Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 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, June 20, 2009

Not the goal, but pretty darn good!

None of the locals could believe it. During a spring in which no day had yet topped 80 degrees, maybe not even 70, some of them said, the story of the day was the temperature. It felt close to 80 degrees by the 7:30 AM start. At the finish line of Grandma's Marathon 4 hours later, the thermometer read 87.

The first 5 miles were the worst, hot and humid with sun, a marathoner's worst nightmare. Around mile 5, the course turned toward Lake Superior, and thankfully the cool breeze was blowing in off the lake. Unfortunately, I was already toasted. Despite not wearing my watch, I started too fast in the hot sun. By mile 8 I had started taking walk breaks, as I already felt out of gas. At mile 9, I met my mom. I told her, "If I make it to halfway, I'll be content to walk it in from there."

One mile at a time. That was my mentality. If there was a water stop, I walked through it. When there wasn't a water stop, I focused ahead to the next mile marker knowing I would walk once I reached it. And that's how it went. One mile marker at a time, one water stop at a time. The miles between 10 and 15 were the longest. I'd already run long, yet I still had a long way to go.

I met my mom again at mile sixteen, and though I knew my Boston qualifying time was long gone, I also felt a shift. The mile markers had started to come more quickly. I continued with my run-walk routine, but the running was a bit easier. I finally had some gas in my tank, and no wonder! I was eating and drinking everything in sight! Still I wasn't really sure I would make it until I hit mile 18. At that point, I knew there was no way I would quit.

And I didn't quit. I ran the second half 8 minutes slower than the first, but I think that was purely a matter of more walk breaks. My running segments may have actually been quicker. I certainly felt better. Who knows? If I hadn't toasted myself early, perhaps that BQ time would have been close to attainable.

Attained or not, I'm happy with the result. What felt, early on, like a 4 hour and 30 minute certainty, ended up a 4:06 delight. I nearly burst into tears when I turned into the finishing chute. This is the first marathon I've trained for and finished since fatigue has been my constant companion and plague. As I turned that final corner for home, I knew that at least on this day, I had won. And that was a glorious feeling.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Etta -

AWESOME !!!

YOU ROCK !!!

Mark my well-traveled words - you will run 26.2 miles again. I predict within 30 days, your mind will start to drift toward that mysterious number again. Don't doubt me...

Congratulations on a GREAT race - Seriously, that's just great


-Chris

etta said...

Chris--
30 days? Try 30 minutes! Look our Richmond, here I come!
etta

heartreflections said...

Way to go! What an accomplishment. You are an inspiration. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I KNEW IT !!!

You're HARDCORE -- I JUST KNEW IT !!!

- Chris

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about you!! Great Job and keep running forward!! sm



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