Training for a marathon seems to take forever. From the moment you sign up, you start thinking about what plan you are going to follow. Then it’s actually implementing. Even harder yet….. Sticking to the plan.
So here we are 7 days out and it will be what it will be.
Am I ready?
Surprisingly, I feel ready. I did not follow the plan to the letter T or probably not even close. That being said, I still feel ready.
Shocking I know…. But I do.
I think the biggest thing is that I really adjusted expectations. I adjusted what I thought I should do with the reality if what I might be able to do. Most of all, I know that if I am not an idiot, don’t go out too fast, and do what I need to do the finish line will only be 26.2 miles away.
Easy Peasy lemon squeazy
Ok, not at all but it is in reach. I have trained. My legs have done it before. Mentally I am in the right place. I am looking forward to it.
So now this week it will be putting the finishing touches on the logistics. It helps that I have reached my fundraising goal for Sandy Hook Promise too. That takes some of the pressure off.
Last week I had a bake sale. Have I mentioned that I LOVE to bake. I also LOVE to share baked goods and message of Sandy Hook Promise. I just about sold out. Had lots of generous donations and reached my goal….. That makes it worth it.
More later this week, but just wanted to let you know I’m ready as I will ever be. Today final “long run” at only 10 miles. Went with some friends and was a good run. It’s always nice to end with a good run. This week some short 3 milers to keep legs loose.
So since this is supposed to be a running blog, I thought I would do something novel and actually talk about my running…. I know, shocking!!!
As you know my training for NYC Marathon has been all over the place. I started off great following my training plan right up until I didn’t. And while my training hasn’t been stellar with following the plan. I feel (especially after yesterday) that I have been doing ok.
You know the expression….. You do you
Well I have been doing me and it has been working. With all my issues both mentally and physically, I just started loosely following the plan and doing what I felt would work for me. Before all my issues, I’ve followed training plans to the letter T (what does that even mean?) with great results. The problem with cookie cutter plans is that when you are not the ”ideal” runner, they might not work for you. Even though I took that into consideration in the beginning, I took it to the next level recently. After yesterday, I would say it has worked for me.
What have I been doing?
Well not as much running as my plan has called for. On days where I had foundation runs, I might have done HITT, biking, combo of biking/running, or even yoga. Since my goal has never been about time, I really stopped worrying about training runs where I needed to hit certain paces/training zones. I would do the run my way. Once I got back on ”schedule” with my plan, my biggest thing was to make sure that I was getting in the miles for long runs which is really where I was lacking. Even then I needed to make sure not to jump my miles too quickly as I was behind. So I adjusted.
Having run multiple marathons, I also know what works for me in training and what doesn’t. I know runners who feel the need to run multiple 20 mile training runs for their marathons. I have done them and I know that for what ever reason they don’t work for me. I find them defeating. I find them hard in a way that is not good for me mentally going into an event. They just don’t work for me. I would much rather do 16 to 18 miles and then the next day do a few miles on tired legs. This works for me.
Now all that being said, yesterday I went out for my longest run this cycle and I started at noon which is about the time that I will be starting NYC. I wanted to see how my body would be at that time of day as normally I run right after I take my morning meds.
It went well. To be honest, it went MUCH better than I expected. I continued with the walking the first 3 miles as I ALWAYS start off too fast. Plus since being Hypopara it does seem to take my body a bit to warm up. Then my goal was to keep the pace in the mid 12’s. To keep it at a level that I felt that I could run more than walking. There was no walk/run time. There was just doing what I could. I found that if I paid attention to pace, ran the “slower” pace, and didn’t try to run something I can’t sustain that I could run. I could run without the need to walk. Now don’t get me wrong…. There was walking, but there was much more running.
In order to conserve my battery, I did the first 6 miles with no music. Just me and my thoughts. I am not a runner who minds being alone and it was nice. Maybe a little boring, but I reminded myself that NYC will not be boring. I normally do not listen to music on race day as I LOVE to listen to the crowds, the runners feet hitting pavement, and just taking it all in. Out alone in my town though it does get boring.
Holding back is what I realize that I need to do if I want to have a good day. Yes, I can run faster BUT I can not sustain those paces AND they are not good for my body or feet. As you can see, I kept a fairly steady pace. At the end though, I wanted to push it to see what I still had in the tank. You know the Finish Strong mentality. I pushed it to the point that my arms literally went numb (you know the feeling like you laid on them). It was a good training run both mentally and physically.
What I learned…… Starting later, I do need to adjust my calcium intake. At mile 10, I added Calez to my water for added calcium but maybe I should start earlier. I also need to add more as miles add up. Maybe even taking a calcitrol at some point during run. This is why my arms/hands went numb at the end. As soon as I finished my run yesterday, I came inside and popped 500 mg calcium and a .25 calcitriol as I felt a crash coming. This also may have been due to the faster pace at the end. Either way, I need to pay attention and adjust accordingly. One thing with calcium levels is that they fluctuate and you have to pay attention to the signs to adjust with them.
Another thing that I made a mistake on yesterday, but to me I think it was a beneficial mistake……. I forgot my bag of fuel. This time around, I have been trying not to use gels but more natural (ok still processed) food. Since I started at 12, I didn’t eat lunch. So I ate a protein bar before starting out. I had a bag of almonds and some bars with me. I left the bag on counter, so I only had one Nutrigrain bar for the entire run. I ate half at mile 6 and then finished off around mile 12. While not ideal, I view this as a win because just think of how much better my body will feel when properly fueled on course. Learning to run/push when the tank is literally empty is not a bad thing.
When I came home, I stretched. I took added meds. I had a chocolate cake batter smoothie (Sadly no actual cake batter, but healthy proteins). Then I soaked in some epsom salt. Followed by the use of my foot massager. Overall recovery was good. Although I know that I did not replenish both water and nutrients enough. We ordered Thia food and I really couldn’t even eat much as I wasn’t hungry. Weird…. but I will do better today.
Today as I sit here typing, I feel good. I feel like I just ran 16 miles yesterday. My feet are sore, but normal sore. My legs are tired, but normal tired. I will do some restorative yoga and be kind to my body. I will also make sure today’s smoothie has some properties that will benefit recovery.
I am at the point in my training where I am admitting that I have now failed in my training. That my training has gone off the rails. That I am not where I should be in my marathon training. That family events (passing of MIL), injuries (dealing with feet), flooding (we weren’t so bad, but dealing with flooded basement is exhausting), and just life in general has pushed training to back burner. I will say though that at least the burner is still on, so I am continuing to move foward.
This really is the time in everyone’s training where it is time to re-access and take stock. For some, they can realistically turn it around to possibly make any goals and tweak their training. Others will look at this as a time to decide weather even running is an option as they know they will not be happy with doing their best. For someone like me…. I am just adjusting expectations and I am ok with that.
Here is what I’ve got going for me….. My experience and my attitude.
Here is what is working against me….. My feet and not being where I should be in training.
So how to reconcile the two?
For me, it is and always been about expectations. Yes, I thought going into my training that I would be in a different place. My training started off great. I was following the plan. I was doing well. I was right on track, but we must remember that sometimes the tracks twist and turn. You have to be willing to twist and turn with them. So I am adjusting expectations which I am ok with. I was never going to win the NYCM. I was more than likely never going to finish under 5 hours which honestly in beginning I thought maybe just maybe would be doable. I used to be a upper middle pack runner, but those days are long gone.
I am a middle aged woman who is overweight with medical issues who also has feet that are not always happy.
For me…… Crossing a finish line of the NYC Marathon is a victory.
Now I do know for others, that not crossing in a certain time is a failure but failure is defined by how you define it in this situation.
I know my strengths. I have legs that dont give up and I do have the muscles and muscle memories to prove it. I also have the desire to get to the finish line. I also have the experience of completing 7 marathon’s (8 if you count a virtual one that I walked last year). 3 of these marathons are NY. I also have the knowledge that knowing my favorite marathon was my last in person NY which was also my slowest at 6:20:41 as I just took it all in. I ran some. I walked much, but I just enjoyed the experience. It is also the marathon that I remember the most about as I took in the crowds, the sites, and the people on the course.
I also know that I just really don’t care that much about my times anymore. OMG!!! Am I allowed to say that out loud? Yes, yes I am. Now don’t get me wrong….. everyone runs for their own reasons. There is nothing wrong with being someone who is running for time. I used to and I may again but I doubt it. I just want to run, walk and everything in between and feel good about it both physically and mentally.
Here is the thing…. I have a life outside of running. A life that I need to be on my feet for that life. For work – I am a preschool teacher which does not allow for much sitting. I love to bake which requires standing in kitchen. I have soccer games to attend and just life in general. So I can not push my body, my feet, to the point that it effects my life outside of running.
So here I go adjusting expectations …… AGAIN….. But isn’t that what life is about?
Just like when running in a crowded race, you must learn to bob and weave. So with that I am bobbing and weaving yet again.
I’ve been on vacation the last week, so I thought I would give an update on my training. It would be nice if training stopped on vacation, but alas it does not. That being said, I will be the first to admit that in my case the training does immensely slow….. slow down………
I tried to time it so I didn’t miss to much therefore I did my long run the day we left. I did “cheat” and not actually run but did a long indoor bike ride. I felt it best not to push my feet and I also didn’t feel like doing a long run on the treadmill. I really just need the cardio workout.
And cardio workout I got!
So off I went to a lake in NY State. I had thought I would do a few runs there and packed accordinly. Unfortunately, I only did one run during the week. The roads really were not the best for running as we were on a busy street. That being said, I did do a great hill workout.
All was not lost thought as I took doge on multiple walks a day averaging at least 2.5 miles a day. Plus every time I had to leave to walk the dog or anything else, I got a great stair workout in.
Case in point.
On top of these routines, I got some great cardio in with kayaking.
This verified for me that I really need a lake house. Luckily there was one that was on my dog walking and kayaking route that was for sale. Apparently it is currently owned by Derek Jeter which might mean more to some of you than me. Unfortunately at over 12 Million it is out of my price range. Unless someone would like to buy it for me. I took multiple pictures (not because it’s Jeter’s house but because it is a really cool house) Seriously who wants to buy it for me? I will let you visit and swim in the infinity pool……….
Ok, so no one is going to buy it for me…….
Ok…. No one is going to buy it for me……Back to reality I came! Once home I went out for a long run hitting 10 miles. I will say that while I still think a visit to podiatrist is in the cards, I was pleasantly surprised with how things went.
100 days is so far away, yet so close. 100 days till NYCM. 100 days to worry if my training is not enough. 100 days to doubt if my body can handle it. 100 days to worry about what is going on with the new Delta Covid Variant and how this will all play out.
On top of that…..
100 days to fundraise. 100 days to spend as much time fundraising as I do training. 100 days to continue to remind people of the good work that Sandy Hook Promise does that only happens with fundraising. 100 days to remind people that while I do love running this race is more than about running. 100 days to hit my goal.
Is there anyone who doesn’t take on this challenge who doesn’t question why they are doing it, if they should be doing it, and how you can do it better.
Now don’t get me wrong. Training is going good. Although I have already had some foot pain which is concerning. This are things that lead to doubt. These are things that make me realize that I need to go see my podiatrist. More just to make sure that there are no issues and to see if it is time for new inserts for my shoes. I just don’t want to deal with foot pain all through out training and I did have that pain after running only 8 miles. So there is concern.
One thing that I hate to admit as I’ve had issues with my feet 20 pounds ago…… The extra weight is not helping when it comes to my foot health. It’s not so much the weight but the weight combined with being prone to having issues with my feet is not a good combo. Although this time the pain was different. It was on the outside of my foot, so I wonder if something else is going on. And while I know the easy solution is to say….. I’m going to loose 20 pounds. That is much easier said than done.
So the reality is that I’m not going to loose the 20 pounds. Unless I plan to go on a very strict diet (which I won’t), I need to figure out some things out.
Should this be my last marathon (thats a hard one)
Do I need to see my podiatrist (yes)
Is it time for new insoles? (Not sure)
Do I need to focus on foot strike and form (maybe)
I really need to not bury my head in the sand like I’ve done in the past and takle this head on. Although I do like to ignore things till they blow up in my face. (Doesn’t everyone or is that just me?)
It annoys me too because this go around I am doing everything that I should be doing. But for now, it is not something that is bad enough to cause me to stop. Besides I already have some ideas – like to spend some of my “foundation runs” with biking. To make sure to spend stretching and just listening to my body.
Week one of marathon training went so smoothly, I thought this is going to be fabulous. Right up until half way through week two when I came down with a bad cold. Now I do know it’s only a cold because due to my job and abundance of caution at first sign of symptoms I got a covid test. No covid but a really bad cold. At first it was settling in my chest with a really bad cough. I had thought about trying to run through it but not really smart thing to do. I even googled running with cold and the consensus was not to push through with cold symptoms below the neck. So I didn’t.
Besides the fact that I really don’t think that I could have anyway. Kind of hard to run when your hacking up a lung and and elephant was sitting on your chest. So I missed some runs including my first “long run.” But it seems like while the cold hasn’t passed it is no longer in my chest. The cough is mostly gone. Currently I am just constantly blowing my nose. My eyes are watering, but my chest is clear. So I guess I will call that a win and I’m sure you could have used without that update.
Today is a rest day and while I had thought of maybe making up a run, I thought better of it. So I will pick up week three of marathon training while skipping over week two. Hopefully by the time I run tomorrow my nose will be done running, so my feet can go it alone. Either that or maybe I can run out the cold.
So not much to report seeing as this was not a stellar week. I am jumping back in this week and hoping for the best.
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.
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.