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Let it Go, Let it Go

As Elsa said, It’s really time to Let it go….

I  never really let things go.

It’s time.

Ok.  It’s past time.

For example, I ordered these pace bands once I got into Chicago.

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If you can’t tell, these are 4:15 and 4:30 pace bands.

Crazy now.   At one point, it was a goal.   Actually it wasn’t even a crazy goal.

In the back of my mind, this was while not a goal, it was possible.   I was secretly holding onto it.    I couldn’t let it go.   No matter how improbable or silly, I held onto it.    In the deep recesses of my brain, I admit now that this was always there.   I kept imagining a miracle in my training.  That something  would click and I would be right back there.   As much as that seed was in the back of  my mind, I realistically trained for where I am today.

I am at a 5 if not a 5 1/2 hour marathon.

I’m a firm believer in goals.   It’s what kept me running.

Some people have goals for speed, some distance, some just getting out the door.   My goal at this point is honestly just to finish.   Each goal is a worthy goal.   Each brings it’s own set of challenges.   That is the beauty of being a runner.   You are only competing with  yourself and your own limitations.   Some real and some imagined.

So with a goal of getting to the finish line, I need to run smart.    As I’ve said before, I’ve hit the wall before at a marathon.   It’s not pretty.  I, honestly, don’t know if I can push through it today.   I’ve got a lot going  on… The calcium issues, the stomach issue, the tendonitis, and oh yeah being 15 pounds heavier than last year.

I’ve sought out advice from those who have dealt with hypoparathyroidism longer than me.   One thing that stuck with me is this response…

“We live a very measured life. We don’t get the option to give it a 70% or an 80%. If we are to accomplish what we are aiming for, We have to give it a 100% . At all times.”

So with this advice, I know that I have no room for show boating.   I’ll save that for a later date with friends whose hands I will grab as we cross the finish line.

A 5 hour marathon is still a marathon.

A 5 1/5 hour marathon is still a marathon.

And I’ve got 6 1/2 hours to get to the finish line.   I will say that I’m hoping to get there before then, but I will get there and be happy about it if that is how it rolls that day.

All I know is that when I get to the finish line, I might hug the person giving me a medal.worth it

 

 

It’s All Her Fault

 

 

We all have days in our lives that are pivital.    Many times we don’t recognize it at the time how important these days are to our journey.    Today is one of those days.

Today is my “Fitness Anniversary.”

Yeah, I totally made that slogan up, but I like it and it’s true.

Just a few short years ago today in 2013 was the day that I received my very first medal.

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This was supposed to be my one and done event.   My nod to that I  may have been getting older, but that didn’t mean that I couldn’t do something unimaginable in my youth.

This blog was started as a way for friends and family to track my training and journey to this event.

Who knew at the time that all the talk of the “One and done” was in haste?

This event was September 8, 2013; but it started much earlier than that.  It was literally almost a year in the making and I actually owe it all to my friend Rose (I totally blame you:).    This was the year that I decided that I was going to start an exercise program.   Once I started, my friend roped my into signing up for the Sandy Hook Iron Girl.   She had very good points – we would train together, it would keep us motivated,  we could train with the local YMCA Tri group, and it would be fun.

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I will be honest, I didn’t necessarily think it was all fun.   I may have complained about how much I hated running during the Couch to 5K program.    I may have thought that I would drown during the swim and I certainly didn’t like the way my butt felt  after riding the bike for so long.

Then something changed along the way.

Me.

Small changes at first which morphed into bigger changes.

Running became not something to dread, but something I looked forward to and actually went out of my way to do.

It became part me.

Now exactly a month from now on October 8th I will be standing at the starting line for the Chicago Marathon, my 5th marathon.   I have logged countless miles since the beginning, made countless friends, and learned much about myself.

I actually went and looked at my stats from MapMyRun today.   While not 100% accurate, this app I have used since I started running “seriously” in 2013.

Total miles:  2,855.85

Duration:  24.93 DAYS

Calories Burned: 341,174

I look at those totals and the first thing that comes to mind…….

Shouldn’t I be thinner?

Then I think….

Damn!

Even though this last year, my totals are not that impressive, that means nothing.   I didn’t start this journey to have the best totals.   I started it for me and I continue it for me.

And that is all you can ask of yourself….

Do what makes you happy:)

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Getting to the Finish Line…

 

I’ve already learned or should I say…. I’ve already made the mistake of crashin and burning at one marathon.   I went out WAY too fast in  New York running the first half like I didn’t have 13 more to go.   I suffered the consequences when I hit the wall and hit it hard.    I didn’t get my A, B, or even C goal.   I just squeaked in under the 5 hour mark which was my last resort.    All that being said, when I hit the wall, I was able to maybe not climb over it but I was able to push through it.   I made it to the finish line.

Here is the thing though…

I don’t want to admit it.   I want to pretend that I am exactly where I was a year ago, but every run proves me wrong.    I need to get my head screwed on straight and do it quick.

Yes I talk about it all the time, but it is past time that I stop pretending the I’m “recovering” from an injury at this point in time.   Yes, I did need to recover from my surgery.   Yes, there was a recovery time, but I am no longer recovering.   What I am dealing with is a lifelong illness.

Blah.. Blah… Blah…. Blah.

Yes, I talk about it all the time.   I think about it even more.

Right now though, I can’t both train for the distance and try to get my speed back.   There might come a time where I can hold the pace, but that time is not now.   And lets face it, I’m not getting any younger.   In two years I’m reaching a big milestone and people generally don’t get faster the older they get.   I’m pretty sure that I will not be that anomoly.

Does it suck?

you bet.

Could it be worse?

Much!

Am I lucky?

Yup.

Do I have a choice?

Not really.

Here is the thing….   I can push myself to run a faster pace, but it is not a pace that I could hope to keep for a marathon.   It’s not even a pace that I can keep for a 5K.

Reality bites as they say.

So once again, I am faced with deciding if it is worth pushing my body to hit the wall in Chicago or if I want to make it to the finish line.   I’m pretty sure that I can’t do both.   I’m pretty certain that my training will go a lot better when I start facing the reality of where I am today.   Today, I am at a walk run ratio.   This does not mean that when I am running that I should be hitting under a 10 minute pace or even under 9 which I briefly did.   I’m not there yet.   Maybe once again but not today and certainly not in the 47 days till Chicago.

What to do?   What to do?

As a runner who likes numbers, it is hard to run/walk because when running alone I tend to push the run faster than I should.   I worry that I will do that in Chicago. It is always hard in any race to hold back even when you know you should.

I think what I realistically need to do is just say out loud that I may not run a 5:00 marathon.  I really am not sure what I can do, but am willing to find out.   I have to train to keep my runs where they should be which is no faster than a 10:45 pace.   I have to stop worrying about my average pace.    I have to say….

This is ok.

This is where I am.

The goal is to finish.

That is enough.

It has to be.

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What is your Why?

 

 

 

When I first started racing, it was exciting.   It was fun.   I couldn’t stop myself from signing up for things on a whim.    There was fire.    My first race ever was the Sprint Triathlon in September of 2013.   Since then according to Athlinks, I’ve run 42 races.    Considering I have only done 2 races this year, that comes to a lot of races in such a short period of time.  This year, I only have a few races on the calendar which I am enjoying.

When I first started running, I had something to prove to myself.   It was a challenge.   It was fun.   I had my running race buddies.   I couldn’t stop.   Then I did.  Now it was time to reevaluate and regroup.  I have different reasons for running now.   I am in a different place.   As said before, I know that the reason I want to run Chicago is just to run it to prove that I can.

I was talking to someone who deferred a big race.   She was coming back from an injury, but originally thought that she would push through to train.    She then realized that she was planning on pushing through her injury for a race that she no longer really felt like running.   The desire just wasn’t there.  We  get to a point where we have to start questioning why we are doing the things we are doing and what would happen if we didn’t do them.   She had nothing to prove to herself.   She also realized that her heart just wasn’t in it.   Once her decision was made, she felt relief.

Often subconsciously  we know what we need to do and even the reasons why, but for some reason we feel like we just need to keep doing the same thing.  We feel like we would be a quitter.   Like somehow we are a failure when the reality could not be further from the truth.   Sometimes stepping back and being true to ourselves is so much braver than soldiering through.   Unknowingly we fall into patterns of doing thing because we think that we should do them. We think we will disappoint others or just because we don’t want to have to think about why we are feeling that way.   Sometimes we can’t even explain it to ourselves.

I always say honestly is the best policy.   Those that know me personally know that they shouldn’t ask me a question if they do not want an upfront and honest answer.   Being honest with ourselves is just as important.   We put too much pressure on ourselves not just with our running but life in general   As with life, sometimes in our running we have to step back to evaluate our motives and desires as they can change over time without us even realizing it.  What was once a driving force may no longer ring true to us anymore.  And sometimes you have to  ask  the hard questions.  You know just what to ask too.  Only you have the answers, but you need to allow yourself time to find them.

My one piece of advice to you – No matter what  make sure that you are still having fun! I don’t mean that you should laugh your way through your training, but just make sure it doesn’t become a job.  Running is a great stress relief and we all have so much on our plates that running should be something that gets us away from it all and shouldn’t feel like something we have to do:)

One thing that I have noticed these last few months is that I am content not to be on such a tight race schedule.   Always training.   Always planning.   As much as I enjoyed the hard training that I put in and running the races,   I can honestly say that I am happy where I am in my training.  I am content to sit on the couch a little longer in the morning.  I am putting in the miles that I will need to be ready for Chicago, but I am not consumed by my training.   I am flexible.  The fire still burns but maybe right now it’s not as hot.   When and if the time comes, I can always turn up the flame.  I know part of it comes from knowing that I am not chasing a time, but running for me and what more can I ask for?

Whats-your-why

 

 

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

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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Take Credit Where Credit is Due

It has to be said….

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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?