But what if we are tired of waiting? What if we have no patience? What if it comes in the wrong package? The wrong size? The wrong XYZ?
As a baker and gardener, I know the importance of waiting.
Waiting for the dough to rise….
Waiting for the cake to cool before icing.
Waiting for the marshmallows to set.
As a gardener, I also know the importance of putting in the work and waiting. Planting in the fall. Months and months go by and nothing. Seeing the buds grow in the the Spring. Patience and waiting for finally a full bloom.
So with all that being said, it’s not like I don’t have patience. That I don’t know that really good things do come to those that wait even if it might not be as expected.
I will wait for baked goods.
I will wait for flowers.
I will even wait for family, friends, kids and on and on the list goes….
So why am I so impatient with myself?
Why do I expect results immediately? Why do after just a brief amount of time do I stop waiting, maybe give up, change plans, and move on to something else? The self fulfilling prophecies. Maybe it’s time to learn a little more patience.
I used to want to be a badass. I used to want it. Train for it. I used to want to push myself to and past my limits. There were no limits. There was only not working hard enough. Not pushing hard enough.
To Train hard
To be at “the top of my game.”
Now……. Let me be clear……… There is NOTHING wrong with that mentality. I get it. I’ve been there. I might get there again. Who knows. I know though…… I am not nor have I been there in a long time. I’ve been swaying in the breeze…. Ever so gently just seeing where I might land.
To be honest, I am not sure where I am right now. I just know it is not the balls to the wall give it all you got place right now. I have no desire to train hard. Most days I might not even have any desire to train. There is no wake up at the crack of dawn to squeeze a run in. There is no going out at night to make sure to hit my miles.
There is just going with the flow. I know that there are many reasons for this change besides being hypopara which may have been the catalyst for change, but change is inevitable anyway. I just don’t have the same drive. I don’t have the same commitment. I don’t have my running crew as we all are in different places. We trained together. We ran together. We raced together. Most of all running was about more than running.
So as with life, things change. People move. Peoples schedules change. Goals change…..
What many runners know too is that without in person events, it just isn’t the same. I often think to when I was growing up our family Minister was a runner. Something he picked up in the service. He went out for runs just to run. This was well before running became mainstream. I thought I had that mindset, but I realize that while I do love running I can’t wait to be at a starting line again. That being said, I am also not in a rush because I want to also do it safely. The thought of a major event (if any are even coming) brings on a bit of a panic attack. Like a serious one…… Not the OMG, she’s having a panic attack meme. Anyone else???? This pandemic has changed many of us in what we once never gave a second thought to, we will think long and hard about before diving in.
I have signed up for a trail race in October. While I don’t have time to train on trails like I used to this race is a friends favorite. Plus they required a waiver of proof of vaccination. I liked that. I respect that and things like that will go a long way to getting us back to normal even if it is a new normal.
These are lyrics to a Diana Ross song from the 70’s.
Do you remember it?
This chorus has stuck with me. It’s been stuck in my head lately.
Last week a running friend lost her battle with cancer. She was a warrior. Not just in her battle with cancer but in life. She took on all the challenges that life gave her with a smile (and great nails)> Not only did she take on challenges, but she crushed them. She surpassed them and just embraced all that life offered and then some. We always talked about meeting up to run, but we never got around to it.
Besides her smile, what you would notice most about Melissa was her absolute joy for life. The way she embraced it. Pushed herself. Running marathons. Training. Pushing herself. Never complaining about the obsticles in her path and always looking for ways to overcome them. She truly was a warrior, but most of all she was a good human being. The world needs more people like her and she will be missed.
This same week, I had another friend have a very serious medical issue and we weren’t sure where things would go. It makes a person think.
Control is an illusion in life. We like to think that we are in charge of our destination, but we only control so much. We like to think that we can micromanage…. That our decisions determine the outcome…… That everything is in our power…… That is the lie we tell ourselves.
The bigger lie though is that nothing we do matters. We have no control, so see where the universe takes us kind of thing. Since everything is out of our control, we can just see where the chips fall and react and deal with things. Although as I’ve said before, sometimes how we react is more important than any plan we may have. That being said, while the bigger things in life our out of our control…. There is much in it.
Some people deal with lack of control by trying to micromanage. Trying to control everything. Some let it all blow in the wind. Most of us fall in between and sometimes sway between the two extremes. We do all of these things because the thought of having zero control is scary. More scary than any monster we can dream of or horror movie we can watch. (For the record, I don’t watch horror movies because I am a big chicken).
So I’ve been thinking……. What can I control? How can I get where I want to go if I am no longer sure where I want to go? I have a running blog right now without much running? I am on a fitness journey without much fitness. I am tired all the time and no amount of sleep can fix it. I wake up like grandma again thanks to no longer having my Natpara. I pop pills all day just to get to the end of the day (these are for my Hypoparthyroidism…. I do not have any other issues!) I need to reevaluate. I need to reassess. Most of all I need to actually stop floating along and actually think where I am going. Maybe if I do that I can get that song with the 70’s music out of my head.
Some days we strive to be the best of the best. Some days we strive to be the best version of ourselves. Some days we strive to just be. To just make it through to the end. To just get up. To shower. To go about our day and make it to the end. That is the goal. That is the plan. If we do so, then that is also a victory.
We don’t always need to be the top of our game. We don’t always need to be striving for the best. Sometimes we just need to be. Victories come in all forms of life. Some are big, huge victories. Some are victories that no one sees but we know that they are there just the same.
It is these victories that no one sees that are the most victorious. The small victories that no one cheers for that matter the most. Finishing a marathon is hard, but when you are out on the course with crowds cheering you on while not easy. It is harder to give up than to keep going. Getting up and out the door to train for that race is where the real marathon happens. Yet there are no finish lines to run through on a training run that you didn’t want to do. There is no crowd cheering you as you put your shoes on for a run that you might not have felt like doing. These small victories are what make the bigger victories possible.
Just like waking up, getting out of bed, showering and going about your days when all you want to do is hide under the covers, eat chocolate and not face the world is a victory. These are the moments that no one sees. They see you showing up, ready to face the world and have no idea what is behind the curtain. No idea what it might have taken you to get there.
This is a victory.
Every day someone who is suffering manages to do what they need to do to make it to the end of the day is a victory. The mom whose plate is overflowing, yet still manages to get done what needs to be done. The soul crushing moments where you just want to give up, but keep going. The parent of a sick child that puts on a happy face for that child but cries when alone. The person struggling with depression while everyone thinks that they are a happy go lucky person. The family dealing with illnesses. On and on and on…… We all know someone who fits one of these descriptions or maybe we are that family. It doesn’t matter because we all have something. We all have a curtain that only a few see behind.
I wish they got cheering crowds. I wish they could share these small victories for the world to high five them. I wish the world was ready for them to share these small victories without judgement. I wish they had cheering crowds to push them on and to let them know they are not alone. Often we cheer on silently, but wouldn’t it be awesome if they knew how much support they really had because often they might feel like the weight is on their shoulders alone.
Everyone wants to cross the finish line, but few know what went into getting there. Be it the finish line of a 5K, 10K, Half, Marathon or just life in general. It is not always easy. Actually it usually is never easy. It is often hard. There is grit, sweat and tears. Many times we feel like we are on our own, but the important thing is to remember that even at those times when we feel alone, we aren’t. We just have to remember that while only we can carry ourselves to the finish line, we have people cheering us silently even if we don’t know it. A true friend is always cheering for you in both big and small victories.
Many times we feel like our best isn’t good enough but our best is all we have to offer. So keep doing your best….. No matter what that best means on that given day!
Every person….. Every life… All you can do is what you can do on that given day. No more. No less.
Plugging along. That’s what I do…….. It’s really all any of us can do. Sometimes it is hard to keep going. Sometimes it’s easier. What really doesn’t matter is how fast, how slow, or even how hard you push. What matters is that you keep going.
I remember when I ran my first big race, one of my kids asked me if I was going to win. I told him not a chance and that I was just training to be able to finish the race. One thing that so many people get stuck on is what is the point if you can’t be the best of the best. The thing is they are missing the point. You don’t have to be the best of the best. You just need to be the best version of yourself. No one can do you better at being you than you.
So often in life we let what others think of our accomplishments diminish them. We compare ourselves and when we do that often we do not compare ourselves favorably. We ask ourselves the wrong questions – Why can’t I be as fast as xyz? Why can’t I run as far as xyz? It’s bad enough when we do this with our running, I won’t even get into when we do it in other aspects of our lives ….. But…….. But……But…. What if instead of asking how we compare to xyz, we ask
Am I being the best version of myself?
Am I doing what makes me happy?
Am I doing all that I can?
These and only these answers are in our control. These answers we can realistically and honestly answer. These are questions that if we don’t like the answers, we can evaluate and change so that eventually we get an answer that we want. We have no control over so many things in our lives, but we do have control over the way we react, what we do and how we live our lives
Case in point –
I was texting with a friend about my blog today. She made the comment, “I think it’s because it’s relatable. It’s not some picture perfect mom or athlete”.
When I started this blog it was to share my progress as I trained for my first (and supposed to be only) Sprint Triathlon. I shared what I learned as I learned it. I’ve never pretended to be more than I am….. I middle aged mom trying to do the best that I can. Sometimes my best isn’t what I want it to be, but it is what it is.
So here I am a few months into 2021 trying to be the best version of myself. Trying to find the sweat spot of running with Hypopara while being realistic. I have not been happy with my running. Not because I wasn’t running fast enough but because of the way I felt after and during. My new approach after my break has been much better both mentally and physically. I can realistically say that this month I will hit the 100 mile mark for running/walking with most of those miles being running miles. Even better, I have done these miles in a way that is best for my body.
Remember that we can only do what we can do and sometimes the best thing we can give ourselves is the gift of time to re-access, re-evaluate, and most of all just keep plugging along because eventually you get where you want to go.
I am almost there. I have been (for the most part) sticking to the training. I have been doing what I need to do. I’ve been pushing. I’ve been smart. That being said…….
Part of me feels drained. Part of me wonders if this is it. I’m going into this event trained and it shows. Part of me feels like I’ve hit a wall. Not a phycical one but a mental wall. Yes, my legs are sore. yes my feet have discomfort and require a little TLC, but nothing out of the ordinary. I have after all been training for a Half Marathon so that is not to unexpected.
Mentally though I’m just not there. I’m feeling drained. I’m feeling Blah. I’m wondering how I ever trained and ran marathons when this is so hard. I wonder why I decided to do this and if I will even do it now. I wonder so many things while running, but for the most part…. I am just feeling blah.
Here is the thing….
I have always been a solitary runner especially when training for events, but I was never exclusively solitary. I also loved running with friends. Going to races with friends was the best! Paces didn’t matter and we would work it out and just enjoy the company. I will admit that since becoming hypopara, I’ve become even more of a solitary runner but there were still the occasional running with friends. Since Covid those runs have been far and very few between. It’s been just mostly me.
I’m starting to get bored with my own company:) It’s starting to get to me. This week while out running the Stylx song Too Much Time on My Hands came on my playlist. Normally I would be jamming out to the song because who wouldn’t but the song just sounded different.
“I’ve got nothing to do and all day to do it Well I’d go out cruising, but I’ve no place To go and all night to get there”
Doesn’t it seem to sum up the last year?
“Too much time on my hands It’s tick tick tick tick ticking away (Too much time on my hands) Now I don’t know what to do with myself (Too much time on my hands) Too much time on my hands Too much time on my hands Too much time on my hands”
No Group Runs
No Lunches out
No Dinners out
No Family get togethers
Just too much time on my hands.
The Pandemic wall is real and don’t let anyone tell you differently. I am thinking that all the reminders on the news, on your FB memories and friends posts is enough to remind you how long this has been and how we all thought we would be back to normal within just a few weeks if not just a few months. A YEAR….. A WHOLE $%*&^# YEAR!
I know we are almost there. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s burning brighter now but we are still crawling through the tunnel and we are getting tired. We can do it. It’s just…… we are all so ready for this to be over and knowing we are close makes you think about the things that we know we’ve been missing. Things we just ignored this last year because we knew it wasn’t even an option. So we continue to on, we know we will get to the other side soon.
So just be kind. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others.
Take 2! The first published before it saved changes. Those who I text regularly could recognize my crazy voice and fat finger typing without editing……. Plus, I hate when editing does not change:)
Consistency is key to anything. Repetition is what takes something and makes it learned behavior. Think when you learned your multiplication tables. Who remembers those drills, pop quizzes and all those practice, practice, practice. (yeah, maybe that was just me since math was never my forte). You didn’t learn them from osmosis or at least I didn’t. You’ll learned them because you continually worked on them. Practiced until it became instant recall. My son in college seems to be doing this with formula’s I couldn’t even begin to tell you what they are called, let alone their purpose. During the pandemic many took up baking bread. As a baker, I can attest the more you do so the better the end product. Baking bread to many was like a science experiment with many complicated but necessary steps. Over time it became easier to tell when kneading was done. When your dough had the the right texture,and eventually could just do it by feel. There was no second guessing, you just knew.
The same consistency is required with training and creating a workout routine. For most, we need to schedule time for your workout because it is not part of the routine nor necessarily something we are looking forward to (yet) . Eventually with consistency it becomes part of you and it feels strange if you miss it. I’ve mentioned before how my husband transformed himself with loosing weight through the tried and true method of diet and exercise. In the beginning, it was challenge but now he couldn’t imagine a day where he was not doing something physically active. It has become part of him and he looks forward to one of his daily workouts.
It takes bravery to step out and try something new. It takes bravery to commit to something. To put yourself out there no matter how far or near out there you may go. It takes bravery and commitment to say you are going to do something and then actually do it. Even if it isn’t working for you, it is so much easier to stay in the same place. There is comfort in the uncomfortableness of the known because while it may suck at least you know what you are dealing with. To stay with what is comfortable even if it is not where you want to be instead of tiptoeing into the unknown…… So no matter how hard it is to stay in one place, it is always so much harder to take the first step and then the second.
Consistency is needed in beginning of any plan. It is necessary until it becomes part of you.
Some will go far.
Some will go as far as they can.
Some will go fast.
Some will go as fast as they can.
Pace….. Distance…. Events…..
The most important thing is to be true to yourself. With that thought process, I’ve been plugging away on my half marathon training plan. I’ve been sticking to the program which I admit is much easier to do with a treadmill now. I used to hate treadmill running (and part of me still does), but since I’ve discovered watching shows on Netflix while running it isn’t bad. I also credit the treadmill with allowing me to reboot my training and keeping me in check with where I should be running for that reason alone I owe it some love. That being said, you can’t race from a treadmill which means you need to also do some training outside.
This week for the first time since I started following my Half Marathon training plan, I took the run outside. I didn’t watch my watch, but wanted to test myself and run by feel. I wanted to keep the run conversational for the most part, but also make it a worthwhile training run. So I chatted with myself. Tested how I felt and kept myself where I thought I should be running. Hours later I looked at my paces and info from my run and I surprised myself. I hit the paces that I should be hitting. I actually had surprisingly beautiful negative splits. Most of all and this is the best part…… I enjoyed the run. There was no beating myself up because I wasn’t hitting certain paces, that I was running too slow or any such thing. There was knowledge that I was doing what I should be doing and that was enough.
Sometimes that is more than enough. I know that if I pushed myself that I could hit faster paces, but for now this is not a tradeoff I am willing to make right now. I also realized that this was enough. It is always enough. I might actually be able to push myself faster and harder, but the cost to do so is one that I am no longer willing to pay. We all have to decide what we want. What we are willing to give up. What we are willing to trade off. What we are willing to work for and what is not worth the work. These are individual choices that no one can make for us. There is no one size fits all and that is ok.
What choices are you making today? Remember not making a choice is still a choice, so choose wisely my friend
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.
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
Of course, i will be running it in my town and not the streets of NYC. I am running another virtual race. It is what I do now. It is what we all do now. Ok, not all but I need to train for something. I need motivation. I need something. And while virtual races do not have the pull as in person, this time it is going to be different…… I hope.
I have a novel approach to this half marathon. One that I haven’t done with any of my “recent” events. I haven’t used this approach in years. Here we go………… I want to go into this race the old fashioned way. I want to go into it confidently. I want to go into it ready. Most of all……….
I want to go into it trained.
Now this is not to say that I didn’t train for previous events. You know back in the day when there were in person events. I did. I did……… Right up until I didn’t.
I stopped trying. I stopped pushing. I did the bare minimum that I needed to do to get me to the finish line. Maybe even less than the bare minimum too.
Now I want to get to the finish line not with a struggle. Not with and excuse. Not with baggage. I want to go back to the days of feeling confident in my training. Feeling confident in my ablilities. Knowing that I am ready to tackle the miles before me. In order to trust the training, there must be actual training.
I want to go back to the mantra….
Some where along the line I forgot that in order to finish strong, you must also start strong. And so it begins….
8 Weeks and here we go…. Starting strong to finish strong.