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!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The recap


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.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I'm so happy for you!

Krystal said...

Wow, that is an amazing time. Congratulations! You've inspired me to reach for a better time on my next marathon.

andygoose said...

Wow, 2:46! Congrats! Good job on battling the negativity! I'll have to keep this post in mind when I finally get myself into a marathon...

just me said...

Great accomplishment, I am very excited for you! I have been following your blog for quite some time and some days your sheer will inspires me. In more ways than you know your story resonates with me. I am new to running and in some ways it has become my new addiction. Thanks for sharing your story!

etta said...

Hello all!
I just realized I wrote 2:46:57 instead of 3:46:57 at the top of this post. DAH!!! I've now changed it to the correct time. I WISH I could run a 2:46!
I really apologize for the major error. Feeling really stupid right now...
Thank you all for your comments and support--even though they were based on inaccurate information!