Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 18 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!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

hurts so good

Hate may be too strong. Intensely dislike is a more accurate description. I dislike running up steep hills. However, in running as in life, there is frequently value in doing things I don't like to do. Therefore, despite my intense dislike for such things, yesterday I found myself churning up some very steep hills.

I planned to run my usual speed workout around a local track, but when I arrived the track was unavailable. On my way to the track, I passed the sign for a county park just 3 miles up the road. I noticed the sign because it brought back memories of the vaunted 10-miler annually run through this park's woods. The race is so brutal, in fact, it's named The Gut Buster! After my last run there 2-3 years ago, I vowed I would never run that race again. But there I was, 3 miles away and in need of a tough workout.

I tried to psych myself up as I drove to the park. I planned to run the same 5 mile loop used in the race. It boasts several long, steep hills. Before I knew it, I was churning up the first one. "This is good for me. This is good for me. This is good for me," I panted. My legs burned before I was halfway up. "Don't stop. Don't stop. Don't stop," I thought. I barely got over the top when the next hill hit, and then the next, and the next, and the...

By the time I reached some relative flatland I wanted to quit, but I had 4 miles to go. I pressed on. It hurt. I didn't like it. It would have been easy to stop. My brain started its games. What would happen if I quit? Nothing. Who would know? Nobody. How would I feel? Momentarily relieved. Terrible later. I pressed on.

As usual, I found myself relating running to life. If I want to do better in running, I have to work. I have to move myself, motivate myself, and press on despite discomfort or occasional pain. If I want to do better in life, I have to work. I have to move myself, motivate myself, and press on despite discomfort or occasional pain. In the end, I have only me to please, only me to impress, only me to satisfy. In the end, it is only me on whom I must rely. The quality of my running, like the quality of my life, depends on me.

Taking responsibility for my running...not so much different than taking responsibility for my life.

1 comment:

Emma said...

Read your post just before bed, and needed to sleep on it! What an amazing achievement, nothing like that kind of physical challenge. I have been thinking a lot about the relation you made between running and life. Accepting responsibility for ourselves and our lives is an important step to moving forward.
Did the days exertion guarantee a good nights sleep at the sleep clinic? Emma