Some people look at you not as you are but their vision of you. They look at you as who you were when you knew them – High School, College, job, time in your life, weight, or what ever they think of. Their vision does not necessarily meet reality. It is just the reality that they see and often they are wrong.
Often in life the struggle is knowing who you are. Being confident in who you are. Most of all not letting outside sources define you, but walk your own path. Many people will think they know you based on your social media posts alone, but does that mean they really know you?
People will judge you without truly knowing you. People will judge you based on their perception of you. People will judge you and not have all the facts even if they think they do. It’s not our job to provide these people the facts. It’s not our place to fill in the blanks for them. We owe them no explanations. Often we still explain ourselves. We feel we need to justify our life choices. We don’t.
I think I have said this before, but sometimes we must also realize that in some peoples story we will be the bad guy. Sometimes that’s true. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes we can repair the damage. Sometimes we can’t and must walk away. That is life.
Today I had a moment where I realized that someone put me in a box that I don’t fit in. (Ok at the moment, I fit in them) I was talking to someone close to me who has recently gotten into running. I was mentioning how I was planning to start heart rate training. I was saying how I really don’t know what pace that I should be training with and how I was basing perceived paces on past paces. I went on to say before my 2016 thyroid surgery I was much faster and ran a 26:26 5K. They literally thought I was mistaken because the pace was 8:30 and they thought that was too fast for me (then).
I showed them my stats from Atlinks and pointed out that I used to be much faster and was quit the bad-ass at the time. Again this was someone in my life close to me. Someone who knows how much I love(d) running and how often I’ve run. They realized how much I raced. How many events I completed and all of that……. but they put me in a box. They didn’t see me for who I was at that time and only their perception of me.
Even now I know people define me….. Let them because their vision is not mine. Their perceptions don’t define me. I know that some see me just as a mom. Some see me as a wise ass (ok that one might be true). Some see me as my size. Some see me with their vision…… They are missing who I am
I may be some of what they say, but I am so much more. I am determined. I am an athlete. I am social warrior. I am many things. What I am most is what I determined.
As a finally note, you will come across people in your life that will see all the pieces in your box. They will see you with clear eyes. They will see the good. They will see the bad. They will see it all. Those that see it all and accept it as it is and not as they want or imagine…. Those are your peeps. Those are the keepers. I am lucky to have a few of those and I’m holding onto them.
There is a song I remember singing in church as a kid.
“It only takes a spark to get a fire going. And soon all those around can warm up in it’s glowing.”
I’m not sure why out of all the songs we sang this one stuck with me, but it did.
I’ve been humming it recently because I have been feeling a spark again. A spark of fire. A spark of motivation. A spark to do more. I am not sure where it is coming from, but I like it. I am feeding the low flame to keep it from burning out. I think it is easier to snuff out the flame of motivation then to get the flame burning brightly. I miss the fire. I miss the motivation.
This 30 day challenge has been very helpful. Some days I will take forever to get motivated to get into the garage aka home gym, but once I’m there I never regret it. I also realize that one thing that I often do is going in flaming hot and then burn out. Push too hard. Do too much. Don’t pace myself and make it unsustainable.
There is no reason to do any of that. The goal is to keep moving. I am not training for anything.
The summer before my surgery left me Hypopara I ran the NYC Half in the Spring 1:58:59 for a pace of 9:04. I ran a local 5K in the summer in 26:26 with a pace of 8:30. Then just weeks before my surgery I ran the NYC Marathon in 4:56 with pace of 11:18 and while that may not seem stellar that was due to not running a smart race. I literally, figuralively, and realistically was at my physical peak in 2016. I was ready to chase that 4;15 marathon. I had unlimited energy. There was no stopping me………. or so I thought.
We all know the expression, Nothing is impossible. One it’s face everyone wants to cheer it but really it’s not true. Some things are impossible. Some goals will never be reached not for lack of will but due to reality. We have to create goals that are within reach. If I were to set a goal to PR a race right now, I realistically would not be able to reach it. But if I were to set a goal to finish a race (if there were such a thing as live events), then that would be in reach. So in life it isn’t so much as failing at our goals, but setting goals that our realistically attainable. Just because goals are attainable does not mean that that you don’t need to work and work hard to reach them.
In thinking of where I want to go with my fitness goals, I think I need to readjust how I am setting them. I’ve been focusing on pace with my running but I think at this time I need to think about training by heart rate for a while. From there I will then be able to determine what realistic goals I can set with my running. Until then I will just learn more about heart rate training. In working with weights if I tried to lift weights like I did in my Crossfit days, I would injure myself. Why would I think it would be any different with running.
So here is to living in reality and working with what you’ve got. I’ve got a lot to work with mostly my ability to keep plugging along and not give up. So I will just keep plugging along.
Often in life we wonder…. Did I make a difference? Was I effective in what I wanted to accomplish? Would Anything be different if I hadn’t been there?
Then again…. Maybe that is just me and George Bailey. If you are unfamiliar with George, you need to acquaint yourself with the classic Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life. It is one of my favorites. A classic tale of a man who is granted a wish from an angel to see what the world would be like without him. Now my hubby thinks that it is not the stellar movie that I do, so I guess it is a subjective thing. For me, it is a heartwarming story of a man who doesn’t recognize how important he is to those around him and the impact he has had on others.
I think most of us in life do not realize the impact we have on others. We go about doing our things living our lives and often we don’t know how our actions have influenced, helped, or impacted someone else. A kind word here. A deed that maybe we thought went unnoticed noticed there. Sometimes because we don’t see it, we begin to think that maybe we aren’t making a difference or no one is paying attention.
Similar but different to when people post those “I know no one reads my posts” on their social media to see who is paying attention. Not the copy and paste ones, but the real ones. Sometimes in a world filled with noise it is easy to get lost or feel invisible. So when a friend posts something like that don’t just roll your eyes, they may truly feel invisible and just need to feel seen. To feel validated. To not feel alone. Sometimes a simple Hello is all it takes to make someone feel seen.
Then there are the times we wonder if we are being seen. If the things that we do have made a change. We may never know the full impact of our words, deeds and life. There aren’t too many Clarences (angel in above movie) to show us our impact but that does not lesson it. Each and ever person’s life has an impact on another’s life. Good or bad. This is why the expression of being kind is so important. One life really does touch another. Sadly in our society, we often wait till someone is gone to express how impactful they were in life. It really is sad.
The truth of the matter we may never know how we have touched someone’s life. If you think about the people who touched your life, the people who effected your life with a word or deed (good or bad), how many of these people actually know. I thought about a 4th grade teacher who showed me kindness. I thought about people that I worked with that inspired me. I thought about words that I’ve read that have stayed with me. I’ve thought about words that were spoken to me that stayed with me. We all have moments that for one reason or another stay with us while. They stay with us because they impacted us and the other person might not even have a clue. They don’t even need to be big moments……. many of these moments are not the BIG moments in life because every moment is life is a big moment we just don’t realize it. Each day is a gift. It’s not hokey to say. It is true.
As you can tell from this post, I’ve been doing some reflections recently. I believe part of it comes from taking part in Remembering Sandy Hook with 14 Days of Actions. These actions have been showing gratitude, being kind, and self-care. Some days it was as simple as taking a moment to actually talk to a friend…. not text…. not facebook….. have a real conversation which many of us miss as we stay home due to Covid. Some days were as simple as Saying Hello to brighten someones day. Then there were the days of action taking a moment to not only think about what we are grateful for but actually write it out. These things got me thinking about the impact we all have on each other. It is much greater than we realize.
Each life has an impact on another life in ways we might never know. I think having so much time at home has mad me a little more reflective Normally, I send a million and one Christmas Cards. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but my list is long! This year, there was no great family photos to use. I joked that maybe I could take a picture of my couch as that is really where my year unfolded “Merry Christmas from my couch to yours.” Without this photo card, I was didn’t want to send cards. Then a friend said something that got me thinking how in this year of crap how something as simple as a card could make someone’s day brighter. So I changed it up. This year there is no photo card, my list is MUCH shorter, but I am going old school. Sending cards with actual handwritten messages telling those who receive something that I might not let them know enough….. How much I appreciate them. (PS – If you were previously on my list and don’t get a card, please know that I do love and appreciate you too, but time is limited!)
If you don’t already know, I want you to know………
You are important.
You make a difference.
I encourage you, let those in your life know this too.
So tired of 2020, but who says 2021 is going to be any better. Although I do have hight hopes for after January 20th, but even then it will be a process to turn things around. Not the flick a switch, say Happy New year at midnight and everything rights itself.
The problem is now we have all gotten comfortable being uncomfortable. It is the norm. We stopped wiping down our groceries. We started going out more (not really in this house). We started expanding our bubbles. We took our lives off the holding pattern that the initial surge created.
This is good…..
This is also bad…..
It is good because for the here and now, we do need to learn to live with Covid. We need to work. We need socialization. We need do what we can in the safest manner we can. Although there is good news on the horizon, it is on the horizon and we need to do what we can to get through the here and now.
The time will come when this will pass. When the lockdowns, the masks, the intimate gatherings become social events again. When this will all be a not say very pleasant memory that we will pass stories on to our potential grandchildren about…… We won’t even need to exaggerate because the truth is bad enough. The stories will begin with….. The year was 2020 and there was no toilet paper to be found.
But for now.
We still show caution.
We remain patient.
We wear our masks.
Most of all we….
Tomorrow will be a better day even if tomorrow is a short distance away. We don’t know what tomorrow yet, but it is coming. Life will go back to normal. We will carry the lessons that we learned We will hold onto those that carried us through 2020 in what ever way necessary. We will throw mask burning parties. We will do all of these things if we just have patience to get there.
As a runner, what I miss most about 2020 is races. Not even crossing the finish line, but racing with friends. Training for events. Planning events. Waiting at start line of events. I miss it terribly, but I have no desire to do any in person events right now. Everyone has their level of comfort and this is past mine. To be honest, I don’t much enjoy running in the park filled with other runners and walkers. There will be a day where that won’t even be a thought and I can’t wait.
So we wait.
We practice all the things we know we need to do….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.