Enough

In life we are often made to feel like we need to be doing more. That what we bring to the table is never enough unless we are pushing ourselves to the limit.

As a runner who has done many races, I daily get emails reminding me how much there is to do…. Register for this race. Don’t miss the price increase for that race. Push your limits. Go the distance. Monthly distance challenges. Yearly running challenges.

Go. Go. Go.

When is enough enough?

There is a poem from a little book called To Be Enough – A Lenten Journey. And while it is not Lent yet, this poem is fitting.

To Be Enough

You were simply not made to do it all
Children of Adam
return to the garden.
Lay yourself down in the moss to rest.
Lure the hourglass to pass you by.
Let the trees whisper their secrets
Let the evergreens cover your stillness.

Children of Adam, rise up from the dirt.

You were not made to do it all.
Simply, you are enough.

It is often hard to remember that we are enough. What we are doing is enough. Often our unhappiness comes from trying to do too much. Pushing ourselves not because we want to be pushed but by external forces that make us think we need to be pushed. I am pushing back against those forces.

I am enough.

I am doing enough.

I am where I want to be…… For today.

Yesterday I completed the first day of week 3 of my Couch to 5K training. There have been days that I felt like I should do more. That I felt like I was not pushing myself enough. The truth is that I have been enjoying it. I think my foot has been enjoying it too as I have had not hand any issues with it. Building up slowly and smartly is always a wise thing. I think this is where I should be. Yet, I have found myself questioning if this was enough. The emails, the social media posts, my own thoughts and on and on…….. But as I’ve said before, this is what I want to do right now and it is true. I believe both mentally and physically this is what I should be doing. Yet it isn’t always easy allowing yourself to say….. This is enough.

It has been a nice change too not feel like I need to get out there and concur the world. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but sometimes the world does not need concurring. Sometimes it is nice to realize that the best way to get where you want to go is by slowing down and enjoying the journey. One thing that I have noticed following the plan is that I am starting to enjoy running again. If you are always looking for your next conquest, you don’t always enjoy the small victories and they are there if you allow yourself to see them.

Why do we always think that we should be doing more?

If I had the answer to that I could probably make some real money selling the answer because everyone I know, every family, every child is usually overscheduled and pushed to the limit.

But for today, for now…..

I am enough.

PS – Here is link to the book…https://www.amazon.com/Be-Enough-Lenten-Journey-Attempts/dp/1985206544


The Whole Package

Today I completed my second day of Couch to 5K training. I met someone who is not a runner, but wants to do the program. That’s the beauty of program, you don’t need to be a runner to start it. I told her that we would go at her pace and we did. We had a great day completing her first day of training and my second. Next week, I will also add some cross training to the mix.

Today I also took the time to look at myself in the mirror. I mean really look at myself. I don’t know about you, but it is something that I often avoid especially when getting out of shower. This was supposed to be a beat down to motivate me to stick to the plan. To start eating healthier. To be kinder to my body.

Then I realized that to be kinder to my body, I also needed to accept it where it is and all that it has gone through. It is NOT by any stretch of imagination what is thought of as a good body, but I don’t give a shit. My body tells a story. It has scars. It has wrinkles. It even sags. The stretch marks littering my belly are a reminder (not that I need it) to the 3 boys that I carried inside of it. The scar from all 3 c-sections somehow with it’s line and stomach creates a smiley face. You will have to trust me because there will be no photos. My belly literally jiggles like a bowl full of jelly. As I stood there looking at this body that society tells me that I should hate, I looked at it and saw all the things right with it.

My body even at my fittest was never a “designer body.” What it has and continues to be is strong even when it’s week. Tough even when it is soft. Badass even if it only by my standards. This is the body that allows me to get out of bed every morning. Gives me the strength to do amazing things. This is the body that I have and I’m ok with that.

Now this is not to say that I do not want to loose some weight and tone up some. I do but only because I know that will make me healthier. It might help with some issues that I have. My goal is healthier lifestyle not a six pack. It is not the body that makes the person. It is not the body that creates happiness. Happiness must be searched out, found, and embraces each day. Fat, thin, in shape, round (my current shape), rock hard, soft body….. None of that matters.

Acceptance means acceptance. If you think that you can only accept yourself when you have the perfect body (house, job, ect, ect); you are missing the point.

Learning to love yourself means learning to love where you are right now.


Square One

I am exactly where I was when I started this blog. Yet, I am in a totally different spot.

The same, Yet so different.

It’s a good place to be. Back to no expectations. Back to just seeing what my body can do. Back to one day at a time. One run at a time. No need to think about mileage. No need to think about pace.

Just move. Move at what feels good. Move at where I am. Move for 60 seconds at a time. Run. Walk. Just keep moving. Move to find the joy.

I started the Couch to 5K today. This is what I need. This is what I want. Someone asked me why I am doing this if I just ran a marathon in November. Fair question. But I think this is the right step for me right now. It will give me a chance to go back to basics which I have skipped over. It will give me a chance to once again figure out both mentally and physically what my body needs and wants without putting preconceived notions. Just doing what I need to do and seeing where it takes me.

I put this out to friends and in my running group. I have been very pleasantly surprised how many want to also use this program to either get back to running or just start running. The beauty of this program is that anyone can do it and it is nice to have support along the way. I posted the following in the group today:

We come at this from different health issues, fitness and endurance levels, and even age. Distance and pace are not something to worry or even think about. This is about putting the time and effort in. Nothing more. Nothing less. Everything else will fall into place.

This to me is why so many of us get tripped up. We compare to what others are doing. We remember the things we used to be able to do. We doubt ourselves. This is why I am going back to basics, because I want to not think about these things. I want to put the effort in and see how it all falls into place and what I can realistically do.

It’s time to hit the reboot button. This time for real. NO expectations. No worries about hitting a goal. No race on the horizon. No signing up for races to prove something to myself. Just follow the plan. Stop trying to fight my mind and body and take control by allowing myself to make peace with where I am. To do that I need to learn and train for where I am. Every time I tried to do this since my surgery, I tripped myself up by putting expectations on what I should do. Pushing myself to do things by signing up for events. Not this time. This time, it is back to basics and I will say that I had a great first run today with all that baggage off the table.

Finding the Joy

It’s the end of the year which means that many people are accessing how they reached their goals for the year, setting new goals for next year, or just counting the miles. This time of year can make you both sad or happy depending upon where you are with you goals. Then there is me who is ambivalent. It is what it is and kind of where I expected.

According to m Garmin, I was at 392 miles for the year. While I do know there were some runs that weren’t calculated due to not wearing watch, it’s probably not too far off.

There is a saying…

Here is another thing.

Sometimes that isn’t even true. I’m not even in competition with myself. I just am at the point where I want to find the joy in running again. I’m working on it too.

How am I doing that?

I stopped running. As I’ve said before I have not run since I completed the NYC Marathon. I’m glad that I haven’t. I have thought about it, but that is as far as it went because I’ve taken it off the table. I have had no real desire to run. Nope. Nadda. I see you out there running and think, “that’s nice” not “I wish I was out there.” Even on these perfect December running days

Now this does not mean I’m done. It just means that I wanted to be able to put my energy into Christmas. Being a frequent napper already, I don’t think I would have been able to do it all and everything would have suffered. There would be no joy. I want the joy. I want to feel like running is my release and not a job.

So here is how I plan to find the joy……. I’m going back to basics. Come January, I am starting the Couch to 5K. Now I realize that I ran a marathon in November and I really don’t need to go back to this because it’s only been 2 months, I want to find the joy. I don’t want to feel like I should be doing more. I want to just take it back to square one where I fell in love with all that running brought me. I don’t want the pressure (that I put on myself) that I should be doing more. Follow the program and call it a day.

This will go in line with my 2019 goals. No goals to PR. No goals for longer distance. Goals (for me) to just find the joy. I want to just run my town’s local 5K’s (for the fun of running in my town). I want to enjoy the experience of it.

I also plan to start cross training again. I miss that more than I miss running. I also feel like that would do me good. I’ve gained a lot of weight. I’m the heaviest of been without being pregnant and while I really don’t care about the number, I do think it’s not good for my health because I am no longer fit.

So fitness, fun and most of all joy will be my goal. Everyone has to chase a goal that works for them at where they are. For today, for this coming year, for me….. this is where and what I need.

What are your goals?

Give Me A Break….

While this blog is called the Accidentally Running Mama, I’ve decided that I’m going to be the purposefully taking a break from Running Mama for a bit.    I’m not done running.   I’ve got many more miles in me, but I realized that for now running is not bringing the joy to me that it once did.   There are a variety of reasons, but I think the best way to find the joy is to take a moment.  

I’ll be honest, the only thing that motivated me and kept me running these last few months is that I was running for Sandy Hook Promise.   It was never about the running, it was about them.   Now that I do not have that incentive and need to run for me, I just don’t want to.

I have been pushing myself these last 2 years since my surgery.   First recovering from the actual surgery.   Then running Chicago Marathon just to prove that I could still run a marathon.   Then as I just said, NY was not about me but about a cause very near and dear to my heart.    Now it is well past time that I intentionally sit back, reassess where I want to go and how I want to get there.    What is the point in reaching a destination if your not sure that’s even where you want to go.

I admit that I’ve let myself get sucked in.   I’ve let myself be ruled by the what ifs.   The maybes.   The it could happen.   When you do that, you don’t live to the fullest.   You live in the shadows and miss out.   So I’ve been living in the shadows so to speak.   I’ve been pushing forward pretending that I didn’t need this breather, but I do.

I need to take a moment for a few reasons:

In order to keep my urine calcium levels in normal range, I have been keeping my blood calcium under the normal range.   While this has been good for my kidneys, overall it has not been good for me.   The lower calcium blood levels cause fatigue, depression, muscle cramps, muscle spasms’ just to name a few.   Now while it might seem like I am complaining, I also know how lucky I am because there are many who have it so much worse than me.   That is where I’ve been living in the shadows.  Almost waiting for the other shoe to drop and trying to pretend that the shoes are on tight.

I’ve been talks with my doctor to possibly take a daily injection of the hormone my body no longer produces (PTH).   This has been very successful for many.   Allowing them to reduce their medications and supplements.   It is a scary concept because this medication does come with a warning label for bone cancer although I’ve been told that there have been no reported cases.   I’ll be honest, I watched my brave father-in-law die of bone cancer and I don’t think I could be as brave as him.   Plus, I’m only turning 50 this year and I’m not sure what the long term effects of this would be besides the fact that it is ungodly expensive.   Like Seriously, you could buy a house some places for the cost of it for a year.

Anyhoo….. While I ponder the above, I’ve decided that I need to step out of the shadows.   While I have no idea what my calcium levels are since you can only find out with a blood work, I have added an extra 250 mg of Calcium to my regime a day.   And yes, I mean regime….. 4 times a day remembering to take my pills which is why I use a daily pill box.   I can tell though that this small addition has made a difference.  I can actually now make it through most days without NEEDING (like can’t keep eyes open) to take a short nap.   My face no longer passes the Chvostek sign test.  My mother thinks it makes my face look like it wobbly like jello.    That being said, I do not think I’ve raised my calcium high enough to cause other issues because my legs still cramp at night.

On top of that I do believe that I’ve got some foot issues.   My guestimated diagnosis is Morton’s Neruoma but I’m only using Dr Google.  Although I’ve got no clue.   I’m waiting till January to see Podiatrist  if it is still bothering me.   I’ve got a valid reason to wait… Insurance.   Anyway if I am right and even if I’m wrong, resting my foot is usually a recommendation.  

I’ve also decided that I’m going to take this time to start eating healthier.   Adding more natural minerals into my body.   Mainly Calcium and Magnesium.   This past week I have started on this journey by beginning my foray into juicing which I will share in a later post.

And finally, I need to get back to the gym.   Besides the obvious reasons, I do think it will also help me to learn how far I can push myself which has become more of a mental issue.

Anyway, even though I am not going to be running, I am also not planning to sit still.   I hope to be as productive as I can be during this crazy time of year.   But I think for me, at this time, this is what I need.

Time for a Break

A Warm Embrace

While I’m no longer in recovery right now, I will say that I am in some type of holding pattern.   I have not run since NY.   Not even from the house to the car.   Maybe a fast walk, but nothing close to a run.   There are a few reasons, but those aren’t for today.

Toady I still want to talk about NY.

Prior to the marathon I toyed with not getting the NYCM poncho and checking a bag instead.   Logistically checking a bag made more sense because I was planning to take the train out of the city and without a checking bag, I would literally only have what I could carry with me.   I went back and forth and realized that for me, there is nothing better than having the poncho draped around my shoulders by the very caring volunteers.

I’ve done many events (including triathlons) where I come home in what I raced in.   The worst, I admit, was after running the Marine Corps Marathon.   After it, I used wipes to clean up the best I could and then got in my car and drove away.   It wouldn’t have been bad for a normal drive home, but I was leaving DC to go to NJ.   I did manage to do a clean up in a rest stop on the way home.  A close second was the 2 hour drive home after running a 50K.   This is not recommended though.   So with this thought process, I knew that I would be able to hop a train in my running attire.

I also knew that I could make this work, because I am not a minimalistic  runner and wear my Fitletic belt that I also have an add of to hold a phone.   Since I put my phone in the big pocket, I knew that I could use this accessory to hold extra medications, charger, fuel, and even my headphones.   Then I put my credit card and id in the main belt.   I do admit that I might refer to my Fitletic belt as my bat belt.    As a mother of all boys, I identify with Batman having all the tools he needs on his belt.

My only concern would be if the weather was very cold or it was raining.   I had decided though that it didn’t matter and if for some reason I felt the need to have anther set of clothes that I would be in NY and it would be very easy to acquire them.   Luckily the weather was perfect, so this became a non issue.

There is something very nice at the end of a long day to have a smiling, friendly volunteer envelope you in your poncho.    There is no comparison to a heat sheet.

So now that the race is over, what do I plan to do with my poncho?   Keep it, of course.   I have kept my old one in the trunk of my car and used it at my kids sporting events.   I have used it when unprepared for rain/snow or just he cold.   I plan to put this one in our second car.

So when given the choice….. Get the poncho!

What have you done with yours since the race?

Recover is Part of the Plan!

While there is much to talk about with the actual race, I’m going to skip ahead to where I am today…… Recovery.

You train hard.   You push hard.  You must also think of recovery as another part of training.   You must take it seriously.   If not, even if not now eventually your body will revolt.

When walking through my door after the marathon the first thing that I wanted to do was shower.   I could feel the grit on my face from the sweat.   I’ve never thought of it till right now, but I am a salty runner.    So I showed off the grim of the dried sweat.   Then proceeded to fill the tub and soak in an Epsom Salt bath.

Then I promptly went and devoured food without breathing.   After the race, I drank water with calcium and chomped down the pretzels, but that was all.   By the time I ate around 7:00 that night, I realized that the whole day I had only eaten a pre-race banana and bagel,  then gels during the race, the power bar I got on the course and bag of pretzels all day.   According to my Garmin, I burned  2,2970  calories that day.   I had a lot to make up for.

Then to be honest there was nothing more I could do as I was literally passing out on the couch in between facebooking and trying to rehydrate.   I was in bed asleep by 10:30 which never happens.

The next morning as I’m guessing most of us who ran woke up to sore legs.   I must admit that I was happy that my dresser was close enough to use to help me get out of bed.   Something to think about as I continue to age!    Then when the feet hit the floor.  Oh boy.   After safely getting the boys off to school, the first thing I did was pull out my rollers.

45455287_2158761864373277_2586480231078428672_n (1)

No pain. No gain when it comes to rolling.

Then I took another soak in the Epsom salts.

While these measures helped, I was still sore (obviously).    Stairs were not my friend which unfortunately due to laundry needing to be done I had to navigate several times.   They were not fun.   They were not pleasant.  I may have looked like Grandma going up and down.

Then I was very lucky to be able to try something that I never tried before…. Acupuncture and Cupping.   Kim Fong is a member of  our group and she put together an amazing experience for those of us who ran NYCM at her office Health In Motion.   I admit while cupping was never anything on my radar, acupuncture has been something I’ve toyed with trying for a long time.   I’ve just been a big ole chicken to take the leap to try it.   This was a perfect opportunity.

Kim was amazing explaining it all so that we were comfortable with the process.   Since many of us were new, she also took a very gentle approach to it.    While I will say that I did notice the needles going in (but not all), they were not painful.   I really do not understand how that works, but it does.   She kept the needles in for about 10 minutes to do their magic.  I noticed them more when being removed but again not painful just an awareness.

 

 

Then she had one of her assistants perform cupping.   Again a very gentle approach.   Since I know that I won’t be able to explain it, I am going to copy from Kim’s website:

” Cupping is the term applied to a technique that uses small glass cups or bamboo jars as suction devices that are placed on the skin. There are several ways that a practitioner can create the suction in the cups. One method involves swabbing rubbing alcohol onto the bottom of the cup, then lighting it and putting the cup immediately against the skin. Suction can also be created by placing an inverted cup over a small flame, or by using an alcohol-soaked cotton pad over an insulating material (like leather) to protect the skin, then lighting the pad and placing an empty cup over the flame to extinguish it. Flames are never used near the skin and are not lit throughout the process of cupping, but rather are a means to create the heat that causes the suction within the small cups.”

IMG_4465

I have to say it was very cool to watch as he heated the cups.   Again there was no pain.   The cups do not feel hot, so it is not a burning sensation of any kind.   I felt the cupping much more than the acupuncture but again not in a painful way.   It is a strange sensation that does leave temporary marks when the cups are removed.   I just laid back, relaxed and let the cups do their work.   Again is was not a long treatment nor was an aggressive treatment.    When the cups were removed, some massaging of the muscles where trigger points were definitely reached.

Then home I went to relax.

Today when I got up…..

While quads are still sore, getting up is no longer a challenge.    Stairs can be walked like normal although truth be told, I will give it another day before I don’t really try to avoid them.   I’m thankful for living in a ranch!

Tomorrow, I will continue to take it easy.   Doing more stretching.   I go back to my classes teaching preschool gymnastics, so tomorrow will be more moving but moving is good.   Thursday, I will try to go for a short run.   I mean short, but it is good to keep moving.

What do you do for recovery?

 

It’s Not Just About the Numbers

I will admit that I am a numbers person.   I like keep track of how far I’ve run.   I like to keep track of pace and distance.   I am never one to run without my Garmin.   That being said, there is so much more to running that sometimes we forget.   Sometimes the universe sends us a curve ball to remind us.

Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with chasing time.   I’ve done it.    I trained hard to be able to get a sub 2 half.    I was never able to obtain the 4:30 marathon or 25 minute 5K.   Although I admit that I came close with a 26.26 5K and I could never shave off the 8 minutes to get the 4:30.    But as much as I chased these dreams, I was never completive enough to be totally vested in them.

To me this race was never about the race, but the experience.   It was about raining money for Sandy Hook Promise and trying to bring about change.   It was about so much more for me.   I was excited about the challenge of raising money for them.   I was not equally excited about running the marathon.   My heart was in the fundraising, but also in just getting to the finish line for those 26 angels who broke my heart and made me promise to try and bring about change for the future.

45377532_10215894900197880_9159796036858806272_n (1)When I saw this picture after the race, I took this as a sign that those 26 angels were with me that day.   They were the reason that I ran.    They were what got me to the finish line.  Yeah, I really do believe this.

It was by far my slowest marathon at 6:10:13.    I can honestly say though it was my most enjoyable race ever.   Not that I wasn’t in pain by mile 6.    Not that I didn’t need to stop to take more calcium because I was feeling wonky from low calcium.    It’s because for the first time I really, really took in my surroundings.   Not chasing time allowed me to chase the experience more fully.    This is not to say that when I ran for time that I didn’t enjoy it, but there was much I missed.

I missed stopping to take in this view and take a picture.

I missed helping a little old lady with a cane navigate her way across the street when she looked overwhelmed, (Seriously, I helped an old lady cross the street)

I missed walking with a man whose been running the marathon since 1978 and hearing his stories of how the marathon has changed.   He loves the changes.   He love the race and he loves how even though his goal now is to try to finish before dark that he is still moving.

I missed taking in the grit of a hand cyclist at he was hours into the race and still pushing through.

I missed stopping to take pictures with random strangers because I loved their sign.

I missed around mile 23 taking a power bar from a child passing them out and hearing his mother telling him that she told him someone would take it.   Then seeing how excited he was.   Best of all, devouring said energy bar that never tasted so good.

I missed remembering that even at my fastest the time really didn’t matter because as much as a number person I am that I had to look what my PR marathon time was (4:38), but I will always remember the 6 hours and 10 minutes and 13 seconds running this marathon took.

More tomorrow as there is always so much to unpack with a marathon!

The Calm Before the Storm

I’ve recently been asked on more than one occasion and in more than one way,

“Are you ready?”

My response has been all over the place, but it really is a loaded question.

Am I ready?

Yes and No and everything in between.

I’ve done the training.   Not like training in the past but ultimately I do think that I’ve done enough to be ready.    I’ll be honest, for all the bluff about knowing I will get to the finish line; I do have some doubts.   Small doubts, but doubts just the same.  I actually think these doubts will work in my favor.

I know that I can run this distance.   I’ve done it before.   I’ve done it more than once.   Muscle memory aside, I’ve also know mentally what it takes to push through when you want to stop.   Who remembers me literally crying when running Chicago?   I still got to the finish line.

I also know that each race is different.   No two marathons are alike.   No two races are alike even if it is the same course.   With knowledge is power.   I have the knowledge of how hard this day will be.   I have the knowledge that it won’t be a walk in the park even if it ends in Central Park.  I have the knowledge that my body can go the distance.    I have the knowledge of knowing that no matter what I will continue to move forward to get the finish line.   Most of all, I have the knowledge to know how sweet it is to cross the finish line.

I think this knowledge is bringing a calmness to the preparation of the day.   I am looking forward it tremendously, but I am calm about it.   No nerves.   It  will be what it will be.   I think this will help me.   The no expectations.   The knowing what to expect.   These things will help me to keep myself in check.   EVERYONE is excited at the beginning of any race.   The trick is to know that what you feel like at mile one is definitely not what you will feel like at mile 20.    So the knowledge that I have in how hard the end of the race will be will keep me from not following the plan.   I t will keep me to be realistic in my pace, my expectations, and my finish time.    This will not be a BQ.    This will not be a PR.    This will be my slowest marathon.   I am ok with that. It is this knowledge and peace that will help me to keep my head on and my feet moving:)

effort

 

9 Days

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted anything.    I would like to say it is because training has been going stellar, but that might be a bit of an overreach by a lot.   I’ve been plugging away doing the best that I can.   I’ve been meaning to update but really what would I say….

I’m doing the bare minimum right now.

Not very inspiring.

Honest, but not very inspiring.

Since the beginning, I have said that running NY this year was not part of the plan.   It only became part of the plan because of Sandy Hook Promise and wanting to be part of something to help bring about change.    Although I have been plugging away with my training, my focus really has been about supporting their organization.  My way of giving back to an organization that is doing amazing things and given me hope for change. This go around the marathon really isn’t about me, but about a cause so much bigger.

I’ve been pumped to raise money for Sandy Hook Promise.

Pumped.

I’ve not been so pumped to run.

I’ve been struggling a bit with my running.   Some physical.   Some mental.      I will honestly be excited the day after the marathon to put this to bed.    I am trying to muster up the excitement that I had last time that I ran NY, but it’s just not there.    Don’t judge me for this.  There is much going on right now and running is taking a back seat to much of it.

That being said, I know that NYC will be amazing and I am looking forward to running the streets of NY wearing my Sandy Hook Promise tank.    I’m working it all out.   Putting things in place and getting ready to get to the start and finish line of NY.

SHPTeam