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In This Together

Like many I am at a weird place in my running. I am a runner who doesn’t run. Sometimes I miss the push. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I wonder why I pushed as hard as I did. Then their are the Facebook memories to pop up that show you what you used to be and you wonder if it will ever be again. Not just the races, but the drive that I had to do them.

Right now, there is no drive. there is no feeling like I need to do this. Nothing to even make me feel like in the whole scheme of things is it even necessary. There is so much bigger, real, and important things going on in the world. It makes me feel like my running, my races, my paces is not even worth pursuing or important.

I am fatigued by it all.

I am worried about it all.

I am missing the the world that used to be.

Then I remind myself that yes, all those “wordly” things need attention and are important, but….. but…. but……..

Life is a gift that needs to be enjoyed. Yes, we need to pay atention, get involved, and do what we can to make the world a beter place. Yes, there is much that needs to be done. Yes, we have a responsibility to help make the world, our communities and those closest to us a priority.

But….. But…. But

If we also don’t take time to actually enjoy the gift of life are we really living it?

This week my Facebook memories is filled with Marathon preparations. It is filled with Runner’s World Hat Trick PR’s (5k, 10k, and HM in 2 day). It is filled with a time when I was at my peak as a runner. Not just pre-covid, but in my case pre-hypoparathyroidism. It made me nostalgic, sad, and proud all at the same time. I miss running. Really running like I haven’t done in a long time. I miss training hard. I miss racing hard. I miss it all.

I started this post last weekend, but I never finished it because I felt like I was wallowing a little. That I was being selfish. That it was all in my head. Then this morning I read a post (It’s been a minute) by a blog I follow that reminded me we are all feeling it and that it is ok to feel all the feels.

Sometimes when your are feeling low about something, you want to pretend that you aren’t feeling it. You think that you are the only one feeling it. You tell yourself that you shouldn’t be feeling the way you feel. You tell yourself so many lies to hide the simple truth that it is ok to feel the way you feel. That it is ok to miss what you miss. That it is ok to just allow yourself to be what you are with all the feeling that come with it.

Often in life, too often we pretend that we are ok when we are not. We pretend we aren’t angry when we are furious. We pretend we don’t care about someone when we do. We pretend we aren’t hurt when we are ready to crawl into a ball and cry. We pretend it is ok, when ok is the furthest thing from being ok. We pretend to be so many things that we aren’t. All because we somehow feel that our emotions aren’t justified. That we aren’t justified in feeling them. Every time we do this, we do a disservise to ourselves and those in our lives.

Part of this I think comes from society, from growing up and telling little ones not to cry, not to be angry and what they are feeling will pass. We need to do better not just for future generations, but for ourselves. In my job as a preschool instructor, I often have kids lay their emotions on me. There is one child who will tell me what kind of day he is having. Some days he says, he is having a happy day. Some days he will tell me that he is having a sad day. On those days he is telling me that he is having a sad day, I would never discount his feeling and just tell him to have a happy day. I always have the same answer, “it’s ok to have a sad day but Ms Christine is here for you.” Simple and to the point. Now….. we need to do the same for our own emotions.

Some times it is ok to have a sad day. Some times it is ok to have a down in the dumps day. Some times it is ok to have a I’m just not feeling it day. Some times it is ok to have any kind of day we are having. The trick is to find the balance. If you are having more sad days than good days, please know that there is help. We must stop trying to pretend that we don’t feel the way we feel and we must know that no matter how we feel we are never alone.

We need to allow ourselves to be ok with all the emotions not just the good ones. We need to allow people in to help us when we need help. We need to be willing to help and listen to our friends even when they are not feeling all rainbows and sunshine. We need to know that the good days out weigh the bad days. We need to know that there is hope.

Hope is what we need to hold onto until the days are once again filled with rainbows and sunshine. We are not in this alone, but in this together.

*****If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts and/or depression, you are not alone. Please find someone to talk to or call 800-273-8255 to talk with a counselor****

Often in our society, we are told to hold on to something or someone that no longer fits. Down to our skinny jeans… Don’t give up. Hold on to them. Use them as an incentive. We are told we need to build bridges. We are told that things will get better. Things will change. To give time. Sometimes these things are true and many times they are not.

What if instead of trying to hold onto things that no longer service, we embrace the new. Embrace the change. Realize that nothing stays the same on life…. even us.

It is holding on that keep people in unhealthy relationships, patterns, and not willing to embrace the unknown. What if sometimes the best thing that a person can do is to let go. To free ourselves from what is holding us back? Many times we aren’t even sure what is holding us back unless we are willing to dig a little deeper which is always scary.

Social media is a funny thing too. It can connect you with people you have never physically meant but feel extremely close to. It can keep you connected to people in your “real” life. It can also show how disconnected you are with some of those in your real life. Before social media, your circle was smaller. Some would come in and some would leave. It was every changing. New beginnings taking place with new endings.

Social media has a way of keeping the eb and flow unnatural. People that you are no longer connected with stay connected because somehow that final “unfriending” seems harsh. People remain “friends” but aren’t friends. They unfollow, hide or just roll eyes when they see posts of people that they are no longer really connected to, yet can’t let go of. You have to wonder if it’s healthy or natural and I wouldn’t doubt if physiatrists aren’t already studying it. Sometimes it is a way of keeping a door open for the person to come back into our lives. Sometimes it is a way of not shutting the door fully when we should. At the very least, it doesn’t always feel good.

While I am not really sure where I am going with this train of thought, I will say that I’ve realized that some doors are meant to be closed. Some are meant to be locked, and some while not locked should still be closed. People change. Our lives, needs, and wants change and sometimes people will keep trying to fit you into that place you used to be even when you are no longer there anymore.

I will be the first to admit that I’ve changed and still have much to change, learn and grow. That being said not everyone will the grow the same way and that is ok. Our lives changes. Our needs change. Our wants change. Change is part of life. Change is how we grow.

When I started this blog, I was on a quest. I wasn’t sure what it was other than I was going to complete a Sprint Triathlon. I had much to prove not just to others but myself. I pushed myself and I pushed hard. It was where I was at the time. Things changed. I changed. I honestly say that I no longer have the drive that I used to have to push myself, yet I still enjoy a challenge.

I am complex.

I am not one dimentional.

I have changed and I am starting to embrace that change.

I am coming into my own or at least my own for right now. Stepping back and giving myself time to just be. It has allowed me to embrace where I am now. It has allowed me time to walk the walk. To just enjoy the many blessing that I have today. It has given me much and I am happy to have had that time.

All that being said, I am also realizing that this time has allowed me to appreicate not just walking but what I have gotten out of running. I am starting to miss the feeling of running and know that I will be running soon. I also know that taking the pressure off the table of trying to be somewhere I was not will be gone. All that being said, running will wait till after I complete my virtual NYC Marathon. I can only do myself wrong if I don’t continue to have patience and respect where I am today.

So with that I am letting go. I am realizing in more ways than one closing a door is not always a bad thing. Holding onto something that should be released whether it be people, expectations or things that no longer serve me is not a loss but a gain.

What do you need to let go of?

As the song says…. LET IT GO.

The In Between

For some the Great Pause as I refer to the time since Covid has caused things to stop, not much changed in their daily life except location of where they worked. My husband is one of those people. He just rolled with it as he is lucky enough to have a job that made it possible. For many of us though life (depending where you live) stopped mid March. Spring was not filled with soccer tournaments, races, and everyday events. School, jobs, sports…. all cancelled.

As I have said before, many of us treated this initially like it was a snow day but then slowly came to the realization that it was the new normal. We learned to bake bread (I already knew). We did what we could to get by, fill up the day, and maybe ease our worries. There was no right or wrong…. There was just what each of us needed to do to get by.

Now we are in the in-between. Things are opening up. We are in the Goldilocks stage of things. For some, not fast enough. For others, too fast. There might be some that feel it is just right too. I am not sure where I fall into this and it might depend on the day. I also know that there is not one size fits all and what works for one family may not work for another. We are all just doing our best still to get by.

Often what many people forget in these stressful times is that our perspective might not be the same as another’s perspective. (Now I am NOT talking about those that refuse the science, I am talking about those of us trying to safely and smartly navigate all that is going on right now. ) There are many moving pieces. There are many levels of comfort and we should not be forcing where we are on others.

One of the reasons that I have not been writing recently is because I felt like I had nothing to say. One day was leading into the next and the day after that. It was all becoming a blur and I wasn’t really sure that I had anything to say or wanted to say out loud. I still don’t but as I’ve said before writing is a way for me to process and maybe I just didn’t want to process. Maybe I wasn’t sure what to process.

As we get into the fall season which I love, I am missing the sound, sites, and posts of people training for various races. I am missing the pictures from finish lines. I am missing all that comes with knowing that you have an event on the calendar that you are excited about. I am missing this and so much more as are so many people, but to me this is nothing in comparison to what we could all be missing. We don’t want to come out of this only to be back where we were in March.

Now it may sound like I have shut myself out of the world, but that is not the case. I go to stores. I have walked with friends. I even have started a new job. I do all these things in the safest way possible. To me this is my comfort zone. I will say that I have still not gone out to a restaurant for dinner nor is that on the list of things to do anytime soon. My family is fine with take out right now.

So for today…. This is enough. I am trying to get my head out of the weeds. I am trying to not worry about the future. I am trying not to let anxiety and depression take hold which is so easy in times like this. Many of us are just trying to hold our heads above the water while keeping those we love above water too.

So in these times….. and always….. know that you are entitled to feel the way you feel. You are entitled to think the way you think. We must all take care of ourselves, those we love, and most of all hold onto the hope that things will get better. That this was not all for naught. That it is ok to be sad that races are cancelled. It is ok to be upset that your child’s school is not what you wanted it to be. It’s ok to feel all the feelings.

What is not ok is to let that stop you from living your life even if you need to live it differently right now.

So hold on.

This is not forever.

We are all in this together.

We will get through it especially with a little (or a lot) of help from our friends.

Just Show Up

So this post might be a little different, yet not.   So stick with me!

Something exciting happened recently that I have been waiting to share.   I’ve been waiting because I wanted to be able to actually see if I would it really was something that I could be excited about.   Since the mail arrived two days ago and I’ve done my own testing I can say that I’m excited.

So here is the thing….. I was recently asked (yes ASKED) to become a Pineapple Clothing Ambassador.    This was not something that I sought out, but through my Instagram account they reached out to me.   Now I will say, that I’ve gotten DM’s in the past but nothing like this.   Usually they are the random “How you doing today?’ messages where you immediately block them or the guy who liked EVERY one of my feet pics (you know as a runner, we do those things).    This DM was different though.

Anyway, they were reaching out to me to see if I was interested in becoming an Ambassador for their company.   Now who knows maybe they asked everyone, but you know it’s nice to be asked to the dance.   Plus I don’t know that ask everyone but either way I was flattered.   I’m really not going to lie, it was very flattering with all the content out their to be asked (so please don’t pop my bubble).

Here is the thing and these are the facts I know….. I am not a young woman, but I am not an old one either!  I do not have a traditional athletes body.    I will never have a traditional athletes body.   I’m just not built that way nor do I have the desire to do what it takes to get down to whatever size the world thinks I should be.    What I do have though is an athletes heart and will to push through challenges.    I may not be the picture that comes to mind of what an athlete is but make no mistake I am an athlete.    Many times athletes like me are under-represented but that is slowly changing.

This under representation of people who like me sometimes hold other people back from taking the first step for a positive change.    You look at yoga studio and it seems like everyone is under a size 4 and can bend themselves in a pretzel.   Me…. I am still working on not falling down and my balance.      You look at fitness blogs (obviously not mine) and you see the finished product.   I will never be that finished product.     When you look at ads for fitness and runners, you see the top athletes.   The thing is those are people at the top of their game while most of us are still deciding what we want to play.

We’ve all had a friend say or maybe we have even said it that before the great pause that they will start going to the gym/running/yoga/any group activity that they need to loose 20 (fill in blank) pounds FIRST.   That’s not the way it works.

works

We need to be willing to show up as we are today not as we want to be tomorrow.    If we can’t show up as we are we will never be happy even when we finally deem we are ready to show up.    Who we are is not determined by the size of our jeans or leggings.   It is not determined if we have the “perfect” body.   It is not determined by anything on the outside, but on what we carry on the inside.   You can never be happy with anything else unless you can love the inside. (yeah I know hokey expression but could not be more true).

This past year, someone I know who looked like they should have it all together fell apart.    They have the right look.   They appeared on the outside to have everything that should make them happy.    They weren’t and they hit rock bottom.   Someone made a comment about being surprised because she was the last person you would expect and their in lies the problem.   Often we focus on living how we think others think that we should live –   looking a certain way  — Being part of the “right” group —–  doing the “right” things  —- on and on it goes, when really all we need to focus on is who we are and what we need to make us happy because if you are not happy with that nothing else can fill that void for you.

Circling back……..

So when I was asked to be a Pineapple Clothing Ambassador and determined that their USA made products were something that I could endorse, I jumped in.

 

As I said in my Instagram post today:  Proof you don’t need a fancy workout space. You don’t need a size 6 body. You don’t need negativity. You just need to show up!

So I am showing up.   I am sharing my not ready for prime time shape.

Pineapple Clothing

Use code: chrcha for 20% off your order too!

 

Lesson Learned

Hindsight is 2020 they say.   Although after this year, we might need to come up with a new expression because no one wants to remember 2020 but I digress.   It is always so much easier to second guess something after the fact.   To pick it apart.   To dissect.   To play the could of, should of, would of game.   Never helpful.   

I will be honest as you know I always am…… As a runner, I always felt like walking was cheating. Now hear me out, I walked plenty.  Currently, I am not even running but walking every day.  What I really mean is that I wasn’t a good enough runner. There was not one of my 7 marathons that I did not walk during. Some I intentionally trained with walking in mind. That being said, somehow I felt like I wasn’t a real runner because runners don’t walk even if me as a runner did.   Somehow it meant that I didn’t measure up, that I was less of a runner, that I should be better because while I could go the distance, I couldn’t go just running.

My goal besides a 4:30 marathon was to run a marathon where I ran the whole thing. Somehow that would make me more of a “real runner.” I probably would have made both those goals one day but you know the whole Hypoparathyroidism thing.

While I know rationally I know that I was/am a runner. I just always felt like I should have and could have been better. That I wasn’t living up to my potential. Here is the thing…. I probably wasn’t. There is something about the distance of a marathon that gets in your head. I trained and ran NYC Half a sub 2 hour with no problem. It was hard. I pushed myself. I crossed the finish line smiling. Add 13 miles and it is a whole different beast not just physically but mentally.

Seriously.

Each marathon my head was the biggest obstacle.

First Marathon, Philly 2014, was a fluke. I had been training for Runner’s World Hat Trick (5k & 10K one day, next day Half) and rolled into Philly on a whim after one 20 miler. I didn’t know what I was doing. It was hard. I didn’t overthink. I finished 4:46:20. If I had pushed, I could have been under 4:45

Next up was Marine Corps Marathon. This one I trained with a good coach. I was ready right up until I wasn’t. GI issues that I didn’t push through led me to my marathon PR of 4:38:14. This should have been my day, but mentally I didn’t want it enough to make it happen.  I always thought I’d have another day.

Then a trail marathon which I rolled into but loved doing. Probably because there is no pressure or expectations that you are going to run the whole thing. Plus trail races are a whole different vibe and expectations are very different.

2016 was supposed to be my year. Although I had a bump in my training due to a sprained ankle, I still was mostly ready. I could definitely go the distance because I had finished a 50K that year right before marathon training, I ran my sub 2 half, and I ran my 5K PR of 26:26. I was ready to both go the distance and the pace. Right up until I wasn’t. I went out running strong the first half like there was no second half. Once I hit the wall, it was a struggle to keep going but I did. Finishing in 4:56.

After that my thyroid surgery and that called it a day for my 4:30 marathon time. My goals since has just been to go the distance, don’t crash my calcium and cross the finish line. Consistently, my races time wise have been going the opposite of every runners dream…..

2017 Chicago Marathon: 5:48:52

2018 NYC Marathon: 6:10:13

2019 NYC Marathon: 6:20:41

Some might see these as failures. I don’t. I see them as perseverance. The year after my surgery, when I was being treated by the wrong doctor I was actually able to run decent paces. Although it was much harder to keep up for longer distances. The issue was that I was taking too much calcium which while good for things like running, it was bad long term for things like kidneys. So, you know, trade off was not very smart.  Although at the time I did not know that even if my doctor should have which is why he is no longer my doctor.

So here we are now, where I am living in the low calcium range but saving kidneys. In hindsight now I feel like I wasted my before hypopara runs and maybe I did, but there is nothing to be done now. I can only look to the future and learn from the past to plot my course. I’ve been thinking a lot about goals. Goals for now and long term since, you know, there is a lot of time to think right now. This post is already too long to get into. Plus I am still forming, plotting, and kind of waiting for the world to be safe again.

Right now, I feel that the best way I can be a runner is not to run. I am giving my body the break it needs. As I said before I have been walking a minimum of a mile a day since June 21, but usually more.   Other day I walked 6.25 at a brisk pace around 16:10.  Shorter distances I pick it up honing in on my speed walking.  I am embracing walking. I am embracing learning to cut myself some slack and know I am enough just like I am.  I am embracing what ever I do… walk, run, and anything in between is enough.

I realize that when it comes to my running, like most of us, I am harder on myself than anyone else. I also realize that while I may have medical issues, my biggest issue has always been my head. (shocking). That voice telling me I can’t do it with a self fulfilling prophesy so that I don’t. So with this step back, I am learning to trust my body. I am learning what inner voice to listen to and what voice to tell to shut up.  I am learning to be ok with not pushing but also not going easy. Finding the middle ground I so often miss.

It is so easy to get discouraged when we do not reach goals we think we should reach. It is easy to make excuses for why things are the way they are. It is easy to pack it in and call it a day. What is not easy is sticking around when things don’t pan out the way you want. Learning to roll up the hill instead of down. To make lemonade out of lemons.  To just be and be happy with that.

Sometimes when you look at the reality of why things are the way they are, you have to just let it go. You realize that you can’t change how they turned out. You not only have to accept it, but move on from it even if it means letting go. Letting go of guilt.   Letting go of missed opportunities.   Letting go of all that is and has held you back.   In life sometimes you realize what you once thought an important is no longer important to you. Most of all learn from it. Sometimes we have to do it over and over and over again because we did not learn the lesson we needed to learn the first time

 

No Shortcuts

I have often said that we need to focus on the journey and not the destination. I realized when doing my yoga practice today that I was not taking my own advice. I have been so focused on achieving certain poses that I have been short changing myself and my practice in pursuit of them. Cheating myself of fully learning and building the strength necessary to achieve them fully.

I think part of this might stem from being a goal orientated person. I run not just because I love it but for events that I sign up for. I started this journey with a goal of completing a Sprint Triathlon. I wasn’t a runner, swimmer, or biker but I had a goal. Goals to me are part of the process. I’ve set goals for distance. I’ve set goals for times. I’ve set monthly/yearly mile challenges. I took this thought process with me to my yoga mat.

Goals…. Goals…. Goals.

To be honest, I know that for me I need goals to motivate me. Big goals. Little goals. Even on a run, sometimes a goal is as simple as running to the next utility pole. Goals are important. Goals are necessary. Not just in running, but really in life. Goals in life might be a simple or grand, but everyone has something. It could the day or master plan goals of finishing finishing school, finding a better job, buying a house or planning for retirements. Goals can also be as small as your daily To Do List to make it to the end of the day. Without these small goals, I might just sit on the coach all day. If you don’t set goals, you might not ever move forward. Staying stagnate is not a way to grow as a person….. as a runner…. as an athlete. Most of all it is not the way to accomplish anything in life.

So with this attitude, I went into yoga. While having a goal to achieve certain poses in my mind is still good, I realized that I was starting to solely practice yoga in pursuit of these poses. I was not giving myself to the mat fully nor was I getting out of my practices what I should. Practicing yoga only in pursuit of poses was short changing my practices and myself. So with this aha moment, I had a mind shift in my practice.

I took a step back. I gave myself fully to the practice allowing myself to not simply pursue a pose but to pursue giving myself over to the practice. On recommendations of some Moms in my MRTT group, I tried some YouTube Yoga classes. These classes were different than what I had been doing because they had the feel of actually being in a yoga studio with the same mindset.

I also realized that while I do still have goals of reaching certain poses that in order to get to the level of fully achieving them that I must build a proper foundation. I was skipping the foundation building required. You can’t finish a marathon before you have trained to run one any more than you can reach more advanced poses without being more in touch with what your body can do, build up the required strength, and learn to trust in your ability.

By the way for those who think that yoga is not a workout, I encourage you to take a class. Holding your body up with your arms will cause you to break out in a sweat especially when your body is build like mine! Standing (or attempting to stand) on one leg will not only test your balance but your leg strength and as you age you do begin to loose balance, so you must work on retaining it. Trusting your body enough to ask it to do things you never imagined possible comes with time and practice.

So while I have goals. I have had the realization that practice might not make perfect but if allowed can be beautiful. I am not sure if I will ever reach my very lofty goals of handstand, wheel pose (backbend) or crow pose but I will pursue them in a more honest fashion now. These are not easy poses and for those that know me, you know that I very rarely take the easy road, so it is fitting.

I am not sure if I will ever obtain these goals but stepping back to go to the basics and build my foundation will help me more than single minded approach. As in life, your might not always reach your goals but if you stop reaching not only will you never achieve them but you will never know your true potential.

So with all of that, I say again……

Life is about the journey and not the destination

And this time I really mean it.

NO EXPERT

I admit that I am not an expert in anything. I am not an expert at baking. I am not an expert at cooking. I am not an expert at parenting. I am not an expert at running.

You might be wondering what your doing here then. While not being an expert, this does not mean that I do not have much knowledge. It simply means that I recognize that I still have a lot to learn. I have learned a lot along the way… through trials, failures and success.

I think this is what sometimes makes or breaks people sometimes. The truth of the matter is that everyone no matter what your level can learn from others. Anyone who thinks they have nothing to learn is probably someone you don’t want to listen to anyway. Have you ever talked to someone who has the attitude like they knew everything (even if they knew tons)? Usually these people don’t know half of what they think they do.

I am not an expert baker, but I know that I could teach a thing or two about making the perfect chocolate cake. By no means am I an expert parent, but I have taken parenting classes and have experiences that might be helpful to others. I am not a running expert, but I have run around the block enough times to give some advice. (You know 7 marathons, 50K and I don’t know how many other smaller events).

The thing about expertise is that it usually comes with experiences. You have to be willing to try. You have to be willing to fail. You have to be willing to learn from your mistakes, successes, and others. Most of all you have to be willing to keep going. The thing is no one is every born an expert at anything and the only way you become one is to start at the beginning.

Many people are afraid to embark on new adventures for fear of failure or worse thinking that they need to be an expert before they even start. You see this with people thinking they need to get in shape before they start going to the gym. People think in order to start running that they need to be able to run. People are embarrassed to go to a yoga class because they can’t hold the poses. Here is the thing, everyone has to start somewhere and usually that is at the beginning.

Often when we are thinking of starting something new, we do a little research or at the very least Google it. The problem with that is that usually you only see the finished product. You see the runner with a medal. You see the fitness guru. You see the Yogi contornting themselves into positions that make you scartch your head. You see all of these things but you don’t normally see the struggle that it took to get them there.

Everyone has struggles. Everyone was once a beginner. Everyone has failures, but in a Facebook/Twitter world most people don’t share those things although I do. Life is not perfect.

They share the perfect cookies.

Not the ones that burnt.

They share the truimphet finish line photo.

Not the one showing how hard the day actually was.

We need to realize that life is not a facebook update. We all struggle. We are fail. We all have imperfect lives. If we keep comparing where we are in life to someone’s Facebook page, you might get depressed. Life is not a Facebook Status. Actually we need to bring a little more reality into our virtual lives. We need to start sharing how we got to where we are going. Who knows maybe someone needs to see that they are not the only one with imperfect lives. Sometimes the best way to be inspiring is to show reality.

I’ve been practicing Yoga pretty regularly since March. Using Nike Training App. I used to do Bikram Yoga a few years ago and loved it. In the Nike Training App one of the classes was a beginner inversion class which go me hooked. I admit….. I am not flexible. My legs are usually tight. I am (ahem) overweight. These things do not make for a good Yogi, but I still practice.

I’ve been working on new inversion skills. My goals are a handstand, crow pose, and wheel pose (backbend). All of these are not beginner poses. None of them am I close to conquering. All of them when Googling for tips, only show perfect Yogi’s with perfect form. I get that. Same reason runway models look the way they look. If I could go to a studio, I would see a class full of people in different levels of their practice.

So here I am not even close to being a Yogi, but starting at the beginning. Willing to try.

Willing to fail.

Willing to show myself in my imperfect state with imperfect form and just being willing to try.

That is all we can do in life…. Try. Give it our best. Be willing to pick ourselves up when we fall and try again. The journey is equally as important as the destination and we would do well to remind ourselves of that more often.

The Ups and the Downs

If 2020 were an object, it would be a pile of dog poop.   You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would say as a whole this year doesn’t suck the big one.    For some it sucks more than others and it doesn’t even take into account the pandemic.

2020 is also the year that one by one major races and events were cancelled.   Boston while shocking was not unexpected since it was in the beginning of the pandemic.   One by one other large events fell to the wayside.   Many of the larger fall events have been holding out hope.  NYRR just announced that they were cancelling the  New York City Marathon.   Not unexpected but still sad.   For those that were planning to run they are giving great choices for deferment which also unheard of from NYRR.    I believe they did the right thing both in canceling it and before most people started training.

This is the years for runners to decide why they run.   This is the year for runners to decide weather they run only for the bling or if they run to run.   Now don’t get me wrong…… I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my bling.

I get a lot out of running besides bling, but when you are not training for anything it does get easy not to stay motivated.   Not to get out the door.   Not to go for longer runs.   Not to push yourself.    One of the reasons, I have been doing the NJ Virtual Boardwalk challenge.    21 days left and more miles than I would like, but I will get it done.

So while 2020 has sucked and seems like is on the path to sucking till the bitter end, we need to regroup, refocus, and adjust.

What if we took this time as a gift.    What if we viewed everything not through the lenses of what has been taken from us, but what has been given.   What if instead of thinking of all we are missing, we embrace all the things that we have.

Time

I currently have no part time job.   I have no practices to run my son to.   I have no this or that to attend, but instead of thinking about all that I’m missing what if I view this time as a gift.

I now have the time to practice yoga.

I now have the time to go for runs/walks.    I have even started walking the dog with my oldest son just about every night.    This is a gift.

Races

I am missing the thrill of big events.   The fun of small events.   Missing my running crew.   Missing training (really).   Missing a lot…. BUT…….    every since my surgery left me with Hypoparathyroidism, I have continued to push myself.   I’ve continued to train, race, and while I have cut back on number events I was doing, I still kept pushing.   Doing a marathon ever year since surgery in 2016 (actually every year now since 2014).     Now, I have no choice though but to stop chasing events because even though I was realistic about them, I still pushed myself.   FOR ME – instead of being upset that I can’t run NY again, what if I use this time to reconnect.   Not just with running, but the way I need to run.   Think about what works best for me as far as miles, pace, and calcium instead of chasing distances and time.

From January even before Covid, this year has had a lot of downs.   Lots of things have gone wrong.   Lots of drama.   Lots of things that I wouldn’t wish to happen to anyone.   But with each of these events, there has been an upside.   Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to have gotten to the upside without the rollercoaster ride but that isn’t how life works.   Sometimes you have to let go of the handles, put your hands in the air, scream as the roller coaster is racing down the tracks and just be happy when you pull into the end.   You can’t enjoy the highs without the lows.

So while many of us our in lows now, we have no choice except to enjoy the ride as much as we can.

So for now…..

I will continue to run.   I will continue to see if maybe I need to do more power walking especially in the heat instead of running.   If maybe, I just keep moving that is enough and for the next 21 days, I have to not skip a beat and apparently I am a streaker.

 

 

 

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This week I had my 6 month check up with my endocrinologist. Not surprising, my blood calcium level was low. The good news is that it is just below the low end of normal. Yeah me. The good part though is by maintaining this low level that my 24 hour urine calcium level was normal which is something I haven’t seen in 2 years. At my highest this level was more than double what it should be. So since my Natpara is gone, I bounce in the low blood calcium levels to protect my kidneys for the higher output levels. Go me.

All was good at the appointment. When I commented to my doctor that I was “happy” with levels to protect kidneys, she reminded me that we also have to worry that if we allow my blood calcium levels to get to low we have heart issues. Did you know that if your calcium is important for heart health. Such a balancing act that makes life so fun.
I am good about balancing these things. (seriously Mom… no worries). I am also very lucky that I’ve never had any issues with my kidneys or heart. I pay attention. I adjust. I pop pills all day and adjust as needed. As said before, I really think being a marathon runner prior to surgery helped me learn to tune into my body. All those long runs adjusting fuel, pace, and runs gave me an inside track on how to listen to my body with calcium levels.

I have a few running magnets on my car. I have one that says 50K. Sometimes I think that I should take it off as I only ran one, but it is a reminder of what I once could do and maybe one day will do again. It makes me proud and a little sad at the same time. At my “peak” I finished this event in 7 hours and seven minutes. Obviously, I did not run the entire time, but I did run enough to actually complete it. I’ve run a sub 2 half marathon and a 26:26 5K.

I am no longer at my peak. I’m no longer close to my peak. Today I struggle through 5 miles which used to me my normal run. I used to run every day in training. Teaching myself to run on tired legs. Now I have to pace myself as my legs are tired before I even start. I can’t run every day, but have been trying to walk at least a mile every day.  It sucks. And yes, I know, that it could be worse but  this is my pity party. I miss the “old” me and I when I was on Natpara I kind of felt like her.   Sometimes I get annoyed at my missed opportunities.   Blowing my 4:30 marathon because I didn’t pace myself.   Thinking I would get another shot at it.   I was wrong.

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When you have an invisible illness no matter what it is often times people think you are exaggerating, it’s all in your head, or think you are just complaining. It is easier for people to understand when they can see the toll an illness takes on a person, but often times people with invisible illnesses keep a lot to themselves. What is the point… You know what you need to do and you just handle it.

Al my life I’ve struggled and overcome the impossible. I’ve come back from the bottom and realized that in life you really only have two choices….. Keep moving forward or give up.

I’ve been wondering if it is time to give up running, but I get so much out of it that I think that is not a valid option. I’ve been lower before. I’ve crawled my way from the depths of depression where I realized that giving up is not an option. The truth of the matter is when you come back from that, you realize that your only option in life is to keep pushing forward one step at a time.

Today’s run was hard. The heat effects me. I felt tingles in the lips (low calcium). My legs were cramping. I thought about just walking home. I realized that most of my problem with running really is my ego. I can run fast in short bursts. I can’t run fast for the long haul. I need to readjust, refocus, and learn to pace again. If the truth is that running is worth pushing myself than I really need to push myself smarter. So with that, I added some calez (powdered calcium) to my water, cut myself some slack, and reassessed what I realistically want from running.

Unrealistically…. I still want that 25 minute 5K or that 4:30 marathon I was chasing that I will never get. Realistically, I just want to keep running. I need to let go of expectations, excuses, and ego……. easier said than done especially when I was on Natpara injections which made me feel like my old self for a bit.

I’ve been picked over. I’ve been picked last. I’ve been ignored. I’ve been on the outside looking in. I’ve been on bumpy roads in life….. And while none of these are good and no one wants these things to happen to them or anyone they love…… When you’ve been dealt these hands , they do make you stronger. I root for the underdog, because I’ve been the underdog. While not that now, I do know that if I can get through all the things that brought me to where I am today; I can get through this.

Luckily there are no races on the calendar. There is no training. There is just getting miles in and keeping myself moving. This year will give me time. To think of what goals I want when there are goals to be hand. To be smart. Most of all to just keep running…
Most of all no matter what….
To never give up.

 

And I know that some of you have heard this before and might hear it again.   I am only human and some days you move forward and some days you move backwards but as long as you have more forward moving days than backwards, you are doing ok.

Transformational

When the history books are written about 2020, there will be much to be said.   Probably volumes could be written already and we are only at the half way mark.

I think the biggest takeaway when we are all said and done and so far the best way to describe it……  2020 is a transformational year.    It was the year the world stopped, caught fire and transformed.

I wish I could tell you how it transforms.   I wish I could tell you how it all turns out.    I wish I could say that it all works out for the best.    I wish I had the gift to see into the future to give that peace of mind.

Transformational…..

It’s not just the world transforming, but individual people.     Your life is not written in stone.    How are you transforming because that is the only part of the story that you have control over.   No, you don’t have control over the outside forces of your life but you do have control over how you face these things.  Sometimes it is easy to forget that and feel like it’s all spiraling out of control.

So may transformations.

Life is one big transformation.   We grow.   We learn.   Sometimes we need to relearn.    We transform with life experiences.   We change.   Our circles change. For many right now life is never changing, yet still not the same.   Always transforming even when it all feels the same. Different, yet the same.

Right now I will say 100% that the books I bookmarked to read, but never did have nothing to do with time. That the “chores” I said that I would get to but still have not tackled have nothing to do with time. All those things we said we would do…. if only we had the time. Now we know if time was really what was holding us back. For many things, time had nothing to do with it but became a good cover story.

I’ve realized that I have enjoyed this step back.    This time to just be with no expectations.   This time to get back to basics.   To realize that I didn’t start running for the medals on the wall (although I do like to look at them).   I ran just to run.   Much like what my mother is doing now.   I have enjoyed just getting back to basics.

So as I am at home with my family, it is the same but different.   I have taken another running challenge (I think I mentioned it) of running the distance of the NJ Parkway (172.4 miles).   Another challenge.   Same but different.   This one there is no fan fare.   There is no big event.   There is just getting out there and getting as many miles in as I can.   Same, but different.

Currently I am plugging away.   I haven’t been keeping up as well as I thought, but I will push through and get it done.   I’ve got a little over a month to go and it will be time to pick up the pace.   Ok, not really the pace but the miles.  If I’ve calculated my miles correctly, I am only at 58.8.   I don’t see why I can’t get to the finish line.

Here is the thing…. What always seems impossible is right up until it isn’t.   So I will keep plugging away.   I will plug a little further, but I won’t stop until I get to where I need to be.

What if I fly