The More You Know…

This is NOT an excuse post.

This is NOT a whoa is me post.

This is NOT a pity party post.

This is NOT a I want you to feel sorry for me post.

If you know me personally, you know that to be true.  That’s just not who I am.

What this is is an informational post.

This is JUST my reality post.

This is JUST an informational post.

This is a JUST so you know and can understand post.

This is for those who have asked but I didn’t explain it right in person post because I didn’t want to sound like I was whining post.

I stand by my previous assertions that I am an athlete and a runner.

That did not change when my thyroid was removed.

But as we know it was more than my thyroid.

So here’s the deal….

You’ve heard me say that my Parathryoid Glands no longer work.

Yes, you’ve heard me say that I have low calcium.

What the Hell does that actually mean.

To be honest, I’m still trying to figure it all out too.    When I say that I have low calcium, I don’t mean like you go for your annual check up and your doctor says that you need to take calcium supplements. While I do need to take supplements, there is more to it than that as I have glands that no longer function.   To borrow someone’s analogy…..   “It is like a bicycle chain with a link missing. Without taking calcium the chain falls off the gears.”

or this

From the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons

“Normal parathyroid glands work like the thermostat in your home to keep blood calcium levels in a very tightly controlled range. When the blood calcium level is too low, PTH is released to bring the calcium level back up to normal. When the calcium level is normal or gets a little too high, normal parathyroids will stop releasing PTH. Proper calcium balance is crucial to the normal functioning of the heart, nervous system, kidneys, and bones.”

So what does all that mean for me.    It means that my body is out of whack.   I’ve said before it’s like being diabetic except I’m always monitoring my calcium levels.   Except that there is no at home test for it.   I have to just know the symptoms.   Now even though I pop my calcium pills usually every 4 hours during a normal day and other medications and take more on days that I run, it still really isn’t enough.   The goal is not to get my calcium levels in the normal range.   The goal is to take just enough to be in the ALMOST normal range.   Just enough that I don’t have the major complications of low calcium.

The bodies nerves and muscles go hand and hand with calcium levels.   So keeping my levels low (but high enough) kind of keeps me a state of feeling like I’ve got a touch of the flu.   Some days it’s better that others, but body aches, achy joints, sometimes headaches, brain fog and fatigue are just part of the new norm.   Those are the good days.   Since it’s really just a guessing game, there are times when it goes too low that depression can creep in too.  Good times.   If I were to stop taking the calcium, my body would literally crash.

Seriously.  No joke.

Before I knew what I was dealing with my calcium went so low that my hands cramped up where I could not bend my finger.   Believe it or not I was really trying.

Tetany

At the time, I did not know that if left untreated until my doctor told me that it could lead to passing out with seizures and even heart arrhythmia.  If it were to get this low again, I would need an infusion of calcium.   The most severe complication is heart failure.   so this is why I am always popping my pills.   I luckily have not experienced that level of tetany since right after surgery.  I do on occasion feel twinges in in my face, but nothing like this.

The body is an amazing thing and until you need to think about it, you really do not realize how interconnected everything is.   So even when my levels are “good,” it really just means that they are “good enough” to keep the MAJOR symptoms away.   The other symptoms are just part of the new normal.

So I may sound like I’m a parrot or paranoid about my calcium, but for now it’s in the forefront of my mind.  The complications which I’m avoiding.   The levels.   The symptoms.    Plus I am in the learning stage.   There is so much that goes into not just dealing with non working Parathyroid glands, but also dealing with the hormone adjustment of not having a thryoid gland.    I’m looking at and already taking other supplements that will help with symptoms.   Plus I’m researching the best diet for me.   As an athlete fueling has always been important, but now I’m looking into better ways to fuel my body.

You know what they say…

The more you know..

8e44d9bde3909704812d6fc518660407

One Run at a Time

I have not yet decided on a Marathon Training Plan.   I’m still researching.   I do know that I am the type of person who needs a plan.   The problem with purchasing a training plan is that it also forces me to think of what my goals will be for Chicago.   Realistically, I just don’t know.   In my heart, I’m still dreaming of the elusive 4:30; but I just don’t know.   More likely I will purchase a a plan for 4:30 and  see what happens.

I am lucky in that I know that I will have several Mama’s that will be training for NYCM.   I am unlucky in that I have to start training a month earlier than them as Chicago is October 8th and NYCM is November 5th.    So I will be a month into my training when they are starting.

I will say that considering that I have not been running much (or really at all), I’m very calm about starting my training.   It’s not that I’m not dedicated to finishing Chicago.   It’s not that I don’t have goals.   It’s not even that I know that this is the worst shape that I’ve been running wise going into the beginning of marathon training.

Here’s what it is……

I am training for a reason.   I am training because it is necessary.    I am also just STARTING my training.   That’s the whole point.    I don’t have to be ready to finish Chicago when my training starts in less than two weeks.   What I have to be is dedicated to start my training.   This is the beginning.   So realistically I am right where I should be.

Seriously.

Only elite athletes and a few rock star Mama’s (yeah you Robyn!) that I know are ready to run a marathon on a moments notice.   The rest of us will take months of training to hope to be able to cross the finish line a get our medal.

It’s all good.

One Run at a time

how-far

Not Backing Down

hy

I know what it feels like after you’ve run a half marathon.    I know what it feels like after running a marathon.    I even know what it feels like after running  50K.   When your an athlete whose run as many miles as I have you pay attention to these things.  I’ve trained my body to run on tired legs.   I always joke that I come from hearty stock because even though times my body has been sore, I’ve always recovered fairly quickly.   The day after the Philadelphia marathon, I was even wearing heals.   Like a bumble, I just bounce back.   I also think both the way that I have pushed my body in the past and know how to roll sore muscles are helpful now.   I know how to pay attention to the needs of my body.

Sometimes by the end of a busy day, my body feels like I’ve run a race that I haven’t run.

My legs are sore.   My back aches.   I’m exhausted.

In reading many comments and stories from people with this disease (hypoparathyroidism), I really believe that my training has set me up for success.   As much as it sucks, these are not feelings I’m unused to.   What sucks is feeling this way and not having a medal to show for it!

I keep hearing from my online support groups that I will get used to the “new normal” but that it takes a LONG time to get there.   That eventually you forget what it’s like to wake up without all the aches and such.   It’s a work in progress.   I think one of the things that takes getting used to is looking fine, but feeling like this.

Again it’s a work in progress. What further helps is that I’m pretty tenacious and head strong.   I will keep pushing through  even if things are harder to accomplish.   I will not give up as long as I can do the things that I want to do.

What does worry me as I start planning my Chicago Marathon training is if I feel like this without really doing much running, how will I feel once I’m training.    Training starts in a matter of weeks.    I need this just as much physically as I do mentally.   I will be prepared going in knowing it’s going to be harder this time around.   Knowing that it will be even more important when loosing calcium through sweat while training in the heart of summer, to replenish during a run and not wait for a crash.     I will be prepared to take care of myself after runs too.   Where in the past because I could get away with it, I was not the best about post stretching, rolling, or soaking in mineral salts.    I will ad that time into my training.

I am a runner.

I am an athlete.

I am a marathon runner and I’m not letting anything get in my way.

tenacious

 

 

 

Youth is wasted on the Young – not

They say that “Youth is wasted on the young” and that “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”   Now I’m not really sure who says these things but they are actually pretty right.

Seriously.

Think about it.

Think back (for me way back) to when you were a carefree kid.   When I was a kid I had extremely low confidence and body image.   Now when I look back on pictures from when I was a kid, I wonder what I was thinking of.   It took many years and really a lot of therapy to get to where I am today but I’m straying.

Youth is wasted on the young…..

I’ve been lucky enough recently to work on a elementary youth track program.   It’s a basic program as we do not have access to a track.   Plus the kids are only 9 and 10.   So really it’s about teaching them the fundamentals and encourage them to enjoy running.   I mean who doesn’t enjoy running?

At the same time I’m watching some of these kids discover that they actually enjoy running and can run fast, I read an article about “older runners.   It went onto say that after 50 it is harder to reach a PR (obviously), your body requires more recovery time, and apparently you just shrivel up.   So I may be stretching that last one a bit, but not much.    Apparently I’ve got 2 years to make the magic happen or call it a day.   Hmmm…

Now I’m not disputing these facts.   Running with 9 and 10 year olds that can whip out a 8 minute pace and then ask if that is good makes you scratch your head.   No pulled muscles.   No worries.   No recover.   Just run your mile and still have energy for a hearty game of tag.

They also don’t have the mental game.   The no overthinking.   No plotting.   No strategy.   Just run for the sake of running.

There is actually a lot of beauty in that.

Maybe we all need this simpler time.   This way when we are older and all the pressures of the world are right there, we can think back to a time when there was not thinking.

Just fun.

Just Run!

Plugging Along

Most of us lead ordinary lives.   This is not necessarily a bad thing.   It is just a fact of life.   Most of have a pattern to our lives which changes over time.   My Mother refers to it as the “seasons of our lives.”    Right now I feel that I’m between seasons…..

As with the “seasons of our lives,”   we also have seasons in our training.

Right now I feel that I’m in between seasons……

I just came off the NJ Half.   A race that I went in under trained for, but still finished well and with a solid time of 2:20:23.    The race went well.   For the most part,  I felt good overall and it gave me hope that I will be ready to start Chicago Marathon training.    I’m to the point where I need to start preparing for my training.   First thing first is to put the actual date of the Marathon on my calendar.   When people ask me when it is, I truly only knew that it was in October.

Date:  October 8, 2017

152 days from today.

This means that training will start literally in a matter of weeks.

Oh Boy….

My mind is a flurry thinking about gearing up my training,  getting handle on calcium (hypoparathyroidism), figuring out nutritional and supplements,  and being a busy Mom of three.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy….

treadingwater

Honestly right now I’m plugging along with the calcium, but I often feel like I’m just treading water.   There appears to be a fine line between keeping your head above water and letting yourself sink.    It feels like a constant state of not being able to plant your feet.    It is a strange feeling trying to keep your calcium high enough to not be too symptomatic but not so high as to cause other problems. Plus even with keeping my calcium high enough, it is still keeping it in the low range thereby figuring out how to deal with those symptoms.   Those that have dealt with it for a while do say that you eventually get used to the “new normal.”    I’m trying to believe them.

I’m looking forward to the day where I’ve figured it out a little (lot) better than I have right now.   It’s just a constant guessing game.    Plus I’ve come to the realization that what has changed most for me is that really overnight I started to feel my age if you will.   Although I do think that even if I don’t look it being in such good shape has helped with some of the symptoms.

But I will work it out.    I will get my head out of the sand.    I will start training.    Most of all, I will cross the finish line in Chicago.

  I’m trying to find the excitement.   It sounds bad, but I’m not excited about running.   I’m not happy about running it.   I’m not unhappy or unexcited either.   I’m just blah.   It’s not that I don’t want to run it.   It’s just right now I’m not feeling it.   But I’m not feeling a lot of things right now, so I’ll just go through the motions.

One day at a time.

One step at a time.

Every runner no matter what their health knows that nutrition plays a key role in not just their training but their general well being.    That is where I plan to start.

Off to make an appointment with nutritionist.

 

 

 

It’s Nice to Say Hello

Race Recap – Part 2

Now some may say that I have a certain style or flair when I run.   Me, I just say that I like to have fun.    For the most part I do usually wear pink, but sometimes I do like to take it up a notch.   NJ Half was going to be one of those events.  Another Mama and I conspired to bring tutus and skirts for everyone:):)

There may have been some initial grumbling (ahem), but everyone went with the program.   I love it when a plan comes together.

Then off we went….

During the course of the race our group separated slightly.    I was still running with one of my friends, when someone came up from behind and asked, “Are you accidentally Running Mama?”

I have to say that I was surprised to say the least.    But then I recognized her from her online profile too!    We were able to chat a few miles and actually meet the “real” person behind the curtain.  There is something to be said about meeting someone in person that you follow online.   It’s funny because in a small way you feel like you already know them.   I would love to meet her for another run as it does seem like we have run a few of the same races.   She mentioned that she saw me in the Bronx but we didn’t’ get to connect.  I’m glad we did this day.  I will say that for a brief moment when we spit a VERY, VERY, VERY small part of me was sad that I wasn’t running the marathon.   That is right up until I realized how close to the finish line I was.

There are a few people that I know online that I’ve met up with at various events and it is always fun.    It’s funny too because it wasn’t till almost a mile in that I was like, “I think it’s time for real introductions.”   And of course, we both wanted a picture together.

NJHalf3

Later she shared this picture on her instagram account and wrote something very nice and made me want to run with her even more.

NJHalf2

That is the awesome thing about running and runners.   I’ve actually met people at races and chat the entire race with them.   Some I never see again.   Some become Facebook friends and I still never see again.  Then some become real friends.   There is something about running with someone that takes away the pretenses.   You can’t worry about impressing someone when you are trying to run.   This is why running friends get to know you better than most people ever will.   Running does not take the place of a good therapist, but there is something to be said for knowing that you can open up to your running friends the way that it might be hard to do eye to eye over coffee.

I will say this is another one of the many reasons I don’t usually wear headphones during a race.   I love to listen to the sounds of the race – the spectators, the footsteps, and the opportunity to chat or listen to those around me.   Obviously, this depends on my goal for the race but I’m never coming in first anyway:)

Do you like to chat while your run?

 

 

 

Yes We Did!

No expectations.

No watching the clock.

Nothing but a plan to cross the finish line with a smile.

Mission Accomplished!

I was worried.   You know that to be true, but I was VERY happy with the way the day went.    I went into this race just to run by feel, wear a  tutu and a smile. It was good day.   It was the kind of day that I needed.    I think planning was key.

First the boring stuff.

From talking to other athletes with Hypoparathyroidism, I had a plan.   I purposely waited till we got to the venue to take my 500mg of Calcium and my Calictriol.    My water bottles were filled with water and cal-ez powder to keep my calcium.   I brought an extra packet to use along the way.    Each packet contained 1,000mg of calcium carbonite, but it is fast absorbing because it also has 1,000 units of vitamin D which is needed for absorption.     Studies have shown that even healthy people calcium levels drop during rigorous exercise.   For a person with working parathyroid glands, the body will adjust (although you still might want to talk to your doctor about adding supplements), but for a person whose body can’t regulate this can be a problem.   Now while it may seem excessive to have taken almost 3,000 mg of calcium in such a short period of time for me I believe it was necessary and a work in progress.   All I know is that I felt good during the run.   I did not experience any face twitches or tingles.   Although I was pushing at the end and did get some tingles in my hand, but all was good.

We left early as you often have to do when running a race that starts at 7:30.   The “clown car” as my son called it when we got home was filled with excited Mama’s.   We were very lucky that one of the Mama’s knew the in and outs of not only getting there but finding an open bathroom before the race.

Then off we went.

It was strange to me that the marathon runners and half marathon runners all started together, but it mattered not to me as long as I was starting with friends.   For the most part we ran together, but as will happen during the course of the race we separated into smaller groups.   Might have something to do with chatting the miles away and not realizing that you’ve lost sight of others in the group.

Am I sore today?

You bet.   But I bet so are so many other people:):)

I’ve got some fun stories to tell about this race, but this is enough for today.

It was a great day with some amazing women and I am so glad we did it!

NJHalf

And yes, I do have a unicorn horn:)

A New Chapter

We live in a society where strength is looked up to and any kind of weakness should be both stamped out, frowned upon and just wrong.   Asking for help is often seen to some (not all) as an almost sacrilegious thing.   We live in a society where if we don’t like something we just ignore it.   This holds true to so many things from politics to health.   The expression bury your head in the sand didn’t come from nowhere.

You see this in runners (myself included) who rather than deal with an injury may try to shake it off and run anyway.    I did this with my Plantar Fasciitis and also when I twisted my ankle training for the 50K.   It wasn’t until I was out about 2 miles after I twisted it that I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to run off the pain.   I also did it to when coming back from my surgery.   Trying to jump back in where I left off like everything was the same.  Some times you can’t run out the pain.   Some times you need to face it, deal with it, and treat it.

Why do we do these things?     When a friend comes to us in need, we don’t think less of them.   We don’t hold it against someone who has fallen ill or becomes injured.   Then why do we hold ourselves to different standards?

Why indeed?

This weekend I am going to run my first race post surgery.  My first race with hypoparathyroidism.

I am both excited and apprehensive at the same time.    I’ve got my arsenal all ready to go.

I originally signed up for the marathon.   Thank God that I was smart enough to know that was never going to happen.   I’m not even properly trained for the half marathon that I’m running.   Luckily for me though I’m not going in alone.   I’m going in with some friends and we are all going to do what we need to do to get to the finish line.

Even more lucky, these are friends that I trust to keep an eye on me.   I’ll be honest.   Part of me is a little nervous.   Not because I’m not trained enough which I’m not.  I’ve done races before not properly trained.   I’m nervous because this will be my first real test on how I will be able to run distance with my calcium issues.   It’s also a test for how much I need to prepare for Chicago Marathon training.   A base line if you will.

I’m not trained, but I’m still prepared.    I plan to pack my calcium tablets with me and take 2 before the start.   I also am heading a recommendation from a hyperparathyroidism athletes group to put Cal-Ez in my water.

Cal-Ez

I’m not thinking about pace.   Ok I’m thinking about but I know I need to just let it go. The ego is strong, but needs to be left in check.  This is not the day.   I must remind myself of that and let my ego go as this will be the day just to finish.     I am handling it like a test run:)   But a test run with a medal at the end!

This is the first run in a new chapter of my running.

On your mark

Get Set

Go!

Enough

 

Yesterday was the Boston Marathon.   This is a day as a runner to be dazzled not just by elite runners but amazing runners with back stories that will bring tears to your eyes.

Jose Luis Sanchez

Like Sgt. Jose Luis Sanchez who was injured in Afghanistan and not only finished in 5:46:13 but did so carrying an American Flag sent to him by his unit when he was recovering from his injuries.

Then there are the Amazingly Speedy Mama’s that I personally know that not only BQ’d (Boston Qualified), but then crushed Boston.   They are inspiring in their dedication, speediness, and awesomeness.

I tip my proverbial hat to all of them.

And as of this was unfolding yesterday, a friend shared a blog post that I found very powerful about being a Mom called What if All I Want is a Mediocre Life?

This post struck me as I pretty much lead a mediocre life.   Don’t get me wrong, I love my mediocre life and often joke that I am destined for bigger and better things.   The truth is though that my life is already pretty much bigger and better already.   Besides bigger means more work and I’m barely keeping my head above water now.    I’ve made peace with my “mediocre life” and I actually love it and probably wouldn’t change much about it except maybe have someone else who is better at it clean my house.

Although I never put in in the context the writer did, I have thought about it when it comes to my running.

Seriously.

What if I’m ok with being a mediocre runner?    What if I  prefer to sleep in and hit snooze than get up early for a run?     What if I know that I will never be standing on the podium?    What if I’m ok being a middle of the packer?    What if I’m ok with just to run as many miles as I can squeeze in on a given week?   What if I just like the comrade that I enjoy with my running group?  What if for right now I have no desire to push my limits in either distance or speed and just want to enjoy the process?

Is that enough?

Am I still a runner?

Do I still get to wear the badge of honor as a runner?

HELL YEAH!

After yesterday’s blog post It is What It is a friend sent me a very nice message.   One of the things she wrote that was so on the money was “Give yourself a break – either mentally or physically.

She is so right.   I think that I got caught in the cycle of bigger and better and in the process lost a little something along the way.   I have been so focused on the “prize,” the next race, the next distance, the next PR that somewhere along the way I may have run out of gas.      Not the “I’m in a slump” way, but I’ve run out of gas and need directions kind of way.

I’ve achieved a lot in my running in the few years that I’ve been at it.   No joke.   At what point is enough enough?  First it was a Sprint Triathlon. Then a half marathon.  Jumping to the Runner’s World Hat Trick.  Then falling into a  the Philly Marathon.  Ending up at a 50K.  Getting a sub 2 half in NY.   One after another. After another.   I’m not done.   I have goals.   I have dreams and aspirations with my running but maybe for today, maybe for now this is enough.

I admit it.   When I started running, I had something to prove.   Not to anyone else but  to myself.   That I was strong enough.   That I was fast enough.   That I had earned the title of runner.  The problem though became the bigger and better.   The proverbial ring was kept just out of reach.   Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED every minute (ok not every) of pushing my limits and reaching for it all.   Maybe for right now though, I want to just ride the Merry Go Round for a while.

There is nothing wrong with that.

julie andrews

We are all on our own journey.   We all have our own paths to follow.  What is the right path for one person may not be the right path for the next person.   I’ll be honest as I always am, I’m just not sure what path I want to be on right now and that’s ok too.  I’ve got time to figure it out.

For now though

This is enough.

I am enough.

and even with all of this uncertainty, I am happy with where I’m at.

 

It Is What It Is

Life is ever changing.   Life is all about new beginnings.    Often in life many of us focus too much on what is ending or changing and not what is beginning.   Yes, I do this way too often too.    It is easy to get stuck in the rut of what is missing, what is different, what will never be the same again.    I wonder if somehow that is a coping mechanism for many of us.  The way to hold onto what we are not ready to let go of or accept.   A way of tying us to the past.   In the end though all it does is keep us stagnant and does not free us up to confront the changes in life.

Life is ever changing.

Each day we must wake up and realize that it is a new beginning.   Yes, we may have the same routines but each day brings new hope.   New possibilities.   Maybe not a clean slate, but definitely a fresh start with unimaginable possibilities.

It is up to us to face this fresh start with a positive attitude which I wholeheartedly admit is not always easy.    While many of us try to decide if the glass half full or half empty,  we must remember how blessed we are to have a glass in the first place.   It may not be the size glass that we want, but we are blessed either way and there are countless others who wish they even had a glass.

We may not like change, but change is a fact of life.   Now, I am not going to say that every change in our life is good.   Some changes down right suck.    Some changes take getting used to and still suck.   Some changes we would not wish on our biggest enemy (although as an adult who really has enemies?).     All that being said, change is inevitable and we must learn to adapt, roll with it, and accept.

I’ve learned in life that you can really get through anything in life one you accept that this is the hand that life dealt you.    Acceptance does not mean that you are necessarily happy with the changes, but that you know those are the breaks.   One of my favorite quotes sums it all up.

it is what it isThis is where I am with a few things right now.

I will say that this is definitely where I am right now with the NJ Half which is less than two weeks away now.

I’m going into this SEVERELY under trained.    I’m going into this honestly wondering how I will finish it since I can’t remember the last time that I ran 10 miles let alone 13.  I’m going into this knowing that this is where I am at right now and no amount of running in the next two weeks will make it any easier.

It is what it is.

and

What ever shall be, shall be.

YUP

I have a plan for race day though.   I’m going to call my bluff.   I’m going to show up at the starting line with no plan.   With no expectations.   With the only thought of running till I can’t run.   Then walking.   Then with any luck some more running.  I’m going into this with the expectation of this being my slowest and hardest half ever.  Probably harder than when I ran my sub 2 NY Half.  This will be one that will leave me out of breathe and sore for days.

All that being said, I am also going into this knowing how lucky I will be to be at the Start line, let alone the finish line.

This will be my wake up call and it’s about time I pick up the phone.