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Starting Line….

 

It’s funny I ran the Chicago Marathon  just 5 weeks ago, yet some how I feel like I couldn’t run around the block.   I don’t know how anyone who has run as many races as I have can still feel like she’s back at the starting line again, but I do.

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This probably is not too far from the truth.

As I’ve been recovering from my tendonitis, I’ve been good.   I’ve been doing some limited running.   Some limited cross-training and lots of being lazy.   It’s really not been a good combination for the mind or body.

So as I often do when I feel like I need a little push of motivation, I have signed up for another race.   I know it’s shocking.    I’m trying to drag in….   I mean I’m trying to encourage others to join in on the fun.    I’ve got to say that i do miss the year we were chasing the 9 plus 1 and the fun we had.   It can not be repeated as it was such a special year, but I will say racing with friends is so much better than racing alone.

I needed Chicago to prove to myself that I could still finish a marathon if I wanted to.   Right now, I just want to run a half.   Plus it will keep me running during the holiday’s which really will be necessary.    I’m not even trying to be a super star.   I just want to run to run to find my love of running and racing again.   To get back to normal.

What race you ask…..

Fred Lebow

For extra motivation, I purchased the NYRR 10 week plan for this race.   I want to go into this race trained.   I want to get back to the confidence that comes with being trained.    That being said, my goal for this race is 2:25, so I’m not expecting for this training plan to turn me into speed racer.   Just to get me back into my routine of running.    I miss it.   I want to just let my body put in the miles and bring my mind the peace that running brings.

I have not formulated any plans other than Fred Lebow, but I do know that I just want to rediscover my passion for running.   It’s not as easy as it used to be, but I already know that.    This isn’t a fake it till you feel it thing either.    My body is already chomping at the bit.   I just have to get my head in gear.

So I’ve purchased the plan, so my head doesn’t have to do anything.   Let the body do it’s job.

Tomorrow is day 1 of training….

 

It’s Not Over Till It’s Over

Should I stay or should I go?

If I stay there will be trouble.

If I go it will be double….

The Clash done wrong.  (That’s a group Mom and it’s in reference to a song)

I know after my last post it seemed like I let the whole Runner’s World Event go, but I haven’t.    I can’t seem to let it go.   Yes, part is the money; but that’s not really it.  There is a lot more.   I’ve literally been obsessing over it to the point that it has been in my dreams.

Normal?

Well for an obsessive runner, Maybe:)

I feel like I can do some of it.     I don’t think there is a reason I couldn’t.   I’m not planning to be an idiot.    Just a partial one.

Here is my thought.

So I go pick up my goodie bag (you know that’s what it is).   Runner’s World usually has awesome stuff in theirs – hat, socks, shirt, and some other odds and ends.   My foot has been feeling better.    I need some exercise.   I need to test out my foot.   So why not run a few miles at an easy pace. (Slow).

Today is the trail event.   Less than 4 miles.   Perfect chance to see how things feel.   I’ve been resting it  since Chicago and need to test it anyway.   This way I can update my Podiatrist on how it feels Monday when I see him.

So just this one little event and I’ll take it from there.

No expectations.

No plan.

Just a run in the woods.

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Rest, Roll, RECOVERY

I’ve been through enough this year to know that I need to listen to my body.  To pay attention when it is giving me signs of what it needs.  

As a runner though part of training is to learn to tune your body out.   This is good when it’s Time to push through when your legs feel they can go no more. To make yourself mentally tough to go this distance.   It is a necessity.   To a point….

I’m to that point.    In training for Chicago, I prepared myself to get the job done.   I was mentally tough and physically ready to go the distance.   To push though the pain, but now it is time to listen to not just my body but my doctor too.

Running Chicago was tough.   But now I have to be tough enough to do what I know needs  to be done.     My right foot is doing better as the cortisone shot is working it’s magic.    My left foot on the other hand needs a little more TLC.     I have not run since the Marathon, but I still feel the discomfort on my foot just walking.   I imagine if I ran it would not be good.

So rest it is, but that doesn’t mean training has to stop.

Next week it will be time for cross training.    Biking, swimming and anything that won’t bother my foot.   A good cardio workout is still a good cardio workout.  

It’s going to suck.     

I’m going to want to run.   

 I even have a race next weekend that I can’t defer and is nagging at me because I don’t like to waste money but that is for another post.

It’s Not All Good

Warning I may be a little cranky writing this:)

Now you know I love me a good race.   I often sign up for a race in the wee hours of the night so as to not miss out.    I love getting up early on race morning which coming from a non-morning person says a lot.   I appreciate the security check points.   I LOVE the goodies on bib pick up day.  Then at most races, I don’t even listen to music because I just love the sounds of the race – music on the course, spectators, other runners, and even just the sound of all the feet hitting the ground over and over again.   All that being said, there are some things that I find frustrating about races.

  1.  Cost of the Photo’s  –   I’ve talked about this before.   Yes,  I understand that there is cost involved with hiring professional photographers, equipment, and such.   That being said, there no bigger rip off than the cost of race photos and this is from someone who has bought them on more than one occasion.    All that being said, you can’t tell me that it needs to cost $80 per person.     As I said before, if they were half the cost, I bet they would sell more than twice as many.
  2. Don’t just stop – People who stop right after they cross  the finish line or on the course like you aren’t right behind them.
  3. Deferrals –  I get that the race needs time for bibs, knowing number of runners, and all that goes with putting on an event especially a big event.   Here is what I don’t get.   You can pretty much register for an event up to a week before the race, but if you plan to defer it must be done a month or more in advance.    I’m dealing with this now (more later).   I have an event that I was supposed to run that is still allowing people to register, but if I had wanted to defer I would have had to done it last month.   Now I’m faced with loosing a decent amount of money because I can’t run it due to my feet.  I emailed them even stating that I could provide medical documentations if necessary and they were like “no exceptions”  and they do not allow bib transfers.   I find this to be VERY frustrating to say the least.   I’m still following up, but it doesn’t seem promising.
  4. Distance/terrain – Courses that are either too long, too short, or terrain isn’t what advertised..    Come on you know what distance your advertising, so plot it out correctly.   There is nothing worse when doing a trail race than finding out your running on the sidewalk in the park for a good portion of event or running too far.   I’ve also had the course shortened  and I felt just as annoyed because it messed up my times.

Now all that being said, I’m still going to keep doing races.   The good does out weigh the bad.

 

What are your pet peeves about Races?

 

Done is Done

 

5:48:52

Done is Done!

Some people might be upset with an almost 6 hour marathon.

I wholeheartedly admit there might be a time that I might have been one of those people.   I am not today.   I will be 100% honest with you…..

I am happy

I worked my ass off.

I didn’t stop.

Ever.

I never thought I wouldn’t get to the finish line.   I also knew that I had such a wonderful support team.

I went into this marathon with no real plan other than to finish.  No paces.   I knew that I would be doing walk/run.   I had thought I might start with a pace group, but did not.   I just ran.   Maybe this isn’t the smartest way to do it (ok it’s not), but this is what I was going with.

Once again I went out too fast.  I  REALLY, REALLY, REALLY tried not to.   My first few miles  went like this…

8:54, 10:02, 8:24, 8:36

I knew this was not a good way to start.   I knew that this was way fast.  Even at my best, this is not the way to start a marathon.   I wasn’t following the plan.   I wasn’t walking.   I had not even turned on my timer at this point.   I heard my friend’s voice in my head telling “SLOW DOWN!   STICK TO THE PLAN.”

I even texted her that I heard her in my head and that I was trying to be better.   Her texts of support continued during the day and I knew I wasn’t in alone.

At this point, I turned on my timer and made a conscious effort to slow down and stick to the plan.  During a race even if you are not planning to race it is so hard to do.   You are so caught up in the excitement of the day.   I was in it for the long haul, so I did what I could.   I will say that I did not pay attention to my pace.   I was watching   my heart rate as I did on training.

I saw my sister and brother-in-law twice on the course.   The first time around mile 5 which was wonderful, but the second time was key.    They were waiting for me at mile 21  I knew that I had to make it there before they needed to leave for the airport.    I had been slowing down at this point, but I was determined to make it to them.  At this point they were my destination, not the finish line.

I made it to 21.

Hugs

Goodbyes

Unbelievable support

Spectacular.

Then it turned to counting down the miles.

It was hot but I’ve run in hotter weather.   It was humid but I’ve run in more humid weather.   That being said,  I don’t do heat well.   I ran through every hose offered.   Took ever sponge filled with water handed out.   Put the ice in my bra when offered.   And on occasion dumped water on my head at water stations.   The heat was sapping my strength, but not my will to finish.

I kept pushing forward.   I ran when I could.  Finally, I reached a point where I could no longer run.   My legs were dead.  My foot was hurting.   Even with this I did not stop.   Moving forward.   Slow but steady.

I admit that by mile 25, I did start to get emotional.   There were tears.  Partly because of the discomfort and partly because as much as I wanted to run, I just couldn’t bring myself to run.    By this point, my emotions were just raw.   The ups and the downs of the marathon are real.

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The tears dried.

The moment passed.  My head was clear and I was focused.   Never stopping.  Never quitting.   Moving forward.

I proudly walked across the finish line.

This marathon was always about proving that I could do it and

I DID!

This was the slowest marathon that I have ever run, but one that I know that I worked the hardest for.   Someone asked me if I was happy with my time.   Hell Yeah I am.    Any day that you can finish a marathon is a good day.   I am proud that I was able to push through and get the job done.

Done is Done!

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Perspective

 

When I ran the Philly Marathon, my first, I was nervous and excited.

When I ran the Marine Corps Marathon, I was counting down the days with excitement.

When  I ran the New York City Marathon,  I could not contain myself.   I was that excited.

In a matter of days, I am running the Chicago Marathon.

I have been looking  forward to it but coming at it with different goals of just finishing and different perspective, it was not at the same level of excitement at all.

Truth be told, this week

I am now hum ho about it.

Now, believe me, I realize how excited I should be.

I realize how lucky I am to be given this opportunity.

I realize that there are a whole host of reasons that I should be over the moon with excitement for this race.   Knowing that doesn’t change the facts.

I just don’t have it.

This week has taken the wind out of my sales.  I’m sure that I am not alone in this respect.   It was a gut punch.  One that I’ve felt before.  Sadly, one that I’m getting used to. In this case,  I’ve never even been to Vegas.   I’m not a Country Music fan.   What I am is another devastated American wondering how something this horrendous can happen for as of now no apparent reason.   To be honest, any reason found will still not be valid enough.

It makes you question what is important and what is not.    It makes you realize how fragile life is and that without warning there might be no more tomorrow.    It also makes you realize that no matter how much you think things are in your control, that control is really just an illusion.

This week has seem like forever and it has only been 3 days.    Then there are things like conversations you have with your mother who is now asking about security at your race.    I’ve been to enough big NYC events to have seen the security.    I have never questioned the need for it or actually minded waiting in line.    I remember the year that I did MCM,  security for the start line was tight.    You expect it.   You appreciate it.

So it is with this level of appreciation that I am heading into Chicago.   I am trying to put the wind back in my sales.    I am trying to get my act together.   Most of all, I am trying to appreciate the abundance of blessing that I have in my life.  And while this tragedy and others have no effected me personally, they do effect me.   There is a sadness that I can not just turn off and those who have dealt with depression know this to be true.

I know the excitement will come and can not be forced.   Tomorrow, I begin to start getting my gear together to take.   I’m    flying out with a friend who is running that I am also rooming with.   My sister and her husband will be in Chicago.

It will be an epic adventure.

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Let it Go, Let it Go

As Elsa said, It’s really time to Let it go….

I  never really let things go.

It’s time.

Ok.  It’s past time.

For example, I ordered these pace bands once I got into Chicago.

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If you can’t tell, these are 4:15 and 4:30 pace bands.

Crazy now.   At one point, it was a goal.   Actually it wasn’t even a crazy goal.

In the back of my mind, this was while not a goal, it was possible.   I was secretly holding onto it.    I couldn’t let it go.   No matter how improbable or silly, I held onto it.    In the deep recesses of my brain, I admit now that this was always there.   I kept imagining a miracle in my training.  That something  would click and I would be right back there.   As much as that seed was in the back of  my mind, I realistically trained for where I am today.

I am at a 5 if not a 5 1/2 hour marathon.

I’m a firm believer in goals.   It’s what kept me running.

Some people have goals for speed, some distance, some just getting out the door.   My goal at this point is honestly just to finish.   Each goal is a worthy goal.   Each brings it’s own set of challenges.   That is the beauty of being a runner.   You are only competing with  yourself and your own limitations.   Some real and some imagined.

So with a goal of getting to the finish line, I need to run smart.    As I’ve said before, I’ve hit the wall before at a marathon.   It’s not pretty.  I, honestly, don’t know if I can push through it today.   I’ve got a lot going  on… The calcium issues, the stomach issue, the tendonitis, and oh yeah being 15 pounds heavier than last year.

I’ve sought out advice from those who have dealt with hypoparathyroidism longer than me.   One thing that stuck with me is this response…

“We live a very measured life. We don’t get the option to give it a 70% or an 80%. If we are to accomplish what we are aiming for, We have to give it a 100% . At all times.”

So with this advice, I know that I have no room for show boating.   I’ll save that for a later date with friends whose hands I will grab as we cross the finish line.

A 5 hour marathon is still a marathon.

A 5 1/5 hour marathon is still a marathon.

And I’ve got 6 1/2 hours to get to the finish line.   I will say that I’m hoping to get there before then, but I will get there and be happy about it if that is how it rolls that day.

All I know is that when I get to the finish line, I might hug the person giving me a medal.worth it

 

 

Reality Check

Yesterday was a good day all around. I took my 3 boys to the trampoline adventure place for some fun. They even had a Ninja Warrior section where we all realized that we are not Nina Warriors. We had a lot of fun, but I did realize that I’m not as young as I think I am. What a workout!

I was worried that my bouncing was going to make my nightly run that I had planned with a friend a nightmare. It ended up being one of my best runs all week and maybe in a while. I even felt like I could have kept running at the end.

Here’s the reality check.

My friend who is in recovery from an injury is doing the walk/run method. The difference is she’s doing it the right way. She has a timer and is doing a 3 to 1 ratio that she follows. Also when running, she was keeping a nice steady pace which meant that so did I. The 3 to 1 worked nicely. The running didn’t seem choppy and even though I didn’t feel like I needed to walk every time, the fact that we did made the run what it was supposed to be. An easy paced 6.

We ended up with an average pace of around 12:00. In thinking about it, I had the reality check of this is where all my runs should be. I think in the back of my mind and right out in the front, I’ve been trying to hit average pace of 10:45 to 11:00. That is not where my body is right now especially for the long haul.

I think I am finally willing to embrace or at least give the run/walk method a really try following a real plan. So much so that after stretching and washing up last night, I hit Amazon and ordered my own timer. It might be time to give this method more than a pretend try and actually follow the program.

I also think following the program will allow me to feel more in control of my running and allow me to run the distances that I need to run. I remember two years ago doing the Runner’s World Half Marathon. I was running with a pacing group and we were staying at a consistent pace. There was a man who was doing the run/walk method that was sticking with us. He walked when he was scheduled to, but still ended up finishing around the same time which was around 2:10. I think if I have any hope to completing the marathon this will be the way to go.

Time to face Reality.

Patience

Putting My Heart Into It

Starting week 2 of Chicago Marathon training.   Another “easy” 3 miles.    Except today was HOT.   Very HOT!   So hot that my kids will have a half day from school due to excessive heat.    But I’m determined to follow the plan and today was 3 miles for the books.

I’m already learning and making changes after last weeks training.   First things first.

Cal-Ez2

I have to realize that even if I think it’s going to be easy, fill up my water bottles with Cal-ez.   Last week the three mile run that left me tingling, I thought I didn’t need it.   I was wrong.   This will be my “Don’t leave home without out it on a run” thing.

Seriously.

Today was much hotter that last week.   I was drenched in sweat but not a tingle in sight.   I did actually finish these three bottles on my run.   So for me it’s not just hydration that is important but calcium replenishment as well.   Too important to forget.

I also made another change today.   I realized when I was out on my run that even though I knew I was going to run slow, that I was looking at my pace a little too much.   So I changed my Garmin screen from pace to heart rain zone throwing pace out the window.  Putting my heart into it and taking my head out of it.

You know what?

I had a good run especially when you consider the heat!   I walked when my heart rate was inching up too high and shuffled at a slow run for most of the run.    This was what needed to be done.   Then I had the thought that this is really something that I should be doing right now anyway.   I can’t be training at the same paces that I did last year at least not yet.

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Even with the extremely hot weather, I think I still had a good run.   When I got home and downloaded my Garmin my average pace was 12:44 which is obviously where it needed to be.   In looking at my heart rate, I was in zone 4 for most of the run which is also kind of where I needed to be.   So this gave me food for thought.

What if for the next few runs, I don’t worry about pace and go by effort.   Hmmmm.   I’m thinking this is the way to go.    My normal paces that I trained with last year, I am not ready to train with them this year (yet).   Hmmm…

Let’s see how this plays out.

The More You Know…

This is NOT an excuse post.

This is NOT a whoa is me post.

This is NOT a pity party post.

This is NOT a I want you to feel sorry for me post.

If you know me personally, you know that to be true.  That’s just not who I am.

What this is is an informational post.

This is JUST my reality post.

This is JUST an informational post.

This is a JUST so you know and can understand post.

This is for those who have asked but I didn’t explain it right in person post because I didn’t want to sound like I was whining post.

I stand by my previous assertions that I am an athlete and a runner.

That did not change when my thyroid was removed.

But as we know it was more than my thyroid.

So here’s the deal….

You’ve heard me say that my Parathryoid Glands no longer work.

Yes, you’ve heard me say that I have low calcium.

What the Hell does that actually mean.

To be honest, I’m still trying to figure it all out too.    When I say that I have low calcium, I don’t mean like you go for your annual check up and your doctor says that you need to take calcium supplements. While I do need to take supplements, there is more to it than that as I have glands that no longer function.   To borrow someone’s analogy…..   “It is like a bicycle chain with a link missing. Without taking calcium the chain falls off the gears.”

or this

From the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons

“Normal parathyroid glands work like the thermostat in your home to keep blood calcium levels in a very tightly controlled range. When the blood calcium level is too low, PTH is released to bring the calcium level back up to normal. When the calcium level is normal or gets a little too high, normal parathyroids will stop releasing PTH. Proper calcium balance is crucial to the normal functioning of the heart, nervous system, kidneys, and bones.”

So what does all that mean for me.    It means that my body is out of whack.   I’ve said before it’s like being diabetic except I’m always monitoring my calcium levels.   Except that there is no at home test for it.   I have to just know the symptoms.   Now even though I pop my calcium pills usually every 4 hours during a normal day and other medications and take more on days that I run, it still really isn’t enough.   The goal is not to get my calcium levels in the normal range.   The goal is to take just enough to be in the ALMOST normal range.   Just enough that I don’t have the major complications of low calcium.

The bodies nerves and muscles go hand and hand with calcium levels.   So keeping my levels low (but high enough) kind of keeps me a state of feeling like I’ve got a touch of the flu.   Some days it’s better that others, but body aches, achy joints, sometimes headaches, brain fog and fatigue are just part of the new norm.   Those are the good days.   Since it’s really just a guessing game, there are times when it goes too low that depression can creep in too.  Good times.   If I were to stop taking the calcium, my body would literally crash.

Seriously.  No joke.

Before I knew what I was dealing with my calcium went so low that my hands cramped up where I could not bend my finger.   Believe it or not I was really trying.

Tetany

At the time, I did not know that if left untreated until my doctor told me that it could lead to passing out with seizures and even heart arrhythmia.  If it were to get this low again, I would need an infusion of calcium.   The most severe complication is heart failure.   so this is why I am always popping my pills.   I luckily have not experienced that level of tetany since right after surgery.  I do on occasion feel twinges in in my face, but nothing like this.

The body is an amazing thing and until you need to think about it, you really do not realize how interconnected everything is.   So even when my levels are “good,” it really just means that they are “good enough” to keep the MAJOR symptoms away.   The other symptoms are just part of the new normal.

So I may sound like I’m a parrot or paranoid about my calcium, but for now it’s in the forefront of my mind.  The complications which I’m avoiding.   The levels.   The symptoms.    Plus I am in the learning stage.   There is so much that goes into not just dealing with non working Parathyroid glands, but also dealing with the hormone adjustment of not having a thryoid gland.    I’m looking at and already taking other supplements that will help with symptoms.   Plus I’m researching the best diet for me.   As an athlete fueling has always been important, but now I’m looking into better ways to fuel my body.

You know what they say…

The more you know..

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