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Getting to the Finish Line…

 

I’ve already learned or should I say…. I’ve already made the mistake of crashin and burning at one marathon.   I went out WAY too fast in  New York running the first half like I didn’t have 13 more to go.   I suffered the consequences when I hit the wall and hit it hard.    I didn’t get my A, B, or even C goal.   I just squeaked in under the 5 hour mark which was my last resort.    All that being said, when I hit the wall, I was able to maybe not climb over it but I was able to push through it.   I made it to the finish line.

Here is the thing though…

I don’t want to admit it.   I want to pretend that I am exactly where I was a year ago, but every run proves me wrong.    I need to get my head screwed on straight and do it quick.

Yes I talk about it all the time, but it is past time that I stop pretending the I’m “recovering” from an injury at this point in time.   Yes, I did need to recover from my surgery.   Yes, there was a recovery time, but I am no longer recovering.   What I am dealing with is a lifelong illness.

Blah.. Blah… Blah…. Blah.

Yes, I talk about it all the time.   I think about it even more.

Right now though, I can’t both train for the distance and try to get my speed back.   There might come a time where I can hold the pace, but that time is not now.   And lets face it, I’m not getting any younger.   In two years I’m reaching a big milestone and people generally don’t get faster the older they get.   I’m pretty sure that I will not be that anomoly.

Does it suck?

you bet.

Could it be worse?

Much!

Am I lucky?

Yup.

Do I have a choice?

Not really.

Here is the thing….   I can push myself to run a faster pace, but it is not a pace that I could hope to keep for a marathon.   It’s not even a pace that I can keep for a 5K.

Reality bites as they say.

So once again, I am faced with deciding if it is worth pushing my body to hit the wall in Chicago or if I want to make it to the finish line.   I’m pretty sure that I can’t do both.   I’m pretty certain that my training will go a lot better when I start facing the reality of where I am today.   Today, I am at a walk run ratio.   This does not mean that when I am running that I should be hitting under a 10 minute pace or even under 9 which I briefly did.   I’m not there yet.   Maybe once again but not today and certainly not in the 47 days till Chicago.

What to do?   What to do?

As a runner who likes numbers, it is hard to run/walk because when running alone I tend to push the run faster than I should.   I worry that I will do that in Chicago. It is always hard in any race to hold back even when you know you should.

I think what I realistically need to do is just say out loud that I may not run a 5:00 marathon.  I really am not sure what I can do, but am willing to find out.   I have to train to keep my runs where they should be which is no faster than a 10:45 pace.   I have to stop worrying about my average pace.    I have to say….

This is ok.

This is where I am.

The goal is to finish.

That is enough.

It has to be.

butterfly tied to rock

 

 

Going Soft

I’ve already said that I’ve gone soft around the middle some more, but I also am starting to wonder if I’m just going soft overall.

As a runner or any athlete, the goal is always to push yourself.   Push yourself hard.   Push yourself past the pain.    What if I’ve gone soft in no longer being able to do that?    What if I’ve become afraid to push myself too far, so I don’t push far enough?   For any athlete, you must always ask yourself, “How much more do I have in me?”

Prior to not having a fully functioning parathyroid, there was no fear in pushing my body to it’s limits. It was perfectly healthy and there were no real consequences to doing so.  Only short term pain. Once hypopara, there are real consequences.  So now I find that even when I push myself I may not push myself to the limit because there will be consequences that were not on the table before.

This week I’ve gone out for two runs so far.   I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone some, but I’ve also been playing it safe.   I’m paying close attention to my body.    Both runs I used my version of the run/walk method as I don’t think that I would be able to do the run without it.    Both runs I thought to myself, “If I can’t even go this distance, how the Hell am I going to finish a marathon in just 2 months.”   In thinking that, I realized that prior to my surgery that would have never even crossed my mind that I couldn’t do it.

I also realized on these runs that once the breathing becomes heavy on my runs instead of pushing through, I back off some.    I’m trying to decide whether this is something that I need to do for my body or if my mind is playing tricks on me.    I can’t decide.   I also am wondering if I learn to keep the pace slow and steady if that would help me to run farther without walking.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the walk/run method.   I know many people who use it.    I’ve even had some in my hypopara groups say that they wouldn’t be running without it.  I’m still just trying to find out where I am and what I should be doing.   I’m still trying to let go of old expectations.    Mostly, I’m still trying to figure out what my body needs to do it’s job without my mind playing tricks on me.

Running is mental.   We all know that.   In the back of my mind though, I worry that I’m going to push my body too far.   It is one of the reasons that I stick to main roads now.   I think, “well if something happens and I need help…..”    This is not really me and I don’t like the way this person thinks.

The trick is to test my limits without being an idiot.   Hmmmm.  Not sure how that works.

As always

I’m a work in progress

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What is your Why?

 

 

 

When I first started racing, it was exciting.   It was fun.   I couldn’t stop myself from signing up for things on a whim.    There was fire.    My first race ever was the Sprint Triathlon in September of 2013.   Since then according to Athlinks, I’ve run 42 races.    Considering I have only done 2 races this year, that comes to a lot of races in such a short period of time.  This year, I only have a few races on the calendar which I am enjoying.

When I first started running, I had something to prove to myself.   It was a challenge.   It was fun.   I had my running race buddies.   I couldn’t stop.   Then I did.  Now it was time to reevaluate and regroup.  I have different reasons for running now.   I am in a different place.   As said before, I know that the reason I want to run Chicago is just to run it to prove that I can.

I was talking to someone who deferred a big race.   She was coming back from an injury, but originally thought that she would push through to train.    She then realized that she was planning on pushing through her injury for a race that she no longer really felt like running.   The desire just wasn’t there.  We  get to a point where we have to start questioning why we are doing the things we are doing and what would happen if we didn’t do them.   She had nothing to prove to herself.   She also realized that her heart just wasn’t in it.   Once her decision was made, she felt relief.

Often subconsciously  we know what we need to do and even the reasons why, but for some reason we feel like we just need to keep doing the same thing.  We feel like we would be a quitter.   Like somehow we are a failure when the reality could not be further from the truth.   Sometimes stepping back and being true to ourselves is so much braver than soldiering through.   Unknowingly we fall into patterns of doing thing because we think that we should do them. We think we will disappoint others or just because we don’t want to have to think about why we are feeling that way.   Sometimes we can’t even explain it to ourselves.

I always say honestly is the best policy.   Those that know me personally know that they shouldn’t ask me a question if they do not want an upfront and honest answer.   Being honest with ourselves is just as important.   We put too much pressure on ourselves not just with our running but life in general   As with life, sometimes in our running we have to step back to evaluate our motives and desires as they can change over time without us even realizing it.  What was once a driving force may no longer ring true to us anymore.  And sometimes you have to  ask  the hard questions.  You know just what to ask too.  Only you have the answers, but you need to allow yourself time to find them.

My one piece of advice to you – No matter what  make sure that you are still having fun! I don’t mean that you should laugh your way through your training, but just make sure it doesn’t become a job.  Running is a great stress relief and we all have so much on our plates that running should be something that gets us away from it all and shouldn’t feel like something we have to do:)

One thing that I have noticed these last few months is that I am content not to be on such a tight race schedule.   Always training.   Always planning.   As much as I enjoyed the hard training that I put in and running the races,   I can honestly say that I am happy where I am in my training.  I am content to sit on the couch a little longer in the morning.  I am putting in the miles that I will need to be ready for Chicago, but I am not consumed by my training.   I am flexible.  The fire still burns but maybe right now it’s not as hot.   When and if the time comes, I can always turn up the flame.  I know part of it comes from knowing that I am not chasing a time, but running for me and what more can I ask for?

Whats-your-why

 

 

Be Where You Are

I’m not where I used to be.    A major part of me knows that is ok.   A small part of me is still coming to terms with it.   I really wish that I could shut that small part of me up, but it’s a work in progress.   I feel that right now everything is a work in progress but isn’t that everyone?   What was once easy is now difficult, but what was once impossible is now possible.   It’s all in the way you look at things.

Moving forward but not giving up.

I’ve said before that mentally I think that I need to run Chicago.    What I need to do though and I’ve said it before is adjust expectations.    Easier said than done, but I am getting better.

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Here’s the thing that I keep reminding myself and coming back to……

I’m not an elite athlete.   I’m not winning any medals except the medals that I earn just crossing the finish line.     I’m not a contender.    Running is not my job and I do not want to make it feel like it is my job either.   There is no hidden agenda in my running.

Here is what I am….

I am a Mama runner who just wants to run.    I want to be able to clear my head by going out for a run.   I want to be able to get a good workout in at the best of my ability.    I want to run with my friends.     I want to be healthy and running is something that both mentally and physically helps with that.

So I’m really trying to let go of where I used to be and hold onto where I am.    I also know that I am very lucky.   There are some people with calcium issues that can’t do anything physically without their calcium crashing.    I also know that I have to be smart with my training for Chicago.   I’ve got a lot going on and I’ve still got a lot to learn with how my body will deal with not just the training but the training in the heat.   It seems to effect me more now.   It’s a learning process.  As a friend a ran with today pointed out, I’ve got a lot of pieces that still need to be put together.

I’m trying to embrace being where I am at and I am very lucky to have a great support system of not just “running friends” but real friends who I happen to run with!    Today I went out with a friend for a few miles.   The weather is in the 80’s with 73% humidity.   With the humidity at those levels, it was brutal.   I did walk when I needed to which “is what it is.”    Even with walking, it was still a hard run.   It was still 6 miles and I still got it done.   And honestly it was overall still a good pace at 12:13.

We all know that running is a mental sport…. From talking ourselves out the door to pushing our bodies to make the impossible possible.    It (and I’ve said this before) is also accepting where you are on a given day and period in your life.   I am where I am today and that is enough.

It is enough…..

To get out the door

To run and to also walk.

To do the best that I can at a given day.

To accept that no matter what pace I’m running, it is enough.

To cut myself a break when needed and push myself when needed.

And most of all….That I am in competition with no one not even who I used to be.

start-where-you-are-use-what-you-have

 

 

You Just Have to Go

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again more for me than you:)

I’m not a world class athlete.   I’m not a top 10 finisher.  Although I have had a few good finishes I will admit.   Those have been at smaller events though.   In looking over my races in Athlinks, I can say that I’ve had some good races with some nice paces.  Normally though I admit that I am a middle of the packer.

I’m not many things, but what I am is determined.

I am determined to not to be the fastest or run the furthest, but to just keep going.   At this point it is all I can do and really all I want to do.    I’ve pushed myself to run fast.   I’ve pushed myself to run far.   Right now all I want to do is push myself out the door.   To run with no purpose other than to run.   No agendas.   No plans.

This is not to say that in the back of my mind I don’t have goals or plans.   I do.   Everyone does.    But for right now, getting out the door is enough.

I have no desire to run 40 miles a week that I was running before my surgery.   I would like thought to get out the door at least three times during the week.   I would be happy with 20 miles a week.    I’m not even close to being there yet.

I was having lunch with a friend today and we were lamenting about how easy it is to stop running, but how hard it is to start back up again.   Even when you really have the desire to run.  Routines change.   Excuses are easier to form.   Life gets in the way.    Right now it’s really a day by day thing.   I’m trying to get back into the routine of it all.    It does my heart good o know that I am not alone.  There are a few of us for various reasons all trying to get our mojo back.   I think that now that Spring is on the horizon that will help tremendously.

On today’s run we were talking about how the NJ Half is only a month away.   We are all know that it’s well past time to stop putting off on our training and that we need to get serious.   One thing that I was saying is that although I have been very happy not to have had an event on my calendar every month like in previous years, that it is much easier to put off running when your feel like your calendar is clear.  That will be something I will think about for next year.

For now though I am thinking only about getting out and running.

As I said today…

You don’t have to go far.   You don’t have to go fast.   You just have to go.

This will be my new manta for now.

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So this week is off to a great start with 5 miles in the books.   Tomorrow will be a rest day with some blood work to see how things are going.   Then Wednesday, its time to get back out there.

Do The Right Thing

In Life many times, we wonder if we have made the right decision.   Sometimes we have regrets, but sometimes we can wholeheartedly know we made the right decision.   This is one of those times.

We need to embrace these times too.

Over the last week, I’ve had a few good runs.  I’ve been happy with where I am at.   I’ve started thinking about what I want to do this year.   My first event that I’m scheduled to run is the New Jersey Half Marathon.    Right now my goal is just to run it, but I wanted to look to see how my training has been overall.    When I was hard core training I used a program called Training Peaks.    When I thought I might run the NJ Marathon and not the half, I had bought a marathon training program to use with the program.   Yesterday, I logged on for the first time in probably a month.   This is when I realized that I had done the right thing.

According to the marathon training program, my mileage for the week should have been 32 with a long run of 16.

HA!

My total miles for the week were 13 with a long run of 6.5.

I don’t want to be running 32 miles right now.   Funny thing too is when I changed the training program to a half, it is right about where I am right now.   Better yet, it is right about where I want to be.

I am happy that I took the time that both my body and mind needed.    I’m happy that my running seems to be getting stronger.   I’m happy that i seem to be getting back into the rhythm of not just my running but my life.

I’m happy now:)

And that I will take over running a marathon any day.

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ROAR!

Facebook is a funny thing.    Some of it I love.   Some of it I don’t and sometimes it depends on the day.   Today was a day that I loved.   I had a memory pop up into my feed of a post from this date in 2013 that read the following:

Ok, I’m putting it out there since it seems to be getting out……I signed up for the September Danskin Triathlon for September. 1/2 Swim in Sandy Hook Bay, 10 mile biking, and 3 mile run (maybe walk). My goal is just to complete it and not die:)

What a great reminder.

When I wrote this post, I was just starting to work out after I’m talking YEARS off and having three c-section babies.   I had not done anything other than chasing kids for a long time.   Even though it was purely by accident that I even heard of the race, it was even a bigger surprise that I signed up for it.   I had a very persistent friend talk me into it.  I’m so glad she did.

This Facebook memory is perfect  after yesterday’s post.  Looking back, I had no business signing up to run a Sprint Triathlon.   I couldn’t swim 2 laps without stopping in a pool and I won’t even mention that I wasn’t swimming with proper form.   Not only did I not have the right bike, but I only ever rode my bike around the campgrounds on vacation.   Then there was the running.   I hated it because I couldn’t do it.   I got winded running out to my car.

None of that mattered at all though.

What I did have was a willingness to push myself.  To take myself out of my comfort zone.    To know that no matter what I was going to give it my all and not give up.   I had passion.   I had drive.   I had attitude.  I may also have been an idiot, but at least I was an idiot who was willing to do what it took.

Part of the reason that I pushed myself so hard was to prove to myself and those who doubted me that I could do it.   Now it is not others doubting my abilities, it is me.   So maybe instead of doubting myself, it is time to prove what I can do.

It is time to go old school (back to 2013).

Time to start setting some realistic goals or for that matter any goals.

Game on.

The Little Runner that Could

One of my boys favorite books when they were little was The Little Engine That Could.   That feel good story about a little train who knew he could get over the mountain and did.   We can all learn from that little blue train.

little-engineSeriously.

How many times do we talk ourselves out of something before we even attempt it?   Believing you can do something will push you to at least try.   Doubting that you can do it will make you say, “What is the point?”    We need to take a lesson from the little blue engine.   Now I’m not saying just because I start chanting, “I think I can.   I think I can.” am I going to  be able to run a sub 3 marathon.   What it does mean though is that if I set a somewhat realistic goal like a sub 4:30, I might be able to do it with lots of hard work.   It’s all abut knowing where you are and pushing yourself to do the things that might be just a little bit hard.

It’s about going out of your comfort zone.

Today I pushed myself out of the relatively comfy running I’ve been doing.   I decided that I needed to push myself from where I am today not 4 months ago.

You know what?

It was a good run.

I had a plan.   I wanted to do 5 miles.   I wanted to push myself to run faster than I have been lately which has been in the mid 11’s.   I also wanted to get back to controlling my pace and not letting it control me.

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It might not look like it, but I felt like I took control back today.   My goal was a warm up mile, 2 miles at 10:30, 1 at 10:15 and 1 at 10:00.   Then I came home and took the dog for a mile walk to cool down.   So I actually got in 6 miles today!

What was different about today’s run.   I went into in knowing it was going to be hard.   It was hard.   What surprised me though is that after I started running I actually tweaked my plan to these paces shaving off 10 seconds for each mile.    Even then I did feel like I had to hold back and I had to keep myself in check.   Overall it was a good run and it was a good confidence booster.

It might have been just what I needed.

I think I can.

I think I can.

I will.

Time to Get Going

You know what they say

when-the-going-gets-tough

Well I already know from life experience that  I’m pretty tough.   So it is time to get going.  That being said, I will be honest.   I almost didn’t get out the door today.   I’m out of habit.   I’m out of shape and my couch was just too comfy.   Luckily, I had made plans to run with a friend and she texted about going out for our run.  Hard to say I just want to sit on the couch when your friend is texting and your 10 year old is saying “Run Forest Run.”

Out the door I went.

It wasn’t really that pretty.   I have definitely lost stamina while more than likely increasing mass, but I’m not getting on a scale to verify.   No more negative splits.

You know what?

I’m actually ok with that.

You know why?

I’m running again.

It is going to take time to build a base again.   I’m also right where I want to be.   I’ve got 4 months to build back up for the NJ Marathon.   Perfect timing and incentive to get going.

I’ve got this.

 

Moving Forward While Sitting Still

When I wrote my last post about taking the rest of the year off, I really did not know what type of feedback that I would get.   I mean this is a running blog.   I have a lot of amazing running friends.    And again, this is a running blog….

Guess what?

I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback and nothing negative.   Now this is not to say that people may not have thought, “What the heck is she doing and she’s an idiot.”   If they felt that way, they didn’t say it.  As I said before, I know that I will pay the price for time off my feet.   It is a price that I am more than willing to take though.

Sometimes we put so much internal pressure on ourselves just because we think that we should be doing XYZ and for what?   I know for me, I am not someone who will ever win a race.   I’m not going to ever be a Boston Qualifier.   At this point, I’m not even sure if I will ever get the elusive 4:30 marathon time I’ve been chasing.   This is all internal.   There is no one yelling at me to go faster, work harder, or run further.   To be honest, I think my hubby might like this little break that I’m on even if like me he knows its only temporary.

The end of the year is normal a reflective time for many of us not just about our fitness goals but life in general.   For those of us just coming off of fall marathon season, it is also a time to reflect how our performance measured up to the reality of the race.     This then can add to the pressure.   I’m going to be reflecting on those goals and seeing what if any goals to make for 2017.

I’ll be honest……   As happy as I was to finish NYCM, it was my worst finish time for a marathon for a whole host of reasons I’ve already discussed.   Anyway in my mind, I had dreamed that NY would be the best marathon (time wise) that I would or have ever run.   That is not the reality.  Even though it has been my favorite marathon and I love it, time wise it didn’t measure up.  I didn’t measure up.   Running a marathon takes a toll not just on the body which it beats up pretty badly, but it also takes a toll on the mind.    So just as the body needs a break to recover from running, the mind needs a break from it too.

I was texting a friend who contacted me about my last blog post.    She was saying how she had dreamed about running NY here whole life and although she finished, she was not happy with her time either.   Since the marathon, she has been pushing herself with her miles and paces.   The thing is…….    No matter what she does now, it will not change the outcome of the marathon.   As I told her though, just finishing is honestly an amazing accomplishment.    As another saying goes, if running a marathon was easy; everyone would do it.   As true as that statement is, it does not necessarily make it better though.   That being said, as with everything in life you must make peace with the past.   Our marathon times are in the past.    We can’t go back and change them and the would of, could of, and should of’s in life will drive you nuts.   So it is time to more forward.

Life is about redemption.   Moving forward.   The past is important.   Lessons should be learned and with any luck mistakes will not be repeated.

There are other races even the same ones if we choose.

There is also time.    Time may not heal all wounds ( I think that is the biggest misconception), but it does make things easier.     And no amount of running today will change races already run.   There will be a time to decide on what paces, distances, and races to run but today is not that day.     Next year’s races are just that.

Next year….

2017