Feeling Zen with New Goals

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…

In all things that we do, we need goals and it is ok for our goals to change over time.   Goals should be a reach, but also realistic.    I would love to set a goal to run a 6 minute mile, but that is not a realistic goal for me and would only set me up for disappointment and pain.   So I will scrap that one, but I’ve been thinking about what I want next now that I completed the NY Half……

So I was recently talking to a friend about where she is right now.  In texting with her and I will only share my part of the story, I was telling her nothing that she wouldn’t have told me and probably has in the past.

Things like

Your body can only do what it is ready for.

The mind is a powerful but it must work in harmony with the body.

Sometimes we don’t get the answer why and must just deal with what is…

She asked me, “Were you always this zen or did you become Buddha post Chicago?”

I thought about it for a moment and told her truthfully that “acceptance of where I am has been my friend.”

Truthfully.

  For those that have been here a while, you know that Chicago while finished was not pretty.    There were many reasons for it out of my control such as weather, but there was much in my control.   I tried to train and run Chicago like I would have trained pre Hypopara.   I was fighting where my body is at this given time.  I could not push my body to do any more than it could do on that day which is why it was not pretty.

Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud of crossing the Chicago finish line.   I just think that if I had accepted where my body was during training and on race day, it could have been different.

Now I will be the first to admit that training for a half is a different beast than a full marathon.   It is an apple and an orange, but it is still not a walk in the park.    BUT I went into training for the NY Half with a different mindset.   I went into it knowing it would be different.   Knowing my limitations and working within them.   Now when I say limitations, I don’t mean that in a negative way.   I mean knowing where my body was during training and where it was on race day.   Yes, I pushed.   Yes, I worked hard; but I did so within the reality of what I could do.   I went into this with my eyes wide open knowing that I would not be running a 2:15 half, but knowing that I might be able to do it in under 2:45.   Working within the reality of where my body is got me there in 2:31 which is I am very proud of as I think anyone who crosses any finish line should be.

So here I am reaching the final stage…. acceptance.

You know what it’s not a bad place to be.   Now that I know that my mind is no longer working against my body, I can work on setting goals that will challenge me but not kill me (Ha!).

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So what goal did I set for myself being as I do not have any races on my schedule….

I’ve been thinking for a while now that when the NY Half was over, I would like to run some local races.   I would like to concentrate on 5K’s for a few reasons.

  1.   I don’t want to train or run any long races in the fall as my oldest son is leaving for college then and since I don’t know where he will be going yet, I don’t have any schedule.   Plus I would like to have flexibility over the summer.
  2. I don’t really want to train for any long races right now.   I realize that I have ran a marathon every year since November of 2014 and have run 5 in that short time.
  3. I want to work on building my speed back up and I think I will be better able to do that with a shorter distance.
  4. Because I want to:)

So now that I know where I am going, I thought about what a realistic 5K goal for me would be based on where I am today not the body of yesteryear that ran it in 26:26.   In thinking about that, I though realistically with lots of hard work and pushing myself that I might be able to run a 30 minute 5K.    So that is where I am today and if I reach this goal wonderful.   If I don’t, it is also ok too because my running is not my time.  My running is for me and while I will be happy to reach this goal, I will also be happy striving to reach it.

Gauntlet thrown down.

Now off to see what I need to do to get there…

What are your goals?

 

 

 

A Week In

I’ve got to say this last week I really have been surprised with how good my recovery has been.   I’ve had harder recovery from training runs.    That being said, I will take it!   It has been a nice and pleasant surprise.

I chalk this up to a few things.   Great running weather the day of the race, but also running a smart race not just the day of the event but leading up to it.    I tried to put my body in the best possible place to run this event.  The week prior to the race, I did very little running.   Just enough, but not as much as I used to.  Then after chatting with my online Hypopara Athletes group,  I decided the week leading up to the race to up my calcium intake.   Then two days prior to it, I upped my Calcitriol.   This would ensure that my calcium levels were good for the 13.1 miles, but also help afterwards as well since they would still be in the normal range (meaning elevated for me).

During the race, I continued to use cal-ez in my water.   This would ensure that my calcium levels would remain consistent during my run.   Did you know that even for a healthy person, your body looses calcium during strenuous exercise and sweating?   It’s true and while that may not be good for you, it’s really not good for me.    I’m a sweater, so I need to ensure that my levels don’t drop.

Than post race, I did some stretching.    I think maybe even the long walk to meet my group might have helped too.   Then home to a nice warm Epsom salt bath and some rest.   I admit that I may have soaked a few times this past week, but you know…

Anyway, this has been a good week.    It has given me hope.

I will also admit though that I did not run at all this week.   I have done lots of stretching and kept active teaching my preschool gymnastic classes.   This has been just right.

Tomorrow I run and I can’t wait:)

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What to Wear? What to Wear?

As a runner, we tend to become obsessive as race day approaches.

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Checking the weather

Deciding on race attire

Checking the weather again

Changing what we plan to wear again.

It’s one of the reasons I like to make my flat runner the night before a race too because then I can see how it all comes together and make any final changes.  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that thought too.

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As an added bonus it makes a nice picture

 

For many races, you just never know what the weather will bring and you just never know if you’ve dressed appropriately until race day.   The NY Half was no different.   When I signed up, I imagined a traditional Spring race where the weather might be a little brisk in the early morning, but very comfy when the race was finished.   This year was a little different.

It may be mid March on the calendar, but someone forgot to tell mother Nature as she is holding to winter.   That being said, part of deciding what to wear is knowing your body and how you need to dress.   Every runner is different.   I have 2 friends that I run with when I can.   Between the three of us, we are dressed for three separate seasons.   One is always dressed for the coldest possible temperature.    One is dressed what is probably considered appropriate for the temps.   Then there is me…. Usually dressed in shorts with long socks unless it’s mid winter.   That’s because I know how I run.

I run HOT.

You could say that I’m one hot Mama.

You could say it, but it just doesn’t sound right,

but it is.

Here is the thing though even though I know this about myself, I was doubting what to wear to the race. I kept thinking that I should wear long sleeved shirt instead of arm sleeves and maybe I should wear Capri’s instead of shorts.  The problem is that I run in knee length compression socks, so Capri’s turn into full length pants.   Now the reason I was doubting myself is because I was listening to what everyone else was planning to wear, but they were dressing for their race not mine.

Race night came and I had a final consult with Dawn on my wardrobe.   She reminded me of my vest and I added that into the mix which I’m glad that I did.

I was prepared for the early morning pre race chill.   I had throwaway sweatpants and robe which I wore to the start.   Once I removed them in the corral,  I’ll be honest I was cold, but quickly warmed up once the race started.   Even removing my throw away shirt by mile 2  which I ended up just tying around my waste.

In looking at my race photos, you can see that not many people chose the same way as me.   Not sure why because I was comfy while racing.   I kept moving my arm sleeves up and down.   Gloves off and on.    I honestly believe that if I had added layers or longer pants my run would not have been so good.  I was just right (for me).

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I dressed not to impress but to keep from overheating.   Believe it or not even dressed like this, I was sweating.    I will admit that the back of my upper arms were feeling the chill from the wind burning some with cold.    I think if I were to run another cold day like this, I might choose different arm warmers.

One thing that I would do differently though is check a bag.   I didn’t really think it through and didn’t realize bag check was right there when you came out.   After the race I was meeting up with everyone at a Starbucks.  We did have a car that was parked in the city the previous day to drive home in that I put extra warm clothes in for after the race.    The only problem with that bag is I exited the Park at 61rst street I believe and I needed to go to 81rst street.    Walking that far after a Half isn’t bad.   Walking that far while your dressed for summer with only a heat sheet isn’t good.   Thank God when someone was getting ready to throw away their head sheet, I asked them if I could have it.    I used that as a skirt.   I’m thinking without that second heat sheet, I would have been in trouble as I was shivering some.

All was good though when I entered the warm of Starbucks and got a hot latte to warm me up.   Plus by that point, I knew that my bag was not far away.   The driver of the van was nice enough to bring the bags to Starbucks, so from that point on all was good.

In the past, I have dressed for the weather at the start.   I found it is so much better to be cold at the start and even finish, but be comfy on my run.

Today was that day:)

Do you run hot or cold?

 

 

 

Behind the Curtain

I said that I wanted to go int the NY Half fully trained and I really feel that I accomplished this goal.   I went into this race knowing that I would make it to the finish line.   I went into this race confident and prepared.   That doesn’t always happen, so when it does it’s a beautiful thing.   So how did I do that?

First and most important I was a realist who put in the miles, but I did it my way.   I had a guide that I used more for the mileage and not the actual workouts.   I didn’t do any fartleks, cut-downs, or focus on pace really at all.   This race wasn’t about speed at all.   This day was about having a good race.

I admit that when you are at the starting line in a corral based on previous times which put me in the first wave, it was hard to hold back.  It’s hard not to feel like you should be running faster.   Part of the reason that it is hard is because of the excitement, but part of it is also because everyone else is moving and your moving with them.   At this point, it important to remember that each person is running their own race.  It is important to remember that it doesn’t matter if they pass you either.

During the race, I was thinking a funny thing…….

Most of us are just your average runner.    Most of us no matter how hard we train will never get to the front of the Pack.    It’s not for lack of pushing ourselves, but lets be honest training can only take you as far as it can take you.   If I had unlimited resources and hired a dietician, training coach, and followed their plan to a T that will still not make me as fast Shalane Flanagan.  That just is not who I am.

So on my run, I was reminding myself of who I am and what I want out of my running.    The biggest thing is I want to run.   I need to run.   It is good for me not just physically but mentally.    Then as I was trying to run a smart race, I did wonder why so many of us are so tied into the numbers of our run.   I know that I am, but I am trying to be better.   Based on my heart rate yesterday, I was in the training zone 5 out of 5 for the day.    My heart rate averaged 156 for the race and at one point (although this doesn’t seem right) it showed maximum of 198 which would also indicate when I overlay pace it shows that I started walking.

For me, I was pushing it.   That being said, I also did walk.    I have had races where I had a timed goal.   Some I reached.   Some I didn’t.    Overall, if you ask me what my times were at any given race there are only a few that I could tell you exactly (not counting seconds and I know we count seconds).   But if you asked me to tell you about some of my races, I could probably tell you who I went with and some of our adventures on it.   Those are the moments I cherish.   Those are the memories that mean the most.

 I’ve always said goals are good and I do believe that they are.   That being said, I’m to the point where my goals are changing.   I’m not as concerned with a PR, but in how I ran that day.   Did I push my limits?   Did I do my best?   Most of all did I have fun doing it?

I’ve been thinking a lot about that last question.    I know that it would take an act of God for me to ever PR again.   This is not to say that I am discounting it, but I’m trying to be more realistic.  Again…. not getting any younger.     My body is not the same.   My mindset is also not the same.

For me, it is no longer about the numbers.   For me it is about pushing my limits while at that same time being smart.   Now this is in no way saying that people shouldn’t be chasing time goals.   I would bet that if I hadn’t had my surgery that I would still be chasing time.   But as I said in my post Perspective, things changed for me.

My goal is to set myself up to be running not just a particular race but a year from now. Two years from now.   I want to be a cool grandma runner (which I have YEARS AND YEARS to go before getting there).

In order to make that happen, my goals will be my goals.   To run my own race, my own way.   It may not be the way everyone would want to run it and I may over time get to a point where I reassess these goals.   For now though, this is where I am which is a good place.

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Crossing the finish line with a smile is my new goal:)

and being to get out of bed the next day is a bonus!

Today Was The Day

Today was the day.

Was it everything I expected?

No.

It was more!!!

As always, I will have a lot to say.   So this might take a few days.   Today we will talk the basics.     As I mentioned we were leaving at the crack of the crack of Dawn at 5:00 AM.   This meant getting up at 4:00 as you must have time for a cup of coffee, to get ready, and lets be honest time for coffee to work it’s magic.  (Yes, that is important to us runners).

I was lucky enough to be part of my running groups Clown Car again.   There were, I believe, 14 of us.   It’s nice when you get a group like this because then it is not expensive at all.   Plus the driver will take a group picture.

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As my friend asked is this a group of homeless people or just people trying to stay warm in the cold before a race?

The van dropped us off close to the start where we were able to make a pit stop at a fast food restaurant.   Once we got to the start everyone went their own separate ways as we were starting in different corrals and waves.   Luckily, Mary, was in my corral again.   We were lucky enough to start the NYC Marathon in 2016 and it was nice to have her to chat with pre-race.    Once the race started though, I was on my own.   I kind of like that (usually) in a race.

Going in I had decided on a very conservative pace to start with.   I was bouncing between 11 and 11:15.   I think I picked that because I knew that I would go out too fast and if I picked a slower pace than even out to fast wouldn’t be too fast.    My paces reflect up and down which is fine for the way I intended to run the race.   I walked when I needed to but I still would not say that I took it easy.   I also pushed.   I ran a hard race.   I worked hard and I finished with my realistic A time goal.

Official time was 2:31:29

It was a good day.   My Garmin showed more than the 13.1 but that might be do to too much bobbing and weaving.   My paces were up and down with the course and my plan.

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This worked for me.   It might not be what a coach would recommenced, but for this day this was perfect.   In looking at the faster paces at mile 8 & 9 that might explain my feet starting to hurt at that point.

My mantra was “This is your race.   You need to run it your way.”

And I did.

The best part was I enjoyed myself.   I helped someone bob and weave to cross the street.   I took pictures along the way.   I just enjoyed the experience and before I knew it, I was pulling into Central Park.   I will admit the hills of the Park were not that enjoyable, but crossing the finish line in the Park was awesome!

More tomorrow, because to be honest I’m really tired.

What did you do today?

7 Days

This time next week I will more than likely be in the middle of or finishing up a nap with any luck.     In 7 days I am off to run the NY Half Marathon.   Last time I ran this event not only was I chasing but captured the elusive sub 2 Half Marathon.   I ran an average pace of 9:05 finishing just under the wire at 1:58:59.   I literally had a minute to spare.

It was a great day.   I say this not just because of the sub 2, but overall it was amazing.  No lie…https://accidentallyrunningmama.com/2016/03/22/the-good-the-bad-and-the-awesome/

This time many things will be the same and many will be different.

The early than crack of dawn early time is still true.   Unfortunately many that I ran this race with last time will not be there this time, but I’m still going in with friends.    We have decided to take a van into the city that will drop us off at the start line.   After the race, some are meeting their families, some are finding their own way home, and some of us will meet up to travel home together.  There is something special after a race sharing it with friends.   I’ve gone to many races by myself and afterwards it is not the same alone.   Your family only wants to hear so much about your running and I mean so much.

Now this year the course has changed, but it will still run through Times Square.   I’ll be honest I am not familiar enough with the city to know where this course will take me.   Good thing I’ll be in the middle of the pack, so I don’t need to know the way.  Ha!   I do know that this course might be a little hillier than previous one, but it is what it is.

 

Last time I went into this race trained for speed and ready to face the day.    I knew it would be tough hitting the sub 2, but I knew that I had it in me.   This time around, I know that I will make it to the finish line but I need to be smart about it.   This time, I am trained to finish when I finish.   There is no goal time.   I am going into enjoy the ride, see the city, and cross the finish line.

One thing that I am trying to figure out is what pace I will be running.   I plan on being conservative and I have really not trained for a specific time.   I know New York crowds can carry you away and that is what I am most afraid of.   Starting a race, any race, it is so easy to run out too fast.   Starting a race in New York City with NYC crowds it is almost impossible not to be swept up in the excitement.   This is why I must come up with a plan.   I need to have paces to follow.   Paces that my training shows that I can maintain.   Paces that will get me to the finish line with a smile.

That will be my goal this week.   To come up with a plan and follow it!

Do you follow a race plan?

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Running through the Suck

Yesterday I went for my last long training run before I start to taper for the NY Half.    It was a good training run for a whole different reason than most.   It was good because as a whole it sucked.

Say what?

Going into the run…. I was tired form not getting enough sleep.   The day before I had screwed up with taking my medications.   On top of that on Saturday I had run hills had left my legs sore.

The run was a success for a host of reasons.   First, I pushed myself out the door to go.   Second, I did not shorten it and got the 11 miles in.   And lastly, I never gave up.

Aerobically I felt good on this run.   That is something because aerobically, I felt like I could keep going.   But the sore legs, feet hurting, and tingling from low calcium would have been valid reasons to stop.

BUT

I pushed through.   I stopped when needed to stretch.   I walked when needed to.   I used extra cal-ez and reminded myself to drink it which helped with tingles.   This run makes me realize that I will finish this half no matter what.   All runners no matter their health have good running days and bad one.   This is why we train.   So on those bad running days, we know that we can still get it done.

They say that to be a runner, you must learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.   Pain is not always your enemy.   You just need to know where the line between pushing through and when your body has had enough.   You can only do that by training.   Yesterday’s run was uncomfortable, but a good uncomfortable.

After the run, a friend texted me

“I am proud of you for running through the suck….. this is getting used to a different normal for you, and it is that much harder for you than another runner.”

And that my friends is why we train.

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Perspective

We all come at life from different perspectives.    We all look at things just a little different based on our own personal experiences and over time even our own perspective shifts.

Before I ever got off the couch, I could not imagine why anyone would want to run for fun.   Running was something other people did.   People who did were nuts.   Sane people did not run.   Now that may be true, but once I got off the couch and started running my perspective changed.   I became one of “those crazy runners” even if it took me a while to think of myself as a runner.

Now when I started though, I had no thought of “good” pace or finish time and didn’t really put much thought into it.  Ok, I put no thought into it.   I rolled into my first half marathon by just signing up after it was suggested on a long run that I was taking just to take.   I had very little thought on strategy, pace, or even finish time.   I laugh now because in the car on the way to the race, I was in awe and amazed at the other runners talking of such things.    I felt like an idiot to be honest.    When they asked me what my plan was, I was like to finish.   We started together, but I told them to just run without me because I had no clue and didn’t want to hold them back.   Then a funny thing happened, I realized that they were always in my view.   I was stalking them:)   Then they realized I was back there and I joined the party!

I finished in 2:09:24.

Perspective shifted.

I was a runner, but I was just “normal runner.”   I would never do a marathon.

I have since run 5.   The first one was just not to die and then I actually started training for time.

But I would never be one of those crazy runners to run an Ultra.

I have run one 50K,   Truth be told, I secretly (shhhh, don’t tell anyone) want to run one again.  This is in the future, but I think it will happen again one day.

Perspective is a funny thing.

First I couldn’t imagine running.   Then I couldn’t imagine not running.   And now, I’m doing all I can to keep myself running.  Perspective has changed once again.

When I ran the NYCM marathon two weeks before my thyroid was removed in 2016, I was chasing the elusive 4:30 marathon.   I, probably, could have gotten it if I had not run the first half of the marathon like a half totally forgetting that the wall is no joke and not to be messed with.   But I still finished in under 5 hours.   Whew.

Perspective.

Chicago last year, I once again went back to having a goal of just finishing which is what I did.    I walked the last few miles.   I finished in 5:48:52.    I was happy.   I finished.    It was probably the hardest race that I have ever ran even with the slowest time.

Perspective.

I was lucky to be able to do Chicago.   I am lucky that my Hypoparathyroidism allows me to do all the things that I do.  So many with this disease would love to do what I am able to do.   I am very lucky, because it could be much worse.   For now, all is good.   I may have more aches, pains, weight, and such; but I am still able to get out there.

Perspective.

I sometimes think that I need to just enjoy the process now because as with anyone I don’t know what the future will bring.   For now, things are good and I need to just enjoy it all.   The aches.   The pains.   The heavy breathing.

And even with all of it, I am so lucky and it’s all the way you look at things.

When I had my first 24 hour urine test, my levels were off the charts.   My urine calcium level was over 570.   The normal level is supposed to be 200.   In talking to my doctor about changes to medications, she said that for someone with my condition our goal is to have these levels around 300.    The flip side though is that after getting used to a normal calcium level in the 9’s, I would lower my dosages to bring it down to the 8’s again.   What  a difference a point will make, but it’s all good.

I just got the results from my second 24 hour urine test.   The results were coming from my primary doctors office and they would send them to my endocrinologist.   Anyway, the office called and they were very upset as my levels were sooooo high.   The woman nicely was going on and on about how serious this could be with problems with osteoporosis and more importantly lead to kidney stones and damaged kidneys.   She was trying to get her point across how serious it was, when I asked what my levels were.   She replied that they were very high at 263.

Perspetive

I laughed and told her that was great because it had been over 570.

So just like life, running really comes down to our perspective.    I may never be the runner that I was for just a short brief blip, but it really doesn’t matter.

I’m still a runner.

And who knows…  Things could still change because that is just the way life works.

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March 18th

I’m still here.

I’m still training.

I’m still plugging away.

Some days are good and some days are crap.

I try to balance them out, so I don’t feel so bad and out of shape.

March 18th

March 18th

Seemed so far away, but is now so close.

Will I be ready?

Who knows.

I’m trying and that is all I can do.    I’m getting runs in when I can.    I still am only training for distance.   If anything, I am trying to get back to controlling my pace and not let it control me.    My pace currently is slow, but I keep running faster than I should.   If I continue to do that, things will not go well for 13 miles.   I keep telling myself that I just need to finish.  I keep trying to run at what was an easy pace in the past, but is a fast pace now.   It’s easier said than done to change that thought process.

Then I come across a blog post detailing the course and how so much harder it is from the old course.

Thanks.

Just thanks.

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Enough

We live in a world that is constantly telling us that we aren’t good enough.   Every magazine is filled with ads telling us how we can be better.   TV commercials are designed to show us what we need to be happy, fulfilled, and beautiful.    It’s all a lie.

We are constantly bombarded with messages that we are not enough.   That we need to be better.    That we need more to make us happy.    That we need to dress a certain way. That we need to look a certain way.   That the natural make-up free face isn’t enough.   That it is less fearful to inject poison into our skin than age naturally.   It takes a toll.

In every society there are norms designed so that we can coexist.    Many of these norms are not only necessary, but make for a better world.   But many of these norms are a trap, not necessary, and make people feel dissatisfied with where they are in life.

I’ve been questioning things lately.   As I’ve been learning to Let Go of the Ego, I’ve been working on accepting not just my running life but so much more.   As a runner, I’ve always followed my own path so to speak.   I rolled into my first Marathon in Philly not having trained for a marathon but the Runner’s World Hat Trick.   Then only completed one 20 miler before running it.    All of my other marathons, I did not want to nor did I train running any 20 milers.   I just don’t like them.   That is not to say that I didn’t train.   I just did it the way that worked for me.

In life, I’ve also followed my own path.   Never really fitting in with just one space.   Doing my own thing.   As I’ve been trying to accept where I am in my fitness journey, I’ve  also decided that I needed to take it a step further.  I’ve decided that I am enough as I am.  It was time to face the world as I am and not as I’m told that I should be.  And although I’ve never been one to have a make-up routine that lasted more than a few minutes, going naturally is still scary.

So I decided to go for  it   I went out in the world as I am.   Although I will tell you that after two days totally free, I decided that I like a little mascara and Burt’s Bees lip balm with a little color.

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Here is what I learned……… No one turned away in disgust.   Ha.   No one commented.   No one asked if I was ok because maybe I didn’t look the same.   No one even cared.  Now

Now I’m not saying that I will never wear make-up again.   What I am saying though is…

I am enough.

You are enough.

Don’t let the world define you.

Define yourself