I'm really proud of myself. At mile 11, my legs were done. I had hustled back on pace from a pit stop at mile 8, and we had just finished 3 miles of rolling hills. I was in the midst of composing my blog post in my brain. The title was to be, "Missed again." I was grieving...thinking of everything that had gone wrong--too much walking the day before the race, the injured calf, forgetting to buy yogurt (my usual food) for breakfast, travel stresses... I had a lot of sadness and negative thinking going on.
Despite my faulty thoughts and failing legs, I decided I wouldn't walk until at least mile 13.1--the halfway point. I don't know why. It was just a little goal. I had already played other brain tricks earlier in the race. For instance, at mile six I remember thinking, "Only 10 more miles until there's 10 more miles left to go." Perhaps that thought of mile sixteen is what kept me going once I reached halfway. At mile 13.1 I thought, "Give yourself a chance. Just get to 16." And that became my theme.
"Give yourself a chance," I kept repeating. And by that I meant keep running on pace until mile __ before thinking about slowing, walking or quitting. It worked. I made it to mile 16, on pace, and felt a hell of a lot better than I had at mile 11 or mile 13. "Give yourself a chance, etta. Just make it to mile 18," and I did. And then the goals were miles 20, 22, and 23. By mile 22, I was pretty sure I was going to make it. Miles 23-26 were perhaps the toughest miles I had ever run, but I didn't slow. I was determined.
"If it was easy, anyone could do it." That was my thinking over the final 3.2 miles. Any time I thought it was too hard, I reminded myself it was supposed to be hard. That's what would make it special. And special it was. I exuberantly yelled, "I qualified," as I ran toward the finish line. As far as I was concerned, the spectators were all cheering for me. HA! It was my ten seconds of fame.
I was very emotional and held back tears after I crossed the finish line. Those first 11 miles were filled with physical discomfort and emotional negativity. I think I am more proud of battling back from that than I am of qualifying for Boston.
In many ways, the race was a microcosm of my last 4-5 months. Remember July? Gripped by depression, I could barely get out of bed. From my bed to a qualifying marathon... I don't know what else to say. I'm happy. I'm grateful. Life is good today.
Depression Marathon Blog
- Diagnosed with depression 16 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!
Sunday, November 15, 2009