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Not Backing Down

hy

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.

tenacious

 

 

 

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….

treadingwater

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.

 

 

 

Yes We Did!

No expectations.

No watching the clock.

Nothing but a plan to cross the finish line with a smile.

Mission Accomplished!

I was worried.   You know that to be true, but I was VERY happy with the way the day went.    I went into this race just to run by feel, wear a  tutu and a smile. It was good day.   It was the kind of day that I needed.    I think planning was key.

First the boring stuff.

From talking to other athletes with Hypoparathyroidism, I had a plan.   I purposely waited till we got to the venue to take my 500mg of Calcium and my Calictriol.    My water bottles were filled with water and cal-ez powder to keep my calcium.   I brought an extra packet to use along the way.    Each packet contained 1,000mg of calcium carbonite, but it is fast absorbing because it also has 1,000 units of vitamin D which is needed for absorption.     Studies have shown that even healthy people calcium levels drop during rigorous exercise.   For a person with working parathyroid glands, the body will adjust (although you still might want to talk to your doctor about adding supplements), but for a person whose body can’t regulate this can be a problem.   Now while it may seem excessive to have taken almost 3,000 mg of calcium in such a short period of time for me I believe it was necessary and a work in progress.   All I know is that I felt good during the run.   I did not experience any face twitches or tingles.   Although I was pushing at the end and did get some tingles in my hand, but all was good.

We left early as you often have to do when running a race that starts at 7:30.   The “clown car” as my son called it when we got home was filled with excited Mama’s.   We were very lucky that one of the Mama’s knew the in and outs of not only getting there but finding an open bathroom before the race.

Then off we went.

It was strange to me that the marathon runners and half marathon runners all started together, but it mattered not to me as long as I was starting with friends.   For the most part we ran together, but as will happen during the course of the race we separated into smaller groups.   Might have something to do with chatting the miles away and not realizing that you’ve lost sight of others in the group.

Am I sore today?

You bet.   But I bet so are so many other people:):)

I’ve got some fun stories to tell about this race, but this is enough for today.

It was a great day with some amazing women and I am so glad we did it!

NJHalf

And yes, I do have a unicorn horn:)

A New Chapter

We live in a society where strength is looked up to and any kind of weakness should be both stamped out, frowned upon and just wrong.   Asking for help is often seen to some (not all) as an almost sacrilegious thing.   We live in a society where if we don’t like something we just ignore it.   This holds true to so many things from politics to health.   The expression bury your head in the sand didn’t come from nowhere.

You see this in runners (myself included) who rather than deal with an injury may try to shake it off and run anyway.    I did this with my Plantar Fasciitis and also when I twisted my ankle training for the 50K.   It wasn’t until I was out about 2 miles after I twisted it that I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to run off the pain.   I also did it to when coming back from my surgery.   Trying to jump back in where I left off like everything was the same.  Some times you can’t run out the pain.   Some times you need to face it, deal with it, and treat it.

Why do we do these things?     When a friend comes to us in need, we don’t think less of them.   We don’t hold it against someone who has fallen ill or becomes injured.   Then why do we hold ourselves to different standards?

Why indeed?

This weekend I am going to run my first race post surgery.  My first race with hypoparathyroidism.

I am both excited and apprehensive at the same time.    I’ve got my arsenal all ready to go.

I originally signed up for the marathon.   Thank God that I was smart enough to know that was never going to happen.   I’m not even properly trained for the half marathon that I’m running.   Luckily for me though I’m not going in alone.   I’m going in with some friends and we are all going to do what we need to do to get to the finish line.

Even more lucky, these are friends that I trust to keep an eye on me.   I’ll be honest.   Part of me is a little nervous.   Not because I’m not trained enough which I’m not.  I’ve done races before not properly trained.   I’m nervous because this will be my first real test on how I will be able to run distance with my calcium issues.   It’s also a test for how much I need to prepare for Chicago Marathon training.   A base line if you will.

I’m not trained, but I’m still prepared.    I plan to pack my calcium tablets with me and take 2 before the start.   I also am heading a recommendation from a hyperparathyroidism athletes group to put Cal-Ez in my water.

Cal-Ez

I’m not thinking about pace.   Ok I’m thinking about but I know I need to just let it go. The ego is strong, but needs to be left in check.  This is not the day.   I must remind myself of that and let my ego go as this will be the day just to finish.     I am handling it like a test run:)   But a test run with a medal at the end!

This is the first run in a new chapter of my running.

On your mark

Get Set

Go!

Who remembers as a kid singing the song in Health Class about everything being connected?

“The hip bone’s connected to the back bone
The back bone’s connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone’s connected to the head bone,
Now shake dem skeleton bones!”

Cute song that helped us learn about how our bones were connected.   Then on our way we go.   As adults most of us never think about how inter-connected our bodies are and how interconnected everything really is.   Yes, as athletes we know about proper fueling but for most of us that is the extent of our thought process.

Then again.   Maybe that’s just me.

Yes, I do know the rule garbage in equals garbage out.

All that being said, for the most part as a grown up we pretty much know what is considered healthy and what isn’t and eat accordingly.    We really don’t give it much thought other than that.   Honestly, why would we?

The only time a person really starts to think about these things is when they need to.  I’ve been giving more thought to it recently.   They body is an amazing thing the way it works.   How it takes in nutrients and uses them.   How certain foods will help and certain foods will hurt with calcium absorption.   Yes, that’s really all I seem to care about right now.   Forgive me.   But it’s all interconnected.

So I’ve been doing my research, but it can be overwhelming.   Yes, we all know about dairy, but there is a whole host of other foods that are good too.    Then there is a whole host of foods that are not good for calcium absorption such as caffeine, salty foods, and high protein foods just to name a few.   This then creates a quandary.

Remember I had planned to go on my diet May 1rst.    Remember it was going to be a high protein diet because that is what worked for me in the past.   Well obviously it won’t work for me now.   Also, as an athlete I depend on replenish myself after a good workout with protein.   Should I continue with that pattern?   These are questions that I am asking myself now.   These are questions that I need answers to.

So it is all interconnected.

And this isn’t even getting into the discussion of how exercise effects calcium levels.

As of now, I’m reaching out to those who are more knowledgeable and I’m emailing some nutritionist.   I’m looking for an individual who looks at the big picture and can help me individualize something for me.    There are a lot of nutritionists out there.   The key is to find the one that will work well with me and as a plus will take insurance.   I’ve already called and my insurance does cover up to 3 per calendar year and unlimited if medically necessary.   When I asked what that was, they immediately went to a diabetic.   Well I will question if they tell me they won’t cover my visits (but that is a fight for another day).

It’s funny how things you never gave a thought to before suddenly fill your mind.

calcium-1xs87cq

Yes, It is Real.

 Yes, my running is coming along.   Yes, I’m getting stronger than I was before, but in my mind and body I knew that things still just weren’t right.   To the outsider looking in they might think that everything was ok.   I knew differently.   Mostly because as much as I talk, as much as I share; there is a whole host of things that I keep to myself.   Plus sometimes you begin to wonder, “is it me or is it because of the calcium levels.”

I really though that my thyroidectomy was just going to be a blip on the radar.  So many people in my inner circle either knew or even themselves had their thryroid removed.   It was just a simple procedure and then you just figure out what level of hormone pills to take.

Easy Peasy.

Yes, the doctors warned me of potential risks.   One of them actually being a problem with my calcium level.   But these were minor risks effecting less than 1% and really how hard is it to take calcium pills?   But just like the informational….  But there’s more.   So much more.

I’ve talked about the struggles that I’ve been having since coming back from my surgery.   I’ve mentioned that my calcium levels are never coming back.   I’ve accepted this.  The name for this is Hypoparathyroidism.    It is actually considered a rare disorder.   Yeah, me.   I like to be different.

Again, part of the problem is just trying to figure out if it’s me or my calcium.    Before my surgery a friend who had her thryoid removed gave me a piece of advice.   I’ll paraphrase.   She is also a runner, so she understands.   She said that I should remember that I am a marathon runner and that I know the things that my body can and have done.   If something doesn’t feel right after surgery, I will know because I know what I’m capable of doing.    I hold onto this advice as I try to sort out things.   It is with this thought that I am reminding myself that things just aren’t right when I get a full night sleep and am still exhausted and need a siesta during the day..

What I didn’t know though that I wasn’t alone.   It is a powerful thing when you realize that you are not the only one and it’s not just you.   It’s amazing the information that you can find on the World Wide Web that is actually useful.   The problem is weeding out the garbage.  I recently (like last night) stumbled upon a Facebook group for athletes who also have hypoparathyroidism.   Once I joined the group and started reading some of the posts, I wanted to cry.   Not because they were sad, but because I realized that I wasn’t alone.   I wasn’t babying myself.   I wasn’t making excuses.    These are things that have gone through my mind.    I realized that the “Suck it up Buttercup” mentality really didn’t apply.

From the site NORD (National Organization of Rare Disorders) on side effects of low calcium.

  • The severity of the condition can range from mild symptoms such as a tingling or numbness in the fingers, toes or around the lips (paresthesias) to severe muscle cramps and muscle spasms
  • Additional symptoms that may be associated with hypoparathyroidism include fatigue, generalized weakness, muscle aches, anxiety or nervousness, and headaches. Affected individuals may also have dry, coarse skin, brittle nails, and patchy hair loss such as the thinning of the eyebrows. S
  • Depression, irritability, confusion, disorientation, mood swings and loss of memory have also been reported in individuals with hypoparathyroidism.

Because it is so rare and because people hear “low calcium” levels,  most people (and I was previously one of them) think that calcium is only for strong bones and good hair, but it really does effect so much more.   Then when researching and as told from my doctor the potential side effects of the treatment which for me is a minimum of 5,000 mg of Calcium a day (8 pill minimum throughout the day) with another medicine (Calcitriol) to help my body absorb the calcium., there can be severe side effects.   You can end up with calcium deposits on the brain, kidney stones, and such.   Good times.    According to my doctor, the goal then is to keep my calcium level just high enough to be right at the bottom level of proposed calcium levels, but not too high to cause problems.   Sure.

Easy Peasy.

One of the blogs I read summed it up perfectly.   They said that treating calcium levels is very similar to how a diabetic has to regulate their insulin levels.   Most diabetics can tell by the way they feel if their levels are high or low.   It’s about paying attention to their bodies.   The difference is that a diabetic can easily check their insulin levels at home.   This is not the case for those with hypoparathyroidism.    So it’s about paying attention.   It’s about knowing your body.   It’s about knowing this is a real issue that requires constant care.

I’ve already realized that when I come back from a run where I’ve pushed it, I can feel it.   Sometimes, I will get a twitch in my face.   My muscles are sorer than I remember them ever being.    I’m learning to handle it.  It’s about knowing that I need to roll with it.    I’m now learning from those that have already figured things out.   Life is all about learning, adapting, and doing all that you can.

So I’m going to figure this out.

its-not-what-happens-to-you-but-how-you-react-to-it