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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.

Lessons Learned

One of my favorite expression is about being kind to people.

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It is true too.   This expression should apply to everyone and everywhere, but we can take it to heart in our running.    Often times people will see someone running on the street, finishing a race at what some might consider “bad” or see someone who gives it all they have but never got the “runners body.”  I will admit all of those apply to me.    At my fastest, I could never hit the 4:30 marathon and this is not the shape people think of when they imagine a runner.   Yet, I am a runner.   I was then and I am now.

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Case in point…. Me finishing my first marathon in Philly.   You don’t look at this and think, “wow she looks like a runner.”

Now I will say that the people in my inner circle do not think like that (myself included).   It’s just not who we are (we are the cheerleaders), but I will admit to sometimes having a mean girl moment or two.   I’m not perfect and never claimed to be, but I also know the truth of my favorite expression and try to embrace it.   That being said, it really is coming home to me now and maybe it is a much needed lesson.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve started using the run/walk method.   Now even though I have bought the Jeff Galloway marathon training book, I’m not fully embracing it.   Physically, it’s good.  Mentally, I’m having a hard time with it.   I want to run and I want to run like I used to.  I felt like I was just getting it together and reaching my potential.   I might get there again.   I might not.   Who knows?    Besides the hypopara issues, I’m not getting any younger.   Statistically speaking I might have already peaked.   Although I might not be too upset in 2 years when I hit the next age group that begins with a 5.

Sometimes we put so much internal pressure on ourselves just because we think that we should be doing something a certain way, we suck the joy right out of it.    I’m not there, but I could very easily let myself get there if not kept in check.    Really, it would be much easier to quit running.   The thing is that I like it.   I really do.   Just not so much in the moment:)

Here’s one other thing,  it would be easier to quit.   I know that.   I’ve thought about deferring Chicago but I honestly believe it I don’t do it this year that I never will.   Also I have a secret weapon pushing me along.

My youngest son has been doing Tae Kwon Do.   He’s fairly good at it.   He  has worked his way up to a red belt.   He now wants to quit.   His reason is that it isn’t fun anymore and boring.   Perfectly normal responses from a 10 year old.   Here’s the thing though.   When I dig a little deeper the truth that this wise mother see’s is that it isn’t as easy for him as it used to be.   He isn’t as confident going into a class with other red belts and higher than know the routines that he is trying to learn.    I get that.   So I am giving him a break for the summer, but I will push him back into it come September.

How can I push him if I don’t push myself?   Yes, it would be easier to let him quit but I know one day he might regret it.   Yes, I know that it would be easier if I quit but I know for a fact that I would regret it.

If not now, when?

As a parent our kids don’t always listen and sometimes even tune us out.   I know say it isn’t so, but it is true.    Anyway, they do pay attention to the things we do.   My family knows that my running isn’t as “easy” as it used to be.   My runs take longer than used to be.   I come home more tired and sweaty than I used to, but I’m still getting out there.   I may walk.   I may run.  But I am not giving up.   That is the lesson I want them to learn.    That is the lesson to learn.

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Be Where You Are

I’m not where I used to be.    A major part of me knows that is ok.   A small part of me is still coming to terms with it.   I really wish that I could shut that small part of me up, but it’s a work in progress.   I feel that right now everything is a work in progress but isn’t that everyone?   What was once easy is now difficult, but what was once impossible is now possible.   It’s all in the way you look at things.

Moving forward but not giving up.

I’ve said before that mentally I think that I need to run Chicago.    What I need to do though and I’ve said it before is adjust expectations.    Easier said than done, but I am getting better.

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Here’s the thing that I keep reminding myself and coming back to……

I’m not an elite athlete.   I’m not winning any medals except the medals that I earn just crossing the finish line.     I’m not a contender.    Running is not my job and I do not want to make it feel like it is my job either.   There is no hidden agenda in my running.

Here is what I am….

I am a Mama runner who just wants to run.    I want to be able to clear my head by going out for a run.   I want to be able to get a good workout in at the best of my ability.    I want to run with my friends.     I want to be healthy and running is something that both mentally and physically helps with that.

So I’m really trying to let go of where I used to be and hold onto where I am.    I also know that I am very lucky.   There are some people with calcium issues that can’t do anything physically without their calcium crashing.    I also know that I have to be smart with my training for Chicago.   I’ve got a lot going on and I’ve still got a lot to learn with how my body will deal with not just the training but the training in the heat.   It seems to effect me more now.   It’s a learning process.  As a friend a ran with today pointed out, I’ve got a lot of pieces that still need to be put together.

I’m trying to embrace being where I am at and I am very lucky to have a great support system of not just “running friends” but real friends who I happen to run with!    Today I went out with a friend for a few miles.   The weather is in the 80’s with 73% humidity.   With the humidity at those levels, it was brutal.   I did walk when I needed to which “is what it is.”    Even with walking, it was still a hard run.   It was still 6 miles and I still got it done.   And honestly it was overall still a good pace at 12:13.

We all know that running is a mental sport…. From talking ourselves out the door to pushing our bodies to make the impossible possible.    It (and I’ve said this before) is also accepting where you are on a given day and period in your life.   I am where I am today and that is enough.

It is enough…..

To get out the door

To run and to also walk.

To do the best that I can at a given day.

To accept that no matter what pace I’m running, it is enough.

To cut myself a break when needed and push myself when needed.

And most of all….That I am in competition with no one not even who I used to be.

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Great Expectations

A friend reached out to me after my last post which if you read this one, I really appreciated (so thanks).   She felt the need to send a hug my way.    In talking to her about doing Chicago this year, I said that even if I’m the last person to finish Chicago that I want to do it.   Her reply was accurate in that even if I “don’t do it (this year) it doesn’t make you any less of a runner.”

She’s right.

The problem is that I want it.   I think I need Chicago more mentally than anything else.   It is my way of literally giving the middle finger to this stupid thing call hypoparathyroidism.    I know very mature.

Although in chatting with my friend, others with the my issue, and giving some thought; I know it’s time (at least for now) to reevaluate my running expectations.    One of my goals as a runner has always been to run a full marathon without walking.   Even perfectly healthy, I was never able to accomplish.     I’ve also had a goal of running a 4:30 (and in the back of my mind faster) marathon.    But it is time to reevaluate my goals.   It’s time to be realistic of where I am today.   Right now.   Down the road, I might be able to get back to these goals but I need to make goals based on reality.

There are moments when I wonder why do I feel the need to push myself to do this.   Then there are moments when I wonder why wouldn’t I push myself to do this.   These thoughts are the same thoughts that I had previously.    These are thoughts that I think anyone who pushes themselves beyond their comfort zone gets.   And you know what I have said more than once…..

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Some people think that being a bad-ass runner means running 100 miles, running a marathon, running a half marathon, or running fast.   These are all great feats and a challenge to anyone who pursues them.

Here is the thing though…… Anyone can be a bad-ass.   It is about pushing your limits.   Pushing yourself to do what was once impossible for you and making it possible.

Everyone has to start from where they are and I must remember that I am not where I used to be and that is ok.  That doesn’t mean I will always be where I am today either.   There are people who have this disease and have completed Iron Man events.    I am also not the only one training Chicago with it either.    I am just new at it.   It will take time to learn what my body needs.

Nothing is impossible.

Someone in my online group posted the following

” Pushing your endurance is hard. However its painfully destructive with hypocalcemia BUT you feel so much better emotionally, physically, and cognitively. So you can do it. Just move, with hydration and proper nutrition! You are stronger than this!”

A friend gave me the best advice today.

She said very simply,

“Be Kind to yourself.”

She is so right because often we are kinder to others than ourselves.    I am going to take her advice into my training.     Not to the point that I won’t push myself, but to recognize where I am is ok.  To recognize that I need to think more about hydration, nutrition, and recovery than I did before.    To know that no matter what it is enough as long as I am doing the best that I can do.

We really can’t ask any more of ourselves.

So be kind to yourself to.   Know that you are enough.   Know that it is ok not to win as long as you showed up.

 

 

 

 

 

Unstoppable

 

 

I am lucky.   I know that.   I know it could be so much worse.   I know there are people fighting much harder battles than me. Knowing this does not make it easier.   It actually makes it worse because of the guilt.

I’m a lucky girl, but I don’t always feel lucky. And I hate that feeling.   Who am I to complain when I have been so blessed and am so lucky?

A small voice whispers, “Me.”

I’m an avoider by nature.   I see nothing wrong with burying your hand in the sand.  The problem with that is eventually you realize that you can’t breath and you’ve made the situation so much worse.

I didn’t realize it until after my run today, but I’m kind of there now.   Remember this week started Chicago Marathon training.   I’ve stuck to the plan.  Three easy runs.  Three days in a row for three miles.   Easy Peasy.

Or in my mind it should have been.

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The first run I did at  my local YMCA on the treadmill.   The second run was a fun run with friends.   Then today I was on my own.   Things were going good.   The run in my mind was much harder than it should have been.   I mean seriously it’s only three miles. and the weather is perfect for running.   What more could a girl ask for?

On the run as often happens, my mind processes things.   It’s been a while since I’ve had one of these runs and I needed this time with my thoughts.   I’m keeping a nice easy pace.    Today I want to run the whole thing with no walking.   Should be easy enough.   Mission accomplished.

Here’s the thing though….   By the end of the run, I am literally huffing and puffing.   A lot.   I end the run at my house happy as can be.  I even snap a picture.   You can see that I’m tired.   You can see that I’m sweating pretty decently for a short run.

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Here’s what you don’t see…..

At this point, my face is tingling.    My right arm is tingling.  This causes me irritation because IT WAS ONLY THREE MILES ON A COOL DAY.

If the picture was taken 5 minutes later, you would see me having a good cry.    It sounds bad and it wasn’t pretty, but I think it may have been just what I’ve needed.    During my run, I was thinking how far I had come with my running and where I am now.    It’s several major steps back.   I’m not even at square one anymore because at least when I started on this journey the only thing holding me back was myself.   That is not the case right now.   There is so much out of my control right now.   So many things that I never had to think about before.

Seriously.

It sucks.

But I’ve had my good cry which was well beyond due.   Yes, I’ve been dealing with the actual physical aspects but it’s time I deal and come to terms with the big picture.  I’m pulling my big girl panties on and I’m just going to keep moving forward.  I’m a lucky girl, but sometimes even a lucky girl needs a moment.   I may get where I was before in my running, but I need to accept where I am today.   I also need to accept that it’s ok.   In talking to others that have hypoparathyroidism the key is giving your body what it needs and taking it as it comes.  There are things in my control, but there are also things out of my control and there are things that change depending on the day.   So I will do what I can and start accepting what I can’t.   Giving up control is hard.

This disease will not stop me.

 

 

Sticking to the Plan

I’m now more than a week into my Gluten Free life.  I’m not sure that it is a permanent thing, but for now it seems to be working out for me.   One would think that gluten free means that it’s all health food, but I will let you in on a little secret.   Chocolate and ice cream are gluten free.   So there’s that.

That being said, I think I’ve been eating fairly healthy.   It might be because for now it requires more thought to think about what I will eat.   Plus I used to eat a decent amount of cereal or PBJ sandwiches for lunch.   These for the most part of turned into pretty yummy salads.    Dinners have not been that difficult surprisingly.   What is a little more challenging is snacking.   But after getting on the scale this week, I really need to be readjusting my snacks anyway.   Work in progress.

One of the things that I really need to look at and read about is how to carb load for running without the traditional runners pastas and breads.    To be honest, I probably ate much more of these things than necessary anyway.    If anyone has gone gluten free and has any good reading recommendations for how to put this together with training, I’m all ears.

So for now, I’m sticking to the plan.   I’ve still been feeling good and that really is what is making it easy to make the choice to stick to the plan.   I’m hoping this continues.  Although I won’t mind the normal soreness and aches that come from training.   It when I’m not training and I feel them that is bothersome.

As I said before, I am starting off with the Hal Higdon Novice 1 training plan.   In looking at my first week, I have 4 days of running with only a total of 15 miles.   The first three runs are only 3 miles and my long run is only 6.   In looking at it, it feels like I could/should do more.   Before my surgery, a short run was only 6 miles and now that I’m starting again it’s my long run.  In my heart, I feel like I should pick a harder plan, push my self, and do more.  In my mind, I know this is right where I need to be right now.  I’ve still got so much to figure out with how my body will adjust to training with my issues that I need to be smart.   I need to be safe. I need to be wise.

 Last year I ran over 1,000 miles.   This year six months in, I have only run 206 miles.   Times have changed.   So I will listen to my mind and not my heart.

Doing the right thing.

Listening to my body.

Sticking to the Plan.

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One Run at a Time

I have not yet decided on a Marathon Training Plan.   I’m still researching.   I do know that I am the type of person who needs a plan.   The problem with purchasing a training plan is that it also forces me to think of what my goals will be for Chicago.   Realistically, I just don’t know.   In my heart, I’m still dreaming of the elusive 4:30; but I just don’t know.   More likely I will purchase a a plan for 4:30 and  see what happens.

I am lucky in that I know that I will have several Mama’s that will be training for NYCM.   I am unlucky in that I have to start training a month earlier than them as Chicago is October 8th and NYCM is November 5th.    So I will be a month into my training when they are starting.

I will say that considering that I have not been running much (or really at all), I’m very calm about starting my training.   It’s not that I’m not dedicated to finishing Chicago.   It’s not that I don’t have goals.   It’s not even that I know that this is the worst shape that I’ve been running wise going into the beginning of marathon training.

Here’s what it is……

I am training for a reason.   I am training because it is necessary.    I am also just STARTING my training.   That’s the whole point.    I don’t have to be ready to finish Chicago when my training starts in less than two weeks.   What I have to be is dedicated to start my training.   This is the beginning.   So realistically I am right where I should be.

Seriously.

Only elite athletes and a few rock star Mama’s (yeah you Robyn!) that I know are ready to run a marathon on a moments notice.   The rest of us will take months of training to hope to be able to cross the finish line a get our medal.

It’s all good.

One Run at a time

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Not Backing Down

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I know what it feels like after you’ve run a half marathon.    I know what it feels like after running a marathon.    I even know what it feels like after running  50K.   When your an athlete whose run as many miles as I have you pay attention to these things.  I’ve trained my body to run on tired legs.   I always joke that I come from hearty stock because even though times my body has been sore, I’ve always recovered fairly quickly.   The day after the Philadelphia marathon, I was even wearing heals.   Like a bumble, I just bounce back.   I also think both the way that I have pushed my body in the past and know how to roll sore muscles are helpful now.   I know how to pay attention to the needs of my body.

Sometimes by the end of a busy day, my body feels like I’ve run a race that I haven’t run.

My legs are sore.   My back aches.   I’m exhausted.

In reading many comments and stories from people with this disease (hypoparathyroidism), I really believe that my training has set me up for success.   As much as it sucks, these are not feelings I’m unused to.   What sucks is feeling this way and not having a medal to show for it!

I keep hearing from my online support groups that I will get used to the “new normal” but that it takes a LONG time to get there.   That eventually you forget what it’s like to wake up without all the aches and such.   It’s a work in progress.   I think one of the things that takes getting used to is looking fine, but feeling like this.

Again it’s a work in progress. What further helps is that I’m pretty tenacious and head strong.   I will keep pushing through  even if things are harder to accomplish.   I will not give up as long as I can do the things that I want to do.

What does worry me as I start planning my Chicago Marathon training is if I feel like this without really doing much running, how will I feel once I’m training.    Training starts in a matter of weeks.    I need this just as much physically as I do mentally.   I will be prepared going in knowing it’s going to be harder this time around.   Knowing that it will be even more important when loosing calcium through sweat while training in the heart of summer, to replenish during a run and not wait for a crash.     I will be prepared to take care of myself after runs too.   Where in the past because I could get away with it, I was not the best about post stretching, rolling, or soaking in mineral salts.    I will ad that time into my training.

I am a runner.

I am an athlete.

I am a marathon runner and I’m not letting anything get in my way.

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Plugging Along

Most of us lead ordinary lives.   This is not necessarily a bad thing.   It is just a fact of life.   Most of have a pattern to our lives which changes over time.   My Mother refers to it as the “seasons of our lives.”    Right now I feel that I’m between seasons…..

As with the “seasons of our lives,”   we also have seasons in our training.

Right now I feel that I’m in between seasons……

I just came off the NJ Half.   A race that I went in under trained for, but still finished well and with a solid time of 2:20:23.    The race went well.   For the most part,  I felt good overall and it gave me hope that I will be ready to start Chicago Marathon training.    I’m to the point where I need to start preparing for my training.   First thing first is to put the actual date of the Marathon on my calendar.   When people ask me when it is, I truly only knew that it was in October.

Date:  October 8, 2017

152 days from today.

This means that training will start literally in a matter of weeks.

Oh Boy….

My mind is a flurry thinking about gearing up my training,  getting handle on calcium (hypoparathyroidism), figuring out nutritional and supplements,  and being a busy Mom of three.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy….

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Honestly right now I’m plugging along with the calcium, but I often feel like I’m just treading water.   There appears to be a fine line between keeping your head above water and letting yourself sink.    It feels like a constant state of not being able to plant your feet.    It is a strange feeling trying to keep your calcium high enough to not be too symptomatic but not so high as to cause other problems. Plus even with keeping my calcium high enough, it is still keeping it in the low range thereby figuring out how to deal with those symptoms.   Those that have dealt with it for a while do say that you eventually get used to the “new normal.”    I’m trying to believe them.

I’m looking forward to the day where I’ve figured it out a little (lot) better than I have right now.   It’s just a constant guessing game.    Plus I’ve come to the realization that what has changed most for me is that really overnight I started to feel my age if you will.   Although I do think that even if I don’t look it being in such good shape has helped with some of the symptoms.

But I will work it out.    I will get my head out of the sand.    I will start training.    Most of all, I will cross the finish line in Chicago.

  I’m trying to find the excitement.   It sounds bad, but I’m not excited about running.   I’m not happy about running it.   I’m not unhappy or unexcited either.   I’m just blah.   It’s not that I don’t want to run it.   It’s just right now I’m not feeling it.   But I’m not feeling a lot of things right now, so I’ll just go through the motions.

One day at a time.

One step at a time.

Every runner no matter what their health knows that nutrition plays a key role in not just their training but their general well being.    That is where I plan to start.

Off to make an appointment with nutritionist.

 

 

 

Nothing to Prove; Nothing to Loose

Ok this isn’t entirely true.  As with millions of others, I do have a little bit to loose after the holidays.   Who after indulging all through the holiday’s didn’t notice their buttons on their jeans a little harder to snap?   Come on, hands in the air!

Although not counting calories nor going on a diet as I hate those things, I am making better choices.   Getting back to adding more fruits, veggies, and better meals into my weeks.   That being said, if I want to have french toast with whipped cream and banana foster I will.

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I did.

I still think that once I’m back into my new running/exercise routine things will fall back into place.  NO you can’t exercise away a bad diet, nor is it a good idea to train and run a marathon on crap food.   So as I start fueling with better things, I start running more miles, and I start adding cross training the jeans will start to feel better:)   I went to the doctors yesterday and got on the dreaded scale.   I’ve got my reality check.   I go back in two months, so I will know how things are going.    It’s called eating for life.

I’m getting energized about my exercise plan too.   Too often many of us do nothing but run.   I am pretty guilty of this.   But there is more to training than running.   I know, scandalous.    I’ve just finished reading Mastering the Marathon, Time-Efficient Training Secrets for the 40-plus Athlete.   Well that’s me!   Had a lot of great information.   One of the things that I really am going to embrace is the use of brick workouts.  I have decided for the NJ Marathon, my goal is not a specific time goal.   This will make training a lot less stressful and allow me a lot of wiggle room.   My goal will be to finish and finish well.   Since this is the first marathon where I am 100% on my own for my training, I would like to use this training time as a way to find out what works for me.   I am going to try different things – brick work outs, possibly less miles since I will be doing brick workouts, and lots of cross training.   Then I plan to take the things that I learn from NJ and take that to my Chicago training.

Living

Learing

Moving on