No Expectations

Things that are worthwhile take work. They take time. They take investment. Sometimes in life we put things on autopilot…
relationships, work, exercise, eating habits, ect.


And while in the short term that may be fine, I think we all know in the long run it is not healthy or does that work out. You become out of touch. After a while you are just go through the motions. Then you begin to wonder why you are going through the motions.   That’s where I was with my running.  I lost touch with why I started running.   Why I continued to run and most of all what I got out of running.   It was never about being the fastest, running the  furthest, or even about the medals hanging on the wall.   While I admit that all of those things are fun to strive for they were never the reason that I started, pushed myself, and did what I did.


I lost that.   I was so concerned with going through the motions…… trying to maintain certain paces, trying to run certain distances, and trying to do runs that it no longer worked for me.   I lost touch with knowing what and how I should push myself and because of that I had (for now) unrealistic expectations of what I should be doing.    I was Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stamping my feet expecting things to be the way I wanted them still because I wanted them to be that way.


We all know that’s not the way life works.   Being out of step with your own self and your own body and pretending your not is exhausting.     But when I stepped back, slowed down, and pushed the ego to the side; things became not only more clear but more fun.     While I admit, I still have problems keeping my ego in check, I am getting better.   By reconnecting my mind with the body, I am rediscovering why I started running.   I no longer see people running on the streets and think poor them.   I think, what a great day to be running.    I am starting to think outside the box again, but I am keeping myself in check and not putting the cart before the horse.


The C25K program has forced me to step back and reconnect with where my body is today and not where I want it to be. Allowing myself to run with no expectations but to finish the run. No paces. No distances. Just follow the plan.    I have just finished up week 7 of the program where I am running for 25 minutes.   It is hard.  I must push myself.   I run slow, but I am pleased with the progress.   I feel like I am learning what now works for me now. Most of all, I am doing it.

I am learning how to push myself for where I am today not yesterday. To notice the subtle differences is how I feel when pushing the pace. To know that a pace that is hard today was once easy and that’s ok too. What my body needs to recover which I will talk about another day. I’m learning that the saying your race, your pace is true even when not racing. I’ve still got a lot of kinks to work out, but I’ll get there. The difference is that I know that I won’t get there overnight. As the saying goes, all good things come to those that wait……… I’m learning once again that I’m worth it.

And so are you.

Driving with the Handbrake On

I once shared a quote saying that having Hypopara was like driving with the handbrake on. This is really a good description.

Imagine that for a week you stayed up late every night only to have to get up early every morning to go to work. Than after doing this for several days, you not only stay up late but stay up late drinking. You do this for a few nights. Then after several days of doing this you wake up and are expected to run a marathon. Not only did you have to run the marathon, but you were expected to run it well. You were further expected to do so without a complaint and ignoring any discomfort that you might have. Just do it.

This is living with hypopara. And I don’t mean being an athlete with Hypoparathyroidism. I mean just day to day living with it. Now I share this because as my friends know, I am a firm believer that knowledge is power. That sharing our experiences helps us to understand each other and be able to support each other better. That in order to understand someone, you need to understand where they are coming from or have been. This is where I am now. So I share this analogy for that reason.

Today I went out for week 6 Day 3 of my C25K training. This was the longest run yet with this program. After walking for 5 minutes, I needed to run for 22 minutes with no walking. I admit that I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it, but I was determined to do it.

I’ll let you in on a secret. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am very stubborn. Just ask my mother. I went into this run today determined to do it. I went into this run really not sure if I could do it. There were times on this run that I cursed. I wish on that hill that I had seen the woman in her front yard because she might have thought that I had turrets. There were times I looked at my watch to count the minutes down. I did not stop. I did not quit. I finished.

Not only did I finish, but since I was running outside I had to walk home when done. I ended up finishing a total of 3 miles in a little over 40 minutes.

I am happy. I am pleased with myself. I have my feet in my foot massager. I will nap shortly. But best of all, I did it.

Looking Foward Not Back

We live in a society that is always sending the message that

BIGGER IS BETTER

NEW & IMPROVED

FASTER & FASTER

GO BIG OR GO HOME

We buy into it. Sometimes these are right. Sometimes they are wrong. At some point in our lives these can be true, but what happens when they no longer fit into your life? What happens if you no longer buy into these messages? Where does that leave you?

What happens if after years of chasing longer distances, faster paces, challenge after challenge; you just aren’t feeling it? Is there a place for us?

I think many people get burnt out because we start pursuing things not because they are something we want to do, but something we feel we should do. I ran a 5K, I should do a half. I’ve run a few half marathons, I should do a full. I’ve concurred the full, I should do an ultra. Sometimes these are things that start out as wants but then turn into expectations. The pressure is often all on us.

We get burnt out. We loose the joy. We stop running.

I have and maybe one day again, have pursued the distances. I’ve only completed one 50K, but in the recess of my mind I don’t feel that is the end. The same with marathons…. I’ve done 6 now. I have no desire to run one in the near future but also don’t feel that is the end. I’ve chased the ever elusive 25 minute 5k. To a non runner, I was close at 26:26, but we know the truth. I’ve chases an obtained a sub 2 Half Marathon coming just under wire at 1:59. I’ve had monthly running goals. Yearly running goals (1000 miles in a year). I’ve had goals big and small.

I have no goals right now. No distance or pace goals. My goal right now is just to as said many times, get back to the basics. I’m actually ok with that. I’ve been doing my running following the C25K program. 3 runs a week. Part of me wonders if some people think I’m not pushing hard enough, so what’s the point. Part of me is like, “that is not enough.” Then part of me is like, “enough.”

ENOUGH

I am enough. I have been embracing it as you’ve probably heard before but it is a constant reminder. If you are always looking at where you came from, you won’t see where you are going. I am going forward. I am continuing my journey. Yes, it is a much different journey than I thought I would be on at this point. To be honest, at this point I really thought I would have done another ultra, hat trick, and that 25 minute 5k. I was disappointed because I thought I wasn’t where I should be. That I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. These thoughts still creep in.

I am FINALLY getting to the point where I realize that I am right where I need to be. Doing what I need to be doing. My journey is my journey alone. Alone doesn’t mean that I am by myself on it. It just means that I can only be happy with it if I accept it. I really think I am getting there.

I have been running my runs on a treadmill for the most part. I’ve been conscience to keep the pace under control. The max I’ve been using is 5.3 and those are for briefer intervals. Sometimes I feel like I’m not pushing hard enough. Then I remember that for now it does me no good to push the pace and really for what purpose. Running on the treadmill while boring has kept me in check. This is what I’ve needed because the few runs I’ve done outside, I’m not as in check. I am actually starting to like it. I also know that once I get back outside that I will have to learn to control paces again.

Sometimes life doesn’t give us what we want. Let’s be honest…. often life doesn’t give us what we want. But if you make peace with what life does give you, you are able to enjoy where it takes you in a way that you can’t when swimming against the tides. I’ve been having this conversation with one of my sons that attitude is everything and it’s true.

I have started looking forward. Thinking about new challenges that I can take. Realistic challenges for where I am at. Sometimes it’s good to pivot right when you’ve always been going left because you never know where the new path will take you.

Right and Wrong

No matter where you fall in the spectrum on how we can improve and fix our broken healthcare system in this country, most will agree that there is a problem. I have thought for a long time and it has been brought home to me so much more these last two years that the biggest problem is that we have taken so much of the decision making off of the doctors. Again, there is much to this discussion but I am going to be very narrowly focused on this in this post. This post will focus on my issues and you can glean from that how this effects our system in a broader sense.

For those who have been here a while, you know that two weeks after running the 2016 NYCM I had my thyroid removed. This not only left me without a thyroid, but my parathyroid glands were damaged leaving me also with hypoparathyroidism. I was led to believe prior to surgery that this very infrequent possibility would really just be a minor inconvenience of having to take calcium supplements.

That is both right and wrong.

Wrong – It is not a minor blip.

Right…. Yes, my body no longer produces the parathyroid hormone (PTH), thereby causing my body to be unable to regulate it’s calcium. PTH also controls the level of phosphorus and has a role in the production of the active form of vitamin D. All of these activities are required to maintain calcium balance which does so much more than give you good teeth and strong bones.

Here is a list of common complications

“Tingling of the lips and hands (due to muscle spasms and overactive nerves), muscle cramps, and pain in face, legs, feet Dry hair, brittle nails, dry skin, and weakened tooth enamel Abdomen pain, muscle pain, constant headaches Cataracts, heart arrhythmia, peaked QT waves (shown on EKG) Tetany (muscle spasms) of trachea/larynx, causing breathing difficulties Kidney stones and kidney failure due to high phosphorous. Deafness and hearing loss is connected to hypoparathyroidism due to a defective receptor on the kidneys Irritability, confusion, dementia, hallucinations. Convulsions or seizures Sleep apnea and insomnia Consciousness decreased Learning disabilities and behavioral disabilities (ADD, etc.) Hypocalcemia and hyperphosphatemia “

Now I can tell you off the bat that I’ve had a decent amount of these. I’ve been lucky not to have any of the major ones (yet), although at my last eye exam she did see the beginning of cataracts (I’m not even 50 yet). Now the reason I think that I have been so lucky not to have the kidney issues is because within a year of my surgery, I was seeing a doctor in NYC who specializes in this disorder. If not, I would bet that I would be having issues.

Prior to seeing this specialist, I saw another doctor who only looked at the calcium blood levels. They were great. Right in the normal zone. The problem was that he never checked the output. The first thing this doctor did was order a 24- hour urine test. My results were a 578. To be clear anything over 300 is bad. With these results, we worked on lowering this number. In order to do this, we had to reduce my calcium supplements and prescription medications. Mission accomplished.

Now the flip side to this….. In order to bring down the urine calcium output, I had to bring down the input. Makes sense. BUT that then also reduces my actual blood calcium levels. I live in a state of perpetually low calcium. 8.5 is considered the low end of normal. My last blood drawl, I was at 8. Living on the edge that’s what I do.

So my doctors and I decided that quality of life was suffering due to this constant state of low calcium…… Muscle spasm’s, muscle cramps, dry skin, napping almost daily, brain fog like you would not believe and more. I’ve said to my family that I make this look easy. On a daily basis, I just go about my business getting done what needs to get done but they don’t see the cost…..

Some mornings, needing to use the nightstand to get out of bed like a grandma. Afternoons where it is all I can do to push through till I can literally close my eyes. And I’m not talking about, “Oh I’m tired I wish I could nap” feeling. I’m talking about, “if I don’t rest for at least 15 minutes I’m going to fall down” feeling. There is a lot to this crap that just becomes part of your daily life, so there really is no need to talk about it. Some days I use the grit that gets me to the finish line of a marathon just to make it to the end of the day. You do what you’ve got to do.

I also firmly with no proof believe that being an athlete helped me. It helped me because I was already in tune to my body. Learning to listen to the signs when training that I could tell when my body needed extra calcium and adjusted accordingly. It’s a guessing game, because there is no at home monitoring system like a diabetic has with insulin levels. Because of this, I have been able to adjust and keep myself from crashing which for many requires a trip to emergency room to get IV.

I know that for a whole host of reasons, I am very lucky. Yet, my treatment plan to add Natpara is not mine and my doctors to make apparently. Insurance has denied it because I do not meet their criteria. Even though my doctor and I think I do.

So because apparently this treatment option is very costly, my doctor and I need to jump through hoops to prove why it is necessary. I feel like the monkey in the middle. It is wrong. Wrong. Wrong. So now it’s time to jump through hoops with my doctors help to justify to someone why I should be able to have the treatment plan that my doctor and I agree is the right course of action for me.

I wonder at what point in our country, did we stop letting doctors and patients make decisions that were best for the patient and not the bottom line of an insurance company.



Embracing It

Like millions of other people in the country, the beginning of the year marked a time to get off my behind and start moving again. Start eating healthier and just overall taking better care of myself. I didn’t make a resolution because that’s not what it was all about. I admit that it has been helpful that this was also something everyone in my household wanted to embrace.

A month in and I have to say it’s going good. Although I will admit that it is extremely frustrating that my husband has been able to drop almost 15 pounds already. I’ve dropped 3. Maybe 4 depending upon when I weigh myself and if I want to admit what my starting weight really was (and no I don’t). To be honest, I am not being obsessive with weighing myself. I will have to do it tomorrow. I don’t actually care about the number too much (ok, yes to a point but I know the number isn’t everything). I want to be able to fit in my clothes again and the ones I still fit in fit in more comfortably again.

I will further admit that I am very happy that my husband is embarking on this heath journey as he just turned 50. I’m turning that number in a few months, so we really need to be making healthy choices. And while I am so happy for him and see the changes a month of steady exercise, healthy eating and portion control had done for him, I admit that I’m pissed. Not at him, but at how I too have gone on this journey of healthy heating, portion control, and getting back into and exercise routine and there is not as big change. I’m trying. I’m really trying.

I have to remind myself that is all I can do. Keep plugging away. Don’t give up. Don’t compare to others journey. Don’t give up. Take it one day at a time.

WA WA WA

STOMPING FEET

POUNDING FISTS

IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!

Ok every woman around my age knows this to be true. Many of my friends joke that their husbands can loose 2 pounds just skipping dinner. At a certain age which I think I’m almost 10 years past, a woman’s hormones/metabolism stops. I say stops, because I think it definitely more than slows down. Add to that the thyroid issues and I know I’m going to have to fight hard to fit back in those jeans.

WWWWAAAAAAA WWWWWAAAAAAA WWWWWWWAAAAAAAA

STILL STOMPING FEET

STILL POUNDING FISTS

STILL THINKING IT’S NOT FAIR!!

That being said, I’m still plugging along. Still working on my couch to 5k program which I’ve got to say I’ve really been enjoying and will talk about more another day. This week, I even added to the repertoire a Beginner Core Strength class. I went with a friend. We had some laughs. We did what we needed to do. On the plus side, we felt like the youngings in the class as it seemed like most of the people in the class where 60 plus. Hey it’s not often I get to be the youngin any more, so I’ll take it. Plus it was a good core workout utilizing Pilates exercises.

I’ve decided that what I need more is to cross train. I’m not talking other cardio exercises. I’m talking core, yoga, stretching, and weights type of things. I get enough cardio with my job and running. I need to find my core because I’m sure somewhere underneath that fluff in the middle there might just be one.

So how are you doing in the New Year with your fitness journey?

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com


Expectations

Why do we always look at starting over in a negative manner? Isn’t it positive that in many cases we were willing to pick ourselves up and begin again?

Why yes, yes it is.

Don’t we normally look forward and congratulate those who are starting new chapters in their lives….. Weddings, babies, going off to college, ect, ect.. And while some new beginnings are not wanted and are hard, picking yourself up and having the courage to face a new beginning makes you a stronger person even if its one you never wanted or would wish on anyone.

As I’ve mentioned before, once again I’m starting over. Back to square one. I went through the motions and pretended that I didn’t need to do this, but I did. I beat myself up about it even while I was starting it until I realized the beauty of starting over.

No expectations. As nike says…. Just Do It.

I’m working on week 4 in my C25K program. I’m sticking to it. No more. No less, but I’m getting it done. I have enjoyed going back to the beginning. When I started my fitness journey years ago, I needed to learn what my body needed. What it could do. How far I could push it. I’m relearning that again and it feels good.

After NYCM, I went almost 2 months of not running where I felt “normal” where I gave my body a chance to just be. It needed it. I need it. I am now relearning what my body can do and what the effects are once it does it. My legs are once again sore. I need to stretch. I’ve been using my back and foot massager a lot. After 2 months of not feeling like this, it’s an adjustment. One that I like. I’m realizing just how far I can push myself and if I go too far what I will deal with. I’m learning, adjusting, and moving forward with the knowledge.

It was interesting the other day I went for blood work and then after for my run. I’ve been running on the treadmill so that I can more closely monitor my pace and also so I only do what I need to do. I could tell going in that my calcium was low which the blood work confirmed, so I did not push the pace. I had a good run and finished more than 2 miles. What was good about this though is that not only did I do the run, but my instinct about where my body was right on the money. Learning to read the signs and trust them.

I will say that this time is also helping me make friends with running on a treadmill. I am able to control the pace. I am able to control how long I will be running. On the plus side, I am also avoiding the cold. That being said, I’ve had the confidence to push the paces (for me) and hit my targeted goals of sticking with the program.

I’m not sure where this new fitness journey will take me, but i will admit that I am glad the I am on it.

Where are you going?


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?