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The Roller Coaster Ride

I’ve been up

I’ve been down.

I’ve thrown my hands up giving myself up to enjoy the ride

I’ve wondered if I was foolish to even get on as it begins to take off. The anticipation while you wait in line, strap yourself in and begin to take off wondering if you are up for what lies ahead. The thing is once the ride takes off, you have no choice but to buckle in and make the best of it. You can scream. You can laugh. You can throw your hands up and just enjoy the ride. Doesn’t matter what you do because once it takes off, you are commited. Sometimes you think you have reached the end of the ride only to realize that you are going around another bend.

A few times I’ve thought that I reached the end of my roller coaster ride only to realize how wrong I was. I think I am really finally coming into the station of acceptance with my 2016 post surgery Hypopara running. You may be thinking…… it has taken since 2016. Acceptance isn’t as easy as it sounds. Then there are the times where you think you have reached the stage of acceptance only to realize that you have just been getting by and really have not. Letting Pride really keep you from making it to the end.

Here is the thing. Since my 2016 surgery left me Hypopara, I kept trying to push myself to run at a pace where I no longer was physically able to run. Mind you I knew that I was no longer at a run sub 2 half pace, but I still never embraced where I should realistically should be running even if at times I thought I did.

Recap for new followers –

For about two years or so before my surgery, I was working with an amazing coach. With her guidance I ran a sub 2 half marathon, a 50K, and I was able to even run a 26:26 5K. I was at the top of my game and I even timed my surgery to be after running the 2016 NYC Marathon. I’ve said it before, the surgery was just going to be a blip.

Until is wasn’t.

Then I kept riding the roller coaster knowing that I was the same, but trying to be something that I wasn’t. Not to say that I won’t be again, but not now. After surgery, I origionally was over medicated so I was able to keep my running up. Then realization that I could no longer keep calcium levels up in the 9’s but for safety of kidney’s . Needing to keep levels just below or at normal level’s. Doesn’t sound like much but for those of us with Hypoparathyroidism, we can tell you that there is a BIG difference how one feels with calcium at a level 9 compared to 8.2 or even 8.5. I also think that for right now I have found a happy medium where my calcium has been around 8.4 last couple times. The balancing act is real.

Anywho…… for the longest time a year or two after my surgery I kept trying to run paces that while much slower than my 2016 paces but realistically were not paces that I should be running. The thing is that I really couldn’t maintain them either. I did a lot of running too fast. Needing to walk and then running again. Then with the 20 pound post surgery weight gain and everything else, running a 10:45 pace was not where I should be even though at the time I thought that was “slow.” I remember posting in a group that my former coach runs about having to walk during my runs and I’m paraphrasing because honestly I don’t remember exactly what she said even if I remember the meaning behind what she was saying. She basically said that I was walking because I was running too fast and maybe (I add that in my mind) pride was the reason. Even though I knew the truth of her words, like many not willing to accept reality I blew off what she was saying. Although if there is one thing anyone who has worked with Caolon knows…… She knows what the (beep) she is talking about even if you choose not to hear her.

So I went on….. and on….. and on…… until I finally gave up running completely. I spent months just walking. I walked and walked and walked some more. I even walked a virtual marathon. Then I was ready to run again. I wanted to run again. There was beauty in having not run for a long time. I was 100% starting from the beginning and needed to respect starting from scratch. My mind was in the right place this time. I also think that deciding not to train by pace but heart rate helped because it gave me the ability to learn where I should be running to actually run.

So here I’ve been just running and training. 100% recognizing that pace is not the goal right now. That the goal is to find where I should be running and run there. I’ve been embracing the running and am now following a training plan for the NYC Virtual Half. I am only using the plan for milage and training not following anything by pace. It has also been helpful that even though I hate it, I have been running on the treadmill. This is good because it does allow me to control pace that I’m running at without concern that I end up running at a pace I shouldn’t be.

I’ve also realized pace is irrelevant to me right now. I am more concerned with being able to run without leaving myself and my body depleted. Since running by heart rate and finding the correct pace while still pushing myself, I have realized that I have not been getting muscle spasms. I am not depleted to the point where I NEED (not want) to nap and most of all I can function in my day to day life.

Last week I ran a hard 5K.

Then this week in training I ran 4.5 running 4 without stopping and feeling good. I did this running average pace of 12:37. This “hard” run was literally a minute faster than what I used to do my easy runs at. So today I needed to run 7 miles, my longest run so far this training cycle. Since this was a long run that meant I need to run slower. I started off with a 5 minute warm up walk and then when I hit every mile I walked for 45 seconds. I’m not sure that I actually needed the walk, but it did break up the treadmill running. Who knows what that would parlay to outdoor running, but for right now I am happy to be running, not feeling like I can’t do it, and feeling like I could do more when I stop.

I’ve been thinking a lot about accepting where I am lately. I realized that while I thought I had accepted where I am right now that I really had not. I do think that this roller coaster ride is finally coming into the station. Acceptance does not mean that I won’t push to try to do better. It does not mean that I can’t work to do better in the future. It does not mean that I won’t have days where things bother me. It just means that I am ok with where I am today.

Where are you today?

Living in Reality

Often in life we hold on when we should let go. We dig in deep instead of walking away. We hold on too tight for fear of loosing something when we know it’s time to loosen our grip. It’s hard. Our instinct is to tighten our grip because while it is hard to hold on, letting go is even harder.

We see this with so many parts of our lives and the lives of people we know. Everything in society and media reinforces this –

Don’t Give Up

Hold on Tight

The Only Thing Holding You Back is Yourself

Push Yourself to the Limit

Yes, sometimes this is true. Sometimes we do need to hold on tight, not give up, and push ourselves to the limit. There are also times that this does not work for us and actually does us a great disservice. The trick is to know when that is the right advice and when it is time to call it a day, let it go.

I’ve talked about letting go in the past. Sometimes we let go only to grab back on and don’t even realize it. It’s a long and tedious process. Holding on tighter and thinking we are doing what needs to be doing.

I’ve been finding that starting over with no expectations has been both surprising and good. It’s actually much harder than you think because we all have expectations. Sometimes in order to find yourself, you need to let go of all that is holding you back. All the expectations that are actually hold you back and don’t let you move forward.

As mentioned before, I recently started training for my virtual NYC Half. I was looking forward to actually training and have been going by heart rate and not pace. It has been freeing to not watch my pace. It’s been harder than I thought to try to not push to run faster. Although do not confuse this with thinking that these are not hard runs. To not feel like I am failing because I am trying to maintain something that for now I have no business trying to maintain. It has taken away disappointments of not hitting paces, not maintaining paces, or dealing with the effects of doing so. Effects from my Hypoparathyroidism like muscle spasms, muscles cramping, and recovery that more than your average recovery.

Last time I was training for NYC Marathon, I was training to run a sub 2 half which I ended up doing. I still remember pushing during the race. I remember feeling confident in my training. I vividly remember the last push to the finish line and so much about the day. That was where I was then. I recently found a slip of paper with paces that I used for a training run and it struck me how different my running is now. How much has changed in such a short time and how long it has taken me to realize different isn’t bad, just different.

I also know that there are so many that have Hypoparathyroidism that would love to run the paces that I am running. That would love to be healthy enough to even run let alone train for a Half Marathon. No I am not where I used to be, but I am still able to do so much and should appreciate it for what it is not what it used to be….. not what I want it to be…… not for what I think it should be…… for what it is.

When you take pace off the table and just listen to your body, you might actually surprise yourself. Yesterday I went for a 4 mile treadmill run. Although my treadmill and my Garmin have differing average paces, I felt good with the pace. This run was just right for where I am now. It was hard, but it was also doable. It is where I should realistically be and it where I should be running. Dreams are necessary and worth striving for but living in reality is necessary too.

Time to lay it out there.

Time to be proud of where I am because I should be proud of it

Living in Reality

There is a song I remember singing in church as a kid.

“It only takes a spark to get a fire going. And soon all those around can warm up in it’s glowing.”

I’m not sure why out of all the songs we sang this one stuck with me, but it did.

Anyhoo…..

I’ve been humming it recently because I have been feeling a spark again. A spark of fire. A spark of motivation. A spark to do more. I am not sure where it is coming from, but I like it. I am feeding the low flame to keep it from burning out. I think it is easier to snuff out the flame of motivation then to get the flame burning brightly. I miss the fire. I miss the motivation.

This 30 day challenge has been very helpful. Some days I will take forever to get motivated to get into the garage aka home gym, but once I’m there I never regret it. I also realize that one thing that I often do is going in flaming hot and then burn out. Push too hard. Do too much. Don’t pace myself and make it unsustainable.

There is no reason to do any of that. The goal is to keep moving. I am not training for anything.

The summer before my surgery left me Hypopara I ran the NYC Half in the Spring 1:58:59 for a pace of 9:04. I ran a local 5K in the summer in 26:26 with a pace of 8:30. Then just weeks before my surgery I ran the NYC Marathon in 4:56 with pace of 11:18 and while that may not seem stellar that was due to not running a smart race. I literally, figuralively, and realistically was at my physical peak in 2016. I was ready to chase that 4;15 marathon. I had unlimited energy. There was no stopping me………. or so I thought.

We all know the expression, Nothing is impossible. One it’s face everyone wants to cheer it but really it’s not true. Some things are impossible. Some goals will never be reached not for lack of will but due to reality. We have to create goals that are within reach. If I were to set a goal to PR a race right now, I realistically would not be able to reach it. But if I were to set a goal to finish a race (if there were such a thing as live events), then that would be in reach. So in life it isn’t so much as failing at our goals, but setting goals that our realistically attainable. Just because goals are attainable does not mean that that you don’t need to work and work hard to reach them.

In thinking of where I want to go with my fitness goals, I think I need to readjust how I am setting them. I’ve been focusing on pace with my running but I think at this time I need to think about training by heart rate for a while. From there I will then be able to determine what realistic goals I can set with my running. Until then I will just learn more about heart rate training. In working with weights if I tried to lift weights like I did in my Crossfit days, I would injure myself. Why would I think it would be any different with running.

So here is to living in reality and working with what you’ve got. I’ve got a lot to work with mostly my ability to keep plugging along and not give up. So I will just keep plugging along.

In This Together

Like many I am at a weird place in my running. I am a runner who doesn’t run. Sometimes I miss the push. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I wonder why I pushed as hard as I did. Then their are the Facebook memories to pop up that show you what you used to be and you wonder if it will ever be again. Not just the races, but the drive that I had to do them.

Right now, there is no drive. there is no feeling like I need to do this. Nothing to even make me feel like in the whole scheme of things is it even necessary. There is so much bigger, real, and important things going on in the world. It makes me feel like my running, my races, my paces is not even worth pursuing or important.

I am fatigued by it all.

I am worried about it all.

I am missing the the world that used to be.

Then I remind myself that yes, all those “wordly” things need attention and are important, but….. but…. but……..

Life is a gift that needs to be enjoyed. Yes, we need to pay atention, get involved, and do what we can to make the world a beter place. Yes, there is much that needs to be done. Yes, we have a responsibility to help make the world, our communities and those closest to us a priority.

But….. But…. But

If we also don’t take time to actually enjoy the gift of life are we really living it?

This week my Facebook memories is filled with Marathon preparations. It is filled with Runner’s World Hat Trick PR’s (5k, 10k, and HM in 2 day). It is filled with a time when I was at my peak as a runner. Not just pre-covid, but in my case pre-hypoparathyroidism. It made me nostalgic, sad, and proud all at the same time. I miss running. Really running like I haven’t done in a long time. I miss training hard. I miss racing hard. I miss it all.

I started this post last weekend, but I never finished it because I felt like I was wallowing a little. That I was being selfish. That it was all in my head. Then this morning I read a post (It’s been a minute) by a blog I follow that reminded me we are all feeling it and that it is ok to feel all the feels.

Sometimes when your are feeling low about something, you want to pretend that you aren’t feeling it. You think that you are the only one feeling it. You tell yourself that you shouldn’t be feeling the way you feel. You tell yourself so many lies to hide the simple truth that it is ok to feel the way you feel. That it is ok to miss what you miss. That it is ok to just allow yourself to be what you are with all the feeling that come with it.

Often in life, too often we pretend that we are ok when we are not. We pretend we aren’t angry when we are furious. We pretend we don’t care about someone when we do. We pretend we aren’t hurt when we are ready to crawl into a ball and cry. We pretend it is ok, when ok is the furthest thing from being ok. We pretend to be so many things that we aren’t. All because we somehow feel that our emotions aren’t justified. That we aren’t justified in feeling them. Every time we do this, we do a disservise to ourselves and those in our lives.

Part of this I think comes from society, from growing up and telling little ones not to cry, not to be angry and what they are feeling will pass. We need to do better not just for future generations, but for ourselves. In my job as a preschool instructor, I often have kids lay their emotions on me. There is one child who will tell me what kind of day he is having. Some days he says, he is having a happy day. Some days he will tell me that he is having a sad day. On those days he is telling me that he is having a sad day, I would never discount his feeling and just tell him to have a happy day. I always have the same answer, “it’s ok to have a sad day but Ms Christine is here for you.” Simple and to the point. Now….. we need to do the same for our own emotions.

Some times it is ok to have a sad day. Some times it is ok to have a down in the dumps day. Some times it is ok to have a I’m just not feeling it day. Some times it is ok to have any kind of day we are having. The trick is to find the balance. If you are having more sad days than good days, please know that there is help. We must stop trying to pretend that we don’t feel the way we feel and we must know that no matter how we feel we are never alone.

We need to allow ourselves to be ok with all the emotions not just the good ones. We need to allow people in to help us when we need help. We need to be willing to help and listen to our friends even when they are not feeling all rainbows and sunshine. We need to know that the good days out weigh the bad days. We need to know that there is hope.

Hope is what we need to hold onto until the days are once again filled with rainbows and sunshine. We are not in this alone, but in this together.

*****If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts and/or depression, you are not alone. Please find someone to talk to or call 800-273-8255 to talk with a counselor****

Swimming Against the Current

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Often people get trapped in a rip current without realizing it.  If you don’t look for the signs you can be caught up in one before you even know how it happened.  Once in many think the only way out is to keep pushing and swim through it.   Swimming against the current.   They push and they push until exhaustion sets in.    It’s only when calmness sets in do they often realize that the best way to escape the current is to not to try to swim against it but parallel to it until you get out of it.   Once out, you can swim back to shore.

The secret is remaining calm.   It is to think about what is happening.    It is about accessing the situation and it is about finding a way out.    Up until recently I have been doing the same thing with my running.   I have been going against what my body needed.   What my body wanted.   I had been pushing and pushing and not paying attentions to the signs or the way out.   I have finally found the edge of the rip current I have been fighting and now am comfortably able to swim to shore.

All this time, I kept thinking of it as giving up.   That I was taking the easy way out.    I didn’t realize that I was taking on water and pushing myself to brink of exhaustion because I refused to truly listen to the signs.   Just like you need to respect a rip current, you need to respect the limitations of your body.  It’s about learning to swim with the current instead of against it.   Most of all it is about knowing if you want a different outcome, you need to change what your are doing.   You need to be willing to look at ways to do the same thing over and over again.   You need to be willing  to float with the tide.

As you know I’ve been continuing on my 30 days of Yoga with Adriene.   The other day in practice she gave a mantra that really struck me.

Allow…. Release… Let Go

Seems easy enough, but is oh so hard in life.   Often we hold onto things that no longer serve us, but we can’t seem to let go.   Continuing to push when we should pull.   Holding on when we need to let go.   When we finally…. allow…. release…. let go; we wonder why we didn’t do it sooner.

As I’ve continued on my walking, I realize that for now this is serving me.    I can go longer distances.    I can go daily.   It doesn’t drain me.   I can go faster that I thought and further this way.   I can and will train for a marathon.  For me, it is better to be able to continue to keep going forward to achieve new goals than it is how I get there because sometimes if you don’t find your way out of the current you could end up exhausted to the point of giving up.   I’m not one to give up but I am no longer fighting the current.

just-keep-swimming

What rip currents have you escaped in life?

 

Lesson Learned

Hindsight is 2020 they say.   Although after this year, we might need to come up with a new expression because no one wants to remember 2020 but I digress.   It is always so much easier to second guess something after the fact.   To pick it apart.   To dissect.   To play the could of, should of, would of game.   Never helpful.   

I will be honest as you know I always am…… As a runner, I always felt like walking was cheating. Now hear me out, I walked plenty.  Currently, I am not even running but walking every day.  What I really mean is that I wasn’t a good enough runner. There was not one of my 7 marathons that I did not walk during. Some I intentionally trained with walking in mind. That being said, somehow I felt like I wasn’t a real runner because runners don’t walk even if me as a runner did.   Somehow it meant that I didn’t measure up, that I was less of a runner, that I should be better because while I could go the distance, I couldn’t go just running.

My goal besides a 4:30 marathon was to run a marathon where I ran the whole thing. Somehow that would make me more of a “real runner.” I probably would have made both those goals one day but you know the whole Hypoparathyroidism thing.

While I know rationally I know that I was/am a runner. I just always felt like I should have and could have been better. That I wasn’t living up to my potential. Here is the thing…. I probably wasn’t. There is something about the distance of a marathon that gets in your head. I trained and ran NYC Half a sub 2 hour with no problem. It was hard. I pushed myself. I crossed the finish line smiling. Add 13 miles and it is a whole different beast not just physically but mentally.

Seriously.

Each marathon my head was the biggest obstacle.

First Marathon, Philly 2014, was a fluke. I had been training for Runner’s World Hat Trick (5k & 10K one day, next day Half) and rolled into Philly on a whim after one 20 miler. I didn’t know what I was doing. It was hard. I didn’t overthink. I finished 4:46:20. If I had pushed, I could have been under 4:45

Next up was Marine Corps Marathon. This one I trained with a good coach. I was ready right up until I wasn’t. GI issues that I didn’t push through led me to my marathon PR of 4:38:14. This should have been my day, but mentally I didn’t want it enough to make it happen.  I always thought I’d have another day.

Then a trail marathon which I rolled into but loved doing. Probably because there is no pressure or expectations that you are going to run the whole thing. Plus trail races are a whole different vibe and expectations are very different.

2016 was supposed to be my year. Although I had a bump in my training due to a sprained ankle, I still was mostly ready. I could definitely go the distance because I had finished a 50K that year right before marathon training, I ran my sub 2 half, and I ran my 5K PR of 26:26. I was ready to both go the distance and the pace. Right up until I wasn’t. I went out running strong the first half like there was no second half. Once I hit the wall, it was a struggle to keep going but I did. Finishing in 4:56.

After that my thyroid surgery and that called it a day for my 4:30 marathon time. My goals since has just been to go the distance, don’t crash my calcium and cross the finish line. Consistently, my races time wise have been going the opposite of every runners dream…..

2017 Chicago Marathon: 5:48:52

2018 NYC Marathon: 6:10:13

2019 NYC Marathon: 6:20:41

Some might see these as failures. I don’t. I see them as perseverance. The year after my surgery, when I was being treated by the wrong doctor I was actually able to run decent paces. Although it was much harder to keep up for longer distances. The issue was that I was taking too much calcium which while good for things like running, it was bad long term for things like kidneys. So, you know, trade off was not very smart.  Although at the time I did not know that even if my doctor should have which is why he is no longer my doctor.

So here we are now, where I am living in the low calcium range but saving kidneys. In hindsight now I feel like I wasted my before hypopara runs and maybe I did, but there is nothing to be done now. I can only look to the future and learn from the past to plot my course. I’ve been thinking a lot about goals. Goals for now and long term since, you know, there is a lot of time to think right now. This post is already too long to get into. Plus I am still forming, plotting, and kind of waiting for the world to be safe again.

Right now, I feel that the best way I can be a runner is not to run. I am giving my body the break it needs. As I said before I have been walking a minimum of a mile a day since June 21, but usually more.   Other day I walked 6.25 at a brisk pace around 16:10.  Shorter distances I pick it up honing in on my speed walking.  I am embracing walking. I am embracing learning to cut myself some slack and know I am enough just like I am.  I am embracing what ever I do… walk, run, and anything in between is enough.

I realize that when it comes to my running, like most of us, I am harder on myself than anyone else. I also realize that while I may have medical issues, my biggest issue has always been my head. (shocking). That voice telling me I can’t do it with a self fulfilling prophesy so that I don’t. So with this step back, I am learning to trust my body. I am learning what inner voice to listen to and what voice to tell to shut up.  I am learning to be ok with not pushing but also not going easy. Finding the middle ground I so often miss.

It is so easy to get discouraged when we do not reach goals we think we should reach. It is easy to make excuses for why things are the way they are. It is easy to pack it in and call it a day. What is not easy is sticking around when things don’t pan out the way you want. Learning to roll up the hill instead of down. To make lemonade out of lemons.  To just be and be happy with that.

Sometimes when you look at the reality of why things are the way they are, you have to just let it go. You realize that you can’t change how they turned out. You not only have to accept it, but move on from it even if it means letting go. Letting go of guilt.   Letting go of missed opportunities.   Letting go of all that is and has held you back.   In life sometimes you realize what you once thought an important is no longer important to you. Most of all learn from it. Sometimes we have to do it over and over and over again because we did not learn the lesson we needed to learn the first time

 

Be Kind…. Even to Yourself

Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why do we always put ourselves down? Why don’t we treat ourselves the way we treat our friends? Why aren’t we kinder to ourselves?

Inquiring minds want to know!

As with everyone, I am in a few group message chains with my friends. These forms of communication are even more important now when you can’t see your friends. In one of these groups recently, we were all saying all the bad but very tasty things we were eating that we shouldn’t be. Then how we needed to get on track. On and on….. You know this conversation because I’m sure you’ve had these converstions.

(Sidebar – Do ONLY women have these conversations? Seriously. Although my husband has said to me about getting back on track, I don’t think he discusses with his fishing or work buddies. Maybe I’m wrong. Am I? )

Anyway after this conversation where we were all beating ourselves up about gaining weight, not loosing weight, and our bad eathing habits I started to think…..

This particular group was a bunch of running Mamas. Some are still running and training for virtual marathons. Those of us not running are still active. We are not sitting on the couch eating bon bons all day even during a pandemic.

A wise friend said, “Life has been extra nuts lately right ? Eat the damn cake chocolate pie cookie ..drink the wine beer pizza whatever …and more importantly be kind to ourselves”

Why is it so hard to be kind to ourselves?

If a friend calls us and tells us they totally blew their diet, blew through their Weight Watcher points, or gained weight; we would come back to them with a kind word (at least I hope so!). We would not berate them. We would not tell them they were hopeless. We would not tell them they blew it. We would reply that it’s ok. That tomorrow is another day. That each day is hard enough without beating themselves up. We would be kind.

So lets be kind to ourselves. Let’s start by treating ourselves the way we treat our friends. Let’s start by giving ourselves a break. Let’s start by knowing that it’s ok to eat the donut, eat the cake, and even eat the brownie but just maybe not in the same night. And if for some reason, we do eat them all in the same night to pick ourselves up the next day and say it’s ok. We will do better.

Here is another thing. As a woman of a certain age, it is pretty damn hard to loose weight. Hormones are all over the place. Metabolism is non existent. Then add no thyroid and a non working parathyroid glands and it is perfect storm of impossible weight loss.

Seriously.

No joke.

No lie.

Now I am by no means saying it is impossible to loose the weight. I am just saying that I am not committed enough right now to engage in trying to the extreme necessary. And while I may eat the donuts, the cake, the treats for the most part I really am not a bad eater. I eat a fairly healthy diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables For right now, I have embraced a pescatarian diet. I don’t really eat much processed foods. I’ve dieted. I’ve trained and run marathons. On paper, I look good. On the scale is another story.

My sister has suggested that I talk to my doctor about hormone replacement therapy. Truth be told, I take so many pills a day because of my Hypoparathyroidism that the thought of adding to the mix is just tiresome. So I am at a loss and I really do not feel the need to go to extremes as I have maintained where I am for the last 3 years since my surgery when I added these extra 20 pounds.

Now please don’t take this to mean that I have given up. I haven’t. I am not sure when yet, but I will once again start tracking my food. This actually is more for when I go to the doctors for my physical so that we can discuss it. Although my doctor is not one to use the scale as the be all indicator of health. If your doctor isn’t, I would say find one!

Now with all this being said, I am not saying that I wouldn’t be thrilled to wake up 20 pounds lighter tomorrow. I’m just saying for right now….. With all that is going on in the world…… It is just not my priority. I am not saying it won’t one day in the near future, but for today I am content to walk my mile a day and complete my 30 day yoga challenge.

Walking, Walking, Walking…..

Those who have been around a while know that I became the Accidentally Running Mama by accident.   Hence the name.   This blog and my running really was just to track and share my training for what was supposed to be the one and done Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon.   Obviously it took a life of it’s own and here we are.

Now though I am making a conscious decision to purposely become the accidentally walking Mama.

Say what?????

I’ve talked before how I can’t get a handle on my paces.   Running too fast.   Then needing to stop and walk.   Repeat.   Repeat.  Repeat.   There was a time where I could do negative splits without really looking at my watch.   I just knew by feel and adjusted accordingly.   Now I’m just so jerky with being fast and then slow and can’t get a handle on it.

I am not concerned about pace, so it’s not like I am trying to intentionally run faster paces.   It’s not like I even care about my pace or as we know not training for anything.   I just lost the ability to regulate it.   After a jerky run where my fastest pace was 7:16 (even if it was for a second), I had an epiphany.    I learned to regulate my pace because I was in touch with what my body could do and in tune with it.

Right now I’m out of tune.

At last years New York City Marathon I ended up doing a very brisk powerwalk for most of the race.   This explains my 6:10 finish time.    The thing is when it was over, I still crossed the finish line.   I still got a medal.   I still did what I set out to do.   I felt all the joy, elation, and pride of completing the NYC Marathon.  The next day though, I felt the effects of powerwalking a race that I was trained to mostly run.   Walking got the job done, but it does engage your leg muscles differently than running and I was sore in a different way from running.

I also was thinking about what I need to do to complete the NJ Virtual Parkway challenge.   I’ve got 18 days and about 60 miles to go.    So that averages out to 3.33 miles a day.    I can’t run that every day but I know I can walk it.   A challenge is a challenge and I never back down from one which you can view as good or bad.

I know that when I am out and about, I am going to want to run.   I’ve already gone for 2 walks and had to pull myself back.    I am going to feel like I should be running.   I am going to tell myself… Just this once and try to sabotage this quest to just walk thinking I should be doing more.   The truth is I think this is right want I need to be doing and am planning to stay firm.

I need to go back to the very, very beginning.   Not going back to couch to 5k, but the very very beginning.   Then I can do C25K to start running again.  As it is, I am heavier than I was back in 2013 when I started training for that Sprint Triathlon.   This will allow me to both finish my virtual challenge and get expectations (even internal ones) off the table.

So for now, I am out and about walking.   Not strolling like I’m on the boardwalk, but like I’ve got to get home before the storm comes in.   As a runner, it is important to stay true to your abilities.   True to where your body is on any given day.   True to what you need to do.   Often we push past what we should do in the name of vanity, in the name of meeting a goal, in the name of trying to be better.   Sometimes it works.   Sometimes we crash and burn.

Right now I am on my way to meeting my goal.   I know that I don’t need to do this step back to meet it, but I think it might be the smartest way to both meet it and give my body the reset it needs for my running.   As I said in my last post this is the year to regroup, refocus, and adjust.    I want to run.   I’ve got dreams of another 50K one day (seriously, why can’t I shake that one – I am trying).    If I want to be able to get to where I am going, I need to go back to the beginning.

I’ve also come to the realization that if I want to get back to the longer distances then I’m going to need to incorporate more walking. So this will help me find not just my running stride but my walking stride. Walking with a purpose

So here we go……

 

 

The Ups and the Downs

If 2020 were an object, it would be a pile of dog poop.   You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would say as a whole this year doesn’t suck the big one.    For some it sucks more than others and it doesn’t even take into account the pandemic.

2020 is also the year that one by one major races and events were cancelled.   Boston while shocking was not unexpected since it was in the beginning of the pandemic.   One by one other large events fell to the wayside.   Many of the larger fall events have been holding out hope.  NYRR just announced that they were cancelling the  New York City Marathon.   Not unexpected but still sad.   For those that were planning to run they are giving great choices for deferment which also unheard of from NYRR.    I believe they did the right thing both in canceling it and before most people started training.

This is the years for runners to decide why they run.   This is the year for runners to decide weather they run only for the bling or if they run to run.   Now don’t get me wrong…… I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my bling.

I get a lot out of running besides bling, but when you are not training for anything it does get easy not to stay motivated.   Not to get out the door.   Not to go for longer runs.   Not to push yourself.    One of the reasons, I have been doing the NJ Virtual Boardwalk challenge.    21 days left and more miles than I would like, but I will get it done.

So while 2020 has sucked and seems like is on the path to sucking till the bitter end, we need to regroup, refocus, and adjust.

What if we took this time as a gift.    What if we viewed everything not through the lenses of what has been taken from us, but what has been given.   What if instead of thinking of all we are missing, we embrace all the things that we have.

Time

I currently have no part time job.   I have no practices to run my son to.   I have no this or that to attend, but instead of thinking about all that I’m missing what if I view this time as a gift.

I now have the time to practice yoga.

I now have the time to go for runs/walks.    I have even started walking the dog with my oldest son just about every night.    This is a gift.

Races

I am missing the thrill of big events.   The fun of small events.   Missing my running crew.   Missing training (really).   Missing a lot…. BUT…….    every since my surgery left me with Hypoparathyroidism, I have continued to push myself.   I’ve continued to train, race, and while I have cut back on number events I was doing, I still kept pushing.   Doing a marathon ever year since surgery in 2016 (actually every year now since 2014).     Now, I have no choice though but to stop chasing events because even though I was realistic about them, I still pushed myself.   FOR ME – instead of being upset that I can’t run NY again, what if I use this time to reconnect.   Not just with running, but the way I need to run.   Think about what works best for me as far as miles, pace, and calcium instead of chasing distances and time.

From January even before Covid, this year has had a lot of downs.   Lots of things have gone wrong.   Lots of drama.   Lots of things that I wouldn’t wish to happen to anyone.   But with each of these events, there has been an upside.   Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to have gotten to the upside without the rollercoaster ride but that isn’t how life works.   Sometimes you have to let go of the handles, put your hands in the air, scream as the roller coaster is racing down the tracks and just be happy when you pull into the end.   You can’t enjoy the highs without the lows.

So while many of us our in lows now, we have no choice except to enjoy the ride as much as we can.

So for now…..

I will continue to run.   I will continue to see if maybe I need to do more power walking especially in the heat instead of running.   If maybe, I just keep moving that is enough and for the next 21 days, I have to not skip a beat and apparently I am a streaker.

 

 

 

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This week I had my 6 month check up with my endocrinologist. Not surprising, my blood calcium level was low. The good news is that it is just below the low end of normal. Yeah me. The good part though is by maintaining this low level that my 24 hour urine calcium level was normal which is something I haven’t seen in 2 years. At my highest this level was more than double what it should be. So since my Natpara is gone, I bounce in the low blood calcium levels to protect my kidneys for the higher output levels. Go me.

All was good at the appointment. When I commented to my doctor that I was “happy” with levels to protect kidneys, she reminded me that we also have to worry that if we allow my blood calcium levels to get to low we have heart issues. Did you know that if your calcium is important for heart health. Such a balancing act that makes life so fun.
I am good about balancing these things. (seriously Mom… no worries). I am also very lucky that I’ve never had any issues with my kidneys or heart. I pay attention. I adjust. I pop pills all day and adjust as needed. As said before, I really think being a marathon runner prior to surgery helped me learn to tune into my body. All those long runs adjusting fuel, pace, and runs gave me an inside track on how to listen to my body with calcium levels.

I have a few running magnets on my car. I have one that says 50K. Sometimes I think that I should take it off as I only ran one, but it is a reminder of what I once could do and maybe one day will do again. It makes me proud and a little sad at the same time. At my “peak” I finished this event in 7 hours and seven minutes. Obviously, I did not run the entire time, but I did run enough to actually complete it. I’ve run a sub 2 half marathon and a 26:26 5K.

I am no longer at my peak. I’m no longer close to my peak. Today I struggle through 5 miles which used to me my normal run. I used to run every day in training. Teaching myself to run on tired legs. Now I have to pace myself as my legs are tired before I even start. I can’t run every day, but have been trying to walk at least a mile every day.  It sucks. And yes, I know, that it could be worse but  this is my pity party. I miss the “old” me and I when I was on Natpara I kind of felt like her.   Sometimes I get annoyed at my missed opportunities.   Blowing my 4:30 marathon because I didn’t pace myself.   Thinking I would get another shot at it.   I was wrong.

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When you have an invisible illness no matter what it is often times people think you are exaggerating, it’s all in your head, or think you are just complaining. It is easier for people to understand when they can see the toll an illness takes on a person, but often times people with invisible illnesses keep a lot to themselves. What is the point… You know what you need to do and you just handle it.

Al my life I’ve struggled and overcome the impossible. I’ve come back from the bottom and realized that in life you really only have two choices….. Keep moving forward or give up.

I’ve been wondering if it is time to give up running, but I get so much out of it that I think that is not a valid option. I’ve been lower before. I’ve crawled my way from the depths of depression where I realized that giving up is not an option. The truth of the matter is when you come back from that, you realize that your only option in life is to keep pushing forward one step at a time.

Today’s run was hard. The heat effects me. I felt tingles in the lips (low calcium). My legs were cramping. I thought about just walking home. I realized that most of my problem with running really is my ego. I can run fast in short bursts. I can’t run fast for the long haul. I need to readjust, refocus, and learn to pace again. If the truth is that running is worth pushing myself than I really need to push myself smarter. So with that, I added some calez (powdered calcium) to my water, cut myself some slack, and reassessed what I realistically want from running.

Unrealistically…. I still want that 25 minute 5K or that 4:30 marathon I was chasing that I will never get. Realistically, I just want to keep running. I need to let go of expectations, excuses, and ego……. easier said than done especially when I was on Natpara injections which made me feel like my old self for a bit.

I’ve been picked over. I’ve been picked last. I’ve been ignored. I’ve been on the outside looking in. I’ve been on bumpy roads in life….. And while none of these are good and no one wants these things to happen to them or anyone they love…… When you’ve been dealt these hands , they do make you stronger. I root for the underdog, because I’ve been the underdog. While not that now, I do know that if I can get through all the things that brought me to where I am today; I can get through this.

Luckily there are no races on the calendar. There is no training. There is just getting miles in and keeping myself moving. This year will give me time. To think of what goals I want when there are goals to be hand. To be smart. Most of all to just keep running…
Most of all no matter what….
To never give up.

 

And I know that some of you have heard this before and might hear it again.   I am only human and some days you move forward and some days you move backwards but as long as you have more forward moving days than backwards, you are doing ok.