Tag Archive | Marathon

Bob and Weave…. AGAIN

I am at the point in my training where I am admitting that I have now failed in my training. That my training has gone off the rails. That I am not where I should be in my marathon training. That family events (passing of MIL), injuries (dealing with feet), flooding (we weren’t so bad, but dealing with flooded basement is exhausting), and just life in general has pushed training to back burner. I will say though that at least the burner is still on, so I am continuing to move foward.

This really is the time in everyone’s training where it is time to re-access and take stock. For some, they can realistically turn it around to possibly make any goals and tweak their training. Others will look at this as a time to decide weather even running is an option as they know they will not be happy with doing their best. For someone like me…. I am just adjusting expectations and I am ok with that.

Here is what I’ve got going for me….. My experience and my attitude.

Here is what is working against me….. My feet and not being where I should be in training.

So how to reconcile the two?

For me, it is and always been about expectations. Yes, I thought going into my training that I would be in a different place. My training started off great. I was following the plan. I was doing well. I was right on track, but we must remember that sometimes the tracks twist and turn. You have to be willing to twist and turn with them. So I am adjusting expectations which I am ok with. I was never going to win the NYCM. I was more than likely never going to finish under 5 hours which honestly in beginning I thought maybe just maybe would be doable. I used to be a upper middle pack runner, but those days are long gone.

I am a middle aged woman who is overweight with medical issues who also has feet that are not always happy.

For me…… Crossing a finish line of the NYC Marathon is a victory.

Now I do know for others, that not crossing in a certain time is a failure but failure is defined by how you define it in this situation.

I know my strengths. I have legs that dont give up and I do have the muscles and muscle memories to prove it. I also have the desire to get to the finish line. I also have the experience of completing 7 marathon’s (8 if you count a virtual one that I walked last year). 3 of these marathons are NY. I also have the knowledge that knowing my favorite marathon was my last in person NY which was also my slowest at 6:20:41 as I just took it all in. I ran some. I walked much, but I just enjoyed the experience. It is also the marathon that I remember the most about as I took in the crowds, the sites, and the people on the course.

I also know that I just really don’t care that much about my times anymore. OMG!!! Am I allowed to say that out loud? Yes, yes I am. Now don’t get me wrong….. everyone runs for their own reasons. There is nothing wrong with being someone who is running for time. I used to and I may again but I doubt it. I just want to run, walk and everything in between and feel good about it both physically and mentally.

Here is the thing…. I have a life outside of running. A life that I need to be on my feet for that life. For work – I am a preschool teacher which does not allow for much sitting. I love to bake which requires standing in kitchen. I have soccer games to attend and just life in general. So I can not push my body, my feet, to the point that it effects my life outside of running.

So here I go adjusting expectations …… AGAIN….. But isn’t that what life is about?

Just like when running in a crowded race, you must learn to bob and weave. So with that I am bobbing and weaving yet again.

Not quite winging it but close enough!

100 Days……

100 days is so far away, yet so close. 100 days till NYCM. 100 days to worry if my training is not enough. 100 days to doubt if my body can handle it. 100 days to worry about what is going on with the new Delta Covid Variant and how this will all play out.

On top of that…..

100 days to fundraise. 100 days to spend as much time fundraising as I do training. 100 days to continue to remind people of the good work that Sandy Hook Promise does that only happens with fundraising. 100 days to remind people that while I do love running this race is more than about running. 100 days to hit my goal.

Is there anyone who doesn’t take on this challenge who doesn’t question why they are doing it, if they should be doing it, and how you can do it better.

Now don’t get me wrong. Training is going good. Although I have already had some foot pain which is concerning. This are things that lead to doubt. These are things that make me realize that I need to go see my podiatrist. More just to make sure that there are no issues and to see if it is time for new inserts for my shoes. I just don’t want to deal with foot pain all through out training and I did have that pain after running only 8 miles. So there is concern.

One thing that I hate to admit as I’ve had issues with my feet 20 pounds ago…… The extra weight is not helping when it comes to my foot health. It’s not so much the weight but the weight combined with being prone to having issues with my feet is not a good combo. Although this time the pain was different. It was on the outside of my foot, so I wonder if something else is going on. And while I know the easy solution is to say….. I’m going to loose 20 pounds. That is much easier said than done.

So the reality is that I’m not going to loose the 20 pounds. Unless I plan to go on a very strict diet (which I won’t), I need to figure out some things out.

  Should this be my last marathon (thats a hard one)

 Do I need to see my podiatrist (yes)

Is it time for new insoles?   (Not sure)

Do I need to focus on foot strike and form (maybe)

GRRRRRR

I really need to not bury my head in the sand like I’ve done in the past and takle this head on.    Although I do like to ignore things till they blow up in my face.  (Doesn’t everyone or is that just me?)

It annoys me too because this go around I am doing everything that I should be doing. But for now, it is not something that is bad enough to cause me to stop. Besides I already have some ideas – like to spend some of my “foundation runs” with biking. To make sure to spend stretching and just listening to my body.

100 days……..

Slow, Steady & Moving Foward

One week in and 17 more to go, but training seems to be falling into place. Just so happens that a woman in my running circle is also planning to run NY. We are off similar ages and abilities. In talking to her, I explained the 80/20 plan that I am doing. She decided that is a good fit for her and the beautiful thing is that it seems like are fitness level and training zones are compatible, so it’s a go. We are doing slightly different plans, but we can make it work.

I forgot how good it was to run with people. I haven’t really done it in a long time even pre-covid. When people are training seriously even if they say “I will run whatever you are running,” it doesn’t always work out. They aren’t getting the training they need. You feel bad for holding them back or maybe worse run too fast which is worse than running too slow. So finding a training partner for a marathon where you can do many runs together is nice. Even better when you really like the person:)

So week one went well. I will say that holding back is harder than it sounds. All your life you are told to give it all you’ve got. ….To push yourself to the limits…..If you don’t push yourself who will. ……. I’m sure you can think of others that you’ve told yourself. It is always…. GO….GO…. GO.

Now it is…. Slow down. Don’t push it. Slow and steady. It’s harder than it sounds. More times than you would think this past week, it was “we are running too fast.” We need to slow down. We are breathing too hard. Now don’t get me wrong, with the heat and humidity in Jersey this past week slow and steady still was hard. The heart rate spiked a few times. Sweat happened. It was not “easy.”

Here is the thing though….. After this first week of running, there was not a run that when it ended I didn’t think that I could do more. I could run further. I could run faster. I also was able to recover from these runs which is key.

So as I dig deeper into this training, I really need to find out if the zone that my garmin is saying are the right zones. I also would love it if my heart rate didn’t seem to jump up quickly. To keep myself where I needed to be and bring my heart rate down, I would walk until I got back into the zone. So I need to work on this. It will come.

As I do this, I am also in the marathon of fundraising. It’s kind of like doing 2 marathons at once. I’m working on collecting auction items which after this last year you can imagine is not easy task, but onward I go. I’ve gotten some good ones already. (If you know of any, I’m all ears).

So onward I go….. Slow, Steady, and moving foward.

Heath Check… One… Two…

So while I have not signed the contract to run NYCM with Sandy Hook Promise, I am laying groundwork. I do think paperwork should be with-in the next week and then it’s off to training we go.

That being said, I am already laying the groundwork. I have my training plan loaded in Training Peaks which I will officially start next week. Until then, I am in pre-training which I should enjoy while I can. I am also not looking to train for speed, but train for a great experience running. But first…..

I am also crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s with taking care of myself. I finally after years of my family telling me to get it checked out (again) saw a Pulmonologist and did a sleep study. Not too bad….. I only stop breathing 40-45 an hour and have severe sleep apnea. CPAP apparently is in my near future.

So while this sounds bad, it helps because maybe just maybe my down to the bone tiredness has nothing to do with my Hypopararthyroidism, but the fact that I am getting terrible night sleep! So besides, you know keeping me breathing at night and heading off any potential health issues; this will more than likely also help me with my training since I won’t be so exhausted all the time. Win.. Win.

Then next month (you know because it takes that long to get an appointment) I have my normal visit with my Endocrinologist for my Hypopara stuff and I am going to see Urologist to check on kidneys since I have a high output of calcium in urine. Although now wondering if I made appointment with right type of doctor and might have been better served with nephrologist but too late now. Would rather get some answers than no answers and can always follow up with the nephrologist if I think need to.

By this time, I will hopefully be a month and half into training. I am excited to start. And while my Sandy Hook Promise team place isn’t finalized yet, I think I will stick with training even if something happens.

So it’s go time….. As they say…..

There may come a day that I can not run, but today isn’t that day and I’m going to keep going.

Blowing in the Breeze

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

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.

Time after Time

Time has lost all meaning to me, but I think we’ve pretty much been in going on 6 weeks now.   Who knows.   Is it still April?   I think April now has 675 days.   Each day is the same.   Each day is long.   And yet still there is not enough time to fold the laundry or empty the dishwasher until the sink is filled with dishes.   I’m not sure how that happens, but it does.   This is my life now.   Searching for food delivery slots that are not available.   Making carts on the off chance that someday I will hit the lottery and get a slot which has happened twice in these 6 weeks.   Then there is the inevitable suiting up to go to actual store since teens in a Pandemic apparently will eat more food than required by a heard of elephants.

This is my life.

I am still blessed.

On top of that every and any event has been cancelled.   Not just for now, but for next month and the month after and the month after.   On and on the cancelations go.   So much for my doing a race a month for the year.   Ha.   I will take for still being able to fit into my running clothes when this is over.    That being said,  with health officials already talking about a reoccurrence of this crap in the fall during flu season, you wonder if this year all major marathons will be cancelled.    Chicago while not cancelled is allowing participants to cancel.   Unheard of.   Many while not outright cancelled do not have a new date yet which makes you wonder.   NYRR has cancelled their NYC half and their races through June.   It makes you wonder what they will do for the Marathon that normal has 50,000 runners.   To me, a layman, runner; I just don’t see how it is possible but what do I know.

I had been thinking of running NY again for Team Sandy Hook Promise but I don’t see that happening.   With so many people hurting financially raising $3,000 does not seem feasible.  Honestly nor does the thought of going to an event with 50,000 people.   I went to Target for groceries and thought I would have an anxiety attack with all the people in the store who were wearing masks and most being good about socially distancing from each other.    I couldn’t see myself at the village start line.   Honestly  I can’t imagine how an event like this will happen even though it is still months from now.

Who knows what will happen.   I do know that no matter what I can’t see myself in the middle of it.   That being said, I have run a marathon every year since 2014, somehow someway I do not want 2020 to be the year I don’t.   I’ve already been thinking that trails are the way to go.   Who knows, I might have to do my own virtual marathon.   Then again maybe I just skip this year.   In the whole scheme of things, it is not the be all end all.

Yes, I miss my running crew.

Yes, I miss group events.

Yes, I miss it all.

But what I have taken away the most is that in the big scheme of life….. for me……  although I am a runner, although I love to run,   although I have had and will have again so much fun running……… When this is all over, I do not want it to go back to business as usual.

I want it to better.

I want to think about things differently.

I want to realize that while I am a runner, I am so much more

 

 

 

Rest, Recover, Repeat?

When running a marathon, so many random thoughts will pop into your mind. Some are fleeting. Some stick with you for a few miles. One that usually pops into my head is “I’m NEVER doing this again.”

Exhibits A, B, C

2014 – First marathon, Philly – This was supposed to be a one and done. I swore I just wanted to cross one marathon finish line and then I could call it a day.

2015 Marine Corps – I put in for lottery and as a fluke got in. I literally was dropping some F bombs to my sister who ran on the course with me at the end. I told her how stupid marathons were. How ridiculous it was that people wasted their time coming to watch runners (mind you she flew in from California). Lastly, I swore NEVER again (after NY because I’d already done the 9+1 for it)

2016 -NYCM – This was it. My first NYCM and was going to be my only. I mean how can you not run NY if your as close to the city as me. I even put off my surgery for my thyroid, so that I could run it. This was only marathon that I hit the wall because I ran the first half like there was not a second half. I was done and had my NYCM medal so what more did I need. NO more!

2017 – I put in for the Chicago marathon while still recovering from getting my thyroid out and dealing with learning to live Hypopara. This was flipping my finger to all that I was dealing with and I just needed to run one as a hypopara to show I could do it. It was not a pretty race as it was hot, but it is my fastest post surgery marathon. I was done. I proved my point. NO more.

2018 – I felt like there were signs that I should sign up to run NYCM as charity runner for Sandy Hook Promise. The signs were everywhere, but if I didn’t get picked at least I tried. Well, damn, they released that I really believe in their cause and picked me. So, yes, I was running with a purpose and I would do what I could to support Sandy Hook Promise; but I was only doing it one time. Until I did it again.

2019 NYCM Sandy Hook Promise Runner

During my run, I thought about that maybe my body just isn’t cut out to be a marathon runner. Maybe I should just stick to running shorter distances. That running 26.2 is just not for me. I could still support my team from the sidelines. I could still spread the message of Sandy Hook Promise. I just needed to give my body a rest because running marathons weren’t for me and I should focus my energy elsewhere.

Then I crossed the finish line.

I still felt that way. I still wondered if maybe this is too much for my body. Wondering if I needed to spend time on recovery. Getting my feet under control. Dealing with the aches and pains. Knowing that maybe worrying about my calcium crashing while running is just not worth it.

Then I went home. I read all the messages from my Facebook live videos, my running group, my friends and the chats with team members. And while I do need to spend time on healing my body – dealing with the tight calves, dealing with the feet, dealing with the pain that still lingers on the side of my calf and knowing that if I really want to run stronger/better/easier on feet that I also need to loose 20 pounds. Like seriously 20 pounds.

Then I thought….. It’s getting to the holiday season. There is no way that is going to happen. Then I realized that training would not start until Spring. Then I thought about how much I love being part of the Sandy Hook Promise Team, how some friends will be running NY next year, and that it might motivate me to keep going.

Then I thought…… Your crazy……

Not wrong.

Not right.

Then I thought about all the work in raising the minimum of $3,0000 to be part of their team. Then I thought of what I could do differently next year. The beauty is that I don’t need to make any decisions now or in the near future. For now my focus is recovery.

So I will continue to roll. I need to get to acupuncture. I need to do the things that I know I should do because chances are pretty good…….. that if you give the girl a medal, she’s going to want another one. Besides I’m pretty much on a roll now.

A Warm Embrace

While I’m no longer in recovery right now, I will say that I am in some type of holding pattern.   I have not run since NY.   Not even from the house to the car.   Maybe a fast walk, but nothing close to a run.   There are a few reasons, but those aren’t for today.

Toady I still want to talk about NY.

Prior to the marathon I toyed with not getting the NYCM poncho and checking a bag instead.   Logistically checking a bag made more sense because I was planning to take the train out of the city and without a checking bag, I would literally only have what I could carry with me.   I went back and forth and realized that for me, there is nothing better than having the poncho draped around my shoulders by the very caring volunteers.

I’ve done many events (including triathlons) where I come home in what I raced in.   The worst, I admit, was after running the Marine Corps Marathon.   After it, I used wipes to clean up the best I could and then got in my car and drove away.   It wouldn’t have been bad for a normal drive home, but I was leaving DC to go to NJ.   I did manage to do a clean up in a rest stop on the way home.  A close second was the 2 hour drive home after running a 50K.   This is not recommended though.   So with this thought process, I knew that I would be able to hop a train in my running attire.

I also knew that I could make this work, because I am not a minimalistic  runner and wear my Fitletic belt that I also have an add of to hold a phone.   Since I put my phone in the big pocket, I knew that I could use this accessory to hold extra medications, charger, fuel, and even my headphones.   Then I put my credit card and id in the main belt.   I do admit that I might refer to my Fitletic belt as my bat belt.    As a mother of all boys, I identify with Batman having all the tools he needs on his belt.

My only concern would be if the weather was very cold or it was raining.   I had decided though that it didn’t matter and if for some reason I felt the need to have anther set of clothes that I would be in NY and it would be very easy to acquire them.   Luckily the weather was perfect, so this became a non issue.

There is something very nice at the end of a long day to have a smiling, friendly volunteer envelope you in your poncho.    There is no comparison to a heat sheet.

So now that the race is over, what do I plan to do with my poncho?   Keep it, of course.   I have kept my old one in the trunk of my car and used it at my kids sporting events.   I have used it when unprepared for rain/snow or just he cold.   I plan to put this one in our second car.

So when given the choice….. Get the poncho!

What have you done with yours since the race?

The Calm Before the Storm

I’ve recently been asked on more than one occasion and in more than one way,

“Are you ready?”

My response has been all over the place, but it really is a loaded question.

Am I ready?

Yes and No and everything in between.

I’ve done the training.   Not like training in the past but ultimately I do think that I’ve done enough to be ready.    I’ll be honest, for all the bluff about knowing I will get to the finish line; I do have some doubts.   Small doubts, but doubts just the same.  I actually think these doubts will work in my favor.

I know that I can run this distance.   I’ve done it before.   I’ve done it more than once.   Muscle memory aside, I’ve also know mentally what it takes to push through when you want to stop.   Who remembers me literally crying when running Chicago?   I still got to the finish line.

I also know that each race is different.   No two marathons are alike.   No two races are alike even if it is the same course.   With knowledge is power.   I have the knowledge of how hard this day will be.   I have the knowledge that it won’t be a walk in the park even if it ends in Central Park.  I have the knowledge that my body can go the distance.    I have the knowledge of knowing that no matter what I will continue to move forward to get the finish line.   Most of all, I have the knowledge to know how sweet it is to cross the finish line.

I think this knowledge is bringing a calmness to the preparation of the day.   I am looking forward it tremendously, but I am calm about it.   No nerves.   It  will be what it will be.   I think this will help me.   The no expectations.   The knowing what to expect.   These things will help me to keep myself in check.   EVERYONE is excited at the beginning of any race.   The trick is to know that what you feel like at mile one is definitely not what you will feel like at mile 20.    So the knowledge that I have in how hard the end of the race will be will keep me from not following the plan.   I t will keep me to be realistic in my pace, my expectations, and my finish time.    This will not be a BQ.    This will not be a PR.    This will be my slowest marathon.   I am ok with that. It is this knowledge and peace that will help me to keep my head on and my feet moving:)

effort

 

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.

fd0282994ece078d885b3af9e1b58726