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Taper Town

Well some how I have arrived at Taper town without feeling like I have fully trained or am ready to run a marathon.

Good Times.

Chicago will be my 5th marathon.   I’ve gone into some in what I may have thought was under trained, now I look at those training cycles and realize how ready I was for them.  This is the first marathon where I actually went and read what the cut off time would be as I think I might really need to know this.

  A smarter person may have decided to defer Chicago.   A smarter  person might have said, “another year.”   Here’s the thing though….    I may be crazy, but I am definitely  not stupid.   I’ve adjusted my training.   I’ve adjusted my expectations.   I’ve prepared.

  I’ve trained for this marathon using the walk/run method.    To  go the distance right now, this is what I need.   Then part of me thinks, well I did run a half marathon in April so why not just run the marathon.  But I trained with the walk/run, so I need to use this on race day.   I’m pretty sure when they say don’t do anything different on race day this would fall under that category.   Just saying.     My subconscious is obviously trying to make sure that I know that too because I’m already dreaming about Chicago.

In my last dream, another runner came up to me, got in my face, and yelled at me to run my own race.

Um, ok.

I guess that should be the plan.

Everything is falling into place and as long as I don’t fall apart on the course all should be good.     I will say that I’m praying for a cool race day.   I just can’t seem to tolerate the heat when running anymore.  I’m not sure why but it seems to be a common complaint with those with hypoparthyroidism.  I think it is my meds as dosage did go up after that race.   One of the side effects of Calcitriol is sweating more than usual leading to electrolyte imbalance.   I will also say that while I was always a sweater, I am epic sweater now.   I do think my dosage is too high which is something I will discuss at upcoming appointment with specialist in NY.   Although this close to marathon, I would be reluctant to make any dosage changes.

The other day, I went out for my last long run.    Between mile 12 and 13, I fell apart.   I didn’t need to look at my pace to see that.   I was running in a patch with no shade and I started to overheat.  I was sweating so much I look like I’d peed my pants and I was drenched.    Luckily I pushed through till I got to a bathroom  in the park where I proceeded to fill my empty water bottle up and dump it over me.   After about 4 bottles of water down my back, over my neck, and down my shirt I felt much better.    So note to self, if hot I will be dumping water at water stations on my head.  I’m sure that I will look fabulous in my race pictures too.   Ha!

Anyway, I will stick to the plan.

My Race

My Pace

Walking isn’t a crime.

Do what needs  done.

determination

 

 

A Line in the Sand

Most “dedicated” runners on even a “normal” run put their bodies through pounding that most people don’t understand.

Tell someone that you ran a 50K and ran for 7 plus hours and they look at you like your insane.

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Tell someone you ran a marathon and you usually get asked why followed by  something about how they could never do that.

Tell someone you’ve ran a half marathon and they still don’t get why but you seem a little more normal to them.

Where does the line blur?

I know people who ran as a way to get in shape.  People close to me.   Then the moment they are faced with an issue that stems from their running, they stop.  Now I am not saying they are wrong for stopping as each person must do what is best for them.   I’m talking about the rest of us.    Those of us who for some strange reason there is no line in the sand.

No weather too bad to keep us from a run.

No injury that our first question isn’t,

“How long till I can run.”

It just becomes part of who we are.

We are runners.

Pure and simple.

Now there may be those who can not push through and injury and circumstances will stop them from actually running, but in their heart of hearts they are still runners.

Today my feet our sore.   I’m putting anti-inflammatory cream on them.   I’ve got a line from my favorite sports bra (you know you have one too) that proves that I’ve gained some weight as it now chaffs.  My quads are tight and will require stretching.

These are normal things to me.   Just another day at the office.

Yet…

They are only normal to some of us.

The rest of the world thinks we are insane.

They might not be wrong, but it’s a good insanity.

This is why runners are both awesome and always cheer each other on regardless of pace, distance, or terrain.

We got your back

and

It’s nice to know there are so many that have mine

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3 Minutes at a Time

Today was a day that mentally was required more than it was physically and physically it was a necessity.   18 miles on the books.   After how hard my last 6 were,  I had my doubts about today.   The one thing that I really had on my side…..

DETERMINATION

It’s really the one thing that that keeps my going.

Seriously.

Anyway, I made plans to run the first 10 miles with my amazingly supportive friend who would do walk/run with me.   We decided since it was going to be a cold rainy morning that we would start at noon to miss the rain.   We both know that on any given race day the rain won’t stop us, so no need to go out in it unnecessarily.   Besides as I’ve said before, I’m not really a morning person.   This morning I really wasn’t a morning person.   I woke up at 8:00 proceeded to move to the couch with my coffee and fall fast asleep.   I couldn’t keep awake.   Finally around 9:30, I seemed to come out of my sleep coma.   This gave me enough time to do some things around the house and head out the door in time to run to my friend.

I figured that since I had more miles to do that I would try to get some in before meeting her.   I got about a mile and half in.   Then did some stretching when I got to her house and off we went.

I will say that it is so nice to run  with a friend who you can chat away the miles with.   When your brain is otherwise occupied with discussions of running, family, politics, and life in general; you tend to forget about the soreness the pounding is causing.  Sadly for me her 10 miles came to an end.    We ran back to her house where I could refill water bottles and add my Cal-EZ to my water.

Then off I went.

On my own, I thought about my running strategy and tried to ignore my legs.    Like most runners, I’m trying to determine what my fuel needs will be for the marathon.   I also realized that maybe (not maybe) I had made a mistake only have oatmeal in the morning.   I’m also trying to determine when and how to add extra calcium.    Normally during a race, I do not stop at the water stations and just use my water bottles.   I think Chicago will be different.   I think that I will fill my water bottles with my calcium water via Cal-EZ) and then use the stops for water or Gatorade.  I’m guessing that would be easier than trying to add it while running.   I could take Tums, but I’m partial to Cal-EZ as I know it causes no issues and keeps my levels steady, it’s easy to take, and I can keep track of my dose.

Work in progress and will give it more thought.

By mile 15, I needed to stop for some stretching.   I didn’t let myself stop long as I thought it would get too hard to start again.    At this point the run turned into, it’s only 3 more miles.   I can run 3 miles.   By about 16.5, I reached the 7-11 where I needed to stop to get some Gaterade as my water bottles were empty.   I am a sweater and I really needed to replenish electrolytes.    It’s funny the people at 7-11 must see it all because they don’t look twice at me in my running belt drenched in sweat.   It’s all good.

Some more stretching while I refilled my bottles and then off I went.

The last mile was hard in that I just wanted to be done.   I literally went from counting the mile to counting the minutes.   Telling myself that I could run for 3 minutes and for the most part I did.

Bottom line is that I got it done which is all I needed.    Still not paying attention to pace, but ending up finishing with an average pace of 11:51.   I’m finding that I do seem to be keeping an even pace during the running and I’m not walking like a snail during recovery.

It’s all good.

determination2

 

 

Funny How It Works

It’s funny how things work.   I started my blog way back when just to keep track of my fitness journey.   When I started and even now, I write my blog for me.     Really.      It’s my way of processing things and expressing myself.   I’m always surprised that anyone reads it, but I do know that there are a few who follow my journey.   Even with that, when I write; I don’t think of that and write for me.   If I didn’t I might not put it all out there as honestly as I do.

So first of all, if anyone is reading this…..     Hi there:)

Now I’ve been pretty open about how much my running has sucked lately and how disappointing I’ve been.    Again, I do this because writing helps me to process things and sometimes it even gives me an Aha moment.    Then sometimes, someone will send me a message or a comment to open my eyes to that not only are people reading but they have insight and words of wisdom too.

Then sometimes you get a message from someone unexpectedly.  Someone who I’m shocked my blog even makes her reading list.   Someone who if you look up badass runner in the dictionary will have her picture and stats.   Someone who inspires me and leaves me in awe.   Someone who honestly I would now be too embarrassed to run with, but know that she wouldn’t bat an eye at taking a run with me.   She’s just that awesome.

Anyway,  sometimes it helps to hear things that you know to be true but somehow it rings truer when coming from someone whose badassness can’t be questioned.

 “Try to not apologize for pace or distance. You got out there. That’s it! You ran! You sweat! You put in the hard work! You feel pain and elation! Focus on the feeling not the pace. Fuck it.”

“In the end, it’s not about your pace or your time. It’s about the journey”

“Don’t run for anyone else. Run for yourself.”

These are words that I know are true.   These are words that I’ve tried to tell myself too, but somehow when I said them to myself I felt like I was copping out or making an excuse.   Now she is not the first to say these things to me, but somehow when I read her message to me, I really just wanted to cry.

She (and others) have been right.  I’ve been too focused on pace and distance.   I’m doing the best I can on any given day.   Like everyone some days are better than others. As long as I’m doing what I can, what more can I ask for?    I’ve always ran for me.    I’ve ran because I enjoy pushing my limits and the actual feel of running.  I think somehow I got caught up in a bit of a pity party.   Kind of stupid actually.

I need to focus on the basics which is running to run.   Running because it is what I want to do.   I need to remember that this is actually something that I both want to do and enjoy doing.  No one is making me run.   This isn’t gym class.

I need to find the joy!

So today I went out for a run (shocking).   Before I left though, I turned my Garmin to only show me distance and time of day.   I set my timer for my 3 to 1 walk ratio and out the door I went.   I ran on feel.   I ran to run.   I ran for me.

You know what?

I had a great run.   I don’t mean pace or distance.   Truth be told, I wanted to do 12 today but due to time restrictions I only got 7 in.   During the run, I went only by the way my body went and it felt good.   I know if I had had the time that 12 would have happened today and I would have felt good about it.   I also felt good about the 7 that I was able to do because they were a happy 7.    I ran by feel.   I walked when the timer went off and ran again when it beeped again.

Now I will admit that I am never going to run without my Garmin.   Just not going to happen.  What I can do though is like today take the focus off it and put it back on the run.   The funny thing is that when I allow my body to do it’s job, it knows what to do.   Today I did not feel choppy in my run.   I did not feel pressure.   I just enjoyed the beautiful running weather.   When I did download my run though, I did notice something.    I was pretty consistent in it.

So maybe it’s time to just say….

Just run

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Lessons Learned

One of my favorite expression is about being kind to people.

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It is true too.   This expression should apply to everyone and everywhere, but we can take it to heart in our running.    Often times people will see someone running on the street, finishing a race at what some might consider “bad” or see someone who gives it all they have but never got the “runners body.”  I will admit all of those apply to me.    At my fastest, I could never hit the 4:30 marathon and this is not the shape people think of when they imagine a runner.   Yet, I am a runner.   I was then and I am now.

Philly Marathon

Case in point…. Me finishing my first marathon in Philly.   You don’t look at this and think, “wow she looks like a runner.”

Now I will say that the people in my inner circle do not think like that (myself included).   It’s just not who we are (we are the cheerleaders), but I will admit to sometimes having a mean girl moment or two.   I’m not perfect and never claimed to be, but I also know the truth of my favorite expression and try to embrace it.   That being said, it really is coming home to me now and maybe it is a much needed lesson.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve started using the run/walk method.   Now even though I have bought the Jeff Galloway marathon training book, I’m not fully embracing it.   Physically, it’s good.  Mentally, I’m having a hard time with it.   I want to run and I want to run like I used to.  I felt like I was just getting it together and reaching my potential.   I might get there again.   I might not.   Who knows?    Besides the hypopara issues, I’m not getting any younger.   Statistically speaking I might have already peaked.   Although I might not be too upset in 2 years when I hit the next age group that begins with a 5.

Sometimes we put so much internal pressure on ourselves just because we think that we should be doing something a certain way, we suck the joy right out of it.    I’m not there, but I could very easily let myself get there if not kept in check.    Really, it would be much easier to quit running.   The thing is that I like it.   I really do.   Just not so much in the moment:)

Here’s one other thing,  it would be easier to quit.   I know that.   I’ve thought about deferring Chicago but I honestly believe it I don’t do it this year that I never will.   Also I have a secret weapon pushing me along.

My youngest son has been doing Tae Kwon Do.   He’s fairly good at it.   He  has worked his way up to a red belt.   He now wants to quit.   His reason is that it isn’t fun anymore and boring.   Perfectly normal responses from a 10 year old.   Here’s the thing though.   When I dig a little deeper the truth that this wise mother see’s is that it isn’t as easy for him as it used to be.   He isn’t as confident going into a class with other red belts and higher than know the routines that he is trying to learn.    I get that.   So I am giving him a break for the summer, but I will push him back into it come September.

How can I push him if I don’t push myself?   Yes, it would be easier to let him quit but I know one day he might regret it.   Yes, I know that it would be easier if I quit but I know for a fact that I would regret it.

If not now, when?

As a parent our kids don’t always listen and sometimes even tune us out.   I know say it isn’t so, but it is true.    Anyway, they do pay attention to the things we do.   My family knows that my running isn’t as “easy” as it used to be.   My runs take longer than used to be.   I come home more tired and sweaty than I used to, but I’m still getting out there.   I may walk.   I may run.  But I am not giving up.   That is the lesson I want them to learn.    That is the lesson to learn.

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The Ungettable Get

Sometime we want things in life that we just can’t have.   Sometimes we want things in life that will never be.     Sometimes we are so busy looking backwards that we stop moving foward.

Sometimes…..

It is so easy to get bogged down in the would have, should haves, and could haves in life.

If only…..

Sometimes it is easier to stay in the mud because the thought of moving forward is scary.   I’ve said before that change while not always good is always inevitable.    Just because you know something is true doesn’t mean that you don’t stomp your feet, cross your arms, and scowl at the new normal.

Last week I ran a local 5K right here in my town.   I ran it last year and it was a fun race made even better by so many local faces both in the crowd and in the pack.   Plus it is a charity race with the proceeds going to good causes.   Last year I ran this race just to run it and run fast.    I pushed myself to a 26.26 finish.

This year, I knew I was not anywhere in shape to run like that but I still wanted to push myself.   I wanted one fast mile.    It was a hot night like last year, but I still went out with all I had.    I pushed my first mile to a 9:16 pace, but that was it I was out of gas after that.   In my mind, I knew it would be true, but in my heart I needed to see.    Mile two was an 11:44 pace and mile three I was able to pull in an 11:16 pace (thanks Jen!).    Finish time 33:49.

Here’s the thing.     I know my finish time wasn’t bad.  I know that I’m lucky to be running.    I know that I’ve got to build up again.    All that being said…..

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At the beginning of the race, I told my one friend that I was going to go out fast but that she would be passing me on the course.   She might of thought I was joking but I was dead serious and dead on.   She passed me around mile 2 by which point I was doing walk/run.   I ran with her and one of her friends.    I may have complained a bit.    One thing that I said that was so true is that “I’m not where I was, but I’m where I should be.”   I hate that it’s true, but I know it is.

Will I get to where I once was in my running?

Who knows.   Maybe

Does it matter if I’m never as fast of a middle of the Packer as I was before?

Not to anyone else and I need to let go of expectations.

Is it time to readjust my running goals?

You bet.

Who knows what will happen?

Not me.

  Maybe it is time to give my body  to adjust to this new normal.   Maybe it’s time to get back into running shape.   Maybe it’s past time to let go of expectations.

With that, I’m once again re-evaluating.   The wheels are turning.    I’ve been training for Chicago.   I’ve been getting runs in (for the most part).   I’ve also been walking as needed.    I’ve actually been toying with a run/walk marathon training.    You know what?   My average running time for my runs has been good.

Work  in progress.

As always…. Pushing forward.   Not giving up and doing what I need to do.

One day at a time.

One run at a time.

 

 

 

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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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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!