I’ve run a marathon. I’ve run/walked a marathon. Now I can say I’ve walked a marathon. I’m ready to run again…… Ok, not just yet, but you know what I mean.
I walked for 8 hours 11 minutes and 51 seconds. My fastest marathon clocked in at 4:38:14 for perspective. Although post hypopara, I have been getting slower and last year crossed finish at 6:20:41. I guess I can go with since this was my 8th marathon that I was going for an hour for each one. I can honestly say that while I will probably do another marathon that I will NEVER specifically plan to walk another marathon. Then again maybe if it had been an in person event that I would have put more pressure on myself to do more.
I did know that I wanted to complete this event. I realized that I have done at least one marathon a year since 2014, so I didn’t want to break my streak. More than likely I would not have been able to keep the streak going if this was in person. Then again if Covid hadn’t shut everything down, I might have not had the mindset to take a break from running. Who knows?
Unlike when their is an actual event, there was no minimum to raise, but I missed being part of the team and spreading their message and helping to support their important cause. This year though as with the marathon, there was no pressure. I only posted it on my Facebook pace twice and did not promo it. Honestly based on all the stuff I post, I am sure many people missed it which actually took the pressure off the actually event.
So I planned a route in town. I told my hubby and some friends and then off I went. I started with a friend who walked a few miles. She then joined me for the half way point for a little more. Then I walked the last few on the phone with another friend. Finally I did the las one just walking.
Walking….. Walking…. Walking…..
Just the noise rattling around in my mind.
You would think it would be boring. You would think spending that much time just walking without outside stimulus would drive you crazy. I enjoyed the peace. I let my mind wonder. Walking alone taking in the surroundings. Being at peace with my thoughts. It was a good day.
Time on your feet with your thoughts while a good day does not make it an easy day.
Running a marathon is hard. Walking and running a marathon is hard. Walking a marathon is just as hard just a different type of hard.
A few days post marathon and my feet are healing nicely. Only 7 blisters, but only 2 that were thoughts of concern initially but they are both on road to recovery. So I am taking the week off. I am letting my feet totally heal. I am giving my legs a chance to recover. And then…. only then will it be time.
Time to rebuild.
Time to run……….
Whatever that will mean, but we will find out together.
Like many I am at a weird place in my running. I am a runner who doesn’t run. Sometimes I miss the push. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I wonder why I pushed as hard as I did. Then their are the Facebook memories to pop up that show you what you used to be and you wonder if it will ever be again. Not just the races, but the drive that I had to do them.
Right now, there is no drive. there is no feeling like I need to do this. Nothing to even make me feel like in the whole scheme of things is it even necessary. There is so much bigger, real, and important things going on in the world. It makes me feel like my running, my races, my paces is not even worth pursuing or important.
I am fatigued by it all.
I am worried about it all.
I am missing the the world that used to be.
Then I remind myself that yes, all those “wordly” things need attention and are important, but….. but…. but……..
Life is a gift that needs to be enjoyed. Yes, we need to pay atention, get involved, and do what we can to make the world a beter place. Yes, there is much that needs to be done. Yes, we have a responsibility to help make the world, our communities and those closest to us a priority.
But….. But…. But
If we also don’t take time to actually enjoy the gift of life are we really living it?
This week my Facebook memories is filled with Marathon preparations. It is filled with Runner’s World Hat Trick PR’s (5k, 10k, and HM in 2 day). It is filled with a time when I was at my peak as a runner. Not just pre-covid, but in my case pre-hypoparathyroidism. It made me nostalgic, sad, and proud all at the same time. I miss running. Really running like I haven’t done in a long time. I miss training hard. I miss racing hard. I miss it all.
I started this post last weekend, but I never finished it because I felt like I was wallowing a little. That I was being selfish. That it was all in my head. Then this morning I read a post (It’s been a minute) by a blog I follow that reminded me we are all feeling it and that it is ok to feel all the feels.
Sometimes when your are feeling low about something, you want to pretend that you aren’t feeling it. You think that you are the only one feeling it. You tell yourself that you shouldn’t be feeling the way you feel. You tell yourself so many lies to hide the simple truth that it is ok to feel the way you feel. That it is ok to miss what you miss. That it is ok to just allow yourself to be what you are with all the feeling that come with it.
Often in life, too often we pretend that we are ok when we are not. We pretend we aren’t angry when we are furious. We pretend we don’t care about someone when we do. We pretend we aren’t hurt when we are ready to crawl into a ball and cry. We pretend it is ok, when ok is the furthest thing from being ok. We pretend to be so many things that we aren’t. All because we somehow feel that our emotions aren’t justified. That we aren’t justified in feeling them. Every time we do this, we do a disservise to ourselves and those in our lives.
Part of this I think comes from society, from growing up and telling little ones not to cry, not to be angry and what they are feeling will pass. We need to do better not just for future generations, but for ourselves. In my job as a preschool instructor, I often have kids lay their emotions on me. There is one child who will tell me what kind of day he is having. Some days he says, he is having a happy day. Some days he will tell me that he is having a sad day. On those days he is telling me that he is having a sad day, I would never discount his feeling and just tell him to have a happy day. I always have the same answer, “it’s ok to have a sad day but Ms Christine is here for you.” Simple and to the point. Now….. we need to do the same for our own emotions.
Some times it is ok to have a sad day. Some times it is ok to have a down in the dumps day. Some times it is ok to have a I’m just not feeling it day. Some times it is ok to have any kind of day we are having. The trick is to find the balance. If you are having more sad days than good days, please know that there is help. We must stop trying to pretend that we don’t feel the way we feel and we must know that no matter how we feel we are never alone.
We need to allow ourselves to be ok with all the emotions not just the good ones. We need to allow people in to help us when we need help. We need to be willing to help and listen to our friends even when they are not feeling all rainbows and sunshine. We need to know that the good days out weigh the bad days. We need to know that there is hope.
Hope is what we need to hold onto until the days are once again filled with rainbows and sunshine. We are not in this alone, but in this together.
*****If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts and/or depression, you are not alone. Please find someone to talk to or call 800-273-8255 to talk with a counselor****
So many of us get caught up in the glory days of our past. Reminiscing about glory days…. Reminiscing is one thing, but getting lost in them is a whole other thing.
Lets be honest too. Often we skip over the sleepless nights of baby rearing saying how easy it was then. Remembering when we were in school think we had no cares. Forgetting both the social pressure and pressure to do well. We romanticize with most of our past this way.
There is really nothing sadder than a middle aged man or woman who is still living their glory days. Reveling in when they were star quarterback quarterback, cheerleader or any such thing. Having something amazing in front of you, but thinking it doesn’t compare to what you once had or worse dreamed of having. There is also nothing sadder than an athlete who keeps trying to hold on to their glory days too. In all of these cases, they are usually missing out on what is right in front of them.
Days you ran faster.
Days you ran further.
Oh what used to be.
Often we get so caught up in where we were that we forget to look forward to where we are going or even where we are now. Sometimes if we take off the rose colored glasses we also remember that our glory days are not as great as we make them out to be. We see this with people talking about their childhoods usually in comparison to the way kids are growing up now. They forget that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be even if it was good. They look at it fondly forgetting the bad and while no one wants to focus on the bad, you can’t pretend it wasn’t there.
Now I am not saying that we should focus on the bad, but by discounting it sometimes it allows you to be stuck in the past because the future or present will never live up to it. Besides, they aren’t wrong when they say you can never go back.
Not going to happen.
Remember but don’t live in it.
Our lives change. Not just as an athlete, but as a human our lives change, our circumstances change and sadly our bodies change (and age). Now all that being said, you can be proud of your accomplishments. You can brag about them even, but what you can’t do is let them define where you are now. Most of all when you stop doing that you might just realize that you are able to enjoy today more than you did yesterday.
I’ve found that with my walking. Giving up where I was or thought I should be has allowed me to focus on where I am today. Now I am not saying that I will never run again because part of me already wants to run. That being said, I am enjoying learning what my body can do today. I have been walking at least a mile a day since June 21rst. I can walk more frequently and further without the physical downside when I was pushing to run (remember that whole Hypoparathyroidism thing).
Yesterday, I went out for a long walk as part of my NYC Virtual Marathon Training. I knew that I wanted to walk at least 8 but 10 was really my goal. When I reached 9.5, I met someone I know that was out walking and joined her. We chatted and I ended up hitting 11 miles. While I did end up with a blister (not uncommon for 3 hours on your feet) and I did need a short nap, I was not out for the count. I also realized that I need to stay true to this walking marathon training as the worst thing I can do is second guess where I am right now. The worst thing you can do is to try to make a major change in your training when you are in midst of it. I would only be setting myself up for failure.
Yes, I could most likely start running agin and I would be able to do it. The question is why would I be doing it. I would be doing it because I feel like it is expected to be doing it right now. When I tell people that currently I am not running and committed to walking, they do scratch their heads a little. It is not the norm to admit that you need a step back. It is not the norm to say that you are going to push it to the edge. It’s not the norm to admit that sometimes you need something different.
Then again as my friends can tell you……
I am not normal.
I’m ok with that.
Try it. It is freeing to break expectations. It is freeing to be who you are now. It is freeing to just be.
Just because something is easier does not mean it is not hard. Nor does it mean that there aren’t challenges, learning curves, or doubt. Just because something is “easier” does not mean anything except that it is different. Besides easier is a relative term that is different for each individual and changes during their lifetime. What was once hard can become easier Just as what was once easy can become hard. It is all relative and ever changing.
There are things we do in life and often think to ourselves does it really matter. Maybe we won’t buy some brands because we don’t like what they support. Maybe we avoid certain establishments for the same reason. That is our freedom. Maybe we think it doesn’t matter if we dust behind the picture frames because who is going to see it. Meanwhile we see lines at the store, people using the products we wont, maybe the dust piles up and wonder does it matter. Does it make a difference, but it does. We would know. We know.
In life, you may fool a lot of people. You might even fool them for a long time, but there is one person you can’t fool and that is yourself. If you cheat on your diet and no one is around, you know you cheated. If you tell everyone you are training, but never actually train; you will know. Some even go so far as to cheat at events crossing finish line. They may even get the bling, but deep down they know they don’t deserve it.
Currently I am beginning my training for the NYC Virtual Marathon. I have decided that I am going to power walk it and I’ve been doing my daily walks. I am still working on the actual training plan and need to mark my calandar with the day that I plan to complete the marathon. This will help tailor my training. I am leaning towards November 1rst as that would be normal date, but not sure.
In talking to my son about this, he was like how will they know you didn’t cheat. So we talked about it. I told him that I’m sure just like other events that there will be people who don’t complete the race the way intended. That would be on them. For me though, I will know if I don’t do what I set out to do which is to complete a marathon. Others can worry about themselves because I will know that I did what needed to be done.
In life that is all you can ask of yourself because what you do in private is even more important that what you do in public. It is even more important to stay true to yourself, your beliefs and your honor even if you are the only one who will know. Especially if you are the only one who will know.
So with that I begin my training of a marathon that I said I didn’t want to run. I wasn’t lying because this time I don’t want to run. I’m going to walk and know that just because some may think this is easier, it is still going to be hard.
So I did a thing. As often, I did it on a whim. I did it without agonizing over it. I did it without really thinking about it. My sister mentioned it and off I went.
What did I do now you wonder?
I signed up to virtually complete the NYC Marathon.
Now you might be wondering how I am planning to do this when I am only walking right now and have committed to walk through the end of the summer. Easy Peasy…. I plan to train and mostly walk 26.2 miles.
Seriously…. Once I signed up and thought, “What did I just do?” I searched for walking plans. I actually think since it is a virtual event this is more doable because I don’t need to worry as much about meeting a cut off time. Plus lets be honest, last year I basically power walked 3/4 the in person NYC Marathon.
I have been mentioning that I’ve been thinking about goals. Completing a marathon length event was actually one. Remember how I have said that I have completed a marathon every year since 2014? I did not want this year to be any different and now it will be an official event. So while this may seem like it has come out of left field, it really hasn’t. Completing a marathon this year has always been rattling around in my head. I just wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it happen. Now I am.
I have not settled 100% on a plan but I have narrowed down already My walking this last month has set me up to be ready to roll into this plan. Walking 103 miles last month puts me in a good spot to start. Plus we all know that I need a goal.
Hindsight is 2020 they say. Although after this year, we might need to come up with a new expression because no one wants to remember 2020 but I digress. It is always so much easier to second guess something after the fact. To pick it apart. To dissect. To play the could of, should of, would of game. Never helpful.
I will be honest as you know I always am…… As a runner, I always felt like walking was cheating. Now hear me out, I walked plenty. Currently, I am not even running but walking every day. What I really mean is that I wasn’t a good enough runner. There was not one of my 7 marathons that I did not walk during. Some I intentionally trained with walking in mind. That being said, somehow I felt like I wasn’t a real runner because runners don’t walk even if me as a runner did. Somehow it meant that I didn’t measure up, that I was less of a runner, that I should be better because while I could go the distance, I couldn’t go just running.
My goal besides a 4:30 marathon was to run a marathon where I ran the whole thing. Somehow that would make me more of a “real runner.” I probably would have made both those goals one day but you know the whole Hypoparathyroidism thing.
While I know rationally I know that I was/am a runner. I just always felt like I should have and could have been better. That I wasn’t living up to my potential. Here is the thing…. I probably wasn’t. There is something about the distance of a marathon that gets in your head. I trained and ran NYC Half a sub 2 hour with no problem. It was hard. I pushed myself. I crossed the finish line smiling. Add 13 miles and it is a whole different beast not just physically but mentally.
Each marathon my head was the biggest obstacle.
First Marathon, Philly 2014, was a fluke. I had been training for Runner’s World Hat Trick (5k & 10K one day, next day Half) and rolled into Philly on a whim after one 20 miler. I didn’t know what I was doing. It was hard. I didn’t overthink. I finished 4:46:20. If I had pushed, I could have been under 4:45
Next up was Marine Corps Marathon. This one I trained with a good coach. I was ready right up until I wasn’t. GI issues that I didn’t push through led me to my marathon PR of 4:38:14. This should have been my day, but mentally I didn’t want it enough to make it happen. I always thought I’d have another day.
Then a trail marathon which I rolled into but loved doing. Probably because there is no pressure or expectations that you are going to run the whole thing. Plus trail races are a whole different vibe and expectations are very different.
2016 was supposed to be my year. Although I had a bump in my training due to a sprained ankle, I still was mostly ready. I could definitely go the distance because I had finished a 50K that year right before marathon training, I ran my sub 2 half, and I ran my 5K PR of 26:26. I was ready to both go the distance and the pace. Right up until I wasn’t. I went out running strong the first half like there was no second half. Once I hit the wall, it was a struggle to keep going but I did. Finishing in 4:56.
After that my thyroid surgery and that called it a day for my 4:30 marathon time. My goals since has just been to go the distance, don’t crash my calcium and cross the finish line. Consistently, my races time wise have been going the opposite of every runners dream…..
2017 Chicago Marathon: 5:48:52
2018 NYC Marathon: 6:10:13
2019 NYC Marathon: 6:20:41
Some might see these as failures. I don’t. I see them as perseverance. The year after my surgery, when I was being treated by the wrong doctor I was actually able to run decent paces. Although it was much harder to keep up for longer distances. The issue was that I was taking too much calcium which while good for things like running, it was bad long term for things like kidneys. So, you know, trade off was not very smart. Although at the time I did not know that even if my doctor should have which is why he is no longer my doctor.
So here we are now, where I am living in the low calcium range but saving kidneys. In hindsight now I feel like I wasted my before hypopara runs and maybe I did, but there is nothing to be done now. I can only look to the future and learn from the past to plot my course. I’ve been thinking a lot about goals. Goals for now and long term since, you know, there is a lot of time to think right now. This post is already too long to get into. Plus I am still forming, plotting, and kind of waiting for the world to be safe again.
Right now, I feel that the best way I can be a runner is not to run. I am giving my body the break it needs. As I said before I have been walking a minimum of a mile a day since June 21, but usually more. Other day I walked 6.25 at a brisk pace around 16:10. Shorter distances I pick it up honing in on my speed walking. I am embracing walking. I am embracing learning to cut myself some slack and know I am enough just like I am. I am embracing what ever I do… walk, run, and anything in between is enough.
I realize that when it comes to my running, like most of us, I am harder on myself than anyone else. I also realize that while I may have medical issues, my biggest issue has always been my head. (shocking). That voice telling me I can’t do it with a self fulfilling prophesy so that I don’t. So with this step back, I am learning to trust my body. I am learning what inner voice to listen to and what voice to tell to shut up. I am learning to be ok with not pushing but also not going easy. Finding the middle ground I so often miss.
It is so easy to get discouraged when we do not reach goals we think we should reach. It is easy to make excuses for why things are the way they are. It is easy to pack it in and call it a day. What is not easy is sticking around when things don’t pan out the way you want. Learning to roll up the hill instead of down. To make lemonade out of lemons. To just be and be happy with that.
Sometimes when you look at the reality of why things are the way they are, you have to just let it go. You realize that you can’t change how they turned out. You not only have to accept it, but move on from it even if it means letting go. Letting go of guilt. Letting go of missed opportunities. Letting go of all that is and has held you back. In life sometimes you realize what you once thought an important is no longer important to you. Most of all learn from it. Sometimes we have to do it over and over and over again because we did not learn the lesson we needed to learn the first time
If 2020 were an object, it would be a pile of dog poop. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would say as a whole this year doesn’t suck the big one. For some it sucks more than others and it doesn’t even take into account the pandemic.
2020 is also the year that one by one major races and events were cancelled. Boston while shocking was not unexpected since it was in the beginning of the pandemic. One by one other large events fell to the wayside. Many of the larger fall events have been holding out hope. NYRR just announced that they were cancelling the New York City Marathon. Not unexpected but still sad. For those that were planning to run they are giving great choices for deferment which also unheard of from NYRR. I believe they did the right thing both in canceling it and before most people started training.
This is the years for runners to decide why they run. This is the year for runners to decide weather they run only for the bling or if they run to run. Now don’t get me wrong…… I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my bling.
I get a lot out of running besides bling, but when you are not training for anything it does get easy not to stay motivated. Not to get out the door. Not to go for longer runs. Not to push yourself. One of the reasons, I have been doing the NJ Virtual Boardwalk challenge. 21 days left and more miles than I would like, but I will get it done.
So while 2020 has sucked and seems like is on the path to sucking till the bitter end, we need to regroup, refocus, and adjust.
What if we took this time as a gift. What if we viewed everything not through the lenses of what has been taken from us, but what has been given. What if instead of thinking of all we are missing, we embrace all the things that we have.
I currently have no part time job. I have no practices to run my son to. I have no this or that to attend, but instead of thinking about all that I’m missing what if I view this time as a gift.
I now have the time to practice yoga.
I now have the time to go for runs/walks. I have even started walking the dog with my oldest son just about every night. This is a gift.
I am missing the thrill of big events. The fun of small events. Missing my running crew. Missing training (really). Missing a lot…. BUT……. every since my surgery left me with Hypoparathyroidism, I have continued to push myself. I’ve continued to train, race, and while I have cut back on number events I was doing, I still kept pushing. Doing a marathon ever year since surgery in 2016 (actually every year now since 2014). Now, I have no choice though but to stop chasing events because even though I was realistic about them, I still pushed myself. FOR ME – instead of being upset that I can’t run NY again, what if I use this time to reconnect. Not just with running, but the way I need to run. Think about what works best for me as far as miles, pace, and calcium instead of chasing distances and time.
From January even before Covid, this year has had a lot of downs. Lots of things have gone wrong. Lots of drama. Lots of things that I wouldn’t wish to happen to anyone. But with each of these events, there has been an upside. Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to have gotten to the upside without the rollercoaster ride but that isn’t how life works. Sometimes you have to let go of the handles, put your hands in the air, scream as the roller coaster is racing down the tracks and just be happy when you pull into the end. You can’t enjoy the highs without the lows.
So while many of us our in lows now, we have no choice except to enjoy the ride as much as we can.
So for now…..
I will continue to run. I will continue to see if maybe I need to do more power walking especially in the heat instead of running. If maybe, I just keep moving that is enough and for the next 21 days, I have to not skip a beat and apparently I am a streaker.
Time has lost all meaning to me, but I think we’ve pretty much been in going on 6 weeks now. Who knows. Is it still April? I think April now has 675 days. Each day is the same. Each day is long. And yet still there is not enough time to fold the laundry or empty the dishwasher until the sink is filled with dishes. I’m not sure how that happens, but it does. This is my life now. Searching for food delivery slots that are not available. Making carts on the off chance that someday I will hit the lottery and get a slot which has happened twice in these 6 weeks. Then there is the inevitable suiting up to go to actual store since teens in a Pandemic apparently will eat more food than required by a heard of elephants.
This is my life.
I am still blessed.
On top of that every and any event has been cancelled. Not just for now, but for next month and the month after and the month after. On and on the cancelations go. So much for my doing a race a month for the year. Ha. I will take for still being able to fit into my running clothes when this is over. That being said, with health officials already talking about a reoccurrence of this crap in the fall during flu season, you wonder if this year all major marathons will be cancelled. Chicago while not cancelled is allowing participants to cancel. Unheard of. Many while not outright cancelled do not have a new date yet which makes you wonder. NYRR has cancelled their NYC half and their races through June. It makes you wonder what they will do for the Marathon that normal has 50,000 runners. To me, a layman, runner; I just don’t see how it is possible but what do I know.
I had been thinking of running NY again for Team Sandy Hook Promise but I don’t see that happening. With so many people hurting financially raising $3,000 does not seem feasible. Honestly nor does the thought of going to an event with 50,000 people. I went to Target for groceries and thought I would have an anxiety attack with all the people in the store who were wearing masks and most being good about socially distancing from each other. I couldn’t see myself at the village start line. Honestly I can’t imagine how an event like this will happen even though it is still months from now.
Who knows what will happen. I do know that no matter what I can’t see myself in the middle of it. That being said, I have run a marathon every year since 2014, somehow someway I do not want 2020 to be the year I don’t. I’ve already been thinking that trails are the way to go. Who knows, I might have to do my own virtual marathon. Then again maybe I just skip this year. In the whole scheme of things, it is not the be all end all.
Yes, I miss my running crew.
Yes, I miss group events.
Yes, I miss it all.
But what I have taken away the most is that in the big scheme of life….. for me…… although I am a runner, although I love to run, although I have had and will have again so much fun running……… When this is all over, I do not want it to go back to business as usual.
I want it to better.
I want to think about things differently.
I want to realize that while I am a runner, I am so much more
Yesterday, I had a choice. I could run through the pain or I could run a smart race. I could only do one. As a runner, we often think that we need to dig deep, run through injury, or somehow we aren’t tough enough. I beg to differ with that. Sometimes it is harder to make what you know is the right choice for your life even if it might not be what you necessarily want to do or as a runner think that you should do.
Aerbically I was feeling good yesterday. I started off with a strong run. I kept my paces conservative in the 11’s and 12’s. My splits were on target by the 15K. The problem was that by mile 6 my feet were starting to hurt. So I pushed through. I kept on running. Up until I didn’t.
Aebocially I had it in to push through. I was feeling strong. I was feeling confident in being able to get that 5:45 that I was aiming for. The flip side though was at what cost would I get that time. I wasn’t winning. I wasn’t PRing. I was only finishing. I knew that if I continued to push to run, I might not be able to walk like had happened only a month prior. I didn’t want to end up in a boot which since it would be both feet, might be complicated. It would also effect my job as teaching preschool gymnastics does require your feet. The cost was too high.
So I made a decision to power walk the marathon. There were times that I did run but they were fleeting moments and the pain reminded me that it wasn’t a good idea. Not to say there was no pain with the power walking, but as my Mantra became….. I was stronger than the pain.
By the Half way point, I knew that if I planned to get to the finish line and be able to go about my life the next day that I would need to stick with the walking. And for anyone who thinks that power walking a marathon is easy, I advise you to go for it and experience it yourself. My legs still became heavy, my quads and calves still screamed; but I kept on moving. I knew if I stopped that starting would be too hard.
The beauty of power walking is that I did several live stream videos for my facebook friends. It was more for me than them, but I do think they enjoyed “experiencing” the marathon in a way only those on the course can. The excitement. The bands, choirs, and views of the city that you can only get when it’s all shut down for 50,000 plus runners. Plus so many of these friends have support me in so many ways and supported the whole reason I was there….. Sandy Hook Promise.
This year since I was power walking, I did not miss the Sandy Hook Promise cheer section. It was the highlight of my run. To go and get hugs and support from my Team reminding me of why I was there and what was really important carried me. It also helped that they were at mile 17!
There is more to unpack with this event, but for now I need to go roll, stretch and soak.
Tomorrow I will be stepping up the start line for my seventh marathon. Hopefully it will by the end of the day I can say that I have finished all 7. We all know that there isn’t much that is going to stop me from getting there. No matter what I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
With each marathon, I’ve learned something. Learned how to push myself. Learned that I am stronger than I realize. Learned that no matter what there is always a little more in the tank.
My first marathon, Philly, was a fluke. That year, I had trained and completed the Runner’s World Hat Trick (5k, 10k, and Half marathon all in two days). When it was over a friend nudged me to sign up for Philly the following month. One 20 mile training run later, I was in. I finished in 4:46:20. This is before I knew anything about running, so I do see humor in that I didn’t push for the 4:45 time..
Then over the next few years would run a marathon a year. For my second marathon, Marine Corps, I trained with a coach. I finished in 4:38:14. This is my current and more than likely my PR for marathon finish times. I should have PR’d my first New York as I was well trained for it, but went out way too fast not following the plan. This is a mistake I will not make tomorrow.
Two weeks after that first New York Marathon was my thyroid surgery leaving me not just without my thyroid, but also working parathyroid glands. I was determined not to let being Hypopara take away my running and the Chicago Marathon was supposed to be my one hypopara marathon and done. A way to snub my nose at it. I learned a lot in Chicago. I learned that for me the set run/walk plan doesn’t work for me. I learned that my body does NOT like running in the heat as it was very hot that year. Most of all, I learned that I can just keep going. All things being considered, an hour slower is pretty awesome.
But then, then it became about something more. Last year when I got picked to be part of the Sandy Hook Promise Team, I could not have been any more honored. I still remember sitting in a Toys R Us parking lot talking on the phone with a friend in 2013, a year after the shooting in Sandy Hook. She could not understand my pain over the horrific shooting when I was not personally involved, but I was involved. I’m a mother, that year my youngest son was also in Kindergarten. I took it very personally because this tragedy as we’ve learned over the years can happen anywhere. She couldn’t understand my pain and told me that I needed to do something as I wasn’t “getting over it.” I didn’t want to get over it, I wanted to do something. So here we are.
Although, even before last year I was involved. I did what I could, but I wanted to do more. This is my more. I can and do share the message of inclusion, stopping gun violence, and making a change. My personal friends know this to be true. I remember one year on Wear Orange for Gun Safety another friend that I ran into at a baseball game while I was wearing my orange shirt saying to me, “Isn’t every day Wear Orange day for you?” She meant this is the nicest way possible because she knows I am always spreading the message.
So here I am getting ready to run my second marathon as part of Team Sandy Hook Promise. At a lunch today it was said, “You weren’t just a number coming into Sandy Hook Promise. You were selected. Your stories and passion are what got you here……. We picked you from the heart.” So I run knowing that this isn’t about me. This is my way to not just share the Sandy Hook Promise message which I do, but about helping to support an organization that is doing so much good. Last year was my slowest marathon to date at 6:10:13; but my most memorable and favorite one.
I am honored. It is more than words. It is a truthful statement.
My goal. My only goal tomorrow is to wear my Sandy Hook Promise shirt with pride. Ok, I may also have a goal of 5:45 time but that is secondary. I know it won’t be easy, but nothing in life worthwhile is a walk in the park. I will get that walk in the park crossing the finish line. I’ve learned a lot about running since my first marathon. I’ve learned a lot about what my body can do even after becoming Hypopara. I will do what it takes knowing that I will have not just the support of family and friends, but the Sandy Hook Promise community.
This picture was taken last year during the marathon. I have taken MANY race day photos. I have NEVER taken one like this with the sun shining down on me. I look at this as a sign that I was not alone. So as I run these 26 miles, I know that the saying 26 miles for 26 angels is more than a catch phrase. It is real.