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It’s Not Just About the Numbers

I will admit that I am a numbers person.   I like keep track of how far I’ve run.   I like to keep track of pace and distance.   I am never one to run without my Garmin.   That being said, there is so much more to running that sometimes we forget.   Sometimes the universe sends us a curve ball to remind us.

Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with chasing time.   I’ve done it.    I trained hard to be able to get a sub 2 half.    I was never able to obtain the 4:30 marathon or 25 minute 5K.   Although I admit that I came close with a 26.26 5K and I could never shave off the 8 minutes to get the 4:30.    But as much as I chased these dreams, I was never completive enough to be totally vested in them.

To me this race was never about the race, but the experience.   It was about raining money for Sandy Hook Promise and trying to bring about change.   It was about so much more for me.   I was excited about the challenge of raising money for them.   I was not equally excited about running the marathon.   My heart was in the fundraising, but also in just getting to the finish line for those 26 angels who broke my heart and made me promise to try and bring about change for the future.

45377532_10215894900197880_9159796036858806272_n (1)When I saw this picture after the race, I took this as a sign that those 26 angels were with me that day.   They were the reason that I ran.    They were what got me to the finish line.  Yeah, I really do believe this.

It was by far my slowest marathon at 6:10:13.    I can honestly say though it was my most enjoyable race ever.   Not that I wasn’t in pain by mile 6.    Not that I didn’t need to stop to take more calcium because I was feeling wonky from low calcium.    It’s because for the first time I really, really took in my surroundings.   Not chasing time allowed me to chase the experience more fully.    This is not to say that when I ran for time that I didn’t enjoy it, but there was much I missed.

I missed stopping to take in this view and take a picture.

I missed helping a little old lady with a cane navigate her way across the street when she looked overwhelmed, (Seriously, I helped an old lady cross the street)

I missed walking with a man whose been running the marathon since 1978 and hearing his stories of how the marathon has changed.   He loves the changes.   He love the race and he loves how even though his goal now is to try to finish before dark that he is still moving.

I missed taking in the grit of a hand cyclist at he was hours into the race and still pushing through.

I missed stopping to take pictures with random strangers because I loved their sign.

I missed around mile 23 taking a power bar from a child passing them out and hearing his mother telling him that she told him someone would take it.   Then seeing how excited he was.   Best of all, devouring said energy bar that never tasted so good.

I missed remembering that even at my fastest the time really didn’t matter because as much as a number person I am that I had to look what my PR marathon time was (4:38), but I will always remember the 6 hours and 10 minutes and 13 seconds running this marathon took.

More tomorrow as there is always so much to unpack with a marathon!

The Calm Before the Storm

I’ve recently been asked on more than one occasion and in more than one way,

“Are you ready?”

My response has been all over the place, but it really is a loaded question.

Am I ready?

Yes and No and everything in between.

I’ve done the training.   Not like training in the past but ultimately I do think that I’ve done enough to be ready.    I’ll be honest, for all the bluff about knowing I will get to the finish line; I do have some doubts.   Small doubts, but doubts just the same.  I actually think these doubts will work in my favor.

I know that I can run this distance.   I’ve done it before.   I’ve done it more than once.   Muscle memory aside, I’ve also know mentally what it takes to push through when you want to stop.   Who remembers me literally crying when running Chicago?   I still got to the finish line.

I also know that each race is different.   No two marathons are alike.   No two races are alike even if it is the same course.   With knowledge is power.   I have the knowledge of how hard this day will be.   I have the knowledge that it won’t be a walk in the park even if it ends in Central Park.  I have the knowledge that my body can go the distance.    I have the knowledge of knowing that no matter what I will continue to move forward to get the finish line.   Most of all, I have the knowledge to know how sweet it is to cross the finish line.

I think this knowledge is bringing a calmness to the preparation of the day.   I am looking forward it tremendously, but I am calm about it.   No nerves.   It  will be what it will be.   I think this will help me.   The no expectations.   The knowing what to expect.   These things will help me to keep myself in check.   EVERYONE is excited at the beginning of any race.   The trick is to know that what you feel like at mile one is definitely not what you will feel like at mile 20.    So the knowledge that I have in how hard the end of the race will be will keep me from not following the plan.   I t will keep me to be realistic in my pace, my expectations, and my finish time.    This will not be a BQ.    This will not be a PR.    This will be my slowest marathon.   I am ok with that. It is this knowledge and peace that will help me to keep my head on and my feet moving:)

effort

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Running for a Cause

When fundraising for a race, there is so much more that needs to be put on the line than your running shoes.    Before committing to it, you really need to weigh the options.

I have never been one who wanted fundraise for my running.   Then the epiphany was that I’m not really fundraising for my running, but for a cause that I believe in.  I’ve said it several times, I would be perfectly fine not to be running NY This year.   But I am also extremely stoked about being able to run it as a Sandy Hook Promise Runner.   Running NYC is a bonus to being able to help support Sandy Hook Promise.   As I’ve said in previous posts, I felt that this was meant to be which is why I took the leap of faith.

So the first piece of advice is to make sure that the charity you are raising money for is one that you firmly believe in and can get behind.    With Sandy Hook Promise, I didn’t just sign up on the dotted line.   I had to fill out a questionnaire regarding volunteer work and explain why this cause was important to me.   This was easy for me to do because I have been active in this cause since the Sandy Hook shooting.   Just ask any  of my friends especially those on my Facebook page.

You must be also willing to put your money where your mouth is.   When push comes to shove, you have to be willing to put up your own money if you don’t reach your fundraising goal.   I pledged to raise $3,000.   I am happy to report that I have reached the half way point in my fundraising efforts, but I still have a ways to go.

You also have to be willing to go out of your comfort zone.    I’ve had to be bolder than I wanted to be.   I’ve had to point blank ask people for donations.   I’ve had to put myself out there in ways that I never would if I was asking for myself, but I am willing to put myself there for Sandy Hook Promise.  This is not about me.

You also have to be willing to put the time in.   Raising a large sum of money is not something that you can do in your sleep.   It does become a bit of a part time job and you must be willing to put in the hours.   Yes, I do mean hours.    Unless you have rich family and friends willing to finance your fundraising effort, you are going to need to work for it.   That being said since it is a cause that you firmly believe in,  you know that it is all worth it.

On top of this, you do need to still train for said race.   Anyone who has ever trained for a marathon knows that in and of itself is a part time job.   So you will need to deal with two part time jobs until you reach your fundraising goal.

Now with all that being said……

I am beyond  honored to be running as part of the Sandy Hook Promise Team.    I am thrilled to share their message.    Their cause of protecting our children is one that we can all get behind.    I have run 5 marathons and each one of them I ran for me and I had my own goal.   This time, my only goal is to run (walk) wearing my Sandy Hook Promise gear and be worthy of wearing the Sandy Hook Promise Gear.   When I say that I run for #26for26, I truly mean it and how honored I am to be able to run for the victims of Sandy Hook.   That day changed me and I am so honored to run for them, give back and help to bring about change.

One of my favorite quotes that I often use is Be the Change you want to see in this world.

Be_the_Change

So if you ever want to run a race for charity, I say go for it.

Now if you are inspired to make a donation, you can right here Fundraising Page for Sandy Hook

See you’ve got to be willing to ask and get out of your comfort zone!

 

 

Done is Done

 

5:48:52

Done is Done!

Some people might be upset with an almost 6 hour marathon.

I wholeheartedly admit there might be a time that I might have been one of those people.   I am not today.   I will be 100% honest with you…..

I am happy

I worked my ass off.

I didn’t stop.

Ever.

I never thought I wouldn’t get to the finish line.   I also knew that I had such a wonderful support team.

I went into this marathon with no real plan other than to finish.  No paces.   I knew that I would be doing walk/run.   I had thought I might start with a pace group, but did not.   I just ran.   Maybe this isn’t the smartest way to do it (ok it’s not), but this is what I was going with.

Once again I went out too fast.  I  REALLY, REALLY, REALLY tried not to.   My first few miles  went like this…

8:54, 10:02, 8:24, 8:36

I knew this was not a good way to start.   I knew that this was way fast.  Even at my best, this is not the way to start a marathon.   I wasn’t following the plan.   I wasn’t walking.   I had not even turned on my timer at this point.   I heard my friend’s voice in my head telling “SLOW DOWN!   STICK TO THE PLAN.”

I even texted her that I heard her in my head and that I was trying to be better.   Her texts of support continued during the day and I knew I wasn’t in alone.

At this point, I turned on my timer and made a conscious effort to slow down and stick to the plan.  During a race even if you are not planning to race it is so hard to do.   You are so caught up in the excitement of the day.   I was in it for the long haul, so I did what I could.   I will say that I did not pay attention to my pace.   I was watching   my heart rate as I did on training.

I saw my sister and brother-in-law twice on the course.   The first time around mile 5 which was wonderful, but the second time was key.    They were waiting for me at mile 21  I knew that I had to make it there before they needed to leave for the airport.    I had been slowing down at this point, but I was determined to make it to them.  At this point they were my destination, not the finish line.

I made it to 21.

Hugs

Goodbyes

Unbelievable support

Spectacular.

Then it turned to counting down the miles.

It was hot but I’ve run in hotter weather.   It was humid but I’ve run in more humid weather.   That being said,  I don’t do heat well.   I ran through every hose offered.   Took ever sponge filled with water handed out.   Put the ice in my bra when offered.   And on occasion dumped water on my head at water stations.   The heat was sapping my strength, but not my will to finish.

I kept pushing forward.   I ran when I could.  Finally, I reached a point where I could no longer run.   My legs were dead.  My foot was hurting.   Even with this I did not stop.   Moving forward.   Slow but steady.

I admit that by mile 25, I did start to get emotional.   There were tears.  Partly because of the discomfort and partly because as much as I wanted to run, I just couldn’t bring myself to run.    By this point, my emotions were just raw.   The ups and the downs of the marathon are real.

Chicago8

The tears dried.

The moment passed.  My head was clear and I was focused.   Never stopping.  Never quitting.   Moving forward.

I proudly walked across the finish line.

This marathon was always about proving that I could do it and

I DID!

This was the slowest marathon that I have ever run, but one that I know that I worked the hardest for.   Someone asked me if I was happy with my time.   Hell Yeah I am.    Any day that you can finish a marathon is a good day.   I am proud that I was able to push through and get the job done.

Done is Done!

Chicago11

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to prepare for a Marathon in 10 Days

If you think that’s possible, you might be crazier than I am.

Ha.

But I can’t believe that Chicago is only 10 days away.

It seems like I’ve been training forever for Chicago, but at the same time it has gone by in a blink.    I’m not sure that I’m really ready for this, but I’ve come too far now to quit.   Besides my heals are pretty dug in to cross that finish line.

My mantra

What ever it takes.

How ever long it takes.

Just finish the damn race!

 

Seems like a good mantra to me.

So now 10 days to go and things are settling into place.

Foot is feeling better after my 3rd sugar shot (Prolotherapy)

New shoes.

But not too new and worn it

Flight and hotel all booked.

Today I had lunch with my Running Mama Roomie and traveling partner.

It’s all good.

Now all that is left is to get there, pick up bibs, and yeah

Run/Walk 26.2 miles.

marathon

 

 

Let it Go, Let it Go

As Elsa said, It’s really time to Let it go….

I  never really let things go.

It’s time.

Ok.  It’s past time.

For example, I ordered these pace bands once I got into Chicago.

IMG_2748

If you can’t tell, these are 4:15 and 4:30 pace bands.

Crazy now.   At one point, it was a goal.   Actually it wasn’t even a crazy goal.

In the back of my mind, this was while not a goal, it was possible.   I was secretly holding onto it.    I couldn’t let it go.   No matter how improbable or silly, I held onto it.    In the deep recesses of my brain, I admit now that this was always there.   I kept imagining a miracle in my training.  That something  would click and I would be right back there.   As much as that seed was in the back of  my mind, I realistically trained for where I am today.

I am at a 5 if not a 5 1/2 hour marathon.

I’m a firm believer in goals.   It’s what kept me running.

Some people have goals for speed, some distance, some just getting out the door.   My goal at this point is honestly just to finish.   Each goal is a worthy goal.   Each brings it’s own set of challenges.   That is the beauty of being a runner.   You are only competing with  yourself and your own limitations.   Some real and some imagined.

So with a goal of getting to the finish line, I need to run smart.    As I’ve said before, I’ve hit the wall before at a marathon.   It’s not pretty.  I, honestly, don’t know if I can push through it today.   I’ve got a lot going  on… The calcium issues, the stomach issue, the tendonitis, and oh yeah being 15 pounds heavier than last year.

I’ve sought out advice from those who have dealt with hypoparathyroidism longer than me.   One thing that stuck with me is this response…

“We live a very measured life. We don’t get the option to give it a 70% or an 80%. If we are to accomplish what we are aiming for, We have to give it a 100% . At all times.”

So with this advice, I know that I have no room for show boating.   I’ll save that for a later date with friends whose hands I will grab as we cross the finish line.

A 5 hour marathon is still a marathon.

A 5 1/5 hour marathon is still a marathon.

And I’ve got 6 1/2 hours to get to the finish line.   I will say that I’m hoping to get there before then, but I will get there and be happy about it if that is how it rolls that day.

All I know is that when I get to the finish line, I might hug the person giving me a medal.worth it

 

 

Just This Once

When I ran my first marathon,  I went with to it with the running Mama who was the little birdie in my ear telling me that I should register because after running the Runner’s World Hat Trick I was ready.   I was probably an easy sell, but without her nudging I would not have registered.  She had everything in place and needed a room mate, so it all worked out.

I was all set.

I admit that I was a little sad that my family was not coming to see me, but that was understandable and for another post.    During my training, both my mother and “baby” sister who lives across the country (literally) were my biggest cheerleaders.   They had both expressed how they wanted to be there, but I was really ok with it.    My mother is not one to travel by  herself especially to the city and my sister is on another coast.

The day of the race comes and off we go.    When this race took place, both the half marathon and marathon were not only the same day but started together.   I went into this with no expectations as I really jumped in last minute with only one ever 20 mile training run.   As I was heading into the mid point of the marathon, I could hear the finish line for the half.   The announcer was clearing stating how If you are running the marathon, please stay to the left.   All half marathoners, please go to the right for the finish line.  THE FINISH LINE.   This was disheartening to hear.   At this point, I was thinking that there would be no shame just to run the half and was planning to go right.

Until…

Then crap, I had to run a marathon.   My mantra became, “your sister did not fly across country for you not to finish.

So I did.

Towards the end of the marathon, my sister ran onto the course to give me one single rose to carry across the finish line.   I took it, looked at it, and gave it back to her  telling her it was too heavy.

Yes, I really did.   I think the rose was made of metal.  Ha!

Once the race was over, there were many hugs and before my family and I parted ways my sister informed me that she only did this because it was my first marathon.

One year later…

This time, I am running Marine Corps Marathon.    I am going to DC on my own.    That is until my sister informs me that my mother and her are hitching a ride with me.   She flies in and off we go for a road trip to DC.

MCM11

Once again, she joins me towards the end of the race.   This time she brings no rose.   I  am dealing with some stomach issues.   She hears me drop the F bomb a few times, curse the stupidity of running a marathon even going on about how stupid it is for people to want to watch, and then listens as I tell her never again.

I finish.

MCM4

Once again, we both say never again.   I won’t do another marathon and she can’t keep flying across the country.

Then NY.

My sister although a California girl  but a huge part of her heart is in NY City.    She watched the marathon a few times when she lived in the City.    How could she not come in now.    This time she can not stay for the end as she literally had to catch a plane, but does maneuver herself around the city to see me a few times.

nycm16

 

She is not there this time to hear me curse the never again, but we both have the same thought.   We can’t keep doing this.

Then Chicago…..

I am not going alone this time.   I am going with another Mama Runner.   It’s all set and it’s all good.   Then a text from my sister.   Her husband happens to have something in Chicago that week.   She is going to fly out and meet him and then stay for the marathon.

So it seems like no matter how often we both say never again, we keep meeting like this

and

It will be a wonderful thing.

 

 

The Moment

The moment someone ask what your training for and then the look of surprise when you tell them Chicago marathon.

Then the next question is usually, “Is this your first marathon?”

Then a further look of surprise when you tell them this will be your 5th.

I still haven’t decided weather I take their look of surprise as a compliment or an insult.   Either way, I do see it.   I really can’t hold it against them when as I’ve said before , I don’t have “the traditional runners body.”  What ever the Heck that is.

Then usually they ask how long it takes?

I’ve never really understood why non runners ask this question, because then it is usually followed with, “Is that a good time?”

My answer is usually, ” For me it is.”

Then the final question that grated on my nerves even before I made the concious decision to do walk/run approach, “Do you walk?”

I have found these questions are only asked by non runners.   A runner may ask your finish time or pace, but a runner has never asked if I walk.

Here is the Rub…….

Does it matter?

Is 26.2 miles in 5 hours, still not 26.2 miles?

And even though I’m wondering if I will sneak in this time right under the 6.5 hour cut-off, won’t I still be going 26.2 miles???

Some runners may push themselves to finish a marathon in a Boston Qualifying time.   While some runners may be pushing themselves just as hard and coming in just under the wire.    You don’t know what someone is dealing with.   You don’t know how hard someone is pushing.   We are each pushing ourselves just to get out the door and to the start line.

So this is my pet peeve today.    Please don’t assume just because my pace is slower than those at the front of the Pack  that I am working any less than them.

But as I  said before, most of this comes from people who think I’m crazy anyway:)

We are all just doing the best we can on any given day.

What more can we ask for?

Nothing.

So keep doing what your doing, because you are doing it for yourself and no one else anyway.

Oh, and I admit that I do like a little bling.

So I might also be doing it for the bling:)26.2_1

 

If it Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It

And so it begins.  Just a week away till I’m “officially” in Marathon training.   After looking over several plans, I decided to stick with the Hal Higdon Novice 1 Marathon plan.   Yes, I know I’m not a novice but I feel like I’m starting over and this is where I’m at right now.   Besides I look at it as a starting point.   If I determine that I can take it up a notch, you know that I will.

There was another training plan that caught my eye on Training Peaks.   It was specific to Chicago, but it was also for a 4:30 marathon.   Plus I already owned the Hal Higdon Plan, so I saved $80.    I may down the road change to this plan, but not yet.   First I need to start running again and see how that goes.

I’ve recently made some changes that have been helping.   I’m not sure which one is helping but I don’t want to mess with either.   First I added both a magnesium and Vitamin D supplements to my daily dose of things to take.    Second and I’m finding much harder is that I’ve gone gluten free.    I’m doing it because it may help with some of the symptoms that I’ve been having due to the hypoparathyroidism.    I’ve got to say that I’ve actually felt “normal” these last few days.   Not waking up feeling like Grandma.   Not having leg pains.    Feeling like my “old self” if you will.    So I’m afraid to make any changes.  You know what they say…

If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Now I have a sister who actually has celiac disease, so I know that going gluten free is a hard road to travel.  I also know that many people go gluten free because it’s the new fad diet.  I’ve never wanted to go gluten free, but I’m willing to try it now.   It hasn’t been long  and it might not even be the diet but the supplements, but something is working better.    I am lucky though to have a sister who can guide me on this journey even if I don’t need to be as strict as she is with it.   Right now, I’m in 100% because I feel that is the only way, but I will see where it leads.

What I do need to do is figure out how to carb load without bread and pasta!

Living and Learning

worth it