Fire

I’m preparing to start training for NYC Marathon. I’m dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s. Picking my training plan. Kind of doing some pre training. Thinking about goals. All the things that I’m supposed to be doing. With all that being said, I am noticing one thing missing this go around.

Fire.

Don’t get me wrong….. I’m excited to be getting ready to train and run NYC Marathon for Sandy Hook Promise. I’ve got the fire to get to both start and finish line. Let me explain….

When I first started this journey years ago, I had fire and determination. I pushed myself to the limit. I trained. I ran far. I ran fast. I pushed myself to and past limits that I didn’t know I could push through. I got up early. I ran late at night. I had serious goals. Some I reached. Some I didn’t. But I always pushed through.

Now….

I like to sleep in….. I’m comfy on the couch at night. I’m missing that fire to push the limits. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been running (not as much as I thought for pretraining). I’ve been running some local 5K and being pretty consistent in my times. Faster than I thought I’d be. I’ve run 3 5K’s this year. All of them, I said I was just going to run and see what happened. All of them were hard and I pushed myself. All of them I finished around 31 minutes.

Now that being said, I think the reason my fire is a little damp right now is I’m not sure what is going to happen as I start adding the miles. Am I going to fall apart. Is my body which thanks to my Natpara has been feeling good going to give me issues. I’m worried. I like the way I’ve been feeling. You know… feeling like me. I think that I may be afraid to rock the boat. I keep saying I don’t want to go back to how I felt both mentally and physically before I started my Natpara. I love running. I love racing. I love being able to cross any finish line but a marathon finish line is special especially when running for a cause you believe in. That being said as much as I love that…… I love waking up not feeling like grandma. I love not needing a nap in the afternoon. I love not having muscle cramps, spasms and all of those other funky sypmptoms of being hypopara.

So I guess what I will say is…… I have the fire, but I’m afraid to let it burn too brightly right now. I’m going to tend to it. I’m going to care for it, but I’m not going to let it burn out because while I love running; I love being able to live my life like I did before my surgery.

If there is one thing about being hypopara is that it does make you more cautious. Where I used to throw caution to the wind and let the chips fall where they may because I knew I could easily pick up the pieces; I don’t do that now. When they fall, they fall too hard and it takes too long to pick them up.

So I will go into my training following a very low key plan. I will put in the miles. I will do what I need to do and as the 3 miles turns 5 and so forth and so forth; I will reassess. I will adjust. What I will not do is stop….

So I guess I do have more fire than I thought:)

5 Years in and Not Done Yet

When I did my first marathon, I said I was one and done. Then number 2 was a fluke as everyone said how hard it was to get into Marine Corps. I was done. Then I had to run NY because everyone says you’ve got to do it. Then Chicago was another “oops I got in again” moment. Then the call of running for Sandy Hook Promise led me to NY again and now again… This is it… I’m pretty sure. Yeah, really.

I’ve been tooling along right now. Getting runs in, but have not settled on my marathon training plan. There is a reason for that too……

Picking a plan means that I have to set a goal of some type. Then there is the whole picking a plan that is realistic for where I am now in my training, where I will be as I train, and the toll it might take on my body. I also need to decide what I am willing to give up to reach any goals I set.

Currently I am settled on following a Hal Higdon plan. I’m torn between a few of his plans.

“Novice 1 Marathon Training Program. If you are training for your first marathon, this is the training program for you! Even if you are an experienced marathoner, you may choose this as a gentle and low-mileage approach to your favorite sport”

“Novice 2 is designed to fit comfortably between the Novice 1 and Intermediate 1 marathon plans. It is designed for runners who may already have run and finished their first marathon and want to add just a bit more mileage while training for their second or third marathons, hoping to improve their times”

“Intermediate 1 Marathon Training Program is one step up from Novice 2. It is designed for runners who may have used the novice programs to run their first marathons and who are now looking to increase their training levels and hoping to improve their Personal Records.”

In looking at a side by side comparison, the Novice 2 & Intermediate 1 are very similar in mileage. Obviously though there will be differences in pace and training runs. Novice 1 is where I am if training started today, but I have a month so I could get myself ready to start one of the others if I push myself. I’m not looking to PR as I just don’t see that in my future. Although maybe I could PR as Hypopara athlete. Last year I crossed NY in 6:10. Chicago I crossed in 5:48. Maybe I could realistically cross in 5:00 or 5:30? Who knows. My speed has increased since being on Natpara but not sure how that will translate on longer runs with endurance.

It really depends if I want to just train to run a good race and finish or if I’m willing to push the boundaries. I’m not sure that is worth it anymore. When you go through periods that it’s all you can do to make it through the day and then start to feel better again, it’s hard to put it on the line for a finish line.

Every person training for a marathon has to decide how much they are willing to give up and be willing to do to get the finish line and reach their goals. You have to be willing to give up time with your family. You have to push your body to its limit. You have to learn to push through pain because there is always pain at some point. You have to be willing to train even when you don’t want to. You have to run further than you realistically want to. You have to take care of your body, so that it can take care of you and some people will view this as luxury when it is necessity.

Training also takes a toll on you mentally. There will be times when you feel like you can’t go any further. You will doubt yourself, your abilities and your body. Your mind will play tricks on you telling you that you can’t do it, that you should stop, that it’s not worth it and more. You will hear everything from your inner voice from “I’ve got this” to “WTH are you doing?”

That being said, seriously, crossing the finish line always makes it worthwhile.

I’ll be honest…. One of the reasons that I’m having a hard time picking a plan is because I’m not sure how much fire that I have in me anymore. There was a time where I trained hard for a 4:30 marathon. I was 8 minute shy and to a runner, you know it might as well been 8 hours. During that training cycle I got a sub 2 half though. I’m not sure I have that in me anymore. Getting to the finish line might just be enough. Some days not taking a nap is enough.

So as I ponder this, I think I might start out with Novice 1 and am taking intermediate off the table. I will start with 1 and see how I feel. If as the miles increase I feel that I can push it further, I can take it up to Novice 2. Mentally it is better to go up a training plan than have to downgrade.

So the next month, I will start pre-training. Getting 3 solid runs in building up to the fist long run of 6 miles. I’ve got this….

One Month In

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been here. I’ve thought about it. I’ve had ideas of what I wanted to say, but never got further than that. Here’s the scoop.

I’ve been on Natpara for 4 weeks now. I’m loving the way I feel on the new medication and I’ve even gotten used to giving myself a shot every morning. It’s a noticeable change. I am happy with not feeling like grandma in the morning. No more muscle spasms either. As said before, my head is much clearer and I do feel more like myself. More energy and other symptoms disappearing too. I will say that I’ve also noticed that my running has improved too in the sense that I’m actually able to run:)

I ran a local 5K in May, United for a Cause. I finished in 30:41 which is a 9:54 pace. This was my first race on Natpara. I had done a St Barts 5K in early March where I finished in 31:18 with a pace of 10:04. While it may appear that my races were similar, it really couldn’t be further from the truth. The first 5K, I had to prepare by making sure that I took my meds and calcium prior to the event. Plus I had calcium in my water. I also rested a few days before event and pushed myself to the limit for this event. On top of that, the two courses could not have been more different. The St Barts event was a fairly flat course with really only one hill at the mid point. The United for a Cause was a constant up and down of hills. Also the St Barts event is first thing in morning while United for a Cause is in evening. Comparing the two actual events is like comparing and apple and orange.

Now with that being said, there were also very notable differences in recovery. Where St Barts left me exhausted and needing downtime, there was no such recovery needed for United for a Cause other than stretching. I felt fine….. no twitching muscles, no need of extra calcium, no need of extra I felt like me.

It’s funny though how in life acceptance is a funny things. I don’t mean funny as full belly laugh, but funny in that you go back-and-forth with acceptance. I really thought that I had reached a stage of acceptance for being hypopara. I was wrong. I think I was just holding on to that everything would disappear with the Natpara and poof everything that comes with hypopara would be gone – no more monitoring for sypmtoms, balancing pills, and anxiety of what comes next.

All that being said, I did have unrealistic expectations for Natpara. I really thought of it as a magic pill or in this case magic shot where I would no longer have any symptoms or even think about having Hypopara. It would all just disappear. Now don’t get me wrong, it has been life changing I have also been able to stop taking Calcitroil and have lowered my calcium supplement intake while having great calcium levels. That being said, I still need to juggle supplements and symptoms.

I’m back to relearning what my body needs with my calcium intake. I pretty much knew what I needed when before starting and now I’m kind of back to square one. I’ve got it pretty down pat without heavy exercise, but as the miles increase I will need to add some more calcium to my routine especially during the hot summer months. It will all be worth it though and already is. I keep saying that I can’t go back and am so thankful to be able to feel like myself again.

So once again I’m back to the acceptance stage, but it is easier to accept when your feeling so much better.

Coming Out of the Fog

When you have an invisible illness to the outside world everything looks good. You look normal. You look healthy. You look like you’re doing ok. What they don’t see is the internal struggle. The internal dialogue to hold it all together. They don’t hear your internal pep talks to keep going. Where you tell yourself you can make it through the task at hand. That you can make it and keep going. That you promise you can take that nap/stretch/ect once everyone gets where they need to go, dinner is cooked, or any of the daily activities of life.

I’ve said it before and I really think it is true for me. I think one of the reasons that I am able to push through when literally all my body wants to do is collapse is because this is what marathon training does. It trains you push your body to the limits. Push your body further than you think it can go. That even when you feel the tank is empty there is just a little bit more to get you to the finish line. So I’ve fallen back on this training not for training but day to day life. Some days it is easier than others.

That being said, I’m tired of living like this which is one of the reasons I wanted to start Natpara. That and the fact that I want to protect my kidneys and the other side effects.

I was nervous about starting my daily injections of Natpara. It was overwhelming. There was a lot to think about with the pros and cons of starting this medication. I was also nervous about the actual process of mixing medication and giving myself an injection. There is a lot to this, but both my doctor and I felt the benefits outweighed the risks.

So I started.

The process: The medication once approved and all cost factors are taken care of is mailed by a specialty pharmacy. The fact that this medication costs $10,000 a month makes for a lot of hoops to get to this step. It is shipped in dry ice and must be refrigerated upon arrival. Once medication is on hand, an appointment is made with a Natpara nurse to walk you through mixing medication, using the injection pen, and finally how/where to do injections. I was nervous. I’m not good with this type of stuff. I had a friend who to my luck is actually a trained pharmacist come to hold my hand so to speak and be my backup eyes and ears. She even came next day for my first “solo” injection. It helped. While there is a lot to it, they do make it very user friendly but there is still learning curve.

I have been on Natpara now for only 4 days. 4 doses. 4 days of being out of the fog. It is amazing how quickly the Natpara effected me. A friend asked me how I felt and here it is….

I feel like myself. I feel like myself prior to my surgery. It was like coming out of a fog. For 2 years I have literally needed not as a luxury but needed, a daily nap to function at a much lower level than I had been used to. I felt a clearing in my head as well as the lower calcium can leave you with what in the medical profession they refer to brain fog, but in your day to day life means you use the wrong words, scatter brained, have trouble remember names/address of people and places that you should know. I’ve also felt like I was living in a different body. The body of a much older person who Aches, pains, tires easily.

And literally in less than these 4 days, I feel like me again. The other day I was making dinner at the hour that can be very difficult for me where I’m just pushing through till it’s socially acceptable to put PJ’s. Actually I didn’t always wait for that socially acceptable time either. Anyway, I was making dinner and realized not only was I making it but I was literally dancing around the kitchen while doing so.

And while staring this medicine does not mean that I no longer have to take supplements, I will take less of them and no longer take some prescription meds. There with anything will be some bumps along the way, but I will deal with them when the time arises. For now, I’m going to enjoy being me:)

New Beginnings

Life is filled with one new beginning after another. The road to life has many turns, backtracking, ups & downs and hopefully always moving forwards. There are many stops along the way, but the trick is not to idle too long or you may get stuck in one place.

Each journey along the road is a start of something new filled challenges, hopes, dreams and sometimes set backs. When we come to the beginning of a new road, we can either face the challenge, avoid it, change direction or drive into it. Sometimes starting a new journey is familiar. Some times it can be scary. Often a journey begins with hope.

I am about to embark on a few new journeys. Two familiar, yet not the same. One totally new and even with planning, research, and knowledge still a little frightening, exciting, and unknown.

The first journey is the beginning of my NYC Marathon training for Sandy Hook Promise. This is a journey that I faced before, yet it will still be a different road with new challenges, thrills, and hopes. This journey is scary not just for the training of the marathon but the fundraising aspect of it.

For the marathon running, I have been there done this as the saying goes. That being said, I have not done the 2019 marathon whose weather, training, and everything in between still has not been written. I am embarking on a 28 week training plan that has already started. The plan I have chosen is a basic marathon training plan with a slow build up, but will get me to the finish line. For now, I am not setting any training goals other than to finish better than last years 6 plus hour marathon. I also, for now, am not in a place to think about more than just a basic marathon training plan nor do I want to do more than be prepared.

For the marathon fundraising, I have been there done that once before; but again that was last year. This year my goal once again is $3,000 which is a scary goal that I am committed to hitting. For those who have never run as a charity runner, when you make this commitment it is not I will try. It is do and if you don’t hit your mark, you have signed a contract that you will personally make the payment. This is why you must be committed to the cause you are fundraising to which I am. I have been a believer in Sandy Hook Promise since they first organized and I signed up with them. That being said, it is a scary prospect as a mother of 3 children, one finishing his first year of college, one who is currently looking at colleges, to make a commitment like this. So far I’ve raised $50…. Gulp…… That being said, I have just started and this fundraiser is a marathon in itself.

Feel free to make a donation to this worthy cause though at…..https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/sandy-hook-promise-foundation-nyc-2019/christinechaillet

Lastly I will also be starting a new adventure in my treatment of Hypoparathyroidism. The medication, Natpara, awaits in proper temperature in my refrigerator for the Natpara Nurse to come Monday to teach me how to prepare the mediation and give myself the daily injections. This is an exciting road that I’m hoping does not have too many bumps as I work out proper dosage and also adjust calcium supplements and Calcitrol dosage. I’m not expecting this to go without a hitch but hoping that it is easy transition. Once I start this treatment and get levels/dosage where they should be with any luck much of the issues that come from not producing the PTH hormone will be gone and my body can go back to factory settings.

Fingers crossed!

New beginnings are a part of life and I’m happy to be taking these paths right now.

Aging Up

Last week I hit what is considered a milestone birthday. It probably is because it was a big milestone. I aged up to the next running group.
I turned the Big 50.

Here’s the funny thing, the 9’s are hard for me. When I turned 49 I was like, “Oh crap, I’m almost 50.” Then by the time 50 rolled around, I had truly embraced it. Seriously. So much so that I had more than one friend tell me that they admired the way that I was handling it which I took as both a compliment and thought weird.

Here is the thing. Age really is just a number. Yes, age changes us both mentally and physically but it doesn’t stop us unless we let it. So I went into 50 boldly. I actually spent the week leading up to my birthday sharing bits and pieces of my past.

Yup, I was a Material Girl living in a material world and also a product of the 80’s!

Christine & boys

Skip over 20 years and it was so much better.

Anywhoo…. Yes, when I was that 16 I thought that 50 was so ancient. Then again I also thought that dressing like Madonna was cool, so my judgement should be questioned. One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that you must not only embrace who you are now, but who you were then. And while that does not mean that I need to share with everyone the who, what, and where of my past; it does mean coming to terms with it. Embracing it to know that all of those things brought me to who I am today and where I am right now.

As I’ve said before, much of what happens to us in life is out of our control. What we control is how we handle it, what we learn from it, and how we let it shape us.

I also know that age really is just a number. I have no choice to be 50, but I do choose to act like I did when I was 49 which means just doing what I’m doing. Besides I am happy to enter a new age category for running. Maybe that will help me. Maybe it won’t. What it won’t do is stop me.

So just days after turning 50, I am entering into another round of marathon training. This week begins NYC Marathon number 3 training (2 for Sandy Hook Promise) and when I cross finish line it will be marathon number seven and my sixth year in a row running one. I ran my first marathon in 2014 at the age of 45. I ran my first (and only so far) 50K at the age of 47. And with this new round of marathon training, I will embrace where I am today but begin it anyway:)

I have always beat to my own drum. I have always followed my own path. I certainly am not going to stop now. Life is a gift. We never know how long we will be able to do what we can enjoy or what is around the next corner. I was not meant to go through life in bubble wrap. No one is. You are meant to face it – the challenges, the good times, the really crappy times….. It all.

Most of all you are meant to live it.

So here is to 50 and all the adventures that it brings

Great Expectations

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

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

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

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

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


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

What if we live life with the motto….

It will be what it will be.

Hmmmm……

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

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

What if…..

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

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

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

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

It is what it is

and

Live, Laugh, Love



No Guarantee

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

Depressing right?

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

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

The pessimist is upset because it is half empty.

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

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

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

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

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

Is your glass half full or half empty?

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

Well…..

A year is a long time, right?

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

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

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

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

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

As the saying goes….

Recovery Done Right

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

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

You see a pattern here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Train hard.

Race hard.

Recovery just as hard.