Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 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!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Finally a race

I finally put my training to the test today. I ran a 15K race. I didn't want to do it (see Fear here), because when I ran this race last year it was shockingly difficult, and I was shockingly slow. And like today, last year this race was the first of my season. Unfortunately, last year's distressing effort and disappointing result foretold the effort and result of each successive race last season.

Today, I FEARed another excruciating effort and slow, slow time. What would that mean? What would I do? God, I would be so disappointed! Last year I hadn't trained nearly this much or this hard, so I could rationalize the poor result. But if that happens today? After all this consistent training? What would I do? What would that mean? blah, blah, fear, fear, fear, blah, blah, blah, fear, fear... You get the idea.

It's impossible to explain, but last year I was basically out of breath from the gun. That wouldn't have been a big deal except my watch told me my pace was a good minute slower PER MILE than I was used to running. I was running behind runners I had never run behind, and eventually I finished behind them, too! It was truly alarming. It only got more alarming with each successive race, as the result proved to be no fluke. Something was wrong! I was sure of it. Unfortunately, nothing was wrong. (lol! Only a runner could write such a ridiculous statement!) Despite numerous medical tests, I was incredibly normal. I was also incredibly slow (for me).

Today, I raced despite my FEAR of being slow, feeling bad, or facing disappointment. It was cold, rainy and windy--not exactly perfect running conditions. On the 9.3 mile out-and-back course, I decided to go out conservatively and then kick it up after the turnaround if I was able. I was not winded from the gun. My legs felt strong. I immediately knew I was in much better condition than last year. I was pleasantly surprised to see my splits in the high 7 minute to low 8 minute range. I felt more confident. This was going to be waaay better than last year, I thought. I was even able to speed up after the turnaround, as I had hoped, dropping a few women who were hanging a bit too close.

Nobody passed me the entire second half of the race. Prior to last year, that was something I always strove for and usually achieved. It was very cool to get that personal benchmark back. The last couple miles sucked, but the last couple miles always suck, especially with a cold headwind! My pace was slower than I would have liked, but it felt like a good start to the season. In other words, I expect only improvement. Besides, I ran waaay better than last year! Of that I was sure! It was a tough run, but I felt very good, and satisfied, and proud.

I had no idea what my time was last year. So, in preparation for this post, I looked up my 2007 time. Look carefully, and see what a difference a year makes:

2008: 1:16:39
2007: 1:15:53

Yup, that's right, I actually ran slower this year than last! I was surprised, too.
What's that saying about attitude making all the difference?


jennifer said...

Wow way to go! I wish I could run even a fourth of what you do. I'm so out of shape, running 1/4 of a mile would probably kill me right now. :D

Mr B The Tech Teacher said...

Hehe, i get worn out walking up the stairs in my house!
Congratulations on overcoming the fear and getting such a positive experience out of it! Best of luck for the rest of the season, may each race be a positive experience :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're coming to realize that the best part of running is the running and having fun and not the winning or the time.

Congrats on running a fine race.

etta said...

Thanks All- for your positive feedback and pats on the back!
But PJ, I must say that the BEST part of running...well, let's just say competing and running fast are a big part of why I run, and winning...well, that's damn FUN!