injection pen, and finally how/where to do injections. I was nervous. I’m not good with this type of stuff. I had a friend who to my luck is actually a trained pharmacist come to hold my hand so to speak and be my backup eyes and ears. She even came next day for my first “solo” injection. It helped. While there is a lot to it, they do make it very user friendly but there is still learning curve.

I have been on Natpara now for only 4 days. 4 doses. 4 days of being out of the fog. It is amazing how quickly the Natpara effected me. A friend asked me how I felt and here it is….

I feel like myself. I feel like myself prior to my surgery. It was like coming out of a fog. For 2 years I have literally needed not as a luxury but needed, a daily nap to function at a much lower level than I had been used to. I felt a clearing in my head as well as the lower calcium can leave you with what in the medical profession they refer to brain fog, but in your day to day life means you use the wrong words, scatter brained, have trouble remember names/address of people and places that you should know. I’ve also felt like I was living in a different body. The body of a much older person who Aches, pains, tires easily.

And literally in less than these 4 days, I feel like me again. The other day I was making dinner at the hour that can be very difficult for me where I’m just pushing through till it’s socially acceptable to put PJ’s. Actually I didn’t always wait for that socially acceptable time either. Anyway, I was making dinner and realized not only was I making it but I was literally dancing around the kitchen while doing so.

And while staring this medicine does not mean that I no longer have to take supplements, I will take less of them and no longer take some prescription meds. There with anything will be some bumps along the way, but I will deal with them when the time arises. For now, I’m going to enjoy being me:)

New Beginnings

Life is filled with one new beginning after another. The road to life has many turns, backtracking, ups & downs and hopefully always moving forwards. There are many stops along the way, but the trick is not to idle too long or you may get stuck in one place.

Each journey along the road is a start of something new filled challenges, hopes, dreams and sometimes set backs. When we come to the beginning of a new road, we can either face the challenge, avoid it, change direction or drive into it. Sometimes starting a new journey is familiar. Some times it can be scary. Often a journey begins with hope.

I am about to embark on a few new journeys. Two familiar, yet not the same. One totally new and even with planning, research, and knowledge still a little frightening, exciting, and unknown.

The first journey is the beginning of my NYC Marathon training for Sandy Hook Promise. This is a journey that I faced before, yet it will still be a different road with new challenges, thrills, and hopes. This journey is scary not just for the training of the marathon but the fundraising aspect of it.

For the marathon running, I have been there done this as the saying goes. That being said, I have not done the 2019 marathon whose weather, training, and everything in between still has not been written. I am embarking on a 28 week training plan that has already started. The plan I have chosen is a basic marathon training plan with a slow build up, but will get me to the finish line. For now, I am not setting any training goals other than to finish better than last years 6 plus hour marathon. I also, for now, am not in a place to think about more than just a basic marathon training plan nor do I want to do more than be prepared.

For the marathon fundraising, I have been there done that once before; but again that was last year. This year my goal once again is $3,000 which is a scary goal that I am committed to hitting. For those who have never run as a charity runner, when you make this commitment it is not I will try. It is do and if you don’t hit your mark, you have signed a contract that you will personally make the payment. This is why you must be committed to the cause you are fundraising to which I am. I have been a believer in Sandy Hook Promise since they first organized and I signed up with them. That being said, it is a scary prospect as a mother of 3 children, one finishing his first year of college, one who is currently looking at colleges, to make a commitment like this. So far I’ve raised $50…. Gulp…… That being said, I have just started and this fundraiser is a marathon in itself.

Feel free to make a donation to this worthy cause though at…..https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/sandy-hook-promise-foundation-nyc-2019/christinechaillet

Lastly I will also be starting a new adventure in my treatment of Hypoparathyroidism. The medication, Natpara, awaits in proper temperature in my refrigerator for the Natpara Nurse to come Monday to teach me how to prepare the mediation and give myself the daily injections. This is an exciting road that I’m hoping does not have too many bumps as I work out proper dosage and also adjust calcium supplements and Calcitrol dosage. I’m not expecting this to go without a hitch but hoping that it is easy transition. Once I start this treatment and get levels/dosage where they should be with any luck much of the issues that come from not producing the PTH hormone will be gone and my body can go back to factory settings.

Fingers crossed!

New beginnings are a part of life and I’m happy to be taking these paths right now.

Aging Up

Last week I hit what is considered a milestone birthday. It probably is because it was a big milestone. I aged up to the next running group.
I turned the Big 50.

Here’s the funny thing, the 9’s are hard for me. When I turned 49 I was like, “Oh crap, I’m almost 50.” Then by the time 50 rolled around, I had truly embraced it. Seriously. So much so that I had more than one friend tell me that they admired the way that I was handling it which I took as both a compliment and thought weird.

Here is the thing. Age really is just a number. Yes, age changes us both mentally and physically but it doesn’t stop us unless we let it. So I went into 50 boldly. I actually spent the week leading up to my birthday sharing bits and pieces of my past.

Yup, I was a Material Girl living in a material world and also a product of the 80’s!

Christine & boys

Skip over 20 years and it was so much better.

Anywhoo…. Yes, when I was that 16 I thought that 50 was so ancient. Then again I also thought that dressing like Madonna was cool, so my judgement should be questioned. One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that you must not only embrace who you are now, but who you were then. And while that does not mean that I need to share with everyone the who, what, and where of my past; it does mean coming to terms with it. Embracing it to know that all of those things brought me to who I am today and where I am right now.

As I’ve said before, much of what happens to us in life is out of our control. What we control is how we handle it, what we learn from it, and how we let it shape us.

I also know that age really is just a number. I have no choice to be 50, but I do choose to act like I did when I was 49 which means just doing what I’m doing. Besides I am happy to enter a new age category for running. Maybe that will help me. Maybe it won’t. What it won’t do is stop me.

So just days after turning 50, I am entering into another round of marathon training. This week begins NYC Marathon number 3 training (2 for Sandy Hook Promise) and when I cross finish line it will be marathon number seven and my sixth year in a row running one. I ran my first marathon in 2014 at the age of 45. I ran my first (and only so far) 50K at the age of 47. And with this new round of marathon training, I will embrace where I am today but begin it anyway:)

I have always beat to my own drum. I have always followed my own path. I certainly am not going to stop now. Life is a gift. We never know how long we will be able to do what we can enjoy or what is around the next corner. I was not meant to go through life in bubble wrap. No one is. You are meant to face it – the challenges, the good times, the really crappy times….. It all.

Most of all you are meant to live it.

So here is to 50 and all the adventures that it brings