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, October 23, 2010

Good. Good. Good. BOOM!

I raced a half marathon today in Mankato, MN. It was their inaugural marathon, half marathon, and 10K, and boy they did a great job! It was an excellent race course, with excellent organization, plenty of port-o-potties, and great goodies at the finish. Even the weather cooperated. It was overcast and in the 50's (I think). Nice job, Mankato! I'll definitely be back.

I was up before 4 AM in order to get to the starting line on time. I felt good. Even though I didn't taper for this race, my legs felt ready. Not having a clue what to expect from myself, I decided to jump in with the 1:45 (8:01 per mile) pace group. I figured that was a pace I should be able to handle based on my speed work, tempo runs and quick long training runs. But again, I really didn't have a clue.

We got off right on time, and I fell in with my pace group. I even ran slightly in front of the group for awhile, as I felt really good. The course was very nice--mostly on a long, wide, paved trail. Around mile 5 we descended a very long, steep hill. I remarked that the marathoners would hate this hill, as they would hit it at mile 18, and it was a quad buster at mile five! Shortly thereafter, we descended another steep hill. Okay, my legs felt that, but the pace felt fine.

There were about 5-6 of us (5 men and me) still hanging with our pacer when we passed mile seven. Somewhere between mile 7.5 and mile 8.5 we began a long ascent. I'm not sure what happened, but I got dropped, big time! Just a few minutes beforehand, I had been conversing with my fellow runners, but when that hill started my legs just wouldn't go. I believe I blew up.

I regained my stride, briefly, within the 10th mile, but I felt like crap! My legs felt like wooden stilts. I think those downhills really tore me up. By mile 11, I really went BOOM! I walked through some water stops and up some small hills before again regaining my stride in the last mile. I was an unhappy camper from about mile 9 onward. That made for a very long race. I was so very glad to cross that finish line and be done.

I finished in 1:48:30, which was 8:16 per mile. I was disappointed, not with my time as much as with the incredible, painful effort. Here are my splits: 8:01, 7:53, 8:12, 8:01, 7:53, 8:02, 8:04, 8:17, hill 8:32, 8:16, 8:58 (boom!), 8:39, 8:17. When I reviewed my splits, I was actually surprised to see that I pulled off a few sub 8:20's after blowing up. I felt as if I was running so much slower. Like I said, my wooden legs just wouldn't go. Considering how poorly I felt, I guess I should be pretty happy with my time. I'm trying.

I'm trying to be kind to myself. There are a lot of reasons my legs wouldn't go up that hill. I didn't taper. I ran 18 miles just last weekend and did my usual speed work during the week. What did I expect? Well, you know me, I always expect more. But really, this was an exercise in perseverance, and I proved to myself once again that I can persevere. I'm glad I did.

Perseverance deserves a reward, and I'm rewarding myself with a big, juicy steak tonight. I think my muscles need some red meat to rebuild! Then it will be back to speed work on Tuesday and 20 miles either Thursday or Saturday. I may even run a 10K next Saturday, but we'll see how I recover first. I got my tickets, so look out Dallas. I'll battle with you in December.


Ross said...

Hills are the worst mate! At least you finished in a respectable time even with the hill though which is more than I would have done!

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Thompson said...

Our race reports are so similar. After doing OK the first part of the race I hit the wall going up the mile 8 hill, then I got a cramp going into mile 9. The only thing that kept me going after the hill were all the cheering fans at the park. I couldn't walk in front of them, but when I got to the trees it was walking and sucking wind time.

I also had a special dinner with my wife making homemade pizza (I called her from the finish and said to get out the breadmaker because this was one hard race!)