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.

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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.”

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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

Embrace The Suck

Yesterday  I needed to go for my long run of 15 miles.   I knew going in that the run might be difficult, so from the very beginning I said that my motto for this run would be:

Embrace The Suck!

As I was beginning my run, I chuckled and thought to myself that it kind of is a metaphor for life too.    Now hear me out.    Sometimes in life things are going suck.   Things are going to go wrong.    Things are going to be hard.   And sometimes, things are going to be downright shitty.

Yes I know very uplifting, but we all know that life isn’t always a bowl of cherries.    The thing is that you have to embrace the suck to get to the good stuff.   You have to push through it when it’s hard.   You have to dig your heels in and just keep moving forward.   You have to know that at the end of the suck is something good.  You have to just keep going, because if you stick around long enough  you come out that much stronger.

strenght

So with that being said, I embraced the suck of yesterday’s 15 mile run.    As I said I knew it would be suck some for a few reasons.

  1.  It’s a long run and they usually suck.
  2.  I need new sneakers
  3. I’ve been messing up with my meds

So I went out with the mindset that no matter what, I would embrace the suck.   Do what I needed to do and get my run in.    The goal was to finish no matter what.   I felt like this was a long enough run to gage some things for New York and what I need to do in the next 46 days.

I have realized that it takes my body normally a good 3 miles to get into the rhythm of a run.   This morning was no exception.    Then I realized that I did not take my morning meds, so I ended up looping my run back to my house so that I could do so.    This was more necessary because I’ve been a little off with my timing lately. (Don’t worry, I’m trying to be better).    Anyway, meds taken and out the door I went.   It was hard.   I was sweating like I ran in a sprinkler, but I was embracing the suck and moving forward.    I was running where I should be especially for the distance keeping an average  pace in the 12’s &  13’s.    By mile 10, I was feeling a little off.    For me I can tell when my levels are dipping because I feel like a twitch in my face even if it’s not visible and some tingling/numbness in my hands.    I was prepared and did have some Calez (powdered calcium) to add to my water.    I am thinking for the marathon to fill all my bottles up with this and then just get plain water at the water stations.

I pushed forward.   By almost miles 13, I was out of water which is never good.   Luckily, I plan my runs so that I am never far from a friends house or place I can stop at.   I took my smelly sweaty self into a bistro where I purchased the most delicious chilled Gaterade and a bottle of water to refill.    Then off I went embracing the suck.

Here’s the thing….  As sucky as it was, it was also good.    I did feel stronger at the end of my run.   I did feel confident and the end of my run.    I did realize that running alone through the streets will be so much different than when running with 50, 000 of my closest friends who will all be embracing the suck.  I did feel like I could keep running and I did feel strong enough to keep going.   And I also realized that in the end, it is all worth it.

Run Where You Are

Less than 2 months now.

Wow.

Yikes.

Um…

I will say truthfully that I am feeling confidents in my mish mash of training.   I’m feeling strong.   Not strong like I am going to have an amazing race and PR.   I mean strong like I know that I can and will cross the finish line.   I actually feel quiet calm this go around.  Strange I know.

The other day I went out for just 3 miles.   Since it was a short run, I didn’t really watch pace.   I just let it go and I know that in the beginning I was running too fast, but again I knew it was a short run.    I also thought that even though I haven’t doing training this way, I would consider it a speed workout.   At least I was smart enough to continue the walk/run method.

Here is the thought that I had when out on this run and what I have decided will be my mantra for the beginning of the marathon.

RUN WHERE YOU ARE

NOT WHERE YOU WANT TO BE!

Seriously!  This is what I need to remember.   I was thinking about  when I ran the NYCM in 2016.   I was working with a coach.   I was trained.   I was ready.   I still crashed and burned (see the wall at mile 20)  because I ran the fist half like there was no second half.   I let the crowds carry me.   I let myself get swept up in the excitement of it all.   And let’s be clear, it is exciting.    I have run 5 marathons so far and while each one is special, there really is no bigger party than I have experienced than the NYC Marathon.   It is easy to get swept up which I allowed to happen last time.

 

RUN WHERE YOU ARE

NOT WHERE YOU WANT TO BE!

Here’s the thing, it is so easy to get caught up.   It is easy to tell yourself that you can…

  • Bank the time
  • You can do it
  • I’m not running too fast
  • It’s not a big deal

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

  • There is no banking time when you hit the wall.
  • Unless you’ve trained at paces, don’t use them in a marathon
  • See above
  • It is a big deal when you hit that wall.

So my objective, my goal, my mantra is to be realistic.   When I ran Chicago, in the back of my mind I was not realistic.   I was still trying to push paces that I was not able to maintain especially since it was a very hot marathon.   I am being real with myself.   I know that I can do this, if and only if I listen to my body.   I listen to the voice that is writing this post and tune out the other one that is not always thinking clearly:)

I will say that I am making a deal with that voice.   I’ve told her that if she lets me run a smart race, a race that I’ve trained for at a pace I’ve trained at; I will then be able to let her run the last few miles.   When at my peak I listened to the wrong voice, the last few miles were a beast.

Time to be smart.  Be ready and get it done.

MarathonMeme

 

 

 

 

 

Is It Worth It?

Running a marathon is hard.   It is hard for everyone from the first place finisher to the final finisher.   It takes dedication, pain, time, and so much more to not only get to the start line, but to cross that finish line.     Often during marathon training season a runner will question their sanity, their endurance, and their sanity again.

Recently I’ve been mulling around the question in my brain…..

At What Cost?

I’m part of many online running groups and have been for years.   I will say that being part of the Moms Run This Town group is what took my running to the next level.   It introduced me to a group of amazing and dedicated runners whose experience I learned from and helped prepare and gently push me to take leaps of faith in my running.    I really owe that group to where I am today.

With any running/training group there are people for all over the spectrum….. From full Ironman competitions, 100 mile events, 5k’s and any other number of amazing feats.   There are also people whose feats are amazing just for getting out the door.   Everyone determines their own path in this world and just because someone does not take their running “to the next level” does not make their feats any less praise worthy.

Each person chooses their own path.   Their own destiny.   Their own finish line.  Some great feats are obvious to all, but some are not so easily recognized.

Recently I was taking with a woman from my Hypopara athlete training group.   We were talking about various treatment options, comparing levels, and symptoms.   She by trade was an amazingly organized person and created spreadsheets tracking her levels, dosages, and such.   Have to say that I was in awe of what she did and felt like a bit of a slacker, but I’ve never been that organized of a person.   Anyone want to create spreadsheets for me?  Ha!

During our chat,  we talked exercise.   Her doctor who is also a leading doctor for Hypoparathyroidism has different mindset than mine who is also a leading doctor. Hers does not want her to do strenuous exercise because then she must up her calcium intake while my doctor does not think this is an issue as long as my levels stay good.   I do need to up calcium levels during exercise and while I do not take a tremendous amount of calcium compared to some people with the disorder, I do adjust on days that I push myself adding almost 1000mg or more depending upon intensity/sweating/distance.

She asked me a question that I can’t seem to shake….

Is it worth it?

My immediate response was yes because I get so much from it.   Great cardio workout,  hopefully help to maintain weight which creeped up, friendships, and honestly the most important… The peace of mind it brings.   The clarity that I get when my mind ponders things during a run I have not been able to duplicate elsewhere.

Still…. I ponder….

Even with these things I need to ask myself, “Is it worth it?”

Pushing myself can be difficult.   I’ve recently realized that my calcium drops with my cycle but even at my “normal” levels there are issues.   And while I have adjusted and continued my training,  I have been pondering what to do after NYC Marathon.

The marathon is a tough beast.   It is unforgiving.   It is intense.    It is harsh, but in the end and at it’s core

IT IS A BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING JOURNEY

For now, it is worth it.

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Nothing Worthwhile is Easy

As a runner we all have running montras

Your race, your pace

If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Your only competing against yourself.

Your lapping everyone still on the couch.

 

And while all of these montras are true and for the most part I do 100% believe them, there are times when it is hard.   When it is hard to let things go.   When those nasty thoughts enter my head.   Not jealous of other runner and their accomplishments, but angry with myself for where I am.

While I know others have it worse than I do….

While I know that I am not alone in having struggles…

While I know that it could be so much worse and others suffer more…

I also know that there are many people with Hypoparathyroidism that would love to do the things that I currently do because they are unable to.

That does not lesson my struggles and my reality.   As with any chronic disease, each person manifests the symptoms differently.   There is no one size fits all.  And with Hypoparathyroidism, it is different all the time.   Calcium levels fluctuate and there is no way to know.   It’s all just a guessing game on a daily basis since different days may require more calcium intake just to keep your body functioning at not even peak, but just below peak.   There is not at home blood test like a diabetic uses to determine calcium need.   It’s all just a guessing game.

I’ve said it before and I do believe it with not a shred of scientific evidence to back me up that the reason that I am able to do the things I do now is because of the aerobic shape I was in before my surgery.  I literally ran the NYC Marathon just 2 weeks prior to my thyroid surgery.   There are some people with my disease that need to go out on disability because the struggle is so bad.   Again each person is different.

This past weekend I just got back from a 10 day camping trip in Vermont.   I said to my son while we  were out on a 16 mile bike ride around the lake (mind you the day after climbing Jay’s Peaks a 4,000 foot elevation) that I was going to be slow.   I told him that although I make it look easy, I struggle more than he knows.   This is true because while I moan and groan here on my blog, in person I usually just don’t complain.  Really what will it do?

Here is the truth that I’ve said before….. For right now in order to keep my kidneys healthy, I need to keep my calcium level low which brings the symptoms associated with it.     To name a few,  muscle cramps and fatigue which makes training a little more difficult than it used to be.   I also can’t handle the heat as easily as I used to be.

Nothing worthwhile in life is easy.  Marriage, Having kids, raising kids, even some friendships at times are hard.  Nothing is easy.   They are all worth the struggle, but not necessarily easy.   The payoff is worth the effort.

Nothing worthwhile in life is easy….

Especially running a marathon.

This will be my second marathon with Hypoparathyroidism.    It will be my 6th overall.   Each one had it’s challenges.   Each one had it struggles.   I was able to push through all of them and make it to the finish line.   This time it will be no different.

effort

 

 

 

Limitations

We all hate limitations.   Limitations on a sale item.   Limitations on our time.   Limitations on our food portions (oh wait, maybe that’s just me!).   Certainly limitations on our bank accounts.   Can we all agree that limitations just suck?

Add to the list – limitations on your running abilities.

Today’s run was definitely one where I felt my limitations.   I was running on empty which I knew when I went out for my run which annoyed me.   I usually try to push through my limitations and pretend they are not there, but when your lips start to tingle and your eye feels like it wants to twitch, there is only so much you can do.   Some limitations are just that limitations.

In my day to day life, I like to pretend these limitations don’t bother me.   I know it is what it is and I have accepted it, but acceptance does not always mean making peace.  Those are two different organisms.    It is a work in progress, but some days it is harder than others.

Today I when I went out for my run, I already knew I was sluggish which annoyed me.   I pushed the pace more than I should.   If you looked at my overall splits, they look good.   But if you look closer, I may have been a hot mess.   I was pushing paces that I had no business pushing even hitting an 8:52 at one point.   These paces were not sustainable, at at least I was smart enough to walk/run.  Although because I was running too fast, by mid run I was walking more than I should.

That being said overall paces looked nice

11:14, 11:08, 11:53

But again not the whole truth.

The truth is this was not a smart run.    This run was not what I needed, but as I told a friend afterwards, “Some times you’ve got to say what the F.”

So I dusted myself off, I took some extra calcium, and I will try to run where I am an not where I want to be.

Besides if making peace with things in life was so easy, you would not appreciate it when you actually do find it.

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A Journey Not Yet Done…..

On April 7th I applied to join the Sandy Hook Promise NYC Marathon Team.   I was nervous, but I also knew that this was a cause that I whole heartedly believed in.   I also knew that it would be a long shot for me to make the team.   To my surprise, a month latter I got notification that a spot was mine if I would accept not just the challenge of running 26.2 miles, but also agreeing to raise $3,000.   As much as I knew I would say yes, I also had panic attacks thinking that if I didn’t reach my goal I would be responsible for it.   That being said if I had thousands of dollars to donate on my own I would have jumped without thought, but I’ve got 3 kids with one just starting college.   This was a huge commitment to take on.   One that I couldn’t refuse though.  There were many reasons to politely walk away.

I did it anyway.

Over the next month, there were contracts to be signed, forms to be completed, and registering through NYRR for NYC Marathon.   Then I was able to get my fundraising page set up on May 30th.

Fundraising Page

Off I went.

Fast forward to today where I have reached my goal.   I know that I have said this before, but I have been blown away time and time again during this process.    It has touched my soul to see the outpouring of support for Sandy Hook Promise.    I still remember talking with a friend more than a year after the tragedy at Sandy Hook.   She said to me, “You are very angry and I think you need to do something.”

She was right.   I was angry.   I was angry that more people weren’t angry.   I was angry that more wasn’t being done to prevent these tragedies which continued to happen.   I was angry because I did feel helpless, but then I realized that I wasn’t alone in my anger and wanting to bring about change.    As soon as I learned of the Sandy Hook Promise organization, I became a supporting member.   I continued to share their message and work for change.

As time passed Sandy Hook Promise has grown into more than just a promise, but a plan of action.   They have evolved.   Currently they offer free to schools and communities programs such as Know the Signs,  SOS signs of Suicide Prevention Program, Start with Hello,  and a Safety and Intervention program.    I have been told that my school district will be implementing the Start with Hello program this coming school year.   These free resources to schools are not free and can only happen with the donations that are made to Sandy Hook Promise.

It is with this thought that I decided to tackle my personal fundraising.   I firmly believe that we need to do better for our children.   As hokey as it sounds (and you hear Whitney in your head when I say it)….

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride
To make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be

This could not be more true and it is up to us as the adults to lead the way.   Although there are many children who are bolding leading it too.

This whole journey from seeing the application by chance to today has been surreal.    Everything has felt like it has fallen into place and each step has felt like it was meant to be even if I can honestly say there was much anxiety in the beginning.   At some point though, I knew it would all fall into place and if it didn’t that was ok too.   Some might see these as coincidences.   I have started to see them as the signs that they are.

When I joined this campaign, I joined for no other reason than I believe in this cause and want to make a difference in the way that I can.   I find it fitting that exactly 2 months to the day of starting my fundraising that I have met my goal.   Even more fitting that a very dear friend was the one to take me over my goal.   That being said, I am so appreciative of everyone who has supported not me, but Sandy Hook with their donations.   One of my favorite expressions is Together We Can Make a difference and it is amazing to see that in action.

That being said, I’m going to continue this journey for Sandy Hook right up till I cross that finish line and even after:)