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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.

NO STOPPING

I’ve had a few people tell me that there is no shame in stopping now. While I know that to be true, I’m also not at that point. A prudent man might say, this is not your year. But I’m not a prudent man, I’m a hardcore badass unicorn who knows that she hasn’t reached her limits. This is just another speedbump in a road filled with them.

Exhibit A

Yesterday I went out for my long run. I knew it would be hard. I expected it to be hard. It was and I was filled with many doubts along the way. That being said, I was not expecting this. I went out planning to keep a very conservative pace which I did. I was averaging 13:30 paces which was mix of walking and running. I stopped to stretch along the way because it was just hard. The beginning was worse which I chalked it up to the normal aches and pains of being Hypopara. I was wrong.

I ended up walking the last mile because I was in pain. A lot. Hubby asked why I didn’t call someone to pick me up. To be honest the thought had crossed my mind, but I really wanted to hit 13 which was down from my original 15 I was going for. It was bad but not excruciating. Manageable and I thought, “I’ll be ok once I get home and stretch.” The excruciating part came after I got home, sat down and took off my shoes. I couldn’t get up I was in so much pain. I thought….. let me shower and that will help.

I had to shower sitting down and then soaked in some Epsom salt. When I went to stand up, I couldn’t. I literally slithered out of the tub and dressed on the floor. Not my best moment. Then again, maybe it was. I managed to get up and sit on the bed and call my podiatrist to get an ASAP appointment. Although painful, I was able to tiptoe to my car to make the drive.

There may have been some tears on the phone with a friend. I kept saying I didn’t do anything different. I was being conservative. I was being smart. I’ve only got 4 weeks to go. Boo Hoo. I was also nervous because it was BOTH FEET. One foot, you can hobble around on. This was not that and even having PF before, I never experience this level of pain. It made me nervous it was more.

Thankfully, by the time I got to the podiatrist office about an hour later, I could put pressure on my feet but it was still painful. At least now it was a respectable 6 and not an off the chart pain. I’ve also got a pretty good tolerance for pain which made me nervous.

X-ray shows all is good. Ultrasound image showed swelling in Plantar Fasciitis. Doc said normal is 2. Mine was 3.8. So after some discussion and promise from me not to do ANY running (as if I could) for the next week until I go back, he gave me cortisone shots in both feet followed by adding some cushioning and wrapping. He said swim or bike, but rest feet. NO bare feet around house and shoes while teaching my preschool gymnastics classes.

So here I am. Being a good girl. staying off my feet. Today I am still sore, but it’s a moderate pain. I’ve already ordered some PF supplies, soaked, rolled and tomorrow plan to go for my very first acupuncture session.

Normally at this point in a marathon training cycle, I say trust in the training to get you there. Not this time. What I need to do now is trust in myself. Trust that I know what my body can do even on hard days. Trust that I know it will be difficult, but knowing that I can do hard things. Trust no matter what the outcome that it is enough.

If I wanted to be brutally honest, I would say that I am running a marathon that I have no business running. I’m under trained. I’m out of shape. I’ve got plantar fasciitis. Then there is the whole hypopara thing. This will not be the great come back that I envisioned at the beginning of this training cycle. This will not be the hypopara PR that I was shooting for.

All that being said, this will still be amazing experience. Running as part of the Sandy Hook Promise Team. Spending time with the team. Sharing the cause. This will also be a feat of determination. Mind not just matter, but my body. Pushing. Asking more from it than it willingly will want to give, but can. That is true for every marathon runner. No matter where you are, what your goals, or even your health. Running a marathon proves that yourselve that you can do anything you put your mind to.

And my mind is set.

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

Great Expectations

We all have expectations in life. When we are starting a new job/school, meeting a new person, entering a new situation; we all have an expectation. Sometimes our expectations are high. Sometimes they are low. Often they are wrong even if we never take the time to admit it later.

These expectations can cause us anxiety. They can cause us fear. They can cause us to doubt ourselves. Often our expectations will color our view and unbeknown to us, we might even force the outcome we expect. You know it happens because weather you admit it or not your expectations become your reality.

You expect someone to be a certain way either friend or enemy. Everything they do can be shaped to fit that view. Right or Wrong.

You expect to hate your job. You will hat your job. Right or Wrong.

You expect people to treat you a certain way. You will accept it when they do. Right or Wrong.


But what if we stop going into things with expectations. With preconceived notions of what will happen thereby giving excuses, narratives, and shaping the outcome? What if instead of great expectations, we decide to just let things (friendships, jobs, training, life) just develop the way they are meant to be?

What if we live life with the motto….

It will be what it will be.

Hmmmm……

Now I am not saying that we don’t prepare for new meetings, new jobs, new events; but what if while preparing we just take the ending out of our thought process?

I’m beginning training for NY. I’m not sure what to expect this time around. I’m another year older. I will be starting a new medication shortly. Going back to the beginning with my training with no expectations has actually improved my running. It’s taken so much of what I thought I could or could not do and put it’s on it’s head. What if as I push myself to train for NY, I continue just to take expectations off the table? What if each run becomes a run of it’s own and not the be end of all the my training? What if I just accept each day for the day that it is and stop questioning what it means in the whole scheme of things? What if….

What if…..

I just enjoy each day, each run for the gift that it is?

As I gear up to turn 50 in 5 days, I keep thinking of where I am in life, in my relationships, in my running, and what it all means. So many people are looking for the meaning of life and all that it entails. It’s purpose. Expectations of where they would be at a certain point in their journey, what they were or are doing with their life, ect, ect.

What if the purpose of it all is just to live. Live without expectations that color our views. Live Well. Do your best at all you can. Treat others fairly and kindly…… and most of all be happy with all that you have even if it doesn’t live up to your expectations because your expectations are not reality unless you choose for them to be.

What if the expectations are what is holding you back and we should live by my two favorite sayings…

It is what it is

and

Live, Laugh, Love



Getting Back into Step


As you know for months now I have said that I am getting back to basics.   I took my running back to square one.   I did the same with my non running workouts.   In January with a friend, I started going to a beginner core class.   It has been good offering a good core workout with a combo of stretching and balance.    My friend and I maybe the younger ones in the class which at my age is nice.   Don’t let that fool you, these grandmas have better abs them me.   I’m still working on finding mine which I’m working on.

Now that we have done this class for a while, we thought we would take it up a notch by adding a class before it.    We added a Step Class.   Yes, your read that right.   So not only am I taking my workout back to the basics, I am taking it back to the 80’s!    Although I realize that I might not be as coordinated as I was back then!    This class also utilizes some weights for a nice full body workout.

It’s funny because years ago when I was doing Crossfit, I would have laughed if you told me that I was going to be doing a step class and low impact ab class.   You know what?    I like it.    I have no desire right now to do the hard core workouts of Crossfit.   I am more concerned with getting a good workout it and make no mistake a step class is a good workout.   I know that some might think it’s a dated workout, but like jumping rope and basic push-ups, what works works.   Bigger and better is not always required or even better.

Again my mindset of what I am looking for is different now.    I have nothing to prove.   I have no need to explain (although isn’t that the point of my blog).    My goal now has become to be well balanced.    I do not need to go from zero to 60.   I just need a good cruising speed to keep me active, use my muscles in a different way than running, and maybe fit in my jeans better or in some cases just in them.     I think for now these classes will help with that.   We all know that core and glutes  are important to running.   These are things that I’ve ignored.   I don’t need to be able to deadlift or squat huge amounts of weights to do that.

My goal going forward is going to try to be more balanced.   Balanced in my workouts.   Balanced in my running.   Balanced with my family, friends and life.    Life that is not balanced can leave you feeling dizzy.   As with all things, it is a work in progress and as long as I’m moving forward; I’m ok with that.

I’ve learned that it is very easy to let things fall out of balance. You give to much with not anything in return. You push too hard without allowing downtime. You listen without being able to talk or the opposite can be true. Sometimes it is necessary to take inventory of where things are and adjust because if it’s one thing about balance….. If you don’t find it, you will surly fall.

Do you have balance and how do you maintain it?

Going By the Numbers

Once video games, TV, and binge watching Netflex has slowed our movement and made us couch potatoes. Now a new crop of technology has started doing the opposite. It began with the Fitbit. Now Smart Watches are taking it a step further. It is getting to be too much?

For me, yes and no.

I got an Apple Watch for Christmas. I admit that I am still figuring out how to use it especially when it comes to workouts and running. For me it is the closing of the damn rings that is taking it to the next level and I realize it’s kind of crazy.

I remember when I read a book about Kathrine Switzer being the first woman to run a marathon. I remember being horrified by her treatment of wanting to be a distance runner, but I also was taken back by the technology of the time. No mapping out the training route in advance for distance. No belts to carry water or fuel. Nothing. Just running. Amazing running, but just running.

Now we live in a time where we basically track everything between our watches and phones. The Apple Watch even has an app that you can use to track your sleep. One morning I woke my son up and as a normal Mom asked him how he slept. His reply was that he would check his sleep app and let me know. WHAT!?!?! We had a conversation about that!

Anyway as a runner, even before my Apple Watch without fail I ALWAYS ran with my Garmin. I liked to see the numbers. I still do and am playing with the Apple Watch to see if I like the presentation as much as my Garmin which I do miss. (Shhhh don’t tell hubby). Although I think it is just because I need to learn more how to utilize the watch for running/workouts. Now that I’ve finished the C25K, I will be slowly setting myself to take the miles up. I need to learn to control my pace again and not let my pace control me. Work in progress.

One thing that I have realized though is that filling the circles becomes a bit of an obsession, but maybe not a healthy one. For example, yesterday I went for 3 miles. I had a fairly active day, but did not wear my watch all day. By the end of the day I realized even though I’m sure that I hit all my daily targets that my calories for the day was under because I didn’t have watch on.

Here’s the thing…… I knew that I was active. I knew that I had a good day. I knew that I hit all my targets for the day, but now I still show an open ring and it bothers me. Like somehow I didn’t meet my targets. Maybe it’s time to control the technology before the technology controls us.

For me: I stopped wearing my watch at night. If I close the circles, I close them. I will work on figuring out the best way to track training and if I’m meeting my goals. Like today being able to put on a pair of jeans that I have not been able to fit into shows much more than any closed circle does.

No Expectations

Things that are worthwhile take work. They take time. They take investment. Sometimes in life we put things on autopilot…
relationships, work, exercise, eating habits, ect.


And while in the short term that may be fine, I think we all know in the long run it is not healthy or does that work out. You become out of touch. After a while you are just go through the motions. Then you begin to wonder why you are going through the motions.   That’s where I was with my running.  I lost touch with why I started running.   Why I continued to run and most of all what I got out of running.   It was never about being the fastest, running the  furthest, or even about the medals hanging on the wall.   While I admit that all of those things are fun to strive for they were never the reason that I started, pushed myself, and did what I did.


I lost that.   I was so concerned with going through the motions…… trying to maintain certain paces, trying to run certain distances, and trying to do runs that it no longer worked for me.   I lost touch with knowing what and how I should push myself and because of that I had (for now) unrealistic expectations of what I should be doing.    I was Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stamping my feet expecting things to be the way I wanted them still because I wanted them to be that way.


We all know that’s not the way life works.   Being out of step with your own self and your own body and pretending your not is exhausting.     But when I stepped back, slowed down, and pushed the ego to the side; things became not only more clear but more fun.     While I admit, I still have problems keeping my ego in check, I am getting better.   By reconnecting my mind with the body, I am rediscovering why I started running.   I no longer see people running on the streets and think poor them.   I think, what a great day to be running.    I am starting to think outside the box again, but I am keeping myself in check and not putting the cart before the horse.


The C25K program has forced me to step back and reconnect with where my body is today and not where I want it to be. Allowing myself to run with no expectations but to finish the run. No paces. No distances. Just follow the plan.    I have just finished up week 7 of the program where I am running for 25 minutes.   It is hard.  I must push myself.   I run slow, but I am pleased with the progress.   I feel like I am learning what now works for me now. Most of all, I am doing it.

I am learning how to push myself for where I am today not yesterday. To notice the subtle differences is how I feel when pushing the pace. To know that a pace that is hard today was once easy and that’s ok too. What my body needs to recover which I will talk about another day. I’m learning that the saying your race, your pace is true even when not racing. I’ve still got a lot of kinks to work out, but I’ll get there. The difference is that I know that I won’t get there overnight. As the saying goes, all good things come to those that wait……… I’m learning once again that I’m worth it.

And so are you.