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!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Maddening Marathon. Lessons Learned.

As we say here in Minnesota, "Uff-da!" It was another tough day out there on the roads. As predicted, the weather was not conducive to running a good marathon yesterday. The temp at the start was reasonable, but the sun came out from behind the clouds just as the starter fired his pistol. The temperature began its precipitous climb. By the time I finished, the temperature was nearing 90 degrees. In addition, winds averaging 15-20+ miles per hour throughout the race made for a tough, tough day.

I began the day with what I thought was a reasonable goal. I wanted to run somewhere around a 3:45 (3 hours, 45 minutes). To do that, I needed to average 8 minutes and 35 seconds per mile. Fortunately, there was a 3:45 pace group, so I jumped in with them at the start. Unfortunately, 4 of my first 5 miles were well below 8:35 pace. The pacer, it seemed, went out way too fast. And rather than trusting my watch, not to mention how I felt, I went with him. Dumb. Going out too fast... It is the cardinal sin of marathoning. I know better.

Despite knowing better, my ego got the best of me. I somehow convinced myself I could handle the early pace. On a day when I should have started extra slow, I huffed and puffed up and down the hills over the first seven miles. I hoped I could handle it, but in the back of my mind I knew I was likely going to pay. I felt a little emboldened when the course flattened out around mile eight, and we (the pace group and I) ran a nice steady 8:35-8:40 pace for the next several miles.

I saw my mom and friends at mile 12. I told them I started too fast. They told me I looked great. I hung with the ever-shrinking pace group as long as I could, hoping at least to make it to 16 miles with them. But I faded fast, and at mile 13.2 I screeched to a halt and began to walk. It happened that fast, and it lasted the rest of the race. I walked a little, ran a little, walked a little more, ran a little less. It was hot. It was windy. And I started too fast. No matter what I put into my body, and I put in a lot, it wasn't enough to refuel me. It was a classic crash!

So it was a long day. I focused on finishing. I focused on taking just one more step. I thought about you readers cheering me on. I thought about what I'd write in this post, what lessons could I impart from such a frustrating day. And the lessons are these. Trust your instincts. Know you know what you know, and stick to your plan. Finally, when you make a mistake, it's not the end of the world and by no means is it a reason to quit. By putting one foot in front of the other--sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly--I did finish in 4:05ish. And I am wiser because of it. Hopefully, I won't repeat the same mistakes again.


Kelly said...

It's always good when we learn from our mistakes. I wish I was as wise as you when it comes to doing that. It seems you are always able to see where you went wrong and what you should tweak or look for next time. I admire that about you.

Great job, Etta!

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

You put one foot in front of the other and didn't quit. That is something to be proud of! And learning from our mistakes is no small thing--most of us don't do it.

You are so right to trust our instincts. I don't always do it, but I always know when I should have.

Lorii Abela said...

Mistakes can really make us wiser. The good thing here is that you never quite until you have finished. That's another lesson that I have learned from your story. To never quit. Thanks for sharing!.