Those who have been here for a while know that after running the New York City Marathon last year as part of the Sandy Hook Promise Marathon Team, I said that while not saying never again that it will be a long time before I run another one. I said it. I meant it.
A year is a long time, right?
Sometimes we say things that we mean 100% at the time. Last year running NY was hard. I would say it was not as brutal as when I ran Chicago Marathon that hot, hot day; but being on the race course for 6 hours does take a toll. That being said even with it being my slowest marathon by a long shot, it was the one that I enjoyed the most. Because of where I was with my training, with my health, and why I was running; I went into NY with a whole different attitude. I went into to enjoy the experience and I did.
I walked with people along the course. I talked to them. I stopped and took photos along the bridges, with the crowds, and walked if I needed to which was a lot. Sadly, I did somehow miss the Sandy Hook Promise cheer section, but I promise not to this year.
Yup…. I am once again joining the Sandy Hook Promise NYC Marathon Fundraising Team. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that this is a cause that I champion, believe in, and put my running shoes where my mouth is.
And while a friend laughed when I told her that I was doing this again and said she knew not to believe me last year about not running again, I honestly don’t think that I would take on this daunting task if it were not for the fact that I believe so strongly in Sandy Hook Promise’s mission and if I wasn’t gearing up to start Natpara. I also have rediscovered my love for running. Things will be different. I’m going to train smarter. I’m also going to go into this once again to enjoy the experience. While maybe not walking as much, I also want to come away knowing that I enjoyed the experience of it again and did what I could to raise money for Sandy Hook Promise.
Since stepping back and starting from square one with my running, I am rediscovering not just joys of running but learning what my body needs and when it needs it. I will slowly build on my 5K training smartly and not take any of this for granted.
I will give you that most people don’t need to spend time recovering from just a 5K. I will give you that in the past even at my longest most grueling races, I haven’t really been good about recovery.
Case in point: I ran Dirty German 50K. I crossed the finish line. Since I was doing the race solo, I ended up getting food, gathering my stuff, and diving the few hours home. When I ran the Marine Corps Marathon, I was with my sister and mother. I grabbed some food. We grabbed an Uber back to our hotel that we were already checked out of and we did the long drive from DC to NJ. At least I only drove till we got to the first rest stop where I changed out of my race gear. Then my sister drove. At every NYC marathon, it is hours before I finally make it home to change and clean up.
You see a pattern here.
It’s not a good pattern, but one most can recognize. Running races usually means traveling to event even if it’s in driving distance. Most of us also usually have to get back to a day to day lives relatively quickly without a lot of time to relax.
Besides training, elite runners have an edge when it comes to recovery. It’s part of the job description because they know they need to take the time and they do. Granted, they might not need as much recovery as the rest of us but they also build it into their training. Why do those of us who probably need it more than they do, not take the time?
As said before……. We usually have to get back to our daily routines. We are usually feeling guilty for the time we take to train and do an event that taking that extra step makes us feel a little more selfish. It’s not selfish though. It’s part of training. One that we usually ignore to our own peril.
I am trying to be better which tends to happen when your body forces you to access what it needs. Yesterday it was easy because time was on my side. First I stretched after race. Then I came home and soaked in an Epsom salt bath. Then off to a nice lunch followed by a short nap. If all that wasn’t decadent enough……
I went for a Spa Pedicure that included a hot towel wrap with 10 minute leg massage. Then at completion of pedicure a 10 minute neck and shoulder massage. Pure heaven.
And while maybe a 5K didn’t need this much of a recovery, why not enjoy it when I have the time. Plus outside of my quads today, I am feeling pretty good. Everyone should be sore the day after pushing it in a race.
I am working on not just working so hard, but realizing that if I am going to push it to the limit that I also need to allow time to recover. Not view it as treating myself, but viewing it as necessary. I am turning 50 next month. As the saying goes, I am not getting any younger but that wont stop me. What will stop me is if I don’t realize that I am worth the extra time and not only am I worth it but it is necessary.
I admit that I really did not know what to expect today. I went into this as you know with no plan. No expectations and just a wanting to run. I honestly thought that I would run too fast and end up having to carry myself to the finish, but I didn’t. The weather played nice and it was one of those beautiful Spring days where it is sunny and comfortable which made my choice of a tank and shorts perfect. I was wearing it anyway, but at least no one questioned it:)
I prepared for the race by resting yesterday, taking my meds before the race and having Cal-ez in my water to keep things stable. I got to the event early because I wanted to be able to park and also because I got the start time wrong by 1/2 hour. Better to be too early than too late. Getting there early allowed me to do some pre race stretching, chat with friends, and just do my favorite people watching. As the race was getting closer, I kept the plan of just running. So I did.
Luckily this course starts on a small uphill which does keep you in check because you think about it. This race has a lot of young kids running and they all take out like it’s a sprint. I found myself in the beginning running in the 9’s and I knew that would not work. So I slowed it down to a pace where I was still pushing but felt like I might be able to maintain. Good choice.
I did not watch my watch once I set my pace until the mid point. Then I looked at the time, I thought to myself…… I just might be able to be under 35 minutes. So I kept on running. I did walk up through a water stop. Then towards the end where I knew there was a short hill. When I was close to the top, I started walking but then realized once I turned it was downhill to the finish line.
So I ran. I ran hard. I ran fast. I ran through the finish line and when I finished I thought I wanted to Puke. My friend Robyn would be proud because that means that I was giving it all I had at least that is her theory. I am just happy that I didn’t throw up because their is apparently a stomach virus running through the High School with almost 200 kids out which, of course, meant discussion on town page. I thought to myself if I throw up they will all think I have the stomach bug and that will be another Facebook post and chaos to the 5k as people run away. So I walked it off and thankfully held it all together.
Not only did I hold it together, but it looks pretty with those negative splits.
Official Finish time: gun 31:38. chip 31:18
I’ve got to say that I didn’t think I had this in me. A friend replied to my Facebook post, “She’s Back.” And while I might dispute that comment, I can not deny how pleased I am with how I finished especially because I have not been training for time. I do think that what I am learning is that I need to stop thinking so much and as the saying goes… Shut up and run.
It was a good morning followed by a great day of recovery which I will chat about tomorrow:)
As you know, I’ve completed my Couch to 5 K program. Although I have now run a 5K on my own now, I have not “officially” completed a 5K race since finishing the program. Tomorrow I will run a local 5K.
I’m running it because I like this race. It supports a local parish in town which is nice, but it also has the benefit of a nice fairly flat course. Plus I will know people running it too. Plus, I want to run a 5K again.
I’ve run this 5K twice. Once in 2014 where I finished in 27:17 and once in 2016 finishing in 27:20. Tomorrow my goal is to finish in under 35 minutes and if I’m really lucky and push it tremendously I would LOVE to finish in under 30 minutes. I don’t think that is going to happen, but a girl can dream.
Do I have a plan?
Am I going to pace myself?
Am I being smart?
Don’t worry Mom, I am preparing:) I’m adding Calez to my water which I will carry to keep my calcium levels up. I will take my meds earlier tomorrow before the race too.
Here’s the thing. Yes, I know that part of my running issues right now are health related and who knows what will happen once the Natpara starts. Maybe I will be able to train the way I used to, but really that comes secondary or third or fourth or fifth on the list. That being said, even without the physical aspect of being slower, in looking at my times on Athlinks I realized that my best times for running (minus the sub 2 half that I had a coach train me for), my best times, were when I just went out and ran with no plan. No thoughts. No set pace. I realize that I overthink which for some when running makes them a better runner. For me it might cause self doubt, un-realized self sabotage, and just giving up. Shocking, I know.
I need to get out of my own way. Remember the whole point of going back to C25K was to go back to basics. Well that also (for tomorrow) means just running to run. Running to push myself. Running to test my limits. Running to see how far I can push myself and at the end of the day have a realistic concrete idea of where my body is at and what it can do.
So I plan to start at the finish line and just run. Run just for the fun of it because I am not by any means hoping to PR for this event or my 5K PR of 26:26. It has been so long since I pushed myself and if I can push myself to a 30, 35, or even a 45 because I push too far and have to walk at least I will know where I am at.
Sometimes just knowing where you are at is all you need. And yes, there is a part of me that dreams that I will finish in a stellar time, but that is not the reality and you’ve got to have dreams. I need to take a chance to believe that I can push myself again because honestly I have been afraid of pushing too far.
Besides I plan to use what I learn tomorrow for future training that will be beginning in the near future, but we can talk about that after tomorrow.
Sometimes you have to do what you have to do even it it’s hard. Tomorrow is going to be hard but maybe it’s good to remind myself that I can do hard things!
As you know for
months now I have said that I am getting back to basics. I took my running back to square one. I did the same with my non running workouts. In January with a friend, I started going to
a beginner core class. It has been good
offering a good core workout with a combo of stretching and balance. My friend and I maybe the younger ones in
the class which at my age is nice. Don’t
let that fool you, these grandmas have better abs them me. I’m still working on finding mine which I’m
Now that we have done
this class for a while, we thought we would take it up a notch by adding a
class before it. We added a Step
Class. Yes, your read that right. So not only am I taking my workout back to
the basics, I am taking it back to the 80’s!
Although I realize that I might not be as coordinated as I was back
then! This class also utilizes some
weights for a nice full body workout.
It’s funny because
years ago when I was doing Crossfit, I would have laughed if you told me that I
was going to be doing a step class and low impact ab class. You know what? I like it. I have no desire right now to do the hard
core workouts of Crossfit. I am more
concerned with getting a good workout it and make no mistake a step class is a
good workout. I know that some might
think it’s a dated workout, but like jumping rope and basic push-ups, what
works works. Bigger and better is not
always required or even better.
Again my mindset of
what I am looking for is different now.
I have nothing to prove. I have
no need to explain (although isn’t that the point of my blog). My
goal now has become to be well balanced.
I do not need to go from zero to 60.
I just need a good cruising speed to keep me active, use my muscles in a
different way than running, and maybe fit in my jeans better or in some cases
just in them. I think for now these
classes will help with that. We all
know that core and glutes are important
to running. These are things that I’ve
ignored. I don’t need to be able to
deadlift or squat huge amounts of weights to do that.
My goal going forward is going to try to be more balanced. Balanced in my workouts. Balanced in my running. Balanced with my family, friends and life. Life that is not balanced can leave you feeling dizzy. As with all things, it is a work in progress and as long as I’m moving forward; I’m ok with that.
I’ve learned that it is very easy to let things fall out of balance. You give to much with not anything in return. You push too hard without allowing downtime. You listen without being able to talk or the opposite can be true. Sometimes it is necessary to take inventory of where things are and adjust because if it’s one thing about balance….. If you don’t find it, you will surly fall.
Life like running is filled with many starting and finish lines. Some you are ready for. Some you thought you were ready for. Some you wonder how you got there and some you wish you never crossed.
Any finish line can bring such a sense of accomplishment, pride, and sometimes even disappointment. It is easy looking back to play the I should have, I meant to, or why didn’t I game. These games are ones that sometimes are important so tht going foward you don’t keep making the same mistakes. The problem is if you never look back and learn from each finish line that you are destined to repeat the same race. Live, learn but don’t always repeat. The most important thing is to keep looking for your next starting line otherwise you will miss out.
Any Starting line is a scary event. They are also exciting. Right now, I am preparing to enter another new race. Actually I have a few but I’m going to talk about this with you first. It is exciting, scary, and one I am very hopeful about.
For the past 2 years since my surgery left me to live with hypoparathyroidism, I’ve kept moving forward. I’ve made the adjustments. I’ve come to terms with my limitations knowing that I have still been so lucky. I’ve done what I needed to do but honestly just waiting for the shoes to drop because either I live in the grey zone of low calcium or keep those levels up waiting for the problems that brings. As I’ve said before, I’ve been very lucky to have with in a year found a specialist in NYC that has both helped me navigate this pathway and also keep me from some of the pitfalls of not being treated properly. It is a delicate balancing act that mentally takes a toll too. I’m tired of being sick and tired and everything in between.
That being said, I am getting ready to enter another new corral that will hopefully bring to a close so many of the side effects of living with hypoparathyroidism.
Most of all I am ready.
I have been approved to start a daily injection of Natpara. This injection replaces the PTH hormone that my body no longer produces. This will allow my body to self regulate my calcuim levels and function properly. Something that it has been unable to do and the pile of pills that I take each day now bring their own potential side effects. This is a better option.
This treatment is EXPENSIVE, but thankfully I have both good insurance and there is copay/deductable assistance. Even with good insurance I would never be able to afford this $8,000 to $10,000 A MONTH medication coast. There is precertification, putting all my ducks in a row, and dealing with the various paperwork to get it done. It requires training on my part as the medication needs to be mixed and injected daily. There is potential for side effects especially in the beginning as dosage is worked out. Although they do have some other very scary side effects listed, through research have found that this side effect has only been in mice and not humans. I’m willing to take the risk because living in the grey area of your life sucks.
Once video games, TV, and binge watching Netflex has slowed our movement and made us couch potatoes. Now a new crop of technology has started doing the opposite. It began with the Fitbit. Now Smart Watches are taking it a step further. It is getting to be too much?
For me, yes and no.
I got an Apple Watch for Christmas. I admit that I am still figuring out how to use it especially when it comes to workouts and running. For me it is the closing of the damn rings that is taking it to the next level and I realize it’s kind of crazy.
I remember when I read a book about Kathrine Switzer being the first woman to run a marathon. I remember being horrified by her treatment of wanting to be a distance runner, but I also was taken back by the technology of the time. No mapping out the training route in advance for distance. No belts to carry water or fuel. Nothing. Just running. Amazing running, but just running.
Now we live in a time where we basically track everything between our watches and phones. The Apple Watch even has an app that you can use to track your sleep. One morning I woke my son up and as a normal Mom asked him how he slept. His reply was that he would check his sleep app and let me know. WHAT!?!?! We had a conversation about that!
Anyway as a runner, even before my Apple Watch without fail I ALWAYS ran with my Garmin. I liked to see the numbers. I still do and am playing with the Apple Watch to see if I like the presentation as much as my Garmin which I do miss. (Shhhh don’t tell hubby). Although I think it is just because I need to learn more how to utilize the watch for running/workouts. Now that I’ve finished the C25K, I will be slowly setting myself to take the miles up. I need to learn to control my pace again and not let my pace control me. Work in progress.
One thing that I have realized though is that filling the circles becomes a bit of an obsession, but maybe not a healthy one. For example, yesterday I went for 3 miles. I had a fairly active day, but did not wear my watch all day. By the end of the day I realized even though I’m sure that I hit all my daily targets that my calories for the day was under because I didn’t have watch on.
Here’s the thing…… I knew that I was active. I knew that I had a good day. I knew that I hit all my targets for the day, but now I still show an open ring and it bothers me. Like somehow I didn’t meet my targets. Maybe it’s time to control the technology before the technology controls us.
For me: I stopped wearing my watch at night. If I close the circles, I close them. I will work on figuring out the best way to track training and if I’m meeting my goals. Like today being able to put on a pair of jeans that I have not been able to fit into shows much more than any closed circle does.
So today’s post may be a little different, but I’m a little different. So here goes.
There are people in your life that are suffering. I would take it one step further and say that there are probably multiple people in your life suffering. Suffering silently but suffering just the same suffering. I would bet that some you would never guess were anything but the happy go lucky person you think them to be. Some may be suffering with anxiety, some depression, or some even a physical issue that is not obvious. And just because you do not see their pain, see how hard they hold it together, or see how to anyone looking that everything really is not ok. I will further say that often that people who suffer quietly, suffer from more than one thing. Often they go hand in hand.
It is easy to miss the clues of their suffering becaue to be honest they go out of their way to make sure that no one sees it. There are a multiple of reasons, but shame is a big factor. Then there is the “I don’t want to bother anyone” factor. Then there is the lack of understanding. Maybe they’ve opened up but it was missed. Some try to understand. Some want to understand. Some will never understand. Worse is the one who hears you, but thinks your exaggerating or it’s not a big deal.
To each person struggling no matter what the reason, it is a big deal.
Often when someone opens up about their struggles, it is hard for the person hearing it. I get that. I’ve been on both sides of this equation. It is uncomfortable. You don’t know what to say. You try to make it better, but often words fall flat. Sometimes it is the words. Sometimes it is the receivers perception. Sometimes it is both. Sometimes we are battling our own demons that it is hard to recognize someone else’s. That is why it is all so difficult, complicated, and hard.
In my life, I have suffered from all of the above circumstances. Sometimes they go hand in hand. Sometimes they are minor. Sometimes they are not. Often though they are invisible. Often it would surprise people. I was once told by someone when I was sharing something about my struggles with hypoparathyroidism that “everyone has their own shit” which is true. Although this person was telling me this as a way to tell me that I should basically just deal and be quiet. Nice. I know. Nice.
For me sometimes it is just about wanting someone to recognize what your going through. That is it. Recognize that the struggle is real. Recognize that no it must not be nice that I NEED a nap by mid afternoon. Not the I’ve had a long day, I’m tired nap. The if I don’t close my eyes for at least 15 minutes I am going to fall to the ground tired because I can no longer function as a human nap. That when I go through periods where I’m getting out of bed like I’m 80 because my muscles are sore, that I use the wrong words because my brain has brain fog, or that my body can not do what it should be able to do and that these symptoms as others come and go. That sometimes there may be depression or anxiety that comes with these low calcium levels. That I’m not asking for your pity. I’m not asking you to fix anything. Sometimes a…. “that sucks” response is enough. That’s all it takes some days.
For those that struggle no matter what the battle, they know that yes everyone has their own issues. They know that often you must put on a happy face because like when the cashier at the gracery store asks how you are often people in your life want the canned response too. Some days, you can give it. Some days you can’t and on those days you realize why you keep it to yourself.
Here’s the thing though….. We shouldn’t be keeping these things to ourself. Those in our circle do want to know. They want to know when your crying in your car because your devastated by something in your life, they want to know how to help you. But we are all human and sometimes we are too stuck in the weeds ourselves, so we fail. We fail ourselves. We fail those that we love. We are all human and the only way we are going to get through this thing called life is with each other.
We also need to forgive those that have failed us. For those in my life that I have failed, I am truly sorry. We need to recognize that people in our lives are not perfect, but that doesn’t mean they love us any less or don’t want to be there when we need them.
“If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”
This saying could not be more true. So my thought for today is to remember to be kind to each other. Remember that we are not perfect and most of all remember you are not in this alone.
Bad Ass The term gets thrown around a lot in the running community. Rightly so because there are so many out there.
That being said….. What if there is not one size shoe fits all for being a bad ass.
You finish a 100 mile challenge – Definitely a Bad Ass
You finish a 50 mile challenge – Defineitly a Bad Ass
You finish a 50K – Definitly a Bad Ass
You finish a Marathon – still definitely a Bad Ass
You finish a Half Marathon – Go you Bad Ass runner
You finish a 5K – Look at your bad ass self
What about if you don’t do these things but still get up every day deciding to be the best version of you? What if just pushing yourself forward is more than enough? Does that count?
You bet your Bad Ass self it does!! There is no test to become a Bad Ass. There is no standard. Each person decides for themselves. As I’ve said before, what is easy for one person is a challenge for someone else. What is a challenge for one person might be impossible for another. It goes both ways. What is hard for one person is easy for another. Unless you are a top of the line competitive athlete, there is always someone better, faster, fitter than you. There is probably someone who would also love to be where you are too.
Here is another thing…….. These things change over time. What was once hard may become easy. What was once easy may become hard again. The ups and down of life. This is why you need to live, train, and appreciate where you are in life and your training.
Today I finished my Couch to 5K training. I did my 5K on a treadmill. Where a 5K was once easy, it is now hard but not impossible. Someone said to me today that you haven’t been a Couch person for a while and while they are right, this was right for me. It was good to go back to the beginning. To remember that it is easy to get out of tune with yourself and take stock again. I realized that I need to keep my levels up to a certain point, that maybe speed and daily runs aren’t in my best interest right now. That I can do this. This is what this training has done for me. It has allowed me to reassess where I am, what I can do, and start to think about where I want to go.
Looking forward is so much better than looking backwards. Yes, I’ve realized that for now I am much slower than I used to be. Yes, I am at a point where I’m not sure if I would be comfortable running with others because I would feel like I would be slowing them down. Yes, I am lucky that I can do what I can do. There are others with Hypoparathyroidism that would LOVE to do the things that I can do. I can’t complain. What I can do is live where I am. Run where I am and once again start to enjoy the wind in my face.
Things that are worthwhile take work. They take time. They take investment. Sometimes in life we put things on autopilot… relationships, work, exercise, eating habits, ect.
And while in the short term that may be fine, I think we all know in the long run it is not healthy or does that work out. You become out of touch. After a while you are just go through the motions. Then you begin to wonder why you are going through the motions. That’s where I was with my running. I lost touch with why I started running. Why I continued to run and most of all what I got out of running. It was never about being the fastest, running the furthest, or even about the medals hanging on the wall. While I admit that all of those things are fun to strive for they were never the reason that I started, pushed myself, and did what I did.
I lost that. I was so concerned with going through the motions…… trying to maintain certain paces, trying to run certain distances, and trying to do runs that it no longer worked for me. I lost touch with knowing what and how I should push myself and because of that I had (for now) unrealistic expectations of what I should be doing. I was Violet from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stamping my feet expecting things to be the way I wanted them still because I wanted them to be that way.
We all know that’s not the way life works. Being out of step with your own self and your own body and pretending your not is exhausting. But when I stepped back, slowed down, and pushed the ego to the side; things became not only more clear but more fun. While I admit, I still have problems keeping my ego in check, I am getting better. By reconnecting my mind with the body, I am rediscovering why I started running. I no longer see people running on the streets and think poor them. I think, what a great day to be running. I am starting to think outside the box again, but I am keeping myself in check and not putting the cart before the horse.
The C25K program has forced me to step back and reconnect with where my body is today and not where I want it to be. Allowing myself to run with no expectations but to finish the run. No paces. No distances. Just follow the plan. I have just finished up week 7 of the program where I am running for 25 minutes. It is hard. I must push myself. I run slow, but I am pleased with the progress. I feel like I am learning what now works for me now. Most of all, I am doing it.
I am learning how to push myself for where I am today not yesterday. To notice the subtle differences is how I feel when pushing the pace. To know that a pace that is hard today was once easy and that’s ok too. What my body needs to recover which I will talk about another day. I’m learning that the saying your race, your pace is true even when not racing. I’ve still got a lot of kinks to work out, but I’ll get there. The difference is that I know that I won’t get there overnight. As the saying goes, all good things come to those that wait……… I’m learning once again that I’m worth it.