Getting to the Finish Line…

 

I’ve already learned or should I say…. I’ve already made the mistake of crashin and burning at one marathon.   I went out WAY too fast in  New York running the first half like I didn’t have 13 more to go.   I suffered the consequences when I hit the wall and hit it hard.    I didn’t get my A, B, or even C goal.   I just squeaked in under the 5 hour mark which was my last resort.    All that being said, when I hit the wall, I was able to maybe not climb over it but I was able to push through it.   I made it to the finish line.

Here is the thing though…

I don’t want to admit it.   I want to pretend that I am exactly where I was a year ago, but every run proves me wrong.    I need to get my head screwed on straight and do it quick.

Yes I talk about it all the time, but it is past time that I stop pretending the I’m “recovering” from an injury at this point in time.   Yes, I did need to recover from my surgery.   Yes, there was a recovery time, but I am no longer recovering.   What I am dealing with is a lifelong illness.

Blah.. Blah… Blah…. Blah.

Yes, I talk about it all the time.   I think about it even more.

Right now though, I can’t both train for the distance and try to get my speed back.   There might come a time where I can hold the pace, but that time is not now.   And lets face it, I’m not getting any younger.   In two years I’m reaching a big milestone and people generally don’t get faster the older they get.   I’m pretty sure that I will not be that anomoly.

Does it suck?

you bet.

Could it be worse?

Much!

Am I lucky?

Yup.

Do I have a choice?

Not really.

Here is the thing….   I can push myself to run a faster pace, but it is not a pace that I could hope to keep for a marathon.   It’s not even a pace that I can keep for a 5K.

Reality bites as they say.

So once again, I am faced with deciding if it is worth pushing my body to hit the wall in Chicago or if I want to make it to the finish line.   I’m pretty sure that I can’t do both.   I’m pretty certain that my training will go a lot better when I start facing the reality of where I am today.   Today, I am at a walk run ratio.   This does not mean that when I am running that I should be hitting under a 10 minute pace or even under 9 which I briefly did.   I’m not there yet.   Maybe once again but not today and certainly not in the 47 days till Chicago.

What to do?   What to do?

As a runner who likes numbers, it is hard to run/walk because when running alone I tend to push the run faster than I should.   I worry that I will do that in Chicago. It is always hard in any race to hold back even when you know you should.

I think what I realistically need to do is just say out loud that I may not run a 5:00 marathon.  I really am not sure what I can do, but am willing to find out.   I have to train to keep my runs where they should be which is no faster than a 10:45 pace.   I have to stop worrying about my average pace.    I have to say….

This is ok.

This is where I am.

The goal is to finish.

That is enough.

It has to be.

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Oh Snap!

The other day while perusing Facebook, one of my FB friends posted that it was only 50 days till Chicago Marathon.

Say What???

Well two days later and we are down to only 48 days!

Oh Snap…..

I will say that although I’m not feeling that I will be putting in a podium level performance (nor was I ever), I am feeling a little more confident about getting to the finish line.   I do believe that is part of training too.   Not just to get your body ready, but also to get your mind ready.

As I said before, last week when I did the 6 mile run following the 3 to 1 walk ratio, it felt good.    I came home and ordered my own Gymboss timer which luckily came for my scheduled long run.    Even better, I had a friend who was going to run the first 8 miles with me.

Since we both wanted to go about our day and it was supposed to be a hot day, we decided to start at 8:00 AM at a local park.    I will say when my alarm went off very early, I had two thoughts.   The first being, “Why am I doing this?”   The second being, “I am in so much trouble once the school year starts.”    This was my first early morning run in a LOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG time.    For a while, I couldn’t do the early morning runs, but now it is a matter of liking to sleep in more than anything else.    As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes it is necessary to get up early to run.   This was one of those days.

It’s amazing how much the park was buzzing on an early Sunday morning.

There is something to running with a friend that does take your mind off of the discomfort of running so many miles.    We followed the 3 to 1 method chatting away.    Then it was time for my friend to depart and me to finish it up on my own.   I had my big girl panties on and off I went.   I admit that the second part of my run wasn’t as fun as the first.    It was getting hotter.    My legs were getting heavier.    Most of all, there was nothing to distract me from what I was doing.  (Ha!).

The beauty of where I was running though is that once I left the park, there really was no turning back.   If I wanted to get back to my car, I just had to keep plugging along.   I was feeling the effects of both the miles and the heat as it was up to 85 by the end.   I even took to dumping water down my back and front of my shirt.    I readily admit that by the time I was hitting mile 13 that I may (yes, I was) been walking more than I should.    My pace does reflect it.

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You know what?

It’s ok because I didn’t stop.   I kept moving forward and I finished.

Really what more can you ask for?   Just keep moving forward.

Then when was all said and done, I actually walked another mile after hitting 15 since I did actually need to get back to my car which brought my total mileage up to 16 for the day.

One step closer.

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Reality Check

Yesterday was a good day all around. I took my 3 boys to the trampoline adventure place for some fun. They even had a Ninja Warrior section where we all realized that we are not Nina Warriors. We had a lot of fun, but I did realize that I’m not as young as I think I am. What a workout!

I was worried that my bouncing was going to make my nightly run that I had planned with a friend a nightmare. It ended up being one of my best runs all week and maybe in a while. I even felt like I could have kept running at the end.

Here’s the reality check.

My friend who is in recovery from an injury is doing the walk/run method. The difference is she’s doing it the right way. She has a timer and is doing a 3 to 1 ratio that she follows. Also when running, she was keeping a nice steady pace which meant that so did I. The 3 to 1 worked nicely. The running didn’t seem choppy and even though I didn’t feel like I needed to walk every time, the fact that we did made the run what it was supposed to be. An easy paced 6.

We ended up with an average pace of around 12:00. In thinking about it, I had the reality check of this is where all my runs should be. I think in the back of my mind and right out in the front, I’ve been trying to hit average pace of 10:45 to 11:00. That is not where my body is right now especially for the long haul.

I think I am finally willing to embrace or at least give the run/walk method a really try following a real plan. So much so that after stretching and washing up last night, I hit Amazon and ordered my own timer. It might be time to give this method more than a pretend try and actually follow the program.

I also think following the program will allow me to feel more in control of my running and allow me to run the distances that I need to run. I remember two years ago doing the Runner’s World Half Marathon. I was running with a pacing group and we were staying at a consistent pace. There was a man who was doing the run/walk method that was sticking with us. He walked when he was scheduled to, but still ended up finishing around the same time which was around 2:10. I think if I have any hope to completing the marathon this will be the way to go.

Time to face Reality.

Patience

Going Soft

I’ve already said that I’ve gone soft around the middle some more, but I also am starting to wonder if I’m just going soft overall.

As a runner or any athlete, the goal is always to push yourself.   Push yourself hard.   Push yourself past the pain.    What if I’ve gone soft in no longer being able to do that?    What if I’ve become afraid to push myself too far, so I don’t push far enough?   For any athlete, you must always ask yourself, “How much more do I have in me?”

Prior to not having a fully functioning parathyroid, there was no fear in pushing my body to it’s limits. It was perfectly healthy and there were no real consequences to doing so.  Only short term pain. Once hypopara, there are real consequences.  So now I find that even when I push myself I may not push myself to the limit because there will be consequences that were not on the table before.

This week I’ve gone out for two runs so far.   I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone some, but I’ve also been playing it safe.   I’m paying close attention to my body.    Both runs I used my version of the run/walk method as I don’t think that I would be able to do the run without it.    Both runs I thought to myself, “If I can’t even go this distance, how the Hell am I going to finish a marathon in just 2 months.”   In thinking that, I realized that prior to my surgery that would have never even crossed my mind that I couldn’t do it.

I also realized on these runs that once the breathing becomes heavy on my runs instead of pushing through, I back off some.    I’m trying to decide whether this is something that I need to do for my body or if my mind is playing tricks on me.    I can’t decide.   I also am wondering if I learn to keep the pace slow and steady if that would help me to run farther without walking.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the walk/run method.   I know many people who use it.    I’ve even had some in my hypopara groups say that they wouldn’t be running without it.  I’m still just trying to find out where I am and what I should be doing.   I’m still trying to let go of old expectations.    Mostly, I’m still trying to figure out what my body needs to do it’s job without my mind playing tricks on me.

Running is mental.   We all know that.   In the back of my mind though, I worry that I’m going to push my body too far.   It is one of the reasons that I stick to main roads now.   I think, “well if something happens and I need help…..”    This is not really me and I don’t like the way this person thinks.

The trick is to test my limits without being an idiot.   Hmmmm.  Not sure how that works.

As always

I’m a work in progress

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Creeping Up There….

I went out yesterday for what should have been a “easy” 6 miles.    Even skipping my normal training in Vermont, these 6 miles shouldn’t have been that difficult.   I was not in the mood to keep track of time, so I decided to just keep the pace slow and I would give myself a walk break every mile.   Seemed like the way to go.

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As you can see from the long red and orange line, even at these paces I was working hard.   Harder than I feel that I should, but I imagine the paces don’t really tell it all as it evens out with the walking.  Still need to work on it.   Part of the problem is that in the 8 months since my surgery I have gained 10 pounds.    I’ve never been what one would call petite.   That being said, I had remained steady in my weight for many years.   As I’ve blogged before in Laying It Out There even though the numbers never changed, I could tell that it was redistributing with added muscle.   Sadly, I can not say that now.

Part of the weight gain I attribute to not exercising as much post surgery.   Part of it might be from thyroid surgery while getting my levels correct.  Part of it might be Christmas and winter coming during this non running time.   While I don’t care about the extra weight per se, I do care that my clothes are not necessarily fitting the way that I like them.   I also think this is part of why I am struggling a bit with my running.    Yes, my legs are more sore than before, but that doesn’t account for all the heavy breathing.

Now is the what to do, what to do moment.   I honestly and whole hardheartedly hate dieting.   It’s not my thing baby.   

That being said, I am creeping up to another big milestone that I do think I would be upset to hit as it would be how much I weighed when I was pregnant.

  I  know that with my hypoparathyroidism, I do need to do better with my diet.    It might help with the muscle cramps and other issues.    I have toyed with my diet for this reason, but never committed especially since I still think my parathyroid are going to bounce back and work properly.  I keep waiting for the doctor to tell me they made a mistake.   I know.   I know.   It’s a foolish pipe dream, but I still can’t fully admit that this is permanent and my life yet.   It’s a work in progress.

So maybe it is past time to meet with the nutritionist that I called and never followed up with an appointment.   Not for my clothes.   Not for the way I look, but for my health as I really need to eat a diet with less salt and more calcium rich foods.    There has been much discussion in my hypoparathyroid groups on what is a good diet and I really need to start paying attention.   Also, I really need to figure out proper fully for runs.

So maybe I could turn this all around.   You know make lemonade out of lemon kind of thing.

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Moving forward is all you can do as sitting still is not an option.

 

 

 

Hello Again

The problem with Fall marathons is that you have to train through the summer and vacations.   My family has a standing date with a lake in Vermont every August.   Last summer I had fire in my belly and trained accordingly.    This summer, I’m quit a bit more relaxed in my training and did not train accordingly.

It happens.

As of today, there are only 56 days till the marathon.    It’s time to get out of vacation mode.    I will say that I was not totally lazy during my time at the lake.   I did average more than 10,000 steps a day which is about 5 miles of walking a day.    Also the morning before we left, I did go for a long run of 13 miles.    Then in Vermont, I went for one 6 mile run and a 16 mile bike ride and anyone whose been to Vermont knows those hills are no joke.   So this seemed like a nice trade off.

Now I’m home.   The bags are unpacked.   The laundry will never be done, but as a mother of 3 it never really is anyway.    So it’s time to get back out there.   I toyed with going today, but my legs were sore so I went for a spa pedicure instead.

Tomorrow is another day and I plan to make the best of it.   I know that I need another long run.    I don’t have the fire in my belly right now to train with hills, cut-downs, and everything else.   What I do have though is the determination to get the miles in and be prepared for 26.2.

It’s all good.

Chasing….. Getting it done

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What is your Why?

 

 

 

When I first started racing, it was exciting.   It was fun.   I couldn’t stop myself from signing up for things on a whim.    There was fire.    My first race ever was the Sprint Triathlon in September of 2013.   Since then according to Athlinks, I’ve run 42 races.    Considering I have only done 2 races this year, that comes to a lot of races in such a short period of time.  This year, I only have a few races on the calendar which I am enjoying.

When I first started running, I had something to prove to myself.   It was a challenge.   It was fun.   I had my running race buddies.   I couldn’t stop.   Then I did.  Now it was time to reevaluate and regroup.  I have different reasons for running now.   I am in a different place.   As said before, I know that the reason I want to run Chicago is just to run it to prove that I can.

I was talking to someone who deferred a big race.   She was coming back from an injury, but originally thought that she would push through to train.    She then realized that she was planning on pushing through her injury for a race that she no longer really felt like running.   The desire just wasn’t there.  We  get to a point where we have to start questioning why we are doing the things we are doing and what would happen if we didn’t do them.   She had nothing to prove to herself.   She also realized that her heart just wasn’t in it.   Once her decision was made, she felt relief.

Often subconsciously  we know what we need to do and even the reasons why, but for some reason we feel like we just need to keep doing the same thing.  We feel like we would be a quitter.   Like somehow we are a failure when the reality could not be further from the truth.   Sometimes stepping back and being true to ourselves is so much braver than soldiering through.   Unknowingly we fall into patterns of doing thing because we think that we should do them. We think we will disappoint others or just because we don’t want to have to think about why we are feeling that way.   Sometimes we can’t even explain it to ourselves.

I always say honestly is the best policy.   Those that know me personally know that they shouldn’t ask me a question if they do not want an upfront and honest answer.   Being honest with ourselves is just as important.   We put too much pressure on ourselves not just with our running but life in general   As with life, sometimes in our running we have to step back to evaluate our motives and desires as they can change over time without us even realizing it.  What was once a driving force may no longer ring true to us anymore.  And sometimes you have to  ask  the hard questions.  You know just what to ask too.  Only you have the answers, but you need to allow yourself time to find them.

My one piece of advice to you – No matter what  make sure that you are still having fun! I don’t mean that you should laugh your way through your training, but just make sure it doesn’t become a job.  Running is a great stress relief and we all have so much on our plates that running should be something that gets us away from it all and shouldn’t feel like something we have to do:)

One thing that I have noticed these last few months is that I am content not to be on such a tight race schedule.   Always training.   Always planning.   As much as I enjoyed the hard training that I put in and running the races,   I can honestly say that I am happy where I am in my training.  I am content to sit on the couch a little longer in the morning.  I am putting in the miles that I will need to be ready for Chicago, but I am not consumed by my training.   I am flexible.  The fire still burns but maybe right now it’s not as hot.   When and if the time comes, I can always turn up the flame.  I know part of it comes from knowing that I am not chasing a time, but running for me and what more can I ask for?

Whats-your-why

 

 

Be Determined

 

You have very few choices in life as they say.

Give up.  Give in or Give it all you’ve got.

I’m a pretty stubborn individual.   Just ask my family:)    That being said, I recently read a quote that brought home to me that in my running being stubborn isn’t always a good thing.

BeDetermined

I realized that I’ve been VERY stubborn about my running.   I may have been a little like a spoiled child.    I wanted my running to be what I wanted and I wanted it now.  We all know that isn’t how life works.   Doesn’t mean that I wasn’t stubborn about it.   I didn’t want to admit that for now things needed to change some.   That things needed to be tweaked.   I was and there will be days that I still will be stubborn again.  I am trying to be more determined than stubborn now.   Although stubbornness is not necessarily a bad thing when used with determination.   Just not pig headed stubbornness.

Case in point

I went out for my long run yesterday.   I had 12 miles that I needed to do.   It was hot, but worse that that it was humid with humidity being 66%.     I was determined to have a good run.    I realized that in order for that to happen that I needed to set myself up for it.   When I started the run, I decided that I would do a 6 to 1 run to walk ratio.   There was no rhyme nor reason where that ratio came from.   It just seemed like a good fit.   In the beginning of the run I reminded myself of the NYCM and that it is best to hold back in the beginning to save something in the tank for the end.   So I forced myself to keep to the ratio.   I could run a little longer than 6 if I was going downhill or something, but I  keep the walk at just a minute.   It seemed to work nicely.

Now don’t think that this was an easy run.   It wasn’t.   I was drenched in sweat.   I will say that my legs felt good or as good as they can feel on a long run.   I think because of the humidity, it was more my breathing.   The air just felt so heavy.

One thing that was a lifeline on my run was one of my running buddies.  Before the run, she messaged me that if I needed anything to call.    I knew that she was home, so I did add her to my route stopping around mile 5.   Cold water from a filtered fridge is so much better than filling from hoses.   I also was able to get some much needed body glide as due to all the sweating I was having issues.    Then off I went knowing that she had my back if I needed anything more.  That’s good feeling.

I continue on with my 6 to 1 ratio.

It’s hard.

I’m am drenched in sweat.

I plan my run to make sure that I go by the local 7-11.   Timing is perfect as I finished all my water right before coming to it.    This time instead of water with Cal-ez, I opt for Gatorade.    By now, the staff of 7-11 is used to me, but the customers not so much.   Oh well.

I do admit that towards the end, my ratio of walk run might have been off some.   My determination pushed me forward and my stubbornness got me to the 12.

Here is the funny thing.   My focus on the run was to make sure that I had a little more control where I didn’t’ feel like I was doing the run fast, walk, run slow, run fast, walk, repeat method.   That being said, I really did not watch my pace.   I was watching the clock for time.    I ended up with an average pace of 12:00 and  my splits were not all over the place.   Although mile 7 did throw off my average with a pace of 12:41

Overall, I am happy.

I am a little less stubborn, but just stubborn enough.

Most of all,

I am determined.

 

 

All Is Not As it Seems

 

 

Still Plugging Along.    Still trying to figure it out.   One thing I’m trying to get a hold of is my Pace.   It is ALL over the place.   It is not reflected in the picture of my runs, but like peoples post’s on Facebook many times when you look a little closer everything isn’t as pretty as it seems.

Case in point.

This was last night’s run.   On face value it looks like a beautiful run.    Paces are on target.   I’ve got some nice negative splits going.   But when you look a little closer all is not as it seems.

This run started in the evening which on a normal day would mean that it was cooler.   Not so much right now.   It was still hot and the humidly was so thick that you could cut it.   This was supposed to be just an easy and slow run.    Started out accordingly.   Once I got out there, I knew due to the heat I more than likely do a walk/run.

Now I admit that I don’t follow the plan accordingly for the walk/run method.   Maybe I should.   Maybe I won’t.   One of the reasons is because I like to adjust my walk dependent upon the course.   I would much rather run down the hill than up it.   And I admit that part of me is digging my heals in a bit and really not wanting to embrace it.   Not because I don’t think it’s a valid plan or there is anything wrong with it.   It is 100% because it’s not a plan that I got to choose and was foisted upon me.

Heals dug in.

Not smart and I’m trying.   Oh so trying to get my head out of the neither region and realize that this is me.

So here is what the truth of my pretty split run.    I started out running.   Did some walking.   Then some running.   Then some walking.   Then some fast running trying to make up time.   Followed by heavy breathing and walking.    Pattern repeated.

This was not a smart run.   My paces bounced all over the pace.   I even sprinted at the end hitting a 7:39 pace.   That, I admit, was fun and felt good.    Not smart.   I need to be smarter.

Yes, this type of running will fly when running 3 miles and I might even be able to do it for a half.   But as everyone knows a Marathon is a whole different beast.   As those who have been here for a while remember, I hit the wall and I hit it hard at the NYCM by running the first half like I didn’t have the second half to run.  I even questioned Was It A Waste?  Not a smart race.   I was able to push through the wall and finish NY, but I honestly don’t know if my body could break through the wall if it hit it now.

I need to pull it all together.   I need to give up this dream that I’m still going to pull a 4:30 in Chicago.   Yes, it’s still there.   Come on, you know I’m an optimist.   I think this is what is my biggest problem is.  I keep hoping that some how my body will fix itself and things will work again like they did before.

  Plus I have forgotten how to hold a pace.  I used to be able to run beautiful cut-down runs holding my pace within 5 -10 seconds of set pace.  Practice makes perfect and I’m out of practice.   I think that if I went out yesterday and ran the whole 3 miles at a 11:45 pace or slower that I could have run more consistently.   Probably wouldn’t have needed to walk either.   It’s harder than it sounds.

Now before you say, leave your watch at home.   That’s not happening.   I’ve also set it to where I can’t see the pace and that doesn’t help.   This is just another step forward in the acceptance process of where I am and I’m still fighting it.   Just because I know it, does not make it an easier.

One Day at a Time.

One Run at a Time.

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Putting the Pieces back together

Humpty Dumpty sat on a Wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again.

 

I admit it, I’ve been feeling a little bit like Humpty for a while.   Say, since November 18th.    That being said, I have recently been coming to terms with my cracked shell and the realization that it’s up to me to put the pieces together again.   They might fit a little different, but that’s the way things go.

I’ve also realized thanks to the reminder of Training Peaks that I am now six weeks into my training.   They were also nice enough to point out that the Chicago Marathon is only twelve weeks away.    Time flies and I know it will be here before we know it.

I’ve been happy with my training recently.   I think it has something to do with the above realization.   Anyhow, I am (trying) to not beat myself up anymore and just roll with it.

You know what?

I’ve had some good runs recently.    Now my good runs to a front of the packer might make them scratch their head, but I’ve been happy and isn’t that enough?   Why yes, yes it is!

Case in point

Last night I went out for 7  miles.   I was comfy on the couch after a nice dinner, but forced myself to leave the mindless TV watching to go for my run.    It was bordering on becoming dark, so I suited up accordingly.    I forgot how nice it is to run at night when the streets are quiet and everyone is inside their house.   I went out knowing it would be a slow run.   Still trying to balance the walk/run thing and just figured that I would just let things take a natural progression.   Another plus is that once it got dark enough, I could NOT see my Garmin for pace.

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I ran just to run.

I ran for the miles

I ran just to enjoy the night.

I ran just to see how I would run.

Most of all, I allowed my mind just to focus on the run.

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Here are my paces and to be honest, I am actually very happy with them.

Once I hit my groove at mile 3 and after miles 4 I had negative splits.   Not bad considering that I wasn’t aiming for  them or thinking about pace.   I did consistently ask if “I needed to walk” or “If I wanted to walk.”   I found that last night I didn’t need to walk as much.   I think part of it was that I was having a good day, I was well hydrated, and I am slowly getting back to running mojo.   Either way, I will take a good run when I can get one.

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Yes, I am sore today and was much sorer last night than I should have been for 7 miles.   I’m noticing that it is my feet and my right quad that seem to be paying the price.   Going to see if I can squeeze in a massage this week and I really should foam roll more.

I’m also putting the pieces together for Chicago logistically speaking.    As soon as I realized that I got into Chicago, I did book a room for the day before the marathon and leaving the day after.   I’ve literally gotten into a car and driven home after running the Marine Corps Marathon and thought, “never again.”    I also figured that I would just see how things play out.   They seem to be playing out nicely:)

One of the other Moms in my Moms Run This Town group is also running Chicago.   We’ve started formulating a plan to fly to Chicago on Friday.   We can get a room near the airport for Friday night.   Then the next day move to the hotel room that I already have booked.  (Yes, I tried to see if I could add Friday onto my stay, but it was a no go).   Anyway, it is nice to know that we are in this together.   Plus she’s a sweetheart and it should be lots of fun!

I do so love it when a plan comes together and it finally seems like things are coming together for Chicago.