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The Numbers are Good

Those who know me or have been following my blog long enough know that I’m a numbers person.  Know I don’t mean numbers person like my accountant husband.   I just mean that I’m a numbers person when it comes to my running.

I like to see paces.   I like to keep track of distances.   I like to compare and contrast.   I just like my numbers.   This is why even when I’m not paying attention to the numbers on a run, I am always tracking it.   Just can’t do a naked (non garmin) run.   Not going to happen.

Now maybe the reason that I like the numbers so much is that since I’ve been serious about my running, I’ve been tracking.   Paces have gone down.   Distances have gone up.   It have been fun to see this happen and how far this non athletic person has come.   Anyway, yesterday I got an email from Strava on this years numbers.

Here is how I did so far.

542.3 miles

65,018 calories

10.4  miles averaged a week

Those are good numbers.  These numbers are nothing to sneeze at.  These are the numbers that I will try to improve upon for next year.   These numbers tell a story too if I compare to 2016.

2016

1,094 miles (should have run 6 more miles)

121,219 calories

21 miles averaged a week.

So there are a few ways to look at these numbers.   You know that glass half full or half empty kind of thing.   I’m going with the half full and here is why.

This year, health wise, has kind of sucked but it could have been worse.   That being said coming to terms with being Hypopara is hard and the learning curve which I’m still on is hard too.   It’s getting better for a variety of reasons.   First is that I’ve finally got a doctor that I have confidence in how to treat this.   Secondly, they don’t classify it as permanent till after a year which I passed in November.   Up until then, I kept expecting them to tell me that it was all working properly and get back to the way it used to be.   Lastly I’m realize that the only thing stopping me is me.

So now I’ve got my numbers and I know what’s what.   So it’s time to start planning for 2018 and new goals and aspirations.

 

Don’t Let Fear Stop You

According to FDR “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”   While I totally agree with this statement that doesn’t mean that it’s all bad.   It’s also not all good either.   Fear is a powerful thing.   It can hold you back.   It can make you plant your feet in one spot and not move forward.   It can keep you from reaching your potential.

There are times when we wear our fears right out in the open, but these fears are usually minor.   Like fear of spiders or watching a horror movie.   Then there are times we hold onto fears that we aren’t even aware of as we don’t want to admit the truth because it makes them real.   Once we admit to the truth of our fears, then and only then can we begin to let go and deal with them.

So I’ve been pretty out in the open in dealing with my Hypoparthyroidism aka calcium issue.  Again people hear calcium and you think bone and teeth, but did you know that calcium is the most common mineral in the body and one of the most important?  Yes it’s needed for bones and teeth, but it also helps nerves work, helps blood clot, the heart to work, and keeps muscles from cramping.  There is probably some other stuff, but I’m still learning.   With this your bone density changes over time and although your bones are thicker, they may be more fragile and prone to breakage.    Did you further know that calcium levels decrease during exercise?    For a healthy person, the body will adjust but when the glands (Parathyroid) responsible no longer function properly there is no adjustment.

 That being said, I’ve been holding onto a lot of fear when it comes to it.   Part of that comes from feeling like I was on my own medical wise.    Yes, I’ve been under the care of an Endocrinologist this last year, but even then I felt like I was on my own.   This condition is not common.  It’s even listed under the National Organizations of Rare disorders.   There is a lot not understood about it even in the medical community.  I still am just beginning to understand how it’s all connected but mostly I go by how I feel.

Prior to my thyroid surgery my surgeon told me that there was less than a 1% chance that this could occur, but if it did it would just mean that I would have to take calcium.   I did not fully understand the impact it would have on me and I’m pretty certain neither did the surgeon.  After the surgery when it became apparent that besides no longer having a thyroid but that my parathyroid glands no longer worked, I saw two separate Endocrinologists.   The first one was good, but I was looking for one more versed in this disorder.   To be honest I think I was better off with the first one because she seemed willing to learn with me.   The best way to describe it was as if a patient was told that they were diabetic and needed to take insulin, but were not given any facts how to manage it.    That being said, I also did my own research found an online support group and learned what I could.   Anytime I would ask a question my second doctor, his response was always, “Your numbers are good.”   But I knew from my own research that my numbers might be too good which could lead to a whole host of problems with my kidneys.   So I persisted.

So after literally months of waiting, I finally was able to see a doctor in a major teaching hospital whose focus and studies involve hypoparthyroidism.   She literally teaches doctors about it while also studying it.    I will say that the best part of seeing her was the feeling of validation of my concerns, the way I’ve been literally feeling, and knowing that my doctor actually knows how to manage the disorder.    She also agreed with me that although my numbers are good, they might be too good for the long therm.   We discussed treatment options,  testing that I should get, and such.   She also gave me her cell phone number which she said she gives to all her hypopara patients.   Seriously, what doctor does that?

So I left her office with a sense of relief.   Nothing had changed, yet it was all so different.

Now if you’ve made it this far, you are probably wondering what any of this has to do with my running…..  Because of all this crap, things are different when it comes to my running.   I tire more easily after training.   I definitely am more sore and cramp easier.   I’ve also been afraid to push my limits which I’ve mentioned before.   On top of that due to the thyroid and not running as much, my weight continues to go up.  This starts a viscus cycle because it makes it even harder to run, I’m out of breath easier, and I can’t keep up.  It’s amazing how much things can change in a year.   I’m hoping by my second anniversary of my surgery, I will be in a better place and back to the confident runner that I was before.   I may down the road decide that I need to tackle the marathon distance again, but not yet.   Right now my focus is on preparing for my January half.

I’m not giving up.   I’m not backing down.   I’m moving forward slightly more confidently because now I know that if I do have issues that I can ask my doctor who will actually understand and be able to help me with it.

start-where-you-are-use-what-you-have

364 Days

So tomorrow marks one year on this magic carpet ride.   Last year at this time, I was prepping for my thyroidectomy.   You know the usually stuff you do prior to a surgery – make sure your will is up to date, make sure the house is clean, make sure the fridge is stocked, Oh and make sure Thanksgiving Dinner was ordered.

Going in I was prepared for the recovery of the surgery.   I was prepared with having to deal with getting my dosage right for my meds to replace my now missing thyroid.   Easy Peasy.    I really was not worried at all.    You see, I knew so many people who either had their thyroid removed or knew someone who had theirs removed.    Another ace in the hole was one of my sons although he has a thyroid, it has not functioned since birth.   To be honest, my only concern was that a surgeon was going to literally be slicing open my neck.   That was my main focus.   Everything else would just work itself out.

So now I am one day shy of my surgery and I realize that it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.   The blip on the screen was much bigger than I thought it would be.  Still trying to adjust the thryoid meds which is really what I attribute my 15 pound weight gain this last year too.   Oh and the fact that my running took a dive. It’s a work in progress.

This last year has been an adjustment both physically and mentally.   Prior to the surgery I in my mind was chasing a 4:15 marathon, completed a 50 K, and was pushing my limits.   I did not realize that post surgery dealing with parathyroid glands that decided that they no longer would want to function properly that my limits would change and change drastically.  I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as Parathyroid gland let alone 4 that were very important.

Over time, I may get back to where I was but realistically speaking I am not getting any younger.   In less than 2 years, I will be hitting a number many refer to as a milestone even, but we aren’t there yet!

Where we are is a celebration of where I am today.

Today

Is it where I want to be?   Not exactly.   That being said….

I ACTUALLY RAN THIS WHOLE THING.

There was no walking.   There was no stopping.   There was only running.   And while I will admit that it was so much harder than it used to be and I was so happy to hit the end, it is so much better than it has been.    Life gives you what it gives you.   Today it gave me 3 miles.   For today that is enough.   I admit that some days it’s not, but as I continually remind myself….. You can’t live in the past.    You can’t spend your life living the should of , could of, and would of’s of life.   You get what you get and you don’t get upset.   And my personal favorite that my sister hates….

It is What it is!

So today, I look back on not where I was prior to 11-18-2016, but how far I have come since then.    The support that my friends have given me has helped me continue to push on.    You have been there when I have complained about my aches, my pains, my feeling tired all the time,  and everything else in between.   So this is my shout out to you……   For listening when I complained.   For understanding.  For your ideas and suggestions.  For run/walking with me when I need to and when I need to again and everything in between.   It hasn’t been an easy year learning to deal with “the new normal,” but thanks for taking the trip with me.

 

PS – I’m still following my training plan for the January Half Marathon.   One week down:)

It’s Hard

Running is hard.

Not running when you want to is harder.

So I totally took last week off.   I’m supposed to be crossing training this week, but so far it hasn’t happened.   I will say though that I did do a whole lot of walking this past weekend, so that’s got to count.    I went with my eldest son for a prospective college weekend event.   This required lots of walking as we were a 10 minute walk from campus.   On top of that we walked and walked and walked around both campus and town.

I wisely had inserted my new orthopedics in my everyday sneakers.   Even with this I did feel discomfort in my left foot with the tendonitis.   It made me wonder what would happen if I ran.   I thought about testing that out, but figured since I have my Podiatry appointment today that I would wait.

As we know in every aspect of our life, sometimes doing the right thing is not the easiest thing.   Sometimes, we need to make hard choices.   Long term goals must take president over short term goals.

It’s hard because instant gratification feels so good

for now…..

I have run the Runner’s World Event 2 years in a row.   It is a great event and I really as whole can not not say enough good things about the actual event.     I enjoyed it so much that this year, I had planned to do the Grand Slam, 26.2 over the course of this coming weekend.

The event is still open for registration until the October 18th while anyone wishing to defer would have had to have made the choice a month ago.

Now I do understand why they have deferral deadlines.   I get it.   If not people would sign up for every race they even thought of doing and then just defer at  the last minute.   That would create a chaotic system where race directors could not possible plan.   I also get why they have a fee for deferrals.   Although I will say some are more fair than others in the fee department.    Runner’s World actually only charges $20 to defer.

BUT

I am annoyed.   Maybe wrongly so, but I still am annoyed.

I reached out to Runner’s World to see if I could defer and I even offered to provide medical documentation if necessary.    I got the standard answer of  “no exceptions.”

I know it’s not their fault.

I know why they have the rules in place that they do.

BUT…..

I do think they should make exceptions.   The world is not black and white and sometimes, you need to consider shades of grey

So now this weekend, I have a bib for an event that I can’t run.   I can’t defer and I can’t transfer.    As you would expect with an event this size, it cost more than a town 5K.    I’ve started getting   the emails for the event…  Bib pick-up, parking, and just the general pump up.   Each email is like a punch.

Each email makes me think….. hmmm, could I do it?

Then I remember that I’m sitting here with a heating pad on my foot.

Running is hard.

Not running is harder.

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How have you dealt with sitting out when all you wanted to do is RUN?

 

 

 

Validated

 

I was very happy after the Chicago Marathon to know that I would be seeing my Podiatrist a few days later.     As I said before, I knew that I had undone all his hard work during the race.     I didn’t need him to tell me, but the ultrasound of the tendon confirms it.  Validation is always nice even when it’s not good news.

On top of that, I had been ignoring pain in my right foot.   I’d been ignoring it because I had dealt with it before in my left for a year or so ago.  Plantar Faciitis.    But since I was going, I had him take a look at it.    Yup another validation.   Although the hobbling around was a big clue.   At least that he was able to give me a Cortisone shot for that.

I had to laugh though because he’s like heat the left foot for the tendon, but ice the right for the Plantar Faciitis.   Talk about running hot and cold!

I have to say that it is nice   to have a Podiatrist that understands the anatomy or a runner and explains thing too.  Anyway, he then goes on to ask about my upcoming schedule.   I am supposed to do the Runner’s World Grand Slam in two weeks (26.2 over 3 days).   He then proceeds because he knows how us runners can be to ask if maybe I could not run for the whole next week or so  and not do the race because in the long term it won’t be good for my feet.

“Rest is the best thing.”

Hmmmmm…….

Well at least this also validates all the pain that I was in in Chicago.

I could do with a little less validation:)

Ha!

Validated

 

 

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.

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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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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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Creeping Up There….

I went out yesterday for what should have been a “easy” 6 miles.    Even skipping my normal training in Vermont, these 6 miles shouldn’t have been that difficult.   I was not in the mood to keep track of time, so I decided to just keep the pace slow and I would give myself a walk break every mile.   Seemed like the way to go.

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As you can see from the long red and orange line, even at these paces I was working hard.   Harder than I feel that I should, but I imagine the paces don’t really tell it all as it evens out with the walking.  Still need to work on it.   Part of the problem is that in the 8 months since my surgery I have gained 10 pounds.    I’ve never been what one would call petite.   That being said, I had remained steady in my weight for many years.   As I’ve blogged before in Laying It Out There even though the numbers never changed, I could tell that it was redistributing with added muscle.   Sadly, I can not say that now.

Part of the weight gain I attribute to not exercising as much post surgery.   Part of it might be from thyroid surgery while getting my levels correct.  Part of it might be Christmas and winter coming during this non running time.   While I don’t care about the extra weight per se, I do care that my clothes are not necessarily fitting the way that I like them.   I also think this is part of why I am struggling a bit with my running.    Yes, my legs are more sore than before, but that doesn’t account for all the heavy breathing.

Now is the what to do, what to do moment.   I honestly and whole hardheartedly hate dieting.   It’s not my thing baby.   

That being said, I am creeping up to another big milestone that I do think I would be upset to hit as it would be how much I weighed when I was pregnant.

  I  know that with my hypoparathyroidism, I do need to do better with my diet.    It might help with the muscle cramps and other issues.    I have toyed with my diet for this reason, but never committed especially since I still think my parathyroid are going to bounce back and work properly.  I keep waiting for the doctor to tell me they made a mistake.   I know.   I know.   It’s a foolish pipe dream, but I still can’t fully admit that this is permanent and my life yet.   It’s a work in progress.

So maybe it is past time to meet with the nutritionist that I called and never followed up with an appointment.   Not for my clothes.   Not for the way I look, but for my health as I really need to eat a diet with less salt and more calcium rich foods.    There has been much discussion in my hypoparathyroid groups on what is a good diet and I really need to start paying attention.   Also, I really need to figure out proper fully for runs.

So maybe I could turn this all around.   You know make lemonade out of lemon kind of thing.

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Moving forward is all you can do as sitting still is not an option.