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!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A long weekend ahead

I'm busy packing tonight, as I am leaving tomorrow for a long weekend at the lake. My new friend, D., and I are spending some time together at his lake home. I'll also see my parents and hopefully get in a little fishing.

I've been extremely busy at work. I've worked the last three days in a row, and we've been swamped with patients. The days have been crazy. I can't really explain it. Things have just been a little off kilter. The patients seem sicker and more debilitated, which means a lot more physical lifting and maneuvering, and the paperwork is never ending. So far I'm handling it okay, but it is exhausting.

It would probably be less exhausting if I wasn't getting up at 4:45 AM to run, swim, or otherwise work out. But 4:45 seems to be working for me. I'm able to run outside and miss the heat of the day. I'm able to get to the 5:15 circuit training and spinning classes at the gym. And then I'm able to relax at home and eat a leisurely breakfast before work. Or, like I did this morning, do some laundry! I know I wouldn't work out or run if I left it to be done after work. There just doesn't seem to be enough time in the evenings, and like I said, work exhausts me anyway!

My training is going well. I'll run with D. this weekend. It will be our first run together, and I usually train alone, so I'm interested to see how it goes. I only have 13-15 miles scheduled Saturday. Next week is my last 20-miler before my taper begins. It's hard to believe I've got another marathon just around the corner.

That's all I've got for now. I've got to get back to packing. A long drive awaits me tomorrow, but there is a long weekend waiting once I arrive. Yippee! I'm really looking forward to it. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Productive weekend

I've had a successfully productive weekend. It started at 4:45 AM yesterday morning with my 20 mile long run. As I predicted, it went well. I did hit the wall at mile 19, but until then the hours clicked by relatively quickly. It was a bit steamy outside. I was soaking wet. Even my shoes were soaked from the sweat running down my legs. They squished with every step. Regardless, I tolerated the humidity and ran well. It was a good training run.

Today I hit the pool and cleaned up my yard. Puck woke me at 5:30 AM, even though I had planned to sleep in. I swam for 35 minutes. It felt good to stretch out in the pool. Then I mowed my yard and pulled weeds for what felt like hours! I had monster weeds growing up through the cracks in my sidewalk. I'm still trying to clean the dirt out from under my nails! At least my house looks presentable from the curb now.

My mood has been good, but I'm a little anxious today. I actually had to take a prn medication to calm down. I've been thinking and worrying about next weekend, which I will be spending with my new friend D. We've got a long weekend scheduled, and I'm excited to see him. I'm trying to stay in the moment now and stop the worry thoughts. I think it's going to be a long week leading up to the weekend. I'll have to really work hard to take one day at a time. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More joy...

I detailed the joy of owning a home in my last post. As the outside temps and humidity increased, my air conditioning decreased. Today, my house is slightly cooler, but that's because the Amazonian temperatures and humidity have finally broken. My poor, old air conditioner can now keep up. And that's basically what I found out from the air conditioner repairman. My air conditioner is old and needs to be replaced. Ugh...

Replacing a central air conditioner, it turns out, is quite an expensive proposition. I've only gotten one quote so far, $2700, but I will be getting more. I'm also in the process of trying to figure out how to cover the cost. I keep telling myself it will all work out. And it will. I just don't know how yet.

In other news, my running is going well. This is a big week. I completed my speed workout on Tuesday, 4 x 1 mile, and an 8 mile tempo run today. Both were tough, but doable. On Saturday I'm praying for cool weather because I'll be outside for 3 hours running my 20 miles. I'm not necessarily looking forward to the 20 miler, but I'm not dreading it either. That's a good sign. I think it will be a good run.

My next marathon is only 5 weeks away now. I'm running The Eisenbahn Marathon in Wisconsin. It's a smaller race, run primarily on a bike path, between two small towns. I'm looking forward to it. It will be my 7th marathon in 9 months. I never thought I'd do this many marathons in such a short span of time, but it's been fun, and I think it's helped my mental health.

It's important, I think, for all of us to find something outside our heads on which to focus. Having a chronic illness is tough enough without spending an inordinate amount of time fixated on it. For me that focus is running. I wonder what it is for you? I encourage all of my readers to find something which brings joy. Despite our illnesses, joy is possible. Look for it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The joy of home ownership

Minnesota Public Radio announced this morning that our humidity level yesterday was as high or higher than the humidity level in the Amazon Rain Forest. That will continue into today, and tomorrow, and the next day. Combine the humidity with our air temperatures, in the mid 90's, and they say it will feel like it's 110 degrees today! And guess what? My air conditioner isn't working. It hasn't worked properly all weekend. Ahhh...the joy of owning a home.

I'm stressed. There is never a good time for things to break, but now? C'mon! It's hot. My dog is panting just lying on the floor. Heck, I'm panting. When I went outside this morning, my glasses fogged up from all the water hanging in the air! Plus, I'm coming off three months without work, secondary to this damn illness, so my financial situation is a bit precarious. Like I said, there's never a good time for things to break.

I did what I could over the weekend. I discovered I could keep my indoor air temp around 82 degrees with the judicious use of shades, fans, closed doors, etc... I felt like I was living in a cave, but it was better than the alternative! I called two different AC guys, both of whom called back this morning. I'm currently waiting for one of them to arrive. Hopefully, the fix will not be too painful.

Over the weekend, I also discovered when I'm stressed, my mood takes a hit. My mood took a hit this weekend. It wasn't a big hit, perhaps because I was aware of where the hit came from. I did what I could to deal with it. I didn't worry. I didn't give the dip more power than it deserved. I recognized it. I acknowledged it, and I tried to let it go. It seems to have worked. This morning, I'm less stressed and my mood has improved. But that was a good lesson to learn. Stress = potential lower mood. Good to know.

Now I wait. The AC will soon be fixed. I do appreciate owning my own home. I know I am fortunate. It isn't always a stress-free proposition, but I'm glad to be here. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Working and Running

I'm not sure what to write about today, as there is nothing special going on right now. Although it has been pouring, and I mean pouring, rain all day. I'm sure there is major flooding going on all around the area. I don't think I've ever seen it rain this hard for this long. We were almost flooded out of our office at work today. Twice the rain over-powered the outdoor drains and water came pouring into the basement, which is where our office is located. It was a mess.

Speaking of work, it's been very busy lately. We've been admitting patients left and right. It's okay for now, but if it keeps up, it's going to get overwhelming. I'm still having moments of low confidence there, but that's getting better. We've got some medically complicated patients right now, so I'm having to call on a lot of skills I haven't used in awhile. It's probably good for me. In the end, it will hopefully make me more confident rather than less.

I ran painfree yesterday. It was a short run, but I was still glad it was painfree. I've got 18 miles scheduled for tomorrow morning. When it stops raining, it's supposed to get unbearably hot, so I plan to start at dawn. I hope I can do the 18 painfree, too.

Other than that, life continues moving forward. My mood remains good. I saw my MD yesterday, and we're slowly decreasing some of my meds. A few of my meds were increased when I was in the hospital a couple months ago. I'd like to get back to pre-hospital levels, so that's where we're heading...very slowly. I'm grateful to be well. I'm grateful to be working and running. I'm grateful.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Not quite healed

I thought I was healed, or at least healing, but this morning my right calf tied up after only 5 blocks of running. Bummer. I was supposed to do a speed workout of 12 by 400 meters, but instead I headed to the pool and swam 12 by 75 yards. The pool was frigid for some reason, so the workout was a bit tougher than it needed to be, but I'm glad I went. After my calf tied up I didn't want to do anything except go back to bed and feel sorry for myself. Fortunately, I nixed that idea and got my butt to the pool. Afterward, I was pleasantly fatigued.

I'm not feeling terribly pleasant about my calf, though. I'm pretty disappointed. I had a terrible long run this past Saturday, and now I totally missed today's run. I am scheduled to do a short tempo run Thursday and 18 miles on Saturday. I hope this calf thing is a very temporary cramping situation. I'd rather not miss any more miles.

Of course, if I do miss more miles, everything will be okay. I'll survive. The world will not end. Life will go on. Acceptance. At my AA meeting tonight, we discussed acceptance. How appropriate. The Big Book of AA tells me that acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. It took me awhile to accept that (ironic, I know), but it's true. If I accept the situation, rather than fight it or try to change it, I live with serenity rather than aggravation. Simple, huh? Yep, not always...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Can't sleep

I can't sleep. I'm awake with worry. Specifically, I'm worried about disclosing the fact that I have depression to my new male friend, D. When exactly is the best time to tell someone that you have depression? Even though I've been relatively stable for more than six years, with the damn exception of a few months ago, I'm scared to tell him. It's the stigma. Even though I've been relatively stable, he doesn't know that. He might hear the word depression and run the other way. Yet I don't want to lie. I won't lie. But when do I have this conversation?

I haven't told him yet. I want to get to know him better, but more importantly, I want him to know me better. I figure he'll have a harder time running away if he knows the real me, but is that fair to him? Am I lying by omission?  

It is hard for me not to worry about this. And I have reason to worry. I've had other suitors run after discovering this blog. This blog, it's another thing I'm concerned about. It's one thing to tell D. I have depression, it's another to have him scour this blog for all the gory details. Do I tell him I have depression yet omit the fact that I write a blog about it? I just don't know what to do.

I'm awake with worry. I wish I wasn't. I'd much rather be peacefully sleeping. It doesn't pay to worry, as I have no control over how he will respond. But I don't want to be hurt either. I don't know what to do.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


A full seven days prior to when I expected to, I was able to run painfree today! I got a new pair of shoes, donned the compression sleeve over my calf, and set out for a run at noon. I ran 8 miles, including six miles at my marathon pace, without pain. I'm really happy! We'll see how I feel tomorrow, but I think I'm back.

As I noted in my last post, I spent time with my new friend D. over the long weekend. Things went really well. It is too bad we live so far apart, but I'm hopeful. We have so many things in common, it's unbelievable. It seems we were meant for each other. It's nice to have the attention of someone special again. I've missed that.

My mood continues to be good. And I'm sure being able to run again will only help that continue. It's really amazing that I can feel so good within just a few months of feeling so low. Remember that time? It wasn't that long ago! I'm enjoying life right now, and that's really nice.

Feeling better reminds me depression can be conquered. It's temporary. I can't control when it throws a wrench into my routine, but I can control how I attack it. I'm glad I attacked. It didn't keep me down for as long as I feared it would. I'm grateful for that.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back in the Northwoods

I've been on vacation over the long Fourth of July weekend. I'm back up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin visiting my parents and my new friend, D. The weather has been as gorgeous as the weather could possibly be. I've been boating, waterskiing, biking, grilling out, and watching parades. I've spent time getting to know D. better, and we've had a really nice time. It sucks that we live more than 5 hours apart, but we've both decided to give this relationship a shot anyway. I'm on my way home today. Feeling good. I'll post more once I get back.