Tag Archive | inspiration

Lessons Learned

One of my favorite expression is about being kind to people.

be-kind-2

It is true too.   This expression should apply to everyone and everywhere, but we can take it to heart in our running.    Often times people will see someone running on the street, finishing a race at what some might consider “bad” or see someone who gives it all they have but never got the “runners body.”  I will admit all of those apply to me.    At my fastest, I could never hit the 4:30 marathon and this is not the shape people think of when they imagine a runner.   Yet, I am a runner.   I was then and I am now.

Philly Marathon

Case in point…. Me finishing my first marathon in Philly.   You don’t look at this and think, “wow she looks like a runner.”

Now I will say that the people in my inner circle do not think like that (myself included).   It’s just not who we are (we are the cheerleaders), but I will admit to sometimes having a mean girl moment or two.   I’m not perfect and never claimed to be, but I also know the truth of my favorite expression and try to embrace it.   That being said, it really is coming home to me now and maybe it is a much needed lesson.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve started using the run/walk method.   Now even though I have bought the Jeff Galloway marathon training book, I’m not fully embracing it.   Physically, it’s good.  Mentally, I’m having a hard time with it.   I want to run and I want to run like I used to.  I felt like I was just getting it together and reaching my potential.   I might get there again.   I might not.   Who knows?    Besides the hypopara issues, I’m not getting any younger.   Statistically speaking I might have already peaked.   Although I might not be too upset in 2 years when I hit the next age group that begins with a 5.

Sometimes we put so much internal pressure on ourselves just because we think that we should be doing something a certain way, we suck the joy right out of it.    I’m not there, but I could very easily let myself get there if not kept in check.    Really, it would be much easier to quit running.   The thing is that I like it.   I really do.   Just not so much in the moment:)

Here’s one other thing,  it would be easier to quit.   I know that.   I’ve thought about deferring Chicago but I honestly believe it I don’t do it this year that I never will.   Also I have a secret weapon pushing me along.

My youngest son has been doing Tae Kwon Do.   He’s fairly good at it.   He  has worked his way up to a red belt.   He now wants to quit.   His reason is that it isn’t fun anymore and boring.   Perfectly normal responses from a 10 year old.   Here’s the thing though.   When I dig a little deeper the truth that this wise mother see’s is that it isn’t as easy for him as it used to be.   He isn’t as confident going into a class with other red belts and higher than know the routines that he is trying to learn.    I get that.   So I am giving him a break for the summer, but I will push him back into it come September.

How can I push him if I don’t push myself?   Yes, it would be easier to let him quit but I know one day he might regret it.   Yes, I know that it would be easier if I quit but I know for a fact that I would regret it.

If not now, when?

As a parent our kids don’t always listen and sometimes even tune us out.   I know say it isn’t so, but it is true.    Anyway, they do pay attention to the things we do.   My family knows that my running isn’t as “easy” as it used to be.   My runs take longer than used to be.   I come home more tired and sweaty than I used to, but I’m still getting out there.   I may walk.   I may run.  But I am not giving up.   That is the lesson I want them to learn.    That is the lesson to learn.

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The Shadow of Fear

 

 

noun
noun: fear; plural noun: fears
  1. 1.
    an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

     

verb
verb: fear; 3rd person present: fears; past tense: feared; past participle: feared; gerund or present participle: fearing
  1. 1.
    be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.

 

As humans fear is a normal emotion.   It’s a survival instinct.   Everyone has some fear and anyone who says they have no fears is either lying to themselves or you.    It is a necessary emotion……

To a point.

If allowed our fears can become bigger than the reality.   We create a boulder to carry when we should only be carrying  a pebble.     It happens before we even know it!   Once we realize the truth of our fears, we can chip away at that boulder and return it to it’s pebble size.   But in order to do that, we must admit our fear and face them.

I’ve realized that I’ve been living on the edge of fear lately and it’s been holding me back.    I’ve never been one to worry about the “What if’s in life.”   I’ve just kind of rolled with it.   Since my diagnosis, I’ve been fearful.   Fearful of a calcium crash.   Fearful that my calcium will spike.   Fearful of the side effects of the medications I must now take.    Fearful that I’m going to end up with kidney stones which is a common side effect.    Fearful that I’m in over my head since I still can’t seem to find a doctor that “gets it.”

Then there is the part of me that thinks I could just stop taking everything and that I’m perfectly fine.   I mean I look fine.   I actually feel good right now which also brings up fear as my levels are too good.   Yes, I know that sounds strange but it’s true.   There is a fine line.    Anyway even though my PTH levels indicate that as much as I’d like it to not to be true, my body just isn’t working right.   So in this case the fear of not taking my meds is a good thing.

stubborn

But fear can also be a bad thing.

Fear can be used to hold us back.

I can’t let the not knowing how my body and how my calcium levels will react hold me back.    Any runner/athlete on any given day can be sidelined by a whole host of things out of their control.   You can do everything right and still have a bad day.    You can’t live in the shadow of fear.

So today I am starting to chip away at that boulder.    As FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”   It is with this thought that I went out on my 3 mile run last night.     I didn’t do anything stupid and push myself into paces that I couldn’t hold.    What I did though is say that I am going to run 3 miles and run the whole thing.  I reminded myself that I ran a half marathon only a few months ago and my levels were much lower than they are now.     This does not mean that I’m giving up on the walk/run method.    This just means that I’ve realized that out of fear I may not have been pushing myself to do things that I should push myself to do.

It’s time I started remembering that no one knows what their day will bring and start facing it accordingly.

For now, I choose to embrace a new meaning of fear and once again try to live my life accordingly.   It won’t be easy and I’ve still got baggage to deal with, but I’m going to try.

 

Fear2

 

Again

One day at a time.

One run at a time.

 

Be Where You Are

I’m not where I used to be.    A major part of me knows that is ok.   A small part of me is still coming to terms with it.   I really wish that I could shut that small part of me up, but it’s a work in progress.   I feel that right now everything is a work in progress but isn’t that everyone?   What was once easy is now difficult, but what was once impossible is now possible.   It’s all in the way you look at things.

Moving forward but not giving up.

I’ve said before that mentally I think that I need to run Chicago.    What I need to do though and I’ve said it before is adjust expectations.    Easier said than done, but I am getting better.

accept-change-poster

Here’s the thing that I keep reminding myself and coming back to……

I’m not an elite athlete.   I’m not winning any medals except the medals that I earn just crossing the finish line.     I’m not a contender.    Running is not my job and I do not want to make it feel like it is my job either.   There is no hidden agenda in my running.

Here is what I am….

I am a Mama runner who just wants to run.    I want to be able to clear my head by going out for a run.   I want to be able to get a good workout in at the best of my ability.    I want to run with my friends.     I want to be healthy and running is something that both mentally and physically helps with that.

So I’m really trying to let go of where I used to be and hold onto where I am.    I also know that I am very lucky.   There are some people with calcium issues that can’t do anything physically without their calcium crashing.    I also know that I have to be smart with my training for Chicago.   I’ve got a lot going on and I’ve still got a lot to learn with how my body will deal with not just the training but the training in the heat.   It seems to effect me more now.   It’s a learning process.  As a friend a ran with today pointed out, I’ve got a lot of pieces that still need to be put together.

I’m trying to embrace being where I am at and I am very lucky to have a great support system of not just “running friends” but real friends who I happen to run with!    Today I went out with a friend for a few miles.   The weather is in the 80’s with 73% humidity.   With the humidity at those levels, it was brutal.   I did walk when I needed to which “is what it is.”    Even with walking, it was still a hard run.   It was still 6 miles and I still got it done.   And honestly it was overall still a good pace at 12:13.

We all know that running is a mental sport…. From talking ourselves out the door to pushing our bodies to make the impossible possible.    It (and I’ve said this before) is also accepting where you are on a given day and period in your life.   I am where I am today and that is enough.

It is enough…..

To get out the door

To run and to also walk.

To do the best that I can at a given day.

To accept that no matter what pace I’m running, it is enough.

To cut myself a break when needed and push myself when needed.

And most of all….That I am in competition with no one not even who I used to be.

start-where-you-are-use-what-you-have

 

 

Great Expectations

A friend reached out to me after my last post which if you read this one, I really appreciated (so thanks).   She felt the need to send a hug my way.    In talking to her about doing Chicago this year, I said that even if I’m the last person to finish Chicago that I want to do it.   Her reply was accurate in that even if I “don’t do it (this year) it doesn’t make you any less of a runner.”

She’s right.

The problem is that I want it.   I think I need Chicago more mentally than anything else.   It is my way of literally giving the middle finger to this stupid thing call hypoparathyroidism.    I know very mature.

Although in chatting with my friend, others with the my issue, and giving some thought; I know it’s time (at least for now) to reevaluate my running expectations.    One of my goals as a runner has always been to run a full marathon without walking.   Even perfectly healthy, I was never able to accomplish.     I’ve also had a goal of running a 4:30 (and in the back of my mind faster) marathon.    But it is time to reevaluate my goals.   It’s time to be realistic of where I am today.   Right now.   Down the road, I might be able to get back to these goals but I need to make goals based on reality.

There are moments when I wonder why do I feel the need to push myself to do this.   Then there are moments when I wonder why wouldn’t I push myself to do this.   These thoughts are the same thoughts that I had previously.    These are thoughts that I think anyone who pushes themselves beyond their comfort zone gets.   And you know what I have said more than once…..

comfortzone-crop

Some people think that being a bad-ass runner means running 100 miles, running a marathon, running a half marathon, or running fast.   These are all great feats and a challenge to anyone who pursues them.

Here is the thing though…… Anyone can be a bad-ass.   It is about pushing your limits.   Pushing yourself to do what was once impossible for you and making it possible.

Everyone has to start from where they are and I must remember that I am not where I used to be and that is ok.  That doesn’t mean I will always be where I am today either.   There are people who have this disease and have completed Iron Man events.    I am also not the only one training Chicago with it either.    I am just new at it.   It will take time to learn what my body needs.

Nothing is impossible.

Someone in my online group posted the following

” Pushing your endurance is hard. However its painfully destructive with hypocalcemia BUT you feel so much better emotionally, physically, and cognitively. So you can do it. Just move, with hydration and proper nutrition! You are stronger than this!”

A friend gave me the best advice today.

She said very simply,

“Be Kind to yourself.”

She is so right because often we are kinder to others than ourselves.    I am going to take her advice into my training.     Not to the point that I won’t push myself, but to recognize where I am is ok.  To recognize that I need to think more about hydration, nutrition, and recovery than I did before.    To know that no matter what it is enough as long as I am doing the best that I can do.

We really can’t ask any more of ourselves.

So be kind to yourself to.   Know that you are enough.   Know that it is ok not to win as long as you showed up.

 

 

 

 

 

Youth is wasted on the Young – not

They say that “Youth is wasted on the young” and that “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”   Now I’m not really sure who says these things but they are actually pretty right.

Seriously.

Think about it.

Think back (for me way back) to when you were a carefree kid.   When I was a kid I had extremely low confidence and body image.   Now when I look back on pictures from when I was a kid, I wonder what I was thinking of.   It took many years and really a lot of therapy to get to where I am today but I’m straying.

Youth is wasted on the young…..

I’ve been lucky enough recently to work on a elementary youth track program.   It’s a basic program as we do not have access to a track.   Plus the kids are only 9 and 10.   So really it’s about teaching them the fundamentals and encourage them to enjoy running.   I mean who doesn’t enjoy running?

At the same time I’m watching some of these kids discover that they actually enjoy running and can run fast, I read an article about “older runners.   It went onto say that after 50 it is harder to reach a PR (obviously), your body requires more recovery time, and apparently you just shrivel up.   So I may be stretching that last one a bit, but not much.    Apparently I’ve got 2 years to make the magic happen or call it a day.   Hmmm…

Now I’m not disputing these facts.   Running with 9 and 10 year olds that can whip out a 8 minute pace and then ask if that is good makes you scratch your head.   No pulled muscles.   No worries.   No recover.   Just run your mile and still have energy for a hearty game of tag.

They also don’t have the mental game.   The no overthinking.   No plotting.   No strategy.   Just run for the sake of running.

There is actually a lot of beauty in that.

Maybe we all need this simpler time.   This way when we are older and all the pressures of the world are right there, we can think back to a time when there was not thinking.

Just fun.

Just Run!

The Little Runner that Could

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

little-engineSeriously.

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

It’s about going out of your comfort zone.

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

You know what?

It was a good run.

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

5-miles

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

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

It might have been just what I needed.

I think I can.

I think I can.

I will.

A Storm Settles In

I try to keep this blog drama free if you will.

  I try to keep it sole focus on my fitness journey, but as I’ve said a time ore two before..

Running does not take place in a bubble

The outside world has a real effect not just on our time, but it effects us mentally too.       Running is usually a way to release tension, give time to think, and often time to get away from thinking.  It is time that I admit that part of my lack of wanting to run is not physical but mental.  Same reason I’ve been ignoring my blog because that means that I have to think about all that is keeping me from getting out the door.

What happens when you feel like none of it matters?    What is the point of running XYZ race?   What happens when you have no desire to push it because you think , “What is the point?”

I’m not sure.

stephen-fry-quote-on-mood

There is just so much rain right now.    I’ve been in worse weather and survived.  I have no doubt that I am strong enough to survive this one too, but I’m drenched right now.   This is just a thunderstorm and I’m trying to figure out how to open my umbrella when the reality is that I need a raincoat.

I keep reminding myself that the only thing that anyone has control over is themselves and how they react to the world and people around them.   It is with this knowledge that I am pushing forward.   People will never be who you want them to be.   The world will never be the way you think it should be.   This is the reality of the world.   This is the reality of my life.

I can’t let these things stop me from my journey.   I can’t keep these things from finding joy in things that I found joy in before.

Right now I don’t want to do anything.   I really don’t.   I also don’t like that feeling.   I miss wanting to wake up and push myself to go for a run.   To push my body.    To push my limits.   I miss it.   I want it back.

Right now though I don’t have the fire that I had.   So what I am going to push myself to do is something that I really am not a fan of.

I’m going streaking.

I think this is what I need right now.

I will do it my own way as always.   I am going to go a minimum of a mile every day.   I will even count a mile walk, but a mile it must be.   My goal is for at least a month.   I will let you know how it goes.

This is more than just reclaiming my fitness too.   It is reclaiming a part of me that has gone missing.

Running does not take place in a bubble.

Life does not take place in a bubble.

Embrace it all.

Accept it all.

Go.

FREEDOM!!!

A funny thing happened after I switched my registration from the NJ Marathon to the NJ Half.    As I said before, I felt a sense of relief and a weight off my shoulder.   More impotantly, I felt such a sense of freedom.   I don’t mean freedom to sit on my bottom, I mean a sense of freedom to run.

Seriously.

It was like I was inspired to start running.   You would think it would have the opposite effect, but nope.   It made me want to get out the door again.   Last night I even went to Honey Stinger Website and ordered a bunch of yummy protein bars, gels, and gummys.  (Have I mentioned that I became a Honey Stinger Ambassador this year?)    I can’t wait for them to arrive and incorporate them into my training.

A friend of mine summed it up perfectly…

I thinking signing up for the marathon helped get you moving after you recovery, but doing the half will probably help your running more.

Exactly!

I really think that if I hadn’t initially registered for the marathon, I would not have been pushing myself to start running again after my surgery.   That being said, going from the NY Marathon to surgery.  Then recovery from thyroid surgery and then jumping back into marathon training really did not give me a break.   It was too much.   Now without the marathon looming over me weighing me down, I don’t feel the pressure to train.   I can run just to run which is just what I did today.

7 miles today.

It felt great.   Now I don’t mean great in the sense that it was easy.   It was not.   I was huffing and puffing more than Lady Gaga at the Superbowl last night.   It was great because I was out with friends.   It was a beautiful day for running and there was no “I have to do this run.”   It was, “I want to do this run.”

I will also like to add that this is the furthest I have run since my surgery.  Yeah, me:)

So the lesson of the day…

Do what makes you happy:)

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Pushing on

Starting is hard.   Starting over is just as hard.

Really.

Yes, the first time you try something it is hard.   But the beauty is that there are no expectations.   Your going to give it a shot and see what happens.   Your expectations are just to do the best you can and get the job done.   It is hard.  It is painful.   There are doubts.   The trick is just to keep pushing on.

The problem with coming back from an injury or a break is that you have expectations.   You know what your body is or was capable of doing.   You remember how something that is so difficult now was easy just a few months ago.   It is hard.   It is painful.   There are doubts.   The trick is just to keep pushing on.

It’s been a few weeks now.    It is amazing to me how quickly the body falls apart (ok not really, but it feels that way).   It is amazing how something that took years to develop can feel like it disappears in a matter of months.    I’ve been happy that I have been getting out and getting some runs in.I’ve been steady.   I’ve been lucky that I’ve got a great group of friends to get out the door with.  I will say that I that my goal for right now is just to slowly and steadily build up.   Yes, I know that technically I am in marathon training now, BUT….

My goal right now is just to start back strong.    To come back smart.   The longest run I’ve done yet this year is 5 miles and I’ve only had one of them.   I walk when I feel I need to, but even then I keep the watch going.   I want to keep track of my real progress.   You know what?   Considering I’m coming back from 2 months of no running or any activity, I think I’m doing ok.   As of now, I am not putting any pressure on for the NJ Marathon.   I am happy that I am registered, because that is helping to get me out the door.   Come April I will be ready.   I may not be ready for the elusive 4:30, but I will be able to get the job done.

Right now, my goal is to run 4 days a week with 2 cross training days and one full sit on my behind rest day.   I’m still working out the schedule, but that seems like a good enough plan for right now.   As the weeks go by and I regain some of my former aerobic level and don’t feel like I’m not going to die while I’m out for a run then it will be time to revisit and revise.   This seems like a reasonable goal and plan.   Each run sucks just a little less and I actually did do one 3 mile run at a brisk pace.   So I’ll take it.

I think the trick weather your just starting out, coming back, or just going through a rough patch is just to keep pushing through.   Really what choice do you have?    If you stop then what are you left with?   Regrets and we all know how much they suck.  So I guess that means I will just keep on pushing on.

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What is the longest break you had before coming back?

 

Let The Games Begin

Next week at this time I will hopefully be putting the final touches on what I will need for the NYC Marathon.    Hopefully, I will even be getting ready to sit down to a nice carb loading dinner too.

I’ve finally decided to take my head out of the sand and actually it has been very good.   All this talk about not being excited and admitting the truth of how I’m feeling has been freeing.   Dare I say it, it is even getting my a little excited.

I’m an avoider by nature.   I like to bury my head in the sand and not deal with things.   It’s often my way of dealing with things.    Dealing with things is messy, complicated, and means you actually have to face things.    So by pretending the marathon wasn’t happening, I could just go about my business.

BUT

When I pulled back the curtain, I got wise words of advise and incite from friends.   One friend really knows me well and she may have put the final nail in the coffin why I was feeling the way I was feeling.    It was the real thing that I was avoiding which was NOT the marathon….

My surgery.   See the way, I spoke about my upcoming surgery (getting my thyroid removed) was it’s after the marathon.   So if the marathon happens, by default that means then so is my surgery.    Yes all the other reasons for my non marathon excitement are true, but this was true.    When she asked me about it, it really was like a door was opened.   I heard and knew the truth of her words.    I will have to deal with this, BUT FIRST THE MARATHON.

Then another thing happened, in talking with my coach and friends we started talking about my training and goals.  My one running mama pointed out that the if I want to see the sites of NY, we can take a short road trip to see this and that I can run this race.   I realized something.   I think I actually want to run this thing.   I mean not all out I’m going to die run this thing, but I want to run this and I want to run this well.

I’ve got a lot coming up, but it’s time to be a grown up and face them.    I realize that I want this (the marathon not surgery silly).    I want it bad.    I want to hobble from the finish line of the NYCM knowing that I ran a smart race.   That I ran it to the best of my ability.    That my training was not just to get to the start line, but get my ass to the finish line too.

I’ve got this now.

And thank you to all my real life in person friends who have given me encouragement, kick in the behind, and your wonderful incites.   You are amazing and I’m so lucky to have all of you.

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