No Pressure

The other day I ran into a running Mom I know. We were talking about what we were up to and asking about our running. I said that I was taking a break from running and just walking. In talking to her, I said that without any races on the horizon it has been nice to give my body a break. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was true. Since I’ve started on the journey, I have always been training for something. I even planned my Thyroid surgery around running the NYC Marathon pushing it off so I could run it. I went 2 weeks afterwards so that I would also have a chance to recover from the Marathon while putting me out of commission for Thanksgiving.

Priorities.

Always a race. Always an event. Always pushing and training. If the world had not stopped, I am 100% sure that I would be currently be in the midst of training for another NYC Marathon. Part of me is a little sad because I have run a marathon every year since 2014. I was also looking forward to being part of Sandy Hook Promise team again. That would have been different pressure. I’m still trying to see if there might be some way to do it, but then a big part of me thinks why?

I will be honest with you. I have never been a fan of running streaks (for me) even thought I consider my marathon’s a streak that is about to be broken. It always seemed like unnecessary pressure on top of all the pressure that comes with training. Currently, I am on a walking streak since June 21rst. I usually do 2 to 3 miles, but some days longer. Every day at least 1 mile. I wanted to complete at least on month, but now I use it to inspire and push me out the door. I was only planning to go 30 days, but I kind of like the push it gives me and plan to keep going.

I have always pushed myself and I do think my body is enjoying being given a chance to just be. This has gone in with my yoga training. I have completed 13 days of my 30 day challenge. I am reminded again that yoga can be many things depending on the day. Some days it is gentle stretching. Some days it is finding balance and some days it is pushing past limits. Every day though is a gift that I give myself.

Seriously.

It is a gift to get on the mat and just focus on the movements. The breathing. The moment. To find stillness. Yes, I know that seems very “yogi” but it is true. Now that I am not practicing with an agenda other than to show up, I realize that yoga is not a means to an end in the way that I thought it was.

I love to run because it clears my mind, but I realize that yoga does that in a whole different way. It provides s whole different set of tools. Now I don’t think I could use yoga in the same way, but it is a great addition for body and mind.

While running, it is all about what pace your are running….. breaking a PR…….Going the distance….. pushing…..

Yoga is not that. Yoga is about showing up. Focusing on your breath. Knowing that each day will be different because each day your body is not the same. It is about small movements that still manage to make your legs quiver. It is about recognizing changes in your body even small things. Like when your realize that your heals are all the way down in your downward dog and knowing that tomorrow your legs might be tighter and it’s ok if they don’t touch.

My sister is actually a yoga guru. She spent a summer on an island (sorry, Jen I don’t remember which one) where she did a full immersion into her practice. There were days when they couldn’t talk. There were days where they spent hours on the mat. Like, seriously, she went the distance with her yoga. I never really understood what she got out of yoga but I think I might be beginning to.

All our lives we think the goal in life is to be busy. To work hard. To go faster. To push harder. To go. Go! Go! To be a hamster on the wheel. Riding the crazy roller coaster thinking that is what we need to get ahead. To ride the Merry Ground and grab the brass ring with both hands.

Some days that is exactly what you need to do.

Some days you don’t.

And the problem is that often we get on the merry go round reaching for the brass ring that sometimes we realize that we don’t even want the ring. Maybe we want cotton candy. Maybe we want the Ferris Wheel where we can enjoy the view and just relax.

This year has been crap. Everyone knows it. That being said, this year is also a gift. Time to assess. A year to think more what you want in life. What serves you and what is missing. I also think that my body is saying while it enjoys all the pushing from racing, it also needs more too. Lets be honest, I am a women in her 50’s who needs to not only push her body but to replenish.

Maybe it’s the yoga… maybe it’s the open schedule…… maybe it’s having time on my hands….. maybe it’s because I have been enjoying having time to breath…. to think…. to be…….. All I know is that is that when it comes to adding things back to the mix, I will have to think long and hard if it serves me

Be Kind…. Even to Yourself

Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why do we always put ourselves down? Why don’t we treat ourselves the way we treat our friends? Why aren’t we kinder to ourselves?

Inquiring minds want to know!

As with everyone, I am in a few group message chains with my friends. These forms of communication are even more important now when you can’t see your friends. In one of these groups recently, we were all saying all the bad but very tasty things we were eating that we shouldn’t be. Then how we needed to get on track. On and on….. You know this conversation because I’m sure you’ve had these converstions.

(Sidebar – Do ONLY women have these conversations? Seriously. Although my husband has said to me about getting back on track, I don’t think he discusses with his fishing or work buddies. Maybe I’m wrong. Am I? )

Anyway after this conversation where we were all beating ourselves up about gaining weight, not loosing weight, and our bad eathing habits I started to think…..

This particular group was a bunch of running Mamas. Some are still running and training for virtual marathons. Those of us not running are still active. We are not sitting on the couch eating bon bons all day even during a pandemic.

A wise friend said, “Life has been extra nuts lately right ? Eat the damn cake chocolate pie cookie ..drink the wine beer pizza whatever …and more importantly be kind to ourselves”

Why is it so hard to be kind to ourselves?

If a friend calls us and tells us they totally blew their diet, blew through their Weight Watcher points, or gained weight; we would come back to them with a kind word (at least I hope so!). We would not berate them. We would not tell them they were hopeless. We would not tell them they blew it. We would reply that it’s ok. That tomorrow is another day. That each day is hard enough without beating themselves up. We would be kind.

So lets be kind to ourselves. Let’s start by treating ourselves the way we treat our friends. Let’s start by giving ourselves a break. Let’s start by knowing that it’s ok to eat the donut, eat the cake, and even eat the brownie but just maybe not in the same night. And if for some reason, we do eat them all in the same night to pick ourselves up the next day and say it’s ok. We will do better.

Here is another thing. As a woman of a certain age, it is pretty damn hard to loose weight. Hormones are all over the place. Metabolism is non existent. Then add no thyroid and a non working parathyroid glands and it is perfect storm of impossible weight loss.

Seriously.

No joke.

No lie.

Now I am by no means saying it is impossible to loose the weight. I am just saying that I am not committed enough right now to engage in trying to the extreme necessary. And while I may eat the donuts, the cake, the treats for the most part I really am not a bad eater. I eat a fairly healthy diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables For right now, I have embraced a pescatarian diet. I don’t really eat much processed foods. I’ve dieted. I’ve trained and run marathons. On paper, I look good. On the scale is another story.

My sister has suggested that I talk to my doctor about hormone replacement therapy. Truth be told, I take so many pills a day because of my Hypoparathyroidism that the thought of adding to the mix is just tiresome. So I am at a loss and I really do not feel the need to go to extremes as I have maintained where I am for the last 3 years since my surgery when I added these extra 20 pounds.

Now please don’t take this to mean that I have given up. I haven’t. I am not sure when yet, but I will once again start tracking my food. This actually is more for when I go to the doctors for my physical so that we can discuss it. Although my doctor is not one to use the scale as the be all indicator of health. If your doctor isn’t, I would say find one!

Now with all this being said, I am not saying that I wouldn’t be thrilled to wake up 20 pounds lighter tomorrow. I’m just saying for right now….. With all that is going on in the world…… It is just not my priority. I am not saying it won’t one day in the near future, but for today I am content to walk my mile a day and complete my 30 day yoga challenge.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

There is an expression:

You don’t know, what you don’t know.

This expression can be most peoples motto. Sadly though it is usually people who know the least who think they know the most. Although truth be told now days everyone thinks they are an expert. Everyone thinks that if they Google something that they know more or as much as those who study something their entire lives. We are all superstars with infinite wisdom. I mean if you have Google or watch a YouTube video that has to count for something?

Nope. Not really. It is a good way to start your education journey on something, but it by no means makes you as qualified as “an expert.” You know those people who have gone to school. Who have trained. Who have taken tests for degrees, certificates and all those fun things that used to make someone an expert. But that doesn’t compare to the internet expert.

What we fail to realize is the the experts are the best of the best (usually not always). They are the superstars who didn’t start off that way but earned their capes with hard work and experience. To do that, they knew that they had to listen to people with more wisdom than them. They could not rush their status as the reigning expert. They had to earn it.

Many times due to our ego, lack of patience and pure stubbornness; we do not want to start at the beginning. We want to skip over a few steps thinking somehow we don’t need to start at square one. Everyone else should but not us. We are somehow the exception to the rule. We can jump over the foundations. We already know what we need. We would be wrong.

We don’t know what we don’t know until we take off the rose covered goggles and look at ourselves as we are and not how we like to think we are. Once we do that, we are open to actually learning something. We are open to being better than we were. If we do that, we can maybe one day actually become the expert that we initially thought we were.

On my walks, I have been listening to some great podcasts on my walks lately. One of them is the series Silence is Not an Option by Don Lemon. While listening, I thought to myself that there are several people that I know who would benefit from it. They never would listen because they don’t know what they don’t know. When I thought that, I realized that I was the same when it came to yoga as there is much I don’t know.

As I mentioned the other day, I have realized that I was trying to skp steps in pursuit of certain yoga poses. I was doing this purely due to my ego. Purely due to focusing on a goal and not the practice. Thinking that since 4 years ago I did yoga on a regular basis that I could now skip steps. So with the knowledge that I also did not know what I did not know nor can my body do what I think it should, I am stepping back in my yoga practice.

Let me explain….

As I said, I am goal orientated. I need a new challenge. I need a new goal but I need a smarter beginning step goal. I have started the 30 Day Yoga challenge with the Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. I finished day 7 today. Each day is a going back to basics. It is building the foundation of a good yoga practice. It is learning. It is building flexibility and strength. It is being patience and know results will come but maybe not as quickly as I would like. It is not easy, but it is also at a level that I should be working as a beginning.

In my opinion that the biggest failures in life are those individuals who refuse to learn. Those who remain rooted in one place refusing to open up to something new. Some let their ego keep them from reaching their potential not being willing to open themselves up to admit that they don’t know everything. As said previously, only a fool thinks they have nothing to learn.

I am still reaching for my goals. I am just adjusting them. My first goal is to complete the 30 days. With that I will continue to open myself up to practice other poses. Fear of failure won’t stop me and I will continue to try. Sometimes fear of failure keeps people from reaching for the stars and leaves them only to be looking at them. I will reach

No Shortcuts

I have often said that we need to focus on the journey and not the destination. I realized when doing my yoga practice today that I was not taking my own advice. I have been so focused on achieving certain poses that I have been short changing myself and my practice in pursuit of them. Cheating myself of fully learning and building the strength necessary to achieve them fully.

I think part of this might stem from being a goal orientated person. I run not just because I love it but for events that I sign up for. I started this journey with a goal of completing a Sprint Triathlon. I wasn’t a runner, swimmer, or biker but I had a goal. Goals to me are part of the process. I’ve set goals for distance. I’ve set goals for times. I’ve set monthly/yearly mile challenges. I took this thought process with me to my yoga mat.

Goals…. Goals…. Goals.

To be honest, I know that for me I need goals to motivate me. Big goals. Little goals. Even on a run, sometimes a goal is as simple as running to the next utility pole. Goals are important. Goals are necessary. Not just in running, but really in life. Goals in life might be a simple or grand, but everyone has something. It could the day or master plan goals of finishing finishing school, finding a better job, buying a house or planning for retirements. Goals can also be as small as your daily To Do List to make it to the end of the day. Without these small goals, I might just sit on the coach all day. If you don’t set goals, you might not ever move forward. Staying stagnate is not a way to grow as a person….. as a runner…. as an athlete. Most of all it is not the way to accomplish anything in life.

So with this attitude, I went into yoga. While having a goal to achieve certain poses in my mind is still good, I realized that I was starting to solely practice yoga in pursuit of these poses. I was not giving myself to the mat fully nor was I getting out of my practices what I should. Practicing yoga only in pursuit of poses was short changing my practices and myself. So with this aha moment, I had a mind shift in my practice.

I took a step back. I gave myself fully to the practice allowing myself to not simply pursue a pose but to pursue giving myself over to the practice. On recommendations of some Moms in my MRTT group, I tried some YouTube Yoga classes. These classes were different than what I had been doing because they had the feel of actually being in a yoga studio with the same mindset.

I also realized that while I do still have goals of reaching certain poses that in order to get to the level of fully achieving them that I must build a proper foundation. I was skipping the foundation building required. You can’t finish a marathon before you have trained to run one any more than you can reach more advanced poses without being more in touch with what your body can do, build up the required strength, and learn to trust in your ability.

By the way for those who think that yoga is not a workout, I encourage you to take a class. Holding your body up with your arms will cause you to break out in a sweat especially when your body is build like mine! Standing (or attempting to stand) on one leg will not only test your balance but your leg strength and as you age you do begin to loose balance, so you must work on retaining it. Trusting your body enough to ask it to do things you never imagined possible comes with time and practice.

So while I have goals. I have had the realization that practice might not make perfect but if allowed can be beautiful. I am not sure if I will ever reach my very lofty goals of handstand, wheel pose (backbend) or crow pose but I will pursue them in a more honest fashion now. These are not easy poses and for those that know me, you know that I very rarely take the easy road, so it is fitting.

I am not sure if I will ever obtain these goals but stepping back to go to the basics and build my foundation will help me more than single minded approach. As in life, your might not always reach your goals but if you stop reaching not only will you never achieve them but you will never know your true potential.

So with all of that, I say again……

Life is about the journey and not the destination

And this time I really mean it.

NO EXPERT

I admit that I am not an expert in anything. I am not an expert at baking. I am not an expert at cooking. I am not an expert at parenting. I am not an expert at running.

You might be wondering what your doing here then. While not being an expert, this does not mean that I do not have much knowledge. It simply means that I recognize that I still have a lot to learn. I have learned a lot along the way… through trials, failures and success.

I think this is what sometimes makes or breaks people sometimes. The truth of the matter is that everyone no matter what your level can learn from others. Anyone who thinks they have nothing to learn is probably someone you don’t want to listen to anyway. Have you ever talked to someone who has the attitude like they knew everything (even if they knew tons)? Usually these people don’t know half of what they think they do.

I am not an expert baker, but I know that I could teach a thing or two about making the perfect chocolate cake. By no means am I an expert parent, but I have taken parenting classes and have experiences that might be helpful to others. I am not a running expert, but I have run around the block enough times to give some advice. (You know 7 marathons, 50K and I don’t know how many other smaller events).

The thing about expertise is that it usually comes with experiences. You have to be willing to try. You have to be willing to fail. You have to be willing to learn from your mistakes, successes, and others. Most of all you have to be willing to keep going. The thing is no one is every born an expert at anything and the only way you become one is to start at the beginning.

Many people are afraid to embark on new adventures for fear of failure or worse thinking that they need to be an expert before they even start. You see this with people thinking they need to get in shape before they start going to the gym. People think in order to start running that they need to be able to run. People are embarrassed to go to a yoga class because they can’t hold the poses. Here is the thing, everyone has to start somewhere and usually that is at the beginning.

Often when we are thinking of starting something new, we do a little research or at the very least Google it. The problem with that is that usually you only see the finished product. You see the runner with a medal. You see the fitness guru. You see the Yogi contornting themselves into positions that make you scartch your head. You see all of these things but you don’t normally see the struggle that it took to get them there.

Everyone has struggles. Everyone was once a beginner. Everyone has failures, but in a Facebook/Twitter world most people don’t share those things although I do. Life is not perfect.

They share the perfect cookies.

Not the ones that burnt.

They share the truimphet finish line photo.

Not the one showing how hard the day actually was.

We need to realize that life is not a facebook update. We all struggle. We are fail. We all have imperfect lives. If we keep comparing where we are in life to someone’s Facebook page, you might get depressed. Life is not a Facebook Status. Actually we need to bring a little more reality into our virtual lives. We need to start sharing how we got to where we are going. Who knows maybe someone needs to see that they are not the only one with imperfect lives. Sometimes the best way to be inspiring is to show reality.

I’ve been practicing Yoga pretty regularly since March. Using Nike Training App. I used to do Bikram Yoga a few years ago and loved it. In the Nike Training App one of the classes was a beginner inversion class which go me hooked. I admit….. I am not flexible. My legs are usually tight. I am (ahem) overweight. These things do not make for a good Yogi, but I still practice.

I’ve been working on new inversion skills. My goals are a handstand, crow pose, and wheel pose (backbend). All of these are not beginner poses. None of them am I close to conquering. All of them when Googling for tips, only show perfect Yogi’s with perfect form. I get that. Same reason runway models look the way they look. If I could go to a studio, I would see a class full of people in different levels of their practice.

So here I am not even close to being a Yogi, but starting at the beginning. Willing to try.

Willing to fail.

Willing to show myself in my imperfect state with imperfect form and just being willing to try.

That is all we can do in life…. Try. Give it our best. Be willing to pick ourselves up when we fall and try again. The journey is equally as important as the destination and we would do well to remind ourselves of that more often.

UnPause

When the “Great Pause” as in my mind it will be known started in early March, no one knew what it would mean.   No one knew how long it would last.   In the beginning, most of us treated it as a snow day where time stopped.    No rules.   No expectations.   PJ’s all day.   Then again, maybe that was just my house.   The only one who remained on a regular schedule is my husband who immediately started working from home.  

So while life as we knew it changed, we only thought it was temporary.   Yet, here we are …months later still trying to figure it all out. Realizing this is not a pause but a temporary new way of life.  This is what we need to do…… for much longer than we ever imagined.   In ways we never thought of.

So now it’s time to hit the play button and take our lives off pause. Slowly…. Cautiosly…. Smartly… Taking things off of pause and restarting in small steps.

Here it the thing though….. It is also time to evaluate what things that we paused that didn’t serve us, our families and our lives. Prior to the pause everyone wore “busy” as a badge of honor when maybe it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Many for the first time in years have been able to have family dinners because everyone wasn’t over scheduled. There were not parents heading off in opposite directions with different kids only to meet exhausted at the end of the day. There was time to do puzzles together, game nights, and just time to putz around the house to actually just be.

I’ve kind of done the same thing with my running. There were no races to train for. No events that I felt I would miss if I didn’t do. There were no expectations. I could just be. Leading me to get back into practicing yoga and slow things down. And while I have signed up for virtual events, the expectations for them is much different.

So with that I Started walking. Taking that step back from running. Enjoying just being. At first it was not intentional. It really started just because it had gotten extremely hot and humid, so I thought walking would be better. Then I realized that this is what I needed. I began getting out every day and while I am not “on a streak,” I am going on 3 weeks without missing a day. So now I have a small goal of hitting a month streak.

At first, I felt like I should be doing more. Than I should at least attempt to run. That this was not pushing myself. Then I realized that I didn’t want to push. That I had no need to push. That sometimes you have to go back to the beginning to get where you need to go. With that there was a mindset change.

My walks are not Sunday Strolls, but more of a power walk pace. Walking with purpose as they call it. I want to get my legs used to a set pace for walking because I also know that when I do add running back in that walking MUST be part of the conversation. Eventually, races will start again. Eventually, I will sign up and be training for one again. When that time comes, I know that in order for me to be consistent, be effective that I will need to do a mix of walk/running.

So as with life, I will start to evaluate what has not served me well in my running. I will evaluate and adjust. Until I am ready to take the next step in running (the C25K), I will walk with purpose using the time to listen to some Podcasts and just be.

I know that I may not have been using this pause as efficiently as some, but to me life isn’t always about the finish line but the way you get there.

Walking, Walking, Walking…..

Those who have been around a while know that I became the Accidentally Running Mama by accident.   Hence the name.   This blog and my running really was just to track and share my training for what was supposed to be the one and done Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon.   Obviously it took a life of it’s own and here we are.

Now though I am making a conscious decision to purposely become the accidentally walking Mama.

Say what?????

I’ve talked before how I can’t get a handle on my paces.   Running too fast.   Then needing to stop and walk.   Repeat.   Repeat.  Repeat.   There was a time where I could do negative splits without really looking at my watch.   I just knew by feel and adjusted accordingly.   Now I’m just so jerky with being fast and then slow and can’t get a handle on it.

I am not concerned about pace, so it’s not like I am trying to intentionally run faster paces.   It’s not like I even care about my pace or as we know not training for anything.   I just lost the ability to regulate it.   After a jerky run where my fastest pace was 7:16 (even if it was for a second), I had an epiphany.    I learned to regulate my pace because I was in touch with what my body could do and in tune with it.

Right now I’m out of tune.

At last years New York City Marathon I ended up doing a very brisk powerwalk for most of the race.   This explains my 6:10 finish time.    The thing is when it was over, I still crossed the finish line.   I still got a medal.   I still did what I set out to do.   I felt all the joy, elation, and pride of completing the NYC Marathon.  The next day though, I felt the effects of powerwalking a race that I was trained to mostly run.   Walking got the job done, but it does engage your leg muscles differently than running and I was sore in a different way from running.

I also was thinking about what I need to do to complete the NJ Virtual Parkway challenge.   I’ve got 18 days and about 60 miles to go.    So that averages out to 3.33 miles a day.    I can’t run that every day but I know I can walk it.   A challenge is a challenge and I never back down from one which you can view as good or bad.

I know that when I am out and about, I am going to want to run.   I’ve already gone for 2 walks and had to pull myself back.    I am going to feel like I should be running.   I am going to tell myself… Just this once and try to sabotage this quest to just walk thinking I should be doing more.   The truth is I think this is right want I need to be doing and am planning to stay firm.

I need to go back to the very, very beginning.   Not going back to couch to 5k, but the very very beginning.   Then I can do C25K to start running again.  As it is, I am heavier than I was back in 2013 when I started training for that Sprint Triathlon.   This will allow me to both finish my virtual challenge and get expectations (even internal ones) off the table.

So for now, I am out and about walking.   Not strolling like I’m on the boardwalk, but like I’ve got to get home before the storm comes in.   As a runner, it is important to stay true to your abilities.   True to where your body is on any given day.   True to what you need to do.   Often we push past what we should do in the name of vanity, in the name of meeting a goal, in the name of trying to be better.   Sometimes it works.   Sometimes we crash and burn.

Right now I am on my way to meeting my goal.   I know that I don’t need to do this step back to meet it, but I think it might be the smartest way to both meet it and give my body the reset it needs for my running.   As I said in my last post this is the year to regroup, refocus, and adjust.    I want to run.   I’ve got dreams of another 50K one day (seriously, why can’t I shake that one – I am trying).    If I want to be able to get to where I am going, I need to go back to the beginning.

I’ve also come to the realization that if I want to get back to the longer distances then I’m going to need to incorporate more walking. So this will help me find not just my running stride but my walking stride. Walking with a purpose

So here we go……

 

 

The Ups and the Downs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time

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

I now have the time to practice yoga.

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

Races

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

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

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

So for now…..

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

 

 

 

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This week I had my 6 month check up with my endocrinologist. Not surprising, my blood calcium level was low. The good news is that it is just below the low end of normal. Yeah me. The good part though is by maintaining this low level that my 24 hour urine calcium level was normal which is something I haven’t seen in 2 years. At my highest this level was more than double what it should be. So since my Natpara is gone, I bounce in the low blood calcium levels to protect my kidneys for the higher output levels. Go me.

All was good at the appointment. When I commented to my doctor that I was “happy” with levels to protect kidneys, she reminded me that we also have to worry that if we allow my blood calcium levels to get to low we have heart issues. Did you know that if your calcium is important for heart health. Such a balancing act that makes life so fun.
I am good about balancing these things. (seriously Mom… no worries). I am also very lucky that I’ve never had any issues with my kidneys or heart. I pay attention. I adjust. I pop pills all day and adjust as needed. As said before, I really think being a marathon runner prior to surgery helped me learn to tune into my body. All those long runs adjusting fuel, pace, and runs gave me an inside track on how to listen to my body with calcium levels.

I have a few running magnets on my car. I have one that says 50K. Sometimes I think that I should take it off as I only ran one, but it is a reminder of what I once could do and maybe one day will do again. It makes me proud and a little sad at the same time. At my “peak” I finished this event in 7 hours and seven minutes. Obviously, I did not run the entire time, but I did run enough to actually complete it. I’ve run a sub 2 half marathon and a 26:26 5K.

I am no longer at my peak. I’m no longer close to my peak. Today I struggle through 5 miles which used to me my normal run. I used to run every day in training. Teaching myself to run on tired legs. Now I have to pace myself as my legs are tired before I even start. I can’t run every day, but have been trying to walk at least a mile every day.  It sucks. And yes, I know, that it could be worse but  this is my pity party. I miss the “old” me and I when I was on Natpara I kind of felt like her.   Sometimes I get annoyed at my missed opportunities.   Blowing my 4:30 marathon because I didn’t pace myself.   Thinking I would get another shot at it.   I was wrong.

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When you have an invisible illness no matter what it is often times people think you are exaggerating, it’s all in your head, or think you are just complaining. It is easier for people to understand when they can see the toll an illness takes on a person, but often times people with invisible illnesses keep a lot to themselves. What is the point… You know what you need to do and you just handle it.

Al my life I’ve struggled and overcome the impossible. I’ve come back from the bottom and realized that in life you really only have two choices….. Keep moving forward or give up.

I’ve been wondering if it is time to give up running, but I get so much out of it that I think that is not a valid option. I’ve been lower before. I’ve crawled my way from the depths of depression where I realized that giving up is not an option. The truth of the matter is when you come back from that, you realize that your only option in life is to keep pushing forward one step at a time.

Today’s run was hard. The heat effects me. I felt tingles in the lips (low calcium). My legs were cramping. I thought about just walking home. I realized that most of my problem with running really is my ego. I can run fast in short bursts. I can’t run fast for the long haul. I need to readjust, refocus, and learn to pace again. If the truth is that running is worth pushing myself than I really need to push myself smarter. So with that, I added some calez (powdered calcium) to my water, cut myself some slack, and reassessed what I realistically want from running.

Unrealistically…. I still want that 25 minute 5K or that 4:30 marathon I was chasing that I will never get. Realistically, I just want to keep running. I need to let go of expectations, excuses, and ego……. easier said than done especially when I was on Natpara injections which made me feel like my old self for a bit.

I’ve been picked over. I’ve been picked last. I’ve been ignored. I’ve been on the outside looking in. I’ve been on bumpy roads in life….. And while none of these are good and no one wants these things to happen to them or anyone they love…… When you’ve been dealt these hands , they do make you stronger. I root for the underdog, because I’ve been the underdog. While not that now, I do know that if I can get through all the things that brought me to where I am today; I can get through this.

Luckily there are no races on the calendar. There is no training. There is just getting miles in and keeping myself moving. This year will give me time. To think of what goals I want when there are goals to be hand. To be smart. Most of all to just keep running…
Most of all no matter what….
To never give up.

 

And I know that some of you have heard this before and might hear it again.   I am only human and some days you move forward and some days you move backwards but as long as you have more forward moving days than backwards, you are doing ok.

Transformational

When the history books are written about 2020, there will be much to be said.   Probably volumes could be written already and we are only at the half way mark.

I think the biggest takeaway when we are all said and done and so far the best way to describe it……  2020 is a transformational year.    It was the year the world stopped, caught fire and transformed.

I wish I could tell you how it transforms.   I wish I could tell you how it all turns out.    I wish I could say that it all works out for the best.    I wish I had the gift to see into the future to give that peace of mind.

Transformational…..

It’s not just the world transforming, but individual people.     Your life is not written in stone.    How are you transforming because that is the only part of the story that you have control over.   No, you don’t have control over the outside forces of your life but you do have control over how you face these things.  Sometimes it is easy to forget that and feel like it’s all spiraling out of control.

So may transformations.

Life is one big transformation.   We grow.   We learn.   Sometimes we need to relearn.    We transform with life experiences.   We change.   Our circles change. For many right now life is never changing, yet still not the same.   Always transforming even when it all feels the same. Different, yet the same.

Right now I will say 100% that the books I bookmarked to read, but never did have nothing to do with time. That the “chores” I said that I would get to but still have not tackled have nothing to do with time. All those things we said we would do…. if only we had the time. Now we know if time was really what was holding us back. For many things, time had nothing to do with it but became a good cover story.

I’ve realized that I have enjoyed this step back.    This time to just be with no expectations.   This time to get back to basics.   To realize that I didn’t start running for the medals on the wall (although I do like to look at them).   I ran just to run.   Much like what my mother is doing now.   I have enjoyed just getting back to basics.

So as I am at home with my family, it is the same but different.   I have taken another running challenge (I think I mentioned it) of running the distance of the NJ Parkway (172.4 miles).   Another challenge.   Same but different.   This one there is no fan fare.   There is no big event.   There is just getting out there and getting as many miles in as I can.   Same, but different.

Currently I am plugging away.   I haven’t been keeping up as well as I thought, but I will push through and get it done.   I’ve got a little over a month to go and it will be time to pick up the pace.   Ok, not really the pace but the miles.  If I’ve calculated my miles correctly, I am only at 58.8.   I don’t see why I can’t get to the finish line.

Here is the thing…. What always seems impossible is right up until it isn’t.   So I will keep plugging away.   I will plug a little further, but I won’t stop until I get to where I need to be.

What if I fly