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It’s Not Just About the Numbers

I will admit that I am a numbers person.   I like keep track of how far I’ve run.   I like to keep track of pace and distance.   I am never one to run without my Garmin.   That being said, there is so much more to running that sometimes we forget.   Sometimes the universe sends us a curve ball to remind us.

Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with chasing time.   I’ve done it.    I trained hard to be able to get a sub 2 half.    I was never able to obtain the 4:30 marathon or 25 minute 5K.   Although I admit that I came close with a 26.26 5K and I could never shave off the 8 minutes to get the 4:30.    But as much as I chased these dreams, I was never completive enough to be totally vested in them.

To me this race was never about the race, but the experience.   It was about raining money for Sandy Hook Promise and trying to bring about change.   It was about so much more for me.   I was excited about the challenge of raising money for them.   I was not equally excited about running the marathon.   My heart was in the fundraising, but also in just getting to the finish line for those 26 angels who broke my heart and made me promise to try and bring about change for the future.

45377532_10215894900197880_9159796036858806272_n (1)When I saw this picture after the race, I took this as a sign that those 26 angels were with me that day.   They were the reason that I ran.    They were what got me to the finish line.  Yeah, I really do believe this.

It was by far my slowest marathon at 6:10:13.    I can honestly say though it was my most enjoyable race ever.   Not that I wasn’t in pain by mile 6.    Not that I didn’t need to stop to take more calcium because I was feeling wonky from low calcium.    It’s because for the first time I really, really took in my surroundings.   Not chasing time allowed me to chase the experience more fully.    This is not to say that when I ran for time that I didn’t enjoy it, but there was much I missed.

I missed stopping to take in this view and take a picture.

I missed helping a little old lady with a cane navigate her way across the street when she looked overwhelmed, (Seriously, I helped an old lady cross the street)

I missed walking with a man whose been running the marathon since 1978 and hearing his stories of how the marathon has changed.   He loves the changes.   He love the race and he loves how even though his goal now is to try to finish before dark that he is still moving.

I missed taking in the grit of a hand cyclist at he was hours into the race and still pushing through.

I missed stopping to take pictures with random strangers because I loved their sign.

I missed around mile 23 taking a power bar from a child passing them out and hearing his mother telling him that she told him someone would take it.   Then seeing how excited he was.   Best of all, devouring said energy bar that never tasted so good.

I missed remembering that even at my fastest the time really didn’t matter because as much as a number person I am that I had to look what my PR marathon time was (4:38), but I will always remember the 6 hours and 10 minutes and 13 seconds running this marathon took.

More tomorrow as there is always so much to unpack with a marathon!

A Journey Not Yet Done…..

On April 7th I applied to join the Sandy Hook Promise NYC Marathon Team.   I was nervous, but I also knew that this was a cause that I whole heartedly believed in.   I also knew that it would be a long shot for me to make the team.   To my surprise, a month latter I got notification that a spot was mine if I would accept not just the challenge of running 26.2 miles, but also agreeing to raise $3,000.   As much as I knew I would say yes, I also had panic attacks thinking that if I didn’t reach my goal I would be responsible for it.   That being said if I had thousands of dollars to donate on my own I would have jumped without thought, but I’ve got 3 kids with one just starting college.   This was a huge commitment to take on.   One that I couldn’t refuse though.  There were many reasons to politely walk away.

I did it anyway.

Over the next month, there were contracts to be signed, forms to be completed, and registering through NYRR for NYC Marathon.   Then I was able to get my fundraising page set up on May 30th.

Fundraising Page

Off I went.

Fast forward to today where I have reached my goal.   I know that I have said this before, but I have been blown away time and time again during this process.    It has touched my soul to see the outpouring of support for Sandy Hook Promise.    I still remember talking with a friend more than a year after the tragedy at Sandy Hook.   She said to me, “You are very angry and I think you need to do something.”

She was right.   I was angry.   I was angry that more people weren’t angry.   I was angry that more wasn’t being done to prevent these tragedies which continued to happen.   I was angry because I did feel helpless, but then I realized that I wasn’t alone in my anger and wanting to bring about change.    As soon as I learned of the Sandy Hook Promise organization, I became a supporting member.   I continued to share their message and work for change.

As time passed Sandy Hook Promise has grown into more than just a promise, but a plan of action.   They have evolved.   Currently they offer free to schools and communities programs such as Know the Signs,  SOS signs of Suicide Prevention Program, Start with Hello,  and a Safety and Intervention program.    I have been told that my school district will be implementing the Start with Hello program this coming school year.   These free resources to schools are not free and can only happen with the donations that are made to Sandy Hook Promise.

It is with this thought that I decided to tackle my personal fundraising.   I firmly believe that we need to do better for our children.   As hokey as it sounds (and you hear Whitney in your head when I say it)….

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride
To make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be

This could not be more true and it is up to us as the adults to lead the way.   Although there are many children who are bolding leading it too.

This whole journey from seeing the application by chance to today has been surreal.    Everything has felt like it has fallen into place and each step has felt like it was meant to be even if I can honestly say there was much anxiety in the beginning.   At some point though, I knew it would all fall into place and if it didn’t that was ok too.   Some might see these as coincidences.   I have started to see them as the signs that they are.

When I joined this campaign, I joined for no other reason than I believe in this cause and want to make a difference in the way that I can.   I find it fitting that exactly 2 months to the day of starting my fundraising that I have met my goal.   Even more fitting that a very dear friend was the one to take me over my goal.   That being said, I am so appreciative of everyone who has supported not me, but Sandy Hook with their donations.   One of my favorite expressions is Together We Can Make a difference and it is amazing to see that in action.

That being said, I’m going to continue this journey for Sandy Hook right up till I cross that finish line and even after:)

 

 

Running for a Cause

When fundraising for a race, there is so much more that needs to be put on the line than your running shoes.    Before committing to it, you really need to weigh the options.

I have never been one who wanted fundraise for my running.   Then the epiphany was that I’m not really fundraising for my running, but for a cause that I believe in.  I’ve said it several times, I would be perfectly fine not to be running NY This year.   But I am also extremely stoked about being able to run it as a Sandy Hook Promise Runner.   Running NYC is a bonus to being able to help support Sandy Hook Promise.   As I’ve said in previous posts, I felt that this was meant to be which is why I took the leap of faith.

So the first piece of advice is to make sure that the charity you are raising money for is one that you firmly believe in and can get behind.    With Sandy Hook Promise, I didn’t just sign up on the dotted line.   I had to fill out a questionnaire regarding volunteer work and explain why this cause was important to me.   This was easy for me to do because I have been active in this cause since the Sandy Hook shooting.   Just ask any  of my friends especially those on my Facebook page.

You must be also willing to put your money where your mouth is.   When push comes to shove, you have to be willing to put up your own money if you don’t reach your fundraising goal.   I pledged to raise $3,000.   I am happy to report that I have reached the half way point in my fundraising efforts, but I still have a ways to go.

You also have to be willing to go out of your comfort zone.    I’ve had to be bolder than I wanted to be.   I’ve had to point blank ask people for donations.   I’ve had to put myself out there in ways that I never would if I was asking for myself, but I am willing to put myself there for Sandy Hook Promise.  This is not about me.

You also have to be willing to put the time in.   Raising a large sum of money is not something that you can do in your sleep.   It does become a bit of a part time job and you must be willing to put in the hours.   Yes, I do mean hours.    Unless you have rich family and friends willing to finance your fundraising effort, you are going to need to work for it.   That being said since it is a cause that you firmly believe in,  you know that it is all worth it.

On top of this, you do need to still train for said race.   Anyone who has ever trained for a marathon knows that in and of itself is a part time job.   So you will need to deal with two part time jobs until you reach your fundraising goal.

Now with all that being said……

I am beyond  honored to be running as part of the Sandy Hook Promise Team.    I am thrilled to share their message.    Their cause of protecting our children is one that we can all get behind.    I have run 5 marathons and each one of them I ran for me and I had my own goal.   This time, my only goal is to run (walk) wearing my Sandy Hook Promise gear and be worthy of wearing the Sandy Hook Promise Gear.   When I say that I run for #26for26, I truly mean it and how honored I am to be able to run for the victims of Sandy Hook.   That day changed me and I am so honored to run for them, give back and help to bring about change.

One of my favorite quotes that I often use is Be the Change you want to see in this world.

Be_the_Change

So if you ever want to run a race for charity, I say go for it.

Now if you are inspired to make a donation, you can right here Fundraising Page for Sandy Hook

See you’ve got to be willing to ask and get out of your comfort zone!

 

 

Getting It Done

The thing about having an “invisible” illness, a complicated illness, a rare illness is that your start to wonder if it’s all in your head.   It’s easy to do too, because most of the time you keep it to yourself.  Then if you do say something many don’t understand and some will think you are exaggerating.   So after a while you just suck it up and go about your day.   The more you do that, the more you start to wonder if it really is all in your head.  Then you begin to question it all.

Are my legs so sore in  morning because I’m getting older?

Can I not run this fast because I’m just not training enough?

Am I taking it too easy because I forgot how to push myself?

Suck it up Buttercup!

Then you remember…

You do have it.   It is real.   It’s not in your head.   It sucks, but it could be much worse.   Most importantly, your doing the best that you can.

Now the best that I can isn’t what it used to be.   I also know there are many people with this disorder who would love to do what I can do on my worst day. I also  know that I am lucky.   Once when I shared something about Hypoparathyroidism, someone commented to me to my face, “Don’t take this wrong, but everyone has something.”

I was too shocked to do anything but agree with her.   And I do agree with her.   I know that everyone has their own battles.   I will be the first to admit that.   I also know that even the battle that I face could be so much worse.  That being said, just because I share my battles does not mean that I think someone else’s battles are less important.   As the Care Bears used to say, “sharing is caring.”   We all have our stuff and it is good to be able to openly share our battles because it does make the load a little lighter and easier to carry.

These are things that went through my mind on my training run yesterday.   It was the longest run I have done this training cycle.  I notice that it takes my body now a good 3 miles before it gets into the groove of running.   Then I was having some doubts about my running.   Comparing it to the last time that I was training for NY which is crazy because not only was that pre hypoparthyroidism, but I had an amazing running coach who had me hopping.   I never compare myself to other runners, but I do compare myself to where I was which is something that I must stop doing.   I will say that I think I’m in a better place now than when I was training for Chicago.   I do think actually training with the walk/run and following it this time will make for a better race.

Yesterday’s run was good and bad.   That is why we train.   I could start to recognize a pattern.   Start to tweak it.  I also slowed down to wear realistically I should be for my long runs right now.   8 miles with an average pace was 12:23.   I never went into the red zone for my heart rate and kept my heart rate in zone 4 according to my Garmin.   I have recently been trying to pay closer attention to my heart rate as apposed to pace.  I’m also trying to figure out paces for running and walking.   It’s a work in progress, but I am getting it done.  Sticking to the loose plan that I am following.  As the training runs get longer and I approach the NYCM, I want to be able to project approximate target times for distance.   More so that I don’t go out too fast like I did last time.   I don’t anticipate running the paces  I did last time.  If I go out too fast I might not bounce back as I did last time.

 

2016 NYCM

You can clearly see the wall at mile 20.

No Joke.

I think running for Sandy Hook Promise does take the pressure off some and add its elsewhere.   It takes it off because I know that I am not running this for me.  I was serious when I said that I wasn’t planning on any marathons this year.   I am training to be able to run this race as a proud member of the Sandy Hook Promise Team.   Like anyone on a team, your know that it’s not about you.  I don’t want to waste this opportunity given to me.    As I often post with my training runs #26for26.  I am so blessed to be given this opportunity to run for something that I believe in and don’t want to squander this opportunity.

 

Sandy Hook Promise Fundraiser

 

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Giving it all I’ve Got

I’ve started training for NYC Marathon.   I had been thinking that I was pretraining, but then I actually looked and yup, I’m training.    I am following the Jeff Galloway “To Finish”  Program and it’s actually a 26 week program.   In looking at the calendar if I do my math correctly, I believe that puts me at week 3 of training.  Oops, time to play catch up:)

Training for a marathon is a long process, yet at the same time it goes quickly.

I’m going to be very upfront in how things are going and I’m sure it won’t all be rainbows and sunshine.   That being said, I am so lucky to be given this opportunity and remind myself that I am not doing this for me, but for Sandy Hook Promise.

Anyhoo…. Even with the “To Finish” program, I know that I will be giving it all I’ve got.

Giving it all i got

I went out for a run.   I was just shy of 5 miles at 4.7, but it happens.   I used the ratio of 3 minutes run to 45 seconds walk.    It seemed like a good ratio, but I’m still feeling it out.   I will say that I liked it.   I tried to keep my run part around 11 and walk not at a Sunday stroll nor a power walk, but somewhere in between.   It seemed to be a good balance as my overall pace was 11:17.

As I was running though, I was trying to connect my body to where my mind is which is harder than you think.   In my mind, I still am so much faster.   My body disagrees.  Besides that  I also have to reconcile that with the run/walk method there will be times that I’m out for my run where I’m going to be walking and people will see.    That’s a mental thing, but one that I will deal with too.

Here is the thing…..   I can only do what I can do.   Yes, running is very much a mental sport, but in the end you can only do what your body will allow.    I’ve also got to use this training time to know when to add more calcium and magnesium.    When I was training for Chicago, I had a doctor who kept my calcium levels  in the mid normal range which may have made things better for running, but overall was not good for my health as it left too much calcium in urine (not good for kidneys).    So I’ve learned more this last year and I’ve also got my specialist that is keeping my calcium at just below normal.    That is good overall, but I do need to adjust more now on running days.   It will also be a training exercise to know how much is enough and how much is too much.

Yesterday was not enough.   It didn’t help that the night before I fell asleep and forgot to take my calcium and magnesium.   I also should have added more calez during run and realized that a Epsom salt bath afterwards might not have been as indulgent as I thought it would have been.

This is what happens when your don’t hit the right balance.   Your muscles dance which isn’t as fun as it sounds….

It’s a work in progress, but whose life isn’t.

We live.   We learn.   We move forward.

 

How Did I get here????

If you’ve been following my journey, you know that I whole heartedly did not want to run any big races this year.   I was content to run the NYC Half and call it a year.   I clearly said that I did not want a fall marathon.   I did not want to train over the summer with my oldest leaving for college.   I stomped my feet, crossed my arms, and knew that I was going to sit this year out.

But things change.

Things evolve.

And sometimes, sometimes you are given clear signs that you need to do something that you said you wouldn’t do.

This is what happened.

I am a believer is receiving signs if you are open to them.    At first, I ignored them but then I realized that this was something that I needed to do.   Not to run a marathon, because I meant that part about not wanting to run one.    I will run one though.   I will run it happily because to me this year it is not about the marathon but about the cause.

Sandy Hook Promise

This was a group that I joined almost as soon as I heard about it.    The tragedy at Sandy Hook hit me hard as with so many others.   It changed me.    It made me want to get involved which I did, but I always felt that I could and should do more especially as each tragic shooting occurred.   This is something that I can do.   This is something that is a concrete way to help an organization that is trying to what we all want: Protect children from gun violence.

Here is their mission and approach:

“Prevent gun-related deaths due to crime, suicide and accidental discharge so that no other parent experiences the senseless, horrific loss of their child.”   They are working and implementing in communities and schools research based programs and practices such as Know the Signs programs.   You can visit the SandyHookPromise.org website for more information.

This is my way to help them help others.    I will be running NYC Marathon to raise $3,000 for this cause that I feel so strongly about.    This is a leap of faith because while I know that I can run a marathon, I’m not too sure about my fundraising skills.   I am willing to take this risk.

If you would like to contribute to this worthy cause, please visit my fundraising page at Fundraising Website.

I am excited about this prospect for many reasons and the process of being part of a team of runners who support this amazing cause.   I am heading into this marathon training to finish the race, enjoy the process, and most of all support such a worthy cause.

SandyHookPromise