Be Where You Are

I’m not where I used to be.    A major part of me knows that is ok.   A small part of me is still coming to terms with it.   I really wish that I could shut that small part of me up, but it’s a work in progress.   I feel that right now everything is a work in progress but isn’t that everyone?   What was once easy is now difficult, but what was once impossible is now possible.   It’s all in the way you look at things.

Moving forward but not giving up.

I’ve said before that mentally I think that I need to run Chicago.    What I need to do though and I’ve said it before is adjust expectations.    Easier said than done, but I am getting better.

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Here’s the thing that I keep reminding myself and coming back to……

I’m not an elite athlete.   I’m not winning any medals except the medals that I earn just crossing the finish line.     I’m not a contender.    Running is not my job and I do not want to make it feel like it is my job either.   There is no hidden agenda in my running.

Here is what I am….

I am a Mama runner who just wants to run.    I want to be able to clear my head by going out for a run.   I want to be able to get a good workout in at the best of my ability.    I want to run with my friends.     I want to be healthy and running is something that both mentally and physically helps with that.

So I’m really trying to let go of where I used to be and hold onto where I am.    I also know that I am very lucky.   There are some people with calcium issues that can’t do anything physically without their calcium crashing.    I also know that I have to be smart with my training for Chicago.   I’ve got a lot going on and I’ve still got a lot to learn with how my body will deal with not just the training but the training in the heat.   It seems to effect me more now.   It’s a learning process.  As a friend a ran with today pointed out, I’ve got a lot of pieces that still need to be put together.

I’m trying to embrace being where I am at and I am very lucky to have a great support system of not just “running friends” but real friends who I happen to run with!    Today I went out with a friend for a few miles.   The weather is in the 80’s with 73% humidity.   With the humidity at those levels, it was brutal.   I did walk when I needed to which “is what it is.”    Even with walking, it was still a hard run.   It was still 6 miles and I still got it done.   And honestly it was overall still a good pace at 12:13.

We all know that running is a mental sport…. From talking ourselves out the door to pushing our bodies to make the impossible possible.    It (and I’ve said this before) is also accepting where you are on a given day and period in your life.   I am where I am today and that is enough.

It is enough…..

To get out the door

To run and to also walk.

To do the best that I can at a given day.

To accept that no matter what pace I’m running, it is enough.

To cut myself a break when needed and push myself when needed.

And most of all….That I am in competition with no one not even who I used to be.

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Putting My Heart Into It

Starting week 2 of Chicago Marathon training.   Another “easy” 3 miles.    Except today was HOT.   Very HOT!   So hot that my kids will have a half day from school due to excessive heat.    But I’m determined to follow the plan and today was 3 miles for the books.

I’m already learning and making changes after last weeks training.   First things first.

Cal-Ez2

I have to realize that even if I think it’s going to be easy, fill up my water bottles with Cal-ez.   Last week the three mile run that left me tingling, I thought I didn’t need it.   I was wrong.   This will be my “Don’t leave home without out it on a run” thing.

Seriously.

Today was much hotter that last week.   I was drenched in sweat but not a tingle in sight.   I did actually finish these three bottles on my run.   So for me it’s not just hydration that is important but calcium replenishment as well.   Too important to forget.

I also made another change today.   I realized when I was out on my run that even though I knew I was going to run slow, that I was looking at my pace a little too much.   So I changed my Garmin screen from pace to heart rain zone throwing pace out the window.  Putting my heart into it and taking my head out of it.

You know what?

I had a good run especially when you consider the heat!   I walked when my heart rate was inching up too high and shuffled at a slow run for most of the run.    This was what needed to be done.   Then I had the thought that this is really something that I should be doing right now anyway.   I can’t be training at the same paces that I did last year at least not yet.

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Even with the extremely hot weather, I think I still had a good run.   When I got home and downloaded my Garmin my average pace was 12:44 which is obviously where it needed to be.   In looking at my heart rate, I was in zone 4 for most of the run which is also kind of where I needed to be.   So this gave me food for thought.

What if for the next few runs, I don’t worry about pace and go by effort.   Hmmmm.   I’m thinking this is the way to go.    My normal paces that I trained with last year, I am not ready to train with them this year (yet).   Hmmm…

Let’s see how this plays out.

Great Expectations

A friend reached out to me after my last post which if you read this one, I really appreciated (so thanks).   She felt the need to send a hug my way.    In talking to her about doing Chicago this year, I said that even if I’m the last person to finish Chicago that I want to do it.   Her reply was accurate in that even if I “don’t do it (this year) it doesn’t make you any less of a runner.”

She’s right.

The problem is that I want it.   I think I need Chicago more mentally than anything else.   It is my way of literally giving the middle finger to this stupid thing call hypoparathyroidism.    I know very mature.

Although in chatting with my friend, others with the my issue, and giving some thought; I know it’s time (at least for now) to reevaluate my running expectations.    One of my goals as a runner has always been to run a full marathon without walking.   Even perfectly healthy, I was never able to accomplish.     I’ve also had a goal of running a 4:30 (and in the back of my mind faster) marathon.    But it is time to reevaluate my goals.   It’s time to be realistic of where I am today.   Right now.   Down the road, I might be able to get back to these goals but I need to make goals based on reality.

There are moments when I wonder why do I feel the need to push myself to do this.   Then there are moments when I wonder why wouldn’t I push myself to do this.   These thoughts are the same thoughts that I had previously.    These are thoughts that I think anyone who pushes themselves beyond their comfort zone gets.   And you know what I have said more than once…..

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Some people think that being a bad-ass runner means running 100 miles, running a marathon, running a half marathon, or running fast.   These are all great feats and a challenge to anyone who pursues them.

Here is the thing though…… Anyone can be a bad-ass.   It is about pushing your limits.   Pushing yourself to do what was once impossible for you and making it possible.

Everyone has to start from where they are and I must remember that I am not where I used to be and that is ok.  That doesn’t mean I will always be where I am today either.   There are people who have this disease and have completed Iron Man events.    I am also not the only one training Chicago with it either.    I am just new at it.   It will take time to learn what my body needs.

Nothing is impossible.

Someone in my online group posted the following

” Pushing your endurance is hard. However its painfully destructive with hypocalcemia BUT you feel so much better emotionally, physically, and cognitively. So you can do it. Just move, with hydration and proper nutrition! You are stronger than this!”

A friend gave me the best advice today.

She said very simply,

“Be Kind to yourself.”

She is so right because often we are kinder to others than ourselves.    I am going to take her advice into my training.     Not to the point that I won’t push myself, but to recognize where I am is ok.  To recognize that I need to think more about hydration, nutrition, and recovery than I did before.    To know that no matter what it is enough as long as I am doing the best that I can do.

We really can’t ask any more of ourselves.

So be kind to yourself to.   Know that you are enough.   Know that it is ok not to win as long as you showed up.

 

 

 

 

 

Unstoppable

 

 

I am lucky.   I know that.   I know it could be so much worse.   I know there are people fighting much harder battles than me. Knowing this does not make it easier.   It actually makes it worse because of the guilt.

I’m a lucky girl, but I don’t always feel lucky. And I hate that feeling.   Who am I to complain when I have been so blessed and am so lucky?

A small voice whispers, “Me.”

I’m an avoider by nature.   I see nothing wrong with burying your hand in the sand.  The problem with that is eventually you realize that you can’t breath and you’ve made the situation so much worse.

I didn’t realize it until after my run today, but I’m kind of there now.   Remember this week started Chicago Marathon training.   I’ve stuck to the plan.  Three easy runs.  Three days in a row for three miles.   Easy Peasy.

Or in my mind it should have been.

Run

The first run I did at  my local YMCA on the treadmill.   The second run was a fun run with friends.   Then today I was on my own.   Things were going good.   The run in my mind was much harder than it should have been.   I mean seriously it’s only three miles. and the weather is perfect for running.   What more could a girl ask for?

On the run as often happens, my mind processes things.   It’s been a while since I’ve had one of these runs and I needed this time with my thoughts.   I’m keeping a nice easy pace.    Today I want to run the whole thing with no walking.   Should be easy enough.   Mission accomplished.

Here’s the thing though….   By the end of the run, I am literally huffing and puffing.   A lot.   I end the run at my house happy as can be.  I even snap a picture.   You can see that I’m tired.   You can see that I’m sweating pretty decently for a short run.

Run2

Here’s what you don’t see…..

At this point, my face is tingling.    My right arm is tingling.  This causes me irritation because IT WAS ONLY THREE MILES ON A COOL DAY.

If the picture was taken 5 minutes later, you would see me having a good cry.    It sounds bad and it wasn’t pretty, but I think it may have been just what I’ve needed.    During my run, I was thinking how far I had come with my running and where I am now.    It’s several major steps back.   I’m not even at square one anymore because at least when I started on this journey the only thing holding me back was myself.   That is not the case right now.   There is so much out of my control right now.   So many things that I never had to think about before.

Seriously.

It sucks.

But I’ve had my good cry which was well beyond due.   Yes, I’ve been dealing with the actual physical aspects but it’s time I deal and come to terms with the big picture.  I’m pulling my big girl panties on and I’m just going to keep moving forward.  I’m a lucky girl, but sometimes even a lucky girl needs a moment.   I may get where I was before in my running, but I need to accept where I am today.   I also need to accept that it’s ok.   In talking to others that have hypoparathyroidism the key is giving your body what it needs and taking it as it comes.  There are things in my control, but there are also things out of my control and there are things that change depending on the day.   So I will do what I can and start accepting what I can’t.   Giving up control is hard.

This disease will not stop me.

 

 

Sticking to the Plan

I’m now more than a week into my Gluten Free life.  I’m not sure that it is a permanent thing, but for now it seems to be working out for me.   One would think that gluten free means that it’s all health food, but I will let you in on a little secret.   Chocolate and ice cream are gluten free.   So there’s that.

That being said, I think I’ve been eating fairly healthy.   It might be because for now it requires more thought to think about what I will eat.   Plus I used to eat a decent amount of cereal or PBJ sandwiches for lunch.   These for the most part of turned into pretty yummy salads.    Dinners have not been that difficult surprisingly.   What is a little more challenging is snacking.   But after getting on the scale this week, I really need to be readjusting my snacks anyway.   Work in progress.

One of the things that I really need to look at and read about is how to carb load for running without the traditional runners pastas and breads.    To be honest, I probably ate much more of these things than necessary anyway.    If anyone has gone gluten free and has any good reading recommendations for how to put this together with training, I’m all ears.

So for now, I’m sticking to the plan.   I’ve still been feeling good and that really is what is making it easy to make the choice to stick to the plan.   I’m hoping this continues.  Although I won’t mind the normal soreness and aches that come from training.   It when I’m not training and I feel them that is bothersome.

As I said before, I am starting off with the Hal Higdon Novice 1 training plan.   In looking at my first week, I have 4 days of running with only a total of 15 miles.   The first three runs are only 3 miles and my long run is only 6.   In looking at it, it feels like I could/should do more.   Before my surgery, a short run was only 6 miles and now that I’m starting again it’s my long run.  In my heart, I feel like I should pick a harder plan, push my self, and do more.  In my mind, I know this is right where I need to be right now.  I’ve still got so much to figure out with how my body will adjust to training with my issues that I need to be smart.   I need to be safe. I need to be wise.

 Last year I ran over 1,000 miles.   This year six months in, I have only run 206 miles.   Times have changed.   So I will listen to my mind and not my heart.

Doing the right thing.

Listening to my body.

Sticking to the Plan.

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If it Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It

And so it begins.  Just a week away till I’m “officially” in Marathon training.   After looking over several plans, I decided to stick with the Hal Higdon Novice 1 Marathon plan.   Yes, I know I’m not a novice but I feel like I’m starting over and this is where I’m at right now.   Besides I look at it as a starting point.   If I determine that I can take it up a notch, you know that I will.

There was another training plan that caught my eye on Training Peaks.   It was specific to Chicago, but it was also for a 4:30 marathon.   Plus I already owned the Hal Higdon Plan, so I saved $80.    I may down the road change to this plan, but not yet.   First I need to start running again and see how that goes.

I’ve recently made some changes that have been helping.   I’m not sure which one is helping but I don’t want to mess with either.   First I added both a magnesium and Vitamin D supplements to my daily dose of things to take.    Second and I’m finding much harder is that I’ve gone gluten free.    I’m doing it because it may help with some of the symptoms that I’ve been having due to the hypoparathyroidism.    I’ve got to say that I’ve actually felt “normal” these last few days.   Not waking up feeling like Grandma.   Not having leg pains.    Feeling like my “old self” if you will.    So I’m afraid to make any changes.  You know what they say…

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Now I have a sister who actually has celiac disease, so I know that going gluten free is a hard road to travel.  I also know that many people go gluten free because it’s the new fad diet.  I’ve never wanted to go gluten free, but I’m willing to try it now.   It hasn’t been long  and it might not even be the diet but the supplements, but something is working better.    I am lucky though to have a sister who can guide me on this journey even if I don’t need to be as strict as she is with it.   Right now, I’m in 100% because I feel that is the only way, but I will see where it leads.

What I do need to do is figure out how to carb load without bread and pasta!

Living and Learning

worth it

 

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..

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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

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Not Backing Down

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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!