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Great Expectations

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

She’s right.

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

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

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

comfortzone-crop

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

 

 

 

Honesty is the Best Policy

Time for some brutal honesty.

I’ve got wiggles.  I’ve got jiggle.   I’ve got a belly that would shake like a bowl fully of jelly if not for the support of  my running pants.   As my son once told me, I’ve got a nice soft tummy like a pillow.

Yup, he said that.

You know what?   He wasn’t wrong when he said it and it’s still very true today.   Instead of a six-pack, my abs could be described more like a marshmallow quality.

I told you that it was time for brutal honesty.

Now as I admit these things, that does not mean I’m beating myself up.   I’m just being honest.   I will also say that I’ve got legs that really are very muscular, strong, and can go the distance.

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.   These legs and the accompanying jiggle have taken me many miles and on awesome adventures.

Truth be told, I wouldn’t mind loosing a few pounds.

Truth be told, I’m not sure if I want to make the sacrifices required to do so either.

Here is the thing….

  • I’ve got a hubby that genuinely doesn’t care about the extra jiggle and I plan on keeping him.
  • My blood pressure is amazing and I’ve got great cholesterol levels.
  • My heart is obviously doing ok with all the cardio (AKA running) that I do.
  • In the whole scheme of things, even though I would be happy if I lost the weight, I am also happy with keeping it.   To be honest it really won’t change my life at all.

Last time that I went on a major diet was between son number two and son number three.   Son number three is now 10.    So it’s been a while.  At the time, I did the South Beach Diet.   It took dedication and planning, but it did work.   I’m just not that sure that I want to be that dedicated.   I’m beginning to ponder and develop a game plan.

I do know that I will do nothing till May 1rst which is the day after the the NJ Half Marathon.   You would think this would have something to do with the actual race, but it doesn’t.  It has to do with not setting myself up for failure.   April is my mother’s, my son’s, and my birthday.   Plus it is Easter.   I don’t want to start something that I know wont end well.

I am thinking that the best course of action will be just to start making wiser decisions which I’m already trying to incorporate.  Drink more water.   Eat more fruit.   Just think about what I’m eating.   Who knows maybe that is all I need right now:)

So if I’m happy with things, why even think about the weight.   Well I’m also thinking about goals for the year.    I know realistically that if I do loose a few pounds that I might actually be able to run the Chicago Marathon well.   Maybe even hitting the elusive 4:30 mark.   Of course, a lot of that also depends on my training.  So if I plan to loose weight it will need to be before marathon training begins.

Right now these are just thoughts.   Pondering.   Weighing my options if you will.

You got to have goals and to have goals you have to have plans.

What’s your goal?

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.

be-happy-quotes

The Struggle is Real:)

For those who have been here you know that I’ve been struggling a little recently.  I could tell that I’ve been off both emotionally and physically.  I recently changed the way that I’ve been taking my medicine and I think the change is working.    I was waking up and taking my thyroid medicine, 2 of the 8 calcium pills that I take during the day, and another pill to help my body to absorb the calcium.   It now appears that when my thyroid was removed, my parathyroid glands were damaged or have decided they need an extended vacation.   There is a chance they could still bounce back and start working but it seems unlikely at this point.  Surgery was 3 months ago and most people are back to normal within two  weeks.   My doctor did say in rare cases it could take up to 6 months, but I’m not hopeful at this point.

My last blood work showed that my calcium was just under the normal limit.   This got me thinking that maybe I shouldn’t be taking everything at once in the morning.   I’ve never been a pill or medicine person, so maybe it was just too much for my body.   After talking to my pharmacist, I implement the change.   It has only been going on two weeks, but I really think it is making a difference.   I guess we will see when I go for my blood count again in two weeks.  I already think my calcium will be on target with the changes or at least I hope so.   I can tell my nails are not as brittle, but I’ve still got really dry skin.  Your guess is as good as mine.

And you thought calcium was just for strong bone and teeth.   Who knew calcium was so important?  Not me.  Live and learn.   It is important for a whole host of reason.

I do think though even if I have to tweak the calcium dosage that my thyroid levels should be good.   My doctor upped my dose a month ago and I think that those levels will be on target.   I have more energy.   I am also starting to get  back to my old self which I think getting back into my old routine is helping with.   I’m paying attention.

So what is that routine….

I’m still not where I was, but the good news is I don’t need to be there right now.   Since I wisely switched from the NJ Marathon to the Half Marathon, I don’t feel the need to push myself to the 40 miles a week I was running presurgery.   I do hope to build to a 20 to 25 a week, but I’m in no hurry.  My goal for NJ Half is just to finish.  Period.  End of Story.

Now that I’m looking forward, I also want to take time to reflect on my 2016 and how I fared.   This will allow me to FINALLY see what goals if any I want to set this year.   I’ll let you know how that goes tomorrow.

un-slumping

 

 

Take Credit Where Credit is Due

It has to be said….

honesty-is-best-policy-quotes

In the last year, there have been several running news stories about people committing fraud during a race.   Some have gone to extremes to either claim to complete a race they never had any intention of completing, faking a chip time, or just lying about the whole thing.   I have never understood that mentality.

Never.

This is why I am having such a hard time with my chip time from the Iron Girl.

I believe in giving credit where credit is due.  I also believe it is wrong to take credit for something that isn’t true.  In my heart of heart I know after some thought that maybe not that my chip time is wrong, but that something is wrong.   And the thing is it pisses me off.

I am pissed not because I’m pretty certain that I didn’t run a 19:12 5k.    I am pissed because I intentionally didn’t wear my GPS watch so I could focus on running the way my body felt.  If I had worn my watch, I would know what I actually ran and how fast I actually ran it.

I am pissed because I trusted the race organizers to have not just an accurate chip system, but also have the proper race distance for the course.    This is actually what I think happened.   I’m not sure.   I’ve run this race enough to know the course somewhat, so it does feel the same.   That being said, I know there is something off.   I am really just not that fast and I’m really not sure what happened.

Now, I know that there are some people who will be like shut the blank up already.   I respect that, but as my real life friends will tell you, I am nothing if not honest.   Like all the time.  Brutally honest, but in a nice way.   They know not to ask me a question that they don’t want my truthful  answer to.   I am not a yes Mam kind of gal.   So I just want the truth.

Here’s the thing though, I’m not sure if I will get the truth but I’m certain it is out there.   I’ve been comparing not just my times from 2015 and 2016 but the some times of those that I saw that ran both years that were top finishers.  EVERYONE is much faster.   Obviously, everyone would have different times from year to year.   That being said, everyone is consistently faster by at least 5 minutes.   Now granted I am not crazy enough nor do I have enough time to do a statistical analysis nor would I even be good at doing it.   I just know that I looked at a few people and this is what it appears to me.    So I’m thinking that somehow they messed up the course and shortened it.

I’m pissed.   Not because they shortened it but in looking and thinking about this, I realized that even though I know in my heart that I didn’t run a 19 minute 5K, I might have actually still run under a 25 minute 5K and I will never know.   I feel robbed, cheated, and a little bit of a fraud.

Now I know that there is nothing that I can do.   Although, I did email Iron Girl organization to verify the course.   I know that if I had the time or inclination I could go down to Sandy Hook and do that myself.   Knowing me, the next time I am down there I just might do that:)     That being said, when asked what my 5K PR is I will still go with 26:26 which really is a rocking time.

Has this ever happened to you?

 

 

 

Believe the Unbelievable

It’s been a LONG Day, but it’s been a good day.   I’m guessing any day that starts with a 4:00 AM alarm will be long.    Those are the breaks though on race day.

Today was my what appears to be annual trip to Sandy Hood Gateway National Park for the Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon.   The race that started it all.   The race that is always full of surprises and always worth doing although I question why on the drive down.

The morning had to start at such an unsightly hour because I needed to allow extra time to pick up my bib.   I will say that I normally like to pick up my bib, rack my bike, and get my bearings the day before.   This is not always possible when you are attending your son’s soccer tournament in the blazing heat.   That being said, it was all good.   Really only made for a slightly earlier morning.

Arrive with time to pick up packet, rack my bike, and set up transition.   I’m good to go.    Have swim cap and goggles and ready to make my way to swim start.   Hold the phones…. Swim is cancelled.    Apparently the current is making it unsafe.   I will say that I was disappointed, but I would much rather they side with caution than someone get hurt (myself included).   My very first Iron Girl Tri the swim was way wicked.   Everyone complained that they didn’t cancel it.   Then today many complained that they did.   Can’t win.

So today I did my first Duathlon.

Run, Bike, Run

It took a bit for them to reconfigure, but once they did it went without a hitch.   The beauty of being in the older groups is that I didn’t have to wait so long to start my run.   I think I was off by 7:45.     We started off with an out and back of 3 miles.   Why they didn’t do the full 5K, I have no clue.

So off I went watchless.   It was strange not starting my Garmin, but this was supposed to be just do what the body says you can do day.   It was supposed to be an easy recovery day especially after yesterdays 11 miles in the disgustingly hot weather.

First run feels good.  Get back to transition and really nothing to do except put on a bike helmet and suck down a Honey Stinger.  Bike sucks and only because I literally did not train or ride my bike ALL summer long.  Also might have been helpful to bring another gel with me.   Oops.   Get back to transition and I feel like I’ve been sitting on a horse all day not a bike for a little more than an hour.

I will interject to add that on the bike portion I knew they made the right decision about the swim as the wind was wicked and the white caps were plenty.   I will also like to add that I was starting to think that my name had changed to “on your left” which is what people say when flying by you (or me).   I admit, that I should have ridden my bike more or at least a little bit.

Go out for the second run.   This one being the full 5K.   I feel like my bottom is still in the saddle and I REALLY want to walk.   At this point, I decide though that I am going to run the whole thing.   I am just going to keep moving.   I dig deep as the saying goes and remind myself that this is nothing compared to a 50K (Ok it is, but you say what you say to keep yourself moving).   I also remind myself that this is how I’m going to feel come mile 22 of NYCM, so I just need to keep moving.   I know that I’m running brisk because not only can I feel a little stitch in my side but I’m breathing pretty heavy.   I’ve got no watch.   I’ve got no clue and I know if I slow down that I might just stop.  I also don’t feel like I’m dying, just like I’m at the end of a race

Just keep moving.    Going to make it to the end without walking.   This is it.

Cross the finish line.

Yeah!!!

Get my time.

Holy Crap.   This can’t be right????

iron-girl2016

Now my question is why would I question it?    I know the course.   I know that my bike time is right about where it was last year.    If my times were in slower, I would never question.   Why is it so hard to believe the good stuff?

One of my friends suggested that I never run with a watch again::)   Ha!

I will say that I am in shock.   Last year my run was 31:53.    My fastest 5K was over the summer at a local 5K where I ran 26:26.   This is unbelievable and I keep expecting them to tell me that they made a mistake.    The won’t because official times were released and apparently I do run much faster without a watch to tell me to slow down.

Now all I need to do is see what m coach says about m easy recovery run that I was supposed to do.  So much for easy recovery run:)   Really shocked

It was a great day and even though I went into it by myself you can never feel alone when your surrounded by a group of Tri Women!

Now it is time to put this to bed and myself included.

Come Back to Me……

After many months, I was FINALLY able to get a much need run in with a friend tonight.    The beauty of your running friends is they will tell you what you want to hear, sometimes things you don’t want to hear, and just listen while you ramble on too.   It’s a special thing:)

We were talking about my training and her training as she is also doing New York.    We both have similar goals except that I’m not really sure of my goals right now.   Things are kind of up in the air, but she made me laugh telling me not to be a “teenager and just do it.”    She further pointed out that my training has been getting back on track and that if I give it just a little more time so will my head.    Part of that has to do with once the kids get back in school and I can get back to my normal schedule.

Here’s hoping.

I said to her that it has really been a difficult summer and it is even ending on a not so fun note.   All of these things are have not totally sucked the life out of my training because I am finally able to get my workouts in.   Maybe not all of them, but I’m getting better.   I’m getting back doing what I need to do, it is just sucking my get up and go.

my-get-up-and-go-dont-leave-me

I’ve said before that part of my problem is that last year when training for Marine Corps Marathon, I had committed goals.  They were concrete.    I don’t have that this time.    I am missing the drive that I had.   I am trying to find it.   I really am, but part of me keeps questioning in the end what does it matter.    I know it would be a source of pride to me to run a marathon in 4:30 or under, but other than that what will the point be?   I have PR’d in various events.    In looking at Athlinks today, I realized that there were a few events that I finished decently and one I even came in first in my age group.   Of course, there were only 4 women in that group but still.   I’m wondering……  What does it matter?

I not only love  to run, but being a runner is part of who I am now.    If I were to never run another race again (that’s not happening – don’t panic), I would still need running in my life.   I love running, but I’m growing weary of training.   Not physically, but mentally.

I know all this mumbo jumbo in my head is due to all that has happened this summer.    You can’t loose a loved one and not think about what is important in your life.  I wish that was all, but like the commercials says “but there’s more!”

I am committed to running the New York City Marathon.   I am committed to training for the New York City Marathon.     I am committed to finishing the New York City Marathon.   I just wish I knew how I wanted to finish it and what I want out of race day.

It feels good to say that.   It feels good to know that.

That is the one thing that has fallen into place today while other things were falling out of place.   I do know that I am committed to New York which will mean that I will be committed to training for it.   Like a child whose old toys is about to be thrown away, I did not realize how important this has become to me until the prospect of having to bow out became a possibility.

If there sounds like there is more to this story, there is but I’m not at a point to share it all.     In the scheme of things it’s not anything tragic or bad, it is just something that I have to deal with.   Like laundry, some things just need to be done.    When the time is right, I will let you know.

 

We’re All A Little Crazy. Aren’t We?

I’ve got a race tomorrow.   A race that until very recently, I had forgotten that I signed up for.   A race that I signed up for in my sub 2 NYC Half haze.   I wanted to race it again and I didn’t want to chance the lottery, so I signed up for a few races.   Then I forgot about them.
These things will happen.   Now I am running a 10K in Queens.
I’m going to be bold
I’m going to be crazy
I’m going to push the envelope
And
With any luck that means I will run fast
Very fast for me
No I haven’t been doing speed workouts, but I’m still going to go for it
Last year I ran the Queens 10k in 1:00:47
My 10k PR is 57:08
So I thought why not go for 55
Crazy, I know!
I’m not ready
I’ve been running slow
I’m in a rut
But
Still..
Maybe this is what I need.    I really think it is.
Why Not?
I may crash and burn
But
Maybe
Just maybe
With a little luck and some unicorn magic
I won’t
I’ll never know unless I try.
Now I’ve put it out there and you know too.
If I crash and burn, at least I will have tried.
effort

Tick Tock Tick Tock Goes The Cuckoo Clock

Just two more days and really at this point of the evening it really is one more day.   Two days till I attempt to run a 50K.   Somehow this really seemed like an amazingly great idea a few months ago.   Today not so much.   Today is the more, “What was I thinking?” kind of day.

What was I thinking

I usually get asked two questions about my upcoming race.   The first one is how far in miles is a 50K.   I had to look it up because although I knew it was 31 point something, I really didn’t know what the point was either.   It is 31.7 miles.    At some point it doesn’t matter except at the end when you are counting them down.

The second question is why?    We’ve been through this before.   Why not?

You think I would be nervous.   You think I’d be packed.   You think I would have read through all the information they sent.    I don’t even have directions to the hotel mapped out.  I will get to all of these things shortly I’m sure.    I’m actually pretty calm for some reason.   I guess you might refer to it as the calm before the storm.    Besides at this point I’m in for the LONG haul which hopefully will be only 31.7 miles baring any wrong turns.   Again, this is why I need to read the information and look at the map.   I can’t just follow the crowd because how do I know they won’t leave me in the dust or even that they know where they are going.

As far as goals, my number one and really only goal is to finish.   I would, of course, like to finish well but finishing is number one.   And as far as what I mean by finishing well, I do not mean winning the Cuckoo Clock the winners get.   I mean to finish strong.   To finish like I trained for this.   To finish without feeling like I want to die.  (Why am I doing this again?)   I would also like to make sure to finish before the twelve and half hour alloted time.   I think I should be ok as when I did the trail marathon in January I was at six and half hours.   That gives me a nice cushion:)

But it is time to get prepared.    It’s time to open the door to utra running and see what that is all about.    I would like to say that I will be one and done, but I said that about marathons too and I’ve already run 2 more than I said I would not counting NYCM coming in November.    And I won’t lie in the back of my mind I’m already toying with a 50 miler for the year I turn 50 which thankfully is a few years away.    Besides, I really should just get through this weekend before I start talking smack!!

Either way it’s going to be a great time filled with lots of laughs and good company since there are many BAMR’s going from my running group.   Some are doing 25k, some 50k, and the truly insane ones are doing 50 miles but insanity is a wonderful thing!  The support of these women is something I wish everyone experiences in their life in some shape or form.

Friends

So I’m off to do all the things that I need to do, but you can count on hearing more about this not matter how it turns out.

What are you doing this weekend?