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 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.
Take 2! The first published before it saved changes. Those who I text regularly could recognize my crazy voice and fat finger typing without editing……. Plus, I hate when editing does not change:)
Consistency is key to anything. Repetition is what takes something and makes it learned behavior. Think when you learned your multiplication tables. Who remembers those drills, pop quizzes and all those practice, practice, practice. (yeah, maybe that was just me since math was never my forte). You didn’t learn them from osmosis or at least I didn’t. You’ll learned them because you continually worked on them. Practiced until it became instant recall. My son in college seems to be doing this with formula’s I couldn’t even begin to tell you what they are called, let alone their purpose. During the pandemic many took up baking bread. As a baker, I can attest the more you do so the better the end product. Baking bread to many was like a science experiment with many complicated but necessary steps. Over time it became easier to tell when kneading was done. When your dough had the the right texture,and eventually could just do it by feel. There was no second guessing, you just knew.
The same consistency is required with training and creating a workout routine. For most, we need to schedule time for your workout because it is not part of the routine nor necessarily something we are looking forward to (yet) . Eventually with consistency it becomes part of you and it feels strange if you miss it. I’ve mentioned before how my husband transformed himself with loosing weight through the tried and true method of diet and exercise. In the beginning, it was challenge but now he couldn’t imagine a day where he was not doing something physically active. It has become part of him and he looks forward to one of his daily workouts.
It takes bravery to step out and try something new. It takes bravery to commit to something. To put yourself out there no matter how far or near out there you may go. It takes bravery and commitment to say you are going to do something and then actually do it. Even if it isn’t working for you, it is so much easier to stay in the same place. There is comfort in the uncomfortableness of the known because while it may suck at least you know what you are dealing with. To stay with what is comfortable even if it is not where you want to be instead of tiptoeing into the unknown…… So no matter how hard it is to stay in one place, it is always so much harder to take the first step and then the second.
Consistency is needed in beginning of any plan. It is necessary until it becomes part of you.
Some will go far.
Some will go as far as they can.
Some will go fast.
Some will go as fast as they can.
Pace….. Distance…. Events…..
The most important thing is to be true to yourself. With that thought process, I’ve been plugging away on my half marathon training plan. I’ve been sticking to the program which I admit is much easier to do with a treadmill now. I used to hate treadmill running (and part of me still does), but since I’ve discovered watching shows on Netflix while running it isn’t bad. I also credit the treadmill with allowing me to reboot my training and keeping me in check with where I should be running for that reason alone I owe it some love. That being said, you can’t race from a treadmill which means you need to also do some training outside.
This week for the first time since I started following my Half Marathon training plan, I took the run outside. I didn’t watch my watch, but wanted to test myself and run by feel. I wanted to keep the run conversational for the most part, but also make it a worthwhile training run. So I chatted with myself. Tested how I felt and kept myself where I thought I should be running. Hours later I looked at my paces and info from my run and I surprised myself. I hit the paces that I should be hitting. I actually had surprisingly beautiful negative splits. Most of all and this is the best part…… I enjoyed the run. There was no beating myself up because I wasn’t hitting certain paces, that I was running too slow or any such thing. There was knowledge that I was doing what I should be doing and that was enough.
Sometimes that is more than enough. I know that if I pushed myself that I could hit faster paces, but for now this is not a tradeoff I am willing to make right now. I also realized that this was enough. It is always enough. I might actually be able to push myself faster and harder, but the cost to do so is one that I am no longer willing to pay. We all have to decide what we want. What we are willing to give up. What we are willing to trade off. What we are willing to work for and what is not worth the work. These are individual choices that no one can make for us. There is no one size fits all and that is ok.
What choices are you making today? Remember not making a choice is still a choice, so choose wisely my friend
I’ve thrown my hands up giving myself up to enjoy the ride
I’ve wondered if I was foolish to even get on as it begins to take off. The anticipation while you wait in line, strap yourself in and begin to take off wondering if you are up for what lies ahead. The thing is once the ride takes off, you have no choice but to buckle in and make the best of it. You can scream. You can laugh. You can throw your hands up and just enjoy the ride. Doesn’t matter what you do because once it takes off, you are commited. Sometimes you think you have reached the end of the ride only to realize that you are going around another bend.
A few times I’ve thought that I reached the end of my roller coaster ride only to realize how wrong I was. I think I am really finally coming into the station of acceptance with my 2016 post surgery Hypopara running. You may be thinking…… it has taken since 2016. Acceptance isn’t as easy as it sounds. Then there are the times where you think you have reached the stage of acceptance only to realize that you have just been getting by and really have not. Letting Pride really keep you from making it to the end.
Here is the thing. Since my 2016 surgery left me Hypopara, I kept trying to push myself to run at a pace where I no longer was physically able to run. Mind you I knew that I was no longer at a run sub 2 half pace, but I still never embraced where I should realistically should be running even if at times I thought I did.
Recap for new followers –
For about two years or so before my surgery, I was working with an amazing coach. With her guidance I ran a sub 2 half marathon, a 50K, and I was able to even run a 26:26 5K. I was at the top of my game and I even timed my surgery to be after running the 2016 NYC Marathon. I’ve said it before, the surgery was just going to be a blip.
Until is wasn’t.
Then I kept riding the roller coaster knowing that I was the same, but trying to be something that I wasn’t. Not to say that I won’t be again, but not now. After surgery, I origionally was over medicated so I was able to keep my running up. Then realization that I could no longer keep calcium levels up in the 9’s but for safety of kidney’s . Needing to keep levels just below or at normal level’s. Doesn’t sound like much but for those of us with Hypoparathyroidism, we can tell you that there is a BIG difference how one feels with calcium at a level 9 compared to 8.2 or even 8.5. I also think that for right now I have found a happy medium where my calcium has been around 8.4 last couple times. The balancing act is real.
Anywho…… for the longest time a year or two after my surgery I kept trying to run paces that while much slower than my 2016 paces but realistically were not paces that I should be running. The thing is that I really couldn’t maintain them either. I did a lot of running too fast. Needing to walk and then running again. Then with the 20 pound post surgery weight gain and everything else, running a 10:45 pace was not where I should be even though at the time I thought that was “slow.” I remember posting in a group that my former coach runs about having to walk during my runs and I’m paraphrasing because honestly I don’t remember exactly what she said even if I remember the meaning behind what she was saying. She basically said that I was walking because I was running too fast and maybe (I add that in my mind) pride was the reason. Even though I knew the truth of her words, like many not willing to accept reality I blew off what she was saying. Although if there is one thing anyone who has worked with Caolon knows…… She knows what the (beep) she is talking about even if you choose not to hear her.
So I went on….. and on….. and on…… until I finally gave up running completely. I spent months just walking. I walked and walked and walked some more. I even walked a virtual marathon. Then I was ready to run again. I wanted to run again. There was beauty in having not run for a long time. I was 100% starting from the beginning and needed to respect starting from scratch. My mind was in the right place this time. I also think that deciding not to train by pace but heart rate helped because it gave me the ability to learn where I should be running to actually run.
So here I’ve been just running and training. 100% recognizing that pace is not the goal right now. That the goal is to find where I should be running and run there. I’ve been embracing the running and am now following a training plan for the NYC Virtual Half. I am only using the plan for milage and training not following anything by pace. It has also been helpful that even though I hate it, I have been running on the treadmill. This is good because it does allow me to control pace that I’m running at without concern that I end up running at a pace I shouldn’t be.
I’ve also realized pace is irrelevant to me right now. I am more concerned with being able to run without leaving myself and my body depleted. Since running by heart rate and finding the correct pace while still pushing myself, I have realized that I have not been getting muscle spasms. I am not depleted to the point where I NEED (not want) to nap and most of all I can function in my day to day life.
Last week I ran a hard 5K.
Then this week in training I ran 4.5 running 4 without stopping and feeling good. I did this running average pace of 12:37. This “hard” run was literally a minute faster than what I used to do my easy runs at. So today I needed to run 7 miles, my longest run so far this training cycle. Since this was a long run that meant I need to run slower. I started off with a 5 minute warm up walk and then when I hit every mile I walked for 45 seconds. I’m not sure that I actually needed the walk, but it did break up the treadmill running. Who knows what that would parlay to outdoor running, but for right now I am happy to be running, not feeling like I can’t do it, and feeling like I could do more when I stop.
I’ve been thinking a lot about accepting where I am lately. I realized that while I thought I had accepted where I am right now that I really had not. I do think that this roller coaster ride is finally coming into the station. Acceptance does not mean that I won’t push to try to do better. It does not mean that I can’t work to do better in the future. It does not mean that I won’t have days where things bother me. It just means that I am ok with where I am today.
Of course, i will be running it in my town and not the streets of NYC. I am running another virtual race. It is what I do now. It is what we all do now. Ok, not all but I need to train for something. I need motivation. I need something. And while virtual races do not have the pull as in person, this time it is going to be different…… I hope.
I have a novel approach to this half marathon. One that I haven’t done with any of my “recent” events. I haven’t used this approach in years. Here we go………… I want to go into this race the old fashioned way. I want to go into it confidently. I want to go into it ready. Most of all……….
I want to go into it trained.
Now this is not to say that I didn’t train for previous events. You know back in the day when there were in person events. I did. I did……… Right up until I didn’t.
I stopped trying. I stopped pushing. I did the bare minimum that I needed to do to get me to the finish line. Maybe even less than the bare minimum too.
Now I want to get to the finish line not with a struggle. Not with and excuse. Not with baggage. I want to go back to the days of feeling confident in my training. Feeling confident in my ablilities. Knowing that I am ready to tackle the miles before me. In order to trust the training, there must be actual training.
I want to go back to the mantra….
Some where along the line I forgot that in order to finish strong, you must also start strong. And so it begins….
8 Weeks and here we go…. Starting strong to finish strong.
Changing from one stage to the next. Often we get comfortable in one stage and don’t like the thought of change. Most often the metamorphosis is not up to us and will happen whether we like it or not. Change is hard. Change is often unexpected. Change is inevitable.
The thing about change though is that often we are not ready for it. We have reached a level of comfort and we want to stay in the comfort zone. This does not mean that the comfort zone is all that comfortable, but we are used to it. We know it. We accept it. We can deal with the known because the unknown is frightening.
Time to move out of your comfy zone. You can not stop a change any more than the caterpillar can stay in it’s cocoon forever. It needs to break free and let the sun shine on it’s wings and fly. If it does not emerge from it’s cocoon it will wither and die.
So here I am. Now 5 Weeks till NYC Marathon getting ready to figure it all out again. I’ve been thinking this last week about my training. I’ve trained for marathons healthy. I’ve trained for marathons with hypoparathyroidism without Natpara. I’ve been training with hypoparathyroidism with Natpara which let me tell you is soooooo much nicer. Now 5 weeks till NYC Marathon I’m getting ready to figure it all out again.
Last year when I trained, I was able to build my miles up learning when I needed to ad more calcium, what would effect my levels, and how I needed to adjust my training. I was able to build up the miles slowly and plan accordingly. This training cycle with Natpara has been different as I have not been so symptomatic and it was going nicely. Now as my body adjusts to being off the Natpara even without the added stress of running, I need to figure out how much calcium to take, when to take it and also how much Calcitriol and supplements to take to find a balance. Add training for NY to the mix and it is a little stressful. My body and even mentally I’m trying to work it all out. Instead of having the summer to figure it out and get it together, I literally have weeks.
It can be done. It will be done. I was scrambling. Doubting. Wondering how to pull it all together. A good friend shared with me an 8 week marathon training plan with low millage. I’ve been putting in the miles. I have the base. I can do this. It is not designed for someone who is looking to race, PR, or push. It is designed for someone like me who just wants to get to the finish line. So I’m jumping in with 5 weeks to go and let this next transformation be what it will be.
I will give you that most people don’t need to spend time recovering from just a 5K. I will give you that in the past even at my longest most grueling races, I haven’t really been good about recovery.
Case in point: I ran Dirty German 50K. I crossed the finish line. Since I was doing the race solo, I ended up getting food, gathering my stuff, and diving the few hours home. When I ran the Marine Corps Marathon, I was with my sister and mother. I grabbed some food. We grabbed an Uber back to our hotel that we were already checked out of and we did the long drive from DC to NJ. At least I only drove till we got to the first rest stop where I changed out of my race gear. Then my sister drove. At every NYC marathon, it is hours before I finally make it home to change and clean up.
You see a pattern here.
It’s not a good pattern, but one most can recognize. Running races usually means traveling to event even if it’s in driving distance. Most of us also usually have to get back to a day to day lives relatively quickly without a lot of time to relax.
Besides training, elite runners have an edge when it comes to recovery. It’s part of the job description because they know they need to take the time and they do. Granted, they might not need as much recovery as the rest of us but they also build it into their training. Why do those of us who probably need it more than they do, not take the time?
As said before……. We usually have to get back to our daily routines. We are usually feeling guilty for the time we take to train and do an event that taking that extra step makes us feel a little more selfish. It’s not selfish though. It’s part of training. One that we usually ignore to our own peril.
I am trying to be better which tends to happen when your body forces you to access what it needs. Yesterday it was easy because time was on my side. First I stretched after race. Then I came home and soaked in an Epsom salt bath. Then off to a nice lunch followed by a short nap. If all that wasn’t decadent enough……
I went for a Spa Pedicure that included a hot towel wrap with 10 minute leg massage. Then at completion of pedicure a 10 minute neck and shoulder massage. Pure heaven.
And while maybe a 5K didn’t need this much of a recovery, why not enjoy it when I have the time. Plus outside of my quads today, I am feeling pretty good. Everyone should be sore the day after pushing it in a race.
I am working on not just working so hard, but realizing that if I am going to push it to the limit that I also need to allow time to recover. Not view it as treating myself, but viewing it as necessary. I am turning 50 next month. As the saying goes, I am not getting any younger but that wont stop me. What will stop me is if I don’t realize that I am worth the extra time and not only am I worth it but it is necessary.
As you know for
months now I have said that I am getting back to basics. I took my running back to square one. I did the same with my non running workouts. In January with a friend, I started going to
a beginner core class. It has been good
offering a good core workout with a combo of stretching and balance. My friend and I maybe the younger ones in
the class which at my age is nice. Don’t
let that fool you, these grandmas have better abs them me. I’m still working on finding mine which I’m
Now that we have done
this class for a while, we thought we would take it up a notch by adding a
class before it. We added a Step
Class. Yes, your read that right. So not only am I taking my workout back to
the basics, I am taking it back to the 80’s!
Although I realize that I might not be as coordinated as I was back
then! This class also utilizes some
weights for a nice full body workout.
It’s funny because
years ago when I was doing Crossfit, I would have laughed if you told me that I
was going to be doing a step class and low impact ab class. You know what? I like it. I have no desire right now to do the hard
core workouts of Crossfit. I am more
concerned with getting a good workout it and make no mistake a step class is a
good workout. I know that some might
think it’s a dated workout, but like jumping rope and basic push-ups, what
works works. Bigger and better is not
always required or even better.
Again my mindset of
what I am looking for is different now.
I have nothing to prove. I have
no need to explain (although isn’t that the point of my blog). My
goal now has become to be well balanced.
I do not need to go from zero to 60.
I just need a good cruising speed to keep me active, use my muscles in a
different way than running, and maybe fit in my jeans better or in some cases
just in them. I think for now these
classes will help with that. We all
know that core and glutes are important
to running. These are things that I’ve
ignored. I don’t need to be able to
deadlift or squat huge amounts of weights to do that.
My goal going forward is going to try to be more balanced. Balanced in my workouts. Balanced in my running. Balanced with my family, friends and life. Life that is not balanced can leave you feeling dizzy. As with all things, it is a work in progress and as long as I’m moving forward; I’m ok with that.
I’ve learned that it is very easy to let things fall out of balance. You give to much with not anything in return. You push too hard without allowing downtime. You listen without being able to talk or the opposite can be true. Sometimes it is necessary to take inventory of where things are and adjust because if it’s one thing about balance….. If you don’t find it, you will surly fall.
Why do we always look at starting over in a negative manner? Isn’t it positive that in many cases we were willing to pick ourselves up and begin again?
Why yes, yes it is.
Don’t we normally look forward and congratulate those who are starting new chapters in their lives….. Weddings, babies, going off to college, ect, ect.. And while some new beginnings are not wanted and are hard, picking yourself up and having the courage to face a new beginning makes you a stronger person even if its one you never wanted or would wish on anyone.
As I’ve mentioned before, once again I’m starting over. Back to square one. I went through the motions and pretended that I didn’t need to do this, but I did. I beat myself up about it even while I was starting it until I realized the beauty of starting over.
No expectations. As nike says…. Just Do It.
I’m working on week 4 in my C25K program. I’m sticking to it. No more. No less, but I’m getting it done. I have enjoyed going back to the beginning. When I started my fitness journey years ago, I needed to learn what my body needed. What it could do. How far I could push it. I’m relearning that again and it feels good.
After NYCM, I went almost 2 months of not running where I felt “normal” where I gave my body a chance to just be. It needed it. I need it. I am now relearning what my body can do and what the effects are once it does it. My legs are once again sore. I need to stretch. I’ve been using my back and foot massager a lot. After 2 months of not feeling like this, it’s an adjustment. One that I like. I’m realizing just how far I can push myself and if I go too far what I will deal with. I’m learning, adjusting, and moving forward with the knowledge.
It was interesting the other day I went for blood work and then after for my run. I’ve been running on the treadmill so that I can more closely monitor my pace and also so I only do what I need to do. I could tell going in that my calcium was low which the blood work confirmed, so I did not push the pace. I had a good run and finished more than 2 miles. What was good about this though is that not only did I do the run, but my instinct about where my body was right on the money. Learning to read the signs and trust them.
I will say that this time is also helping me make friends with running on a treadmill. I am able to control the pace. I am able to control how long I will be running. On the plus side, I am also avoiding the cold. That being said, I’ve had the confidence to push the paces (for me) and hit my targeted goals of sticking with the program.
I’m not sure where this new fitness journey will take me, but i will admit that I am glad the I am on it.
I will say truthfully that I am feeling confidents in my mish mash of training. I’m feeling strong. Not strong like I am going to have an amazing race and PR. I mean strong like I know that I can and will cross the finish line. I actually feel quiet calm this go around. Strange I know.
The other day I went out for just 3 miles. Since it was a short run, I didn’t really watch pace. I just let it go and I know that in the beginning I was running too fast, but again I knew it was a short run. I also thought that even though I haven’t doing training this way, I would consider it a speed workout. At least I was smart enough to continue the walk/run method.
Here is the thought that I had when out on this run and what I have decided will be my mantra for the beginning of the marathon.
RUN WHERE YOU ARE
NOT WHERE YOU WANT TO BE!
Seriously! This is what I need to remember. I was thinking about when I ran the NYCM in 2016. I was working with a coach. I was trained. I was ready. I still crashed and burned (see the wall at mile 20) because I ran the fist half like there was no second half. I let the crowds carry me. I let myself get swept up in the excitement of it all. And let’s be clear, it is exciting. I have run 5 marathons so far and while each one is special, there really is no bigger party than I have experienced than the NYC Marathon. It is easy to get swept up which I allowed to happen last time.
RUN WHERE YOU ARE
NOT WHERE YOU WANT TO BE!
Here’s the thing, it is so easy to get caught up. It is easy to tell yourself that you can…
Bank the time
You can do it
I’m not running too fast
It’s not a big deal
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.
There is no banking time when you hit the wall.
Unless you’ve trained at paces, don’t use them in a marathon
It is a big deal when you hit that wall.
So my objective, my goal, my mantra is to be realistic. When I ran Chicago, in the back of my mind I was not realistic. I was still trying to push paces that I was not able to maintain especially since it was a very hot marathon. I am being real with myself. I know that I can do this, if and only if I listen to my body. I listen to the voice that is writing this post and tune out the other one that is not always thinking clearly:)
I will say that I am making a deal with that voice. I’ve told her that if she lets me run a smart race, a race that I’ve trained for at a pace I’ve trained at; I will then be able to let her run the last few miles. When at my peak I listened to the wrong voice, the last few miles were a beast.
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.
You can clearly see the wall at mile 20.
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.