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!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I gave it my best

I'm back home and settled in after five wonderful days in Boston with my boyfriend, D. We had a great time. We enjoyed each other. We enjoyed the city. And, of course, we enjoyed race day. The atmosphere in Boston was electric the entire time we were there, but on race day it was amazing. It was hard to leave and fly home separately, but now that I'm home, it's good to be here, too.

As far as my race, well, it just wasn't my day. It was Boston's day! That's for sure! I was grateful and proud to be participating. The spectator support, all one million of them, was humbling and incredible. There were very few quiet spots along the entire 26.2 mile route.

Unfortunately, all the spectator support in the world couldn't keep me from walking at least a portion of each mile after the race's halfway point. I did my best, but my legs were dead and would not respond. I ended up standing for nearly 90 minutes prior to the gun going off, and by mile two I knew it was going to be a longer day than I had hoped.

Fortunately, it was a beautiful, sunny day, but the temperature rose a bit beyond predictions. The heat may have had an impact on me. GI issues, which forced a pit stop at mile four, and lightheadedness also delayed my finish. But I did finish. I'm proud to have persevered!

After realizing at mile two that my legs were tired and not responsive, I focused on running for as long as I could. I first focused on making it to mile ten. When I ran through ten, I focused on mile 13.1. I made that goal, too, so I set my sights on mile fourteen. But it wasn't to be. Before I made it to 13.5 miles I had slowed to a walk.

From that point on I walked at least a portion of each mile and up every hill. I tried to take in as much fuel as I could, but I was simply out of gas. I figured I was in for at least a five hour day. If it had been any other marathon, at any other time, I would have contemplated dropping out. But it was Boston, 2014. It was the marathon of hope and recovery. I not only wanted to help take back the Boston Marathon, I wanted to take back a large piece of me.

I thought a lot during those long Boston miles. I thought about what I had been through recently. I thought about five hospitalizations between October and December, 2013. I thought about January, 2014, when I began reclaiming my brain, my body, and my running from the ravages of depression. I thought about my friends, my family, and the professionals who supported me along the way, many of whom were following my marathon progress from afar. I knew I wouldn't stop. I couldn't stop. I kept moving forward.

In the end, I averaged a little over nine minutes per mile and crossed the finish line in a respectable 4:06:19. I was surprised. I must have walked fairly fast! I had tears in my eyes down the final stretch and was crying by the time I put my fist in the air on the line. I did it.

Despite my body's unwillingness to fully cooperate, I did persevere. I did the best I could do on that particular day. I'm proud I finished what I started just a few months ago. Now it's time to look forward, move ahead, and keep the pace. And that's exactly what I plan to do.


Tina Fariss Barbour said...

Good for you for sticking with it and finishing! Perhaps you needed the slower pace to give you the time to do the thinking that you did--kind of a review and an encouragement to you. :-)

Rikke Sommer said...

You are so very strong! I am following you from afar and are impressed by your pervasiveness. Well done!

Anne said...

Congratulations on finishing! Your ability to persevere is very inspiring.

CH said...

You finishing was never in doubt. Good to hear you took in and enjoyed the atmosphere surrounding the race. Far more impressive is how far you have progressed since last Oct in life's marathon, one you will complete and inspire others along the way. Crongratulations!! CH

Kristina said...

Good for you. "Despite my body's unwillingness to fully cooperate, I did persevere." And isn't that what you are doing anyway? That is a beautiful thing.

Irene said...

I love how you say it was Boston's day. Other than reading, the zen of Running ( which I loved), I am clueless as to what it takes to pull the marathon off. No doubt it is tough and you persevered.

I am happy for you. You did it! Here's to more of what you are.

Jean Grey said...

That is so amazing! You should be really proud of yourself.

A said...

Hi Etta!!

I'm so sorry I haven't commented on all your posts recently. I am SO SO proud of you for how you pushed through with such determination for the marathon!! I know it must have been so hard for many of the miles and it sounds like your legs were really killing you. You are a serious fighter and survivor!
Your pictures look beautiful, and I'm so happy that it was at least a bright sunny day for the run and you could turn your face up to the sky for a little relief at times.
I am really struggling right now, my depression is fighting me every morning, and I have really come to rely on my Klonopin to unknot me from the stress ball I am in every morning. See, it's finals time for law school - the time when you lose your sh** because you realize how much you DON'T know! Whoop de do! Anyway, thank you as always for all your insightful posts, it is so helpful to know that I am not the only one out there who has to continually stab back at this mental disease. Thank you and congrats again, give Jet a kiss for me, he is such a cutie. :)