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The Whole Package

Today I completed my second day of Couch to 5K training. I met someone who is not a runner, but wants to do the program. That’s the beauty of program, you don’t need to be a runner to start it. I told her that we would go at her pace and we did. We had a great day completing her first day of training and my second. Next week, I will also add some cross training to the mix.

Today I also took the time to look at myself in the mirror. I mean really look at myself. I don’t know about you, but it is something that I often avoid especially when getting out of shower. This was supposed to be a beat down to motivate me to stick to the plan. To start eating healthier. To be kinder to my body.

Then I realized that to be kinder to my body, I also needed to accept it where it is and all that it has gone through. It is NOT by any stretch of imagination what is thought of as a good body, but I don’t give a shit. My body tells a story. It has scars. It has wrinkles. It even sags. The stretch marks littering my belly are a reminder (not that I need it) to the 3 boys that I carried inside of it. The scar from all 3 c-sections somehow with it’s line and stomach creates a smiley face. You will have to trust me because there will be no photos. My belly literally jiggles like a bowl full of jelly. As I stood there looking at this body that society tells me that I should hate, I looked at it and saw all the things right with it.

My body even at my fittest was never a “designer body.” What it has and continues to be is strong even when it’s week. Tough even when it is soft. Badass even if it only by my standards. This is the body that allows me to get out of bed every morning. Gives me the strength to do amazing things. This is the body that I have and I’m ok with that.

Now this is not to say that I do not want to loose some weight and tone up some. I do but only because I know that will make me healthier. It might help with some issues that I have. My goal is healthier lifestyle not a six pack. It is not the body that makes the person. It is not the body that creates happiness. Happiness must be searched out, found, and embraces each day. Fat, thin, in shape, round (my current shape), rock hard, soft body….. None of that matters.

Acceptance means acceptance. If you think that you can only accept yourself when you have the perfect body (house, job, ect, ect); you are missing the point.

Learning to love yourself means learning to love where you are right now.


Finding the Joy

It’s the end of the year which means that many people are accessing how they reached their goals for the year, setting new goals for next year, or just counting the miles. This time of year can make you both sad or happy depending upon where you are with you goals. Then there is me who is ambivalent. It is what it is and kind of where I expected.

According to m Garmin, I was at 392 miles for the year. While I do know there were some runs that weren’t calculated due to not wearing watch, it’s probably not too far off.

There is a saying…

Here is another thing.

Sometimes that isn’t even true. I’m not even in competition with myself. I just am at the point where I want to find the joy in running again. I’m working on it too.

How am I doing that?

I stopped running. As I’ve said before I have not run since I completed the NYC Marathon. I’m glad that I haven’t. I have thought about it, but that is as far as it went because I’ve taken it off the table. I have had no real desire to run. Nope. Nadda. I see you out there running and think, “that’s nice” not “I wish I was out there.” Even on these perfect December running days

Now this does not mean I’m done. It just means that I wanted to be able to put my energy into Christmas. Being a frequent napper already, I don’t think I would have been able to do it all and everything would have suffered. There would be no joy. I want the joy. I want to feel like running is my release and not a job.

So here is how I plan to find the joy……. I’m going back to basics. Come January, I am starting the Couch to 5K. Now I realize that I ran a marathon in November and I really don’t need to go back to this because it’s only been 2 months, I want to find the joy. I don’t want to feel like I should be doing more. I want to just take it back to square one where I fell in love with all that running brought me. I don’t want the pressure (that I put on myself) that I should be doing more. Follow the program and call it a day.

This will go in line with my 2019 goals. No goals to PR. No goals for longer distance. Goals (for me) to just find the joy. I want to just run my town’s local 5K’s (for the fun of running in my town). I want to enjoy the experience of it.

I also plan to start cross training again. I miss that more than I miss running. I also feel like that would do me good. I’ve gained a lot of weight. I’m the heaviest of been without being pregnant and while I really don’t care about the number, I do think it’s not good for my health because I am no longer fit.

So fitness, fun and most of all joy will be my goal. Everyone has to chase a goal that works for them at where they are. For today, for this coming year, for me….. this is where and what I need.

What are your goals?

Embrace The Suck

Yesterday  I needed to go for my long run of 15 miles.   I knew going in that the run might be difficult, so from the very beginning I said that my motto for this run would be:

Embrace The Suck!

As I was beginning my run, I chuckled and thought to myself that it kind of is a metaphor for life too.    Now hear me out.    Sometimes in life things are going suck.   Things are going to go wrong.    Things are going to be hard.   And sometimes, things are going to be downright shitty.

Yes I know very uplifting, but we all know that life isn’t always a bowl of cherries.    The thing is that you have to embrace the suck to get to the good stuff.   You have to push through it when it’s hard.   You have to dig your heels in and just keep moving forward.   You have to know that at the end of the suck is something good.  You have to just keep going, because if you stick around long enough  you come out that much stronger.

strenght

So with that being said, I embraced the suck of yesterday’s 15 mile run.    As I said I knew it would be suck some for a few reasons.

  1.  It’s a long run and they usually suck.
  2.  I need new sneakers
  3. I’ve been messing up with my meds

So I went out with the mindset that no matter what, I would embrace the suck.   Do what I needed to do and get my run in.    The goal was to finish no matter what.   I felt like this was a long enough run to gage some things for New York and what I need to do in the next 46 days.

I have realized that it takes my body normally a good 3 miles to get into the rhythm of a run.   This morning was no exception.    Then I realized that I did not take my morning meds, so I ended up looping my run back to my house so that I could do so.    This was more necessary because I’ve been a little off with my timing lately. (Don’t worry, I’m trying to be better).    Anyway, meds taken and out the door I went.   It was hard.   I was sweating like I ran in a sprinkler, but I was embracing the suck and moving forward.    I was running where I should be especially for the distance keeping an average  pace in the 12’s &  13’s.    By mile 10, I was feeling a little off.    For me I can tell when my levels are dipping because I feel like a twitch in my face even if it’s not visible and some tingling/numbness in my hands.    I was prepared and did have some Calez (powdered calcium) to add to my water.    I am thinking for the marathon to fill all my bottles up with this and then just get plain water at the water stations.

I pushed forward.   By almost miles 13, I was out of water which is never good.   Luckily, I plan my runs so that I am never far from a friends house or place I can stop at.   I took my smelly sweaty self into a bistro where I purchased the most delicious chilled Gaterade and a bottle of water to refill.    Then off I went embracing the suck.

Here’s the thing….  As sucky as it was, it was also good.    I did feel stronger at the end of my run.   I did feel confident and the end of my run.    I did realize that running alone through the streets will be so much different than when running with 50, 000 of my closest friends who will all be embracing the suck.  I did feel like I could keep running and I did feel strong enough to keep going.   And I also realized that in the end, it is all worth it.

Run Where You Are

Less than 2 months now.

Wow.

Yikes.

Um…

I will say truthfully that I am feeling confidents in my mish mash of training.   I’m feeling strong.   Not strong like I am going to have an amazing race and PR.   I mean strong like I know that I can and will cross the finish line.   I actually feel quiet calm this go around.  Strange I know.

The other day I went out for just 3 miles.   Since it was a short run, I didn’t really watch pace.   I just let it go and I know that in the beginning I was running too fast, but again I knew it was a short run.    I also thought that even though I haven’t doing training this way, I would consider it a speed workout.   At least I was smart enough to continue the walk/run method.

Here is the thought that I had when out on this run and what I have decided will be my mantra for the beginning of the marathon.

RUN WHERE YOU ARE

NOT WHERE YOU WANT TO BE!

Seriously!  This is what I need to remember.   I was thinking about  when I ran the NYCM in 2016.   I was working with a coach.   I was trained.   I was ready.   I still crashed and burned (see the wall at mile 20)  because I ran the fist half like there was no second half.   I let the crowds carry me.   I let myself get swept up in the excitement of it all.   And let’s be clear, it is exciting.    I have run 5 marathons so far and while each one is special, there really is no bigger party than I have experienced than the NYC Marathon.   It is easy to get swept up which I allowed to happen last time.

 

RUN WHERE YOU ARE

NOT WHERE YOU WANT TO BE!

Here’s the thing, it is so easy to get caught up.   It is easy to tell yourself that you can…

  • Bank the time
  • You can do it
  • I’m not running too fast
  • It’s not a big deal

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

  • There is no banking time when you hit the wall.
  • Unless you’ve trained at paces, don’t use them in a marathon
  • See above
  • It is a big deal when you hit that wall.

So my objective, my goal, my mantra is to be realistic.   When I ran Chicago, in the back of my mind I was not realistic.   I was still trying to push paces that I was not able to maintain especially since it was a very hot marathon.   I am being real with myself.   I know that I can do this, if and only if I listen to my body.   I listen to the voice that is writing this post and tune out the other one that is not always thinking clearly:)

I will say that I am making a deal with that voice.   I’ve told her that if she lets me run a smart race, a race that I’ve trained for at a pace I’ve trained at; I will then be able to let her run the last few miles.   When at my peak I listened to the wrong voice, the last few miles were a beast.

Time to be smart.  Be ready and get it done.

MarathonMeme

 

 

 

 

 

The Unpleasant Truth

Everyone has something that they are afraid of.   Everyone knows that you can run from your fears, but you can’t hide from them.

  But what if……

What if sometimes the fear is just under the surface?

But what if……

What if instead of facing our fears that we just ignore them.   Pretend they don’t even exist?

Will that make them go away?

Reality and past experiences say no.

Someone recently asked me what is it that I’m afraid of when it comes to my running right now.   (I’m talking actual running not running away from my fears).   After thinking about it, I knew in my heart the answer.

The fear of not being good enough.

Once I had said this out loud, I knew the truth of my answer.   I had the answer before she even asked the question.   You see the night before, I had had a dream.  Seriously.   In my dream I went out to my car and ALL my running magnets were removed from the back of my car.

NO 50K

NO 26.2

NO 13.1

NO MRTT

Nothing………    Empty space where my pride used to be.

Silly dream, but it speaks volumes.    And then it begs to question, who do I have to be good enough for?   Not my family.   Not my friends.  Not my ever so supportive running community.  Not my co-workers.    Not the strangers along courses.  All  I need is to be good enough for me and why isn’t my best good enough?

It’s time to deal with the unpleasant truth.   A truth I’ve spoken of before, but still am grappling with I admit.    It’s not easy to let go of expectations realistically or unrealistically that you put upon yourself.    It’s not so easy to deal with unpleasant truths that you want to ignore.    And most of all when you finally face the unpleasantness of it all, you realize that you were holding onto things for all the wrong reasons.

letting-go

Truth

But letting go doesn’t mean giving up.   It doesn’t mean putting away my running shoes. It doesn’t mean pushing my limits.    It means letting go of the things that are holding me back.    I’m not talking about holding me back from PR’s or such.    I’m talking about holding me back from taking the next step.

Acceptance.

Yes, if it was that easy the world would be a better place.    But I’m talking about acceptance that things will be different and that’s ok.

I’m not a person of change.   I know this to be true.   My mother often asks me, “What’s new.”    I often respond, “Nothing and that’s a good thing.”   But the truth is that you have a choice in life, either change with it or live in the past and miss out on the possibilities of the future.

It’s time to look forward.   It’s time to change with the times.    It’s time to accept where I am today….

I am a woman who struggles due to her Hypoparathyroidism with limitations that I did not have before.  Pretending they are not there, will not make them go away.    I’ve been trying that and it hasn’t worked.   They are still there, but I make it look easy:):)

BUT

That does not mean I am not a runner anymore.   It just means that I need to learn to change.   Change expectations.   Change the way I train.    Change the way I run by embracing the run/walk method whole heartily this time.     Change is scary but sometimes necessary and often good.

It also means that you are open to new opportunities and I’ll be honest there is a new opportunity that I’m hoping comes my way.   One that if I accept that I need to be willing to change  to fully enjoy and experience.   (Yes, that’s a teaser:)

 

 

 

 

BE NICE!

Why are we always harder on ourselves than we are on our friends?    It’s one of life’s biggest mysteries.

Examples 1

Friend, “I can’t believe how slow my last run was.”

Caring Response, “At least you got out there.   Don’t worry about it.   We all have bad days.”

Response to self for slow run, “What is wrong with you.   Suck it up.   Push harder.”

Example 2

Friend, “I’m planning to take some time off from running to heal injury, just not feeling it, no time or any such thing.”

Response, “Smart move.   Give yourself time that you need.   The road will be there when you are.”

Response to self for time off, “Your loosing it.   You better lace up and go for a run.  What is wrong with you.   Your lazy, ect, ect.”

Example 3

Friend, ” I finished the Race in XYZ.   It wasn’t my goal time.”

Response, “Still a great race.   So proud of you.   You tried your best and you can try for that goal again.”

Respnse to self, “What is wrong with you.   You didn’t train hard enough.   You blew it, ect, ect, ect”

 

These examples don’t just happen in our running.   I’m sure that we each could pick things from our “real lives” that we do the same things.

  Why though?

I used to think it was just me, but I realize over time that so many of us do it.   We all come to life with our own baggage.

Why is it so easy to show our friends compassion when we do not give ourselves the same courtesy.   We are not lying to our friends when we respond to them.   We aren’t trying to just make them feel better.   We truly mean these kind words.    So why do we not cut ourselves the same break?   It’s time to break the cycles.

Yeah, if only it was that easy.   Most of the time we don’t always know we are doing it.   Kind of like when someone gives you a compliment and you dismiss it with some self deprecating comment.  STOP THAT.    It’s time to realize that you deserve to be treated the way you treat others.

I’ve been trying to be nicer to myself with my running.   I’ve beaten myself up on how I need walk breaks, how out of breath I am, ect, ect, ect.     What I realized is that if a friend was in my position, I would be so much kinder to their situation than I have been to mine.   What I’ve also realized is that this pattern was developed over time and it will take time and work to change it.

So here is what I propose we all do:

  1.  If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.
  2. Build yourself up.  Not in an obnoxious way, but remind yourself that you are worth it too.
  3. Criticizing yourself is not the way to self motivate.   If you feel you could/should have run faster, tell yourself that you did your best but will try again next time.
  4. Take time for yourself and don’t feel like you don’t deserve to splurge on you.

Yeah, if only it was that easy.   The truth is that it’s not hard either.   It just takes time, energy, and being mindful of your inner voice.

Your worth it!

and

So am I!

 

 

 

 

No Thinking Required

It is true that the body can only do so much.   It can only do what it can do and no more.   That is a fact.   BUT what if it can’t reach it’s full potential because the mind doesn’t believe.   If the mind opts out before the body is ready, it will take the body with it.   It is in control.

Training teaches us to push through, push past, and to work through the pain.

It is just as important to train mentally as it is physically.   The Ying and the Yang of training.   The body can only do what the body can do, but with the mind on board that is where the magic can happen.

I went out for a run tonight.   I knew that if I didn’t get my run in today that it wouldn’t happen.   I wanted this run.   I want to get back to running on a more consistent basis.  I pushed myself to get out the door when truthfully I was very comfy on the couch watching Tanked.    If I win the lottery, I am so having them make me a huge tank in my new house.   (Dreaming the dream).

Anywho….

I made myself get out the door.   In the back of my mind, I wanted to get at least 5 miles in if not 6.   I told myself that I would settle for 3 to get myself out the door.   Suited up for a night run and out the door I went.    One of the beautiful things about night running is that I have no idea what pace I’m running because I can’t see my watch.   So I was running by feel.   There was no over thinking.   Just running.

29572972_2015610838688381_5725405318313273863_n

On my run, I was thinking about things and just running to run.   I felt good on the run .   I think it would classify as a conversational pace running night if I had anyone to chat with.   I was just enjoying the big beautiful moon and what might be considered perfect running temperatures.    No thinking.   No over analyzing.   Just running.

Here’s the thing though…. I ended up with beautiful negative splits.

11:57, 11:50, 11:28, 11:06, 10:58

5 miles that I just enjoyed.

So the lesson that I took from tonight is that although I know that the body can only do what the body can do.    I also know that sometimes my mind hold me back.   Sometimes I over think.   Sometimes I worry too much.  Sometimes it’s ok to just run.

I may see some more “naked” no watching the watch runs in my future.

quote-thomas-edison

 

 

Perspective

We all come at life from different perspectives.    We all look at things just a little different based on our own personal experiences and over time even our own perspective shifts.

Before I ever got off the couch, I could not imagine why anyone would want to run for fun.   Running was something other people did.   People who did were nuts.   Sane people did not run.   Now that may be true, but once I got off the couch and started running my perspective changed.   I became one of “those crazy runners” even if it took me a while to think of myself as a runner.

Now when I started though, I had no thought of “good” pace or finish time and didn’t really put much thought into it.  Ok, I put no thought into it.   I rolled into my first half marathon by just signing up after it was suggested on a long run that I was taking just to take.   I had very little thought on strategy, pace, or even finish time.   I laugh now because in the car on the way to the race, I was in awe and amazed at the other runners talking of such things.    I felt like an idiot to be honest.    When they asked me what my plan was, I was like to finish.   We started together, but I told them to just run without me because I had no clue and didn’t want to hold them back.   Then a funny thing happened, I realized that they were always in my view.   I was stalking them:)   Then they realized I was back there and I joined the party!

I finished in 2:09:24.

Perspective shifted.

I was a runner, but I was just “normal runner.”   I would never do a marathon.

I have since run 5.   The first one was just not to die and then I actually started training for time.

But I would never be one of those crazy runners to run an Ultra.

I have run one 50K,   Truth be told, I secretly (shhhh, don’t tell anyone) want to run one again.  This is in the future, but I think it will happen again one day.

Perspective is a funny thing.

First I couldn’t imagine running.   Then I couldn’t imagine not running.   And now, I’m doing all I can to keep myself running.  Perspective has changed once again.

When I ran the NYCM marathon two weeks before my thyroid was removed in 2016, I was chasing the elusive 4:30 marathon.   I, probably, could have gotten it if I had not run the first half of the marathon like a half totally forgetting that the wall is no joke and not to be messed with.   But I still finished in under 5 hours.   Whew.

Perspective.

Chicago last year, I once again went back to having a goal of just finishing which is what I did.    I walked the last few miles.   I finished in 5:48:52.    I was happy.   I finished.    It was probably the hardest race that I have ever ran even with the slowest time.

Perspective.

I was lucky to be able to do Chicago.   I am lucky that my Hypoparathyroidism allows me to do all the things that I do.  So many with this disease would love to do what I am able to do.   I am very lucky, because it could be much worse.   For now, all is good.   I may have more aches, pains, weight, and such; but I am still able to get out there.

Perspective.

I sometimes think that I need to just enjoy the process now because as with anyone I don’t know what the future will bring.   For now, things are good and I need to just enjoy it all.   The aches.   The pains.   The heavy breathing.

And even with all of it, I am so lucky and it’s all the way you look at things.

When I had my first 24 hour urine test, my levels were off the charts.   My urine calcium level was over 570.   The normal level is supposed to be 200.   In talking to my doctor about changes to medications, she said that for someone with my condition our goal is to have these levels around 300.    The flip side though is that after getting used to a normal calcium level in the 9’s, I would lower my dosages to bring it down to the 8’s again.   What  a difference a point will make, but it’s all good.

I just got the results from my second 24 hour urine test.   The results were coming from my primary doctors office and they would send them to my endocrinologist.   Anyway, the office called and they were very upset as my levels were sooooo high.   The woman nicely was going on and on about how serious this could be with problems with osteoporosis and more importantly lead to kidney stones and damaged kidneys.   She was trying to get her point across how serious it was, when I asked what my levels were.   She replied that they were very high at 263.

Perspetive

I laughed and told her that was great because it had been over 570.

So just like life, running really comes down to our perspective.    I may never be the runner that I was for just a short brief blip, but it really doesn’t matter.

I’m still a runner.

And who knows…  Things could still change because that is just the way life works.

attitude

 

Letting Go of Your Ego

Today I went for a run.   I’ve been running inside on the treadmill and wanted to hit the streets again.  It was finally a little warmer today at 31 degrees.    I figured perfect weather to run the NYRR Virtual Race.    That being said, I wasn’t racing so much as running.    I did start off too fast and slowed myself down.   I did walk.   Here is the thing that I kept reminding myself and thinking about while I was running today….

It’s ok not to be the fastest.   It is also ok not to be as fast as I once was.   Besides that is part of life.   Most people don’t get faster as you age even if you don’t have hypopara.   So run.   Just run.

Remember that you do this to feel the pavement under your feet.   You do this for the peace of mind it brings.    You do this for you.    You always have and to do it for any other reason is kind of stupid.

Here’s the thing though…… Ego gets in the way.    Ego is not helpful.    Ego will only hold you back.    You can have pride in your running (and life), but to let ego lead where to take you it won’t end well.   If I were to let my ego in charge, I might not leave the house in my running shoes.    I might just say what the heck, what’s the point, and just stay home.

Ego is not your friend.

Ego will hold you back.

Once you let go of your ego and are proud of where you are things can only get better.

So today I went for a run.   3.32 miles in 38.18 minutes.    It was hard.    I needed to walk.   My breathing was heavy.   My calf had a cramp in it most of the run, but….

BUT

I had the sun on my face.

Time to process life.

Time to enjoy life.

Time to be……

The saying that some people think is bull is so true.   A lesson we learned in preschool, but can not truly appreciate till we are adults not just as a runner but in our everyday lives too.

do_not_stop_quote-low_res

 

364 Days

So tomorrow marks one year on this magic carpet ride.   Last year at this time, I was prepping for my thyroidectomy.   You know the usually stuff you do prior to a surgery – make sure your will is up to date, make sure the house is clean, make sure the fridge is stocked, Oh and make sure Thanksgiving Dinner was ordered.

Going in I was prepared for the recovery of the surgery.   I was prepared with having to deal with getting my dosage right for my meds to replace my now missing thyroid.   Easy Peasy.    I really was not worried at all.    You see, I knew so many people who either had their thyroid removed or knew someone who had theirs removed.    Another ace in the hole was one of my sons although he has a thyroid, it has not functioned since birth.   To be honest, my only concern was that a surgeon was going to literally be slicing open my neck.   That was my main focus.   Everything else would just work itself out.

So now I am one day shy of my surgery and I realize that it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.   The blip on the screen was much bigger than I thought it would be.  Still trying to adjust the thryoid meds which is really what I attribute my 15 pound weight gain this last year too.   Oh and the fact that my running took a dive. It’s a work in progress.

This last year has been an adjustment both physically and mentally.   Prior to the surgery I in my mind was chasing a 4:15 marathon, completed a 50 K, and was pushing my limits.   I did not realize that post surgery dealing with parathyroid glands that decided that they no longer would want to function properly that my limits would change and change drastically.  I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as Parathyroid gland let alone 4 that were very important.

Over time, I may get back to where I was but realistically speaking I am not getting any younger.   In less than 2 years, I will be hitting a number many refer to as a milestone even, but we aren’t there yet!

Where we are is a celebration of where I am today.

Today

Is it where I want to be?   Not exactly.   That being said….

I ACTUALLY RAN THIS WHOLE THING.

There was no walking.   There was no stopping.   There was only running.   And while I will admit that it was so much harder than it used to be and I was so happy to hit the end, it is so much better than it has been.    Life gives you what it gives you.   Today it gave me 3 miles.   For today that is enough.   I admit that some days it’s not, but as I continually remind myself….. You can’t live in the past.    You can’t spend your life living the should of , could of, and would of’s of life.   You get what you get and you don’t get upset.   And my personal favorite that my sister hates….

It is What it is!

So today, I look back on not where I was prior to 11-18-2016, but how far I have come since then.    The support that my friends have given me has helped me continue to push on.    You have been there when I have complained about my aches, my pains, my feeling tired all the time,  and everything else in between.   So this is my shout out to you……   For listening when I complained.   For understanding.  For your ideas and suggestions.  For run/walking with me when I need to and when I need to again and everything in between.   It hasn’t been an easy year learning to deal with “the new normal,” but thanks for taking the trip with me.

 

PS – I’m still following my training plan for the January Half Marathon.   One week down:)