Tag Archive | Recovery

Not Backing Down

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I know what it feels like after you’ve run a half marathon.    I know what it feels like after running a marathon.    I even know what it feels like after running  50K.   When your an athlete whose run as many miles as I have you pay attention to these things.  I’ve trained my body to run on tired legs.   I always joke that I come from hearty stock because even though times my body has been sore, I’ve always recovered fairly quickly.   The day after the Philadelphia marathon, I was even wearing heals.   Like a bumble, I just bounce back.   I also think both the way that I have pushed my body in the past and know how to roll sore muscles are helpful now.   I know how to pay attention to the needs of my body.

Sometimes by the end of a busy day, my body feels like I’ve run a race that I haven’t run.

My legs are sore.   My back aches.   I’m exhausted.

In reading many comments and stories from people with this disease (hypoparathyroidism), I really believe that my training has set me up for success.   As much as it sucks, these are not feelings I’m unused to.   What sucks is feeling this way and not having a medal to show for it!

I keep hearing from my online support groups that I will get used to the “new normal” but that it takes a LONG time to get there.   That eventually you forget what it’s like to wake up without all the aches and such.   It’s a work in progress.   I think one of the things that takes getting used to is looking fine, but feeling like this.

Again it’s a work in progress. What further helps is that I’m pretty tenacious and head strong.   I will keep pushing through  even if things are harder to accomplish.   I will not give up as long as I can do the things that I want to do.

What does worry me as I start planning my Chicago Marathon training is if I feel like this without really doing much running, how will I feel once I’m training.    Training starts in a matter of weeks.    I need this just as much physically as I do mentally.   I will be prepared going in knowing it’s going to be harder this time around.   Knowing that it will be even more important when loosing calcium through sweat while training in the heart of summer, to replenish during a run and not wait for a crash.     I will be prepared to take care of myself after runs too.   Where in the past because I could get away with it, I was not the best about post stretching, rolling, or soaking in mineral salts.    I will ad that time into my training.

I am a runner.

I am an athlete.

I am a marathon runner and I’m not letting anything get in my way.

tenacious

 

 

 

Yes, It is Real.

 Yes, my running is coming along.   Yes, I’m getting stronger than I was before, but in my mind and body I knew that things still just weren’t right.   To the outsider looking in they might think that everything was ok.   I knew differently.   Mostly because as much as I talk, as much as I share; there is a whole host of things that I keep to myself.   Plus sometimes you begin to wonder, “is it me or is it because of the calcium levels.”

I really though that my thyroidectomy was just going to be a blip on the radar.  So many people in my inner circle either knew or even themselves had their thryroid removed.   It was just a simple procedure and then you just figure out what level of hormone pills to take.

Easy Peasy.

Yes, the doctors warned me of potential risks.   One of them actually being a problem with my calcium level.   But these were minor risks effecting less than 1% and really how hard is it to take calcium pills?   But just like the informational….  But there’s more.   So much more.

I’ve talked about the struggles that I’ve been having since coming back from my surgery.   I’ve mentioned that my calcium levels are never coming back.   I’ve accepted this.  The name for this is Hypoparathyroidism.    It is actually considered a rare disorder.   Yeah, me.   I like to be different.

Again, part of the problem is just trying to figure out if it’s me or my calcium.    Before my surgery a friend who had her thryoid removed gave me a piece of advice.   I’ll paraphrase.   She is also a runner, so she understands.   She said that I should remember that I am a marathon runner and that I know the things that my body can and have done.   If something doesn’t feel right after surgery, I will know because I know what I’m capable of doing.    I hold onto this advice as I try to sort out things.   It is with this thought that I am reminding myself that things just aren’t right when I get a full night sleep and am still exhausted and need a siesta during the day..

What I didn’t know though that I wasn’t alone.   It is a powerful thing when you realize that you are not the only one and it’s not just you.   It’s amazing the information that you can find on the World Wide Web that is actually useful.   The problem is weeding out the garbage.  I recently (like last night) stumbled upon a Facebook group for athletes who also have hypoparathyroidism.   Once I joined the group and started reading some of the posts, I wanted to cry.   Not because they were sad, but because I realized that I wasn’t alone.   I wasn’t babying myself.   I wasn’t making excuses.    These are things that have gone through my mind.    I realized that the “Suck it up Buttercup” mentality really didn’t apply.

From the site NORD (National Organization of Rare Disorders) on side effects of low calcium.

  • The severity of the condition can range from mild symptoms such as a tingling or numbness in the fingers, toes or around the lips (paresthesias) to severe muscle cramps and muscle spasms
  • Additional symptoms that may be associated with hypoparathyroidism include fatigue, generalized weakness, muscle aches, anxiety or nervousness, and headaches. Affected individuals may also have dry, coarse skin, brittle nails, and patchy hair loss such as the thinning of the eyebrows. S
  • Depression, irritability, confusion, disorientation, mood swings and loss of memory have also been reported in individuals with hypoparathyroidism.

Because it is so rare and because people hear “low calcium” levels,  most people (and I was previously one of them) think that calcium is only for strong bones and good hair, but it really does effect so much more.   Then when researching and as told from my doctor the potential side effects of the treatment which for me is a minimum of 5,000 mg of Calcium a day (8 pill minimum throughout the day) with another medicine (Calcitriol) to help my body absorb the calcium., there can be severe side effects.   You can end up with calcium deposits on the brain, kidney stones, and such.   Good times.    According to my doctor, the goal then is to keep my calcium level just high enough to be right at the bottom level of proposed calcium levels, but not too high to cause problems.   Sure.

Easy Peasy.

One of the blogs I read summed it up perfectly.   They said that treating calcium levels is very similar to how a diabetic has to regulate their insulin levels.   Most diabetics can tell by the way they feel if their levels are high or low.   It’s about paying attention to their bodies.   The difference is that a diabetic can easily check their insulin levels at home.   This is not the case for those with hypoparathyroidism.    So it’s about paying attention.   It’s about knowing your body.   It’s about knowing this is a real issue that requires constant care.

I’ve already realized that when I come back from a run where I’ve pushed it, I can feel it.   Sometimes, I will get a twitch in my face.   My muscles are sorer than I remember them ever being.    I’m learning to handle it.  It’s about knowing that I need to roll with it.    I’m now learning from those that have already figured things out.   Life is all about learning, adapting, and doing all that you can.

So I’m going to figure this out.

its-not-what-happens-to-you-but-how-you-react-to-it

 

 

The Struggle is Real:)

For those who have been here you know that I’ve been struggling a little recently.  I could tell that I’ve been off both emotionally and physically.  I recently changed the way that I’ve been taking my medicine and I think the change is working.    I was waking up and taking my thyroid medicine, 2 of the 8 calcium pills that I take during the day, and another pill to help my body to absorb the calcium.   It now appears that when my thyroid was removed, my parathyroid glands were damaged or have decided they need an extended vacation.   There is a chance they could still bounce back and start working but it seems unlikely at this point.  Surgery was 3 months ago and most people are back to normal within two  weeks.   My doctor did say in rare cases it could take up to 6 months, but I’m not hopeful at this point.

My last blood work showed that my calcium was just under the normal limit.   This got me thinking that maybe I shouldn’t be taking everything at once in the morning.   I’ve never been a pill or medicine person, so maybe it was just too much for my body.   After talking to my pharmacist, I implement the change.   It has only been going on two weeks, but I really think it is making a difference.   I guess we will see when I go for my blood count again in two weeks.  I already think my calcium will be on target with the changes or at least I hope so.   I can tell my nails are not as brittle, but I’ve still got really dry skin.  Your guess is as good as mine.

And you thought calcium was just for strong bone and teeth.   Who knew calcium was so important?  Not me.  Live and learn.   It is important for a whole host of reason.

I do think though even if I have to tweak the calcium dosage that my thyroid levels should be good.   My doctor upped my dose a month ago and I think that those levels will be on target.   I have more energy.   I am also starting to get  back to my old self which I think getting back into my old routine is helping with.   I’m paying attention.

So what is that routine….

I’m still not where I was, but the good news is I don’t need to be there right now.   Since I wisely switched from the NJ Marathon to the Half Marathon, I don’t feel the need to push myself to the 40 miles a week I was running presurgery.   I do hope to build to a 20 to 25 a week, but I’m in no hurry.  My goal for NJ Half is just to finish.  Period.  End of Story.

Now that I’m looking forward, I also want to take time to reflect on my 2016 and how I fared.   This will allow me to FINALLY see what goals if any I want to set this year.   I’ll let you know how that goes tomorrow.

un-slumping

 

 

Down but NOT Out

Patience

I’ve had surgery before.   I was prepared for that.    I know how to recovery from surgery and even though I’ve been told I’m a bad patient I think I’m a pretty good one.   I take my meds when I’m supposed to.   I’ve had more energy after having c-sections than I have after this procedure.   This I wasn’t prepared for.   I figured that I would bounce back to my normal self within a week.   Well it’s been a week and I’m not there yet.

For the most part I feel ok.   I’ve still got some soreness in my neck from the incision.   But there is more than that.   I’ve had some muscle pain in my shoulders and neck maybe from the way I’m holding my head.    Who knows?   Then there is the tingles, muscle spasms in the hand where my pointer finger locked up and I couldn’t bend it.   Didn’t last long but was freaky.   I want to feel like my normal self again.

I haven’t even  been doing much of anything.   To be honest, I’m not really ready to do much anyway.   I woke up today at 10:30 and by 2:30 I was ready for and took a nap.     This is not me and I don’t like it one bit.   Not at all.   Not to say that I haven’t been known to take an afternoon siesta on occasion, but this is different.    When I asked for advice, I was told rightly so that the body needs time to recovery from the trauma of surgery.   To think of how much energy it takes to recover from the flu and that one week really isn’t that much time.   I get this but patience really has never been my strong suit.   You might even say I’m an impatient person.

Add to the fact that this is my favorite time of year and I don’t feel like doing anything.   Although, I was very proactive and decorated my house presurgery so I do have that going for me.   I just thought that I would be back.

Today was the town Turkey Trot and as much as I loved seeing everyone’s photos, it did sting a little.   In my mind, I knew I wouldn’t be up to running it but my heart didn’t know it.   I’m also wondering what it is going to be like when I do finally get those running shoes back on.   Actually, I’m not even thinking of running.  (ok, I am).   I think that I will start with a walk.    That being said, I worry about how far and how fast I will be able to run once I get back out there.   It’s a concern.

A running friend who last year had the same procedure said that it will take time to make sure that I find the right dosage for my hormone levels.   I get that.   I just don’t like it.   Then I remind myself of the following:

  1.   In the whole scheme of things, this is nothing.
  2.  I’m very lucky that I have a supportive family/friends who are taking care of me
  3. That this is temporary
  4. People are dealing with much worse.

So it is all good, but I think I’m allowed and it is good to recognize the truth of how I’m feeling.

I may be down, but I’m not out….

 

 

All In Good Time

It’s been a bit since I’ve done any running.    Really it hasn’t been long at all, but it feels like forever.   It will probably be another week or so until I lace up too.   Seeing as I’ve still got sutures and probably wouldn’t make it around the block, I see no rush anyway.   That being said, I think recovery is going pretty well.

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I’m still dealing with what appears to be low calcium levels which does cause me to get tingles in my hands, face, and sometimes feet, but nothing horrible.   This seems to be more so in the morning as night is when I go the longest without calcium supplements.   Hopefully, this is a temporary thing as it’s a little annoying.  Other than that, I would say things are looking pretty good.  Can’t really complain at all.   I’ve probably been getting more sleep than I’ve done in years.   Last night, I slept the entire night through.   Literally 8 hours straight.   I know.   Amazing stuff there!

I will say that although I’m not itching to lace up, I am thinking it.   I’m thinking about how much stamina I’m loosing while not running.   You know what they say, “if you don’t use it, your loose it.”   Seeing I didn’t have tons to loose to begin with I’m wondering how hard it’s going to be to get back out there.   I’ve purposely got nothing on the books to train for as I don’t want to rush back into something.

So as I’m thinking about these things, I sit down and open Facebook and see a memory from 2 years ago today.

Philly Marathon

Philly Marathon

My first Marathon.

 Only 2 short years ago.   I remind myself how far I’ve come.   That the impossible becomes possible.   That with hard work and determination there is nothing that is out of my grasp.    This recovery is just a minor hiccup and there is only more adventures to come.

 

 

Still Going Strong

As I said in my last blog post, I was having surgery.    For those not in the loop, I had to get my thyroid removed as it had 3 nodules.  One they couldn’t determine after a few tests weather it was good or bad.   The consencous then was that the whole thyroid should come out.

I’ll be honest as much as I knew this was the right thing to do, I was not thrilled with the prospect of surgery.   Really, who would be?  For me though it was not just the surgery but because I’m not a fan at all of having my neck touched. So the thought of having someone even a skilled surgeon cutting into my kneck freaked me out as I think it would anyone.

 In life though you do what you have to do  and this was something that I  had to do.   So off I went.

Have to say that everyone could not have been nicer at the hospital and made me feel so comfortable.    Anastisiologist came in and told me how he was going to give me something to take the edge off like the equivalent of a couple margaritas.   I must be a cheap date because literally the next thing I remember after that was waking up in the recovery room

I don’t remember much at first except flailing my arms saying, “I feel like I should be doing something.”   The nurses were probably thinking what a freak, but were so nice and just told me to relax and that I didn’t need to be doing anything.  So I because I really couldn’t do anything anyway passed right back out sleeping off the anasesia.

Then when I was waking up a little more like a normal person, I was chatting with one of the nurses.  Low and behold, she’s in my local chapter of Moms Run This Town!!!  Small world!!  She mentioned her friend who added her and I know by name but have never met.   She was even saying how she runs the local trails and may run the January winter race.   Would love to meet her there to thank her for being so awesome.


So now I’m onto recovery.    Denial has always been my friend.  Ok, maybe not my friend but a great coping mechanism. This is a little more than I wanted to think, But in whole scheme of things it’s not that bad.  It could be so much worse and I’m on road to recovery.  I’ve really got nothing to complain about and am beyond lucky on so many levels.

So now I will say,  look away if you don’t want to see….

Not as bad as it could be and not as pretty as I had hoped.   Either way, it’s all good.  
Road to recovery continues and it actually looks worse than it feels now.   Just have to make sure to remind myself that I don’t need to be doing anything except worry about recovery.

Recovery, Recovery, and Recover Some More

Yes, I know that I’ve been off the grid.   I’ll be off for a little longer too.

I have only done two runs post marathon.   I will say that I felt really good on them.   Especially the 6 miles that I got to run on the trails.   Yeah for trails!   My happy place.    It was just what I needed too.

Training for a marathon is tough.   By the end, just about everyone I know is sick of not running but training – needing to run certain miles, needing to hit certain pace, and the time it takes.     Somehow though once the finish line is crossed, you realize not only how worth all that training was but that you would do it all over again!

nycm17

No questions.

Any day.

I, on my runners high, decided to put in for the Chicago marathon lottery just a few short days after running NY.    No not crazy.   Just on a runner’s high.  Besides I think the odd of me actually getting in our slim to non since I used up my lottery luck on Marine Corps Marathon.   That being said, it would be really cool to get in.

Now even on my runner’s high, I am not immune to how hard I pushed my body nor how much it needed a break.

So a break I took.

A break I am getting.

It doesn’t hurt that I’m having surgery today.   So I will be forced to take more of a break than I’ve probably taken in 3 years.

But I’ll be back….

Actually, I’m not going anywhere.   I’ll keep you posted.

Now What?

Months of training, thought, and preparation.   Then in just over 7 hours it’s all over.

DG4

Now What?

Recovery, of course.

Many people and training plans thing that it all ends with the race, but it doesn’t.   There is more to recovery than sitting back and eating some bon bons.   Not that I had those, but I did treat myself to a chocolate fudge waffle with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

waffles

Although, I don’t really think that had anything to do with recovery and was just a yummy celebratory treat.   Although, I can totally justify it as recovery:)  That being said, recovery is an important part of training.

Depending upon what app I look at my calorie burn during the ultra was over 4,000.    How many calories I burned the day really is not exact.   Some sources put it as high as 6,000 and others as low as 3,000.    All I know is that I burned a lot even with the eating of the peanut M&M and the guzzling of the soda at the aid stations. (soda is the best on a run like this!)    The funny thing though is that often after even a normal long run, I’m not hungry.   This is one of the reasons that I usually use a recover drink instead.   On the road, my choice is always a large Caramel Latte iced with whole milk.    I try to add a protein bar, banana or something else too.

Once I was done, running. I did do some stretches but really not much.   I did what I could as I needed to get on the road.   One thing that I totally understand but on the day of the race I thought added insult to injury is that once finished, I needed to make the LONG walk to my car carrying my bucket of supplies.   I’m guessing it added at least another mile.   I viewed this as an active cool down.

shower

Once I made it to my car, it was time to shower.   You know your a runner if using shower wipes and putting fresh deodorant on next to your car counts.   Hey, I had to do something because even I didn’t want to be in the car with me until I wiped some of the stench off.  I will say the best feeling was taking off my sneakers and socks and putting on some flip flops.   Then off to find a Dunkin Donuts.

Sitting in a car for over an hour really isn’t the best way to start recovery off, but until a magic carpet is invented that I can stretch out on this will have to do.   Besides, I came home to an empty house as my hubby had taken the boys out to dinner per my request.   I was able to soak in a hot bath and by the time I got out and big beautiful chicken taco salad was waiting for me.

Day one recovery is easy because you really are too sore to do much.   Day two, you feel a little better and think maybe.    I wisely took day two to get a massage.    The problem with recovery is that by day three you feel good and by day four you think I’m good as new.    But I’ve been burned by this feeling more than once.   I’m feeling good because I’m taking it easy.   Very easy.   I did meet a friend yesterday who is doing the Couch to 5K program.   I needed a walk and this was a great way to test the waters.   Felt good, but I was glad when it was time to walk again.   Tomorrow will be day five of recovery and I am set to go for a nice EASY 3 miles run.   My coach is the one who capitalized easy.

I will say that my family is eating very well during my recovery.   Since I’m not running for hours at a time, this does allow for other things and I’m not up for the bags of mulch yet:)

Bottom line is

We train hard.

We Run Hard.

We must respect that and allow ourselves time to recover.

To all things there is a season…

Ecclesiastes-3-1-700x467

What do you do during recovery when your not running?

 

Hitting the Ground with Both Feet Running….NOT!

So after recovery from my NYC Half, the plan was to hit the ground with both feet running.  Get  right back to 50K training.  Recover went well and I was just about to get into the swing of things.   I knew what needed to be done and planned on doing it.   To the point that I knew that I wouldn’t be able to run my cut-down on Easter Sunday, so I wisely thought I would do it Saturday night.

I put all my blink on and was ready to go.    If only walking wasn’t so hard.   Before I even got to the end of my street, I twisted my ankle..    I twisted it good.   I thought this was one of those where you land wrong and just need to work it out.   So I went with it.   First mile I could still feel it.   Thought well maybe I just need to work it out a little more.   Second mile I was pushing the pace for my cut-down.   I was on target.    Then I picked it up slightly after the second mile and before I got to mile 3, I was swearing up a storm.   My ankle/foot was killing me.   This is when I realized that I should have turned around and gone back inside before my run even started.  It hurt so bad, I entertained the thought of calling my hubby to come pick me up.  I  didn’t want to get the look though.    You know the look like “well why are you running in the dark anyway?”    So I decided it wasn’t too bad and I slowed the pace down and worked my way home.

By the time I got home and showered, my ankle/foot was swollen.   A friend who saw my picture said it looked angry.   It certainly was behaving that way.    I had only hoped that running 5 miles on it didn’t make it worse.    And knowing how good veggies are for the body, I thought it prudent to put some on my foot before bed.

foot

Easter Morning comes and although less angry, it hurts more to walk on it.   Luckily I have an ace bandage that I put on it and plan on taking it as easy as possible.  Rest.  Ice. Heat.  I was also very thankful that I wasn’t hosting Easter dinner.   At my Mom’s I was questioned more than once about my running and my ankle.  It was pointed out that if I had a problem walking maybe I shouldn’t be running.  GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Anyway I am nearing the end of day two.   The ankle is still tender, but when I woke up this morning it felt so much better.   I was able to walk normally.   I still put the bandage on and rested it as much as I could which wasn’t a lot.  By the end of the day, I was ready to put my feet up as it was painful.   I tried jogging a few feet in my living room to test it out.   That was an emphatic NO GO.

So more rest.   Per my coach I am going to try to get some swimming in but no pushing off the walls and just dragging my feet.   More for the aerobic factor of it.  Maybe a little mental too.

All I know is this is NOT how I envisioned hitting the ground with both feet for my 50K training.   Although I know that I’ve already been in training doing several looong runs.   Today was supposed to be my second 18 miler which obviously didn’t happen.   I just know though that I need to go slow because the last thing I want to do is make it worse especially as I get further into my training.

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I’m thinking by the end of the week, I will be ok to run.   One day at a time.  I just don’t like this at all.   Not one bit.

Dawn of a New Era

keep-calm-its-the-dawn-of-a-new-era

This is a strange time for me.   It’s something that I knew was coming, but I was in in too deep to think about it.    What is this big thing that I’ve got to learn to deal with now???

It is going to sound strange to many, but resonate with many too.

I’ve got to learn to readjust to having…..

nothing to train for.

I know, the horrors!

I’ve got nothing on the books for the next few months.    Part of me is happy to be able to relax a little, but a bigger part of me is like go register for some races!

What to do?

What to do?

This is a new one for me.

For now though, I really am going to enjoy the recovery time which is going surprisingly well.   Went for my second run today since the marathon.   Felt like a normal run which I think is amazing.   I don’t think I ran for 3 weeks after Philly.

I do think that I am going to go back and review my goals for this year.   I did not reach them all and I honestly don’t think that I will have time this year.

So I will step back.

Refocus

and

Just Keep moving forward

because that’s all you can do in life.

What are your plans?