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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.

start-where-you-are-use-what-you-have

 

 

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.

tenacious

 

 

 

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!

It Is What It Is

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

Life is ever changing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is what it is.

and

What ever shall be, shall be.

YUP

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

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

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

You Just Have to Go

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again more for me than you:)

I’m not a world class athlete.   I’m not a top 10 finisher.  Although I have had a few good finishes I will admit.   Those have been at smaller events though.   In looking over my races in Athlinks, I can say that I’ve had some good races with some nice paces.  Normally though I admit that I am a middle of the packer.

I’m not many things, but what I am is determined.

I am determined to not to be the fastest or run the furthest, but to just keep going.   At this point it is all I can do and really all I want to do.    I’ve pushed myself to run fast.   I’ve pushed myself to run far.   Right now all I want to do is push myself out the door.   To run with no purpose other than to run.   No agendas.   No plans.

This is not to say that in the back of my mind I don’t have goals or plans.   I do.   Everyone does.    But for right now, getting out the door is enough.

I have no desire to run 40 miles a week that I was running before my surgery.   I would like thought to get out the door at least three times during the week.   I would be happy with 20 miles a week.    I’m not even close to being there yet.

I was having lunch with a friend today and we were lamenting about how easy it is to stop running, but how hard it is to start back up again.   Even when you really have the desire to run.  Routines change.   Excuses are easier to form.   Life gets in the way.    Right now it’s really a day by day thing.   I’m trying to get back into the routine of it all.    It does my heart good o know that I am not alone.  There are a few of us for various reasons all trying to get our mojo back.   I think that now that Spring is on the horizon that will help tremendously.

On today’s run we were talking about how the NJ Half is only a month away.   We are all know that it’s well past time to stop putting off on our training and that we need to get serious.   One thing that I was saying is that although I have been very happy not to have had an event on my calendar every month like in previous years, that it is much easier to put off running when your feel like your calendar is clear.  That will be something I will think about for next year.

For now though I am thinking only about getting out and running.

As I said today…

You don’t have to go far.   You don’t have to go fast.   You just have to go.

This will be my new manta for now.

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So this week is off to a great start with 5 miles in the books.   Tomorrow will be a rest day with some blood work to see how things are going.   Then Wednesday, its time to get back out there.

Do The Right Thing

In Life many times, we wonder if we have made the right decision.   Sometimes we have regrets, but sometimes we can wholeheartedly know we made the right decision.   This is one of those times.

We need to embrace these times too.

Over the last week, I’ve had a few good runs.  I’ve been happy with where I am at.   I’ve started thinking about what I want to do this year.   My first event that I’m scheduled to run is the New Jersey Half Marathon.    Right now my goal is just to run it, but I wanted to look to see how my training has been overall.    When I was hard core training I used a program called Training Peaks.    When I thought I might run the NJ Marathon and not the half, I had bought a marathon training program to use with the program.   Yesterday, I logged on for the first time in probably a month.   This is when I realized that I had done the right thing.

According to the marathon training program, my mileage for the week should have been 32 with a long run of 16.

HA!

My total miles for the week were 13 with a long run of 6.5.

I don’t want to be running 32 miles right now.   Funny thing too is when I changed the training program to a half, it is right about where I am right now.   Better yet, it is right about where I want to be.

I am happy that I took the time that both my body and mind needed.    I’m happy that my running seems to be getting stronger.   I’m happy that i seem to be getting back into the rhythm of not just my running but my life.

I’m happy now:)

And that I will take over running a marathon any day.

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Living in a Virtual World

Sometimes we need a little extra motivator.   We live in a virtual world, so why not let a virtual “race” motivate you to get out the door?   I will admit that I do enjoy the feel of an actual race, but sometimes that is not an option.    I will also admit that in the past I may not have given these events the respect that they deserve.   Really though if these events motivate someone to get out the door, why not?  Besides they are a lot more cost and time effective than other events.  Plus as with anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it.

I belong to many online running communities where I have and probably never will meet these women who inspire me.   I had an online running coach who I only met for the second time at the NYCM.   We do so much online anymore that virtual reality mixes in with the real world.   So why should a virtual race be any different.

I recently signed up for Pi Day 5K event.   The beauty of these events is that there is an online community to share your “race” with.   Plus you can actually get a medal if you choose.   I will say that I liked the medal, so I went for the whole package.

Who doesn’t love pie?   I mean Pi Day.  Although I am not a math lover, I think it’s kind of a cool play on the word pie.   I might like it more for the word play than the actual math, but don’t tell my friend.   So what is Pi?

Pi

You know what?   That’s all I know about this type of Pi.   I have no idea what it is used for and why math people love it so much.   Now the other pie I know a lot about, but I digress.   Anyway, I thought the medal for this virtual race was really cute and I liked the idea of my own personal race.

PiDay5KIsn’t it cute?

Now I know the official Pi Day isn’t until Tuesday March 14 (3-14), but we are supposed to get a BIG, BIG,BIG snowstorm Tuesday.   So yesterday I decided to do my Pi Day 5K.   You know what?   It motivated me to run and run fast.   Now if this was an actual 5K with other racers around me I might have not walked a time or two, but I still don’t care.   I ended up having a really good run.   Probably the fastest run that I’ve had in a while.   It was a great motivator to me when I was finished.   Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Pk5KResults

It was meant to be.   Kind of cool too that my calories were exact.   Could not have done that if I tried.

So even though I really don’t care about Pi (shhh), virtual events can be motivating.   The bottom line really is that if it is something that will motivate, inspire, or push you; go for it.    Because in the end, all that really matters is what will get you out the door.

DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

EVER DAMN DAY!