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I’m Still Standing

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.

Oh and for those wondering………. 6:20:41

A reverse PR, but done is done!

Lucky # 7

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.

It’s go time.

Take 5, or is it 6 or 7?

Life is about transformation.

Metamorphosis

Changing from one stage to the next. Often we get comfortable in one stage and don’t like the thought of change. Most often the metamorphosis is not up to us and will happen whether we like it or not. Change is hard. Change is often unexpected. Change is inevitable.

The thing about change though is that often we are not ready for it. We have reached a level of comfort and we want to stay in the comfort zone. This does not mean that the comfort zone is all that comfortable, but we are used to it. We know it. We accept it. We can deal with the known because the unknown is frightening.

Surprise.

Time to move out of your comfy zone. You can not stop a change any more than the caterpillar can stay in it’s cocoon forever. It needs to break free and let the sun shine on it’s wings and fly. If it does not emerge from it’s cocoon it will wither and die.

So here I am. Now 5 Weeks till NYC Marathon getting ready to figure it all out again. I’ve been thinking this last week about my training. I’ve trained for marathons healthy. I’ve trained for marathons with hypoparathyroidism without Natpara. I’ve been training with hypoparathyroidism with Natpara which let me tell you is soooooo much nicer. Now 5 weeks till NYC Marathon I’m getting ready to figure it all out again.

Last year when I trained, I was able to build my miles up learning when I needed to ad more calcium, what would effect my levels, and how I needed to adjust my training. I was able to build up the miles slowly and plan accordingly. This training cycle with Natpara has been different as I have not been so symptomatic and it was going nicely. Now as my body adjusts to being off the Natpara even without the added stress of running, I need to figure out how much calcium to take, when to take it and also how much Calcitriol and supplements to take to find a balance. Add training for NY to the mix and it is a little stressful. My body and even mentally I’m trying to work it all out. Instead of having the summer to figure it out and get it together, I literally have weeks.

It can be done. It will be done. I was scrambling. Doubting. Wondering how to pull it all together. A good friend shared with me an 8 week marathon training plan with low millage. I’ve been putting in the miles. I have the base. I can do this. It is not designed for someone who is looking to race, PR, or push. It is designed for someone like me who just wants to get to the finish line. So I’m jumping in with 5 weeks to go and let this next transformation be what it will be.

I’m Not Unpacking

You already know the whole Natpara thing has thrown me for a loop. It’s to be expected, but I’ve got literally a week of it left so I might as well make the best of it. It’s hard though when you see posts of people in your hypopara support groups already suffering with the effects of coming off of it and some already in the ER. It’s no joke.

What I keep thinking of though is that prior to Natpara I was lucky enough not to have visited an ER. So chances are pretty good that I won’t now either. At least that’s what I keep telling myself because you just never know because now it’s not just the hypopara but body adjusting to not having Natpara. I’m hopefully optimistic especially because I am also lucky enough to have a doctor not just well versed in Hypopara but also in Natpara. I trust her judgement and the instructions she gives to make this as smooth as possible. It will be a balancing act. Not too low. Not too high which is just as bad. We are looking for just right. Fingers crossed.

So yeah, I admit that I’m nervous. I think that I might be a fool if I wasn’t. But since the medicine is no longer available, I’ve got no choice expect to face it head on with as positive an outlook as I can.

Now Lastly I will admit that I’ve also been thinking about how NYC Marathon is in 8 weeks. Training has been going good in my opinion. I’ve been for the most part following my plan. I’ve been getting out the door. Doing what needs to be done to be able to cover the distance. I have not been concerned with paces as that has never been part of the goal. That being said paces have been better than I have expected. Part of me was starting to think that I might actually have a 5:15-5:30 marathon in me.

Well that’s out the door.

I have been experiencing a little tiny pity party these last few day. Not getting in one run since the news came out. Part of me is like…. why bother? A What will it matter pity party.

So it’s time to dust off the stink of the pity party. The Party is over and I refuse to unpack here, because I don’t know what is coming anyway. Besides I was never doing this marathon for me, but for Sandy Hook Promise anyway. So be what may, I will do what I can. At any pace that I can. Smart and safe as I can (don’t worry Mom). I will do this any way that I can, but I will do it.

So with that being said…. It’s time to run again.

I

Fire

I’m preparing to start training for NYC Marathon. I’m dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s. Picking my training plan. Kind of doing some pre training. Thinking about goals. All the things that I’m supposed to be doing. With all that being said, I am noticing one thing missing this go around.

Fire.

Don’t get me wrong….. I’m excited to be getting ready to train and run NYC Marathon for Sandy Hook Promise. I’ve got the fire to get to both start and finish line. Let me explain….

When I first started this journey years ago, I had fire and determination. I pushed myself to the limit. I trained. I ran far. I ran fast. I pushed myself to and past limits that I didn’t know I could push through. I got up early. I ran late at night. I had serious goals. Some I reached. Some I didn’t. But I always pushed through.

Now….

I like to sleep in….. I’m comfy on the couch at night. I’m missing that fire to push the limits. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been running (not as much as I thought for pretraining). I’ve been running some local 5K and being pretty consistent in my times. Faster than I thought I’d be. I’ve run 3 5K’s this year. All of them, I said I was just going to run and see what happened. All of them were hard and I pushed myself. All of them I finished around 31 minutes.

Now that being said, I think the reason my fire is a little damp right now is I’m not sure what is going to happen as I start adding the miles. Am I going to fall apart. Is my body which thanks to my Natpara has been feeling good going to give me issues. I’m worried. I like the way I’ve been feeling. You know… feeling like me. I think that I may be afraid to rock the boat. I keep saying I don’t want to go back to how I felt both mentally and physically before I started my Natpara. I love running. I love racing. I love being able to cross any finish line but a marathon finish line is special especially when running for a cause you believe in. That being said as much as I love that…… I love waking up not feeling like grandma. I love not needing a nap in the afternoon. I love not having muscle cramps, spasms and all of those other funky sypmptoms of being hypopara.

So I guess what I will say is…… I have the fire, but I’m afraid to let it burn too brightly right now. I’m going to tend to it. I’m going to care for it, but I’m not going to let it burn out because while I love running; I love being able to live my life like I did before my surgery.

If there is one thing about being hypopara is that it does make you more cautious. Where I used to throw caution to the wind and let the chips fall where they may because I knew I could easily pick up the pieces; I don’t do that now. When they fall, they fall too hard and it takes too long to pick them up.

So I will go into my training following a very low key plan. I will put in the miles. I will do what I need to do and as the 3 miles turns 5 and so forth and so forth; I will reassess. I will adjust. What I will not do is stop….

So I guess I do have more fire than I thought:)

5 Years in and Not Done Yet

When I did my first marathon, I said I was one and done. Then number 2 was a fluke as everyone said how hard it was to get into Marine Corps. I was done. Then I had to run NY because everyone says you’ve got to do it. Then Chicago was another “oops I got in again” moment. Then the call of running for Sandy Hook Promise led me to NY again and now again… This is it… I’m pretty sure. Yeah, really.

I’ve been tooling along right now. Getting runs in, but have not settled on my marathon training plan. There is a reason for that too……

Picking a plan means that I have to set a goal of some type. Then there is the whole picking a plan that is realistic for where I am now in my training, where I will be as I train, and the toll it might take on my body. I also need to decide what I am willing to give up to reach any goals I set.

Currently I am settled on following a Hal Higdon plan. I’m torn between a few of his plans.

“Novice 1 Marathon Training Program. If you are training for your first marathon, this is the training program for you! Even if you are an experienced marathoner, you may choose this as a gentle and low-mileage approach to your favorite sport”

“Novice 2 is designed to fit comfortably between the Novice 1 and Intermediate 1 marathon plans. It is designed for runners who may already have run and finished their first marathon and want to add just a bit more mileage while training for their second or third marathons, hoping to improve their times”

“Intermediate 1 Marathon Training Program is one step up from Novice 2. It is designed for runners who may have used the novice programs to run their first marathons and who are now looking to increase their training levels and hoping to improve their Personal Records.”

In looking at a side by side comparison, the Novice 2 & Intermediate 1 are very similar in mileage. Obviously though there will be differences in pace and training runs. Novice 1 is where I am if training started today, but I have a month so I could get myself ready to start one of the others if I push myself. I’m not looking to PR as I just don’t see that in my future. Although maybe I could PR as Hypopara athlete. Last year I crossed NY in 6:10. Chicago I crossed in 5:48. Maybe I could realistically cross in 5:00 or 5:30? Who knows. My speed has increased since being on Natpara but not sure how that will translate on longer runs with endurance.

It really depends if I want to just train to run a good race and finish or if I’m willing to push the boundaries. I’m not sure that is worth it anymore. When you go through periods that it’s all you can do to make it through the day and then start to feel better again, it’s hard to put it on the line for a finish line.

Every person training for a marathon has to decide how much they are willing to give up and be willing to do to get the finish line and reach their goals. You have to be willing to give up time with your family. You have to push your body to its limit. You have to learn to push through pain because there is always pain at some point. You have to be willing to train even when you don’t want to. You have to run further than you realistically want to. You have to take care of your body, so that it can take care of you and some people will view this as luxury when it is necessity.

Training also takes a toll on you mentally. There will be times when you feel like you can’t go any further. You will doubt yourself, your abilities and your body. Your mind will play tricks on you telling you that you can’t do it, that you should stop, that it’s not worth it and more. You will hear everything from your inner voice from “I’ve got this” to “WTH are you doing?”

That being said, seriously, crossing the finish line always makes it worthwhile.

I’ll be honest…. One of the reasons that I’m having a hard time picking a plan is because I’m not sure how much fire that I have in me anymore. There was a time where I trained hard for a 4:30 marathon. I was 8 minute shy and to a runner, you know it might as well been 8 hours. During that training cycle I got a sub 2 half though. I’m not sure I have that in me anymore. Getting to the finish line might just be enough. Some days not taking a nap is enough.

So as I ponder this, I think I might start out with Novice 1 and am taking intermediate off the table. I will start with 1 and see how I feel. If as the miles increase I feel that I can push it further, I can take it up to Novice 2. Mentally it is better to go up a training plan than have to downgrade.

So the next month, I will start pre-training. Getting 3 solid runs in building up to the fist long run of 6 miles. I’ve got this….

New Beginnings

Life is filled with one new beginning after another. The road to life has many turns, backtracking, ups & downs and hopefully always moving forwards. There are many stops along the way, but the trick is not to idle too long or you may get stuck in one place.

Each journey along the road is a start of something new filled challenges, hopes, dreams and sometimes set backs. When we come to the beginning of a new road, we can either face the challenge, avoid it, change direction or drive into it. Sometimes starting a new journey is familiar. Some times it can be scary. Often a journey begins with hope.

I am about to embark on a few new journeys. Two familiar, yet not the same. One totally new and even with planning, research, and knowledge still a little frightening, exciting, and unknown.

The first journey is the beginning of my NYC Marathon training for Sandy Hook Promise. This is a journey that I faced before, yet it will still be a different road with new challenges, thrills, and hopes. This journey is scary not just for the training of the marathon but the fundraising aspect of it.

For the marathon running, I have been there done this as the saying goes. That being said, I have not done the 2019 marathon whose weather, training, and everything in between still has not been written. I am embarking on a 28 week training plan that has already started. The plan I have chosen is a basic marathon training plan with a slow build up, but will get me to the finish line. For now, I am not setting any training goals other than to finish better than last years 6 plus hour marathon. I also, for now, am not in a place to think about more than just a basic marathon training plan nor do I want to do more than be prepared.

For the marathon fundraising, I have been there done that once before; but again that was last year. This year my goal once again is $3,000 which is a scary goal that I am committed to hitting. For those who have never run as a charity runner, when you make this commitment it is not I will try. It is do and if you don’t hit your mark, you have signed a contract that you will personally make the payment. This is why you must be committed to the cause you are fundraising to which I am. I have been a believer in Sandy Hook Promise since they first organized and I signed up with them. That being said, it is a scary prospect as a mother of 3 children, one finishing his first year of college, one who is currently looking at colleges, to make a commitment like this. So far I’ve raised $50…. Gulp…… That being said, I have just started and this fundraiser is a marathon in itself.

Feel free to make a donation to this worthy cause though at…..https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/sandy-hook-promise-foundation-nyc-2019/christinechaillet

Lastly I will also be starting a new adventure in my treatment of Hypoparathyroidism. The medication, Natpara, awaits in proper temperature in my refrigerator for the Natpara Nurse to come Monday to teach me how to prepare the mediation and give myself the daily injections. This is an exciting road that I’m hoping does not have too many bumps as I work out proper dosage and also adjust calcium supplements and Calcitrol dosage. I’m not expecting this to go without a hitch but hoping that it is easy transition. Once I start this treatment and get levels/dosage where they should be with any luck much of the issues that come from not producing the PTH hormone will be gone and my body can go back to factory settings.

Fingers crossed!

New beginnings are a part of life and I’m happy to be taking these paths right now.

Aging Up

Last week I hit what is considered a milestone birthday. It probably is because it was a big milestone. I aged up to the next running group.
I turned the Big 50.

Here’s the funny thing, the 9’s are hard for me. When I turned 49 I was like, “Oh crap, I’m almost 50.” Then by the time 50 rolled around, I had truly embraced it. Seriously. So much so that I had more than one friend tell me that they admired the way that I was handling it which I took as both a compliment and thought weird.

Here is the thing. Age really is just a number. Yes, age changes us both mentally and physically but it doesn’t stop us unless we let it. So I went into 50 boldly. I actually spent the week leading up to my birthday sharing bits and pieces of my past.

Yup, I was a Material Girl living in a material world and also a product of the 80’s!

Christine & boys

Skip over 20 years and it was so much better.

Anywhoo…. Yes, when I was that 16 I thought that 50 was so ancient. Then again I also thought that dressing like Madonna was cool, so my judgement should be questioned. One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that you must not only embrace who you are now, but who you were then. And while that does not mean that I need to share with everyone the who, what, and where of my past; it does mean coming to terms with it. Embracing it to know that all of those things brought me to who I am today and where I am right now.

As I’ve said before, much of what happens to us in life is out of our control. What we control is how we handle it, what we learn from it, and how we let it shape us.

I also know that age really is just a number. I have no choice to be 50, but I do choose to act like I did when I was 49 which means just doing what I’m doing. Besides I am happy to enter a new age category for running. Maybe that will help me. Maybe it won’t. What it won’t do is stop me.

So just days after turning 50, I am entering into another round of marathon training. This week begins NYC Marathon number 3 training (2 for Sandy Hook Promise) and when I cross finish line it will be marathon number seven and my sixth year in a row running one. I ran my first marathon in 2014 at the age of 45. I ran my first (and only so far) 50K at the age of 47. And with this new round of marathon training, I will embrace where I am today but begin it anyway:)

I have always beat to my own drum. I have always followed my own path. I certainly am not going to stop now. Life is a gift. We never know how long we will be able to do what we can enjoy or what is around the next corner. I was not meant to go through life in bubble wrap. No one is. You are meant to face it – the challenges, the good times, the really crappy times….. It all.

Most of all you are meant to live it.

So here is to 50 and all the adventures that it brings

Those who have been here for a while know that after running the New York City Marathon last year as part of the Sandy Hook Promise Marathon Team, I said that while not saying never again that it will be a long time before I run another one. I said it. I meant it.

Well…..

A year is a long time, right?

Sometimes we say things that we mean 100% at the time. Last year running NY was hard. I would say it was not as brutal as when I ran Chicago Marathon that hot, hot day; but being on the race course for 6 hours does take a toll. That being said even with it being my slowest marathon by a long shot, it was the one that I enjoyed the most. Because of where I was with my training, with my health, and why I was running; I went into NY with a whole different attitude. I went into to enjoy the experience and I did.

I walked with people along the course. I talked to them. I stopped and took photos along the bridges, with the crowds, and walked if I needed to which was a lot. Sadly, I did somehow miss the Sandy Hook Promise cheer section, but I promise not to this year.

Yup…. I am once again joining the Sandy Hook Promise NYC Marathon Fundraising Team. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that this is a cause that I champion, believe in, and put my running shoes where my mouth is.

And while a friend laughed when I told her that I was doing this again and said she knew not to believe me last year about not running again, I honestly don’t think that I would take on this daunting task if it were not for the fact that I believe so strongly in Sandy Hook Promise’s mission and if I wasn’t gearing up to start Natpara. I also have rediscovered my love for running. Things will be different. I’m going to train smarter. I’m also going to go into this once again to enjoy the experience. While maybe not walking as much, I also want to come away knowing that I enjoyed the experience of it again and did what I could to raise money for Sandy Hook Promise.

Since stepping back and starting from square one with my running, I am rediscovering not just joys of running but learning what my body needs and when it needs it. I will slowly build on my 5K training smartly and not take any of this for granted.

As the saying goes….

A Warm Embrace

While I’m no longer in recovery right now, I will say that I am in some type of holding pattern.   I have not run since NY.   Not even from the house to the car.   Maybe a fast walk, but nothing close to a run.   There are a few reasons, but those aren’t for today.

Toady I still want to talk about NY.

Prior to the marathon I toyed with not getting the NYCM poncho and checking a bag instead.   Logistically checking a bag made more sense because I was planning to take the train out of the city and without a checking bag, I would literally only have what I could carry with me.   I went back and forth and realized that for me, there is nothing better than having the poncho draped around my shoulders by the very caring volunteers.

I’ve done many events (including triathlons) where I come home in what I raced in.   The worst, I admit, was after running the Marine Corps Marathon.   After it, I used wipes to clean up the best I could and then got in my car and drove away.   It wouldn’t have been bad for a normal drive home, but I was leaving DC to go to NJ.   I did manage to do a clean up in a rest stop on the way home.  A close second was the 2 hour drive home after running a 50K.   This is not recommended though.   So with this thought process, I knew that I would be able to hop a train in my running attire.

I also knew that I could make this work, because I am not a minimalistic  runner and wear my Fitletic belt that I also have an add of to hold a phone.   Since I put my phone in the big pocket, I knew that I could use this accessory to hold extra medications, charger, fuel, and even my headphones.   Then I put my credit card and id in the main belt.   I do admit that I might refer to my Fitletic belt as my bat belt.    As a mother of all boys, I identify with Batman having all the tools he needs on his belt.

My only concern would be if the weather was very cold or it was raining.   I had decided though that it didn’t matter and if for some reason I felt the need to have anther set of clothes that I would be in NY and it would be very easy to acquire them.   Luckily the weather was perfect, so this became a non issue.

There is something very nice at the end of a long day to have a smiling, friendly volunteer envelope you in your poncho.    There is no comparison to a heat sheet.

So now that the race is over, what do I plan to do with my poncho?   Keep it, of course.   I have kept my old one in the trunk of my car and used it at my kids sporting events.   I have used it when unprepared for rain/snow or just he cold.   I plan to put this one in our second car.

So when given the choice….. Get the poncho!

What have you done with yours since the race?