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!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Another marathon in the books.

And thank God, it's over! Three hours, 41 minutes, and 36 seconds after the gun went off this morning, I finished the Austin Marathon. It was perhaps the most challenging and difficult marathon I have ever completed! First of all, it was warm. It was over 60 degrees at the start. I don't know how high the temperature climbed during the race, but I'm going to guess it was easily in the seventies. Secondly, the wind was brutal. Again, I'm only guessing, but it had to be consistently blowing at least 20 miles per hour, and for half of the race it blew directly in our faces. And finally, the course was the most challenging I have ever experienced. It was hilly! Hill after hill after hill... The elevation map below does not do it justice.

Oh, and lastly, I spent more than three minutes in the portable toilets! It was less than a perfect day.

Despite the less than perfect conditions and the challenging terrain, I'm quite encouraged by my results. Despite the hills and headwind, I ran sub 3:35 pace for much of the race. My pipe dream was a 3:35, and based on today's result on such a difficult day, I know it may no longer be a pipe dream. Put me on a flat, fast course, and I think I may be able to do it.

Overall, I managed 8:27 per mile, including the two pit stops. My actual running pace was 8:19 per mile. I finished 76th out of 1,938 women. Even more remarkable, I finished 5th(!!) out of 270 women in my age division! That, I have to say, is pretty cool! I certainly wasn't expecting that!

I'm really happy I persevered through a difficult day. My first pit stop came at 7 miles. I got a terrible side ache around mile 11.5, and I began walking up some very steep hills around mile 12. At mile 14, still struggling with the side ache, I contemplated quitting. I knew my mother was waiting around mile 19, so I kept going. When I saw my mother, I told her I'd be happy to reach mile 20. My legs were so trashed. I got to mile 20, and out of sheer stubborn-ness, I kept putting one foot in front of the other. I figured I'd get the hell off that course faster if I could keep running. I didn't want to be out there one extra minute! Those last five miles were, well, tough. But I did it. I walked when I needed to, but mostly I ran. I don't think I've ever been more thrilled to see a finish line!

Today's race reminds me, and so I'll remind you, that we can often do more than we think possible. Whether it's surviving mental illness, completing a lengthy project, getting sober, or finishing a marathon. There are so many things we can accomplish if we just keep putting one foot in front of the other. What can you accomplish today? Think about it. And thank you for your support during my latest journey to the finish line.


Paul Rhodes said...

love your blog, as a Clin Psych and a runner....hats off to you for your doing my first (Canberra Marathon) in 7 weeks and will probably go 4:45...just to finish will be enough this time...

kinza said...

Congratulations! And now plan some nice easy course! But it is kind of nice do tough ones, too, just to make easy ones easier :-))

AmbyLand said...

I live about an hour from austin so I kept seeing it on the news. I was thinking about you. YAY for you! I was cheering for you too.

Gail said...

Today's race reminds me, and so I'll remind you...
I needed to read those words today! I am training for IM Lake Placid. I struggle with the depression monster daily and have just wrapped up a week of the flu. "Just Keep putting one foot in front of the other."
Thank you Etta!

sharon said...

Yahoo - congrats!!! I had planned to run Austin, but a crazy bunch of good life things got in the way of training - including the cutest rescue puppy ever! I came down to TX anyway to run a friend in the last 6 miles, and you are being modest about the conditions - it was BRUTAL after about 9am. We were running straight into the wind, uphill, in the final .4, and wow, the stretch through campus was bleak. Your time is amazing, and to go from training in the snow to running in that humidity- well, hats off. Glad you had a great run!

Maggie Beth said...

Good for you! I had no doubt you would do well!! How about that moment right before you saw Puck when you got home! No matter how many trips I take - that feeling never gets old!! Love to see the furry kids! ~ Again, CONGRATS!

The Blue Morpho said...

Wow! Fantastic. Congratulations on your run, and thanks for the further proof of what we all can accomplish despite the challenges.
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