Enough

I’m going to steal Einstein’s quote a little, because so often in running we compare ourselves. We look to see how our running measures up to those around us. We look to see how our running measures up to what we expect of ourselves. And you know you more than likely look to see what the person next to you is running on the treadmill. But what if…..

Everybody who runs is a runner. We have all heard it, but often we don’t believe it or feel we need to justify. “I’m not that fast.” “I don’t do any races.” “I’ve only run a 5K.” On and on we go as if what we are doing isn’t enough. As if our effort doesn’t measure up to what the golden standard is, but what if there is not golden standard. If you judge your pace/distance to that of another person, you might just think that you are not trying hard enough. You would be wrong.

Here’s the thing….. My mother is 72 and knocking on 73 (sorry Mom). My mom is a runner and power walker. She has never run a race. She only added the running the last few years (yeah in her 70’s). She goes to the gym and she gets on the treadmill. She is building up her miles and we are going to do a 5K together this year. She is and has always been a bit of a force of nature.

Here’s the thing. She’s been going to they gym and using the treadmill. She’s pushing herself. She’s getting her heartrate up. She’s moving. Yesterday she went to the gym and did her run. She was looking at the woman running next to her that was running at over 6. My spry mother (Hi) was running between 3 to 3.5. My mother was working hard. My mother was pushing it. My mother was getting out of breath. My mother was running and giving it her all..

Here’s the other thing and this is one I’m working on too which is why I’m calling out my mom……… If at face value you compared my mother running at 3.5 to the woman next to her running in the 6’s, some might discount what she is doing. You might tell her what she is doing is not enough. You might actually be an ass because anyone who says that would be wrong. Just like we are wrong when we compare ourselves to those running faster and further that seems out of reach for us.

Like I tell my children, it doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are giving it your all. My mother is giving her all and that’s all we can aks of ourselves. Some days we don’t even need to do that. But if you are showing up, if you are trying your best, if you are being true to yourself; what more can you ask of yourself? Nothing except to accept where you are and be proud

If you are on the treadmill and your all is 3…. Go you!

If you are on the treadmill and your all is 6+…. Go you!

If you are running a 5K, it’s not just a 5K!

If you never run a race, but lace up your shoes, you are a runner.

If you are running any distance, you are a runner.

It’s all a mind game. Knowing what to push. Knowing when to push. Knowing your limitations and pushing through them. Knowing when it’s time to take a step down and not push. Knowing that you are enough doing just what you are doing.

It’s hard sometimes knowing that what you are doing is enough. We live in a society that expects us to be bigger and better than before. But the truth is that just getting up every day putting in the time and energy to do what ever you can is enough. Sometimes just showing up is enough.

If your are an apple, don’t try to be an orange and know that apples come in all varieties and they are all good. If we were all the same, the world would be boring. So look ahead at what you are doing. Don’t look behind at what you’ve already done. Don’t look next to you to see what someone else is doing because you will miss the joy in doing just what you can do.

It is enough.

Keeping Up With the Joneses

We all do it. Whether it be on Facebook, Instagram or real life, we look at other people’s lives. We look to see what they are up to, how they look living their lives, and then we compare. Some people let it bother them. Others have a live and let live attitude and don’t really think about it. When it comes to real life issues, I don’t really care who has the bigger house, takes fabulous vacations, or what not. I pretty much have live and let live attitude and am not a jealous person when it comes to these things. Besides no matter how fabulous someone’s life is, I don’t know what it took to get them there. I also don’t know what struggles they have that they are not posting all over social media. Everyone has a battle they are fighting and not everyone needs to share their battle with you.

In running though, many times a runner will do this too. We look at peoples posts of their training runs. We look at their finish times. We look and we look and we look. And I will say, in running it is harder not to let it get to you. Even none runners have asked me when I’ve done a marathon, “Did you run the whole time or did you walk?” So many runners, running magazines, blogs, posts are about getting faster, PR’ing, and running further. It can be very motivating…… Right up until it’s not.

What if you will never PR again?

What if your not sure the distance your body can push?

What if you just want to run to run….. Race to race?

What if it’s not all about running faster or further?

What if you just want to run to run?

Is there a place for someone who just likes to head out the door?

YES!

The problem is that for many it doesn’t feel like there is a place. Most online groups only the fastest and further gets the accolades. What if it’s hard to share your accomplishment because you feel like in comparison to others, it isn’t worth sharing? And believe me it is hard and it’s not because it wouldn’t be well received (because at least for the groups I’m in it would be). It’s hard because sometimes you feel like your accomplishement isn’t worth celebrating.

What if your wrong?

Keeping up with the Joneses is too hard not just physically but mentally too. One of the reasons that I stopped running with people besides knowing everyone has their own training plan is………….

Wait for it…….

What if I was embarrassed with where I was physically. Embarassed of the extra weight. Embarassed because I was out of breath. Embarassed because my pace was “slow” even if I felt like I was pushing it. Embarassed because I thought I should be more. So I pulled back even if I wasn’t sure why I was pulling back. I stopped running with people and while some of it is due to scheduling, I’ve scheduled runs before. It’s hard to admit that you are not where you want to be. It’s hard to realize that you might not ever get where you want to be. What is harder though is feeling like you are giving up something that you realize that you miss…..

Now don’t get me wrong, I do like to run alone. When I was doing specific training, I needed to run alone. Also my schedule is wonky and sometimes I run when I can on the fly. For me, it clears my head. I like to be a solo runner, but I also LOVE to run with friends. As I said recently, running alone clears the mind; but running with friends is good for the sole.

Yesterday, I went out for a run with a friend. We ran. We walked. We chatted. I was supposed to only run 2. I looked down and realized that I was almost at 3. Whoops. The power of running with friends.

So this year as I am finding the joy in just running again, I also plan to find the joy in running with friends again. If I breath hard, if I need to walk, if it’s harder than it should be; it will be that much easier when chatting the miles away. Besides if I’m running with a friend, they won’t mind:) I’ve got some really good friends that way.

We all know the expression, if you run you are a runner. I think somewhere along the way I forgot that.

Great Expectations

We all have expectations in life. Great expectations. We all have a vision of how we want our life to be. Expectations are good, but what happens when life doesn’t live up the vision of what we think it should be? This leads to disappoint and sand ness.

All those years ago, actually only 7, when I started on my fitness journey there was no expectations.    I didn’t know what my body could do.   I didn’t know what a good time for an event was.    Hell, I really didn’t know anything….. Except that I wanted to do something.     Because I was starting from zero, I put no expectations on myself.   I jokingly said that my only goal with my first ever race, Iron Girl Sprint Tri, was not to die.   To me that was enough of a goal and anything after that was a win.

There was no… I should hit this many miles. I should hit this pace. I should do this or that for training. I knew nothing, so I expected nothing.

When I ran my first ever half which I signed up for because I was running just to run with my MRTT (Mom’s Run This Town) Mama’s. I was running 8 miles and more just to run them. Then on one run one of the Mama’s, Janna, said, ” You should sign up for the Superhero Half. Your ready for it.”

So I did. I had no expectations. I just showed up for the car ride to the event. While in the car, the seasoned runners spoke of pacing, race strategy, fueling and such. When they asked me mine, I had none. My goal was to finish.

Thanks to Janna who took me under her wing, I finished in 2:09. She knew about pacing and she also knew that I could finish in under 2:10 and she got me there. I just ran when she made me run and had a fun time doing it.I further admit that I didn’t even know that 2:09 would be a good time for a half. To me it was just about running to run and having a good time.

Then something happened, I started putting expectations on my running.   I also became ” a serious” runner.    I learned of pacing, training strategy, and proper fueling and for a while I even had a kick ass coach.   And while I still enjoyed running, it lacked the simplicity of when I first started.  I put expectations on myself and I was able to live up to my expectations right up until I couldn’t which was right after my thyroid surgery left me with Hypoparthyroidism.   And even after I came to terms with that, I still put expectations on myself.   Expectations that I could no longer meet.

You know what? I’m done with expecations! I want to find the joy that I had when I first started running.    I want to stop overthinking, overanalyzing, and just find the joy in allowing my body to do what it can do.   No matter the pace.   No matter the distance. 

The thing that screws us up so much in life is not accepting what we have and being upset it’s not what we think it should be. Sometimes getting out of our own way is the best thing that you can do. Sometimes you have to make a conscience decision to let things go, to reassese, and just allow what is to be enough.

With this thought process, I had picked the Hal Higdon Novice 1 training plan for the NJ Half at Rutgers.   No, I admit, I am not a novice runner; but I want to be.   I want to run with no expectations.   I have been so focused on doing what I thought I should do that I was missing out on what I could do. I am going back to seeing what my body can do.   To discovering where I am today.   And while I may have had this thought in the last 3 years I really have not embraced it in my running.    I am now. 

You know what?….. I’ve been enjoying my 2 training runs so far.   I have just been running to run.   No expectations.   No watching the pace.   Just letting my body decide.   It’s been good.   The runs have felt good.    I have felt good and the bonus is that both runs had negative splits which will not be the expectation nor will it be.  

So I will be happy to run where I am today. Not where I was 3 years ago. Not where I think I should be. Not where other people are. Not about pace. Not about anything, but enjoying where I am at this point and that will be enough.

Looking on the Bright Side

Sorry I’ve been off the grid. January has been a month to say the least. The first full week of January my husband and I both came down with what we assume was the flu. Down and out for the count. This is where I was thankful that my kids are old enough and self sufficient enough (when need be) to take care of themselves. Then was getting back into the swing of my routine and catching back up.

In the spirit of catching up, I did manage to sign up for a Half Marathon in April on my actual birthday. I will be doing the NJ Half at Rutgers. It was either this one or the NYRR Shape, but since did that one years ago I thought maybe something different this time.

The deciding factor was time as it will be easier to get in and out of this one. Plus it’s not 2 loops of the hills in Central Park. I even got a friend to do it with me. Win. Win.

Then the month kept rolling along. Yesterday, I had the fun of getting a colonscopy. Have to say the prep worried me a little bit because I wasn’t sure how my calcium would be, but I took extra in prepping for the prep. I did get a little tingles during the second dose of my prep, but I added some calcium and was good to go. What surprised me is my calcium getting low last night well after the procedure. Tingles around lips. Tell tail Chvostek sign. Hypoparathyroidism is a strange beast. I took some extra calcium and thankfully bounced back by morning.

I will say all of these things did make for a great month as far as helping me with my weight loss goal. Not what I would recommend to jump start your diet, but 8 pounds is 8 pounds and I’m even more motivated because I’m 2 pounds away from a number I haven’t seen in a while. So I guess now I have to stick with the healthy eating thing!

And since I was feeling better today, I went out for my first half marathon training run. I decided to go back to the very beginning using the Hal Higdon Novice 1 training program. This program is designed for those who have never done a Half before, but since I’m going back to basics I thought this was a great way to start. Besides I haven’t done much since NYCM and the Half is in 12 weeks, so I think this is just where I need to be.

I’ve decided I’m going back to the very beginning. Like I did all those years ago when I first hit the pavement, I am claiming this once again as the year of me. This means that I will be focusing on taking time for myself, getting myself in shape, and just enjoying seeing what I can do. I surprised myself all those years ago and I think I just might do it again. Who knows! I surprised myself on todays run which I allowed myself to walk when I needed. I ended up with very pretty negative splits and was happy with myself. What more can a runner ask for?

How are you doing on your goals?

New Year. New Me. I don't think so.

I hate the New Year New Me montra. This implies that there was something wrong with the “old” me and I don’t think that’s true. I personally like the New Year Better Me mantra. This is more an accure description of what I’m going for this year.

I’m going for heathier eating habits. I’m going for a weight that will not cause me foot issues when running. I’m going for balance. I thought that I would go for closing my apple watch rings every day, but then got sick and a new puppy which made me give that one up fairly quickly. Besides that was more pressure than I wanted.

In order to know if I’m achieving my goals on the last day of 2019 I did a weight and more importantly a measurement check. I care more about the inches around the belly than the number on the scale. Although I will say that in order for the inches to go down, so does the scale. I will also say that little by little I have allowed the number on the scale to get to a number that I once would have found unacceptable.

I will further say that I may have been a little shocked by the tape measurer. Unlike a scale, it is hard to say that the number is wrong because my hair is wet, my shirt weighs 10 pounds, it’s wrong time to get weighed and all the other little lies we tell ourselves.. I’m not going to get obsessive with these numbers either but use them as a way to check progress.

I also started the New Year off with a fun local 5K on the cold first day of the year. I went into it knowing that I have not run since completing the NYC Marathon. I further more have not done any type of real exercise since then either. So I was not expecting much. My goal was to just go have fun. Get some miles in and kick start the year reminding myself that I can do this.

I started in the back of the pack as I wanted to make sure that I didn’t do something stupid and try to run at a pace that I could not maintain and would have no business trying to do. As the race started, I ended up being next to a friend. We ran it together. We walked when need be. We chatted the few miles. We made sure to pass and finish in front of the lady who was rude to us near the finish line. Most importantly we had fun. We also finished in a very respectable time of 37 minutes.

One thing that jumped out at me front and center yesterday is how much I miss the running community. I have both intentionally and unintentionally backed away from it and kept to myself with my running. I don’t want to feel like I’m holding people back. Don’t want to slow anyone down. Don’t want to “embarrass myself” with how slow, out of shape, and just everything else. Then their is the logistical side where I am just so bad at planning and just kind of do what I can when I can.

It was good to be back. It was good to see so many smiling faces. Faces that I’ve missed. The only judgment their that day was my own self inflicted judgement on myself. It was just a good day. I need more days like that. I need more days where I get out of my own head. I need more days with people. I’ve always been a person to be on the outside looking in if I don’t force myself to be in the mix. There are many reasons for it that will have to wait for the non existent book to delve into. Anyway, I realize that my slow exile from my running community has also been a bit of slowly turning into myself leaving me alone. I need to be better.

So here is to starting January off right and seeing where it takes me. I’m doing some plotting. I’m doing some planning. Most of all I’m still trying.

Challenge Accepted

During the month of December, I accepted a fun Facebook Challenge from a friend to post 10 days of running photos without explanation that had an impact on me or were important. Here are some of what I shared –

I loved this challenged and it reminded me that I used to be somewhat of a bad ass. It reminded me that I can, have, and want to again to hard things. It motivated and reminded me that before I started out, I couldn’t do any of the things that I did. I trained. I pushed myself. I didn’t give up. Most of all…. I tried.

I want to try again.

I will try again.

Most of all, I need to continue to remind myself that the best things in life aren’t easy. So I have been spending December baking cookies, eating cookies; but also plotting. Plotting how to stop feeling like a marshmallow and get back to feeling like I can do anything. Don’t get me wrong, my measurement of being a bad ass might be different than it used to be. That doesn’t make the feats any easier.

I’m putting out some BIG, BIG goals for me for 2020.

1. Loose 25 pounds

2. Run at least 1 event a month

3. Close my activity rings on my watch every day. This will ensure 30 minutes of exercise a day.

4. In the back of my mind, I’m pretty sure I want to run (if they will have me again) the NYCM again for Sandy Hook

These are lofty goals. This are hard goals. These goals will push me. Most of all these are not impossible goals even if as I write them they seem impossible.

I’m laying the ground work and plotting as I so often do. Another hypopara friend asked me to join her group to run the year 2020 challenge with some others. We will create a team and as a team, we will run 2020 miles. A challenge on your own sometimes falls to the wayside, but knowing that you are part of a team will keep you motivated. I’ve already registered for my first 5k on January 1rst.

I’ve already talked to a dietician to help me find a healthy way to loose the weight. When researching good diets for those with Hypopara, I realized that the one I used prior to becoming Hypopara might not be the best alternative now with the once again high urine calcium levels. Must protect the kidneys at all costs because being super vigilant has served me well. So having the help of a dietician will help not just with weight loss but overall health. She has also mentioned that there will be a January weight loss challenge that I can join. As mentioned above, it is easier to stay on track with others.

So as I continue to plot out my plans, I hope to share both the victories and pitfalls (hopefully not too many) with you.

What are you 2020 goals?

One Month

A month ago I ran the NYC Marathon. Ok, a month ago I power walked the NYC Marathon. Since then….. Not so much. And when I say not so much, I really mean nothing. No cross training. No biking. No nothing.

At first, I said that it was because I needed to rehab my feet which is truthful. They need to get it together. Although a month of rest probably was just what they needed to deal with the Plantar Fasciitis. Then I believe I’m also dealing with Morton’s Neuroma probably aggravated from the power walking which has a completely different landing than running. So rest has been good.

Right up until it becomes more than rest.

So much in life is out of our control. Sometimes it feels like nothing is in our control and no matter how hard we try, we are running in the wind. After a while it is easy to give up trying because what’s the point. It’s easy to use a crutch even a valid crutch to blame everything on until you just stop trying.

I’ve been thinking about the Decade Challenge. I’m sure you’ve seen it on Facebook. The compare where were you then compared to now. I find it somewhat depressing. I jumped in 2013 training for my first ever event… A Sprint Triathlon. You know because why start small and it would be a great way to get back to being healthier. That was just the beginning as you know.

I did get healthier. Probably the fittest that I had ever been. Up until being healthy wasn’t in my control. With the surgery leaving me with Hypothyroidism (expected) and Hypoparathyroidism (very unexpected), I gained 20 pounds. I lost a lot of my steam. I deal with aches, pains, memory issues, and just generally feeling sucky on a daily basis. I persevered and pushed on moving while at a slower pace still moving.

Then there was the beautiful Natapara (my Hypopara peeps understand) which brought me back to normalcy. I was living the life again until the rug was pulled out. Yeah, I know you’ve heard this before. Without the Natpara I had decisions to make. Is it smart to push my body to the limits? If I want to continue to run, I have to get the feet issues under control which also requires addressing the weight issue. For me, with the issues I’ve had with my feet the extra weight is a problem. For me, I’m also not happy with where I am. No, I will never be a size 6 but I need to get back to where I my jeans fit.

Part of having so much in your life out of your control is that it is easier to not face the truth. The truth that while there is so much out of control that there is much in your control. Not to say that the things in your control are easy to face, deal with, or tackle but they are still there. Sometimes the hardest thing is deciding what to do and after that things fall into place. This is true for so many things in our lives. The holding pattern is what keeps us from moving forward. The fear of what if I can’t do it? What if it’s the wrong decision? What if….?????? What if……..??????? What if…..???????? It’s the what if’s in life that hold you down and the fear of failure that keep you from trying.

It is my fear of failure that has kept me from getting back on the horse with my weight. Hubby and I tried in January. He lost 50 pounds. I lost 4 and I’m not sure but I think I may have found them. While he does have it easier by virtue of just being a man. No I’m not being sexist…… My doctor has even used the phrase, “A woman your age with hormone blah, blah, blah….” So there’s that. Than the lack of thyroid. Then the aches, pains, and exhaustion that comes with Hypopara. Yup. Out of my control. What is in my control is what I put in my mouth. How I decide to use my energy and give myself on the days where there is none.

This probably is a good time to start too because it will keep me in check during the holiday season. And while I do have a limited amount of energy during the day, I can find time to do something for myself with it while doing what needs to be done. Simple things that I actually enjoy. Like this morning dusting off my juicer and having a yummy clean eating juice for breakfast instead of processed food. My body needs less processed foods and when I’m eating right, I feel better. I think that’s true for most of us.

I don’t expect this to be easy. I hope that I don’t give up. Even if it takes longer than I want….. Even if it seems impossible…… I know that what I put into my body is equally as important if not more than what the scale says. Most of all I hope to once again realize that I can do hard stuff even if it seems much harder now than it used to be.

So with all of that I’m already thinking of goals for 2020 and ways to actually reach them. Because as the saying goes, hindsight is 2020 (yeah mom joke there… my apologies, but that’s just me).

Rest, Recover, Repeat?

When running a marathon, so many random thoughts will pop into your mind. Some are fleeting. Some stick with you for a few miles. One that usually pops into my head is “I’m NEVER doing this again.”

Exhibits A, B, C

2014 – First marathon, Philly – This was supposed to be a one and done. I swore I just wanted to cross one marathon finish line and then I could call it a day.

2015 Marine Corps – I put in for lottery and as a fluke got in. I literally was dropping some F bombs to my sister who ran on the course with me at the end. I told her how stupid marathons were. How ridiculous it was that people wasted their time coming to watch runners (mind you she flew in from California). Lastly, I swore NEVER again (after NY because I’d already done the 9+1 for it)

2016 -NYCM – This was it. My first NYCM and was going to be my only. I mean how can you not run NY if your as close to the city as me. I even put off my surgery for my thyroid, so that I could run it. This was only marathon that I hit the wall because I ran the first half like there was not a second half. I was done and had my NYCM medal so what more did I need. NO more!

2017 – I put in for the Chicago marathon while still recovering from getting my thyroid out and dealing with learning to live Hypopara. This was flipping my finger to all that I was dealing with and I just needed to run one as a hypopara to show I could do it. It was not a pretty race as it was hot, but it is my fastest post surgery marathon. I was done. I proved my point. NO more.

2018 – I felt like there were signs that I should sign up to run NYCM as charity runner for Sandy Hook Promise. The signs were everywhere, but if I didn’t get picked at least I tried. Well, damn, they released that I really believe in their cause and picked me. So, yes, I was running with a purpose and I would do what I could to support Sandy Hook Promise; but I was only doing it one time. Until I did it again.

2019 NYCM Sandy Hook Promise Runner

During my run, I thought about that maybe my body just isn’t cut out to be a marathon runner. Maybe I should just stick to running shorter distances. That running 26.2 is just not for me. I could still support my team from the sidelines. I could still spread the message of Sandy Hook Promise. I just needed to give my body a rest because running marathons weren’t for me and I should focus my energy elsewhere.

Then I crossed the finish line.

I still felt that way. I still wondered if maybe this is too much for my body. Wondering if I needed to spend time on recovery. Getting my feet under control. Dealing with the aches and pains. Knowing that maybe worrying about my calcium crashing while running is just not worth it.

Then I went home. I read all the messages from my Facebook live videos, my running group, my friends and the chats with team members. And while I do need to spend time on healing my body – dealing with the tight calves, dealing with the feet, dealing with the pain that still lingers on the side of my calf and knowing that if I really want to run stronger/better/easier on feet that I also need to loose 20 pounds. Like seriously 20 pounds.

Then I thought….. It’s getting to the holiday season. There is no way that is going to happen. Then I realized that training would not start until Spring. Then I thought about how much I love being part of the Sandy Hook Promise Team, how some friends will be running NY next year, and that it might motivate me to keep going.

Then I thought…… Your crazy……

Not wrong.

Not right.

Then I thought about all the work in raising the minimum of $3,0000 to be part of their team. Then I thought of what I could do differently next year. The beauty is that I don’t need to make any decisions now or in the near future. For now my focus is recovery.

So I will continue to roll. I need to get to acupuncture. I need to do the things that I know I should do because chances are pretty good…….. that if you give the girl a medal, she’s going to want another one. Besides I’m pretty much on a roll now.

I’m Still Standing

Yesterday, I had a choice. I could run through the pain or I could run a smart race. I could only do one. As a runner, we often think that we need to dig deep, run through injury, or somehow we aren’t tough enough. I beg to differ with that. Sometimes it is harder to make what you know is the right choice for your life even if it might not be what you necessarily want to do or as a runner think that you should do.

Aerbically I was feeling good yesterday. I started off with a strong run. I kept my paces conservative in the 11’s and 12’s. My splits were on target by the 15K. The problem was that by mile 6 my feet were starting to hurt. So I pushed through. I kept on running. Up until I didn’t.

Aebocially I had it in to push through. I was feeling strong. I was feeling confident in being able to get that 5:45 that I was aiming for. The flip side though was at what cost would I get that time. I wasn’t winning. I wasn’t PRing. I was only finishing. I knew that if I continued to push to run, I might not be able to walk like had happened only a month prior. I didn’t want to end up in a boot which since it would be both feet, might be complicated. It would also effect my job as teaching preschool gymnastics does require your feet. The cost was too high.

So I made a decision to power walk the marathon. There were times that I did run but they were fleeting moments and the pain reminded me that it wasn’t a good idea. Not to say there was no pain with the power walking, but as my Mantra became….. I was stronger than the pain.

By the Half way point, I knew that if I planned to get to the finish line and be able to go about my life the next day that I would need to stick with the walking. And for anyone who thinks that power walking a marathon is easy, I advise you to go for it and experience it yourself. My legs still became heavy, my quads and calves still screamed; but I kept on moving. I knew if I stopped that starting would be too hard.

The beauty of power walking is that I did several live stream videos for my facebook friends. It was more for me than them, but I do think they enjoyed “experiencing” the marathon in a way only those on the course can. The excitement. The bands, choirs, and views of the city that you can only get when it’s all shut down for 50,000 plus runners. Plus so many of these friends have support me in so many ways and supported the whole reason I was there….. Sandy Hook Promise.

This year since I was power walking, I did not miss the Sandy Hook Promise cheer section. It was the highlight of my run. To go and get hugs and support from my Team reminding me of why I was there and what was really important carried me. It also helped that they were at mile 17!

There is more to unpack with this event, but for now I need to go roll, stretch and soak.

Oh and for those wondering………. 6:20:41

A reverse PR, but done is done!

Lucky # 7

Tomorrow I will be stepping up the start line for my seventh marathon. Hopefully it will by the end of the day I can say that I have finished all 7. We all know that there isn’t much that is going to stop me from getting there. No matter what I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

With each marathon, I’ve learned something. Learned how to push myself. Learned that I am stronger than I realize. Learned that no matter what there is always a little more in the tank.

My first marathon, Philly, was a fluke. That year, I had trained and completed the Runner’s World Hat Trick (5k, 10k, and Half marathon all in two days). When it was over a friend nudged me to sign up for Philly the following month. One 20 mile training run later, I was in. I finished in 4:46:20. This is before I knew anything about running, so I do see humor in that I didn’t push for the 4:45 time..

Then over the next few years would run a marathon a year. For my second marathon, Marine Corps, I trained with a coach. I finished in 4:38:14. This is my current and more than likely my PR for marathon finish times. I should have PR’d my first New York as I was well trained for it, but went out way too fast not following the plan. This is a mistake I will not make tomorrow.

Two weeks after that first New York Marathon was my thyroid surgery leaving me not just without my thyroid, but also working parathyroid glands. I was determined not to let being Hypopara take away my running and the Chicago Marathon was supposed to be my one hypopara marathon and done. A way to snub my nose at it. I learned a lot in Chicago. I learned that for me the set run/walk plan doesn’t work for me. I learned that my body does NOT like running in the heat as it was very hot that year. Most of all, I learned that I can just keep going. All things being considered, an hour slower is pretty awesome.

But then, then it became about something more. Last year when I got picked to be part of the Sandy Hook Promise Team, I could not have been any more honored. I still remember sitting in a Toys R Us parking lot talking on the phone with a friend in 2013, a year after the shooting in Sandy Hook. She could not understand my pain over the horrific shooting when I was not personally involved, but I was involved. I’m a mother, that year my youngest son was also in Kindergarten. I took it very personally because this tragedy as we’ve learned over the years can happen anywhere. She couldn’t understand my pain and told me that I needed to do something as I wasn’t “getting over it.” I didn’t want to get over it, I wanted to do something. So here we are.

Although, even before last year I was involved. I did what I could, but I wanted to do more. This is my more. I can and do share the message of inclusion, stopping gun violence, and making a change. My personal friends know this to be true. I remember one year on Wear Orange for Gun Safety another friend that I ran into at a baseball game while I was wearing my orange shirt saying to me, “Isn’t every day Wear Orange day for you?” She meant this is the nicest way possible because she knows I am always spreading the message.

So here I am getting ready to run my second marathon as part of Team Sandy Hook Promise. At a lunch today it was said, “You weren’t just a number coming into Sandy Hook Promise. You were selected. Your stories and passion are what got you here……. We picked you from the heart.” So I run knowing that this isn’t about me. This is my way to not just share the Sandy Hook Promise message which I do, but about helping to support an organization that is doing so much good. Last year was my slowest marathon to date at 6:10:13; but my most memorable and favorite one.

I am honored. It is more than words. It is a truthful statement.

My goal. My only goal tomorrow is to wear my Sandy Hook Promise shirt with pride. Ok, I may also have a goal of 5:45 time but that is secondary. I know it won’t be easy, but nothing in life worthwhile is a walk in the park. I will get that walk in the park crossing the finish line. I’ve learned a lot about running since my first marathon. I’ve learned a lot about what my body can do even after becoming Hypopara. I will do what it takes knowing that I will have not just the support of family and friends, but the Sandy Hook Promise community.

This picture was taken last year during the marathon. I have taken MANY race day photos. I have NEVER taken one like this with the sun shining down on me. I look at this as a sign that I was not alone. So as I run these 26 miles, I know that the saying 26 miles for 26 angels is more than a catch phrase. It is real.

It’s go time.