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Taper Town

Well some how I have arrived at Taper town without feeling like I have fully trained or am ready to run a marathon.

Good Times.

Chicago will be my 5th marathon.   I’ve gone into some in what I may have thought was under trained, now I look at those training cycles and realize how ready I was for them.  This is the first marathon where I actually went and read what the cut off time would be as I think I might really need to know this.

  A smarter person may have decided to defer Chicago.   A smarter  person might have said, “another year.”   Here’s the thing though….    I may be crazy, but I am definitely  not stupid.   I’ve adjusted my training.   I’ve adjusted my expectations.   I’ve prepared.

  I’ve trained for this marathon using the walk/run method.    To  go the distance right now, this is what I need.   Then part of me thinks, well I did run a half marathon in April so why not just run the marathon.  But I trained with the walk/run, so I need to use this on race day.   I’m pretty sure when they say don’t do anything different on race day this would fall under that category.   Just saying.     My subconscious is obviously trying to make sure that I know that too because I’m already dreaming about Chicago.

In my last dream, another runner came up to me, got in my face, and yelled at me to run my own race.

Um, ok.

I guess that should be the plan.

Everything is falling into place and as long as I don’t fall apart on the course all should be good.     I will say that I’m praying for a cool race day.   I just can’t seem to tolerate the heat when running anymore.  I’m not sure why but it seems to be a common complaint with those with hypoparthyroidism.  I think it is my meds as dosage did go up after that race.   One of the side effects of Calcitriol is sweating more than usual leading to electrolyte imbalance.   I will also say that while I was always a sweater, I am epic sweater now.   I do think my dosage is too high which is something I will discuss at upcoming appointment with specialist in NY.   Although this close to marathon, I would be reluctant to make any dosage changes.

The other day, I went out for my last long run.    Between mile 12 and 13, I fell apart.   I didn’t need to look at my pace to see that.   I was running in a patch with no shade and I started to overheat.  I was sweating so much I look like I’d peed my pants and I was drenched.    Luckily I pushed through till I got to a bathroom  in the park where I proceeded to fill my empty water bottle up and dump it over me.   After about 4 bottles of water down my back, over my neck, and down my shirt I felt much better.    So note to self, if hot I will be dumping water at water stations on my head.  I’m sure that I will look fabulous in my race pictures too.   Ha!

Anyway, I will stick to the plan.

My Race

My Pace

Walking isn’t a crime.

Do what needs  done.

determination

 

 

3 Minutes at a Time

Today was a day that mentally was required more than it was physically and physically it was a necessity.   18 miles on the books.   After how hard my last 6 were,  I had my doubts about today.   The one thing that I really had on my side…..

DETERMINATION

It’s really the one thing that that keeps my going.

Seriously.

Anyway, I made plans to run the first 10 miles with my amazingly supportive friend who would do walk/run with me.   We decided since it was going to be a cold rainy morning that we would start at noon to miss the rain.   We both know that on any given race day the rain won’t stop us, so no need to go out in it unnecessarily.   Besides as I’ve said before, I’m not really a morning person.   This morning I really wasn’t a morning person.   I woke up at 8:00 proceeded to move to the couch with my coffee and fall fast asleep.   I couldn’t keep awake.   Finally around 9:30, I seemed to come out of my sleep coma.   This gave me enough time to do some things around the house and head out the door in time to run to my friend.

I figured that since I had more miles to do that I would try to get some in before meeting her.   I got about a mile and half in.   Then did some stretching when I got to her house and off we went.

I will say that it is so nice to run  with a friend who you can chat away the miles with.   When your brain is otherwise occupied with discussions of running, family, politics, and life in general; you tend to forget about the soreness the pounding is causing.  Sadly for me her 10 miles came to an end.    We ran back to her house where I could refill water bottles and add my Cal-EZ to my water.

Then off I went.

On my own, I thought about my running strategy and tried to ignore my legs.    Like most runners, I’m trying to determine what my fuel needs will be for the marathon.   I also realized that maybe (not maybe) I had made a mistake only have oatmeal in the morning.   I’m also trying to determine when and how to add extra calcium.    Normally during a race, I do not stop at the water stations and just use my water bottles.   I think Chicago will be different.   I think that I will fill my water bottles with my calcium water via Cal-EZ) and then use the stops for water or Gatorade.  I’m guessing that would be easier than trying to add it while running.   I could take Tums, but I’m partial to Cal-EZ as I know it causes no issues and keeps my levels steady, it’s easy to take, and I can keep track of my dose.

Work in progress and will give it more thought.

By mile 15, I needed to stop for some stretching.   I didn’t let myself stop long as I thought it would get too hard to start again.    At this point the run turned into, it’s only 3 more miles.   I can run 3 miles.   By about 16.5, I reached the 7-11 where I needed to stop to get some Gaterade as my water bottles were empty.   I am a sweater and I really needed to replenish electrolytes.    It’s funny the people at 7-11 must see it all because they don’t look twice at me in my running belt drenched in sweat.   It’s all good.

Some more stretching while I refilled my bottles and then off I went.

The last mile was hard in that I just wanted to be done.   I literally went from counting the mile to counting the minutes.   Telling myself that I could run for 3 minutes and for the most part I did.

Bottom line is that I got it done which is all I needed.    Still not paying attention to pace, but ending up finishing with an average pace of 11:51.   I’m finding that I do seem to be keeping an even pace during the running and I’m not walking like a snail during recovery.

It’s all good.

determination2

 

 

I’m Not One to Talk About it….

 

 

I complain a lot here, but in person not so much.   My family while they know that running is harder now, don’t realize how much harder it is for me now.  There are a few reasons..

  1. What is anyone going to do about it
  2. When your the only runner in the house, you know your spouses first reaction will be to tell you to stop running races and running at all.
  3. No one likes a complainer.

  Believe it or not, it’s not something I really like to talk about.

That’s what I have here for…

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I feel like my life and training are on a bit of a yo-yo.    I’ve had some good runs recently.    Some I can do anything runs.    Then they are followed by the what the Hell am I doing this for runs.

Such is life.

I will say the What the Hell runs do give you the mindset to push through.    The other night I went out for a run.   I wanted to get in at least 6.   I was getting out later than I had wanted to, but you know life.   It was dark.   I was tired and had been on my feet most of the day.    By mile 3, I thought maybe I should cut the run short.   I reminded myself that “Marathons don’t just happen”   so I kept going.   I did need to stop sporadically to stretch my legs.   I find they are much sorer now than I ever remember them being.

Today I had toyed with going out for my long run.   The weather is perfect for running actually.  I have 18 on the books for this weekend.   I just feel that if I go out today it won’t be pretty.   Yesterday I went with the family to Hershey Park.   While it was a lot of fun, it was also a lot of walking.   Per my Garmin, at least 6 miles.    It was also a very long day as the Park is 2 1/2 hours away.

Last night I woke up with leg cramps.   I even got out of bed to take some Motrin.    I even moved to the couch thinking if I could recline and have my legs up that might help.   This morning they were still sore.

To put this in runners terms…..   I felt like I had run a very hard and fast half marathon yesterday.

After some foam rolling, stretching, more Motrin, and more stretching; my legs felt better.    I’m sporadically stretching throughout the day, but I think it would be best to do my long run tomorrow….. even if someone told me it’s supposed to rain.

Boo.

I need to check the weather, but it’s 3:00 PM and I just don’t feel like starting a long run now.   I’m resting and taking it “easy” today.

This makes me think that it is a good thing that I am flying out Friday for Chicago Marathon.    Then I will spend Saturday resting as much as possible.   No wondering around the city.   Just as easy peasy as can be.    I’m finding that I do best with rest day’s in between runs.  I used to train with only one rest day a week.   Learning to run on tired legs.   Well now I don’t need to run every day for them to be tired.

It’s all good.

It will get done.

I will get my run in.

Training is different than in the past, but it’s still training.

Chicago

 

 

Getting to the Finish Line…

 

I’ve already learned or should I say…. I’ve already made the mistake of crashin and burning at one marathon.   I went out WAY too fast in  New York running the first half like I didn’t have 13 more to go.   I suffered the consequences when I hit the wall and hit it hard.    I didn’t get my A, B, or even C goal.   I just squeaked in under the 5 hour mark which was my last resort.    All that being said, when I hit the wall, I was able to maybe not climb over it but I was able to push through it.   I made it to the finish line.

Here is the thing though…

I don’t want to admit it.   I want to pretend that I am exactly where I was a year ago, but every run proves me wrong.    I need to get my head screwed on straight and do it quick.

Yes I talk about it all the time, but it is past time that I stop pretending the I’m “recovering” from an injury at this point in time.   Yes, I did need to recover from my surgery.   Yes, there was a recovery time, but I am no longer recovering.   What I am dealing with is a lifelong illness.

Blah.. Blah… Blah…. Blah.

Yes, I talk about it all the time.   I think about it even more.

Right now though, I can’t both train for the distance and try to get my speed back.   There might come a time where I can hold the pace, but that time is not now.   And lets face it, I’m not getting any younger.   In two years I’m reaching a big milestone and people generally don’t get faster the older they get.   I’m pretty sure that I will not be that anomoly.

Does it suck?

you bet.

Could it be worse?

Much!

Am I lucky?

Yup.

Do I have a choice?

Not really.

Here is the thing….   I can push myself to run a faster pace, but it is not a pace that I could hope to keep for a marathon.   It’s not even a pace that I can keep for a 5K.

Reality bites as they say.

So once again, I am faced with deciding if it is worth pushing my body to hit the wall in Chicago or if I want to make it to the finish line.   I’m pretty sure that I can’t do both.   I’m pretty certain that my training will go a lot better when I start facing the reality of where I am today.   Today, I am at a walk run ratio.   This does not mean that when I am running that I should be hitting under a 10 minute pace or even under 9 which I briefly did.   I’m not there yet.   Maybe once again but not today and certainly not in the 47 days till Chicago.

What to do?   What to do?

As a runner who likes numbers, it is hard to run/walk because when running alone I tend to push the run faster than I should.   I worry that I will do that in Chicago. It is always hard in any race to hold back even when you know you should.

I think what I realistically need to do is just say out loud that I may not run a 5:00 marathon.  I really am not sure what I can do, but am willing to find out.   I have to train to keep my runs where they should be which is no faster than a 10:45 pace.   I have to stop worrying about my average pace.    I have to say….

This is ok.

This is where I am.

The goal is to finish.

That is enough.

It has to be.

butterfly tied to rock

 

 

Oh Snap!

The other day while perusing Facebook, one of my FB friends posted that it was only 50 days till Chicago Marathon.

Say What???

Well two days later and we are down to only 48 days!

Oh Snap…..

I will say that although I’m not feeling that I will be putting in a podium level performance (nor was I ever), I am feeling a little more confident about getting to the finish line.   I do believe that is part of training too.   Not just to get your body ready, but also to get your mind ready.

As I said before, last week when I did the 6 mile run following the 3 to 1 walk ratio, it felt good.    I came home and ordered my own Gymboss timer which luckily came for my scheduled long run.    Even better, I had a friend who was going to run the first 8 miles with me.

Since we both wanted to go about our day and it was supposed to be a hot day, we decided to start at 8:00 AM at a local park.    I will say when my alarm went off very early, I had two thoughts.   The first being, “Why am I doing this?”   The second being, “I am in so much trouble once the school year starts.”    This was my first early morning run in a LOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGG time.    For a while, I couldn’t do the early morning runs, but now it is a matter of liking to sleep in more than anything else.    As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes it is necessary to get up early to run.   This was one of those days.

It’s amazing how much the park was buzzing on an early Sunday morning.

There is something to running with a friend that does take your mind off of the discomfort of running so many miles.    We followed the 3 to 1 method chatting away.    Then it was time for my friend to depart and me to finish it up on my own.   I had my big girl panties on and off I went.   I admit that the second part of my run wasn’t as fun as the first.    It was getting hotter.    My legs were getting heavier.    Most of all, there was nothing to distract me from what I was doing.  (Ha!).

The beauty of where I was running though is that once I left the park, there really was no turning back.   If I wanted to get back to my car, I just had to keep plugging along.   I was feeling the effects of both the miles and the heat as it was up to 85 by the end.   I even took to dumping water down my back and front of my shirt.    I readily admit that by the time I was hitting mile 13 that I may (yes, I was) been walking more than I should.    My pace does reflect it.

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You know what?

It’s ok because I didn’t stop.   I kept moving forward and I finished.

Really what more can you ask for?   Just keep moving forward.

Then when was all said and done, I actually walked another mile after hitting 15 since I did actually need to get back to my car which brought my total mileage up to 16 for the day.

One step closer.

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Reality Check

Yesterday was a good day all around. I took my 3 boys to the trampoline adventure place for some fun. They even had a Ninja Warrior section where we all realized that we are not Nina Warriors. We had a lot of fun, but I did realize that I’m not as young as I think I am. What a workout!

I was worried that my bouncing was going to make my nightly run that I had planned with a friend a nightmare. It ended up being one of my best runs all week and maybe in a while. I even felt like I could have kept running at the end.

Here’s the reality check.

My friend who is in recovery from an injury is doing the walk/run method. The difference is she’s doing it the right way. She has a timer and is doing a 3 to 1 ratio that she follows. Also when running, she was keeping a nice steady pace which meant that so did I. The 3 to 1 worked nicely. The running didn’t seem choppy and even though I didn’t feel like I needed to walk every time, the fact that we did made the run what it was supposed to be. An easy paced 6.

We ended up with an average pace of around 12:00. In thinking about it, I had the reality check of this is where all my runs should be. I think in the back of my mind and right out in the front, I’ve been trying to hit average pace of 10:45 to 11:00. That is not where my body is right now especially for the long haul.

I think I am finally willing to embrace or at least give the run/walk method a really try following a real plan. So much so that after stretching and washing up last night, I hit Amazon and ordered my own timer. It might be time to give this method more than a pretend try and actually follow the program.

I also think following the program will allow me to feel more in control of my running and allow me to run the distances that I need to run. I remember two years ago doing the Runner’s World Half Marathon. I was running with a pacing group and we were staying at a consistent pace. There was a man who was doing the run/walk method that was sticking with us. He walked when he was scheduled to, but still ended up finishing around the same time which was around 2:10. I think if I have any hope to completing the marathon this will be the way to go.

Time to face Reality.

Patience

Going Soft

I’ve already said that I’ve gone soft around the middle some more, but I also am starting to wonder if I’m just going soft overall.

As a runner or any athlete, the goal is always to push yourself.   Push yourself hard.   Push yourself past the pain.    What if I’ve gone soft in no longer being able to do that?    What if I’ve become afraid to push myself too far, so I don’t push far enough?   For any athlete, you must always ask yourself, “How much more do I have in me?”

Prior to not having a fully functioning parathyroid, there was no fear in pushing my body to it’s limits. It was perfectly healthy and there were no real consequences to doing so.  Only short term pain. Once hypopara, there are real consequences.  So now I find that even when I push myself I may not push myself to the limit because there will be consequences that were not on the table before.

This week I’ve gone out for two runs so far.   I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone some, but I’ve also been playing it safe.   I’m paying close attention to my body.    Both runs I used my version of the run/walk method as I don’t think that I would be able to do the run without it.    Both runs I thought to myself, “If I can’t even go this distance, how the Hell am I going to finish a marathon in just 2 months.”   In thinking that, I realized that prior to my surgery that would have never even crossed my mind that I couldn’t do it.

I also realized on these runs that once the breathing becomes heavy on my runs instead of pushing through, I back off some.    I’m trying to decide whether this is something that I need to do for my body or if my mind is playing tricks on me.    I can’t decide.   I also am wondering if I learn to keep the pace slow and steady if that would help me to run farther without walking.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the walk/run method.   I know many people who use it.    I’ve even had some in my hypopara groups say that they wouldn’t be running without it.  I’m still just trying to find out where I am and what I should be doing.   I’m still trying to let go of old expectations.    Mostly, I’m still trying to figure out what my body needs to do it’s job without my mind playing tricks on me.

Running is mental.   We all know that.   In the back of my mind though, I worry that I’m going to push my body too far.   It is one of the reasons that I stick to main roads now.   I think, “well if something happens and I need help…..”    This is not really me and I don’t like the way this person thinks.

The trick is to test my limits without being an idiot.   Hmmmm.  Not sure how that works.

As always

I’m a work in progress

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Hello Again

The problem with Fall marathons is that you have to train through the summer and vacations.   My family has a standing date with a lake in Vermont every August.   Last summer I had fire in my belly and trained accordingly.    This summer, I’m quit a bit more relaxed in my training and did not train accordingly.

It happens.

As of today, there are only 56 days till the marathon.    It’s time to get out of vacation mode.    I will say that I was not totally lazy during my time at the lake.   I did average more than 10,000 steps a day which is about 5 miles of walking a day.    Also the morning before we left, I did go for a long run of 13 miles.    Then in Vermont, I went for one 6 mile run and a 16 mile bike ride and anyone whose been to Vermont knows those hills are no joke.   So this seemed like a nice trade off.

Now I’m home.   The bags are unpacked.   The laundry will never be done, but as a mother of 3 it never really is anyway.    So it’s time to get back out there.   I toyed with going today, but my legs were sore so I went for a spa pedicure instead.

Tomorrow is another day and I plan to make the best of it.   I know that I need another long run.    I don’t have the fire in my belly right now to train with hills, cut-downs, and everything else.   What I do have though is the determination to get the miles in and be prepared for 26.2.

It’s all good.

Chasing….. Getting it done

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Be Determined

 

You have very few choices in life as they say.

Give up.  Give in or Give it all you’ve got.

I’m a pretty stubborn individual.   Just ask my family:)    That being said, I recently read a quote that brought home to me that in my running being stubborn isn’t always a good thing.

BeDetermined

I realized that I’ve been VERY stubborn about my running.   I may have been a little like a spoiled child.    I wanted my running to be what I wanted and I wanted it now.  We all know that isn’t how life works.   Doesn’t mean that I wasn’t stubborn about it.   I didn’t want to admit that for now things needed to change some.   That things needed to be tweaked.   I was and there will be days that I still will be stubborn again.  I am trying to be more determined than stubborn now.   Although stubbornness is not necessarily a bad thing when used with determination.   Just not pig headed stubbornness.

Case in point

I went out for my long run yesterday.   I had 12 miles that I needed to do.   It was hot, but worse that that it was humid with humidity being 66%.     I was determined to have a good run.    I realized that in order for that to happen that I needed to set myself up for it.   When I started the run, I decided that I would do a 6 to 1 run to walk ratio.   There was no rhyme nor reason where that ratio came from.   It just seemed like a good fit.   In the beginning of the run I reminded myself of the NYCM and that it is best to hold back in the beginning to save something in the tank for the end.   So I forced myself to keep to the ratio.   I could run a little longer than 6 if I was going downhill or something, but I  keep the walk at just a minute.   It seemed to work nicely.

Now don’t think that this was an easy run.   It wasn’t.   I was drenched in sweat.   I will say that my legs felt good or as good as they can feel on a long run.   I think because of the humidity, it was more my breathing.   The air just felt so heavy.

One thing that was a lifeline on my run was one of my running buddies.  Before the run, she messaged me that if I needed anything to call.    I knew that she was home, so I did add her to my route stopping around mile 5.   Cold water from a filtered fridge is so much better than filling from hoses.   I also was able to get some much needed body glide as due to all the sweating I was having issues.    Then off I went knowing that she had my back if I needed anything more.  That’s good feeling.

I continue on with my 6 to 1 ratio.

It’s hard.

I’m am drenched in sweat.

I plan my run to make sure that I go by the local 7-11.   Timing is perfect as I finished all my water right before coming to it.    This time instead of water with Cal-ez, I opt for Gatorade.    By now, the staff of 7-11 is used to me, but the customers not so much.   Oh well.

I do admit that towards the end, my ratio of walk run might have been off some.   My determination pushed me forward and my stubbornness got me to the 12.

Here is the funny thing.   My focus on the run was to make sure that I had a little more control where I didn’t’ feel like I was doing the run fast, walk, run slow, run fast, walk, repeat method.   That being said, I really did not watch my pace.   I was watching the clock for time.    I ended up with an average pace of 12:00 and  my splits were not all over the place.   Although mile 7 did throw off my average with a pace of 12:41

Overall, I am happy.

I am a little less stubborn, but just stubborn enough.

Most of all,

I am determined.

 

 

Putting the Pieces back together

Humpty Dumpty sat on a Wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again.

 

I admit it, I’ve been feeling a little bit like Humpty for a while.   Say, since November 18th.    That being said, I have recently been coming to terms with my cracked shell and the realization that it’s up to me to put the pieces together again.   They might fit a little different, but that’s the way things go.

I’ve also realized thanks to the reminder of Training Peaks that I am now six weeks into my training.   They were also nice enough to point out that the Chicago Marathon is only twelve weeks away.    Time flies and I know it will be here before we know it.

I’ve been happy with my training recently.   I think it has something to do with the above realization.   Anyhow, I am (trying) to not beat myself up anymore and just roll with it.

You know what?

I’ve had some good runs recently.    Now my good runs to a front of the packer might make them scratch their head, but I’ve been happy and isn’t that enough?   Why yes, yes it is!

Case in point

Last night I went out for 7  miles.   I was comfy on the couch after a nice dinner, but forced myself to leave the mindless TV watching to go for my run.    It was bordering on becoming dark, so I suited up accordingly.    I forgot how nice it is to run at night when the streets are quiet and everyone is inside their house.   I went out knowing it would be a slow run.   Still trying to balance the walk/run thing and just figured that I would just let things take a natural progression.   Another plus is that once it got dark enough, I could NOT see my Garmin for pace.

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I ran just to run.

I ran for the miles

I ran just to enjoy the night.

I ran just to see how I would run.

Most of all, I allowed my mind just to focus on the run.

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Here are my paces and to be honest, I am actually very happy with them.

Once I hit my groove at mile 3 and after miles 4 I had negative splits.   Not bad considering that I wasn’t aiming for  them or thinking about pace.   I did consistently ask if “I needed to walk” or “If I wanted to walk.”   I found that last night I didn’t need to walk as much.   I think part of it was that I was having a good day, I was well hydrated, and I am slowly getting back to running mojo.   Either way, I will take a good run when I can get one.

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Yes, I am sore today and was much sorer last night than I should have been for 7 miles.   I’m noticing that it is my feet and my right quad that seem to be paying the price.   Going to see if I can squeeze in a massage this week and I really should foam roll more.

I’m also putting the pieces together for Chicago logistically speaking.    As soon as I realized that I got into Chicago, I did book a room for the day before the marathon and leaving the day after.   I’ve literally gotten into a car and driven home after running the Marine Corps Marathon and thought, “never again.”    I also figured that I would just see how things play out.   They seem to be playing out nicely:)

One of the other Moms in my Moms Run This Town group is also running Chicago.   We’ve started formulating a plan to fly to Chicago on Friday.   We can get a room near the airport for Friday night.   Then the next day move to the hotel room that I already have booked.  (Yes, I tried to see if I could add Friday onto my stay, but it was a no go).   Anyway, it is nice to know that we are in this together.   Plus she’s a sweetheart and it should be lots of fun!

I do so love it when a plan comes together and it finally seems like things are coming together for Chicago.