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Some people might think because I run marathons that I never suffer from issues from my Hypoparthyridism. They would be wrong. It just is part of the routine now.

Case in point

Claw hand

Yesterday, while cleaning kitchen. Not doing anything out of the ordinary. Unless you count really doing a deep clean. Hmmmm

I think the difference is that while running though, I really pay attention and adjust. During build up of the miles in my training for marathon, I pat attention to the signals. Monitoring when hands start to get tingly. Pay attention to how hard to push before adding more calcium. It is all so random to be honest and changes all the time. Things that always effect it though are temperatures when running, pace and how hard I’m pushing, time of day, time on feet, and really what the calcium Gods decide. At least that last one feels pretty accurate.

One thing that I realized during a training run is definitely extra calcium is required before mile 10. It is always better to keep the levels up than try to recover from when the hands start to tingle. During training if it was a longer run, I would make sure to take my morning dose of calcium and calcitriol before running. If it was a shorter run, I would take it as soon as I got home. If it was a LOOOONG training run, I might add extra calcium powder (Calez) to my water. If it was a hot day, I would do the same. Regardless though, I always kept a pack of the powder with me because some days I needed it and some days I didn’t, Really is a crap shoot.

On marathon day and the day before, I did some preparation. In eventing before the marathon, I took an extra dose of my Calcitriol because normally I aim to keep my blood calcium levels at just below or at the the low end of normal. So I didn’t want to go into the marathon with low calcium already. Then the morning of before I left at the super early hour of 6:00 AM, I took my morning dose which normally I don’t take until 10ish. Then I packed with me my normal meds but taking an extra dose with me as it was going to be a long and hard day. I wasn’t starting until 12:00, so I had to bob and weave before the bob and weaving actually began. So around 11:00 am or so, I took another dose of calcium and calcitriol which really would have been my normal time. Then I made sure to add Calez to one of my water bottles to have along the course. I saved another dose of my calcium, calcitriol and magnesium for when I finished. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.

I will say that I think for once I ran a smart race. It helped that I ran the first 16-17 miles with a friend. I think we kept each other in check. We ran paces that were sustainable. We ran smart. We also walked when needed but also encouraged each other to push ourselves to run. I ran a much smarter race when I was running with her. I would have loved to have run the whole thing with her, but we split up when she needed to stop for a bathroom pit stop. At that point, I really was afraid that if I stopped that it would be too hard to start up again. My legs were dead. My foot was hurting. Stopping was not an option for me unless I wanted to call it a day.

So I kept on going……

And going……

And going…..

At first I did not run as smart as I did when I was with Rosa, but I caught on to my stupidity. So I tried to run smarter. I walked more than I probably would have than if I was with her, but the pain was real.

But so was the joy….

The bottom line though was I still got where I wanted to get which was the finish line.

Yes, I know you’ve seen this photo before, but I do so love it.

Everyone who runs a marathon has hardships that they push through to get to the finish line. It wouldn’t be a marathon without it. This is just part of mine. Before becoming Hypopara, I didn’t have to take into account medications and added calcium, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t different challenges. As they say…….

If marathons were easy everyone would do them. I’m just too stubborn not to do what I have to do to get to the finish.

By The Numbers

There is ALWAYS a lot to unpack with a marathon. Runners LOVE to rehash our events and this one will be no different. So this will be the first of a few posts covering the day. Today we start with the numbers.

First lets talk about my training. I went in knowing that while I knew I could finish that it might be a struggle since my longest run in training was only 16 miles. Normally, I do not do a 20 mile training run as I find them defeating, but I usually do at least an 18 with a run either the day after for a running on tired legs. I also did not do that. With that being said, my training was at least consistent enough that I was confident baring any major issues that the day would be ok…… And it was.

Then there was the 4:00 AM wake up call with 6:00 departure only to have to sit for 12:00 PM start time. A friend commented that wouldn’t it be nice to know what it feels like to run a marathon where you didn’t have to sit around for hours. Just to wake up, get ready, and run. I’m sure those that finished before I even started know that feeling but it is one that I will never experience especially with NY.

Then there was the pace and finish. My average pace ended up being 13.44 with I am actually happy with. I think it helped that I ran the first 17 miles with my friend Rosa. We kept each other in check, but had to part ways when she needed to stop for porta potty stop. I was afraid at that point if I stopped that I wouldn’t start again. My quads were on fire and my foot was hurting from what I discovered later to be a massive blister. (I really have to learn to run without getting blisters. How do people do that!?!) Once we parted ways, I continued with a mixture of walk run and towards the end mostly walking. Walking with a purpose. I was at the point where I couldn’t decide if I was in more pain walking or running. If you have done a marathon you know what I’m talking about.

My official time was 6:03:50

I always said that I wasn’t going to win and I stuck to that. I literally started in the last corral with nothing behind us but a fence. But the party really is in the back!

Lastly, the most important number…….. This is my third year running for Sandy Hook Promise. Going in I was worried that due to Covid and the impact it had on people financially that fundraising would be harder. I also feel that due to Covid their mission of inclusion, empathy and programs to help kids are needed more than ever. I will also say that I worked hard with auction, back sales and other things that I not only made my requirement but surpassed it!!! As of today, my marathon fundraising has reached $3,916. I am hoping to reach $4,000 before it ends. https://fundraisers.hakuapp.com/christine-chaillet?referral_source=FBK&fbclid=IwAR34_JS4IcMeCoCChOysSA4x4GCIK0zTkLc1_BFQCgNGaroHnkyHf8EAyAY

More to come….. but need to roll again and maybe take a nap:)

Get Out of Your Own Way

I had planned to run my first in person 5K today. I thought it sounded fun and also safe since it was on the trails. The fun part was dressing in an adult onesie. I was all set to run in my unicorn onesie. I even roped a running friend in for the event. (Roped is a strong word……. I told her about it and asked if she wanted to sign up. So she did).

One of the best things is that my NYC Half Virtual training lined up with a set back week and running a 5K this weekend. Yeah…. When things align

Until they don’t.

Lots of snow last week made it seem like a challenge but a fun one. I do love the snow and I have Yaktraxs for my shoes and they have not been used in a long time.

Then the timing belt on my Honda Pilot decides that 100,090 miles is enough and decides that it is time to be replaced. So while I could have still gone in our other vehicle the prospect of driving over an hour in our big Truck and then trying to park was not appealing. While this is not a big rig, it is a king cab sized truck with a full pick-up bed and parking even my pilot is not my forte. So I decide not to go.

Boo……

My brave and very fu friend still goes as her daughter volunteered to go with her as her support team

Aren’t they cute?

I talked to her afterwards and she had a good run. She told me that I would have been able to park, but I think she overestimates my ability to park the truck. I’m sad that I missed the day, but it did make me realize something…….

I want to run again. Like many runners, I miss in person events and can’t wait to go to one. I also can’t wait to actually race….. Like race at my limit…….. Push myself till my sides hurt.

I did that today. I didn’t want today to be a washout, so I laced up and went on the treadmill. I did a 5 minute warmup walk. Then I cranked up the pace and ran. Unfortunately, I forgot to start my Garmin right away, so I had to actually run more than a 5K, but all is good.

It was hard……. I was pushing as hard as I could. I was sweating…….. At the end, my side was literally hurting……. It felt freaking awesome to push that hard. To go to the limit. To know that if I do what I need to do, I can get where I need to go.

Done is done

When you stop comparing yourself to others……… When you stop comparing yourself to what you once were…….. When you stop thinking about what you wish it was……….. Most of all when you get out of your own way, it is amazing to see where you actually can go.

till next time!

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

 

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!

One Month In

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been here. I’ve thought about it. I’ve had ideas of what I wanted to say, but never got further than that. Here’s the scoop.

I’ve been on Natpara for 4 weeks now. I’m loving the way I feel on the new medication and I’ve even gotten used to giving myself a shot every morning. It’s a noticeable change. I am happy with not feeling like grandma in the morning. No more muscle spasms either. As said before, my head is much clearer and I do feel more like myself. More energy and other symptoms disappearing too. I will say that I’ve also noticed that my running has improved too in the sense that I’m actually able to run:)

I ran a local 5K in May, United for a Cause. I finished in 30:41 which is a 9:54 pace. This was my first race on Natpara. I had done a St Barts 5K in early March where I finished in 31:18 with a pace of 10:04. While it may appear that my races were similar, it really couldn’t be further from the truth. The first 5K, I had to prepare by making sure that I took my meds and calcium prior to the event. Plus I had calcium in my water. I also rested a few days before event and pushed myself to the limit for this event. On top of that, the two courses could not have been more different. The St Barts event was a fairly flat course with really only one hill at the mid point. The United for a Cause was a constant up and down of hills. Also the St Barts event is first thing in morning while United for a Cause is in evening. Comparing the two actual events is like comparing and apple and orange.

Now with that being said, there were also very notable differences in recovery. Where St Barts left me exhausted and needing downtime, there was no such recovery needed for United for a Cause other than stretching. I felt fine….. no twitching muscles, no need of extra calcium, no need of extra I felt like me.

It’s funny though how in life acceptance is a funny things. I don’t mean funny as full belly laugh, but funny in that you go back-and-forth with acceptance. I really thought that I had reached a stage of acceptance for being hypopara. I was wrong. I think I was just holding on to that everything would disappear with the Natpara and poof everything that comes with hypopara would be gone – no more monitoring for sypmtoms, balancing pills, and anxiety of what comes next.

All that being said, I did have unrealistic expectations for Natpara. I really thought of it as a magic pill or in this case magic shot where I would no longer have any symptoms or even think about having Hypopara. It would all just disappear. Now don’t get me wrong, it has been life changing I have also been able to stop taking Calcitroil and have lowered my calcium supplement intake while having great calcium levels. That being said, I still need to juggle supplements and symptoms.

I’m back to relearning what my body needs with my calcium intake. I pretty much knew what I needed when before starting and now I’m kind of back to square one. I’ve got it pretty down pat without heavy exercise, but as the miles increase I will need to add some more calcium to my routine especially during the hot summer months. It will all be worth it though and already is. I keep saying that I can’t go back and am so thankful to be able to feel like myself again.

So once again I’m back to the acceptance stage, but it is easier to accept when your feeling so much better.

Recovery Done Right

I will give you that most people don’t need to spend time recovering from just a 5K. I will give you that in the past even at my longest most grueling races, I haven’t really been good about recovery.

Case in point: I ran Dirty German 50K. I crossed the finish line. Since I was doing the race solo, I ended up getting food, gathering my stuff, and diving the few hours home. When I ran the Marine Corps Marathon, I was with my sister and mother. I grabbed some food. We grabbed an Uber back to our hotel that we were already checked out of and we did the long drive from DC to NJ. At least I only drove till we got to the first rest stop where I changed out of my race gear. Then my sister drove. At every NYC marathon, it is hours before I finally make it home to change and clean up.

You see a pattern here.

It’s not a good pattern, but one most can recognize. Running races usually means traveling to event even if it’s in driving distance. Most of us also usually have to get back to a day to day lives relatively quickly without a lot of time to relax.

Besides training, elite runners have an edge when it comes to recovery. It’s part of the job description because they know they need to take the time and they do. Granted, they might not need as much recovery as the rest of us but they also build it into their training. Why do those of us who probably need it more than they do, not take the time?

As said before……. We usually have to get back to our daily routines. We are usually feeling guilty for the time we take to train and do an event that taking that extra step makes us feel a little more selfish. It’s not selfish though. It’s part of training. One that we usually ignore to our own peril.

I am trying to be better which tends to happen when your body forces you to access what it needs. Yesterday it was easy because time was on my side. First I stretched after race. Then I came home and soaked in an Epsom salt bath. Then off to a nice lunch followed by a short nap. If all that wasn’t decadent enough……

I went for a Spa Pedicure that included a hot towel wrap with 10 minute leg massage. Then at completion of pedicure a 10 minute neck and shoulder massage. Pure heaven.

And while maybe a 5K didn’t need this much of a recovery, why not enjoy it when I have the time. Plus outside of my quads today, I am feeling pretty good. Everyone should be sore the day after pushing it in a race.

I am working on not just working so hard, but realizing that if I am going to push it to the limit that I also need to allow time to recover. Not view it as treating myself, but viewing it as necessary. I am turning 50 next month. As the saying goes, I am not getting any younger but that wont stop me. What will stop me is if I don’t realize that I am worth the extra time and not only am I worth it but it is necessary.

Train hard.

Race hard.

Recovery just as hard.

Well That Was Unexpected

I admit that I really did not know what to expect today. I went into this as you know with no plan. No expectations and just a wanting to run. I honestly thought that I would run too fast and end up having to carry myself to the finish, but I didn’t. The weather played nice and it was one of those beautiful Spring days where it is sunny and comfortable which made my choice of a tank and shorts perfect. I was wearing it anyway, but at least no one questioned it:)

I prepared for the race by resting yesterday, taking my meds before the race and having Cal-ez in my water to keep things stable. I got to the event early because I wanted to be able to park and also because I got the start time wrong by 1/2 hour. Better to be too early than too late. Getting there early allowed me to do some pre race stretching, chat with friends, and just do my favorite people watching. As the race was getting closer, I kept the plan of just running. So I did.

Luckily this course starts on a small uphill which does keep you in check because you think about it. This race has a lot of young kids running and they all take out like it’s a sprint. I found myself in the beginning running in the 9’s and I knew that would not work. So I slowed it down to a pace where I was still pushing but felt like I might be able to maintain. Good choice.

I did not watch my watch once I set my pace until the mid point. Then I looked at the time, I thought to myself…… I just might be able to be under 35 minutes. So I kept on running. I did walk up through a water stop. Then towards the end where I knew there was a short hill. When I was close to the top, I started walking but then realized once I turned it was downhill to the finish line.

So I ran. I ran hard. I ran fast. I ran through the finish line and when I finished I thought I wanted to Puke. My friend Robyn would be proud because that means that I was giving it all I had at least that is her theory. I am just happy that I didn’t throw up because their is apparently a stomach virus running through the High School with almost 200 kids out which, of course, meant discussion on town page. I thought to myself if I throw up they will all think I have the stomach bug and that will be another Facebook post and chaos to the 5k as people run away. So I walked it off and thankfully held it all together.

Not only did I hold it together, but it looks pretty with those negative splits.

Official Finish time: gun 31:38. chip 31:18

I’ve got to say that I didn’t think I had this in me. A friend replied to my Facebook post, “She’s Back.” And while I might dispute that comment, I can not deny how pleased I am with how I finished especially because I have not been training for time. I do think that what I am learning is that I need to stop thinking so much and as the saying goes… Shut up and run.

It was a good morning followed by a great day of recovery which I will chat about tomorrow:)

Racing to the Finish Line

As you know, I’ve completed my Couch to 5 K program. Although I have now run a 5K on my own now, I have not “officially” completed a 5K race since finishing the program. Tomorrow I will run a local 5K.

I’m running it because I like this race. It supports a local parish in town which is nice, but it also has the benefit of a nice fairly flat course. Plus I will know people running it too. Plus, I want to run a 5K again.

I’ve run this 5K twice. Once in 2014 where I finished in 27:17 and once in 2016 finishing in 27:20. Tomorrow my goal is to finish in under 35 minutes and if I’m really lucky and push it tremendously I would LOVE to finish in under 30 minutes. I don’t think that is going to happen, but a girl can dream.

Do I have a plan?

Nope.

Am I going to pace myself?

Nope

Am I being smart?

That’s debatable…….

Don’t worry Mom, I am preparing:) I’m adding Calez to my water which I will carry to keep my calcium levels up. I will take my meds earlier tomorrow before the race too.

Here’s the thing. Yes, I know that part of my running issues right now are health related and who knows what will happen once the Natpara starts. Maybe I will be able to train the way I used to, but really that comes secondary or third or fourth or fifth on the list. That being said, even without the physical aspect of being slower, in looking at my times on Athlinks I realized that my best times for running (minus the sub 2 half that I had a coach train me for), my best times, were when I just went out and ran with no plan. No thoughts. No set pace. I realize that I overthink which for some when running makes them a better runner. For me it might cause self doubt, un-realized self sabotage, and just giving up. Shocking, I know.

I need to get out of my own way. Remember the whole point of going back to C25K was to go back to basics. Well that also (for tomorrow) means just running to run. Running to push myself. Running to test my limits. Running to see how far I can push myself and at the end of the day have a realistic concrete idea of where my body is at and what it can do.

So I plan to start at the finish line and just run. Run just for the fun of it because I am not by any means hoping to PR for this event or my 5K PR of 26:26. It has been so long since I pushed myself and if I can push myself to a 30, 35, or even a 45 because I push too far and have to walk at least I will know where I am at.

Sometimes just knowing where you are at is all you need. And yes, there is a part of me that dreams that I will finish in a stellar time, but that is not the reality and you’ve got to have dreams. I need to take a chance to believe that I can push myself again because honestly I have been afraid of pushing too far.

Besides I plan to use what I learn tomorrow for future training that will be beginning in the near future, but we can talk about that after tomorrow.

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do even it it’s hard. Tomorrow is going to be hard but maybe it’s good to remind myself that I can do hard things!

A Warm Embrace

While I’m no longer in recovery right now, I will say that I am in some type of holding pattern.   I have not run since NY.   Not even from the house to the car.   Maybe a fast walk, but nothing close to a run.   There are a few reasons, but those aren’t for today.

Toady I still want to talk about NY.

Prior to the marathon I toyed with not getting the NYCM poncho and checking a bag instead.   Logistically checking a bag made more sense because I was planning to take the train out of the city and without a checking bag, I would literally only have what I could carry with me.   I went back and forth and realized that for me, there is nothing better than having the poncho draped around my shoulders by the very caring volunteers.

I’ve done many events (including triathlons) where I come home in what I raced in.   The worst, I admit, was after running the Marine Corps Marathon.   After it, I used wipes to clean up the best I could and then got in my car and drove away.   It wouldn’t have been bad for a normal drive home, but I was leaving DC to go to NJ.   I did manage to do a clean up in a rest stop on the way home.  A close second was the 2 hour drive home after running a 50K.   This is not recommended though.   So with this thought process, I knew that I would be able to hop a train in my running attire.

I also knew that I could make this work, because I am not a minimalistic  runner and wear my Fitletic belt that I also have an add of to hold a phone.   Since I put my phone in the big pocket, I knew that I could use this accessory to hold extra medications, charger, fuel, and even my headphones.   Then I put my credit card and id in the main belt.   I do admit that I might refer to my Fitletic belt as my bat belt.    As a mother of all boys, I identify with Batman having all the tools he needs on his belt.

My only concern would be if the weather was very cold or it was raining.   I had decided though that it didn’t matter and if for some reason I felt the need to have anther set of clothes that I would be in NY and it would be very easy to acquire them.   Luckily the weather was perfect, so this became a non issue.

There is something very nice at the end of a long day to have a smiling, friendly volunteer envelope you in your poncho.    There is no comparison to a heat sheet.

So now that the race is over, what do I plan to do with my poncho?   Keep it, of course.   I have kept my old one in the trunk of my car and used it at my kids sporting events.   I have used it when unprepared for rain/snow or just he cold.   I plan to put this one in our second car.

So when given the choice….. Get the poncho!

What have you done with yours since the race?