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What to Wear? What to Wear?

As a runner, we tend to become obsessive as race day approaches.

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Checking the weather

Deciding on race attire

Checking the weather again

Changing what we plan to wear again.

It’s one of the reasons I like to make my flat runner the night before a race too because then I can see how it all comes together and make any final changes.  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that thought too.

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As an added bonus it makes a nice picture

 

For many races, you just never know what the weather will bring and you just never know if you’ve dressed appropriately until race day.   The NY Half was no different.   When I signed up, I imagined a traditional Spring race where the weather might be a little brisk in the early morning, but very comfy when the race was finished.   This year was a little different.

It may be mid March on the calendar, but someone forgot to tell mother Nature as she is holding to winter.   That being said, part of deciding what to wear is knowing your body and how you need to dress.   Every runner is different.   I have 2 friends that I run with when I can.   Between the three of us, we are dressed for three separate seasons.   One is always dressed for the coldest possible temperature.    One is dressed what is probably considered appropriate for the temps.   Then there is me…. Usually dressed in shorts with long socks unless it’s mid winter.   That’s because I know how I run.

I run HOT.

You could say that I’m one hot Mama.

You could say it, but it just doesn’t sound right,

but it is.

Here is the thing though even though I know this about myself, I was doubting what to wear to the race. I kept thinking that I should wear long sleeved shirt instead of arm sleeves and maybe I should wear Capri’s instead of shorts.  The problem is that I run in knee length compression socks, so Capri’s turn into full length pants.   Now the reason I was doubting myself is because I was listening to what everyone else was planning to wear, but they were dressing for their race not mine.

Race night came and I had a final consult with Dawn on my wardrobe.   She reminded me of my vest and I added that into the mix which I’m glad that I did.

I was prepared for the early morning pre race chill.   I had throwaway sweatpants and robe which I wore to the start.   Once I removed them in the corral,  I’ll be honest I was cold, but quickly warmed up once the race started.   Even removing my throw away shirt by mile 2  which I ended up just tying around my waste.

In looking at my race photos, you can see that not many people chose the same way as me.   Not sure why because I was comfy while racing.   I kept moving my arm sleeves up and down.   Gloves off and on.    I honestly believe that if I had added layers or longer pants my run would not have been so good.  I was just right (for me).

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I dressed not to impress but to keep from overheating.   Believe it or not even dressed like this, I was sweating.    I will admit that the back of my upper arms were feeling the chill from the wind burning some with cold.    I think if I were to run another cold day like this, I might choose different arm warmers.

One thing that I would do differently though is check a bag.   I didn’t really think it through and didn’t realize bag check was right there when you came out.   After the race I was meeting up with everyone at a Starbucks.  We did have a car that was parked in the city the previous day to drive home in that I put extra warm clothes in for after the race.    The only problem with that bag is I exited the Park at 61rst street I believe and I needed to go to 81rst street.    Walking that far after a Half isn’t bad.   Walking that far while your dressed for summer with only a heat sheet isn’t good.   Thank God when someone was getting ready to throw away their head sheet, I asked them if I could have it.    I used that as a skirt.   I’m thinking without that second heat sheet, I would have been in trouble as I was shivering some.

All was good though when I entered the warm of Starbucks and got a hot latte to warm me up.   Plus by that point, I knew that my bag was not far away.   The driver of the van was nice enough to bring the bags to Starbucks, so from that point on all was good.

In the past, I have dressed for the weather at the start.   I found it is so much better to be cold at the start and even finish, but be comfy on my run.

Today was that day:)

Do you run hot or cold?

 

 

 

Behind the Curtain

I said that I wanted to go int the NY Half fully trained and I really feel that I accomplished this goal.   I went into this race knowing that I would make it to the finish line.   I went into this race confident and prepared.   That doesn’t always happen, so when it does it’s a beautiful thing.   So how did I do that?

First and most important I was a realist who put in the miles, but I did it my way.   I had a guide that I used more for the mileage and not the actual workouts.   I didn’t do any fartleks, cut-downs, or focus on pace really at all.   This race wasn’t about speed at all.   This day was about having a good race.

I admit that when you are at the starting line in a corral based on previous times which put me in the first wave, it was hard to hold back.  It’s hard not to feel like you should be running faster.   Part of the reason that it is hard is because of the excitement, but part of it is also because everyone else is moving and your moving with them.   At this point, it important to remember that each person is running their own race.  It is important to remember that it doesn’t matter if they pass you either.

During the race, I was thinking a funny thing…….

Most of us are just your average runner.    Most of us no matter how hard we train will never get to the front of the Pack.    It’s not for lack of pushing ourselves, but lets be honest training can only take you as far as it can take you.   If I had unlimited resources and hired a dietician, training coach, and followed their plan to a T that will still not make me as fast Shalane Flanagan.  That just is not who I am.

So on my run, I was reminding myself of who I am and what I want out of my running.    The biggest thing is I want to run.   I need to run.   It is good for me not just physically but mentally.    Then as I was trying to run a smart race, I did wonder why so many of us are so tied into the numbers of our run.   I know that I am, but I am trying to be better.   Based on my heart rate yesterday, I was in the training zone 5 out of 5 for the day.    My heart rate averaged 156 for the race and at one point (although this doesn’t seem right) it showed maximum of 198 which would also indicate when I overlay pace it shows that I started walking.

For me, I was pushing it.   That being said, I also did walk.    I have had races where I had a timed goal.   Some I reached.   Some I didn’t.    Overall, if you ask me what my times were at any given race there are only a few that I could tell you exactly (not counting seconds and I know we count seconds).   But if you asked me to tell you about some of my races, I could probably tell you who I went with and some of our adventures on it.   Those are the moments I cherish.   Those are the memories that mean the most.

 I’ve always said goals are good and I do believe that they are.   That being said, I’m to the point where my goals are changing.   I’m not as concerned with a PR, but in how I ran that day.   Did I push my limits?   Did I do my best?   Most of all did I have fun doing it?

I’ve been thinking a lot about that last question.    I know that it would take an act of God for me to ever PR again.   This is not to say that I am discounting it, but I’m trying to be more realistic.  Again…. not getting any younger.     My body is not the same.   My mindset is also not the same.

For me, it is no longer about the numbers.   For me it is about pushing my limits while at that same time being smart.   Now this is in no way saying that people shouldn’t be chasing time goals.   I would bet that if I hadn’t had my surgery that I would still be chasing time.   But as I said in my post Perspective, things changed for me.

My goal is to set myself up to be running not just a particular race but a year from now. Two years from now.   I want to be a cool grandma runner (which I have YEARS AND YEARS to go before getting there).

In order to make that happen, my goals will be my goals.   To run my own race, my own way.   It may not be the way everyone would want to run it and I may over time get to a point where I reassess these goals.   For now though, this is where I am which is a good place.

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Crossing the finish line with a smile is my new goal:)

and being to get out of bed the next day is a bonus!

Today Was The Day

Today was the day.

Was it everything I expected?

No.

It was more!!!

As always, I will have a lot to say.   So this might take a few days.   Today we will talk the basics.     As I mentioned we were leaving at the crack of the crack of Dawn at 5:00 AM.   This meant getting up at 4:00 as you must have time for a cup of coffee, to get ready, and lets be honest time for coffee to work it’s magic.  (Yes, that is important to us runners).

I was lucky enough to be part of my running groups Clown Car again.   There were, I believe, 14 of us.   It’s nice when you get a group like this because then it is not expensive at all.   Plus the driver will take a group picture.

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As my friend asked is this a group of homeless people or just people trying to stay warm in the cold before a race?

The van dropped us off close to the start where we were able to make a pit stop at a fast food restaurant.   Once we got to the start everyone went their own separate ways as we were starting in different corrals and waves.   Luckily, Mary, was in my corral again.   We were lucky enough to start the NYC Marathon in 2016 and it was nice to have her to chat with pre-race.    Once the race started though, I was on my own.   I kind of like that (usually) in a race.

Going in I had decided on a very conservative pace to start with.   I was bouncing between 11 and 11:15.   I think I picked that because I knew that I would go out too fast and if I picked a slower pace than even out to fast wouldn’t be too fast.    My paces reflect up and down which is fine for the way I intended to run the race.   I walked when I needed to but I still would not say that I took it easy.   I also pushed.   I ran a hard race.   I worked hard and I finished with my realistic A time goal.

Official time was 2:31:29

It was a good day.   My Garmin showed more than the 13.1 but that might be do to too much bobbing and weaving.   My paces were up and down with the course and my plan.

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This worked for me.   It might not be what a coach would recommenced, but for this day this was perfect.   In looking at the faster paces at mile 8 & 9 that might explain my feet starting to hurt at that point.

My mantra was “This is your race.   You need to run it your way.”

And I did.

The best part was I enjoyed myself.   I helped someone bob and weave to cross the street.   I took pictures along the way.   I just enjoyed the experience and before I knew it, I was pulling into Central Park.   I will admit the hills of the Park were not that enjoyable, but crossing the finish line in the Park was awesome!

More tomorrow, because to be honest I’m really tired.

What did you do today?

7 Days

This time next week I will more than likely be in the middle of or finishing up a nap with any luck.     In 7 days I am off to run the NY Half Marathon.   Last time I ran this event not only was I chasing but captured the elusive sub 2 Half Marathon.   I ran an average pace of 9:05 finishing just under the wire at 1:58:59.   I literally had a minute to spare.

It was a great day.   I say this not just because of the sub 2, but overall it was amazing.  No lie…https://accidentallyrunningmama.com/2016/03/22/the-good-the-bad-and-the-awesome/

This time many things will be the same and many will be different.

The early than crack of dawn early time is still true.   Unfortunately many that I ran this race with last time will not be there this time, but I’m still going in with friends.    We have decided to take a van into the city that will drop us off at the start line.   After the race, some are meeting their families, some are finding their own way home, and some of us will meet up to travel home together.  There is something special after a race sharing it with friends.   I’ve gone to many races by myself and afterwards it is not the same alone.   Your family only wants to hear so much about your running and I mean so much.

Now this year the course has changed, but it will still run through Times Square.   I’ll be honest I am not familiar enough with the city to know where this course will take me.   Good thing I’ll be in the middle of the pack, so I don’t need to know the way.  Ha!   I do know that this course might be a little hillier than previous one, but it is what it is.

 

Last time I went into this race trained for speed and ready to face the day.    I knew it would be tough hitting the sub 2, but I knew that I had it in me.   This time around, I know that I will make it to the finish line but I need to be smart about it.   This time, I am trained to finish when I finish.   There is no goal time.   I am going into enjoy the ride, see the city, and cross the finish line.

One thing that I am trying to figure out is what pace I will be running.   I plan on being conservative and I have really not trained for a specific time.   I know New York crowds can carry you away and that is what I am most afraid of.   Starting a race, any race, it is so easy to run out too fast.   Starting a race in New York City with NYC crowds it is almost impossible not to be swept up in the excitement.   This is why I must come up with a plan.   I need to have paces to follow.   Paces that my training shows that I can maintain.   Paces that will get me to the finish line with a smile.

That will be my goal this week.   To come up with a plan and follow it!

Do you follow a race plan?

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I’m Ready

I’ve been having a rough go of it lately. I’ve been stuck. Afraid to move forward.  Afraid of not being enough.  Afraid of things out of my control.  Afraid of failure, but who defines success and failure?

I’ve been stuck wandering in the fog for so long that I thought I would never see clearly again and even though I knew my vision was impaired I clung to it.   It is only after you come out of the fog that you can look at things with open eyes.   I’m ready now.   After one false start after another, I am truly ready now.   I can feel the difference.

I am looking at things clearer than I have in a while.   I do not have 20/20 yet, but really does anyone?    We all carry so much baggage that colors our world.   The trick is knowing what to hold onto and what to let go.   What really sucks is when you pack for summer only to find out that you are stuck in winter.    It is a work in progress, but I feel like I’m getting there in many aspects of my life.

As for my running….. I can finally say that I am coming to terms that things will be different.    Things will be harder.   My body will need more recovery time and be more sore than it had in the past.  I will wake up and my my body will ache.  Things will not feel the same.

BUT…..

Many things will remain the same.

I will still get peace of mind and clarity when running.

I will still feel the accomplishment of finishing a run.

I still will bond with friends while running.

I will still cross finish lines and most of all I will still run for me.

With this acceptance, I am finally able to let go of the ego that I spoke of.   I thought I was holding onto something, but really I was keeping myself from moving forward.   I am tired of standing still and am ready to move on from the past.    One of the reasons that I couldn’t commit to training was because somehow I felt less because I would pick a plan that the pre-hypopara me could have easily kept to, but the me of today can not.   Maybe there will be a day, but that day is not today.

I’ve been thinking of the NYC Half a lot.   NYRR always puts on great events, but these big events are spectacular.   The crowds.   The running on closed NYC streets.   It is an amazing feeling to run through Times Square like this race does.   As I said before, I want to enjoy it.   I want to be ready for it.    I want to embrace where I am today.   Not yesterday.   Not tomorrow.   Not next year.  Today.

So with this thought process, I picked a training plans for Training Peaks for a half marathon with a 2:30 finish time.   Now, I will be honest…. I am not sure that I can do a 2:30 finish.   It might be just a hair out of where I am, but it might not.   It is also much more realistic that 2:15.   Besides you will never know what you can do if you don’t push a little more than you think that you can do.  So I will push, but I will push wisely.

It is time to face this with open eyes, laced up shoes, and the knowledge that as long as I am doing the best that I can that there is no failure.   Failure is not trying.

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It’s Time to Get Serious

Without goals it is hard to know which direction to take.   You wonder aimlessly without a purpose.    It is time that I stop wondering and start seriously thinking about where I want to go in 2018.   It is time to set some realistic goals.   It is time to start pushing myself again.   It is time to  get serious.

Yes, I’ve had a lot going on and I’m still working some things out.  Yes, things are different but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have hopes, dreams, and goals.  It is time to get out of my own way, step out of my comfort zone and start pushing myself again.   I won’t know how far I can go by sitting on the sidelines.

It’s time to get real…..

NYC Half Marathon March 18

Last time I ran it, I squeaked in just under 2 hours.   It was my goal and I pushed myself to do it.  Hard training.   Fast paces.  Lots of sweat. I even took a few selfies while doing it.

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  This time around with the way things are this will not be my goal.   That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have a goal.     I’m once again throwing down the gauntlet….. Ready…..

I want to go into this race fully trained.   Run it to the best of my current ability.   Not compare it to where I was in the past.   Push myself.  Finish it.  And most of all enjoy the experience.

This seems like a fantastic goal which means that I have to start training and actually train.   This is not a race not to enjoy.

I am not even going to entertain a timed goal right now.   What I am going to do is train.   Train. And Train some more.   I’ve recently been running but nothing more than I think 6 miles in the last month.    I’m going to figure out a training schedule and stick to it.

Simple enough, Right?

My head is finally clearing.   I know it wont’ be easy.   I know there will be days that I don’t want to do it.   I know there will be frustration, sore muscles, and everything in between but I want this.   I really, really want this.

So for today, I’m throwing it all out there.

I am a runner.   I can do hard things.   Life is not easy and anything worthwhile requires you to work for it.

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Starting Line….

 

It’s funny I ran the Chicago Marathon  just 5 weeks ago, yet some how I feel like I couldn’t run around the block.   I don’t know how anyone who has run as many races as I have can still feel like she’s back at the starting line again, but I do.

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This probably is not too far from the truth.

As I’ve been recovering from my tendonitis, I’ve been good.   I’ve been doing some limited running.   Some limited cross-training and lots of being lazy.   It’s really not been a good combination for the mind or body.

So as I often do when I feel like I need a little push of motivation, I have signed up for another race.   I know it’s shocking.    I’m trying to drag in….   I mean I’m trying to encourage others to join in on the fun.    I’ve got to say that i do miss the year we were chasing the 9 plus 1 and the fun we had.   It can not be repeated as it was such a special year, but I will say racing with friends is so much better than racing alone.

I needed Chicago to prove to myself that I could still finish a marathon if I wanted to.   Right now, I just want to run a half.   Plus it will keep me running during the holiday’s which really will be necessary.    I’m not even trying to be a super star.   I just want to run to run to find my love of running and racing again.   To get back to normal.

What race you ask…..

Fred Lebow

For extra motivation, I purchased the NYRR 10 week plan for this race.   I want to go into this race trained.   I want to get back to the confidence that comes with being trained.    That being said, my goal for this race is 2:25, so I’m not expecting for this training plan to turn me into speed racer.   Just to get me back into my routine of running.    I miss it.   I want to just let my body put in the miles and bring my mind the peace that running brings.

I have not formulated any plans other than Fred Lebow, but I do know that I just want to rediscover my passion for running.   It’s not as easy as it used to be, but I already know that.    This isn’t a fake it till you feel it thing either.    My body is already chomping at the bit.   I just have to get my head in gear.

So I’ve purchased the plan, so my head doesn’t have to do anything.   Let the body do it’s job.

Tomorrow is day 1 of training….

 

It’s Nice to Say Hello

Race Recap – Part 2

Now some may say that I have a certain style or flair when I run.   Me, I just say that I like to have fun.    For the most part I do usually wear pink, but sometimes I do like to take it up a notch.   NJ Half was going to be one of those events.  Another Mama and I conspired to bring tutus and skirts for everyone:):)

There may have been some initial grumbling (ahem), but everyone went with the program.   I love it when a plan comes together.

Then off we went….

During the course of the race our group separated slightly.    I was still running with one of my friends, when someone came up from behind and asked, “Are you accidentally Running Mama?”

I have to say that I was surprised to say the least.    But then I recognized her from her online profile too!    We were able to chat a few miles and actually meet the “real” person behind the curtain.  There is something to be said about meeting someone in person that you follow online.   It’s funny because in a small way you feel like you already know them.   I would love to meet her for another run as it does seem like we have run a few of the same races.   She mentioned that she saw me in the Bronx but we didn’t’ get to connect.  I’m glad we did this day.  I will say that for a brief moment when we spit a VERY, VERY, VERY small part of me was sad that I wasn’t running the marathon.   That is right up until I realized how close to the finish line I was.

There are a few people that I know online that I’ve met up with at various events and it is always fun.    It’s funny too because it wasn’t till almost a mile in that I was like, “I think it’s time for real introductions.”   And of course, we both wanted a picture together.

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Later she shared this picture on her instagram account and wrote something very nice and made me want to run with her even more.

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That is the awesome thing about running and runners.   I’ve actually met people at races and chat the entire race with them.   Some I never see again.   Some become Facebook friends and I still never see again.  Then some become real friends.   There is something about running with someone that takes away the pretenses.   You can’t worry about impressing someone when you are trying to run.   This is why running friends get to know you better than most people ever will.   Running does not take the place of a good therapist, but there is something to be said for knowing that you can open up to your running friends the way that it might be hard to do eye to eye over coffee.

I will say this is another one of the many reasons I don’t usually wear headphones during a race.   I love to listen to the sounds of the race – the spectators, the footsteps, and the opportunity to chat or listen to those around me.   Obviously, this depends on my goal for the race but I’m never coming in first anyway:)

Do you like to chat while your run?

 

 

 

Yes We Did!

No expectations.

No watching the clock.

Nothing but a plan to cross the finish line with a smile.

Mission Accomplished!

I was worried.   You know that to be true, but I was VERY happy with the way the day went.    I went into this race just to run by feel, wear a  tutu and a smile. It was good day.   It was the kind of day that I needed.    I think planning was key.

First the boring stuff.

From talking to other athletes with Hypoparathyroidism, I had a plan.   I purposely waited till we got to the venue to take my 500mg of Calcium and my Calictriol.    My water bottles were filled with water and cal-ez powder to keep my calcium.   I brought an extra packet to use along the way.    Each packet contained 1,000mg of calcium carbonite, but it is fast absorbing because it also has 1,000 units of vitamin D which is needed for absorption.     Studies have shown that even healthy people calcium levels drop during rigorous exercise.   For a person with working parathyroid glands, the body will adjust (although you still might want to talk to your doctor about adding supplements), but for a person whose body can’t regulate this can be a problem.   Now while it may seem excessive to have taken almost 3,000 mg of calcium in such a short period of time for me I believe it was necessary and a work in progress.   All I know is that I felt good during the run.   I did not experience any face twitches or tingles.   Although I was pushing at the end and did get some tingles in my hand, but all was good.

We left early as you often have to do when running a race that starts at 7:30.   The “clown car” as my son called it when we got home was filled with excited Mama’s.   We were very lucky that one of the Mama’s knew the in and outs of not only getting there but finding an open bathroom before the race.

Then off we went.

It was strange to me that the marathon runners and half marathon runners all started together, but it mattered not to me as long as I was starting with friends.   For the most part we ran together, but as will happen during the course of the race we separated into smaller groups.   Might have something to do with chatting the miles away and not realizing that you’ve lost sight of others in the group.

Am I sore today?

You bet.   But I bet so are so many other people:):)

I’ve got some fun stories to tell about this race, but this is enough for today.

It was a great day with some amazing women and I am so glad we did it!

NJHalf

And yes, I do have a unicorn horn:)

A New Chapter

We live in a society where strength is looked up to and any kind of weakness should be both stamped out, frowned upon and just wrong.   Asking for help is often seen to some (not all) as an almost sacrilegious thing.   We live in a society where if we don’t like something we just ignore it.   This holds true to so many things from politics to health.   The expression bury your head in the sand didn’t come from nowhere.

You see this in runners (myself included) who rather than deal with an injury may try to shake it off and run anyway.    I did this with my Plantar Fasciitis and also when I twisted my ankle training for the 50K.   It wasn’t until I was out about 2 miles after I twisted it that I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to run off the pain.   I also did it to when coming back from my surgery.   Trying to jump back in where I left off like everything was the same.  Some times you can’t run out the pain.   Some times you need to face it, deal with it, and treat it.

Why do we do these things?     When a friend comes to us in need, we don’t think less of them.   We don’t hold it against someone who has fallen ill or becomes injured.   Then why do we hold ourselves to different standards?

Why indeed?

This weekend I am going to run my first race post surgery.  My first race with hypoparathyroidism.

I am both excited and apprehensive at the same time.    I’ve got my arsenal all ready to go.

I originally signed up for the marathon.   Thank God that I was smart enough to know that was never going to happen.   I’m not even properly trained for the half marathon that I’m running.   Luckily for me though I’m not going in alone.   I’m going in with some friends and we are all going to do what we need to do to get to the finish line.

Even more lucky, these are friends that I trust to keep an eye on me.   I’ll be honest.   Part of me is a little nervous.   Not because I’m not trained enough which I’m not.  I’ve done races before not properly trained.   I’m nervous because this will be my first real test on how I will be able to run distance with my calcium issues.   It’s also a test for how much I need to prepare for Chicago Marathon training.   A base line if you will.

I’m not trained, but I’m still prepared.    I plan to pack my calcium tablets with me and take 2 before the start.   I also am heading a recommendation from a hyperparathyroidism athletes group to put Cal-Ez in my water.

Cal-Ez

I’m not thinking about pace.   Ok I’m thinking about but I know I need to just let it go. The ego is strong, but needs to be left in check.  This is not the day.   I must remind myself of that and let my ego go as this will be the day just to finish.     I am handling it like a test run:)   But a test run with a medal at the end!

This is the first run in a new chapter of my running.

On your mark

Get Set

Go!