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Walk, Run, & Everything in Between

I’ve run a marathon. I’ve run/walked a marathon. Now I can say I’ve walked a marathon. I’m ready to run again…… Ok, not just yet, but you know what I mean.

I walked for 8 hours 11 minutes and 51 seconds. My fastest marathon clocked in at 4:38:14 for perspective. Although post hypopara, I have been getting slower and last year crossed finish at 6:20:41. I guess I can go with since this was my 8th marathon that I was going for an hour for each one. I can honestly say that while I will probably do another marathon that I will NEVER specifically plan to walk another marathon. Then again maybe if it had been an in person event that I would have put more pressure on myself to do more.

I did know that I wanted to complete this event. I realized that I have done at least one marathon a year since 2014, so I didn’t want to break my streak. More than likely I would not have been able to keep the streak going if this was in person. Then again if Covid hadn’t shut everything down, I might have not had the mindset to take a break from running. Who knows?

I will also say that I didn’t tell a lot of people my plan. I really wasn’t sure what my plan was other than to go out and walk 26.2 miles. I did put it out there as I also signed up to with Sandy Hook Promise to raise funds. (https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/christines-virtual-sandy-hook-promise-walk/christinechaillet )

Unlike when their is an actual event, there was no minimum to raise, but I missed being part of the team and spreading their message and helping to support their important cause. This year though as with the marathon, there was no pressure. I only posted it on my Facebook pace twice and did not promo it. Honestly based on all the stuff I post, I am sure many people missed it which actually took the pressure off the actually event.

So I planned a route in town. I told my hubby and some friends and then off I went. I started with a friend who walked a few miles. She then joined me for the half way point for a little more. Then I walked the last few on the phone with another friend. Finally I did the las one just walking.

Walking….. Walking…. Walking…..

No music.

No podcasts.

Just silence.

Just the noise rattling around in my mind.

You would think it would be boring. You would think spending that much time just walking without outside stimulus would drive you crazy. I enjoyed the peace. I let my mind wonder. Walking alone taking in the surroundings. Being at peace with my thoughts. It was a good day.

Time on your feet with your thoughts while a good day does not make it an easy day.

Running a marathon is hard. Walking and running a marathon is hard. Walking a marathon is just as hard just a different type of hard.

A few days post marathon and my feet are healing nicely. Only 7 blisters, but only 2 that were thoughts of concern initially but they are both on road to recovery. So I am taking the week off. I am letting my feet totally heal. I am giving my legs a chance to recover. And then…. only then will it be time.

Time to rebuild.

Time to run……….

Whatever that will mean, but we will find out together.

Easier is a Relative Term

Just because something is easier does not mean it is not hard. Nor does it mean that there aren’t challenges, learning curves, or doubt. Just because something is “easier” does not mean anything except that it is different. Besides easier is a relative term that is different for each individual and changes during their lifetime. What was once hard can become easier Just as what was once easy can become hard. It is all relative and ever changing.

There are things we do in life and often think to ourselves does it really matter. Maybe we won’t buy some brands because we don’t like what they support. Maybe we avoid certain establishments for the same reason. That is our freedom. Maybe we think it doesn’t matter if we dust behind the picture frames because who is going to see it. Meanwhile we see lines at the store, people using the products we wont, maybe the dust piles up and wonder does it matter. Does it make a difference, but it does. We would know. We know.

In life, you may fool a lot of people. You might even fool them for a long time, but there is one person you can’t fool and that is yourself. If you cheat on your diet and no one is around, you know you cheated. If you tell everyone you are training, but never actually train; you will know. Some even go so far as to cheat at events crossing finish line. They may even get the bling, but deep down they know they don’t deserve it.

Currently I am beginning my training for the NYC Virtual Marathon. I have decided that I am going to power walk it and I’ve been doing my daily walks. I am still working on the actual training plan and need to mark my calandar with the day that I plan to complete the marathon. This will help tailor my training. I am leaning towards November 1rst as that would be normal date, but not sure.

In talking to my son about this, he was like how will they know you didn’t cheat. So we talked about it. I told him that I’m sure just like other events that there will be people who don’t complete the race the way intended. That would be on them. For me though, I will know if I don’t do what I set out to do which is to complete a marathon. Others can worry about themselves because I will know that I did what needed to be done.

In life that is all you can ask of yourself because what you do in private is even more important that what you do in public. It is even more important to stay true to yourself, your beliefs and your honor even if you are the only one who will know. Especially if you are the only one who will know.

So with that I begin my training of a marathon that I said I didn’t want to run. I wasn’t lying because this time I don’t want to run. I’m going to walk and know that just because some may think this is easier, it is still going to be hard.

How Does This Keep Happening

So I did a thing.   As often, I did it on a whim.   I did it without agonizing over it.   I did it without really thinking about it.    My sister mentioned it and off I went.

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What did I do now you wonder?

I signed up to virtually complete the NYC Marathon.

Gulp.

Now you might be wondering how I am planning to do this when I am only walking right now and have committed to walk through the end of the summer.   Easy Peasy…. I plan to train and mostly walk 26.2 miles.

Say what!?!

Seriously…. Once I signed up and thought, “What did I just do?”    I searched for walking plans.   I actually think since it is a virtual event this is more doable because I don’t need to worry as much about meeting a cut off time.   Plus lets be honest, last year I basically power walked 3/4 the in person NYC Marathon.

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I have been mentioning that I’ve been thinking about goals.    Completing a marathon length event was actually one.   Remember how I have said that I have completed a marathon every year since 2014?   I did not want this year to be any different and now it will be an official event.   So while this may seem like it has come out of left field, it really hasn’t.   Completing a marathon this year has always been rattling around in my head.   I just wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it happen.   Now I am.

I have not settled 100% on a plan but I have narrowed down already   My walking this last month has set me up to be ready to roll into this plan.    Walking 103 miles last month puts me in a good spot to start.   Plus we all know that I need a goal.

It’s go time.

The Ups and the Downs

If 2020 were an object, it would be a pile of dog poop.   You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would say as a whole this year doesn’t suck the big one.    For some it sucks more than others and it doesn’t even take into account the pandemic.

2020 is also the year that one by one major races and events were cancelled.   Boston while shocking was not unexpected since it was in the beginning of the pandemic.   One by one other large events fell to the wayside.   Many of the larger fall events have been holding out hope.  NYRR just announced that they were cancelling the  New York City Marathon.   Not unexpected but still sad.   For those that were planning to run they are giving great choices for deferment which also unheard of from NYRR.    I believe they did the right thing both in canceling it and before most people started training.

This is the years for runners to decide why they run.   This is the year for runners to decide weather they run only for the bling or if they run to run.   Now don’t get me wrong…… I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my bling.

I get a lot out of running besides bling, but when you are not training for anything it does get easy not to stay motivated.   Not to get out the door.   Not to go for longer runs.   Not to push yourself.    One of the reasons, I have been doing the NJ Virtual Boardwalk challenge.    21 days left and more miles than I would like, but I will get it done.

So while 2020 has sucked and seems like is on the path to sucking till the bitter end, we need to regroup, refocus, and adjust.

What if we took this time as a gift.    What if we viewed everything not through the lenses of what has been taken from us, but what has been given.   What if instead of thinking of all we are missing, we embrace all the things that we have.

Time

I currently have no part time job.   I have no practices to run my son to.   I have no this or that to attend, but instead of thinking about all that I’m missing what if I view this time as a gift.

I now have the time to practice yoga.

I now have the time to go for runs/walks.    I have even started walking the dog with my oldest son just about every night.    This is a gift.

Races

I am missing the thrill of big events.   The fun of small events.   Missing my running crew.   Missing training (really).   Missing a lot…. BUT…….    every since my surgery left me with Hypoparathyroidism, I have continued to push myself.   I’ve continued to train, race, and while I have cut back on number events I was doing, I still kept pushing.   Doing a marathon ever year since surgery in 2016 (actually every year now since 2014).     Now, I have no choice though but to stop chasing events because even though I was realistic about them, I still pushed myself.   FOR ME – instead of being upset that I can’t run NY again, what if I use this time to reconnect.   Not just with running, but the way I need to run.   Think about what works best for me as far as miles, pace, and calcium instead of chasing distances and time.

From January even before Covid, this year has had a lot of downs.   Lots of things have gone wrong.   Lots of drama.   Lots of things that I wouldn’t wish to happen to anyone.   But with each of these events, there has been an upside.   Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to have gotten to the upside without the rollercoaster ride but that isn’t how life works.   Sometimes you have to let go of the handles, put your hands in the air, scream as the roller coaster is racing down the tracks and just be happy when you pull into the end.   You can’t enjoy the highs without the lows.

So while many of us our in lows now, we have no choice except to enjoy the ride as much as we can.

So for now…..

I will continue to run.   I will continue to see if maybe I need to do more power walking especially in the heat instead of running.   If maybe, I just keep moving that is enough and for the next 21 days, I have to not skip a beat and apparently I am a streaker.

 

 

 

What if???

What if there is no easy answers?   What if we have no idea what tomorrow will bring?   What if as each day is just like the day before, we still have no idea what the future will bring?    How do we plan?   How do we accept not knowing?   How do we move forward and not stay stuck in limbo?

Why are there so many questions and not enough answers?

What if it is easier to ask the questions than answer them?

What if?

What if?

When will this happen?

When will that happen?

On and on it goes with no clear cut answers.   No answers that you like.   No answers that make things easier.  No answer that doesn’t lead to another question.

What if I tell you that it won’t always be like this?    What if I tell you that even in the best of times that tomorrow was never promised?    That plans fall through.   That life is more complicated and much simpler than we every realized.  That even when you make plans, sometimes plans change.   Sometimes things that you never thought would happen…. happen.    Things that you only dream of….. happen.

Right now so many of us feel in limbo.   We miss people that we now have to be “socially” distant from which really just means physically distant.   Do you even remember the last person not in your home that you gave a hug to before this all started?    Have you thought about how good it will be to give that person a hug when this is all over?   I, honestly, can’t remember the last person that I hugged and that makes me sad.   Althugh I believe it would have been either my mother or my friend, Jen; but I’m not sure.   It was such a normal thing that at the time I might not have given it a second thought.

Second thoughts are the problem now.   Second, third…. a million.    We are all searching for answers but right now there are no answers.    That is hard for so many reasons.   How do you plan for the future when you don’t know.   So many things that we took for granted before are now gone.   A hug goodbye.   The ability to pop in on a friend.   The knowing that even if plans had to change that the world didn’t.    As hard as some people want to put this pandemic behind us, it is here in our lives for a while.   We have no choice but to give up the reigns and that is a hard pill to swallow.

Right now many people are planning for fall races.   I was asked if I wanted to be part of the Sandy Hook Promise Team and as much as I support their cause…….as much as I like to plan….. as much as I want to; I just don’t think I can for several reasons but I go back and forth.

My first thought really is how much harder this year it would be to fundraise.   People are hurting and many disposable income is gone.     Businesses that have been very supportive in the past are doing all they can to survive now.     While these last 2 years I have had great success with my fundraising and had expected to do it again this year, I just can’t see how that would be possible.    It bothers me too because I think Sandy Hook Promise mission is worthy of all of our support.

On top of that honestly, I know so many runners are holding out hope of fall races but I don’t see how that can happen.   How in a matter of months can NYC expect to host an event with 50,000 runners and their supporters.    It seems like a foreign thought to me.   For those holding out hope, I hope I’m wrong.   It will be a strange November without a NYC Marathon but I’m sure the people of Boston felt the same way.

It is hard to plan for the future when the future is so uncertain.   For me, that means just doing the things that I can do daily to make my life seem like I am not a house plant.

Exercise Daily – Check

Shower Daily – Usually

Daily walk – Usually

Try not to eat all the chocolate – I’m trying

For me….   Making a conscience effort not to plan is my plan.      I would love to plan for a fall race, but I just don’t see how that can be.    I would rather let that go now as, for me, that is what I need to do.    This is not to say that I am giving up planning and doing.   I am just going to plan and do things that are in my control.   Right now I am in the process of deciding weather I want to run the NJ Parkway (172.4 miles) or the NJ Turnpike (117.2 miles) – Virtually, of course.   There is an online challenge where you are in control from running the distance of the boardwalk (28 miles) to going as far as taking the Jersey Devil challenge (579 miles).   These distances will be run starting May 15 through July 15th.   Mile wise I’m leaning towards the Turnpike but I’m more of a Parkway girl, so I have not figured it out yet.    That will be something I control.

So, for me, when the world is our of my control; I will take the control back where I can.   How I can.

What are you doing to stay in control?

 

 

 

Time after Time

Time has lost all meaning to me, but I think we’ve pretty much been in going on 6 weeks now.   Who knows.   Is it still April?   I think April now has 675 days.   Each day is the same.   Each day is long.   And yet still there is not enough time to fold the laundry or empty the dishwasher until the sink is filled with dishes.   I’m not sure how that happens, but it does.   This is my life now.   Searching for food delivery slots that are not available.   Making carts on the off chance that someday I will hit the lottery and get a slot which has happened twice in these 6 weeks.   Then there is the inevitable suiting up to go to actual store since teens in a Pandemic apparently will eat more food than required by a heard of elephants.

This is my life.

I am still blessed.

On top of that every and any event has been cancelled.   Not just for now, but for next month and the month after and the month after.   On and on the cancelations go.   So much for my doing a race a month for the year.   Ha.   I will take for still being able to fit into my running clothes when this is over.    That being said,  with health officials already talking about a reoccurrence of this crap in the fall during flu season, you wonder if this year all major marathons will be cancelled.    Chicago while not cancelled is allowing participants to cancel.   Unheard of.   Many while not outright cancelled do not have a new date yet which makes you wonder.   NYRR has cancelled their NYC half and their races through June.   It makes you wonder what they will do for the Marathon that normal has 50,000 runners.   To me, a layman, runner; I just don’t see how it is possible but what do I know.

I had been thinking of running NY again for Team Sandy Hook Promise but I don’t see that happening.   With so many people hurting financially raising $3,000 does not seem feasible.  Honestly nor does the thought of going to an event with 50,000 people.   I went to Target for groceries and thought I would have an anxiety attack with all the people in the store who were wearing masks and most being good about socially distancing from each other.    I couldn’t see myself at the village start line.   Honestly  I can’t imagine how an event like this will happen even though it is still months from now.

Who knows what will happen.   I do know that no matter what I can’t see myself in the middle of it.   That being said, I have run a marathon every year since 2014, somehow someway I do not want 2020 to be the year I don’t.   I’ve already been thinking that trails are the way to go.   Who knows, I might have to do my own virtual marathon.   Then again maybe I just skip this year.   In the whole scheme of things, it is not the be all end all.

Yes, I miss my running crew.

Yes, I miss group events.

Yes, I miss it all.

But what I have taken away the most is that in the big scheme of life….. for me……  although I am a runner, although I love to run,   although I have had and will have again so much fun running……… When this is all over, I do not want it to go back to business as usual.

I want it to better.

I want to think about things differently.

I want to realize that while I am a runner, I am so much more

 

 

 

Rest, Recover, Repeat?

When running a marathon, so many random thoughts will pop into your mind. Some are fleeting. Some stick with you for a few miles. One that usually pops into my head is “I’m NEVER doing this again.”

Exhibits A, B, C

2014 – First marathon, Philly – This was supposed to be a one and done. I swore I just wanted to cross one marathon finish line and then I could call it a day.

2015 Marine Corps – I put in for lottery and as a fluke got in. I literally was dropping some F bombs to my sister who ran on the course with me at the end. I told her how stupid marathons were. How ridiculous it was that people wasted their time coming to watch runners (mind you she flew in from California). Lastly, I swore NEVER again (after NY because I’d already done the 9+1 for it)

2016 -NYCM – This was it. My first NYCM and was going to be my only. I mean how can you not run NY if your as close to the city as me. I even put off my surgery for my thyroid, so that I could run it. This was only marathon that I hit the wall because I ran the first half like there was not a second half. I was done and had my NYCM medal so what more did I need. NO more!

2017 – I put in for the Chicago marathon while still recovering from getting my thyroid out and dealing with learning to live Hypopara. This was flipping my finger to all that I was dealing with and I just needed to run one as a hypopara to show I could do it. It was not a pretty race as it was hot, but it is my fastest post surgery marathon. I was done. I proved my point. NO more.

2018 – I felt like there were signs that I should sign up to run NYCM as charity runner for Sandy Hook Promise. The signs were everywhere, but if I didn’t get picked at least I tried. Well, damn, they released that I really believe in their cause and picked me. So, yes, I was running with a purpose and I would do what I could to support Sandy Hook Promise; but I was only doing it one time. Until I did it again.

2019 NYCM Sandy Hook Promise Runner

During my run, I thought about that maybe my body just isn’t cut out to be a marathon runner. Maybe I should just stick to running shorter distances. That running 26.2 is just not for me. I could still support my team from the sidelines. I could still spread the message of Sandy Hook Promise. I just needed to give my body a rest because running marathons weren’t for me and I should focus my energy elsewhere.

Then I crossed the finish line.

I still felt that way. I still wondered if maybe this is too much for my body. Wondering if I needed to spend time on recovery. Getting my feet under control. Dealing with the aches and pains. Knowing that maybe worrying about my calcium crashing while running is just not worth it.

Then I went home. I read all the messages from my Facebook live videos, my running group, my friends and the chats with team members. And while I do need to spend time on healing my body – dealing with the tight calves, dealing with the feet, dealing with the pain that still lingers on the side of my calf and knowing that if I really want to run stronger/better/easier on feet that I also need to loose 20 pounds. Like seriously 20 pounds.

Then I thought….. It’s getting to the holiday season. There is no way that is going to happen. Then I realized that training would not start until Spring. Then I thought about how much I love being part of the Sandy Hook Promise Team, how some friends will be running NY next year, and that it might motivate me to keep going.

Then I thought…… Your crazy……

Not wrong.

Not right.

Then I thought about all the work in raising the minimum of $3,0000 to be part of their team. Then I thought of what I could do differently next year. The beauty is that I don’t need to make any decisions now or in the near future. For now my focus is recovery.

So I will continue to roll. I need to get to acupuncture. I need to do the things that I know I should do because chances are pretty good…….. that if you give the girl a medal, she’s going to want another one. Besides I’m pretty much on a roll now.

I’m Still Standing

Yesterday, I had a choice. I could run through the pain or I could run a smart race. I could only do one. As a runner, we often think that we need to dig deep, run through injury, or somehow we aren’t tough enough. I beg to differ with that. Sometimes it is harder to make what you know is the right choice for your life even if it might not be what you necessarily want to do or as a runner think that you should do.

Aerbically I was feeling good yesterday. I started off with a strong run. I kept my paces conservative in the 11’s and 12’s. My splits were on target by the 15K. The problem was that by mile 6 my feet were starting to hurt. So I pushed through. I kept on running. Up until I didn’t.

Aebocially I had it in to push through. I was feeling strong. I was feeling confident in being able to get that 5:45 that I was aiming for. The flip side though was at what cost would I get that time. I wasn’t winning. I wasn’t PRing. I was only finishing. I knew that if I continued to push to run, I might not be able to walk like had happened only a month prior. I didn’t want to end up in a boot which since it would be both feet, might be complicated. It would also effect my job as teaching preschool gymnastics does require your feet. The cost was too high.

So I made a decision to power walk the marathon. There were times that I did run but they were fleeting moments and the pain reminded me that it wasn’t a good idea. Not to say there was no pain with the power walking, but as my Mantra became….. I was stronger than the pain.

By the Half way point, I knew that if I planned to get to the finish line and be able to go about my life the next day that I would need to stick with the walking. And for anyone who thinks that power walking a marathon is easy, I advise you to go for it and experience it yourself. My legs still became heavy, my quads and calves still screamed; but I kept on moving. I knew if I stopped that starting would be too hard.

The beauty of power walking is that I did several live stream videos for my facebook friends. It was more for me than them, but I do think they enjoyed “experiencing” the marathon in a way only those on the course can. The excitement. The bands, choirs, and views of the city that you can only get when it’s all shut down for 50,000 plus runners. Plus so many of these friends have support me in so many ways and supported the whole reason I was there….. Sandy Hook Promise.

This year since I was power walking, I did not miss the Sandy Hook Promise cheer section. It was the highlight of my run. To go and get hugs and support from my Team reminding me of why I was there and what was really important carried me. It also helped that they were at mile 17!

There is more to unpack with this event, but for now I need to go roll, stretch and soak.

Oh and for those wondering………. 6:20:41

A reverse PR, but done is done!

Lucky # 7

Tomorrow I will be stepping up the start line for my seventh marathon. Hopefully it will by the end of the day I can say that I have finished all 7. We all know that there isn’t much that is going to stop me from getting there. No matter what I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

With each marathon, I’ve learned something. Learned how to push myself. Learned that I am stronger than I realize. Learned that no matter what there is always a little more in the tank.

My first marathon, Philly, was a fluke. That year, I had trained and completed the Runner’s World Hat Trick (5k, 10k, and Half marathon all in two days). When it was over a friend nudged me to sign up for Philly the following month. One 20 mile training run later, I was in. I finished in 4:46:20. This is before I knew anything about running, so I do see humor in that I didn’t push for the 4:45 time..

Then over the next few years would run a marathon a year. For my second marathon, Marine Corps, I trained with a coach. I finished in 4:38:14. This is my current and more than likely my PR for marathon finish times. I should have PR’d my first New York as I was well trained for it, but went out way too fast not following the plan. This is a mistake I will not make tomorrow.

Two weeks after that first New York Marathon was my thyroid surgery leaving me not just without my thyroid, but also working parathyroid glands. I was determined not to let being Hypopara take away my running and the Chicago Marathon was supposed to be my one hypopara marathon and done. A way to snub my nose at it. I learned a lot in Chicago. I learned that for me the set run/walk plan doesn’t work for me. I learned that my body does NOT like running in the heat as it was very hot that year. Most of all, I learned that I can just keep going. All things being considered, an hour slower is pretty awesome.

But then, then it became about something more. Last year when I got picked to be part of the Sandy Hook Promise Team, I could not have been any more honored. I still remember sitting in a Toys R Us parking lot talking on the phone with a friend in 2013, a year after the shooting in Sandy Hook. She could not understand my pain over the horrific shooting when I was not personally involved, but I was involved. I’m a mother, that year my youngest son was also in Kindergarten. I took it very personally because this tragedy as we’ve learned over the years can happen anywhere. She couldn’t understand my pain and told me that I needed to do something as I wasn’t “getting over it.” I didn’t want to get over it, I wanted to do something. So here we are.

Although, even before last year I was involved. I did what I could, but I wanted to do more. This is my more. I can and do share the message of inclusion, stopping gun violence, and making a change. My personal friends know this to be true. I remember one year on Wear Orange for Gun Safety another friend that I ran into at a baseball game while I was wearing my orange shirt saying to me, “Isn’t every day Wear Orange day for you?” She meant this is the nicest way possible because she knows I am always spreading the message.

So here I am getting ready to run my second marathon as part of Team Sandy Hook Promise. At a lunch today it was said, “You weren’t just a number coming into Sandy Hook Promise. You were selected. Your stories and passion are what got you here……. We picked you from the heart.” So I run knowing that this isn’t about me. This is my way to not just share the Sandy Hook Promise message which I do, but about helping to support an organization that is doing so much good. Last year was my slowest marathon to date at 6:10:13; but my most memorable and favorite one.

I am honored. It is more than words. It is a truthful statement.

My goal. My only goal tomorrow is to wear my Sandy Hook Promise shirt with pride. Ok, I may also have a goal of 5:45 time but that is secondary. I know it won’t be easy, but nothing in life worthwhile is a walk in the park. I will get that walk in the park crossing the finish line. I’ve learned a lot about running since my first marathon. I’ve learned a lot about what my body can do even after becoming Hypopara. I will do what it takes knowing that I will have not just the support of family and friends, but the Sandy Hook Promise community.

This picture was taken last year during the marathon. I have taken MANY race day photos. I have NEVER taken one like this with the sun shining down on me. I look at this as a sign that I was not alone. So as I run these 26 miles, I know that the saying 26 miles for 26 angels is more than a catch phrase. It is real.

It’s go time.

Run Where You Are

As a runner, often you know that you need to push through things. You need to push your body to the limit knowing that it can go one step further. This is what we train for. This is what we know. This is what gets us to the finish line….. If…….and only if……. if we listen to our body.

As a runner, we also know that the starting line is our biggest challenge. You don’t just get there but train to get to the start line. Your excited. Your filled with energy. The gun goes off and your feet begin to fly. When running a short race, it is usually ok to fly like the wind. Let your feet move because if trained, the distance will be no issue. This is not the same for a marathon which is a different animal.

You must run where you are and not where you want to be. The gun goes off, you must pace yourself. There is no going out too fast and thinking you can bank time for the end. There is no pushing hard in the beginning only to push harder in the end. The truth of the matter is if you go out too fast, too hard; you will crash and burn. You may hold it together to finish, but usually it is not pretty and any time you think you banked in the beginning is lost at the end.

You ask how do I know this? Well I’ve been there. Done that. My first NYC Marathon before becoming Hypopara, I had a coach. I was trained for a 4:30 marathon. I blew it. I ran the first half of the marathon like there wasn’t a second half and it shows. I came off the first bridge and I took off like a bat out of Hell hitting paces that I had no business hitting that early in the race. Somehow I thought it would all work out until it didn’t.

Case in point…

I held it together….. Barely.

The beauty of having made this mistake then is that now I can use it as a learning experience of what not to do. Even more so now, I need to get out of my own way and be smart. I have to run where I am today and not where I want to be which is back to 2016 pre hypopara. I know…. Boo hoo me, I can’t hit these faster paces. But in my mind, I still think that I can. Which is the problem. My body has other ideas.

Here’s the thing too. I know that if I maintain a pace between 11:30 and 12:00 in the beginning, that not only will I have a better day but my body will cooperate. As my cohort told me the other day and I will paraphrase as it was a long wonderful, much needed conversation, “you’ve got a lot going on right now. You need to listen to your body because even though every runner pushes themselves to the limit. If you push too far, your might not be able to finish because of your medical stuff.”

And that right there is the truth of it. I was able to bounce back in 2016, because I didn’t need to worry about anything else except getting to the finish line. I knew my body would be able to do it and I knew that I could push it without fear. Ehhh, not so much now. I know that I can still push myself, but I also know that there is more to think about. I also know that I can push on shorter runs than longer ones.

So I need to get out of my own head. I need to pay attention to when to add not just fuel but calcium. I need to know that my illness is not in my head, but a real thing in my body and I need to be mindful of it. I need to realize that going out “slow” is smart. I need to tap into the knowledge that I have from doing this race in the past and use that so that I can run a smart race. I know even with the hiccups at the end with my feet, that I am ready for this race.

I just need to run the race and the pace that I should run. I need to run where I am today and not yesterday. I need to run so that there is reserve in the tank to smile as I cross the finish line. I need to fully embrace the mantra, your race, your pace and know it to be true. Most of all, I need to (and am) grateful that I am able to do this no matter how hard it will be.

I am blessed.

I am trained.

I am ready.

It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.