Tag Archive | inspiration

Embrace The Suck

Yesterday  I needed to go for my long run of 15 miles.   I knew going in that the run might be difficult, so from the very beginning I said that my motto for this run would be:

Embrace The Suck!

As I was beginning my run, I chuckled and thought to myself that it kind of is a metaphor for life too.    Now hear me out.    Sometimes in life things are going suck.   Things are going to go wrong.    Things are going to be hard.   And sometimes, things are going to be downright shitty.

Yes I know very uplifting, but we all know that life isn’t always a bowl of cherries.    The thing is that you have to embrace the suck to get to the good stuff.   You have to push through it when it’s hard.   You have to dig your heels in and just keep moving forward.   You have to know that at the end of the suck is something good.  You have to just keep going, because if you stick around long enough  you come out that much stronger.

strenght

So with that being said, I embraced the suck of yesterday’s 15 mile run.    As I said I knew it would be suck some for a few reasons.

  1.  It’s a long run and they usually suck.
  2.  I need new sneakers
  3. I’ve been messing up with my meds

So I went out with the mindset that no matter what, I would embrace the suck.   Do what I needed to do and get my run in.    The goal was to finish no matter what.   I felt like this was a long enough run to gage some things for New York and what I need to do in the next 46 days.

I have realized that it takes my body normally a good 3 miles to get into the rhythm of a run.   This morning was no exception.    Then I realized that I did not take my morning meds, so I ended up looping my run back to my house so that I could do so.    This was more necessary because I’ve been a little off with my timing lately. (Don’t worry, I’m trying to be better).    Anyway, meds taken and out the door I went.   It was hard.   I was sweating like I ran in a sprinkler, but I was embracing the suck and moving forward.    I was running where I should be especially for the distance keeping an average  pace in the 12’s &  13’s.    By mile 10, I was feeling a little off.    For me I can tell when my levels are dipping because I feel like a twitch in my face even if it’s not visible and some tingling/numbness in my hands.    I was prepared and did have some Calez (powdered calcium) to add to my water.    I am thinking for the marathon to fill all my bottles up with this and then just get plain water at the water stations.

I pushed forward.   By almost miles 13, I was out of water which is never good.   Luckily, I plan my runs so that I am never far from a friends house or place I can stop at.   I took my smelly sweaty self into a bistro where I purchased the most delicious chilled Gaterade and a bottle of water to refill.    Then off I went embracing the suck.

Here’s the thing….  As sucky as it was, it was also good.    I did feel stronger at the end of my run.   I did feel confident and the end of my run.    I did realize that running alone through the streets will be so much different than when running with 50, 000 of my closest friends who will all be embracing the suck.  I did feel like I could keep running and I did feel strong enough to keep going.   And I also realized that in the end, it is all worth it.

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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Nothing Worthwhile is Easy

As a runner we all have running montras

Your race, your pace

If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Your only competing against yourself.

Your lapping everyone still on the couch.

 

And while all of these montras are true and for the most part I do 100% believe them, there are times when it is hard.   When it is hard to let things go.   When those nasty thoughts enter my head.   Not jealous of other runner and their accomplishments, but angry with myself for where I am.

While I know others have it worse than I do….

While I know that I am not alone in having struggles…

While I know that it could be so much worse and others suffer more…

I also know that there are many people with Hypoparathyroidism that would love to do the things that I currently do because they are unable to.

That does not lesson my struggles and my reality.   As with any chronic disease, each person manifests the symptoms differently.   There is no one size fits all.  And with Hypoparathyroidism, it is different all the time.   Calcium levels fluctuate and there is no way to know.   It’s all just a guessing game on a daily basis since different days may require more calcium intake just to keep your body functioning at not even peak, but just below peak.   There is not at home blood test like a diabetic uses to determine calcium need.   It’s all just a guessing game.

I’ve said it before and I do believe it with not a shred of scientific evidence to back me up that the reason that I am able to do the things I do now is because of the aerobic shape I was in before my surgery.  I literally ran the NYC Marathon just 2 weeks prior to my thyroid surgery.   There are some people with my disease that need to go out on disability because the struggle is so bad.   Again each person is different.

This past weekend I just got back from a 10 day camping trip in Vermont.   I said to my son while we  were out on a 16 mile bike ride around the lake (mind you the day after climbing Jay’s Peaks a 4,000 foot elevation) that I was going to be slow.   I told him that although I make it look easy, I struggle more than he knows.   This is true because while I moan and groan here on my blog, in person I usually just don’t complain.  Really what will it do?

Here is the truth that I’ve said before….. For right now in order to keep my kidneys healthy, I need to keep my calcium level low which brings the symptoms associated with it.     To name a few,  muscle cramps and fatigue which makes training a little more difficult than it used to be.   I also can’t handle the heat as easily as I used to be.

Nothing worthwhile in life is easy.  Marriage, Having kids, raising kids, even some friendships at times are hard.  Nothing is easy.   They are all worth the struggle, but not necessarily easy.   The payoff is worth the effort.

Nothing worthwhile in life is easy….

Especially running a marathon.

This will be my second marathon with Hypoparathyroidism.    It will be my 6th overall.   Each one had it’s challenges.   Each one had it struggles.   I was able to push through all of them and make it to the finish line.   This time it will be no different.

effort

 

 

 

Limitations

We all hate limitations.   Limitations on a sale item.   Limitations on our time.   Limitations on our food portions (oh wait, maybe that’s just me!).   Certainly limitations on our bank accounts.   Can we all agree that limitations just suck?

Add to the list – limitations on your running abilities.

Today’s run was definitely one where I felt my limitations.   I was running on empty which I knew when I went out for my run which annoyed me.   I usually try to push through my limitations and pretend they are not there, but when your lips start to tingle and your eye feels like it wants to twitch, there is only so much you can do.   Some limitations are just that limitations.

In my day to day life, I like to pretend these limitations don’t bother me.   I know it is what it is and I have accepted it, but acceptance does not always mean making peace.  Those are two different organisms.    It is a work in progress, but some days it is harder than others.

Today I when I went out for my run, I already knew I was sluggish which annoyed me.   I pushed the pace more than I should.   If you looked at my overall splits, they look good.   But if you look closer, I may have been a hot mess.   I was pushing paces that I had no business pushing even hitting an 8:52 at one point.   These paces were not sustainable, at at least I was smart enough to walk/run.  Although because I was running too fast, by mid run I was walking more than I should.

That being said overall paces looked nice

11:14, 11:08, 11:53

But again not the whole truth.

The truth is this was not a smart run.    This run was not what I needed, but as I told a friend afterwards, “Some times you’ve got to say what the F.”

So I dusted myself off, I took some extra calcium, and I will try to run where I am an not where I want to be.

Besides if making peace with things in life was so easy, you would not appreciate it when you actually do find it.

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My Race. My Pace.

We have all head the mantra, My race.  My pace.   Sometimes it’s hard to believe, but it is so true.   Sometimes we get so caught up in thinking about our pace that we miss out on the beauty of running.

For those who have been with me a while know that the run/walk method was really not something that I chose but that chose me.    Although I knew many people who for various reasons used this method it never appealed to me because I was always worried that if I started walking it would be harder to start back running when needed.    I was wrong.

Here is something that I noticed.   Before the walk/run method, I would invariably walk during a marathon, long run, or bad day.   It was hard to start running again because usually I would wait till I couldn’t push it to walk.   That is no longer the case.   I walk BEFORE my body needs it.   I start when the buzzer goes off.   I stop when it goes off again.

I like it. I really like it.

Currently, I am using the 3:30 to 45 run/walk ratio.   This seems to be a good fit.   I finally adjusted my Garmin setting to see current pace and lap pace.   This is something that I hope to work on because my running pace has not been consistent.   So yesterday I went for 10 miles trying to keep my running pace around 11-11:15.    My miles were pretty consistent and my overall run had a pace of 12:08.    This is right where I wanted to be and I am happy with this run.   Plus I feel pretty good today which is a major bonus!

I am happy with where I am with my running.

Here is the thing though…….   I have never had what I call the Balls to Wall mentality in my running.   Not to say that there wasn’t a time where I dreamed of a 4:30 marathon or pushed myself to do a sub 2 half.   It is just that even when I was training consistently with a coach I did not always go out fast every run.   Most of my runs were at a slower pace and then there were days where it was about speed.  I wanted that for me and was willing to work for it.    I have never been about running hard and fast all the time.   Maybe I’m just too soft:)

Here is the  another thing though…..

There is nothing wrong with being too soft.   Although I don’t consider it being soft really.    Every person has a different reason for running.    Everyone gets something different out their running.   A wise person said to me, “I want to be able to “compete” in my own way.”

Yup!

There is no wrong way to train and “race.” (ok there are wrong ways, but I’m talking different paths).    Not everyone wants to stand on the podium.   Some of us want to just be out on the road.   The beauty of running is that there is more than enough road for all of us.

I will further admit that I am knocking on 50’s door in less than a year.   I came to this party late.   Only starting to run in my mid 40’s.   So for who I am and where I’m at, I’m doing ok.    I have never wanted my running to feel like a job which I admit when training for a marathon it usually does near the end.  That being said, overall I want to enjoy my runs.   I don’t want to beat myself over my running.   Life can be hard enough without that added stress.

So what am I trying to say here…..

I guess I’m trying to say whether  you are a front of the pack runner,  a middle of the pack runner,  back of the pack runner or don’t even run it a pack; it’s ok.    Running is  simple but not a simple thing.   Like anything in life you can make it as complicated as your want.   For me, right now, I want uncomplicated.   I want to enjoy my running for all that it brings me…… great workout, even better friends, and most of all the way it clears the cob webs out of my mind.    There are those who may not understand my lack of balls to the wall mentality and that’s ok.   They are on a different path than me and each much not only choose their path but enjoy it while they are there.

Life is too short not to enjoy where you are in your journey.

be-happy-quotes

 

 

 

Giving it all I’ve Got

I’ve started training for NYC Marathon.   I had been thinking that I was pretraining, but then I actually looked and yup, I’m training.    I am following the Jeff Galloway “To Finish”  Program and it’s actually a 26 week program.   In looking at the calendar if I do my math correctly, I believe that puts me at week 3 of training.  Oops, time to play catch up:)

Training for a marathon is a long process, yet at the same time it goes quickly.

I’m going to be very upfront in how things are going and I’m sure it won’t all be rainbows and sunshine.   That being said, I am so lucky to be given this opportunity and remind myself that I am not doing this for me, but for Sandy Hook Promise.

Anyhoo…. Even with the “To Finish” program, I know that I will be giving it all I’ve got.

Giving it all i got

I went out for a run.   I was just shy of 5 miles at 4.7, but it happens.   I used the ratio of 3 minutes run to 45 seconds walk.    It seemed like a good ratio, but I’m still feeling it out.   I will say that I liked it.   I tried to keep my run part around 11 and walk not at a Sunday stroll nor a power walk, but somewhere in between.   It seemed to be a good balance as my overall pace was 11:17.

As I was running though, I was trying to connect my body to where my mind is which is harder than you think.   In my mind, I still am so much faster.   My body disagrees.  Besides that  I also have to reconcile that with the run/walk method there will be times that I’m out for my run where I’m going to be walking and people will see.    That’s a mental thing, but one that I will deal with too.

Here is the thing…..   I can only do what I can do.   Yes, running is very much a mental sport, but in the end you can only do what your body will allow.    I’ve also got to use this training time to know when to add more calcium and magnesium.    When I was training for Chicago, I had a doctor who kept my calcium levels  in the mid normal range which may have made things better for running, but overall was not good for my health as it left too much calcium in urine (not good for kidneys).    So I’ve learned more this last year and I’ve also got my specialist that is keeping my calcium at just below normal.    That is good overall, but I do need to adjust more now on running days.   It will also be a training exercise to know how much is enough and how much is too much.

Yesterday was not enough.   It didn’t help that the night before I fell asleep and forgot to take my calcium and magnesium.   I also should have added more calez during run and realized that a Epsom salt bath afterwards might not have been as indulgent as I thought it would have been.

This is what happens when your don’t hit the right balance.   Your muscles dance which isn’t as fun as it sounds….

It’s a work in progress, but whose life isn’t.

We live.   We learn.   We move forward.

 

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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The Unpleasant Truth

Everyone has something that they are afraid of.   Everyone knows that you can run from your fears, but you can’t hide from them.

  But what if……

What if sometimes the fear is just under the surface?

But what if……

What if instead of facing our fears that we just ignore them.   Pretend they don’t even exist?

Will that make them go away?

Reality and past experiences say no.

Someone recently asked me what is it that I’m afraid of when it comes to my running right now.   (I’m talking actual running not running away from my fears).   After thinking about it, I knew in my heart the answer.

The fear of not being good enough.

Once I had said this out loud, I knew the truth of my answer.   I had the answer before she even asked the question.   You see the night before, I had had a dream.  Seriously.   In my dream I went out to my car and ALL my running magnets were removed from the back of my car.

NO 50K

NO 26.2

NO 13.1

NO MRTT

Nothing………    Empty space where my pride used to be.

Silly dream, but it speaks volumes.    And then it begs to question, who do I have to be good enough for?   Not my family.   Not my friends.  Not my ever so supportive running community.  Not my co-workers.    Not the strangers along courses.  All  I need is to be good enough for me and why isn’t my best good enough?

It’s time to deal with the unpleasant truth.   A truth I’ve spoken of before, but still am grappling with I admit.    It’s not easy to let go of expectations realistically or unrealistically that you put upon yourself.    It’s not so easy to deal with unpleasant truths that you want to ignore.    And most of all when you finally face the unpleasantness of it all, you realize that you were holding onto things for all the wrong reasons.

letting-go

Truth

But letting go doesn’t mean giving up.   It doesn’t mean putting away my running shoes. It doesn’t mean pushing my limits.    It means letting go of the things that are holding me back.    I’m not talking about holding me back from PR’s or such.    I’m talking about holding me back from taking the next step.

Acceptance.

Yes, if it was that easy the world would be a better place.    But I’m talking about acceptance that things will be different and that’s ok.

I’m not a person of change.   I know this to be true.   My mother often asks me, “What’s new.”    I often respond, “Nothing and that’s a good thing.”   But the truth is that you have a choice in life, either change with it or live in the past and miss out on the possibilities of the future.

It’s time to look forward.   It’s time to change with the times.    It’s time to accept where I am today….

I am a woman who struggles due to her Hypoparathyroidism with limitations that I did not have before.  Pretending they are not there, will not make them go away.    I’ve been trying that and it hasn’t worked.   They are still there, but I make it look easy:):)

BUT

That does not mean I am not a runner anymore.   It just means that I need to learn to change.   Change expectations.   Change the way I train.    Change the way I run by embracing the run/walk method whole heartily this time.     Change is scary but sometimes necessary and often good.

It also means that you are open to new opportunities and I’ll be honest there is a new opportunity that I’m hoping comes my way.   One that if I accept that I need to be willing to change  to fully enjoy and experience.   (Yes, that’s a teaser:)

 

 

 

 

When is the Right Time?

Today, on this random day, I decided that I need to start getting it together.   While there are many things no longer in my control, there are many things that are in my control and I need to take control of what I can.   With that in mind, I pulled out an old training book that I used when I was working with my running coach in 2016.    I opened it up to peruse the pages and on the front page there was a sticky with the following written on it:

As much as I know the time is right, I still can’t help but believe that it is wrong…

Ummm, Ok

I still feel like that.

Do we ever know when is the right time?

I was on a message board the other day and someone was saying how they wanted to get back to running, but needed to loose weight first.    This is not the first time that I’ve heard such things.    I personally know people that have made similar statements.

The truth of the matter is that there is no right or wrong time.    There is only time, opportunities, and chances we must take.    I’ve been sitting here waiting for the right time to get my sh*t together – not be so out of breath when I run, loose weight, not feel like Grandma getting out of bed in the morning,  not have legs feel like I’ve run 10 miles when I’ve only run 1.

As much as I know the time is right, I still can’t help but believe that it’s wrong….

The time is right.    In looking at my training log, I can not see a day where I would be able to maintain that level again.  This is the truth as harsh as it sounds to my ears.   In looking at my training log, two years ago at this time I was running an 18 mile training run at an overall pace of 10:24.    A quote from my log,  “Other than feeling like a long run, it felt great.   Miles were faster towards the end of the run.”

Here’s the thing…..

I could not imagine running that pace that distance again.   Maybe I can.   Maybe I can’t.  I just know that my body does not bounce back the way it used to.    I also know that there are many factors I have now that I didn’t have then.

Here’s another thing…

I don’t know which factor is the causing factor.    I do know that Hypoparathyroidism plays into it.   I also know that hypothyroidism could play a role too.  I’m certainly not getting any younger.   Then there is the weight factor.   But which is coming first the chicken or the egg…. Is the weight a symptom of the thyroid problem or visa versa.

Let’s not even talk about the training time factor today.

Lastly, here is the thing…..

Even with all of the baggage, I still want to run.    I still want to run far.    I still dream the dream of running the way that I used to run and that there is the problem.   I need to live with the reality of today and work towards the reality that I would like to have.

As much as I know the time is right, I still can’t help but believe that it’s wrong….

The real question needs to be…

If not now, When?

time-flies

 

BE NICE!

Why are we always harder on ourselves than we are on our friends?    It’s one of life’s biggest mysteries.

Examples 1

Friend, “I can’t believe how slow my last run was.”

Caring Response, “At least you got out there.   Don’t worry about it.   We all have bad days.”

Response to self for slow run, “What is wrong with you.   Suck it up.   Push harder.”

Example 2

Friend, “I’m planning to take some time off from running to heal injury, just not feeling it, no time or any such thing.”

Response, “Smart move.   Give yourself time that you need.   The road will be there when you are.”

Response to self for time off, “Your loosing it.   You better lace up and go for a run.  What is wrong with you.   Your lazy, ect, ect.”

Example 3

Friend, ” I finished the Race in XYZ.   It wasn’t my goal time.”

Response, “Still a great race.   So proud of you.   You tried your best and you can try for that goal again.”

Respnse to self, “What is wrong with you.   You didn’t train hard enough.   You blew it, ect, ect, ect”

 

These examples don’t just happen in our running.   I’m sure that we each could pick things from our “real lives” that we do the same things.

  Why though?

I used to think it was just me, but I realize over time that so many of us do it.   We all come to life with our own baggage.

Why is it so easy to show our friends compassion when we do not give ourselves the same courtesy.   We are not lying to our friends when we respond to them.   We aren’t trying to just make them feel better.   We truly mean these kind words.    So why do we not cut ourselves the same break?   It’s time to break the cycles.

Yeah, if only it was that easy.   Most of the time we don’t always know we are doing it.   Kind of like when someone gives you a compliment and you dismiss it with some self deprecating comment.  STOP THAT.    It’s time to realize that you deserve to be treated the way you treat others.

I’ve been trying to be nicer to myself with my running.   I’ve beaten myself up on how I need walk breaks, how out of breath I am, ect, ect, ect.     What I realized is that if a friend was in my position, I would be so much kinder to their situation than I have been to mine.   What I’ve also realized is that this pattern was developed over time and it will take time and work to change it.

So here is what I propose we all do:

  1.  If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.
  2. Build yourself up.  Not in an obnoxious way, but remind yourself that you are worth it too.
  3. Criticizing yourself is not the way to self motivate.   If you feel you could/should have run faster, tell yourself that you did your best but will try again next time.
  4. Take time for yourself and don’t feel like you don’t deserve to splurge on you.

Yeah, if only it was that easy.   The truth is that it’s not hard either.   It just takes time, energy, and being mindful of your inner voice.

Your worth it!

and

So am I!