I used to want to be a badass. I used to want it. Train for it. I used to want to push myself to and past my limits. There were no limits. There was only not working hard enough. Not pushing hard enough.
To Train hard
To be at “the top of my game.”
Now……. Let me be clear……… There is NOTHING wrong with that mentality. I get it. I’ve been there. I might get there again. Who knows. I know though…… I am not nor have I been there in a long time. I’ve been swaying in the breeze…. Ever so gently just seeing where I might land.
To be honest, I am not sure where I am right now. I just know it is not the balls to the wall give it all you got place right now. I have no desire to train hard. Most days I might not even have any desire to train. There is no wake up at the crack of dawn to squeeze a run in. There is no going out at night to make sure to hit my miles.
There is just going with the flow. I know that there are many reasons for this change besides being hypopara which may have been the catalyst for change, but change is inevitable anyway. I just don’t have the same drive. I don’t have the same commitment. I don’t have my running crew as we all are in different places. We trained together. We ran together. We raced together. Most of all running was about more than running.
So as with life, things change. People move. Peoples schedules change. Goals change…..
What many runners know too is that without in person events, it just isn’t the same. I often think to when I was growing up our family Minister was a runner. Something he picked up in the service. He went out for runs just to run. This was well before running became mainstream. I thought I had that mindset, but I realize that while I do love running I can’t wait to be at a starting line again. That being said, I am also not in a rush because I want to also do it safely. The thought of a major event (if any are even coming) brings on a bit of a panic attack. Like a serious one…… Not the OMG, she’s having a panic attack meme. Anyone else???? This pandemic has changed many of us in what we once never gave a second thought to, we will think long and hard about before diving in.
I have signed up for a trail race in October. While I don’t have time to train on trails like I used to this race is a friends favorite. Plus they required a waiver of proof of vaccination. I liked that. I respect that and things like that will go a long way to getting us back to normal even if it is a new normal.
Take 2! The first published before it saved changes. Those who I text regularly could recognize my crazy voice and fat finger typing without editing……. Plus, I hate when editing does not change:)
Consistency is key to anything. Repetition is what takes something and makes it learned behavior. Think when you learned your multiplication tables. Who remembers those drills, pop quizzes and all those practice, practice, practice. (yeah, maybe that was just me since math was never my forte). You didn’t learn them from osmosis or at least I didn’t. You’ll learned them because you continually worked on them. Practiced until it became instant recall. My son in college seems to be doing this with formula’s I couldn’t even begin to tell you what they are called, let alone their purpose. During the pandemic many took up baking bread. As a baker, I can attest the more you do so the better the end product. Baking bread to many was like a science experiment with many complicated but necessary steps. Over time it became easier to tell when kneading was done. When your dough had the the right texture,and eventually could just do it by feel. There was no second guessing, you just knew.
The same consistency is required with training and creating a workout routine. For most, we need to schedule time for your workout because it is not part of the routine nor necessarily something we are looking forward to (yet) . Eventually with consistency it becomes part of you and it feels strange if you miss it. I’ve mentioned before how my husband transformed himself with loosing weight through the tried and true method of diet and exercise. In the beginning, it was challenge but now he couldn’t imagine a day where he was not doing something physically active. It has become part of him and he looks forward to one of his daily workouts.
It takes bravery to step out and try something new. It takes bravery to commit to something. To put yourself out there no matter how far or near out there you may go. It takes bravery and commitment to say you are going to do something and then actually do it. Even if it isn’t working for you, it is so much easier to stay in the same place. There is comfort in the uncomfortableness of the known because while it may suck at least you know what you are dealing with. To stay with what is comfortable even if it is not where you want to be instead of tiptoeing into the unknown…… So no matter how hard it is to stay in one place, it is always so much harder to take the first step and then the second.
Consistency is needed in beginning of any plan. It is necessary until it becomes part of you.
Some will go far.
Some will go as far as they can.
Some will go fast.
Some will go as fast as they can.
Pace….. Distance…. Events…..
The most important thing is to be true to yourself. With that thought process, I’ve been plugging away on my half marathon training plan. I’ve been sticking to the program which I admit is much easier to do with a treadmill now. I used to hate treadmill running (and part of me still does), but since I’ve discovered watching shows on Netflix while running it isn’t bad. I also credit the treadmill with allowing me to reboot my training and keeping me in check with where I should be running for that reason alone I owe it some love. That being said, you can’t race from a treadmill which means you need to also do some training outside.
This week for the first time since I started following my Half Marathon training plan, I took the run outside. I didn’t watch my watch, but wanted to test myself and run by feel. I wanted to keep the run conversational for the most part, but also make it a worthwhile training run. So I chatted with myself. Tested how I felt and kept myself where I thought I should be running. Hours later I looked at my paces and info from my run and I surprised myself. I hit the paces that I should be hitting. I actually had surprisingly beautiful negative splits. Most of all and this is the best part…… I enjoyed the run. There was no beating myself up because I wasn’t hitting certain paces, that I was running too slow or any such thing. There was knowledge that I was doing what I should be doing and that was enough.
Sometimes that is more than enough. I know that if I pushed myself that I could hit faster paces, but for now this is not a tradeoff I am willing to make right now. I also realized that this was enough. It is always enough. I might actually be able to push myself faster and harder, but the cost to do so is one that I am no longer willing to pay. We all have to decide what we want. What we are willing to give up. What we are willing to trade off. What we are willing to work for and what is not worth the work. These are individual choices that no one can make for us. There is no one size fits all and that is ok.
What choices are you making today? Remember not making a choice is still a choice, so choose wisely my friend
I’ve thrown my hands up giving myself up to enjoy the ride
I’ve wondered if I was foolish to even get on as it begins to take off. The anticipation while you wait in line, strap yourself in and begin to take off wondering if you are up for what lies ahead. The thing is once the ride takes off, you have no choice but to buckle in and make the best of it. You can scream. You can laugh. You can throw your hands up and just enjoy the ride. Doesn’t matter what you do because once it takes off, you are commited. Sometimes you think you have reached the end of the ride only to realize that you are going around another bend.
A few times I’ve thought that I reached the end of my roller coaster ride only to realize how wrong I was. I think I am really finally coming into the station of acceptance with my 2016 post surgery Hypopara running. You may be thinking…… it has taken since 2016. Acceptance isn’t as easy as it sounds. Then there are the times where you think you have reached the stage of acceptance only to realize that you have just been getting by and really have not. Letting Pride really keep you from making it to the end.
Here is the thing. Since my 2016 surgery left me Hypopara, I kept trying to push myself to run at a pace where I no longer was physically able to run. Mind you I knew that I was no longer at a run sub 2 half pace, but I still never embraced where I should realistically should be running even if at times I thought I did.
Recap for new followers –
For about two years or so before my surgery, I was working with an amazing coach. With her guidance I ran a sub 2 half marathon, a 50K, and I was able to even run a 26:26 5K. I was at the top of my game and I even timed my surgery to be after running the 2016 NYC Marathon. I’ve said it before, the surgery was just going to be a blip.
Until is wasn’t.
Then I kept riding the roller coaster knowing that I was the same, but trying to be something that I wasn’t. Not to say that I won’t be again, but not now. After surgery, I origionally was over medicated so I was able to keep my running up. Then realization that I could no longer keep calcium levels up in the 9’s but for safety of kidney’s . Needing to keep levels just below or at normal level’s. Doesn’t sound like much but for those of us with Hypoparathyroidism, we can tell you that there is a BIG difference how one feels with calcium at a level 9 compared to 8.2 or even 8.5. I also think that for right now I have found a happy medium where my calcium has been around 8.4 last couple times. The balancing act is real.
Anywho…… for the longest time a year or two after my surgery I kept trying to run paces that while much slower than my 2016 paces but realistically were not paces that I should be running. The thing is that I really couldn’t maintain them either. I did a lot of running too fast. Needing to walk and then running again. Then with the 20 pound post surgery weight gain and everything else, running a 10:45 pace was not where I should be even though at the time I thought that was “slow.” I remember posting in a group that my former coach runs about having to walk during my runs and I’m paraphrasing because honestly I don’t remember exactly what she said even if I remember the meaning behind what she was saying. She basically said that I was walking because I was running too fast and maybe (I add that in my mind) pride was the reason. Even though I knew the truth of her words, like many not willing to accept reality I blew off what she was saying. Although if there is one thing anyone who has worked with Caolon knows…… She knows what the (beep) she is talking about even if you choose not to hear her.
So I went on….. and on….. and on…… until I finally gave up running completely. I spent months just walking. I walked and walked and walked some more. I even walked a virtual marathon. Then I was ready to run again. I wanted to run again. There was beauty in having not run for a long time. I was 100% starting from the beginning and needed to respect starting from scratch. My mind was in the right place this time. I also think that deciding not to train by pace but heart rate helped because it gave me the ability to learn where I should be running to actually run.
So here I’ve been just running and training. 100% recognizing that pace is not the goal right now. That the goal is to find where I should be running and run there. I’ve been embracing the running and am now following a training plan for the NYC Virtual Half. I am only using the plan for milage and training not following anything by pace. It has also been helpful that even though I hate it, I have been running on the treadmill. This is good because it does allow me to control pace that I’m running at without concern that I end up running at a pace I shouldn’t be.
I’ve also realized pace is irrelevant to me right now. I am more concerned with being able to run without leaving myself and my body depleted. Since running by heart rate and finding the correct pace while still pushing myself, I have realized that I have not been getting muscle spasms. I am not depleted to the point where I NEED (not want) to nap and most of all I can function in my day to day life.
Last week I ran a hard 5K.
Then this week in training I ran 4.5 running 4 without stopping and feeling good. I did this running average pace of 12:37. This “hard” run was literally a minute faster than what I used to do my easy runs at. So today I needed to run 7 miles, my longest run so far this training cycle. Since this was a long run that meant I need to run slower. I started off with a 5 minute warm up walk and then when I hit every mile I walked for 45 seconds. I’m not sure that I actually needed the walk, but it did break up the treadmill running. Who knows what that would parlay to outdoor running, but for right now I am happy to be running, not feeling like I can’t do it, and feeling like I could do more when I stop.
I’ve been thinking a lot about accepting where I am lately. I realized that while I thought I had accepted where I am right now that I really had not. I do think that this roller coaster ride is finally coming into the station. Acceptance does not mean that I won’t push to try to do better. It does not mean that I can’t work to do better in the future. It does not mean that I won’t have days where things bother me. It just means that I am ok with where I am today.
I’ve run a marathon. I’ve run/walked a marathon. Now I can say I’ve walked a marathon. I’m ready to run again…… Ok, not just yet, but you know what I mean.
I walked for 8 hours 11 minutes and 51 seconds. My fastest marathon clocked in at 4:38:14 for perspective. Although post hypopara, I have been getting slower and last year crossed finish at 6:20:41. I guess I can go with since this was my 8th marathon that I was going for an hour for each one. I can honestly say that while I will probably do another marathon that I will NEVER specifically plan to walk another marathon. Then again maybe if it had been an in person event that I would have put more pressure on myself to do more.
I did know that I wanted to complete this event. I realized that I have done at least one marathon a year since 2014, so I didn’t want to break my streak. More than likely I would not have been able to keep the streak going if this was in person. Then again if Covid hadn’t shut everything down, I might have not had the mindset to take a break from running. Who knows?
Unlike when their is an actual event, there was no minimum to raise, but I missed being part of the team and spreading their message and helping to support their important cause. This year though as with the marathon, there was no pressure. I only posted it on my Facebook pace twice and did not promo it. Honestly based on all the stuff I post, I am sure many people missed it which actually took the pressure off the actually event.
So I planned a route in town. I told my hubby and some friends and then off I went. I started with a friend who walked a few miles. She then joined me for the half way point for a little more. Then I walked the last few on the phone with another friend. Finally I did the las one just walking.
Walking….. Walking…. Walking…..
Just the noise rattling around in my mind.
You would think it would be boring. You would think spending that much time just walking without outside stimulus would drive you crazy. I enjoyed the peace. I let my mind wonder. Walking alone taking in the surroundings. Being at peace with my thoughts. It was a good day.
Time on your feet with your thoughts while a good day does not make it an easy day.
Running a marathon is hard. Walking and running a marathon is hard. Walking a marathon is just as hard just a different type of hard.
A few days post marathon and my feet are healing nicely. Only 7 blisters, but only 2 that were thoughts of concern initially but they are both on road to recovery. So I am taking the week off. I am letting my feet totally heal. I am giving my legs a chance to recover. And then…. only then will it be time.
Time to rebuild.
Time to run……….
Whatever that will mean, but we will find out together.
So many of us get caught up in the glory days of our past. Reminiscing about glory days…. Reminiscing is one thing, but getting lost in them is a whole other thing.
Lets be honest too. Often we skip over the sleepless nights of baby rearing saying how easy it was then. Remembering when we were in school think we had no cares. Forgetting both the social pressure and pressure to do well. We romanticize with most of our past this way.
There is really nothing sadder than a middle aged man or woman who is still living their glory days. Reveling in when they were star quarterback quarterback, cheerleader or any such thing. Having something amazing in front of you, but thinking it doesn’t compare to what you once had or worse dreamed of having. There is also nothing sadder than an athlete who keeps trying to hold on to their glory days too. In all of these cases, they are usually missing out on what is right in front of them.
Days you ran faster.
Days you ran further.
Oh what used to be.
Often we get so caught up in where we were that we forget to look forward to where we are going or even where we are now. Sometimes if we take off the rose colored glasses we also remember that our glory days are not as great as we make them out to be. We see this with people talking about their childhoods usually in comparison to the way kids are growing up now. They forget that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be even if it was good. They look at it fondly forgetting the bad and while no one wants to focus on the bad, you can’t pretend it wasn’t there.
Now I am not saying that we should focus on the bad, but by discounting it sometimes it allows you to be stuck in the past because the future or present will never live up to it. Besides, they aren’t wrong when they say you can never go back.
Not going to happen.
Remember but don’t live in it.
Our lives change. Not just as an athlete, but as a human our lives change, our circumstances change and sadly our bodies change (and age). Now all that being said, you can be proud of your accomplishments. You can brag about them even, but what you can’t do is let them define where you are now. Most of all when you stop doing that you might just realize that you are able to enjoy today more than you did yesterday.
I’ve found that with my walking. Giving up where I was or thought I should be has allowed me to focus on where I am today. Now I am not saying that I will never run again because part of me already wants to run. That being said, I am enjoying learning what my body can do today. I have been walking at least a mile a day since June 21rst. I can walk more frequently and further without the physical downside when I was pushing to run (remember that whole Hypoparathyroidism thing).
Yesterday, I went out for a long walk as part of my NYC Virtual Marathon Training. I knew that I wanted to walk at least 8 but 10 was really my goal. When I reached 9.5, I met someone I know that was out walking and joined her. We chatted and I ended up hitting 11 miles. While I did end up with a blister (not uncommon for 3 hours on your feet) and I did need a short nap, I was not out for the count. I also realized that I need to stay true to this walking marathon training as the worst thing I can do is second guess where I am right now. The worst thing you can do is to try to make a major change in your training when you are in midst of it. I would only be setting myself up for failure.
Yes, I could most likely start running agin and I would be able to do it. The question is why would I be doing it. I would be doing it because I feel like it is expected to be doing it right now. When I tell people that currently I am not running and committed to walking, they do scratch their heads a little. It is not the norm to admit that you need a step back. It is not the norm to say that you are going to push it to the edge. It’s not the norm to admit that sometimes you need something different.
Then again as my friends can tell you……
I am not normal.
I’m ok with that.
Try it. It is freeing to break expectations. It is freeing to be who you are now. It is freeing to just be.
Hindsight is 2020 they say. Although after this year, we might need to come up with a new expression because no one wants to remember 2020 but I digress. It is always so much easier to second guess something after the fact. To pick it apart. To dissect. To play the could of, should of, would of game. Never helpful.
I will be honest as you know I always am…… As a runner, I always felt like walking was cheating. Now hear me out, I walked plenty. Currently, I am not even running but walking every day. What I really mean is that I wasn’t a good enough runner. There was not one of my 7 marathons that I did not walk during. Some I intentionally trained with walking in mind. That being said, somehow I felt like I wasn’t a real runner because runners don’t walk even if me as a runner did. Somehow it meant that I didn’t measure up, that I was less of a runner, that I should be better because while I could go the distance, I couldn’t go just running.
My goal besides a 4:30 marathon was to run a marathon where I ran the whole thing. Somehow that would make me more of a “real runner.” I probably would have made both those goals one day but you know the whole Hypoparathyroidism thing.
While I know rationally I know that I was/am a runner. I just always felt like I should have and could have been better. That I wasn’t living up to my potential. Here is the thing…. I probably wasn’t. There is something about the distance of a marathon that gets in your head. I trained and ran NYC Half a sub 2 hour with no problem. It was hard. I pushed myself. I crossed the finish line smiling. Add 13 miles and it is a whole different beast not just physically but mentally.
Each marathon my head was the biggest obstacle.
First Marathon, Philly 2014, was a fluke. I had been training for Runner’s World Hat Trick (5k & 10K one day, next day Half) and rolled into Philly on a whim after one 20 miler. I didn’t know what I was doing. It was hard. I didn’t overthink. I finished 4:46:20. If I had pushed, I could have been under 4:45
Next up was Marine Corps Marathon. This one I trained with a good coach. I was ready right up until I wasn’t. GI issues that I didn’t push through led me to my marathon PR of 4:38:14. This should have been my day, but mentally I didn’t want it enough to make it happen. I always thought I’d have another day.
Then a trail marathon which I rolled into but loved doing. Probably because there is no pressure or expectations that you are going to run the whole thing. Plus trail races are a whole different vibe and expectations are very different.
2016 was supposed to be my year. Although I had a bump in my training due to a sprained ankle, I still was mostly ready. I could definitely go the distance because I had finished a 50K that year right before marathon training, I ran my sub 2 half, and I ran my 5K PR of 26:26. I was ready to both go the distance and the pace. Right up until I wasn’t. I went out running strong the first half like there was no second half. Once I hit the wall, it was a struggle to keep going but I did. Finishing in 4:56.
After that my thyroid surgery and that called it a day for my 4:30 marathon time. My goals since has just been to go the distance, don’t crash my calcium and cross the finish line. Consistently, my races time wise have been going the opposite of every runners dream…..
2017 Chicago Marathon: 5:48:52
2018 NYC Marathon: 6:10:13
2019 NYC Marathon: 6:20:41
Some might see these as failures. I don’t. I see them as perseverance. The year after my surgery, when I was being treated by the wrong doctor I was actually able to run decent paces. Although it was much harder to keep up for longer distances. The issue was that I was taking too much calcium which while good for things like running, it was bad long term for things like kidneys. So, you know, trade off was not very smart. Although at the time I did not know that even if my doctor should have which is why he is no longer my doctor.
So here we are now, where I am living in the low calcium range but saving kidneys. In hindsight now I feel like I wasted my before hypopara runs and maybe I did, but there is nothing to be done now. I can only look to the future and learn from the past to plot my course. I’ve been thinking a lot about goals. Goals for now and long term since, you know, there is a lot of time to think right now. This post is already too long to get into. Plus I am still forming, plotting, and kind of waiting for the world to be safe again.
Right now, I feel that the best way I can be a runner is not to run. I am giving my body the break it needs. As I said before I have been walking a minimum of a mile a day since June 21, but usually more. Other day I walked 6.25 at a brisk pace around 16:10. Shorter distances I pick it up honing in on my speed walking. I am embracing walking. I am embracing learning to cut myself some slack and know I am enough just like I am. I am embracing what ever I do… walk, run, and anything in between is enough.
I realize that when it comes to my running, like most of us, I am harder on myself than anyone else. I also realize that while I may have medical issues, my biggest issue has always been my head. (shocking). That voice telling me I can’t do it with a self fulfilling prophesy so that I don’t. So with this step back, I am learning to trust my body. I am learning what inner voice to listen to and what voice to tell to shut up. I am learning to be ok with not pushing but also not going easy. Finding the middle ground I so often miss.
It is so easy to get discouraged when we do not reach goals we think we should reach. It is easy to make excuses for why things are the way they are. It is easy to pack it in and call it a day. What is not easy is sticking around when things don’t pan out the way you want. Learning to roll up the hill instead of down. To make lemonade out of lemons. To just be and be happy with that.
Sometimes when you look at the reality of why things are the way they are, you have to just let it go. You realize that you can’t change how they turned out. You not only have to accept it, but move on from it even if it means letting go. Letting go of guilt. Letting go of missed opportunities. Letting go of all that is and has held you back. In life sometimes you realize what you once thought an important is no longer important to you. Most of all learn from it. Sometimes we have to do it over and over and over again because we did not learn the lesson we needed to learn the first time
Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why do we always put ourselves down? Why don’t we treat ourselves the way we treat our friends? Why aren’t we kinder to ourselves?
Inquiring minds want to know!
As with everyone, I am in a few group message chains with my friends. These forms of communication are even more important now when you can’t see your friends. In one of these groups recently, we were all saying all the bad but very tasty things we were eating that we shouldn’t be. Then how we needed to get on track. On and on….. You know this conversation because I’m sure you’ve had these converstions.
(Sidebar – Do ONLY women have these conversations? Seriously. Although my husband has said to me about getting back on track, I don’t think he discusses with his fishing or work buddies. Maybe I’m wrong. Am I? )
Anyway after this conversation where we were all beating ourselves up about gaining weight, not loosing weight, and our bad eathing habits I started to think…..
This particular group was a bunch of running Mamas. Some are still running and training for virtual marathons. Those of us not running are still active. We are not sitting on the couch eating bon bons all day even during a pandemic.
A wise friend said, “Life has been extra nuts lately right ? Eat the damn cake chocolate pie cookie ..drink the wine beer pizza whatever …and more importantly be kind to ourselves”
Why is it so hard to be kind to ourselves?
If a friend calls us and tells us they totally blew their diet, blew through their Weight Watcher points, or gained weight; we would come back to them with a kind word (at least I hope so!). We would not berate them. We would not tell them they were hopeless. We would not tell them they blew it. We would reply that it’s ok. That tomorrow is another day. That each day is hard enough without beating themselves up. We would be kind.
So lets be kind to ourselves. Let’s start by treating ourselves the way we treat our friends. Let’s start by giving ourselves a break. Let’s start by knowing that it’s ok to eat the donut, eat the cake, and even eat the brownie but just maybe not in the same night. And if for some reason, we do eat them all in the same night to pick ourselves up the next day and say it’s ok. We will do better.
Here is another thing. As a woman of a certain age, it is pretty damn hard to loose weight. Hormones are all over the place. Metabolism is non existent. Then add no thyroid and a non working parathyroid glands and it is perfect storm of impossible weight loss.
Now I am by no means saying it is impossible to loose the weight. I am just saying that I am not committed enough right now to engage in trying to the extreme necessary. And while I may eat the donuts, the cake, the treats for the most part I really am not a bad eater. I eat a fairly healthy diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables For right now, I have embraced a pescatarian diet. I don’t really eat much processed foods. I’ve dieted. I’ve trained and run marathons. On paper, I look good. On the scale is another story.
My sister has suggested that I talk to my doctor about hormone replacement therapy. Truth be told, I take so many pills a day because of my Hypoparathyroidism that the thought of adding to the mix is just tiresome. So I am at a loss and I really do not feel the need to go to extremes as I have maintained where I am for the last 3 years since my surgery when I added these extra 20 pounds.
Now please don’t take this to mean that I have given up. I haven’t. I am not sure when yet, but I will once again start tracking my food. This actually is more for when I go to the doctors for my physical so that we can discuss it. Although my doctor is not one to use the scale as the be all indicator of health. If your doctor isn’t, I would say find one!
Now with all this being said, I am not saying that I wouldn’t be thrilled to wake up 20 pounds lighter tomorrow. I’m just saying for right now….. With all that is going on in the world…… It is just not my priority. I am not saying it won’t one day in the near future, but for today I am content to walk my mile a day and complete my 30 day yoga challenge.
If 2020 were an object, it would be a pile of dog poop. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would say as a whole this year doesn’t suck the big one. For some it sucks more than others and it doesn’t even take into account the pandemic.
2020 is also the year that one by one major races and events were cancelled. Boston while shocking was not unexpected since it was in the beginning of the pandemic. One by one other large events fell to the wayside. Many of the larger fall events have been holding out hope. NYRR just announced that they were cancelling the New York City Marathon. Not unexpected but still sad. For those that were planning to run they are giving great choices for deferment which also unheard of from NYRR. I believe they did the right thing both in canceling it and before most people started training.
This is the years for runners to decide why they run. This is the year for runners to decide weather they run only for the bling or if they run to run. Now don’t get me wrong…… I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my bling.
I get a lot out of running besides bling, but when you are not training for anything it does get easy not to stay motivated. Not to get out the door. Not to go for longer runs. Not to push yourself. One of the reasons, I have been doing the NJ Virtual Boardwalk challenge. 21 days left and more miles than I would like, but I will get it done.
So while 2020 has sucked and seems like is on the path to sucking till the bitter end, we need to regroup, refocus, and adjust.
What if we took this time as a gift. What if we viewed everything not through the lenses of what has been taken from us, but what has been given. What if instead of thinking of all we are missing, we embrace all the things that we have.
I currently have no part time job. I have no practices to run my son to. I have no this or that to attend, but instead of thinking about all that I’m missing what if I view this time as a gift.
I now have the time to practice yoga.
I now have the time to go for runs/walks. I have even started walking the dog with my oldest son just about every night. This is a gift.
I am missing the thrill of big events. The fun of small events. Missing my running crew. Missing training (really). Missing a lot…. BUT……. every since my surgery left me with Hypoparathyroidism, I have continued to push myself. I’ve continued to train, race, and while I have cut back on number events I was doing, I still kept pushing. Doing a marathon ever year since surgery in 2016 (actually every year now since 2014). Now, I have no choice though but to stop chasing events because even though I was realistic about them, I still pushed myself. FOR ME – instead of being upset that I can’t run NY again, what if I use this time to reconnect. Not just with running, but the way I need to run. Think about what works best for me as far as miles, pace, and calcium instead of chasing distances and time.
From January even before Covid, this year has had a lot of downs. Lots of things have gone wrong. Lots of drama. Lots of things that I wouldn’t wish to happen to anyone. But with each of these events, there has been an upside. Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to have gotten to the upside without the rollercoaster ride but that isn’t how life works. Sometimes you have to let go of the handles, put your hands in the air, scream as the roller coaster is racing down the tracks and just be happy when you pull into the end. You can’t enjoy the highs without the lows.
So while many of us our in lows now, we have no choice except to enjoy the ride as much as we can.
So for now…..
I will continue to run. I will continue to see if maybe I need to do more power walking especially in the heat instead of running. If maybe, I just keep moving that is enough and for the next 21 days, I have to not skip a beat and apparently I am a streaker.
This week I had my 6 month check up with my endocrinologist. Not surprising, my blood calcium level was low. The good news is that it is just below the low end of normal. Yeah me. The good part though is by maintaining this low level that my 24 hour urine calcium level was normal which is something I haven’t seen in 2 years. At my highest this level was more than double what it should be. So since my Natpara is gone, I bounce in the low blood calcium levels to protect my kidneys for the higher output levels. Go me.
All was good at the appointment. When I commented to my doctor that I was “happy” with levels to protect kidneys, she reminded me that we also have to worry that if we allow my blood calcium levels to get to low we have heart issues. Did you know that if your calcium is important for heart health. Such a balancing act that makes life so fun.
I am good about balancing these things. (seriously Mom… no worries). I am also very lucky that I’ve never had any issues with my kidneys or heart. I pay attention. I adjust. I pop pills all day and adjust as needed. As said before, I really think being a marathon runner prior to surgery helped me learn to tune into my body. All those long runs adjusting fuel, pace, and runs gave me an inside track on how to listen to my body with calcium levels.
I have a few running magnets on my car. I have one that says 50K. Sometimes I think that I should take it off as I only ran one, but it is a reminder of what I once could do and maybe one day will do again. It makes me proud and a little sad at the same time. At my “peak” I finished this event in 7 hours and seven minutes. Obviously, I did not run the entire time, but I did run enough to actually complete it. I’ve run a sub 2 half marathon and a 26:26 5K.
I am no longer at my peak. I’m no longer close to my peak. Today I struggle through 5 miles which used to me my normal run. I used to run every day in training. Teaching myself to run on tired legs. Now I have to pace myself as my legs are tired before I even start. I can’t run every day, but have been trying to walk at least a mile every day. It sucks. And yes, I know, that it could be worse but this is my pity party. I miss the “old” me and I when I was on Natpara I kind of felt like her. Sometimes I get annoyed at my missed opportunities. Blowing my 4:30 marathon because I didn’t pace myself. Thinking I would get another shot at it. I was wrong.
When you have an invisible illness no matter what it is often times people think you are exaggerating, it’s all in your head, or think you are just complaining. It is easier for people to understand when they can see the toll an illness takes on a person, but often times people with invisible illnesses keep a lot to themselves. What is the point… You know what you need to do and you just handle it.
Al my life I’ve struggled and overcome the impossible. I’ve come back from the bottom and realized that in life you really only have two choices….. Keep moving forward or give up.
I’ve been wondering if it is time to give up running, but I get so much out of it that I think that is not a valid option. I’ve been lower before. I’ve crawled my way from the depths of depression where I realized that giving up is not an option. The truth of the matter is when you come back from that, you realize that your only option in life is to keep pushing forward one step at a time.
Today’s run was hard. The heat effects me. I felt tingles in the lips (low calcium). My legs were cramping. I thought about just walking home. I realized that most of my problem with running really is my ego. I can run fast in short bursts. I can’t run fast for the long haul. I need to readjust, refocus, and learn to pace again. If the truth is that running is worth pushing myself than I really need to push myself smarter. So with that, I added some calez (powdered calcium) to my water, cut myself some slack, and reassessed what I realistically want from running.
Unrealistically…. I still want that 25 minute 5K or that 4:30 marathon I was chasing that I will never get. Realistically, I just want to keep running. I need to let go of expectations, excuses, and ego……. easier said than done especially when I was on Natpara injections which made me feel like my old self for a bit.
I’ve been picked over. I’ve been picked last. I’ve been ignored. I’ve been on the outside looking in. I’ve been on bumpy roads in life….. And while none of these are good and no one wants these things to happen to them or anyone they love…… When you’ve been dealt these hands , they do make you stronger. I root for the underdog, because I’ve been the underdog. While not that now, I do know that if I can get through all the things that brought me to where I am today; I can get through this.
Luckily there are no races on the calendar. There is no training. There is just getting miles in and keeping myself moving. This year will give me time. To think of what goals I want when there are goals to be hand. To be smart. Most of all to just keep running…
Most of all no matter what….
To never give up.
And I know that some of you have heard this before and might hear it again. I am only human and some days you move forward and some days you move backwards but as long as you have more forward moving days than backwards, you are doing ok.
We all have expectations in life. Great expectations. We all have a vision of how we want our life to be. Expectations are good, but what happens when life doesn’t live up the vision of what we think it should be? This leads to disappoint and sand ness.
All those years ago, actually only 7, when I started on my fitness journey there was no expectations. I didn’t know what my body could do. I didn’t know what a good time for an event was. Hell, I really didn’t know anything….. Except that I wanted to do something. Because I was starting from zero, I put no expectations on myself. I jokingly said that my only goal with my first ever race, Iron Girl Sprint Tri, was not to die. To me that was enough of a goal and anything after that was a win.
There was no… I should hit this many miles. I should hit this pace. I should do this or that for training. I knew nothing, so I expected nothing.
When I ran my first ever half which I signed up for because I was running just to run with my MRTT (Mom’s Run This Town) Mama’s. I was running 8 miles and more just to run them. Then on one run one of the Mama’s, Janna, said, ” You should sign up for the Superhero Half. Your ready for it.”
So I did. I had no expectations. I just showed up for the car ride to the event. While in the car, the seasoned runners spoke of pacing, race strategy, fueling and such. When they asked me mine, I had none. My goal was to finish.
Thanks to Janna who took me under her wing, I finished in 2:09. She knew about pacing and she also knew that I could finish in under 2:10 and she got me there. I just ran when she made me run and had a fun time doing it.I further admit that I didn’t even know that 2:09 would be a good time for a half. To me it was just about running to run and having a good time.
Then something happened, I started putting expectations on my running. I also became ” a serious” runner. I learned of pacing, training strategy, and proper fueling and for a while I even had a kick ass coach. And while I still enjoyed running, it lacked the simplicity of when I first started. I put expectations on myself and I was able to live up to my expectations right up until I couldn’t which was right after my thyroid surgery left me with Hypoparthyroidism. And even after I came to terms with that, I still put expectations on myself. Expectations that I could no longer meet.
You know what? I’m done with expecations! I want to find the joy that I had when I first started running. I want to stop overthinking, overanalyzing, and just find the joy in allowing my body to do what it can do. No matter the pace. No matter the distance.
The thing that screws us up so much in life is not accepting what we have and being upset it’s not what we think it should be. Sometimes getting out of our own way is the best thing that you can do. Sometimes you have to make a conscience decision to let things go, to reassese, and just allow what is to be enough.
With this thought process, I had picked the Hal Higdon Novice 1 training plan for the NJ Half at Rutgers. No, I admit, I am not a novice runner; but I want to be. I want to run with no expectations. I have been so focused on doing what I thought I should do that I was missing out on what I could do. I am going back to seeing what my body can do. To discovering where I am today. And while I may have had this thought in the last 3 years I really have not embraced it in my running. I am now.
You know what?….. I’ve been enjoying my 2 training runs so far. I have just been running to run. No expectations. No watching the pace. Just letting my body decide. It’s been good. The runs have felt good. I have felt good and the bonus is that both runs had negative splits which will not be the expectation nor will it be.
So I will be happy to run where I am today. Not where I was 3 years ago. Not where I think I should be. Not where other people are. Not about pace. Not about anything, but enjoying where I am at this point and that will be enough.