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!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Getting ready

My prayers go out to everyone on the East Coast of the United States. I hope everyone stays safe. I have been watching this developing monster storm with particular attention, as I will be in New York City, hopefully, in just a few days! So far it looks like things will be cleared up by this Friday, which is when I'm supposed to arrive. In fact, the extended forecast is for sun, sun, sun from Friday through marathon Sunday. Whether my plane will be able to land as scheduled I do not know, but if I can get there, the weather is looking like it may be okay.

I'm getting prepared to leave. My plan is to pack tomorrow, even though I don't fly out until Friday. I'm that excited, and I'm that worried I may forget something. I want to prepare early. Silly, I know, but I think it will help ease my mind a bit.

I'm not sure why I'm so anxious about this particular trip. It might be the size of this marathon, 47,000 runners, that's freaking me out. Maybe it's the gigantic marathon size combined with the gigantic city size. There are a lot of logistics which go into getting to the starting line of such a large event. For instance, just to get to the starting line, I have to take the subway, a ferry, and a bus! I will begin that process at 5:30 AM, even though I don't start running until 10:05 AM! It's a little overwhelming in very overwhelming surroundings! No wonder I'm anxious!

Hopefully, getting myself all set up tomorrow will calm me down. I'll be doing my final speed workout, a gentle 6 by 400 meters, when the sun comes up. That will probably settle me a bit, too. After that, I just have a few easy miles on Thursday before boarding my plane early Friday morning. As long as the weather clears, I should be ready to go. I pray the storm passes safely and quickly.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A little sad

I'm feeling a bit sad tonight. I've been missing D all week. For some reason it still feels like he just walked out the door, that fresh sadness. It's different for me to miss him like this. We have a long distance relationship, after all. If I miss him this much every time he goes, I'm in trouble.

On top of missing him, I'm missing my mom already. Although we will be spending 8 days in New York together beginning next weekend, she just left Minnesota for the winter. She and my step-dad go south for the winter months. They won't be back until next May. She had been around here for the past couple of weeks, and we spent a lot of time together. It was nice. I feel a little silly for missing her already. I am grateful for the relationship we have today.

So I'm feeling a little sad tonight. And even though I've identified the cause of the sadness, feeling sad still makes me a bit uneasy. Sad feels a little too similar to depression for me to be totally comfortable with it. But I don't expect this sadness to morph into depression. I think I'm just sad. I've not much more to say than that.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

They say...

They say God won't give you more than you can handle. I often reflect on this statement when going through trying times. Sometimes it helps. Today was not one of those times.

After what was supposed to be a routine furnace inspection, the serviceman showed me a hole in my heat exchanger. He then condemned my furnace. That means he disabled it. Apparently the hole will allow Carbon Monoxide to be released into my home. He also told me my Carbon Monoxide detectors were expired, and they may not have alerted me to the threat. Who knew Carbon Monoxide detectors expired? It was quite a handful of information to swallow!

The end result of all this information was that I needed a new furnace! I tried to stay composed, as this came as quite a shock, and finances were already thin. My parents just happened to be on their way over, as we had planned to go out to lunch. By the time they arrived, 5 minutes later, I was panicking and crying. I was already scrambling to put together the funds for the upcoming New York Marathon trip. Where, I thought, was this money going to come from?

I tried to compose myself. I said the Serenity Prayer a couple of times in a row. My step-father tried to help by making some jokes, but he quickly followed that up with a serious, "Don't worry about it." I'm glad he was composed, because my mom started crying as soon she saw me crying, so she wasn't much help. Eventually, we all settled in at the kitchen table and talked.

My parents decided they could help me out. We got a couple of estimates and made a decision. I'm getting a new furnace on Thursday. Fortunately, it's rather warm right now, so I should be okay until then. More significantly, I don't know what I would have done if my parents hadn't been able to offer assistance. I wasn't expecting their help (hence the panic), and I will absolutely pay them back, whether they expect it or not. I'm so grateful for their willingness and generosity.

Things are tough right now. I'm trying to work more hours, but all three of my employers are currently slow and not in need of extra help. Go figure. They say things always work out as they should. I have to have faith that is so. God, I hope that it is so!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A nice time

It's Sunday afternoon, and D has just departed for home. I'm a little sad. And I'm very tired.

D arrived Friday around 6:30 PM. I was anxious prior to his arrival, but once he was in my house, I felt better. We ate out both Friday and Saturday nights, went to a pumpkin patch for some Fall activities Saturday afternoon, visited with my parents, and visited with my good friends Bill and Cindy. In between, I ran 13 miles (he ran 6) Saturday morning. We drank coffee, read the paper, walked Puck, talked a little politics, and just hung out. The subject of my depression didn't come up, and that also felt totally okay. It was a nice weekend.

Now I'm sitting here watching football and wishing we had more time. After all, he wasn't even here for 48 hours. It was too short, one week would have been better. But that's not realistic at this time. We're both busy with our lives. In fact, it may be mid to late November before we even have a chance to see each other again. That's a long time. Life. It is what it is.

The real news is we had a nice time. Everything went well. We were comfortable with each other. December, 2011, was the last time we spent a weekend together, and this felt just like old times. I'm happy.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cleaning day

I'm taking a late afternoon coffee break. I've spent the day cleaning my house. I don't think there's much I dislike more than cleaning. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't be embarrassed if someone dropped in just about any day or time. I keep my house picked up and the dishes washed, etc... But I really dislike cleaning. Things I've been doing today, vacuuming, washing floors, dusting, scrubbing the kitchen and bathroom; these are the things I don't care to do. But I've got company coming.

I guess that's the good and the bad reality of impending company. I get a really sparkly house out of the deal, which I love, but I hate making it sparkle! I'm surrounded by sparkle right now, although I still have to clean the bathroom! Damn!

I'm looking forward to my company, D, arriving tomorrow evening. He'll be here until mid-day Sunday. I wish we could spend more time together, but that's the major challenge of living 4 hours apart. It's one of many big challenges. But so far, I think it's been worth the work.

I'm sure we'll spend more time working, i.e. talking, this weekend. I sure wish D could assure me he won't disappear again if I have a depression episode, but maybe it's not fair to expect such assurances. This is a developing relationship after all. Nevertheless, I worry. I try not to think into the future. But I can't help but wonder what will happen if I get sick and end up in the hospital. If he's unable to say he won't leave, I guess I have to decide if continuing to see him is worth the risk. Work...

I try not to have the worry thoughts. I much prefer to stay in the moment and enjoy our time together. And for the most part, that's what I plan to do this weekend. I think it will be a good weekend, too short, but good nonetheless. I'll keep you updated.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

My time of year

This is my time of year. Warm days followed by crisp nights, as was the case today, are my kind of days. I love the musty smell of leaves in the air. I love the sound of dry leaves crunching under foot, especially when I'm walking with Puck, and we're kicking up the fall debris together. We just came in from our walk, in fact. The sun set before we turned for home, and we enjoyed Fall's heightened sounds and smells as dusk settled in. It was a lovely end to a very nice day.

I'm still feeling well. I think I usually feel well at this time of year. I don't recall any depression relapses of any significance which have occurred in the Fall. Winter and Spring seem to be more precarious. It's nice to feel good. It's nice to enjoy life.

I'm getting back into my training. I ran 16 miles in the rain Saturday morning, and tomorrow I'm back on the track for eight, 1/2 mile repeats at seven minute pace. Based on how tired my legs were during Saturday's long run, I think I'm in for a pretty tough workout tomorrow morning. But at the same time, I'm looking forward to getting back on the track. What can I say? I like to push myself, and I always feel great after a hard speed workout!

Speaking of feeling great, this weekend brings big news. My friend, D, is coming to visit. It will be our first weekend together since we stopped dating in January. Well, we didn't really stop dating. He disappeared when I was in the hospital getting treated for depression. Anyway, this is a big step in our relationship. I'm nervous and excited.

D still hasn't assured me he won't disappear again if I have another relapse. Depression is so foreign to him. It really scares him. But I think we're moving in the right direction. We've certainly spent a fair amount of time discussing the issue, which I really appreciate. If he's willing to be educated, I'm willing to do the teaching. The fact is I care about him. I'm hoping we can develop a strong relationship, but even if that doesn't happen, none of this time together will be wasted. I'm enjoying the experience. One day at a time, my friends. One day at a time.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Back to life

I'm back at my life and feeling really tired tonight. I think it will be an early bed time for me. It's been a busy week of work, recovering from the marathon, and beginning to ready myself for the New York City Marathon, which is now only 3 weeks away.

I plan to run anywhere from 13 to 16 miles tomorrow. It will depend on how I feel. I ran 7 miles yesterday. My legs were hollering at me a bit. Five miles probably would have sufficed. But I recovered well, and I even lifted some light weights tonight after work. I'm actually looking forward to my long run tomorrow. I hope my legs cooperate.

My mood continues to cooperate. It remains good. I haven't noticed any post-marathon dip so far. Keeping that dip from happening is the main reason I'm anxious to run long tomorrow.

Work has also been going well. I'm feeling comfortable, most of the time, and I think I've actually helped a few patients along the way! My co-workers are great people. We have a lot of fun and laugh a lot throughout the day. I appreciate that. I'm needing to work extra hours in order to stay on top of my budget, but so far that's working out okay, and I seem to be tolerating it well.

That's basically it for today. I'm doing well. I'm grateful. And I'm grateful for you readers. Thanks! I appreciated all of your support on my recent marathon journey. Let the next journey begin!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One More Time

I'm still glowing in the aftermath of Sunday's marathon. I'm recovering well. My left calf is the most sore, causing me a slight hitch in my step, but otherwise I'm feeling really good. I planned to swim today, but I rather enjoyed doing nothing for the first Tuesday in an awful long time. Tuesday's are usually my speed work day. Instead of running hard, I practiced napping hard. It worked. I think I took three naps today! It was quite nice.

I will begin some active recovery tomorrow. I have to get back at it, as I am running the New York City Marathon in 4 weeks. On Sunday, November 4th, I get to do it all over again. I'm really looking forward to New York. I've only been there once in my life, and I've never run the marathon there. My mom is coming with me, and we're staying for 8 days. Financially it's going to be a little tough for both of us, but it's a once in a lifetime event, so we're going for it. I can't wait to trot through the streets of New York City with 46,000 other runners! I expect it will be amazing!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

That's more like it!

It's nice to know training hard pays off. After training hard for 2.5 months for today's Twin Cities Marathon, I was really worried I was going to bonk. But that didn't happen. Instead I ran a very steady, consistently paced, and fairly fast 3:41:54! I believe that is the fourth fastest of my 19 marathons. And I felt good! I felt strong! And I'm really, really pleased with the result.

I actually held myself back for much of the first 20 miles. I didn't want to make my usual mistake of going out too fast and paying dearly for that later in the race. I consistently right around or under my planned 8:35 pace. Around mile 10 I began to feel some fatigue, so I started a mantra of "rest until mile 16" over and over again. I kept my pace consistent and focused on relaxing.

And then when I got to 16 miles, I extended my mantra. "Rest until twenty." There are some fairly good climbs between miles 20 and 22, so at 20 miles, I extended it once again. I relaxed. I ran steady. I felt good. I knew I could give more, but it wasn't until mile 22 that I let it go.

I knew by mile 22 that, unless something dramatic happened, I was going to qualify for Boston. I knew I was going to finish under my 1:45 goal. I knew I was running well. I wonder now if I waited too long. I do think I could have run even faster, as I wasn't totally spent at the finish, but I'm glad I ran a smart race. I'm glad I finished in a time of which I can be proud. And I'm so glad I trained hard. The reward is certainly sweet.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Life is Good

Hello, and Happy Wednesday! I had a long work day today, but I got my nap in after work, and now I'm feeling fine. I'm tapering big time this week, so I've been resting on my non-running days, including today. Tomorrow I have a short 3-4 mile run scheduled, and I'll probably do a couple slow miles on Saturday as a final tune-up. Did I mention I'm running a marathon on Sunday?

Life is moving along smoothly. The financial stress I mentioned last week was relieved slightly with a paycheck I received yesterday. My regular job pays me on Friday, and I've got several extra hours coming on that check, so hopefully my relief will be even greater then. I'm working some extra hours this week, too. I think extra hours will be a fact of life far into the future, and as long as I remain stable, that's perfectly fine with me.

I've not much else to say tonight. I'm feeling good. Life is good. I hope for nothing but the same for you.