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It’s Serious Now

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You know the sh*t is serious when they start cancelling races.   Big races.   Little races.  All races.   It usually takes an act of God for that to happen.   We are apparently there now.

Not shocking but somewhat since it’s a month away my Birthday Half Marathon is cancelled.    I am proud of these race organizers from NYRR to those organizing Boston Marathon for making these tough decisions.   While I know people are disappointed, it’s really just running.   It’s not life or death which is really what’s going on in the real world now.

Right now the real world is scary.   You can’t even escape to Disney World anymore because that is closed (not that I was going).  Go to a Broadway Show.  The show is not going on, so nope.   Can’t watch any sporting event (not that I would) because they are all cancelled.    Can’t run a race because that’s cancelled too.   You know what though….. None of that matters.

Seriously.

What matters in life is how you face disappointments.   How you deal with the world when the world is spinning out of control like it is right now.   And again, what is important is not just your health but the health of your loved ones friends, and neighbors.

For me, I’m still running.   I’m still going to follow my training plan.   I’m still preparing to run a half marathon that I won’t actually run, but I could.    For me this race was going to be a fun birthday run, but it was also a way for me to get back to running.   I don’t need to cross a finish line to do that.    All I need is to go out the door and run.

So I will continue to do what I’ve been doing.   I will get my runs in.   I will follow the plan.   I will do what I need to do for no other reason than that is what I want to do.    Isn’t that the reason I was doing this in the first place.   So even without crossing the finish line, it seems like I’ve already accomplished what I set out to do.

Find my joy in running again:)

So while the world is going crazy looking for toilet paper and hand sanitizer and everything is out of your control, remember that what is in your control is how you respond.   When you realize that, you realize that none of the other stuff matters because what happens in life even on a good day is never in your control.   So you just have to roll with it and make the best of it and if you can’t do that just accept it.   Once you can do that everything else will fall into place.

Control

Take the First Step

Getting off the couch is hard.

Staying on the couch is hard.

 If getting off the couch was easy, everyone would do it.    But sometimes, sometimes, sometimes it’s just so damn hard to get off the couch.   The couch is comfy.   The couch is safe.   The couch doesn’t disappoint.    Most of all the couch is what we know.   The couch is easy, safe and comfy.   Although that is a lie too.   The couch isn’t easy, it’s just what we are used to..

Sometimes though it’s not just about physically getting off the couch, but getting mentally off the couch too.   These things usually go hand in hand.  Sometimes you can go through the motions, but your mind just isn’t with you.   Motivation isn’t always there as much as you want it to be.   As much as you will it to be.   The lie your mind tells yourself that it just doesn’t matter.   It doesn’t matter if you go for a run.   It doesn’t matter if you stay.   Nothing matters.   So why bother.

It matters.

What we do in life matters.

How we show up in life matters.

I will say that for someone who has struggled in the past, I do know that how easy it is to listen to the voice that tells you it doesn’t matter.    It comes to you as a friend.   It comes to you as a reason for your struggles.   It comes to you wrapped in lies, but sounding so truthful.   That voice is a lie.   That voice is wrong.    That voice needs to be told to shut the (blank) up.

Easier said than done sometimes.

Taking that first step off the couch in life is hard, but the first of anything in hard.   Once up, you can see the sun shining.  You can feel the wind on your face.   You can see the buds on the trees.    You can see that all those things that told you to stay put, hide your head,  and listen to the lies was just that…… lies.

Take the first step.

You won’t regret it.

first step

 

 

Focus

It’s funny, I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten a few new followers recently.    I’ve got over 300 followers now.   Although truth be told, I would bet that maybe, just maybe, on a good post 5 to 10 people actually read it.    It’s ok, I don’t blame you because we all have busy, complicated lives.    Truth be told, I often write for me as like running it clears the mind.  I’m not sure that what I say is filled with any wisdom or helpful to anyone but me, but I write anyway.    For those who followed thinking they would get expert running advise, I’m sure they realized they came to the wrong blog.   Yet here we are.   You, me and maybe 2 other people.   It’s ok, it’s like meeting a friend for coffee except I’m still in my PJ’s with unkempt hair and slippers.

So often in life we focus on the wrong things and don’t even realize it.   At the time, they seem important and at the time they are, but then something happens in our lives to change that focus.   We focus on the size of our jeans, how fast we can finish a race, following our diets, and so many things that seem like the right thing to focus on……. Right up until we put our glasses on and what is really important comes into foucs.

We should be focusing on things like….. How do I feel in these jeans?    Did I fully enjoy the experience of the race to it’s fullest?    Am I happy with the outcome and if not, why?  Is what we our putting into our mouth nourishing our body and mind and do we full good about it?

Focus…..

Sometimes you are on the right path.   Sometimes the path is expected.   Most often we end up on a path that we never thought we would be on.   The path is hard.   The path is not where you expected to be, yet you are there.    You can stomp your feet and fight tooth and nail that you don’t belong on that path, but that changes nothing.   You can do everything right, but still end up in places that you never thought that you would be.

That is life.

There are no guarantees.

There are no promises.

There is only what is and the acceptance of it.

Fighting to be on a different path will not change the trajectory of the path you are on.    The only way through is to forge ahead.   To face the bumps, the bruises, and the obstacles that fall into your path.    Only then can you get to the other side and from there you can choose a new path to follow.

So to bring this back to my running………

I’ve hit some bumps in my training for my birthday half marathon (yes, that is what I am calling it from now on).   In the whole scheme of things, my training has come to the bottom of my to due list and I am ok with that.

Focus

So with that, I have been running but not necessarily to train but because it is what I needed to clear my mind.    I will get there in April as ready as I will be and I’m ok with that.   Besides, I’ve got time and I will be as ready as I will be and no more.   My goal for the day is to enjoy the day and I’m happy to report that it’s turning into a party as I’ve got some running mama friends joining in too!    This is why I fell in love with running….. Because of the peace of mind it gave me and the strong friendships bonded over the miles.

Focus

focus

 

Just Run

Life is messy.

Life is complicated.

Life has it ups.

It always has it’s downs, but with any luck they don’t last long.

It’s the little things in life that makes up the big things. Often we forget that. We forget that with friends. We forget that with family. We forget that with many things in life including our running. We focus so much on the big goals… The pace, the distance, the races that we forget the important reasons to run.

Going back to basics has been good for me. Not just with my running which has actually improved. Feeling better. Running negative splits not because I was watching the pace, but because my body naturally wanted to run them. Having no expectations and just enjoying running.

Taking this step back has also allowed me to reconnect not just with my body, but why I love running so much. For me, running is a place to clear my mind. To think. To spend time with friends chatting the miles away. I forgot all of that. I forgot that I didn’t start running because I wanted to PR, running set number of miles, or anything except that running was my happy place.

Sometimes you just need a happy place. A place to let your stress go. A place to let tears flow. A place to chat about unimportant and important things with a friend. A place to let your mind wander. Most of all it is supposed to be something that helps alleviate  your stress not add to it. If it adds to it, your doing something wrong.

I was doing it all wrong.

I’m happy to report that I am finally doing it right. I am looking forward to getting out the door again. I am making plans to run with friends again. I am allowing my running to help me destress and not stress me out. I may be running slower that I had been trying to run, but I am also running faster than I thought I would. That being said, I am NOT even remotely looking at my watch when I’m running. Time is not my goal right now. For now, I am running. I am running and that is enough. That is more than enough and all I want.

Life is filled with so much pressure. So much expectations. I am not an elite athlete. I’m never going to be on the podium. To be honest, for now, I have no desire to do more than what I am doing which is…..

To Run.

 

Great Expectations

We all have expectations in life. Great expectations. We all have a vision of how we want our life to be. Expectations are good, but what happens when life doesn’t live up the vision of what we think it should be? This leads to disappoint and sand ness.

All those years ago, actually only 7, when I started on my fitness journey there was no expectations.    I didn’t know what my body could do.   I didn’t know what a good time for an event was.    Hell, I really didn’t know anything….. Except that I wanted to do something.     Because I was starting from zero, I put no expectations on myself.   I jokingly said that my only goal with my first ever race, Iron Girl Sprint Tri, was not to die.   To me that was enough of a goal and anything after that was a win.

There was no… I should hit this many miles. I should hit this pace. I should do this or that for training. I knew nothing, so I expected nothing.

When I ran my first ever half which I signed up for because I was running just to run with my MRTT (Mom’s Run This Town) Mama’s. I was running 8 miles and more just to run them. Then on one run one of the Mama’s, Janna, said, ” You should sign up for the Superhero Half. Your ready for it.”

So I did. I had no expectations. I just showed up for the car ride to the event. While in the car, the seasoned runners spoke of pacing, race strategy, fueling and such. When they asked me mine, I had none. My goal was to finish.

Thanks to Janna who took me under her wing, I finished in 2:09. She knew about pacing and she also knew that I could finish in under 2:10 and she got me there. I just ran when she made me run and had a fun time doing it.I further admit that I didn’t even know that 2:09 would be a good time for a half. To me it was just about running to run and having a good time.

Then something happened, I started putting expectations on my running.   I also became ” a serious” runner.    I learned of pacing, training strategy, and proper fueling and for a while I even had a kick ass coach.   And while I still enjoyed running, it lacked the simplicity of when I first started.  I put expectations on myself and I was able to live up to my expectations right up until I couldn’t which was right after my thyroid surgery left me with Hypoparthyroidism.   And even after I came to terms with that, I still put expectations on myself.   Expectations that I could no longer meet.

You know what? I’m done with expecations! I want to find the joy that I had when I first started running.    I want to stop overthinking, overanalyzing, and just find the joy in allowing my body to do what it can do.   No matter the pace.   No matter the distance. 

The thing that screws us up so much in life is not accepting what we have and being upset it’s not what we think it should be. Sometimes getting out of our own way is the best thing that you can do. Sometimes you have to make a conscience decision to let things go, to reassese, and just allow what is to be enough.

With this thought process, I had picked the Hal Higdon Novice 1 training plan for the NJ Half at Rutgers.   No, I admit, I am not a novice runner; but I want to be.   I want to run with no expectations.   I have been so focused on doing what I thought I should do that I was missing out on what I could do. I am going back to seeing what my body can do.   To discovering where I am today.   And while I may have had this thought in the last 3 years I really have not embraced it in my running.    I am now. 

You know what?….. I’ve been enjoying my 2 training runs so far.   I have just been running to run.   No expectations.   No watching the pace.   Just letting my body decide.   It’s been good.   The runs have felt good.    I have felt good and the bonus is that both runs had negative splits which will not be the expectation nor will it be.  

So I will be happy to run where I am today. Not where I was 3 years ago. Not where I think I should be. Not where other people are. Not about pace. Not about anything, but enjoying where I am at this point and that will be enough.

Rolling With It

Sometimes it feels like life is a ball of yarn that you must keep re-rolling because as time passes it unwinds and gets messy.   As it unwinds, it frays and the dead ends need to be cut off before rewrapping (sorry to my knitters if this is bad analogy).     If you don’t continue to wrap it back up, eventually your yarn will become knotted and unusable. So it’s best to deal with the mess before it’s too late. That’s where I’m at.

Waking up in the morning feeling like you’ve already come back from your run. Needing to be stretched and rolled does not make lacing up your running shoes quick or easy.    That doesn’t make it less necessary.

A mile and a half in and already tingles in the face.    Still working on determining when to take my Calcitriol and calcium because it’s obviously not enough time before I hit the pavement.   Race morning that should not be a problem since I won’t be starting till the 11-ish or later time frame.   I’ve got to work this out and also get morning stomach issues under control.

I feel like I was given hope only to have it taken away.   One of the reasons that I signed up for NYC Marathon as Sandy Hook Promise Runner was because I knew that I was going on Natpara.  Yes, I believe in their cause and am proud to be a runner for them, but I would have supported from the sidelines.    I knew the training would be different than the last year without it.    I knew how hard, frustrating, and exhausting it was without that PTH hormone and I didn’t want to do it all over again.    Now I had no choice to do it all over again, but now in a matter of weeks and not months.

I wonder if I have enough time to get my body used to running without Natpara at the distance I need to be running.   Yes, I’ve done it without Natpara in the past.   The big difference is that I did it from the start.   I had the time to adjust as the weeks went by.   Adjusting and learning what my body needed, when to add calcium, and building up.   Now instead of months to figure this out, I’ve got weeks to get my body and my mind on board.   They are still adjusting.   It’s harder than it should be both mentally and physically.   Knowing that does not make it easier.

Yes, I’ve got the base.   I can look on the bright side and know that for most of the training cycle that I had what I needed and could get the runs in.   I was even running at a pace that I was happy with again.   I didn’t think it would be my marathon pace, but I was doing alright.   Now in these next few weeks as I’m still adjusting my meds, I have to do what I have to do.

What I have to do is train where I am at today.   The bottom line is…. What choice do I have because I’m not quitting.   That is not an option.    To be totally honest with myself is that there is really not much that is going to keep me from the start line.   So with that said I better buckle up and go in trained the best that I can and know that it is going to be a bumpy ride.

I’m going into this marathon trained not as I should be, but as I can be.   It will be enough.   It has to be enough.   There is no other option

Doubt is the killer of all dreams……

And while this above statement is true, there comes a point where you have to face what the doubts are telling you   Running without Natpara, the PTH hormone, and dealing with that loss.  Knowing that I have to adjust expectations, training, and goals. Wondering if I will have what I need to get to the finish line.   Knowing that there isn’t much that will keep me from it either.

Training will be what it will be.   If your looking for tips on how to train for a marathon, this isn’t it.   But having already done 6 marathons, I am comfortable saying that I know I can adjust.   Maybe I walk more that I should although who determines how much “should” is.   I will do what I can and no more.

Who knows maybe I will surprise myself.

I’m Ok, Are you?

I admit that I have not yet seen Brittney Runs a Marathon…. YET!

I admit that I love the trailer! I can’t wait to see it and am planning a girls night out with my Moms Run This Town Running friends. Runners LOVE, LOVE, LOVE running stories…. We love to watch them. We love to read about them. We love to tell them. I can’t wait for this movie.

It looks very cute to me. Maybe a little bit like your typical rom com type movie, but with a running twist. Since I love running stories and also rom com’s this seems like a win win situation. I must also admit that per the trailer it reminds me a bit of me. I still remember after turning 40 when I told my husband that I was going to sign up for a Sprint Triathlon after not doing any type of exercise for years and his response was….. “Well maybe you should get off the couch first” but in a loving way. Besides it’s all good and they don’t call the program I used the Couch to 5K for nothing.

Anyway,   very excited about this movie and then I read a Runner’s World article (What ‘Brittany Runs a Marathon’ Gets Wrong About Running While Fat)…..

Hmmmm…..

I’ve been dealing with this since I started running.   I started running to get back into shape.   To take my life back after birthing 3 babies.    When I started my youngest was in Kindergarten and I claimed it the Year of Me.   And while I did get into shape, I did not necessarily look like I got into shape.    I did initially loose weight, but after my thyroid surgery I gained 20 pounds.   It is what it is.

I am healthier  (not counting the whole Hypopara thing)

I am more fit.

I no longer get winded going up the stairs.

I have more endurance (remember I was able to run a 50K running for 7 hours)

Yet……

With all of this every year when I go to my doctors for my annual physical, she looks at the numbers.

Cholesteral – Really good

Blood Pressure – Awesome

Health Questionare – great answers

Weight – What the Hell

I switched doctors once after my previous one told me that “a women your age, should have small breakfast, salad for lunch, and a protein shake for dinner since metablalism slows as you age.” Yeah, I get that whole metabolism thing stopping, but No thank you. Besides, it’s really hard to train for a marathon if you are not properly fueling.

My current doctor at least looks at the whole picture. She knows the numbers don’t tell the full story. Plus my weight minus the bump after my surgery has pretty much remained stable. On top of that…. Have you seen has muscular my legs are? lol

Told you:)

Here is the thing…. Would I like the number on the scale to be lower?   Sure.   I’m not going to lie.    Does that mean I am unhappy with myself?   Not really.    I don’t let my weight define me.   It is what it is and I’m ok with that.   If I wasn’t, I would do something about it.   So what I would say running has done for me is to give me the confidence to know (for me at least) size doesn’t matter.    And for anyone who will judge me personally, professionally, or in my running by my size……

Well they probably aren’t someone I would be hanging out with anyway

You Can’t Hide From You

We all do it. Have our moments when we are by ourselves and think…. No one is around. I can….. eat the cookie, drink from the cereal bowl, stay in my PJ’s all day, skip a workout, ect, ect…..

Most of the time what we do in private is our business and it doesn’t matter. That being said, often what we do when no one is watching is more imporatant than when you have an audience.

Easy case in points….. Making sure that someone notices you giving a big tip, doing a good deed but making sure everyone knows you did it, being an ass to someone who can’t say anything back because you can, playing the martyr to anyone willing to listen but leaving your part of the story out. This also holds true to training.

What we do in private is our own business. Everyone has their own thing. Focused on their own goals as it should be. Everyone has to stay true to themselves, their goals, their expectations and just focus on doing what they need to do. Just do it. Do what you can. What you’ve trained to do with no doubt.

The problem arises when people aren’t true to themselves or their training. Anyone can make a training run look spectacular if you stop your watch every time you stop, walk, or take a break. While the miles may get done, it does not give true sense of what you can do or prepare you for where you are going. For some this leads to pressure to perform on a given race day for a performance that you might not be ready for. For some this may lead them to cross lines that shouldn’t be crossed and cheat. In the end though, they really are only cheating themselves out of seeing what they really can do..

Training isn’t usually glamorous. Training isn’t usually all that fun. It is hard. It isn’t always easy and honestly if it’s easy then you aren’t training hard enough. Truth be told, sometimes you just don’t want to do it. (Sounds fun, right?) But the truth is that no one suffers from short changing your training than you. Only you can be honest with your effort, your outcome, and knowing if you pushed when you needed to push. Not your friends. Not your running group. Not the crowds. The only thing that can push you to both train and cross the finish line is you. It comes from a place deep inside. Internally. If you wait and need external motivation to get you there, you will fail.

Now I’m not saying that external forces can not be motivating, because they can be. The crowds of NY can carry you in ways that someone who has never experienced running a marathon can never understand. That being said, when you are out running a 50K in the woods, there tends to not be any crowds to carry you and even during a road race there are solitary places. There certainly aren’t any crowds to carry you through training. This is why every runner, every athlete, needs to find their inner voice. They need to find their why?

Everyone has their own why. Everyone has their own reasons. Some have more than one reason.

When you push yourself to run when you don’t feel like it….To run faster, farther, and for longer than you want without the crowd, without the finish line, without the medal; you are better for it. You are a better runner. You erase doubts. You gain confidence in yourself and your abilities. Because the biggest truth is if you can’t do it when no one is looking, it will be almost impossible when everyone is.

So find your Why? Find your inner voice. Do what you know not only needs to be done, but what you know you can do if you allow yourself to do it. When I started training this cycle, I had my doubts. I had trouble completing 3 miles. I’ve been plugging away. Then last night, I noticed something. I ran my 5 miles and could have kept going. I felt good. I felt confident. This is what training does not just to the body, but to the mind.

Keep doing you.

No Guarantee

There are no guarantees in life. No guarantee of tomorrow. NO guarantee of good health. No guarantee of love, friendships, or anything lasting.

Depressing right?

Not really. Knowing that there are no guarantees means that we must embrace each day with the knowledge that each day is a gift. Each interaction with a loved one is special. That each day we get to decide how we are going to face the day. Will it be a good day or not? And yes much of what happens in our day is out of our control, but how we respond to what happens determines if it is a good day or not. It is the glass half full thought process.

The optimist looks and is happy the glass is half-full.

The pessimist is upset because it is half empty.

Then there are those that are just happy because they are lucky enough to have a glass to fill. They know that sometimes the glass will be full. Sometimes it will be half-full. Sometimes it might even be empty, but and here is the important part…. It is always refillable.

And yes, sometimes, sometimes we look at our half filled glass and wish it was filled with something else. That is probably the most dangerous way to look at your glass because if you allow envy or jealousy to fill your glass it is hard to swallow.

So while I know it is hard to always be the optimist. In my opinion that although easier to become one, you can be swallowed if you allow yourself to be a pessimist. In the end than it is harder to be the pessimist. It does take practice to look at the glass half full. It does take effort to remember how lucky you are to have a glass in the first place. It helps though when you realize that your control in life is really tied to how you face a situation.

Sometimes in life many things will happen out of our control. Sometimes we are dealt a bad hand. The trick is knowing that even with so much out of our control that we still deep down have the ability to be happy. It’s not always easy. If you watch children though that you will learn the secret to being happy…… Just be in the moment.

So as I begin this new training (pre training) cycle for running NY City Marathon, I am going to try to remind myself to be in the moment. Know that each training run won’t be great, but many will. That if I am running slow or walking, that there are people who wish they would be able to be in my shoes. That no mater how far, how fast, how slow that I go; the fact that I am able to go is all that matters.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Looking Foward Not Back

We live in a society that is always sending the message that

BIGGER IS BETTER

NEW & IMPROVED

FASTER & FASTER

GO BIG OR GO HOME

We buy into it. Sometimes these are right. Sometimes they are wrong. At some point in our lives these can be true, but what happens when they no longer fit into your life? What happens if you no longer buy into these messages? Where does that leave you?

What happens if after years of chasing longer distances, faster paces, challenge after challenge; you just aren’t feeling it? Is there a place for us?

I think many people get burnt out because we start pursuing things not because they are something we want to do, but something we feel we should do. I ran a 5K, I should do a half. I’ve run a few half marathons, I should do a full. I’ve concurred the full, I should do an ultra. Sometimes these are things that start out as wants but then turn into expectations. The pressure is often all on us.

We get burnt out. We loose the joy. We stop running.

I have and maybe one day again, have pursued the distances. I’ve only completed one 50K, but in the recess of my mind I don’t feel that is the end. The same with marathons…. I’ve done 6 now. I have no desire to run one in the near future but also don’t feel that is the end. I’ve chased the ever elusive 25 minute 5k. To a non runner, I was close at 26:26, but we know the truth. I’ve chases an obtained a sub 2 Half Marathon coming just under wire at 1:59. I’ve had monthly running goals. Yearly running goals (1000 miles in a year). I’ve had goals big and small.

I have no goals right now. No distance or pace goals. My goal right now is just to as said many times, get back to the basics. I’m actually ok with that. I’ve been doing my running following the C25K program. 3 runs a week. Part of me wonders if some people think I’m not pushing hard enough, so what’s the point. Part of me is like, “that is not enough.” Then part of me is like, “enough.”

ENOUGH

I am enough. I have been embracing it as you’ve probably heard before but it is a constant reminder. If you are always looking at where you came from, you won’t see where you are going. I am going forward. I am continuing my journey. Yes, it is a much different journey than I thought I would be on at this point. To be honest, at this point I really thought I would have done another ultra, hat trick, and that 25 minute 5k. I was disappointed because I thought I wasn’t where I should be. That I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. These thoughts still creep in.

I am FINALLY getting to the point where I realize that I am right where I need to be. Doing what I need to be doing. My journey is my journey alone. Alone doesn’t mean that I am by myself on it. It just means that I can only be happy with it if I accept it. I really think I am getting there.

I have been running my runs on a treadmill for the most part. I’ve been conscience to keep the pace under control. The max I’ve been using is 5.3 and those are for briefer intervals. Sometimes I feel like I’m not pushing hard enough. Then I remember that for now it does me no good to push the pace and really for what purpose. Running on the treadmill while boring has kept me in check. This is what I’ve needed because the few runs I’ve done outside, I’m not as in check. I am actually starting to like it. I also know that once I get back outside that I will have to learn to control paces again.

Sometimes life doesn’t give us what we want. Let’s be honest…. often life doesn’t give us what we want. But if you make peace with what life does give you, you are able to enjoy where it takes you in a way that you can’t when swimming against the tides. I’ve been having this conversation with one of my sons that attitude is everything and it’s true.

I have started looking forward. Thinking about new challenges that I can take. Realistic challenges for where I am at. Sometimes it’s good to pivot right when you’ve always been going left because you never know where the new path will take you.