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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!

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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!

It Is What It Is

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

Life is ever changing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is what it is.

and

What ever shall be, shall be.

YUP

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

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

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

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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Run and Run Some More.

You can’t be a runner long without hearing the expression

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Sometimes it’s funny to hear.   Sometimes it’s annoying to hear.   Sometimes, I even say it.  It really depends on the way it’s said.

But there is truth to this.   Sometimes we overthink, over analyze, and just forget to enjoy the beauty of the actual run.   This weekend was different.

There was a part of me that wanted to run my races as races and not run them the smart way to run them to put myself in best position for NYCM.   Part of me wanted to attack those hills in Bethlehem.   Part of me wanted to see how if I could have run these races better than my first year of racing.  Part of me wanted to test my legs and feel the burn in my lungs.   But I needed to remember that in 20 days, I will be standing at the start line of the NYCM and then it will be go time.

I will say though that there is something to be said about running a good race, a smart race, and a fun race with friends.   We had a blast running together.   You get to chat away the miles.    You get to take in the course a little more.   You get to stop for photos if you want and you may even meet people that you might not meet otherwise.

 

Bethlehem is a really pretty course.   It was still a very tough course and those hills are wicked.

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Wicked!

It’s funny, I the first year I ran this in 2014 I didn’t know what to expect.  I went into it with the race mentality.   I had great finish times.   In looking at my results now, I’m actually shocked.   In my age group, I was 41 for 5K, 29 for 10K, and 50th for the Half.   Although not racing this year, I still was in the the top 100’s for my age group.   I went into this in 2014 not even knowing if I could finish these races and now it’s a stepping stone for a larger race.   All that being said, I had a much better time this year.   In 2014, I ended up not only running the races by myself, but starting them and ending them alone.   I may not have ran as fast this year, but I had a much better race experience.   I had fun.   I laughed  until I cried at one point.

Life is better with friends!

I am so happy that I ran this again and would love to do it again.  Maybe with some more friends (hint. hint).

Whose in for next year?

The Good, The Bad, and the Awesome!

I’ve run in NY many times.  Maybe not compared to some people, but a lot for me.    I’ve run enough last year to qualify for the NYC Marathon.  That being said nothing prepared me for the feeling of running the NYC Half Marathon.    It was amazing on so many levels.   I loved it so much that I’ve already signed up for two more Boro races to qualify to run it next year.   I don’t want to chance the lottery and I would love to do this run again.

Why?

It was AWESOME!

Yes, it really was.

Now there are some thing logistically that weren’t so awesome, but you’ve got to take the good with the bad.  For example:

Early wake up call

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Yup.   Early.   I needed to leave my house by 5:00.   I require time to wake up, have some coffee, eat a small breakfast, and not feel rushed.

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Then there is the fact that the start and finish line are at totally opposite locations which makes for a great race, but not so exciting when the race is over.    We decided to park at the start line and had to take the subway and then walk a bit to our car after the race.   Not really bad except it was cold and we were not really dressed for it.  On a positive note, it did give us a chance to cool down with the walk.   Plus we parked literally around the corner from Magnolia’s Bakery.   Finally though, if you’ve got a fun group to take the walk and subway with it really doesn’t matter anyway.

Magnolia Bakery

Need I say more.   Oh my.   So good!

Security.    I get it.   I really do.   There was only one entrance to the park for runners.   We had to go through metal detectors and have our stuff screened.   I get it.   I really do.   I applaud all NYRR and Police Department does to keep the runners safe.  That being said, I really think if there was someone out to do something bad, they would not pose as a runner.   I really don’t.  I was having panic attack as once we finally made it through security we had to make our way through the park to our corrals.   I honestly for the first time at any race thought I would miss the start of my corral.

That’s it for my complaints.   Got nothing.

And these things I wouldn’t even say too bad in the whole scheme of things.

Now the good parts that makes it so awesome.

When you do a big race like this there is a level of excitement that you really can’t get anywhere else.   You’ve got the news coverage.    You’ve got the huge crowds with over 20,000 runners.   Then you have the spectators and volunteers.

But what made it so special?

The course.

Really.

Honestly.

Can’t wait to do it again.

Seriously

The race starts in Central Park where you run the first few miles.  Then the magic happens because you leave the park shortly after mile 6.   You running down 7th Avenue towards Times Square.   As if that isn’t enough, you then run down 42nd Street until the West Side Highway coming out near the Intrepid.   Then you run through Lower Manhattan and cross the finish line.

You don’t have to be familiar with the city to know how awesome it would be to run through the streets.    That being said, as someone who has been to the city, driven in the traffic, and knows the congestion of all the vehicles; it’s nothing short of awesome.    I was having so much fun running these streets that I literally had to slow myself down.   The crowds in Time Square are incredible.   When I was running by, they were starting the kids 1 mile race in Time Square which just adds to the excitement of it.

I even took my phone out and took several pictures while staying on pace if I do say so myself.

 

Then if that isn’t enough, there is the finish!

The medal and the sense of accomplishment that finishing brings.

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And I would like to add one more thing.   The post race snack bag.   Some races you finish and you get an apple and a water.   Not here.   Every finisher gets their own personal bag with a big water, a Gatorade, and apple, some pretzels in a reusable clear drawstring bag.  No picture because I was too busy consuming.

What is your favorite race?

 

 

Trust In The Training!

Trust is a funny thing.    Trust is something that needs to be earned and is sometimes hard to do.    I had to go out on the ledge and trust my coach, my training, and myself.   These are not necessarily easy things to do.   I trust my coach but trusting in ones self can be harder.  Sometimes the doubt creeps in, but I shut the door on it in New York City.

I had a great race.   I had phenomenal race.   The stars were aligned.  The sun was shining and it all came together.    I pushed the doubt and the fears to the side.   I took a leap of faith and went with it.     I started the race with the knowledge that I could do this.    I had a plan.   A plan that my coach helped me develop.   All I needed was to stick to the program and trust in my training.  I went out as planned, but almost got sidetracked early on by the 2:00 hour pace group.   They blew past me around mile 2.    At first I think that I tried to stay with them, but I stopped myself.   They were not following my plan.   They were running a different race.   I knew what I needed to do and they were not doing it.   They were going out too fast for me.   I let them go.   It was hard at first, but I had my mantra that I kept repeating to myself.   It was not a planned mantra, but it was fitting.

TRUST IN YOUR TRAINING!

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It was that simple.   I needed to trust in the hours that I’ve logged.   The miles that I’ve ran at pace.    The fact that I had done the work to set me up to do what I needed to do.   What I needed to do was not what everyone else needed to do.   So I let them go.   I trusted in my training and my ability to get it done.

I was in the zone.

A friend that I went to the half with came up to me a few miles in.    I actually said to her, “Karyn, just so you know I’m not being a Bitch.   I’m just in the zone.”    I needed to run this race by myself.   Some things are like that.   You need to do them by yourself.   This was that race for me.   I needed to focus on my pace, my calculations, and moving forward.  She understood.   (Love you, lady).

As I ran, I knew where I needed to be.   I had a pace band in my pocket that I didn’t use during the race; but had done some calculations ahead of time.   I kind of knew where I needed to be when.   I added up the time I needed to hit as the miles rose.   I was hitting my targets.  There were times that I had to reign myself in as he race was so exciting.   I was trusting in the training and not trying to bank time.

My plan was to run consistently till around mile 10 where I would pick it up a little more.  At that point my mantra became NO REGRETS.   By this I meant that no matter what, I would not have regrets because I was doing all I could.   I also meant that I would not give myself an out.   That I would continue to push it and fight for the sub 2 because the only way I would have regrets is if I backed down.   So NO REGRETS.    By mile 12, I was pushing it pretty hard but trying to make sure as to not burn up.  I knew I would be close.   I knew that I was going to need to give it all I had at the end.   So I saved a little fuel in the tank and when I hit the 20K mat, I pushed it even harder.

NO REGRETS.

You can’t have regrets if you’ve done everything that you’ve needed to do.   If you’ve given all you have.    I dug as deep as I could go and I did it!

1:58:59

A minute to spare:)

I honestly can say that if somehow I didn’t make my goal, I would have been happy with this race.  Honestly, I am not saying that because I reached my sub 2  goal.   I was telling myself that that last 3 miles.

That being said, I am over the moon with reaching it.

This was an amazing adventure.   There is more to tell, but this is enough for now.

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