Who remembers as a kid singing the song in Health Class about everything being connected?

“The hip bone’s connected to the back bone
The back bone’s connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone’s connected to the head bone,
Now shake dem skeleton bones!”

Cute song that helped us learn about how our bones were connected.   Then on our way we go.   As adults most of us never think about how inter-connected our bodies are and how interconnected everything really is.   Yes, as athletes we know about proper fueling but for most of us that is the extent of our thought process.

Then again.   Maybe that’s just me.

Yes, I do know the rule garbage in equals garbage out.

All that being said, for the most part as a grown up we pretty much know what is considered healthy and what isn’t and eat accordingly.    We really don’t give it much thought other than that.   Honestly, why would we?

The only time a person really starts to think about these things is when they need to.  I’ve been giving more thought to it recently.   They body is an amazing thing the way it works.   How it takes in nutrients and uses them.   How certain foods will help and certain foods will hurt with calcium absorption.   Yes, that’s really all I seem to care about right now.   Forgive me.   But it’s all interconnected.

So I’ve been doing my research, but it can be overwhelming.   Yes, we all know about dairy, but there is a whole host of other foods that are good too.    Then there is a whole host of foods that are not good for calcium absorption such as caffeine, salty foods, and high protein foods just to name a few.   This then creates a quandary.

Remember I had planned to go on my diet May 1rst.    Remember it was going to be a high protein diet because that is what worked for me in the past.   Well obviously it won’t work for me now.   Also, as an athlete I depend on replenish myself after a good workout with protein.   Should I continue with that pattern?   These are questions that I am asking myself now.   These are questions that I need answers to.

So it is all interconnected.

And this isn’t even getting into the discussion of how exercise effects calcium levels.

As of now, I’m reaching out to those who are more knowledgeable and I’m emailing some nutritionist.   I’m looking for an individual who looks at the big picture and can help me individualize something for me.    There are a lot of nutritionists out there.   The key is to find the one that will work well with me and as a plus will take insurance.   I’ve already called and my insurance does cover up to 3 per calendar year and unlimited if medically necessary.   When I asked what that was, they immediately went to a diabetic.   Well I will question if they tell me they won’t cover my visits (but that is a fight for another day).

It’s funny how things you never gave a thought to before suddenly fill your mind.

calcium-1xs87cq

Yes, It is Real.

 Yes, my running is coming along.   Yes, I’m getting stronger than I was before, but in my mind and body I knew that things still just weren’t right.   To the outsider looking in they might think that everything was ok.   I knew differently.   Mostly because as much as I talk, as much as I share; there is a whole host of things that I keep to myself.   Plus sometimes you begin to wonder, “is it me or is it because of the calcium levels.”

I really though that my thyroidectomy was just going to be a blip on the radar.  So many people in my inner circle either knew or even themselves had their thryroid removed.   It was just a simple procedure and then you just figure out what level of hormone pills to take.

Easy Peasy.

Yes, the doctors warned me of potential risks.   One of them actually being a problem with my calcium level.   But these were minor risks effecting less than 1% and really how hard is it to take calcium pills?   But just like the informational….  But there’s more.   So much more.

I’ve talked about the struggles that I’ve been having since coming back from my surgery.   I’ve mentioned that my calcium levels are never coming back.   I’ve accepted this.  The name for this is Hypoparathyroidism.    It is actually considered a rare disorder.   Yeah, me.   I like to be different.

Again, part of the problem is just trying to figure out if it’s me or my calcium.    Before my surgery a friend who had her thryoid removed gave me a piece of advice.   I’ll paraphrase.   She is also a runner, so she understands.   She said that I should remember that I am a marathon runner and that I know the things that my body can and have done.   If something doesn’t feel right after surgery, I will know because I know what I’m capable of doing.    I hold onto this advice as I try to sort out things.   It is with this thought that I am reminding myself that things just aren’t right when I get a full night sleep and am still exhausted and need a siesta during the day..

What I didn’t know though that I wasn’t alone.   It is a powerful thing when you realize that you are not the only one and it’s not just you.   It’s amazing the information that you can find on the World Wide Web that is actually useful.   The problem is weeding out the garbage.  I recently (like last night) stumbled upon a Facebook group for athletes who also have hypoparathyroidism.   Once I joined the group and started reading some of the posts, I wanted to cry.   Not because they were sad, but because I realized that I wasn’t alone.   I wasn’t babying myself.   I wasn’t making excuses.    These are things that have gone through my mind.    I realized that the “Suck it up Buttercup” mentality really didn’t apply.

From the site NORD (National Organization of Rare Disorders) on side effects of low calcium.

  • The severity of the condition can range from mild symptoms such as a tingling or numbness in the fingers, toes or around the lips (paresthesias) to severe muscle cramps and muscle spasms
  • Additional symptoms that may be associated with hypoparathyroidism include fatigue, generalized weakness, muscle aches, anxiety or nervousness, and headaches. Affected individuals may also have dry, coarse skin, brittle nails, and patchy hair loss such as the thinning of the eyebrows. S
  • Depression, irritability, confusion, disorientation, mood swings and loss of memory have also been reported in individuals with hypoparathyroidism.

Because it is so rare and because people hear “low calcium” levels,  most people (and I was previously one of them) think that calcium is only for strong bones and good hair, but it really does effect so much more.   Then when researching and as told from my doctor the potential side effects of the treatment which for me is a minimum of 5,000 mg of Calcium a day (8 pill minimum throughout the day) with another medicine (Calcitriol) to help my body absorb the calcium., there can be severe side effects.   You can end up with calcium deposits on the brain, kidney stones, and such.   Good times.    According to my doctor, the goal then is to keep my calcium level just high enough to be right at the bottom level of proposed calcium levels, but not too high to cause problems.   Sure.

Easy Peasy.

One of the blogs I read summed it up perfectly.   They said that treating calcium levels is very similar to how a diabetic has to regulate their insulin levels.   Most diabetics can tell by the way they feel if their levels are high or low.   It’s about paying attention to their bodies.   The difference is that a diabetic can easily check their insulin levels at home.   This is not the case for those with hypoparathyroidism.    So it’s about paying attention.   It’s about knowing your body.   It’s about knowing this is a real issue that requires constant care.

I’ve already realized that when I come back from a run where I’ve pushed it, I can feel it.   Sometimes, I will get a twitch in my face.   My muscles are sorer than I remember them ever being.    I’m learning to handle it.  It’s about knowing that I need to roll with it.    I’m now learning from those that have already figured things out.   Life is all about learning, adapting, and doing all that you can.

So I’m going to figure this out.

its-not-what-happens-to-you-but-how-you-react-to-it

 

 

Honesty is the Best Policy

Time for some brutal honesty.

I’ve got wiggles.  I’ve got jiggle.   I’ve got a belly that would shake like a bowl fully of jelly if not for the support of  my running pants.   As my son once told me, I’ve got a nice soft tummy like a pillow.

Yup, he said that.

You know what?   He wasn’t wrong when he said it and it’s still very true today.   Instead of a six-pack, my abs could be described more like a marshmallow quality.

I told you that it was time for brutal honesty.

Now as I admit these things, that does not mean I’m beating myself up.   I’m just being honest.   I will also say that I’ve got legs that really are very muscular, strong, and can go the distance.

IMG_5660

.   These legs and the accompanying jiggle have taken me many miles and on awesome adventures.

Truth be told, I wouldn’t mind loosing a few pounds.

Truth be told, I’m not sure if I want to make the sacrifices required to do so either.

Here is the thing….

  • I’ve got a hubby that genuinely doesn’t care about the extra jiggle and I plan on keeping him.
  • My blood pressure is amazing and I’ve got great cholesterol levels.
  • My heart is obviously doing ok with all the cardio (AKA running) that I do.
  • In the whole scheme of things, even though I would be happy if I lost the weight, I am also happy with keeping it.   To be honest it really won’t change my life at all.

Last time that I went on a major diet was between son number two and son number three.   Son number three is now 10.    So it’s been a while.  At the time, I did the South Beach Diet.   It took dedication and planning, but it did work.   I’m just not that sure that I want to be that dedicated.   I’m beginning to ponder and develop a game plan.

I do know that I will do nothing till May 1rst which is the day after the the NJ Half Marathon.   You would think this would have something to do with the actual race, but it doesn’t.  It has to do with not setting myself up for failure.   April is my mother’s, my son’s, and my birthday.   Plus it is Easter.   I don’t want to start something that I know wont end well.

I am thinking that the best course of action will be just to start making wiser decisions which I’m already trying to incorporate.  Drink more water.   Eat more fruit.   Just think about what I’m eating.   Who knows maybe that is all I need right now:)

So if I’m happy with things, why even think about the weight.   Well I’m also thinking about goals for the year.    I know realistically that if I do loose a few pounds that I might actually be able to run the Chicago Marathon well.   Maybe even hitting the elusive 4:30 mark.   Of course, a lot of that also depends on my training.  So if I plan to loose weight it will need to be before marathon training begins.

Right now these are just thoughts.   Pondering.   Weighing my options if you will.

You got to have goals and to have goals you have to have plans.

What’s your goal?

You Just Have to Go

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As I said today…

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

This will be my new manta for now.

determination2

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

Do The Right Thing

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

We need to embrace these times too.

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

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

HA!

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

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

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

I’m happy now:)

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

be-happy-quotes

Living in a Virtual World

Sometimes we need a little extra motivator.   We live in a virtual world, so why not let a virtual “race” motivate you to get out the door?   I will admit that I do enjoy the feel of an actual race, but sometimes that is not an option.    I will also admit that in the past I may not have given these events the respect that they deserve.   Really though if these events motivate someone to get out the door, why not?  Besides they are a lot more cost and time effective than other events.  Plus as with anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it.

I belong to many online running communities where I have and probably never will meet these women who inspire me.   I had an online running coach who I only met for the second time at the NYCM.   We do so much online anymore that virtual reality mixes in with the real world.   So why should a virtual race be any different.

I recently signed up for Pi Day 5K event.   The beauty of these events is that there is an online community to share your “race” with.   Plus you can actually get a medal if you choose.   I will say that I liked the medal, so I went for the whole package.

Who doesn’t love pie?   I mean Pi Day.  Although I am not a math lover, I think it’s kind of a cool play on the word pie.   I might like it more for the word play than the actual math, but don’t tell my friend.   So what is Pi?

Pi

You know what?   That’s all I know about this type of Pi.   I have no idea what it is used for and why math people love it so much.   Now the other pie I know a lot about, but I digress.   Anyway, I thought the medal for this virtual race was really cute and I liked the idea of my own personal race.

PiDay5KIsn’t it cute?

Now I know the official Pi Day isn’t until Tuesday March 14 (3-14), but we are supposed to get a BIG, BIG,BIG snowstorm Tuesday.   So yesterday I decided to do my Pi Day 5K.   You know what?   It motivated me to run and run fast.   Now if this was an actual 5K with other racers around me I might have not walked a time or two, but I still don’t care.   I ended up having a really good run.   Probably the fastest run that I’ve had in a while.   It was a great motivator to me when I was finished.   Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Pk5KResults

It was meant to be.   Kind of cool too that my calories were exact.   Could not have done that if I tried.

So even though I really don’t care about Pi (shhh), virtual events can be motivating.   The bottom line really is that if it is something that will motivate, inspire, or push you; go for it.    Because in the end, all that really matters is what will get you out the door.

DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

EVER DAMN DAY!

Where Do We Go From Here?

2016

Looking back to look ahead.   I’m ready for that now:)

2016 was a big year with lots of big event, small events, and lots of miles!   I had some lofty goals for 2016.   I had some attainable goals.   I had some reach goals too.   Overall, I think that I did good and I have a lot to be proud of, but how did I do with those goals that I threw down the gauntlet for?

2016 Goals

1.  My first big event of the year will be the New York City Half Marathon.   I’m going to throw the gauntlet down and say that I would like to do this race as a sub 2:00 event.   I don’t care if it is 1:59:59, I really want this.   I hear amazing things about this course.   I know NY crowds are awesome.   So this is the place I want to do it at.

Well I wasn’t kidding.   I came in at 1:58:59.   I had literally a minute to spare!!!   This was a great race and not just because I met my goal.   Running through NY Streets is an amazing experience.   I think I was able to make my goal not just because of my trianing but due to NY.   The crowds are amazing.   The feeling of running through Times Square and all the other iconic roadways makes for a great experience.   I would love one day to do this race again at a slower pace just to enjoy it at a slower pace.

NYCHalf2

2.  Then I plan to build my endurance up and slow down to train for the Dirty German 50K which I already signed up to do in March.   I have no time goal for this, other than I want to finish it.   I want to have fun with it and I don’t want to die doing it.   Seems like a good goal to me:)

Going into Dirty German if you remember or are new to my blog, I had spotty training due to spraining my ankle on a night run.   I was able to keep up with my cardio with swimming and stationery bike, but it wasn’t the same.   That being said, I still felt ready for this event (not race because I wasn’t racing it!).   I did it.   7  hours, 7 minutes, and 18 seconds.   Not a bad day at all.   It was such an accomplishment and I really was so happy to cross that finish line!    I think this is another event that I wouldn’t mind getting another crack at as I would like to go in with more confidence than the spotty training gave me.   Who knows in a few years, when a friend and I both have our kids secured in colleges it might happen.   (hint, hint)

DG5

3. Last year I didn’t run a lot of 5K’s.    This year since I’m not chasing the 9 plus 1, I would like to do more.   Since I’m already chasing a sub 2 half, I would like to see if I could chase that 25 minute 5K.   We will see.   We will see.

This is one that I didn’t hit the mark on, but I certainly gave it all I had to try.   I ran my fastest 5K to date at 26:26.   This was a 5K that I didn’t put a lot of thought into and that I almost didn’t run.   It was a spur of the moment decision.   It was hot if I remember correctly, but I ran like I was on fire.    I’m not sure if I’m topped out at this 5K speed, but I still dream of a 25 minute 5K.   Maybe one day.

4. Then lastly, I want to run the NYCM STRONG.   I want to finish this race knowing that I gave it all I got and couldn’t do anymore.    Ideally, I would like to do this in 4:30 WITHOUT walking.   I don’t know why the walking bothers me, but it does since it is not part of my plan.

I may not have run the NYCM I dreamed of, but I can sit here and say that I did run it strong.   I walked.   I walked a decent amount which will happen when you run the first half like a half marathon without thinking of the last 13 miles..   But I still ran it strong in the sense that I kept pushing.   I didn’t give up.   I did what I needed to do to get to the finish line.   Can’t really argue that is not a strong race.   It might not have been a smart race, but I ran it strong:)

nycm16

5. Lastly, I want to stay healthy.   I want to reach these goals without injury or pain outside of the normal pain that comes with running these distances.Oh and while doing all of this, run 1000 miles again for the year:)

Running wise, I did stay healthy.   I had the normal wear and tear that comes with pushing your body to the limits, but nothing requiring intervention and that new shoes couldn’t fix.    I did manage to squeak in and hit the 1,000 miles for the year coming in just at the 1,000 mark.   Nothing to sneeze at.

 

Looking back, I have much to be proud of.    Now it’s time to look forward.

 

Here are the numbers for the year…..

NYCM   11/06/16   4:56:04

Runner’s World Half Marathon    2:24:54

Runner’s World 10K    10/14/16     1:09:44

Runner’s World 5K     10/14/16          34:25

Sandy Hook Sprint Triathlon        9/11/16         1:59:00        *Run1 -21:48       1:13:50     19:12

*swim cancelled due to unsafe water conditions.   Added 3 mile run*

SP 5K                                                    6/23/16              26:26

NYRR Queens 10K                           6/18/16                59:14

Dirty German 50K                           05/15/16       07:07:18

St Barts 5K                                           4/9/16            27:20

NYC HM                                               3/20/16       1:58:59

Wathung Winter Tral 10K                 2/6/16       1:044:25

Watchung Winter Trail Marathon  1/19/16     6:30:08

 

 

The Struggle is Real:)

For those who have been here you know that I’ve been struggling a little recently.  I could tell that I’ve been off both emotionally and physically.  I recently changed the way that I’ve been taking my medicine and I think the change is working.    I was waking up and taking my thyroid medicine, 2 of the 8 calcium pills that I take during the day, and another pill to help my body to absorb the calcium.   It now appears that when my thyroid was removed, my parathyroid glands were damaged or have decided they need an extended vacation.   There is a chance they could still bounce back and start working but it seems unlikely at this point.  Surgery was 3 months ago and most people are back to normal within two  weeks.   My doctor did say in rare cases it could take up to 6 months, but I’m not hopeful at this point.

My last blood work showed that my calcium was just under the normal limit.   This got me thinking that maybe I shouldn’t be taking everything at once in the morning.   I’ve never been a pill or medicine person, so maybe it was just too much for my body.   After talking to my pharmacist, I implement the change.   It has only been going on two weeks, but I really think it is making a difference.   I guess we will see when I go for my blood count again in two weeks.  I already think my calcium will be on target with the changes or at least I hope so.   I can tell my nails are not as brittle, but I’ve still got really dry skin.  Your guess is as good as mine.

And you thought calcium was just for strong bone and teeth.   Who knew calcium was so important?  Not me.  Live and learn.   It is important for a whole host of reason.

I do think though even if I have to tweak the calcium dosage that my thyroid levels should be good.   My doctor upped my dose a month ago and I think that those levels will be on target.   I have more energy.   I am also starting to get  back to my old self which I think getting back into my old routine is helping with.   I’m paying attention.

So what is that routine….

I’m still not where I was, but the good news is I don’t need to be there right now.   Since I wisely switched from the NJ Marathon to the Half Marathon, I don’t feel the need to push myself to the 40 miles a week I was running presurgery.   I do hope to build to a 20 to 25 a week, but I’m in no hurry.  My goal for NJ Half is just to finish.  Period.  End of Story.

Now that I’m looking forward, I also want to take time to reflect on my 2016 and how I fared.   This will allow me to FINALLY see what goals if any I want to set this year.   I’ll let you know how that goes tomorrow.

un-slumping

 

 

ROAR!

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

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

What a great reminder.

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

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

None of that mattered at all though.

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

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

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

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

Game on.

The Little Runner that Could

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

little-engineSeriously.

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

It’s about going out of your comfort zone.

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

You know what?

It was a good run.

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

5-miles

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

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

It might have been just what I needed.

I think I can.

I think I can.

I will.