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, July 25, 2009

No business racing...

I had no business running a race today, but I did. It was the local, annual women's 4-miler, and a lot of very fast runners showed up! I decided to run it last night. Although I'm in no shape to race, I'm hoping this race will springboard me into more regular training. It's a get-back-on-track technique I've used in the past with some success. Racing when I'm not prepared also carries some risk, but today I decided the potential positives outweighed the negatives. So I ran a race today.

The primary risk of running today was poor performance. There was the possibility of performing so poorly that I'd feel defeated beyond measure. Fortunately, that didn't happen. I didn't perform great. I didn't perform up to my expectations. In fact, I worked so hard and was in so much agony, I had to hold back tears at the finish line. But in reality, my performance was not poor.

I was out-dueled over the final 1.5 miles by a friend in my age group, and I did feel defeated. That was very frustrating. I usually enjoy such duels whether I win them or not. I usually enjoy the mental games and psychic toughness required to even participate in a duel, but today it was just hard. Today it was just work, and I couldn't wait for it to be over. Nonetheless, I stuck with it.

Sticking it out was definitely an accomplishment. To stick it out I had to put up with a barrage of negative self-talk--lots of "if-onlys..." today. If only my mood hadn't been in the toilet lately. If only I was training more consistently. If only I was lighter and less fatigued. Blah, blah, brain worked overtime throughout the race! Nevertheless, I held back my finish line tears by reminding myself that running in and of itself was an accomplishment.

And in the end, I didn't run terribly. I ran like someone who hasn't been training regularly. I ran like someone who's felt bad, been tired, and feels heavy. I ran a 30:23 and finished 12th out of 93 runners. I'm trying not to write about how fast I used to run this race... Instead I will say this, "I ran fairly well today."

Despite the pain, I felt good in the end. I've spent much of the rest of this day in bed, wiped out from the effort, but the positives did outweigh the negatives today. I'm happy about that. Hopefully, this will be more than a blip on the map. Hopefully, this race will mark the beginning of feeling better and of running regularly again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Etta -

Me again. Let me be the first to say it; Good race ! You're faster than I thought, and if you have run that 4 miler faster before (and it sounds as though you have), then you're much faster than I expected.

Down, less-trained-than-you'd-like, feeling slow seems pretty darn impressive to me. Seriously, good job, Etta. Training will resume, and this race proves that you definitely still have some life left in your reserves.