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Blowing in the Breeze

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

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.

January Recap and Thoughts

Many runners, myself included, have used the expression……

I will say that after looking at my stats for January, I was very pleasantly surprised. I hit over 50 miles for the month. Now preHypopara, I would regularly ran 100 miles in a month. I am proud of that. I am equally proud of my 50 in January.

I downloaded a training plan for my virtual NYC Half and have been following it. As said before, I am not worrying about pace. I’ve been using heart rate and training zones to set where I am running. It seems to be working because I’ve been able to stick to the plan, finish the workouts and actually feel good doing so. I have only missed one workout so far and that was inauguration day and sorry not sorry that was a day to savor and enjoy which I did! Other than that I’ve stuck to the plan.

A few observations……

I have forgotten how to dress to run outside in the cold. I used to run heat, cold, rain, or snow outside. I’ve become not only soft with running outside but have forgotten how to layer properly. My problem is that I run hot, but I also hate to start off cold. This means recently that I am much to overdressed once I start running. Also doesn’t help that I may or may not be bigger which means my winter tights are tighter than they used to be. Work in progress as I need to figure this out.

I also am very lucky to have turned my garage into a mini workout area complete with equipment including a treadmill. I still hate running on a treadmill as I find it absolutely boring, but I am figuring that out. Running and looking at garage door going nowhere is super boring. I’ve started streaming shows which passes the time.

One big thing that I noticed about running on the treadmill is I get different readouts from the treadmill to my Garmin watch. Not sure which is more accurate, but I have been going by my Garmin. Somehow I feel the treadmill is tuned into my body and while I may be running on the hamster wheel it is registering that. I need to do some research to see what is what but sfor now I will go by my Garmin.

So first month of the year had a strong start. Been eating better. Been excersicing regularly. Been doing what I need to do. Would be nice if all that hard work paid off with a pound or two leaving town but guess you can’t have everything. So for now I will take being able to do what I’m doing and feeling good about it.

Putting myself out there

Failure to launch….. Fear of failure……

There are so many reasons not to start. There are so many reasons to start. It is like having the angel or devil on your shoulder and deciding who to listen to. Sadly, the devil seems to speak louder and knows just how to spread doubt.

Like the bully on the playground who pushes people away before they can reject him or self sabataging a relationship/job/goal because somewhere deep down you think that you don’t deserve it or it won’t last, we all have done it. Ok, most of us have done it. I have never claimed to have it all together, so I know for a fact that I have done it. I’ve done it in the past.

It is easy not to fail if you never put yourself out there. Like the heroine in those Hallmark movies that we wish would just take the leap of fail, sometimes we need to take a leap of faith on ourselves. Every leap won’t land perfectly. Some won’t go the distance. Some will land with a thud, but if you never take off you stay in the same place. I’ve been staying in the same place. I’ve planted my feet and refused to move. I’ve put cement shoes on and have wondered why I am standing still. I’ve had valid reasons. I’ve had some major BS reasons. No matter what the reasons though, the truth is that I’ve been shortchanging myself.

I can do hard things.

I have done hard things.

I forgot how to do hard things……

Now don’t get me wrong, I have pushed myself to go outside my comfort zone. But…… but…… I pushed right up till the point where I should have taken that leap of faith and instead planted my feet.

As the saying goes….. Some are

Chasing Badass

Some are…….

Chasing Dreams

Some are…….

Chasing the past

I have chased all of these before. I realized that right now I am chasing something a little simpler and yet more complex.

I am chasing…….

Chasing myself.

I may never reach some goals. I know I will never run as fast again. If I will ever do this or do that. I think about If I will ever loose any weight. (Mind you I’m not doing anything actively for that to happen, but even when I did nothing changed.) I wonder how far I can run. I wonder. I wonder……. I wonder…..

All I know is that it might be time to start chiseling away at those cement boots so that I can start to take a leap of faith again. Maybe a small leap. Maybe a baby step forward. Maybe something that won’t even be visible to anyone else, but a step that I will know has made a difference.

Say what??????

I realized recently that I forgot what I can do. I forgot that it is ok to push myself and that it actually feels good to do so. That I was not while not taking the easy way out, that I was giving up before even starting. I’ve struggled before. I’ve realized that I’ve forgotten that I like to actually try.

So with that being said and with motivation and inspiration from a friend, I am doing 30 days of strength minimum of 10 min a day. Few days in and while I am not strong like I was in my Crossfit days, I forgot how much I enjoyed working with weights.

It’s go time.

No excuses

New Beginning

Some times in order to start over, you need to step away.

This morning I was watching an interview with Matthew McConaugh about his new book Greenlights (Can’t wait to read). He was talking about how he stepped away for 2 years from the business and when he came back he was considered “new” again. That he was able to start over and not be pigeonholed for one type of character. He still loved what he had done before, but in order to start over he needed to step back.

I’ve stepped back.

I’ve said before that I’m ready to begin again. I am ready to run again. To begin with no expectations of what I used to be and with the expectations of what I will be. Just to rediscover who I am as a runner today and not keep trying to put a square peg in a round hole. It never works and brings nothing but frustrations.

What’s old is new again.

I’ve talked the talk and now I am going to walk the walk. Actually I am going to run/walk the walk. I have stepped back. I have allowed my body a chance to reset. There are no expectations what it can do as a runner as I have no clue. There is no I must do this pace or must hit this milage. There is only today.

Last week this time, I was recovering from walking my NYC Marathon. This was my final step in putting my expectations behind me and moving forward as a new runner. I had set the goal to walk the marathon and I did. I am ready to run again, but as the runner I am today and not the runner I was years ago. I am ready to forge a new path and see where it takes me. To accept where it takes me.

So with all this in mind, today I started the Couch to 5 K program. Some may say that is odd as I just completed a marathon, but I did so as a walker. I have not run in several months. It felt good to get out today. To follow the plan. To not feel I needed to be going faster. To not feel like I needed to hit a distance. To not have expectations that could not be met. There was only what was today.

And that was enough.

Giving into the Stillness

I admit it….. I am a sucker for Air Supply and like people who don’t admit it, I can probably sing along to most songs.   I also enjoy me some vintage Ozzy Osborne  and  a lot in between the two genres.

I am a complicated woman.    I am sensitive enough to cry at a movie while at the same time be willing to fight tooth and nail for something I am passionate about (some might refer to that by a name that starts with a B).     I cherish my family while being distant from some members.    I will go to bat for friends while having lost touch with others.     I have a blog called Accidentally Running Mama while currently not even running.   It is just life and we are all complicated individuals.   Those that are 2 dimensional are usually either boring or fake.

Here’s the thing.    I am all of these things and so much more.    I don’t pretend to be something I am not.  I am real even if I don’t put it all out there, but I pretty much put enough out there anyway. As we grow, we evolve we change.  We learn.   Sometimes we move on.    Sometimes we hold on.   Sometimes we don’t even realize that things change until we reflect.   Life is ever changing.   We are ever changing.    If you are unwilling to change, you are unwilling to try anything new.

Since I’ve started my fitness journey in 2014, I’ve tried lots of things.     I started on just going to a gym.   Then added HIT (High Intensity Training).    Then a killer personal trainer.   Then upped it to Crossfit (LOVED IT).    Spent a lot of time practicing Hot Yoga (another big fan).   Some more HIT classes.   Had an amazing Running Coach.   Biked.   Swam.  (yes, those were mostly because I was doing Triathlons and cross training for running).    I’ve done lots of running (lots).   Now I am just walking.

I tried all of these things because I was willing to go out of my comfort zone.   I will say that as much as I loved Crossfit, I don’t think I physically could do it now (plus it is also such an intense type of workout mentally and I am not there anymore).   I probably could not take the heat of Hot Yoga anymore either as it probably would cause me to sweat out too much calcium.  Some of the other things I would love to do again and just may.   Then again having 2 kids now in college the disposable income for things like that is not what it used to be but I digress.    Anyway, I did all of these things because I was willing to open myself up to new experiences.    Actually if I wasn’t willing to try something new, I would never have signed up for my first event and remained on the couch

Being  willing to open myself up to something new has brought me to my 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene and walking.   When I first started walking, I thought that I was giving up something but remained committed to it even when I felt like I should do more.   I ended up walking more than 100 miles in July.    If I was running, I am not sure that I could have done that.  I have also been walking my minimum of a mile a day since June 21 and for right now I have no intention of stopping. This is working for me and I plan to continue through August.

By embracing the walking while at the same time embarking on a 30 day yoga challenge, I’ve learned a few things.    To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect…. maybe learn to properly do some new poses.   To gain strength, flexibility and a better yoga foundations.   I have gained those things and more.  With daily yoga practice coupled with a daily walk, I am realizing that while I am gaining all the things I mentioned above that I am learning to trust the stillness (oh there she goes sounding all yogi again).   Here me out.

I am learning (still a work in progress) that I don’t need to push myself to the limit all the time.    That sometimes it is unnecessary and not only not what my body needs but not the right thing for it. I have learned that small changes can bring about big changes if given enough time to marinate.   I’ve learned that my body while not balanced can have balance.    I have been enjoying giving into a yoga practice with no expectations other than showing up to my mat ever day or in my case my garage with YouTube.  I have been enjoying my daily walks with no expectations but to get out the door. I’ve learned that just because I am walking does not mean that I am out for a Sunday stroll.   I’ve learned that it is all relative.

Today I went for a 5 mile walk.    I put on a Podcast and off I went. I feel just like a 30 day yoga is giving me a foundation for future yoga practice that my walking will give me the foundation that I need for future running. Since my surgery I kept pushing. Guessing where I thought I could be while never being in touch where it actually was. I am Embracing who I am now and not who I was in the past.

This is who I am today. Embracing the stillness with no expectations but just to show up is sometimes all you need to do so that everything can fall into place.

How do you show up?

No Pressure

The other day I ran into a running Mom I know. We were talking about what we were up to and asking about our running. I said that I was taking a break from running and just walking. In talking to her, I said that without any races on the horizon it has been nice to give my body a break. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was true. Since I’ve started on the journey, I have always been training for something. I even planned my Thyroid surgery around running the NYC Marathon pushing it off so I could run it. I went 2 weeks afterwards so that I would also have a chance to recover from the Marathon while putting me out of commission for Thanksgiving.

Priorities.

Always a race. Always an event. Always pushing and training. If the world had not stopped, I am 100% sure that I would be currently be in the midst of training for another NYC Marathon. Part of me is a little sad because I have run a marathon every year since 2014. I was also looking forward to being part of Sandy Hook Promise team again. That would have been different pressure. I’m still trying to see if there might be some way to do it, but then a big part of me thinks why?

I will be honest with you. I have never been a fan of running streaks (for me) even thought I consider my marathon’s a streak that is about to be broken. It always seemed like unnecessary pressure on top of all the pressure that comes with training. Currently, I am on a walking streak since June 21rst. I usually do 2 to 3 miles, but some days longer. Every day at least 1 mile. I wanted to complete at least on month, but now I use it to inspire and push me out the door. I was only planning to go 30 days, but I kind of like the push it gives me and plan to keep going.

I have always pushed myself and I do think my body is enjoying being given a chance to just be. This has gone in with my yoga training. I have completed 13 days of my 30 day challenge. I am reminded again that yoga can be many things depending on the day. Some days it is gentle stretching. Some days it is finding balance and some days it is pushing past limits. Every day though is a gift that I give myself.

Seriously.

It is a gift to get on the mat and just focus on the movements. The breathing. The moment. To find stillness. Yes, I know that seems very “yogi” but it is true. Now that I am not practicing with an agenda other than to show up, I realize that yoga is not a means to an end in the way that I thought it was.

I love to run because it clears my mind, but I realize that yoga does that in a whole different way. It provides s whole different set of tools. Now I don’t think I could use yoga in the same way, but it is a great addition for body and mind.

While running, it is all about what pace your are running….. breaking a PR…….Going the distance….. pushing…..

Yoga is not that. Yoga is about showing up. Focusing on your breath. Knowing that each day will be different because each day your body is not the same. It is about small movements that still manage to make your legs quiver. It is about recognizing changes in your body even small things. Like when your realize that your heals are all the way down in your downward dog and knowing that tomorrow your legs might be tighter and it’s ok if they don’t touch.

My sister is actually a yoga guru. She spent a summer on an island (sorry, Jen I don’t remember which one) where she did a full immersion into her practice. There were days when they couldn’t talk. There were days where they spent hours on the mat. Like, seriously, she went the distance with her yoga. I never really understood what she got out of yoga but I think I might be beginning to.

All our lives we think the goal in life is to be busy. To work hard. To go faster. To push harder. To go. Go! Go! To be a hamster on the wheel. Riding the crazy roller coaster thinking that is what we need to get ahead. To ride the Merry Ground and grab the brass ring with both hands.

Some days that is exactly what you need to do.

Some days you don’t.

And the problem is that often we get on the merry go round reaching for the brass ring that sometimes we realize that we don’t even want the ring. Maybe we want cotton candy. Maybe we want the Ferris Wheel where we can enjoy the view and just relax.

This year has been crap. Everyone knows it. That being said, this year is also a gift. Time to assess. A year to think more what you want in life. What serves you and what is missing. I also think that my body is saying while it enjoys all the pushing from racing, it also needs more too. Lets be honest, I am a women in her 50’s who needs to not only push her body but to replenish.

Maybe it’s the yoga… maybe it’s the open schedule…… maybe it’s having time on my hands….. maybe it’s because I have been enjoying having time to breath…. to think…. to be…….. All I know is that is that when it comes to adding things back to the mix, I will have to think long and hard if it serves me

Take a Stand

As a women runner I, obviously, have thought about my safety while running.   I’ve thought about lighting.   I’ve thought about what routes I should take and what to avoid.  I’ve thought about where I could go for help if needed.   I have run with a whistle.   I have run with pepper spray.   With all of those thoughts though, I have never run in fear.

Here is the truth…….

I am a white woman runner.   I have ALWAYS known and NEVER thought twice that I would not be helped if needed.   I have known that in times of need, I could and have easily without a second thought asked for help.

I’ve asked for water from strangers.

I’ve asked for directions.

I’ve had strangers stop and ask me if I needed assistance if I looked in need.

I have this luxury.

I have this privilege.

Call it what it is….

White privilege.

Ahmaud Arbery had no such luxury or privilege afforded to him.

He was not asked if he needed help.

He was not afforded the privilege of just going for a run that I don’t think twice about.

All because of the color of his skin.

He was not seen as a young man trying to be healthy.   He was not seen a runner out to feel the pleasure of going from a run.   He was seen as dangerous.   He was seen not as what he was, but by the eyes of hate and racism as someone to be feared.    He was seen only as the color of his skin.

Today is his birthday.   His family can not celebrate with him.    He can not celebrate with his friends, family, and loved ones.   His life was stolen from him and his family all because he was running while black.

period.

There has been no justice for him.   Actually until pressure, it appeared as happens time and time again it would be swept under the ugly rug.   Not this time.   Not in the future.

Today in honor of his life and his birthday, people are coming together to run 2.23 miles for Ahmaud Arbery.   2.23 to mark the day his life was stolen (February 23).   We will come together the only way we can now… Virtually.

He deserved better.   His family deserved better.   Our country deserves better than to let this bigotry and hatred thrive while pretending it doesn’t exist due to privilege of it not touching you.  Black men and women deserve to run without fear.  They deserve to not fear their cell phone will be seen as a weapon and unjustly killed.    They deserve to be able to say they can’t breath and allowed air.   They need to be able to wear a hoodie and carry a pack of skittles without being killed.  On and on it goes and it is shameful.   They can’t even take a knee to protest without being told they are doing it wrong.   It is well past time for EVERYONE to stand up against it in all shapes and form.

So today we honor Ahmaud Arbury, but we also vow to stand up and fight to end this type of hatred and bigotry when we see it in our lives because if you aren’t willing to fight to do that, you are just as much part of the problem.

Please join not just this day but in future fight. The ongoing battle that should have been won long ago #IRunWithMaud

To Bling or Not to Bling

Every group has their superstitions.   Their quirks.   Their thing.   Running is no different.   Now each individual runner obviously is different and different runners and groups think about things differently as well.

For example:

Some groups this it is bad juju to wear a race shirt on race day or before event.

Based on number of race day shirts worn during events that is not true for all.

Some people do not want a race shirt, bling, or goodies from an event that was cancelled.

Some people will accept it but they must “earn it” by doing a virtual race.

Running usually is not a participant trophy kind of event.    If you do not finish an event, you get a DNF instead of your bling.   I get that.   I respect that.  Stolen valor is stolen valor that is why runners can’t stand people who cheat at events.

That is kind of where I was.    As mentioned, I was training hard and I believe ready for my birthday half marathon (Unite Rutgers Half & 8K) in April.   I was good to go.   It was going to be fun.   When the race was cancelled some of us envisioned donning our tutus and heading out to do a group virtual run.    We realized quickly that was not a good idea which wasn’t obvious at beginning.   I then thought I would run the virtual half by myself.   It is not like I haven’t run miles and miles by myself before.   Most of my marathon training was solo, so running a half alone would be fine.

Then I thought about it and realized that I had no desire to do it.   The reason that I signed up for that event was because it was on my actual birthday.    I thought it would be fun to do a race on my birthday especially when I had friends sign up to join me. It wasn’t so much about running a half (because I can do that), it was about doing a half with friends.   So I lost my mojo.

Then the bling came in the mail with the race shirt.   Then the guilt came that I didn’t “earn it.”  I started thinking about running a virtual half, but my heart wasn’t in it.   I can run.   I know I can run.   I am still running.    I’m in a group challenge to run 2020 for 2020 as a group, so I’m not stopping.   I just hit 500 miles for the year.   I’m good.   I know many runners who will and have run virtual races for events that have been cancelled.    I know some who are restarting their training to run this race virtually, but I really have no desire to do it right now.

For my going out and dedicating my 5 miles today for the 8K was enough.   This race was never about the miles.   Maybe down the road, I will run 13 and dedicate it to this event.   If I do, great.    If I don’t, no big deal.

One thing that I keep thinking of during these times is that most of the time what is important is not the destination but the journey.   This race for me was always about the journey.   Of rebooting my training.   Of virtually training with a friend.   Of training in person with friends that are closer.   Most of all it was about coming together race day and just having a blast.

This separation is temporary and this medal will always be a reminder to me of this time.    For me….. this is enough.

To quote a line from my mother’s book.

I am enough.

Unite Rutgers

 

The Day the World Stopped

Busy-Calendar-600x250

 

We live in a faced paced world.   We live in a world with calendars filled in not by the day, but by the hour.  Color coded for family members and grids filled up.   We schedule play dates for our kids.   For many parents, their second job of being chauffer starts right when school gets out – practices, school events, music lessons, tutoring, etc, etc.  We even schedule our exercise and running.   Down to the last detail, our days are filled.

Filled with exactly what is the question?   Filled with things that bring us joy?    Filled with busy work?   Filled with things to keep our kids busy and off screens?   Filled…. Filled…. Filled.

What happens when those grids of activities, filled up calendars of events and appointment and expectations of places we “have to be at” come crashing down.   What happens when it seems like the world literally and figuratively comes to a stop?

That is when we realize what is important?   Will we be ok with the silence?    Are we happy with the people that we are surrounded with?   Can you take a moment to reflect if everything you think you should be doing are things that you actually need to do?

Every year since before I was married, I’ve taken a 2 to 3 week camping trip with my husband and his family.   We go to a lake near Canada where we basically remove yourself from day to day drama.   There is no cell reception at the lake and only wi-fi when you drive to town.   I always come back from that vacation feeling rejuvenated and refressed.

We can use this time to do the same.   Obviously this is very different circumstances.   Obviously and with good reason people are worried not just for themselves but their loved ones as well.  This is not a peaceful time in that sense because there is much to think about besides health.   Some people need to worry about financial strains too.  Some are just trying to find toilet paper.   As I said before, it’s getting real now.

While like others, I am disappointed in races being cancelled; I understand the reasoning and justification.   If there is one thing I am going to use this social distancing for is to get some reading in that I’ve been too “busy” to do.   I’m also planning to find time to hit the trails since I will have the time.   The trails are always a great place to run with others but also run alone.   The weather is turning for the better and  I can’t wait to lace up and get out on the trails this week.   Now is a great time to reflect on what we should fill our calendars with when the world starts back up again which it will.

What are you doing with your “social isolation” time?

16 Days

You can only do what your body allows which is often much more than you think, but usually much less than what you dream. Yet, somehow no matter what we are never satisfied.

When I was healthy, in retrospect I know that I could have mastered the 4:30 marathon. I was 8 minutes off at my fastest and if I had gotten out of my head I have no doubt that I could have hit it. I chased the brass ring, but for various reasons missed the mark. Did it matter? At the time I thought it did and even now part of me wishes that when I had the chance could have hit the mark.

At each of my marathons both before and after becoming Hypopara, I asked of my body more from it what it wanted to give and yet was not satisfied with what it gave. You can only drive your car so far before it runs out of gas. You don’t expect it to keep going when you have driven it to the limit of it’s resources. It will only go so far. You can only push yourself so far.

So now with 16 days before NYC Marathon, I need to be realistic in both my training, body, and what I can ask of it. My feet are doing much better. I’ve been following orders and doing what needs to be done. Podiatrist has given me the approval to get back to running. I’ve gotten new shoes. I’m revisiting how to tape feet for Plantar Fasciitis. I’m doing what needs to be done.

I’ve also thought about how any training I do in these next 16 days can only hurt me in the long run if I’m not smart about it. So with that, I actually plan to do very little running but just enough. My thought is to start off with cross training on stationary bike, elliptical, or such. Then transition to treadmill for shorter run while still getting cardio/leg workout and also breaking in my shoes. Seem like a solid plan to me.

I’ve also got to be realistic that thanks to my Natpara recall, I am once again running in low calcium range. I will push myself to get to the finish line, but I will do it in a way that is best for me. While I admit that part of me is vain enough to wish for faster times, that just finishing is a real accomplishment. This is true for anyone.

I also know that some might not understand how I can say my slowest marathon at over 6 hours was my favorite. It is the truth. I do hope to beat that time, but based on feet, training, calcium, race day weather; I really can’t say. What I can say is that I am going into this a realist.

This race is hard. Waiting for hours to start is not the best way to start a race. The course is brutal with the bridges and some pretty big hills in the park at the end. It also has amazing crowds that will carry you away to run too fast if you allow them, but also carry you when you need them. I will need them. I will lean on them.

The beauty of having done NY twice before is that I am going into this with open eyes. I am expecting nothing except to finish. I also know there will be spots that I can push. Hills/bridges that I can walk. You can’t predict how any race will turn out, but you can plan for the best outcome which is what I’m doing.

So I will plot. I will plan. I will train the best way for me. I will enjoy the beauty of running the NYC Marathon because while I know many people who can say they have done so, there are many more that will never be able to say so.