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

Great Expectations

We all have expectations in life. When we are starting a new job/school, meeting a new person, entering a new situation; we all have an expectation. Sometimes our expectations are high. Sometimes they are low. Often they are wrong even if we never take the time to admit it later.

These expectations can cause us anxiety. They can cause us fear. They can cause us to doubt ourselves. Often our expectations will color our view and unbeknown to us, we might even force the outcome we expect. You know it happens because weather you admit it or not your expectations become your reality.

You expect someone to be a certain way either friend or enemy. Everything they do can be shaped to fit that view. Right or Wrong.

You expect to hate your job. You will hat your job. Right or Wrong.

You expect people to treat you a certain way. You will accept it when they do. Right or Wrong.


But what if we stop going into things with expectations. With preconceived notions of what will happen thereby giving excuses, narratives, and shaping the outcome? What if instead of great expectations, we decide to just let things (friendships, jobs, training, life) just develop the way they are meant to be?

What if we live life with the motto….

It will be what it will be.

Hmmmm……

Now I am not saying that we don’t prepare for new meetings, new jobs, new events; but what if while preparing we just take the ending out of our thought process?

I’m beginning training for NY. I’m not sure what to expect this time around. I’m another year older. I will be starting a new medication shortly. Going back to the beginning with my training with no expectations has actually improved my running. It’s taken so much of what I thought I could or could not do and put it’s on it’s head. What if as I push myself to train for NY, I continue just to take expectations off the table? What if each run becomes a run of it’s own and not the be end of all the my training? What if I just accept each day for the day that it is and stop questioning what it means in the whole scheme of things? What if….

What if…..

I just enjoy each day, each run for the gift that it is?

As I gear up to turn 50 in 5 days, I keep thinking of where I am in life, in my relationships, in my running, and what it all means. So many people are looking for the meaning of life and all that it entails. It’s purpose. Expectations of where they would be at a certain point in their journey, what they were or are doing with their life, ect, ect.

What if the purpose of it all is just to live. Live without expectations that color our views. Live Well. Do your best at all you can. Treat others fairly and kindly…… and most of all be happy with all that you have even if it doesn’t live up to your expectations because your expectations are not reality unless you choose for them to be.

What if the expectations are what is holding you back and we should live by my two favorite sayings…

It is what it is

and

Live, Laugh, Love



No Guarantee

There are no guarantees in life. No guarantee of tomorrow. NO guarantee of good health. No guarantee of love, friendships, or anything lasting.

Depressing right?

Not really. Knowing that there are no guarantees means that we must embrace each day with the knowledge that each day is a gift. Each interaction with a loved one is special. That each day we get to decide how we are going to face the day. Will it be a good day or not? And yes much of what happens in our day is out of our control, but how we respond to what happens determines if it is a good day or not. It is the glass half full thought process.

The optimist looks and is happy the glass is half-full.

The pessimist is upset because it is half empty.

Then there are those that are just happy because they are lucky enough to have a glass to fill. They know that sometimes the glass will be full. Sometimes it will be half-full. Sometimes it might even be empty, but and here is the important part…. It is always refillable.

And yes, sometimes, sometimes we look at our half filled glass and wish it was filled with something else. That is probably the most dangerous way to look at your glass because if you allow envy or jealousy to fill your glass it is hard to swallow.

So while I know it is hard to always be the optimist. In my opinion that although easier to become one, you can be swallowed if you allow yourself to be a pessimist. In the end than it is harder to be the pessimist. It does take practice to look at the glass half full. It does take effort to remember how lucky you are to have a glass in the first place. It helps though when you realize that your control in life is really tied to how you face a situation.

Sometimes in life many things will happen out of our control. Sometimes we are dealt a bad hand. The trick is knowing that even with so much out of our control that we still deep down have the ability to be happy. It’s not always easy. If you watch children though that you will learn the secret to being happy…… Just be in the moment.

So as I begin this new training (pre training) cycle for running NY City Marathon, I am going to try to remind myself to be in the moment. Know that each training run won’t be great, but many will. That if I am running slow or walking, that there are people who wish they would be able to be in my shoes. That no mater how far, how fast, how slow that I go; the fact that I am able to go is all that matters.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Those who have been here for a while know that after running the New York City Marathon last year as part of the Sandy Hook Promise Marathon Team, I said that while not saying never again that it will be a long time before I run another one. I said it. I meant it.

Well…..

A year is a long time, right?

Sometimes we say things that we mean 100% at the time. Last year running NY was hard. I would say it was not as brutal as when I ran Chicago Marathon that hot, hot day; but being on the race course for 6 hours does take a toll. That being said even with it being my slowest marathon by a long shot, it was the one that I enjoyed the most. Because of where I was with my training, with my health, and why I was running; I went into NY with a whole different attitude. I went into to enjoy the experience and I did.

I walked with people along the course. I talked to them. I stopped and took photos along the bridges, with the crowds, and walked if I needed to which was a lot. Sadly, I did somehow miss the Sandy Hook Promise cheer section, but I promise not to this year.

Yup…. I am once again joining the Sandy Hook Promise NYC Marathon Fundraising Team. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that this is a cause that I champion, believe in, and put my running shoes where my mouth is.

And while a friend laughed when I told her that I was doing this again and said she knew not to believe me last year about not running again, I honestly don’t think that I would take on this daunting task if it were not for the fact that I believe so strongly in Sandy Hook Promise’s mission and if I wasn’t gearing up to start Natpara. I also have rediscovered my love for running. Things will be different. I’m going to train smarter. I’m also going to go into this once again to enjoy the experience. While maybe not walking as much, I also want to come away knowing that I enjoyed the experience of it again and did what I could to raise money for Sandy Hook Promise.

Since stepping back and starting from square one with my running, I am rediscovering not just joys of running but learning what my body needs and when it needs it. I will slowly build on my 5K training smartly and not take any of this for granted.

As the saying goes….

Recovery Done Right

I will give you that most people don’t need to spend time recovering from just a 5K. I will give you that in the past even at my longest most grueling races, I haven’t really been good about recovery.

Case in point: I ran Dirty German 50K. I crossed the finish line. Since I was doing the race solo, I ended up getting food, gathering my stuff, and diving the few hours home. When I ran the Marine Corps Marathon, I was with my sister and mother. I grabbed some food. We grabbed an Uber back to our hotel that we were already checked out of and we did the long drive from DC to NJ. At least I only drove till we got to the first rest stop where I changed out of my race gear. Then my sister drove. At every NYC marathon, it is hours before I finally make it home to change and clean up.

You see a pattern here.

It’s not a good pattern, but one most can recognize. Running races usually means traveling to event even if it’s in driving distance. Most of us also usually have to get back to a day to day lives relatively quickly without a lot of time to relax.

Besides training, elite runners have an edge when it comes to recovery. It’s part of the job description because they know they need to take the time and they do. Granted, they might not need as much recovery as the rest of us but they also build it into their training. Why do those of us who probably need it more than they do, not take the time?

As said before……. We usually have to get back to our daily routines. We are usually feeling guilty for the time we take to train and do an event that taking that extra step makes us feel a little more selfish. It’s not selfish though. It’s part of training. One that we usually ignore to our own peril.

I am trying to be better which tends to happen when your body forces you to access what it needs. Yesterday it was easy because time was on my side. First I stretched after race. Then I came home and soaked in an Epsom salt bath. Then off to a nice lunch followed by a short nap. If all that wasn’t decadent enough……

I went for a Spa Pedicure that included a hot towel wrap with 10 minute leg massage. Then at completion of pedicure a 10 minute neck and shoulder massage. Pure heaven.

And while maybe a 5K didn’t need this much of a recovery, why not enjoy it when I have the time. Plus outside of my quads today, I am feeling pretty good. Everyone should be sore the day after pushing it in a race.

I am working on not just working so hard, but realizing that if I am going to push it to the limit that I also need to allow time to recover. Not view it as treating myself, but viewing it as necessary. I am turning 50 next month. As the saying goes, I am not getting any younger but that wont stop me. What will stop me is if I don’t realize that I am worth the extra time and not only am I worth it but it is necessary.

Train hard.

Race hard.

Recovery just as hard.

Well That Was Unexpected

I admit that I really did not know what to expect today. I went into this as you know with no plan. No expectations and just a wanting to run. I honestly thought that I would run too fast and end up having to carry myself to the finish, but I didn’t. The weather played nice and it was one of those beautiful Spring days where it is sunny and comfortable which made my choice of a tank and shorts perfect. I was wearing it anyway, but at least no one questioned it:)

I prepared for the race by resting yesterday, taking my meds before the race and having Cal-ez in my water to keep things stable. I got to the event early because I wanted to be able to park and also because I got the start time wrong by 1/2 hour. Better to be too early than too late. Getting there early allowed me to do some pre race stretching, chat with friends, and just do my favorite people watching. As the race was getting closer, I kept the plan of just running. So I did.

Luckily this course starts on a small uphill which does keep you in check because you think about it. This race has a lot of young kids running and they all take out like it’s a sprint. I found myself in the beginning running in the 9’s and I knew that would not work. So I slowed it down to a pace where I was still pushing but felt like I might be able to maintain. Good choice.

I did not watch my watch once I set my pace until the mid point. Then I looked at the time, I thought to myself…… I just might be able to be under 35 minutes. So I kept on running. I did walk up through a water stop. Then towards the end where I knew there was a short hill. When I was close to the top, I started walking but then realized once I turned it was downhill to the finish line.

So I ran. I ran hard. I ran fast. I ran through the finish line and when I finished I thought I wanted to Puke. My friend Robyn would be proud because that means that I was giving it all I had at least that is her theory. I am just happy that I didn’t throw up because their is apparently a stomach virus running through the High School with almost 200 kids out which, of course, meant discussion on town page. I thought to myself if I throw up they will all think I have the stomach bug and that will be another Facebook post and chaos to the 5k as people run away. So I walked it off and thankfully held it all together.

Not only did I hold it together, but it looks pretty with those negative splits.

Official Finish time: gun 31:38. chip 31:18

I’ve got to say that I didn’t think I had this in me. A friend replied to my Facebook post, “She’s Back.” And while I might dispute that comment, I can not deny how pleased I am with how I finished especially because I have not been training for time. I do think that what I am learning is that I need to stop thinking so much and as the saying goes… Shut up and run.

It was a good morning followed by a great day of recovery which I will chat about tomorrow:)

Racing to the Finish Line

As you know, I’ve completed my Couch to 5 K program. Although I have now run a 5K on my own now, I have not “officially” completed a 5K race since finishing the program. Tomorrow I will run a local 5K.

I’m running it because I like this race. It supports a local parish in town which is nice, but it also has the benefit of a nice fairly flat course. Plus I will know people running it too. Plus, I want to run a 5K again.

I’ve run this 5K twice. Once in 2014 where I finished in 27:17 and once in 2016 finishing in 27:20. Tomorrow my goal is to finish in under 35 minutes and if I’m really lucky and push it tremendously I would LOVE to finish in under 30 minutes. I don’t think that is going to happen, but a girl can dream.

Do I have a plan?

Nope.

Am I going to pace myself?

Nope

Am I being smart?

That’s debatable…….

Don’t worry Mom, I am preparing:) I’m adding Calez to my water which I will carry to keep my calcium levels up. I will take my meds earlier tomorrow before the race too.

Here’s the thing. Yes, I know that part of my running issues right now are health related and who knows what will happen once the Natpara starts. Maybe I will be able to train the way I used to, but really that comes secondary or third or fourth or fifth on the list. That being said, even without the physical aspect of being slower, in looking at my times on Athlinks I realized that my best times for running (minus the sub 2 half that I had a coach train me for), my best times, were when I just went out and ran with no plan. No thoughts. No set pace. I realize that I overthink which for some when running makes them a better runner. For me it might cause self doubt, un-realized self sabotage, and just giving up. Shocking, I know.

I need to get out of my own way. Remember the whole point of going back to C25K was to go back to basics. Well that also (for tomorrow) means just running to run. Running to push myself. Running to test my limits. Running to see how far I can push myself and at the end of the day have a realistic concrete idea of where my body is at and what it can do.

So I plan to start at the finish line and just run. Run just for the fun of it because I am not by any means hoping to PR for this event or my 5K PR of 26:26. It has been so long since I pushed myself and if I can push myself to a 30, 35, or even a 45 because I push too far and have to walk at least I will know where I am at.

Sometimes just knowing where you are at is all you need. And yes, there is a part of me that dreams that I will finish in a stellar time, but that is not the reality and you’ve got to have dreams. I need to take a chance to believe that I can push myself again because honestly I have been afraid of pushing too far.

Besides I plan to use what I learn tomorrow for future training that will be beginning in the near future, but we can talk about that after tomorrow.

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do even it it’s hard. Tomorrow is going to be hard but maybe it’s good to remind myself that I can do hard things!

Getting Back into Step


As you know for months now I have said that I am getting back to basics.   I took my running back to square one.   I did the same with my non running workouts.   In January with a friend, I started going to a beginner core class.   It has been good offering a good core workout with a combo of stretching and balance.    My friend and I maybe the younger ones in the class which at my age is nice.   Don’t let that fool you, these grandmas have better abs them me.   I’m still working on finding mine which I’m working on.

Now that we have done this class for a while, we thought we would take it up a notch by adding a class before it.    We added a Step Class.   Yes, your read that right.   So not only am I taking my workout back to the basics, I am taking it back to the 80’s!    Although I realize that I might not be as coordinated as I was back then!    This class also utilizes some weights for a nice full body workout.

It’s funny because years ago when I was doing Crossfit, I would have laughed if you told me that I was going to be doing a step class and low impact ab class.   You know what?    I like it.    I have no desire right now to do the hard core workouts of Crossfit.   I am more concerned with getting a good workout it and make no mistake a step class is a good workout.   I know that some might think it’s a dated workout, but like jumping rope and basic push-ups, what works works.   Bigger and better is not always required or even better.

Again my mindset of what I am looking for is different now.    I have nothing to prove.   I have no need to explain (although isn’t that the point of my blog).    My goal now has become to be well balanced.    I do not need to go from zero to 60.   I just need a good cruising speed to keep me active, use my muscles in a different way than running, and maybe fit in my jeans better or in some cases just in them.     I think for now these classes will help with that.   We all know that core and glutes  are important to running.   These are things that I’ve ignored.   I don’t need to be able to deadlift or squat huge amounts of weights to do that.

My goal going forward is going to try to be more balanced.   Balanced in my workouts.   Balanced in my running.   Balanced with my family, friends and life.    Life that is not balanced can leave you feeling dizzy.   As with all things, it is a work in progress and as long as I’m moving forward; I’m ok with that.

I’ve learned that it is very easy to let things fall out of balance. You give to much with not anything in return. You push too hard without allowing downtime. You listen without being able to talk or the opposite can be true. Sometimes it is necessary to take inventory of where things are and adjust because if it’s one thing about balance….. If you don’t find it, you will surly fall.

Do you have balance and how do you maintain it?

Starting Line

Life like running is filled with many starting and finish lines. Some you are ready for. Some you thought you were ready for. Some you wonder how you got there and some you wish you never crossed.

Any finish line can bring such a sense of accomplishment, pride, and sometimes even disappointment. It is easy looking back to play the I should have, I meant to, or why didn’t I game. These games are ones that sometimes are important so tht going foward you don’t keep making the same mistakes. The problem is if you never look back and learn from each finish line that you are destined to repeat the same race. Live, learn but don’t always repeat. The most important thing is to keep looking for your next starting line otherwise you will miss out.

Any Starting line is a scary event. They are also exciting. Right now, I am preparing to enter another new race. Actually I have a few but I’m going to talk about this with you first. It is exciting, scary, and one I am very hopeful about.

For the past 2 years since my surgery left me to live with hypoparathyroidism, I’ve kept moving forward. I’ve made the adjustments. I’ve come to terms with my limitations knowing that I have still been so lucky. I’ve done what I needed to do but honestly just waiting for the shoes to drop because either I live in the grey zone of low calcium or keep those levels up waiting for the problems that brings. As I’ve said before, I’ve been very lucky to have with in a year found a specialist in NYC that has both helped me navigate this pathway and also keep me from some of the pitfalls of not being treated properly. It is a delicate balancing act that mentally takes a toll too. I’m tired of being sick and tired and everything in between.

That being said, I am getting ready to enter another new corral that will hopefully bring to a close so many of the side effects of living with hypoparathyroidism.

I’m scared.

I’m excited.

I’m nervous.

Most of all I am ready. 

I have been approved to start a daily injection of Natpara.   This injection replaces the PTH hormone that my body no longer produces.   This will allow my body to self regulate my calcuim levels and function properly.   Something that it has been unable to do and the pile of pills that I take each day now bring their own potential side effects.   This is a better option.

This treatment is EXPENSIVE, but thankfully I have both good insurance and there is copay/deductable assistance. Even with good insurance I would never be able to afford this $8,000 to $10,000 A MONTH medication coast. There is precertification, putting all my ducks in a row, and dealing with the various paperwork to get it done. It requires training on my part as the medication needs to be mixed and injected daily. There is potential for side effects especially in the beginning as dosage is worked out. Although they do have some other very scary side effects listed, through research have found that this side effect has only been in mice and not humans. I’m willing to take the risk because living in the grey area of your life sucks.

I am hopeful.

A new starting line

Going By the Numbers

Once video games, TV, and binge watching Netflex has slowed our movement and made us couch potatoes. Now a new crop of technology has started doing the opposite. It began with the Fitbit. Now Smart Watches are taking it a step further. It is getting to be too much?

For me, yes and no.

I got an Apple Watch for Christmas. I admit that I am still figuring out how to use it especially when it comes to workouts and running. For me it is the closing of the damn rings that is taking it to the next level and I realize it’s kind of crazy.

I remember when I read a book about Kathrine Switzer being the first woman to run a marathon. I remember being horrified by her treatment of wanting to be a distance runner, but I also was taken back by the technology of the time. No mapping out the training route in advance for distance. No belts to carry water or fuel. Nothing. Just running. Amazing running, but just running.

Now we live in a time where we basically track everything between our watches and phones. The Apple Watch even has an app that you can use to track your sleep. One morning I woke my son up and as a normal Mom asked him how he slept. His reply was that he would check his sleep app and let me know. WHAT!?!?! We had a conversation about that!

Anyway as a runner, even before my Apple Watch without fail I ALWAYS ran with my Garmin. I liked to see the numbers. I still do and am playing with the Apple Watch to see if I like the presentation as much as my Garmin which I do miss. (Shhhh don’t tell hubby). Although I think it is just because I need to learn more how to utilize the watch for running/workouts. Now that I’ve finished the C25K, I will be slowly setting myself to take the miles up. I need to learn to control my pace again and not let my pace control me. Work in progress.

One thing that I have realized though is that filling the circles becomes a bit of an obsession, but maybe not a healthy one. For example, yesterday I went for 3 miles. I had a fairly active day, but did not wear my watch all day. By the end of the day I realized even though I’m sure that I hit all my daily targets that my calories for the day was under because I didn’t have watch on.

Here’s the thing…… I knew that I was active. I knew that I had a good day. I knew that I hit all my targets for the day, but now I still show an open ring and it bothers me. Like somehow I didn’t meet my targets. Maybe it’s time to control the technology before the technology controls us.

For me: I stopped wearing my watch at night. If I close the circles, I close them. I will work on figuring out the best way to track training and if I’m meeting my goals. Like today being able to put on a pair of jeans that I have not been able to fit into shows much more than any closed circle does.