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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.

Often in our society, we are told to hold on to something or someone that no longer fits. Down to our skinny jeans… Don’t give up. Hold on to them. Use them as an incentive. We are told we need to build bridges. We are told that things will get better. Things will change. To give time. Sometimes these things are true and many times they are not.

What if instead of trying to hold onto things that no longer service, we embrace the new. Embrace the change. Realize that nothing stays the same on life…. even us.

It is holding on that keep people in unhealthy relationships, patterns, and not willing to embrace the unknown. What if sometimes the best thing that a person can do is to let go. To free ourselves from what is holding us back? Many times we aren’t even sure what is holding us back unless we are willing to dig a little deeper which is always scary.

Social media is a funny thing too. It can connect you with people you have never physically meant but feel extremely close to. It can keep you connected to people in your “real” life. It can also show how disconnected you are with some of those in your real life. Before social media, your circle was smaller. Some would come in and some would leave. It was every changing. New beginnings taking place with new endings.

Social media has a way of keeping the eb and flow unnatural. People that you are no longer connected with stay connected because somehow that final “unfriending” seems harsh. People remain “friends” but aren’t friends. They unfollow, hide or just roll eyes when they see posts of people that they are no longer really connected to, yet can’t let go of. You have to wonder if it’s healthy or natural and I wouldn’t doubt if physiatrists aren’t already studying it. Sometimes it is a way of keeping a door open for the person to come back into our lives. Sometimes it is a way of not shutting the door fully when we should. At the very least, it doesn’t always feel good.

While I am not really sure where I am going with this train of thought, I will say that I’ve realized that some doors are meant to be closed. Some are meant to be locked, and some while not locked should still be closed. People change. Our lives, needs, and wants change and sometimes people will keep trying to fit you into that place you used to be even when you are no longer there anymore.

I will be the first to admit that I’ve changed and still have much to change, learn and grow. That being said not everyone will the grow the same way and that is ok. Our lives changes. Our needs change. Our wants change. Change is part of life. Change is how we grow.

When I started this blog, I was on a quest. I wasn’t sure what it was other than I was going to complete a Sprint Triathlon. I had much to prove not just to others but myself. I pushed myself and I pushed hard. It was where I was at the time. Things changed. I changed. I honestly say that I no longer have the drive that I used to have to push myself, yet I still enjoy a challenge.

I am complex.

I am not one dimentional.

I have changed and I am starting to embrace that change.

I am coming into my own or at least my own for right now. Stepping back and giving myself time to just be. It has allowed me to embrace where I am now. It has allowed me time to walk the walk. To just enjoy the many blessing that I have today. It has given me much and I am happy to have had that time.

All that being said, I am also realizing that this time has allowed me to appreicate not just walking but what I have gotten out of running. I am starting to miss the feeling of running and know that I will be running soon. I also know that taking the pressure off the table of trying to be somewhere I was not will be gone. All that being said, running will wait till after I complete my virtual NYC Marathon. I can only do myself wrong if I don’t continue to have patience and respect where I am today.

So with that I am letting go. I am realizing in more ways than one closing a door is not always a bad thing. Holding onto something that should be released whether it be people, expectations or things that no longer serve me is not a loss but a gain.

What do you need to let go of?

As the song says…. LET IT GO.

Pouring from an Empty Cup

30 Days of yoga has come and gone.

Daily mile challenge has come to an end.

One expected. On unexpected. Both were not meant to be long term commitments although I had no end goal for the walking. I enjoyed it but it was starting to become part of a stressor to get out for a mile than the stress reliever that it was supposed to be. Life got in the way and unless I had planned to go for an 11 PM walk it was not happening. I had contemplated going, but then thought what am I doing this for?

So I called it a day. Time of death Auguest 21rst which is exactly 2 months since I started the 1 mile a day streak. It was supposed to keep me moving through summer and it did. I no longer need this motivation as I have other motivations. I am part of a team of 7 in a fun team competition. I have some virtual events coming up and I am training for the NYC Virtual Marathon. So it is all good.

I will say I give major props to those that are dedicated to keep up a streaking challenge. Come rain, sun, snow or life events off they go to keep the streak alive. I’ve said before that I was never big on streaking (for me) and after doing it for 2 months, I am happy that I did it. I am even happier to be done with it.

As for the Yoga, I really enjoyed the 30 Day with Adriene Challenge. I was committed and every day I tuned into my practice with her. It was just what I needed. Some days I did more. Most days I did no more. As the days progressed, I allowed myself to just realize that yoga was more than just movement but connecting mind to body. It wasn’t necessarily about pushing my body to achieve positions but about coming to the mat. This challenge was good for me.

When I first went to yoga, I attended Hot Yoga. It was about the movement but it was also about feeling like I pushed myself. When I started the 30 day challenge at first I felt like I wasn’t pushing myself enough. That I wasn’t challenging myself enough. That I should be doing more. With some deep breathing and reflection, I realized that I was missing a big part of what yoga can be. It can be about relieving stress without pushing your body to the limit. That small movements over time bring about big changes. That sometimes in life just showing up to the mat is enough.

Isn’t that the truth? Sometimes we just need to show up. We need to show up for our family. We need to show up for our friends. Most of all we need to show up for ourselves. We often forget that last one putting ourselves at the bottom of the list. The saying is true that you can’t pour from an empty cup, yet so often we try to thinking that if only we try harder we can get more out.

Taking the time daily to go for a walk and do a short walk made me take time for myself every day. I needed to not squeeze it in but plan for it. It made me realize that we should be doing more of that in life. We need to not just think that we can keep on pouring without ever taking a sip for ourselves. There is more than enough to share, but we have to make sure to not give it all away.

So with both of these challenges now over, I am going to plan time to continue with both yoga and walking. I will plan these on my terms because it is something that I want to do and not have to do. It will be a way to replenish and find time for myself when during a pandemic when everyone is home ALL the time, I can find space just for me. Some days that will mean alone time. Some days it will mean joining a friend (safely). Most of all it will be about showing up for myself.

How do you show up for yourself?

GLORY DAYS

So many of us get caught up in the glory days of our past. Reminiscing about glory days…. Reminiscing is one thing, but getting lost in them is a whole other thing.

Lets be honest too. Often we skip over the sleepless nights of baby rearing saying how easy it was then. Remembering when we were in school think we had no cares. Forgetting both the social pressure and pressure to do well. We romanticize with most of our past this way.

There is really nothing sadder than a middle aged man or woman who is still living their glory days. Reveling in when they were star quarterback quarterback, cheerleader or any such thing. Having something amazing in front of you, but thinking it doesn’t compare to what you once had or worse dreamed of having. There is also nothing sadder than an athlete who keeps trying to hold on to their glory days too. In all of these cases, they are usually missing out on what is right in front of them.

Days you ran faster.

Days you ran further.

Oh what used to be.

Often we get so caught up in where we were that we forget to look forward to where we are going or even where we are now. Sometimes if we take off the rose colored glasses we also remember that our glory days are not as great as we make them out to be. We see this with people talking about their childhoods usually in comparison to the way kids are growing up now. They forget that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be even if it was good. They look at it fondly forgetting the bad and while no one wants to focus on the bad, you can’t pretend it wasn’t there.

Now I am not saying that we should focus on the bad, but by discounting it sometimes it allows you to be stuck in the past because the future or present will never live up to it. Besides, they aren’t wrong when they say you can never go back.

You can’t.

Not going to happen.

Remember but don’t live in it.

Our lives change. Not just as an athlete, but as a human our lives change, our circumstances change and sadly our bodies change (and age). Now all that being said, you can be proud of your accomplishments. You can brag about them even, but what you can’t do is let them define where you are now. Most of all when you stop doing that you might just realize that you are able to enjoy today more than you did yesterday.

I’ve found that with my walking. Giving up where I was or thought I should be has allowed me to focus on where I am today. Now I am not saying that I will never run again because part of me already wants to run. That being said, I am enjoying learning what my body can do today. I have been walking at least a mile a day since June 21rst. I can walk more frequently and further without the physical downside when I was pushing to run (remember that whole Hypoparathyroidism thing).

Yesterday, I went out for a long walk as part of my NYC Virtual Marathon Training. I knew that I wanted to walk at least 8 but 10 was really my goal. When I reached 9.5, I met someone I know that was out walking and joined her. We chatted and I ended up hitting 11 miles. While I did end up with a blister (not uncommon for 3 hours on your feet) and I did need a short nap, I was not out for the count. I also realized that I need to stay true to this walking marathon training as the worst thing I can do is second guess where I am right now. The worst thing you can do is to try to make a major change in your training when you are in midst of it. I would only be setting myself up for failure.

Yes, I could most likely start running agin and I would be able to do it. The question is why would I be doing it. I would be doing it because I feel like it is expected to be doing it right now. When I tell people that currently I am not running and committed to walking, they do scratch their heads a little. It is not the norm to admit that you need a step back. It is not the norm to say that you are going to push it to the edge. It’s not the norm to admit that sometimes you need something different.

Then again as my friends can tell you……

I am not normal.

I’m ok with that.

Try it. It is freeing to break expectations. It is freeing to be who you are now. It is freeing to just be.

Swimming Against the Current

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Often people get trapped in a rip current without realizing it.  If you don’t look for the signs you can be caught up in one before you even know how it happened.  Once in many think the only way out is to keep pushing and swim through it.   Swimming against the current.   They push and they push until exhaustion sets in.    It’s only when calmness sets in do they often realize that the best way to escape the current is to not to try to swim against it but parallel to it until you get out of it.   Once out, you can swim back to shore.

The secret is remaining calm.   It is to think about what is happening.    It is about accessing the situation and it is about finding a way out.    Up until recently I have been doing the same thing with my running.   I have been going against what my body needed.   What my body wanted.   I had been pushing and pushing and not paying attentions to the signs or the way out.   I have finally found the edge of the rip current I have been fighting and now am comfortably able to swim to shore.

All this time, I kept thinking of it as giving up.   That I was taking the easy way out.    I didn’t realize that I was taking on water and pushing myself to brink of exhaustion because I refused to truly listen to the signs.   Just like you need to respect a rip current, you need to respect the limitations of your body.  It’s about learning to swim with the current instead of against it.   Most of all it is about knowing if you want a different outcome, you need to change what your are doing.   You need to be willing to look at ways to do the same thing over and over again.   You need to be willing  to float with the tide.

As you know I’ve been continuing on my 30 days of Yoga with Adriene.   The other day in practice she gave a mantra that really struck me.

Allow…. Release… Let Go

Seems easy enough, but is oh so hard in life.   Often we hold onto things that no longer serve us, but we can’t seem to let go.   Continuing to push when we should pull.   Holding on when we need to let go.   When we finally…. allow…. release…. let go; we wonder why we didn’t do it sooner.

As I’ve continued on my walking, I realize that for now this is serving me.    I can go longer distances.    I can go daily.   It doesn’t drain me.   I can go faster that I thought and further this way.   I can and will train for a marathon.  For me, it is better to be able to continue to keep going forward to achieve new goals than it is how I get there because sometimes if you don’t find your way out of the current you could end up exhausted to the point of giving up.   I’m not one to give up but I am no longer fighting the current.

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What rip currents have you escaped in life?

 

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.