Tag Archive | Sandy Hook Promise

It’s Not Just About the Numbers

I will admit that I am a numbers person.   I like keep track of how far I’ve run.   I like to keep track of pace and distance.   I am never one to run without my Garmin.   That being said, there is so much more to running that sometimes we forget.   Sometimes the universe sends us a curve ball to remind us.

Now I am not saying there is anything wrong with chasing time.   I’ve done it.    I trained hard to be able to get a sub 2 half.    I was never able to obtain the 4:30 marathon or 25 minute 5K.   Although I admit that I came close with a 26.26 5K and I could never shave off the 8 minutes to get the 4:30.    But as much as I chased these dreams, I was never completive enough to be totally vested in them.

To me this race was never about the race, but the experience.   It was about raining money for Sandy Hook Promise and trying to bring about change.   It was about so much more for me.   I was excited about the challenge of raising money for them.   I was not equally excited about running the marathon.   My heart was in the fundraising, but also in just getting to the finish line for those 26 angels who broke my heart and made me promise to try and bring about change for the future.

45377532_10215894900197880_9159796036858806272_n (1)When I saw this picture after the race, I took this as a sign that those 26 angels were with me that day.   They were the reason that I ran.    They were what got me to the finish line.  Yeah, I really do believe this.

It was by far my slowest marathon at 6:10:13.    I can honestly say though it was my most enjoyable race ever.   Not that I wasn’t in pain by mile 6.    Not that I didn’t need to stop to take more calcium because I was feeling wonky from low calcium.    It’s because for the first time I really, really took in my surroundings.   Not chasing time allowed me to chase the experience more fully.    This is not to say that when I ran for time that I didn’t enjoy it, but there was much I missed.

I missed stopping to take in this view and take a picture.

I missed helping a little old lady with a cane navigate her way across the street when she looked overwhelmed, (Seriously, I helped an old lady cross the street)

I missed walking with a man whose been running the marathon since 1978 and hearing his stories of how the marathon has changed.   He loves the changes.   He love the race and he loves how even though his goal now is to try to finish before dark that he is still moving.

I missed taking in the grit of a hand cyclist at he was hours into the race and still pushing through.

I missed stopping to take pictures with random strangers because I loved their sign.

I missed around mile 23 taking a power bar from a child passing them out and hearing his mother telling him that she told him someone would take it.   Then seeing how excited he was.   Best of all, devouring said energy bar that never tasted so good.

I missed remembering that even at my fastest the time really didn’t matter because as much as a number person I am that I had to look what my PR marathon time was (4:38), but I will always remember the 6 hours and 10 minutes and 13 seconds running this marathon took.

More tomorrow as there is always so much to unpack with a marathon!

9 Days

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted anything.    I would like to say it is because training has been going stellar, but that might be a bit of an overreach by a lot.   I’ve been plugging away doing the best that I can.   I’ve been meaning to update but really what would I say….

I’m doing the bare minimum right now.

Not very inspiring.

Honest, but not very inspiring.

Since the beginning, I have said that running NY this year was not part of the plan.   It only became part of the plan because of Sandy Hook Promise and wanting to be part of something to help bring about change.    Although I have been plugging away with my training, my focus really has been about supporting their organization.  My way of giving back to an organization that is doing amazing things and given me hope for change. This go around the marathon really isn’t about me, but about a cause so much bigger.

I’ve been pumped to raise money for Sandy Hook Promise.

Pumped.

I’ve not been so pumped to run.

I’ve been struggling a bit with my running.   Some physical.   Some mental.      I will honestly be excited the day after the marathon to put this to bed.    I am trying to muster up the excitement that I had last time that I ran NY, but it’s just not there.    Don’t judge me for this.  There is much going on right now and running is taking a back seat to much of it.

That being said, I know that NYC will be amazing and I am looking forward to running the streets of NY wearing my Sandy Hook Promise tank.    I’m working it all out.   Putting things in place and getting ready to get to the start and finish line of NY.

SHPTeam

A Journey Not Yet Done…..

On April 7th I applied to join the Sandy Hook Promise NYC Marathon Team.   I was nervous, but I also knew that this was a cause that I whole heartedly believed in.   I also knew that it would be a long shot for me to make the team.   To my surprise, a month latter I got notification that a spot was mine if I would accept not just the challenge of running 26.2 miles, but also agreeing to raise $3,000.   As much as I knew I would say yes, I also had panic attacks thinking that if I didn’t reach my goal I would be responsible for it.   That being said if I had thousands of dollars to donate on my own I would have jumped without thought, but I’ve got 3 kids with one just starting college.   This was a huge commitment to take on.   One that I couldn’t refuse though.  There were many reasons to politely walk away.

I did it anyway.

Over the next month, there were contracts to be signed, forms to be completed, and registering through NYRR for NYC Marathon.   Then I was able to get my fundraising page set up on May 30th.

Fundraising Page

Off I went.

Fast forward to today where I have reached my goal.   I know that I have said this before, but I have been blown away time and time again during this process.    It has touched my soul to see the outpouring of support for Sandy Hook Promise.    I still remember talking with a friend more than a year after the tragedy at Sandy Hook.   She said to me, “You are very angry and I think you need to do something.”

She was right.   I was angry.   I was angry that more people weren’t angry.   I was angry that more wasn’t being done to prevent these tragedies which continued to happen.   I was angry because I did feel helpless, but then I realized that I wasn’t alone in my anger and wanting to bring about change.    As soon as I learned of the Sandy Hook Promise organization, I became a supporting member.   I continued to share their message and work for change.

As time passed Sandy Hook Promise has grown into more than just a promise, but a plan of action.   They have evolved.   Currently they offer free to schools and communities programs such as Know the Signs,  SOS signs of Suicide Prevention Program, Start with Hello,  and a Safety and Intervention program.    I have been told that my school district will be implementing the Start with Hello program this coming school year.   These free resources to schools are not free and can only happen with the donations that are made to Sandy Hook Promise.

It is with this thought that I decided to tackle my personal fundraising.   I firmly believe that we need to do better for our children.   As hokey as it sounds (and you hear Whitney in your head when I say it)….

I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride
To make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be

This could not be more true and it is up to us as the adults to lead the way.   Although there are many children who are bolding leading it too.

This whole journey from seeing the application by chance to today has been surreal.    Everything has felt like it has fallen into place and each step has felt like it was meant to be even if I can honestly say there was much anxiety in the beginning.   At some point though, I knew it would all fall into place and if it didn’t that was ok too.   Some might see these as coincidences.   I have started to see them as the signs that they are.

When I joined this campaign, I joined for no other reason than I believe in this cause and want to make a difference in the way that I can.   I find it fitting that exactly 2 months to the day of starting my fundraising that I have met my goal.   Even more fitting that a very dear friend was the one to take me over my goal.   That being said, I am so appreciative of everyone who has supported not me, but Sandy Hook with their donations.   One of my favorite expressions is Together We Can Make a difference and it is amazing to see that in action.

That being said, I’m going to continue this journey for Sandy Hook right up till I cross that finish line and even after:)

 

 

Getting It Done

The thing about having an “invisible” illness, a complicated illness, a rare illness is that your start to wonder if it’s all in your head.   It’s easy to do too, because most of the time you keep it to yourself.  Then if you do say something many don’t understand and some will think you are exaggerating.   So after a while you just suck it up and go about your day.   The more you do that, the more you start to wonder if it really is all in your head.  Then you begin to question it all.

Are my legs so sore in  morning because I’m getting older?

Can I not run this fast because I’m just not training enough?

Am I taking it too easy because I forgot how to push myself?

Suck it up Buttercup!

Then you remember…

You do have it.   It is real.   It’s not in your head.   It sucks, but it could be much worse.   Most importantly, your doing the best that you can.

Now the best that I can isn’t what it used to be.   I also know there are many people with this disorder who would love to do what I can do on my worst day. I also  know that I am lucky.   Once when I shared something about Hypoparathyroidism, someone commented to me to my face, “Don’t take this wrong, but everyone has something.”

I was too shocked to do anything but agree with her.   And I do agree with her.   I know that everyone has their own battles.   I will be the first to admit that.   I also know that even the battle that I face could be so much worse.  That being said, just because I share my battles does not mean that I think someone else’s battles are less important.   As the Care Bears used to say, “sharing is caring.”   We all have our stuff and it is good to be able to openly share our battles because it does make the load a little lighter and easier to carry.

These are things that went through my mind on my training run yesterday.   It was the longest run I have done this training cycle.  I notice that it takes my body now a good 3 miles before it gets into the groove of running.   Then I was having some doubts about my running.   Comparing it to the last time that I was training for NY which is crazy because not only was that pre hypoparthyroidism, but I had an amazing running coach who had me hopping.   I never compare myself to other runners, but I do compare myself to where I was which is something that I must stop doing.   I will say that I think I’m in a better place now than when I was training for Chicago.   I do think actually training with the walk/run and following it this time will make for a better race.

Yesterday’s run was good and bad.   That is why we train.   I could start to recognize a pattern.   Start to tweak it.  I also slowed down to wear realistically I should be for my long runs right now.   8 miles with an average pace was 12:23.   I never went into the red zone for my heart rate and kept my heart rate in zone 4 according to my Garmin.   I have recently been trying to pay closer attention to my heart rate as apposed to pace.  I’m also trying to figure out paces for running and walking.   It’s a work in progress, but I am getting it done.  Sticking to the loose plan that I am following.  As the training runs get longer and I approach the NYCM, I want to be able to project approximate target times for distance.   More so that I don’t go out too fast like I did last time.   I don’t anticipate running the paces  I did last time.  If I go out too fast I might not bounce back as I did last time.

 

2016 NYCM

You can clearly see the wall at mile 20.

No Joke.

I think running for Sandy Hook Promise does take the pressure off some and add its elsewhere.   It takes it off because I know that I am not running this for me.  I was serious when I said that I wasn’t planning on any marathons this year.   I am training to be able to run this race as a proud member of the Sandy Hook Promise Team.   Like anyone on a team, your know that it’s not about you.  I don’t want to waste this opportunity given to me.    As I often post with my training runs #26for26.  I am so blessed to be given this opportunity to run for something that I believe in and don’t want to squander this opportunity.

 

Sandy Hook Promise Fundraiser

 

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All In A Day!

So today was many things….

Wear Orange Day

It was Wear Orange Day which has become the defining color for gun violence prevention movement.    Hadiya Pendleton died  way too young and way too violently  on January 29, 2013.  This was just one week after performing at President Obama’s Inauguration and after finishing her exams at her High School Prep School.

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A week after her tragic death, her friends and community came together in her favorite color orange to stand against gun violence.   Every day on average 96 people die from gun violence and 6 of them are under the age of 18.   This is far too many.   To be honest, one is one to many.

So we wear orange.   We march.   We raise awareness and we try to do better.

We can do better.

We will do better.

I wore orange today all day, but especially when I went for my first pre marathon training walk/run of 3 miles today.   I will officially begin marathon training in July, but I need to build back up to a starting point for training.   I would like to get to 15 miles a week before training begins.

One thing that I thought about on my run tonight is how different this marathon training cycle will be.   It will be different for many reasons, but one is my attitude.   I’m training not for time, but to finish, enjoy the experience, and represent the Sandy Hook Promise organization proudly.   So as well as fundraising, I also need to be able to run 26.2 miles.    A marathon is still a marathon even if you aren’t chasing a 4:30 finish time.

Hypopara Awareness Day

Hypoparday

For those new or needing a reminder, I was diagnosed with hypoparthyroidism after my parathyroid glands were damaged when my thyroid was removed 2 weeks after running the NYCM in 2016.

Many people ask, “What does this mean?”

This is a complicated issue as this is a very rare disease and each person manifests it differently.

Here is the official information: The condition affects the body’s production of parathyroid, a hormone that regulates the body’s levels of calcium and phosphorus, the condition has to be monitored and treated with supplements and medication. One of the main issues is very low calcium levels, affecting the strength and development of bones, teeth and nails as well as affecting the nervous system.

What does this mean…. For me, it means that my body feels like it aged 20 years after my surgery. My body aches and is sore in ways it never was even when training for my 50K! It means some days needing to lay down in the afternoon for a solid nap not because I’m drowsy but because I feel like I’ve just finished running a marathon and can’t move another step. It means constantly assesses “how do I feel” because if my calcium gets too low my face will twitch, my fingers with get tingly, and if gets too low it could be a problem. I’ve been lucky in that being a marathon runner prior to surgery, I was very tuned into how my body felt so I know when adjustments need to be made because the only way to find out your calcium level is through blood tests at your doctors.
This is all doable though with medication, supplements and just being smart. That being said, these things take a toll on the mind and body. I also need to monitor my kidney health as the medication to keep my levels at just under the normal range also raises urine calcium levels which is not good for the kidneys. Again, I’ve been lucky in that I’ve found a doctor in NYC who specializes in this. We are working on getting these levels down before issues arise. It’s a work in progress.

All this being said, I refuse to let this stop me. While things are different, I am keeping doing what I’m doing. May be slower and not run as far, but I’m still running (remember that marathon I’ve got coming up in November). I’m still getting done what I need to get done. And I’m lucky enough to have friends that support me when I need them:)

And on top of all of this it was also

National Donut Day, but I forgot to get my donut.

Boo.

 

 

How Did I get here????

If you’ve been following my journey, you know that I whole heartedly did not want to run any big races this year.   I was content to run the NYC Half and call it a year.   I clearly said that I did not want a fall marathon.   I did not want to train over the summer with my oldest leaving for college.   I stomped my feet, crossed my arms, and knew that I was going to sit this year out.

But things change.

Things evolve.

And sometimes, sometimes you are given clear signs that you need to do something that you said you wouldn’t do.

This is what happened.

I am a believer is receiving signs if you are open to them.    At first, I ignored them but then I realized that this was something that I needed to do.   Not to run a marathon, because I meant that part about not wanting to run one.    I will run one though.   I will run it happily because to me this year it is not about the marathon but about the cause.

Sandy Hook Promise

This was a group that I joined almost as soon as I heard about it.    The tragedy at Sandy Hook hit me hard as with so many others.   It changed me.    It made me want to get involved which I did, but I always felt that I could and should do more especially as each tragic shooting occurred.   This is something that I can do.   This is something that is a concrete way to help an organization that is trying to what we all want: Protect children from gun violence.

Here is their mission and approach:

“Prevent gun-related deaths due to crime, suicide and accidental discharge so that no other parent experiences the senseless, horrific loss of their child.”   They are working and implementing in communities and schools research based programs and practices such as Know the Signs programs.   You can visit the SandyHookPromise.org website for more information.

This is my way to help them help others.    I will be running NYC Marathon to raise $3,000 for this cause that I feel so strongly about.    This is a leap of faith because while I know that I can run a marathon, I’m not too sure about my fundraising skills.   I am willing to take this risk.

If you would like to contribute to this worthy cause, please visit my fundraising page at Fundraising Website.

I am excited about this prospect for many reasons and the process of being part of a team of runners who support this amazing cause.   I am heading into this marathon training to finish the race, enjoy the process, and most of all support such a worthy cause.

SandyHookPromise