Tag Archive | goals

Looking Foward Not Back

We live in a society that is always sending the message that

BIGGER IS BETTER

NEW & IMPROVED

FASTER & FASTER

GO BIG OR GO HOME

We buy into it. Sometimes these are right. Sometimes they are wrong. At some point in our lives these can be true, but what happens when they no longer fit into your life? What happens if you no longer buy into these messages? Where does that leave you?

What happens if after years of chasing longer distances, faster paces, challenge after challenge; you just aren’t feeling it? Is there a place for us?

I think many people get burnt out because we start pursuing things not because they are something we want to do, but something we feel we should do. I ran a 5K, I should do a half. I’ve run a few half marathons, I should do a full. I’ve concurred the full, I should do an ultra. Sometimes these are things that start out as wants but then turn into expectations. The pressure is often all on us.

We get burnt out. We loose the joy. We stop running.

I have and maybe one day again, have pursued the distances. I’ve only completed one 50K, but in the recess of my mind I don’t feel that is the end. The same with marathons…. I’ve done 6 now. I have no desire to run one in the near future but also don’t feel that is the end. I’ve chased the ever elusive 25 minute 5k. To a non runner, I was close at 26:26, but we know the truth. I’ve chases an obtained a sub 2 Half Marathon coming just under wire at 1:59. I’ve had monthly running goals. Yearly running goals (1000 miles in a year). I’ve had goals big and small.

I have no goals right now. No distance or pace goals. My goal right now is just to as said many times, get back to the basics. I’m actually ok with that. I’ve been doing my running following the C25K program. 3 runs a week. Part of me wonders if some people think I’m not pushing hard enough, so what’s the point. Part of me is like, “that is not enough.” Then part of me is like, “enough.”

ENOUGH

I am enough. I have been embracing it as you’ve probably heard before but it is a constant reminder. If you are always looking at where you came from, you won’t see where you are going. I am going forward. I am continuing my journey. Yes, it is a much different journey than I thought I would be on at this point. To be honest, at this point I really thought I would have done another ultra, hat trick, and that 25 minute 5k. I was disappointed because I thought I wasn’t where I should be. That I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. These thoughts still creep in.

I am FINALLY getting to the point where I realize that I am right where I need to be. Doing what I need to be doing. My journey is my journey alone. Alone doesn’t mean that I am by myself on it. It just means that I can only be happy with it if I accept it. I really think I am getting there.

I have been running my runs on a treadmill for the most part. I’ve been conscience to keep the pace under control. The max I’ve been using is 5.3 and those are for briefer intervals. Sometimes I feel like I’m not pushing hard enough. Then I remember that for now it does me no good to push the pace and really for what purpose. Running on the treadmill while boring has kept me in check. This is what I’ve needed because the few runs I’ve done outside, I’m not as in check. I am actually starting to like it. I also know that once I get back outside that I will have to learn to control paces again.

Sometimes life doesn’t give us what we want. Let’s be honest…. often life doesn’t give us what we want. But if you make peace with what life does give you, you are able to enjoy where it takes you in a way that you can’t when swimming against the tides. I’ve been having this conversation with one of my sons that attitude is everything and it’s true.

I have started looking forward. Thinking about new challenges that I can take. Realistic challenges for where I am at. Sometimes it’s good to pivot right when you’ve always been going left because you never know where the new path will take you.

Finding the Joy

It’s the end of the year which means that many people are accessing how they reached their goals for the year, setting new goals for next year, or just counting the miles. This time of year can make you both sad or happy depending upon where you are with you goals. Then there is me who is ambivalent. It is what it is and kind of where I expected.

According to m Garmin, I was at 392 miles for the year. While I do know there were some runs that weren’t calculated due to not wearing watch, it’s probably not too far off.

There is a saying…

Here is another thing.

Sometimes that isn’t even true. I’m not even in competition with myself. I just am at the point where I want to find the joy in running again. I’m working on it too.

How am I doing that?

I stopped running. As I’ve said before I have not run since I completed the NYC Marathon. I’m glad that I haven’t. I have thought about it, but that is as far as it went because I’ve taken it off the table. I have had no real desire to run. Nope. Nadda. I see you out there running and think, “that’s nice” not “I wish I was out there.” Even on these perfect December running days

Now this does not mean I’m done. It just means that I wanted to be able to put my energy into Christmas. Being a frequent napper already, I don’t think I would have been able to do it all and everything would have suffered. There would be no joy. I want the joy. I want to feel like running is my release and not a job.

So here is how I plan to find the joy……. I’m going back to basics. Come January, I am starting the Couch to 5K. Now I realize that I ran a marathon in November and I really don’t need to go back to this because it’s only been 2 months, I want to find the joy. I don’t want to feel like I should be doing more. I want to just take it back to square one where I fell in love with all that running brought me. I don’t want the pressure (that I put on myself) that I should be doing more. Follow the program and call it a day.

This will go in line with my 2019 goals. No goals to PR. No goals for longer distance. Goals (for me) to just find the joy. I want to just run my town’s local 5K’s (for the fun of running in my town). I want to enjoy the experience of it.

I also plan to start cross training again. I miss that more than I miss running. I also feel like that would do me good. I’ve gained a lot of weight. I’m the heaviest of been without being pregnant and while I really don’t care about the number, I do think it’s not good for my health because I am no longer fit.

So fitness, fun and most of all joy will be my goal. Everyone has to chase a goal that works for them at where they are. For today, for this coming year, for me….. this is where and what I need.

What are your goals?

It’s Not Just About the Numbers

I will admit that I am a numbers person.   I like keep track of how far I’ve run.   I like to keep track of pace and distance.   I am never one to run without my Garmin.   That being said, there is so much more to running that sometimes we forget.   Sometimes the universe sends us a curve ball to remind us.

Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with chasing time.   I’ve done it.    I trained hard to be able to get a sub 2 half.    I was never able to obtain the 4:30 marathon or 25 minute 5K.   Although I admit that I came close with a 26.26 5K and I could never shave off the 8 minutes to get the 4:30.    But as much as I chased these dreams, I was never completive enough to be totally vested in them.

To me this race was never about the race, but the experience.   It was about raining money for Sandy Hook Promise and trying to bring about change.   It was about so much more for me.   I was excited about the challenge of raising money for them.   I was not equally excited about running the marathon.   My heart was in the fundraising, but also in just getting to the finish line for those 26 angels who broke my heart and made me promise to try and bring about change for the future.

45377532_10215894900197880_9159796036858806272_n (1)When I saw this picture after the race, I took this as a sign that those 26 angels were with me that day.   They were the reason that I ran.    They were what got me to the finish line.  Yeah, I really do believe this.

It was by far my slowest marathon at 6:10:13.    I can honestly say though it was my most enjoyable race ever.   Not that I wasn’t in pain by mile 6.    Not that I didn’t need to stop to take more calcium because I was feeling wonky from low calcium.    It’s because for the first time I really, really took in my surroundings.   Not chasing time allowed me to chase the experience more fully.    This is not to say that when I ran for time that I didn’t enjoy it, but there was much I missed.

I missed stopping to take in this view and take a picture.

I missed helping a little old lady with a cane navigate her way across the street when she looked overwhelmed, (Seriously, I helped an old lady cross the street)

I missed walking with a man whose been running the marathon since 1978 and hearing his stories of how the marathon has changed.   He loves the changes.   He love the race and he loves how even though his goal now is to try to finish before dark that he is still moving.

I missed taking in the grit of a hand cyclist at he was hours into the race and still pushing through.

I missed stopping to take pictures with random strangers because I loved their sign.

I missed around mile 23 taking a power bar from a child passing them out and hearing his mother telling him that she told him someone would take it.   Then seeing how excited he was.   Best of all, devouring said energy bar that never tasted so good.

I missed remembering that even at my fastest the time really didn’t matter because as much as a number person I am that I had to look what my PR marathon time was (4:38), but I will always remember the 6 hours and 10 minutes and 13 seconds running this marathon took.

More tomorrow as there is always so much to unpack with a marathon!

Is It Worth It?

Running a marathon is hard.   It is hard for everyone from the first place finisher to the final finisher.   It takes dedication, pain, time, and so much more to not only get to the start line, but to cross that finish line.     Often during marathon training season a runner will question their sanity, their endurance, and their sanity again.

Recently I’ve been mulling around the question in my brain…..

At What Cost?

I’m part of many online running groups and have been for years.   I will say that being part of the Moms Run This Town group is what took my running to the next level.   It introduced me to a group of amazing and dedicated runners whose experience I learned from and helped prepare and gently push me to take leaps of faith in my running.    I really owe that group to where I am today.

With any running/training group there are people for all over the spectrum….. From full Ironman competitions, 100 mile events, 5k’s and any other number of amazing feats.   There are also people whose feats are amazing just for getting out the door.   Everyone determines their own path in this world and just because someone does not take their running “to the next level” does not make their feats any less praise worthy.

Each person chooses their own path.   Their own destiny.   Their own finish line.  Some great feats are obvious to all, but some are not so easily recognized.

Recently I was taking with a woman from my Hypopara athlete training group.   We were talking about various treatment options, comparing levels, and symptoms.   She by trade was an amazingly organized person and created spreadsheets tracking her levels, dosages, and such.   Have to say that I was in awe of what she did and felt like a bit of a slacker, but I’ve never been that organized of a person.   Anyone want to create spreadsheets for me?  Ha!

During our chat,  we talked exercise.   Her doctor who is also a leading doctor for Hypoparathyroidism has different mindset than mine who is also a leading doctor. Hers does not want her to do strenuous exercise because then she must up her calcium intake while my doctor does not think this is an issue as long as my levels stay good.   I do need to up calcium levels during exercise and while I do not take a tremendous amount of calcium compared to some people with the disorder, I do adjust on days that I push myself adding almost 1000mg or more depending upon intensity/sweating/distance.

She asked me a question that I can’t seem to shake….

Is it worth it?

My immediate response was yes because I get so much from it.   Great cardio workout,  hopefully help to maintain weight which creeped up, friendships, and honestly the most important… The peace of mind it brings.   The clarity that I get when my mind ponders things during a run I have not been able to duplicate elsewhere.

Still…. I ponder….

Even with these things I need to ask myself, “Is it worth it?”

Pushing myself can be difficult.   I’ve recently realized that my calcium drops with my cycle but even at my “normal” levels there are issues.   And while I have adjusted and continued my training,  I have been pondering what to do after NYC Marathon.

The marathon is a tough beast.   It is unforgiving.   It is intense.    It is harsh, but in the end and at it’s core

IT IS A BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING JOURNEY

For now, it is worth it.

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So my daily running challenge is over.   I will say that I am happy to be done with it, but at the same time without the accountability I have not been running these last few days.   That being said though it is freeing to be done because while not running, I have been busy doing other things.   It would have been added stress to worry about when am I going to squeeze my mile in.

I give kudos to those that are dedicated to streak days, months, and years.    I’ll be honest, I think I may have stopped at day 29 and not even hit 30 but I’m ok with that.    Last Friday would have been day 30 and it was a crazy hectic week as they all are and by Friday I felt like a tractor trailer hit me.   I think that I was dozing on the couch by 7:30.    My body needed the rest more than it needed the mile.

What did I learn from this little experiment?

  1. That once you go out for a mile, you might as well do more if time allows
  2. That my body is not designed to run every day.
  3. That it was a good way to jump start my running/training
  4. That I’m glad that I did it
  5. And most of all, I’m glad that it is over!!!

 

Will I do another streak?   Not any time soon.    I do have some plans that I am working on finalizing and will hopefully have everything in place by next week.   This will keep me motivated, busy, and running that is for sure.

So for now, I am going to enjoy one challenge ending while gearing up for a new one.

Stay tuned….

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It’s Only a Month

It’s amazing that I can have run a half marathon literally less than a month ago and feel so out of shape.   I ran a good race too.    I need to get it back together.    I need to get back to not being out of breath and sweating like I’ve just ran a half marathon after teaching a gymnastics class.   Literally drenched in sweat today.

I remember when I was training for my 50K that I ran 6 days a week.   My short run was 5 miles.

Good Times.

Now I’m not saying that I want to get out every day for 5 miles, but I do miss the feeling that I could if I wanted to that I could.    I also know that I need to get back into better cardio shape which might help.   My schedule has not been my own lately, but I’ve decided that I need to stop making excuses and get it together.

So I’m thowing down the gauntlet.

I’m going to start streaking.

Now those of you that know me personally know that I’ve really never been into the concept (for me) of streaking.    I know people who have been streaking for years and I am in awe of them, but have never felt like joining in the crazy.    I’ve done streaks of working out every day, but never running.

Until now.

Although I do plan to limit my crazy.   It will be for 30 days.   Actually 28 because I started 2 days ago.   A minimum of a mile a day for the next month.   I think this might be just what I need to get back on track

This is really something that hopefully should be relatively easy to keep too.   Monday, I start coaching elementary track 4 days a week.   So it should be easy enough to get my mile in those days since I will already be in running attire and out of the house.    There will be challenging days some that I already know of and some I’m sure will crop up unexpectedly but it’s only a month.

A lot can change in a month…..

Here’s hoping.

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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?

 

 

 

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!

I’m Ready

I’ve been having a rough go of it lately. I’ve been stuck. Afraid to move forward.  Afraid of not being enough.  Afraid of things out of my control.  Afraid of failure, but who defines success and failure?

I’ve been stuck wandering in the fog for so long that I thought I would never see clearly again and even though I knew my vision was impaired I clung to it.   It is only after you come out of the fog that you can look at things with open eyes.   I’m ready now.   After one false start after another, I am truly ready now.   I can feel the difference.

I am looking at things clearer than I have in a while.   I do not have 20/20 yet, but really does anyone?    We all carry so much baggage that colors our world.   The trick is knowing what to hold onto and what to let go.   What really sucks is when you pack for summer only to find out that you are stuck in winter.    It is a work in progress, but I feel like I’m getting there in many aspects of my life.

As for my running….. I can finally say that I am coming to terms that things will be different.    Things will be harder.   My body will need more recovery time and be more sore than it had in the past.  I will wake up and my my body will ache.  Things will not feel the same.

BUT…..

Many things will remain the same.

I will still get peace of mind and clarity when running.

I will still feel the accomplishment of finishing a run.

I still will bond with friends while running.

I will still cross finish lines and most of all I will still run for me.

With this acceptance, I am finally able to let go of the ego that I spoke of.   I thought I was holding onto something, but really I was keeping myself from moving forward.   I am tired of standing still and am ready to move on from the past.    One of the reasons that I couldn’t commit to training was because somehow I felt less because I would pick a plan that the pre-hypopara me could have easily kept to, but the me of today can not.   Maybe there will be a day, but that day is not today.

I’ve been thinking of the NYC Half a lot.   NYRR always puts on great events, but these big events are spectacular.   The crowds.   The running on closed NYC streets.   It is an amazing feeling to run through Times Square like this race does.   As I said before, I want to enjoy it.   I want to be ready for it.    I want to embrace where I am today.   Not yesterday.   Not tomorrow.   Not next year.  Today.

So with this thought process, I picked a training plans for Training Peaks for a half marathon with a 2:30 finish time.   Now, I will be honest…. I am not sure that I can do a 2:30 finish.   It might be just a hair out of where I am, but it might not.   It is also much more realistic that 2:15.   Besides you will never know what you can do if you don’t push a little more than you think that you can do.  So I will push, but I will push wisely.

It is time to face this with open eyes, laced up shoes, and the knowledge that as long as I am doing the best that I can that there is no failure.   Failure is not trying.

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It’s Time to Get Serious

Without goals it is hard to know which direction to take.   You wonder aimlessly without a purpose.    It is time that I stop wondering and start seriously thinking about where I want to go in 2018.   It is time to set some realistic goals.   It is time to start pushing myself again.   It is time to  get serious.

Yes, I’ve had a lot going on and I’m still working some things out.  Yes, things are different but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have hopes, dreams, and goals.  It is time to get out of my own way, step out of my comfort zone and start pushing myself again.   I won’t know how far I can go by sitting on the sidelines.

It’s time to get real…..

NYC Half Marathon March 18

Last time I ran it, I squeaked in just under 2 hours.   It was my goal and I pushed myself to do it.  Hard training.   Fast paces.  Lots of sweat. I even took a few selfies while doing it.

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  This time around with the way things are this will not be my goal.   That doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have a goal.     I’m once again throwing down the gauntlet….. Ready…..

I want to go into this race fully trained.   Run it to the best of my current ability.   Not compare it to where I was in the past.   Push myself.  Finish it.  And most of all enjoy the experience.

This seems like a fantastic goal which means that I have to start training and actually train.   This is not a race not to enjoy.

I am not even going to entertain a timed goal right now.   What I am going to do is train.   Train. And Train some more.   I’ve recently been running but nothing more than I think 6 miles in the last month.    I’m going to figure out a training schedule and stick to it.

Simple enough, Right?

My head is finally clearing.   I know it wont’ be easy.   I know there will be days that I don’t want to do it.   I know there will be frustration, sore muscles, and everything in between but I want this.   I really, really want this.

So for today, I’m throwing it all out there.

I am a runner.   I can do hard things.   Life is not easy and anything worthwhile requires you to work for it.

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