Running helps me

My depression and anxiety have been really annoying lately. I had a shaking anxiety attack that left me completely exhausted. My depression has been rather unkind in making me feel ‘not enough’ lately. It is tiring.

My running has taken a huge hit lately. I had intense hip pain that spread into my pubic bone. Stretching, ibuprofen, and Epsom salt baths were not helping at all. My runs were reduced to the minimum of 1 mile per day due to my reluctance to stop the running streak I started on Memorial Day. The runs became slow and were often more of a quick walk. Running is my outlet for my days spent “momming.” I listen to music, pray, and/or sometimes just relish in the fact that I’m not in the heavy air of conflict (with 2 kids 18 months apart and a teenager).  The mile breaks weren’t enough. I physically needed the rest, but I also mentally needed the outlet.

I visited the chiropractor, who needed to adjust my hips and the left side of my pubic bone. My husband encouraged me to go to a fun run that involved a visit to a brewery afterward for a social. I guess I’m a little insufferable when husband says: “get out of here awhile.” I went and planned to plod through my mile, and go have a beer and chat with other people who enjoy running that I don’t see as often as I used to.

I met up with people I hadn’t run with in awhile and they were doing run/walk intervals. I had such a good time talking to them and spending time out on the trail, I went 3 miles with just a little soreness and not the same pain I’d been having. It was a relief. Then, I got to talk to even more people after at the social. I actually stayed awhile and really enjoyed myself catching up with people and talking.

I had one more adjustment at the chiropractor to get the hip pain under control. I invited friends to join me at a pop up yoga class at a local brewery Saturday morning. The yoga instructor worked on hips at the request of a few people including me. It wound up being hot yoga because it was already in the 80’s and humid at 10 am. I think the session really helped my hips.

This weekend, I intended to knock out some miles to ensure I’d be ready for the 4th of July race that is 5 miles. Saturday night, my stomach wouldn’t behave and I had to stop in at my house at 3/4 of a mile to use the restroom. I made it another 3/4 of a mile before I had to go back home for the same reason. Sunday, I planned a visit to the gym. My stomach wasn’t agreeing with my plans. I took a nap and didn’t wake up until the evening when it was time to leave for our 5 pm service at church. While we were at church, a storm rolled in and the temperature dropped dramatically. After dinner, I was able to change into running gear and head out on a 3 mile run. It was still hot. The humidity was still there. I enjoyed it, though. I felt myself going faster than I had been. I glanced at my watch and saw the distance just pass by. I stopped running at the 3 mile mark and walked the remaining 1/2 mile home as a cool down. I took it all in. Finally. I got a run in.

I was exhausted after I did my hip exercises and stretches. I sat on the floor in my room and drank my electrolytes and played on my phone instead of hopping up to take a shower. It was tiring, after all.

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Almost a grin. I’m pleased with myself.

My running doesn’t miraculously heal my depression or my anxiety. I’ll admit that I’ve wanted it to. I thought if I could just go further, faster, or better that I’d be healed. While that’s not the case for me, it dramatically reduces the intensity of the symptoms.

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I wanted to go 3, but was happy with my 1.5 miles.

Do you feel like fitness helps you in another aspect of your life? Does it help your mental health?

Thanks for reading! I try to come back weekly with updates for you.

So critical

Yesterday was amazing! Some running friends invited me to fill in for one of their marathon relay teammates at the Illinois Marathon in Champaign. The weather was perfect for running. The people on my team were awesome!

Then, there was me. I’m still not back to being at the speed I wanted to be by now. I was running the last leg because it was the shortest distance of the relay, but I was going to kill their time by being so slow. I set my watch for intervals of 10 minutes running and 1 minute walking. The crowd was amazing! There were people lined along the route cheering. There were runners around me who were encouraging.

I kept having to tell myself that many of these people had run over 20 miles already that morning and I had so much less than that. I reassured myself that my teammates told me to run for fun and not worry about time. I looked at my watch as my pace slowed. I winced as my shins felt each foot strike on the ground. I stopped looking at my watch and started listening to the music coming through my headphones. I waved and smiled at each spectator as I passed them. I thanked people for encouragement. I got a little faster and felt a little more confidence. I followed my intervals and I finally met up with two of my teammates at mile 26 as we went to run into the the stadium together. At first, I didn’t feel like I could catch up with them a few steps ahead of me. We hit the turf for the field and the final stretch and I felt weightless running in. We finished together and got our medals. I even felt a renewed confidence that I could actually run another marathon one day despite my Chicago race. 

When I finally had a chance to look at the race photos, this one was in there:

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Ouch

I see every fat roll in my shirt, in my pants, and all of my chins. I see a fat person. I was sad and upset to see this version of me.

I had worked so hard in 2016 to accomplish my marathon goal and I’d been in amazing shape. I haven’t gotten that back since the injury and I want it badly. I feel completely drained most of the time. I showed the photo to my husband and told him that I hope this makes a good ‘before’ picture and that I don’t keep getting fatter. I honestly feel like I work harder than what shows on my body and trying isn’t good enough.

Things have been hard. I don’t want to look like this. I wish the effort I’d put into it was reflected on my appearance.

I’d like to be positive when I write here. Being under constant stress and feeling exhausted all of the time really shows on my body. I wish I had the answers that would make me not carry the weight of the depression and stress. I wish I wasn’t such a harsh critic of myself, but the truth is, I see and I judge myself more harshly than anyone else would think.

I am aware there isn’t a magic pill and I’m not looking for one. I’m not interested in buying the “latest and greatest” program. I’m not looking to buy anything.

Have you ever seen a photo of yourself that just floored you? Do you have comments or suggestions? Please let me know!

 

 

Any day now, warm

By : Jenn M

I’m not sure how many of you are having the same experience with spring this year, but it hasn’t actually ‘sprung’ from what I can tell. I glance out my window and see the bright sunshine reflecting off of the snow that fell most of Easter Fools Day or just April 1st for those who don’t partake in the holidays.

Friday, the weather was nice. The sun was shining and going outside didn’t require a heavy coat or gloves. Saturday was race day. This was to be my first 5k of the year and the goal race for the people I’ve been training with for the past 10 weeks. Saturday’s weather involved chilly wind gusts and occasional chilly rain showers with momentary peeks of sun to remind us to miss it when it went back behind the clouds. That’s the bad kind of tease, sun.

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Under a dull, gray sky.

Prior to the race, I agreed to run with one of the people in the group. We both were congested. The weather and physical conditions weren’t ideal. We got warm enough during the run to each remove a layer that we’d started with.  My head got hot and I jammed my hat down the back of my shirt, which I have done in the past for practice runs, but this time, it was photographed. It looked just as weird as I thought it did. It is not a tumor.

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I’m that hunchback to your left.

This was not my best race as far as time goes, but I actually had to push myself. The person I ran it with got 1st place in her age group, though. I got 3rd place in mine. I got a little trophy and warm fuzzies knowing that I saw many of the people I’d been running with over the past few weeks finish the race. *Spellcheck hates the word ‘fuzzies’ and has it underlined both times I’ve used it.

I got that first race out of the way and a week off before the next group starts. I  intend to try and develop a plan to work out on a more regular basis. I thought after last year’s cast and boot experience, I’d get right back to running once I was able. I did get back in to running, but the marathon left me a little less fond of it until I ran my streak over the holidays. I was doing so well with keeping up my activity. Things in life get in the way sometimes. My husband and I have experienced a lot of stress in parenting. My body seems to have a lingering cough. The desire to work out is there, but the ability has lessened. I have less time and less energy to expend. Depression struck me hard and I was further debilitated and less able to use fitness as a tool for healing.

I think I’m at a point where I can do something about feeling down, which is a step in the right direction. I am not fond of how my body looks or feels lately. I was in the holding pattern where I started to think that the effort wasn’t worth the payoff because I wasn’t seeing any results form my work. I realized that this isn’t how I’ve succeeded in the past. I’ve seen results when I’m focused on challenging myself to meet goals that don’t involve body measurements. That’s where I need to put my focus. The weather getting a little less gloomy and a little more warm could go a long way for many people. I’m kind of solar powered.

Do you feel less motivated when the weather has been gloomy for awhile? Have you run or signed up for your first race of 2018 yet? Would that help with your motivation?

I love comments, suggestions, and shares! If you’ve made a suggestion recently, I am still working on ideas for a couple of them for what I want to say. Thank you for reading!

Finally warm

Finally Warm

by: Jenn M

It was finally [temporarily] warm in the central US. I picked up groceries, rushed to put them away, and then tossed on short sleeves with short pants for running. I grabbed my headphones, checked weather for lightning alerts, and headed out for an outdoor run where I didn’t need gloves and ear warmers.

It was just as amazing as I’d imagined it was going to be once I started out. A little wind and some gray skies were nothing since I had 60 degrees in the lovely outdoors. I must have been feeling rather optimistic. I wore my Brooks Ghosts that I’ve been avoiding wearing in the snow because they’re such a vibrant pink color, I didn’t want to mess them up. After a few sinks into the mud from avoiding puddles, I accepted that they were just going to need a cleaning when I finished up. I headed to the trail head nearest my house and got on the path with no planned route.

I like when I don’t plan a route because it feels more like I’m playing than exercising. I can think of things I want to go see. The trail was interesting because all of the rain and the creek running along it had some pretty views. I stayed on the trail because I saw a few other people running along. I had some great tunes going and I was working on making negative splits when I completed mile 2. I thought of turning around and heading home, but the end of the trail was less than 1/4 mile ahead, so I kept going.

The clouds opened up and the rain started to pelt my face, chest, arms, and the bare parts of my legs. I took pause at the end of the trail and composed myself. Once I restarted, my pace was faster than it had been the rest of the run. I was panting, running into the wind and rain, and loving every moment of it.

I am in the throes of depression. Where most people just see that things are a little bad, I see nothing ahead. I have very little interest in planning for the future because I’m reluctant to think that way. It’s like driving in a white out. You know the road is there and you can see a few inches out in front, but you’re not sure you’re going to make it through or if stopping would actually be more dangerous. Either way, the outcome is not pleasant because you see both ending in calamity.

Today’s run was untangled a bit of the depression, I hope. Running helps me remember the me who is optimistic and encouraging. I hate depression and I have a hard time getting myself to do anything when I’m at my worst. Little victories…. they’re actually HUGE.

This is a snap of my friend’s cat, Kidden (the closest I have to my own) and he’s got the right idea here:

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Quick update

By: Jenn M

It’s November 5th. Actually it’s the 6th. Dang it. So I don’t know the date. No biggie. I have some things running around in my head and I haven’t updated my blog since my interesting experience at the Chicago Marathon about a month ago.  Yes, I want a rematch with 26.2 eventually.

I have been extremely aware of and self conscious about my weight gain. I put on around 25 lbs and allowed myself to put weight loss on the back burner during marathon training. I decided upon ‘no weight gain’ during training to ensure I was properly fueling. I actually succeeded at the plateau. I didn’t gain anything training, but I’m still disappointed in my appearance. I know I’m more jiggly and wide than I want to be. I’m not happy that I bought new clothes to wear this winter because nothing fits.

I got a new swimsuit to wear to the gym because the old one is simply too revealing with my new curves [mine are rolls, not curves]. I am really hard on myself and my husband would probably be the first to say so. He tells me every time I have a clothing catastrophe and resulting breakdown in my closet.  The good part is that I’m actually thinking about and starting to plan going to the gym. I haven’t had the energy or the courage to step out and do something about my weight.  I get so caught up in wondering why I should try to hard to just be average.

I am trying to get back to where I was before my injury and hopefully make it stick this time. I want to enjoy working out and look forward to it. I know that the energy comes from exercise and I have to get started to want to continue. This isn’t new to me. I never thought I’d be back at this size or have slipped this far back in my fitness routine. What I know is that I don’t like the results I’m getting from being inactive and lazy about my health. Laziness comes in so many forms and in excuses. My depression is better when I’m eating right and working out. I feel more confident when I’m healthy. I want that back and I have to work for it instead of whining for it. Fortunately, I joined a program that will at least get me into the gym once a week and running once a week. It’s up to me to do the rest.

Do you feel like you let yourself slip up? Do you have something that motivates you when you feel like you want to give up?

Apples are my go to snack. They’re full of fiber and they’re portable. These are Fuji apples, but I love golden delicious, honeycrisp, pink lady, and many other types.

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Just struggling…

My last blog post, I was feeling pretty down on myself. Low self esteem and body image will do that to a person. Major depressive disorder likes to rear its ugly head when it feels like being a jerk and I have very little control over when I’ll have a huge down swing despite the meds and exercise that keep it at a minimum. I didn’t suddenly start loving my body or feeling better about it. I’m actually still in the stupid down swing where I’m critiquing my existence and my impact. I just wanted to pass along some tidbits I’ve picked up since I’ve been trying to come back from having the cast and boot off of my ankle from the tearing and spraining I did 2 days before I planned to run my first marathon last November.

Yes, I find myself questioning my decision to sign up for another marathon after not completing the one I’d trained for last year. Of course I would feel ambivalent about it. I’m running much slower than I was this time last year and I feel like any distance takes me an eternity to complete.  I actually have the ability to run a mile in just under 11 minutes. I simply don’t have the endurance to sustain that speed for over a mile. I ran a 4 mile race this past weekend. I’d signed up to run the 15k (9.3 miles) race and asked to be moved down from the longer distance upon realizing I wasn’t in 9 mile shape.  I met up with people from Fleet Feet Bloomington to take a group pic before the race. One of the people in the group was Nikki, who I had run with a few times in the past. She started the race with me and I was starting to feel worn out and told her to just go ahead if she was feeling energetic. She assured me she wasn’t there to run fast, and we finished the first mile in under 11 minutes. We walked a little because that first mile was exhausting. The rest of the race went on in an erratic walk/run cycle. We picked up Barb (from our group) near mile 3, who had recently felt the sting of injury and needed some walking time as well. We went on to walk and run until the last half mile.  The three of us finished the end of the race running. My split times were crazy. Mile 1 was just under 11 minutes, mile 2 was over 12, mile 3 was 14 minutes, and mile four was 12 again. I somehow averaged in the 12 minute range, so that was impressive for my comeback race. I don’t think that I’d have started running again if Nikki wasn’t there to encourage me and ask if I was ready to pick up again after walking. So, that’s a testament to how I can really count on my running “family” to support and encourage me through this crappy time where I have no idea why I started running in the first place.

Sunday, I got up at 5 am. Some folks may think of 5 am and shrug. I think that’s the crack of dawn and there is very little that could convince me otherwise. I like staying up late reading, so waking early isn’t my jam. Anyway, I met up with a local marathon training group for the first time at a a park all the way on the north side of my town (I live pretty far south along the main strip). One person I’d met before was there. Denise has been running at least 1 mile every day for a few years now. She just needed to get her mile in, but she started out with me because I didn’t really have anyone my pace there to run my 6-7 miles with. The training plan dictated 7, but I accepted that I’d be happy with 6 if I made it. Anyway, Denise ran with me and I notified her when 1/2 mile passed and she said she’d go a little bit further. She ran the first mile with me before turning back. That mile averaged 14 minutes, and it settled me in for the rest of the run and helped me finish all 7 miles. Without starting out with someone, I probably would have set out to ‘just get it over with’ and blown all of my energy. I didn’t do that this time and I caught up to my training plan distance.

I’ve received a lot of encouraging words and offers for people to help me get back to running. I have tried new things to make it easier. I think running insoles have a little to do with having a good distance weekend. I am still hard on my body for being so much more round and heavy than before my injury. In a way, I wish I’d given myself time to work up to training for a marathon again. Most of it is nerves and self doubt which are purely mentality issues and not whether I’m physically able. I trust that with training, I’ll get there. I feel like it’s difficult to complete each run and that I don’t remember it being quite as hard to push through in the past.

Most people ask me how my ankle feels. The truth is, my ankle is fine. No pain with running [during or after]. My endurance could use some work. My attitude could use an adjustment. I could use a shot of self esteem. I’m getting there. My injury is gone. I’m just trying to make a comeback and I somehow forgot to exercise that toughness that I had in me when I started running distances. There aren’t really any foot holds on this incline and I’m trying to claw my way back up. It’s freaking hard. That’s all. I’m struggling. I’m not quitting. Screw that. I literally don’t know how to quit. Even when I joke that it looks like me laying down and waiting for the struggle bus to run me over….I doubt I’d even take a knee to try to lie down. My depression is truly a jerk sometimes, but I’m not going to let it get the best of me.

Thanks for reading! Marathon is October 8th. This will be my first. I’m fundraising for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation because my teen has Crohn’s. If you want to throw a few bucks at the cause, just go to my link. Click here

Here’s a pic of my ‘fluffy self’ finishing the 4 mile race:

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I was exhausted, but look at that hint of a smile at what I achieved. (Thanks for the photo Steamboat Classic)

Body Image Issues

I started on this journey running long distance to prove to myself that since my body isn’t exactly cooperative in looking how I wish it would, I’d show myself that it can still do amazing things. I’ve had some amazing experiences with that journey and I’m glad that I have shown myself that I can set goals and I can accomplish them. I don’t know that I would have imagined myself enjoying physical fitness and having it become an important part of my everyday life.

My injury and recovery has been a major setback in how I feel about myself and the way I look. I gained around 25 pounds. I’ve lost and gained 10 pounds a few times. I hate the number on the scale and my pants are a little snug lately. For some reason, I was doing much better with eating well at first than I have been eating lately. I hadn’t gained any weight until the first of this year. Then, it just piled on quickly and my confidence dropped. When the cast and boot went on and I was restricted from moving, I started to worry about whether I’d even be able to run my marathon this October. I have started training and easing back into running. I’ve been slower than I wish to be and I get tired much more quickly than I’d like to. It has had an effect on how confident I am in my ability to train for and complete my race.

Last week, I went to the Gulf Coast in Alabama for vacation. This was not good for my ego as I saw women walking by in their swimwear confidently as I wished I could just hide a little more of my chest or that my shorts were a little longer to hide my fat legs. I have never loved my body. Even at a slim 150 pounds and 5′ 7″, I wore a size 11 and I felt chubby. *I’ll have to cover my female influences as I grew up in a blog post [and probably a therapy session] at some point. Let’s just say that I’ve been trying to diet as long as I remember.

I sat behind my sunglasses in tears trying to battle my inner thoughts about how I looked fat and ridiculous and it wasn’t fair that I gained so much weight just over a matter of weeks. I thought about how I understand that I’m not 100% healthy eating and that I don’t work hard enough to look fit. I still don’t understand why I can’t seem to look the way I want or a way that I’m comfortable with. I was starting to feel good when the injury happened and I still did into this year. I felt like I’d made real progress and I wasn’t as focused on the scale. I was confident in myself. As much as I try to convince myself I’m the only person that sees what I see in the mirror, I can’t look out of my eyes from this body and feel okay with it. I get stuck on saying internally all of the things I think other people will think when they see me. I’m quite mean to myself despite knowing that I can run distances some people would only consider driving and I’m always trying to encourage others to “do the hard stuff.”

Tonight, I’m nervous that I need to train for a marathon and I’m not feeling the usual confidence that I have in the past. I want to run a marathon and I planned to last year. I don’t feel like I’m going to be capable of finishing. I am in a week where my long run should be 7 miles and I’ve run 4 miles at the most. I am lacking confidence and despite knowing that it is 100% something I need to change in my head, I wish I could change my body instead. I wish that it showed that I work hard to be this chubby woman and if I didn’t, I’d be larger. I wish I didn’t feel like crying when I see someone else having a good time in a 2 piece and not trying to cover herself or hide. I am pissed that I’m this person when I work so hard to be the person I feel like I should be.

I wrote the above paragraphs, took a little break, and went to the store. I spent time thinking about what I’d written here. To some degree, I feel this is just a mood that I get into at times. I am truly envious of people who have a slender build and I often get caught up in the “why can’t I just,” attitude about my body. The cure for this would seem to be plastic surgery or taking more extreme measures to aggressively shape myself into the woman I want to be. It isn’t the solution, though. This is a psychological issue. This is hating my body for just being the way it is. This is something that people struggle with and rarely talk about. People will encourage by commenting on other redeemable qualities, but truly, what you need to know is that you’re being too critical of yourself and it is great to want to take care of your body and your health to be healthy. Not because you think it will change what you look like. That is something I need to work on changing from within myself. I’ll continue training to run 26.2 miles because I know my body is capable. I’ll find a swimsuit that covers more of my chest so I feel more comfortable and spend less time tugging at it and looking down at my body and more time enjoying the moment I’m in. I’ll realize that I can’t really know what’s going on in the heads of those women who seem so comfortable in their own skin as they walk by and that I can’t compare myself to them. Also, I don’t mention these things in front of my kids and I hope that I can one day carry myself in a way that they find admirable and they find confidence in themselves.

Sorry that this one was kind of a downer. I plan to get out and run tomorrow as my schedule says. I figured out how to get intervals on my watch, so I’ll run/walk if needed. I am still fundraising. That’s another issue altogether with how hard I’ve been working on that. I’m $916 to my $2k goal.

Here’s a pic of me drinking wine on the balcony while on vacation. The Gulf Coast is gorgeous. I had a great time and I think my kids really enjoyed themselves as well.

 

A little longer

I saw the podiatrist today for my 3 week checkup since the cast and boot were put on. While most of the pain in the highest area of concern is gone, there is still a bit of pain with rotation and pressure on the tendons. So, he said he’ll look again in 2 weeks. At that time, I should be able to get fitted for an ankle brace I’ll have to wear all of the time. I’ll also need physical therapy and to be weaned off of using the boot to get around.

I made sure that my use of the machines at the gym wasn’t a problem. I told him that I get some looks when I do abduction exercises. He said that my upper body workouts and my hip workouts are fine as long as I’m not using my leg to operate the weights or doing standing exercises. These are the same as the last time I saw him, but I wanted to touch base and make sure I was on the right track. I also wasn’t sore after my upper body workout Monday. Yay!

I sold a race entry to a friend and transferred it officially through the race director. Now my next race is in June. I still intend to be in shape for a marathon by October.

I’ve been a little better with my depression issues I was having. I spoke with  the doctor [nurse practitioner] and we’ve adjusted my medicine in hopes that things will look up. I had a rough couple of days this week, but I’m handling it. Being a mom is hard work and often emotionally draining. I’m still here, though. Like the workouts I have in the gym [and again out on the running course soon], I’m stronger from what I endure. Things might push me to be upset and to quietly contemplate how I got here and how I plan to continue, but I can’t be kept down for long. I refuse to let myself do that.

I know it all sounds so much more positive than the last time I wrote. That’s a good thing. Something to remember is that we can’t all be positive all of the time, but when I try to be positive, I hope to influence others who aren’t quite feeling themselves and need a little light. I want to offer what I can and I lose nothing by using my flame to light another candle. I’m not all the way back from the dark, but that’s ok. I still have some light to share.

Please consider giving to my fundraising page for Crohn’s and Colitis. I’m at $441 of my $2k goal. I’m still very excited to be part of a fundraising team running in the Chicago Marathon this October. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation is doing great things to help people with IBD. If you have a chance, check out their website, too. Here is my fundraising page link: http://online.ccfa.org/goto/MomJennGoal262 Any donations are greatly appreciated.

If you just want to read about IBD, this is their page: http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/?referrer=https://www.google.com/

 

Cranky boot

*In the past, I’ve chosen to be reserved and leave out any colorful language. That’s not who I really am. So, I’m going to try to write how I would actually say things.

I have been in a cast and boot one day short of two weeks. I haven’t run since February 19th and I miss it like crazy. Not only that, but this boot thing is bullshit. Not in the sense that it isn’t real science or serves no medical need. I’m sure it is legit. I just hate it. It could be that I’m more irritable lately. That could be because I can’t go for a run.

I’ve been to the gym a few times to lift weights that work my upper body. I even used the machines that could be operated with my legs without bearing weight on them. I’ve used my dumbbells at home, too. I have been doing knee planks, bicycle crunches and some other core work daily just to try to ‘stay healthy’. I’ve tried to keep my focus positive. I’ve got to say that I still don’t feel that great. I don’t seem to want to eat well and I just generally feel tired.

Compound my recent health woes with the fact that I feel a little trapped at home by the boot being on my right leg and having to change it every time I drive, and I’m suffering a little. I feel the ubiquitous surge of depression nagging. That voice in my head that says things will always be one difficult thing after another, which equals up to nothing of value. The voice that tells me that I’ve already failed at so much in life, that I really don’t deserve good things to happen. That voice that is still me, but so mean to me. No matter how hard I try to create things or to make an impact, I’m still not doing it right and I never will. I’m not particularly good at anything and I have nothing which sets me apart from anyone else. Disposable. That voice is a real bitch if you ask me, but it still hurts my feelings and I struggle against it like I’m swimming upstream. I’m never quite adequate and I don’t know if I ever will be. I’m usually okay with not being perfect, but when the darkness sets in, the mean voice is louder and it quiets my confidence.

My confident voice, the one that is sure I can do anything I put my mind to, is little more than a whisper. I don’t try to shut that out because I sincerely hope it comes back to being the loudest. Depression ebbs and flows. I don’t know how long I’ll be in this recurrence, just like I never know how long it’ll hide in remission. I’m used to neatly tucking it away when it comes around. I’m used to the irritability it causes me and the feelings that nothing matters and everything matters all at once.

I’m used to people who don’t suffer from mental illness trying to tell me that there are others who have it worse. I know and I feel bad that I can’t handle my much smaller load of life. Actually, worse after you mention that I’m not dealing with my shit as well as people who have it worse. Thanks, though.

Yes, I have a doctor. Yes, I take medication. I also typically work out for it, but that’s temporarily limited to what I’m able to do at the moment without disturbing my healing or further injuring myself. I mean, I am actually trying and I don’t expect a cookie or anything. I just wish it wouldn’t rear its ugly head while I’m already working hard to overcome this injury. It could’ve picked a better time.

Anyway, I put little sticky jewels on my boot. It amused me a little.

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Drawing in positive

I can hardly believe it, but this is week 15 of the 16 week marathon training program. I’ve persisted, practiced, and pushed my way to train for something that I’m just so happy to be able to do. I’m going to run my first marathon. At the start of training, I’d said it would be my only. Now, I’m already thinking that I know this isn’t the last. I also went and got pink hair last week and I love it.

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Before/After

 

I’m not suddenly healed of my depression. Working out hasn’t taken away my need to have daily medication. I still have anxiety, too. When I run, some of that goes away and I can clear my mind. It also shows me that I have something to be proud of and goals to strive for giving me a reason to live sometimes when I just don’t want to. The darkness sometimes envelops me more than I care for it to. I just try not to embrace it too much and look to my goals. My running friends also help me look forward to the long runs and things we can talk about or experience together during the journey. I’m thankful for them and for the time we have together. I get to go out and run.

I’m also thankful that I have a husband who is supportive and encouraging. I’m not always confident in my abilities. Considering the things that he and I go through as adults and as parents, it has been a blessing to have him to talk to and to lean on. My mom might not speak to me for whatever reason. My kids might say hurtful things when they don’t get their way. My husband is there with unconditional love to give freely, which is important to have when the depression hits and I don’t exactly feel loved or lovable.

All negativity aside because I’m about to accomplish something that I couldn’t do when I signed up to do it. I have trained and conditioned myself to do this and I am as physically prepared as I’m going to be. Mental strength will go a long way in getting to the finish line. Yesterday, I started seeking out inspirational quotes to help me during the 26.2 mile run November 5th. Many of the quotes didn’t have sources, but I’ll try to give credit where due. So here we go!

  • There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.
  • Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength
  • Let Go, Let God
  • The race always hurts. Expect it to hurt. You didn’t train so it doesn’t hurt. You train so you can tolerate it.
  • When your legs get tired, run with heart
  • The miracle isn’t finishing. It’s that I had the courage to start.
  • She believed she could, so she did.
  • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
  • In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take
  • Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations
  • You’re a diamond. They can’t break you.
  • Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about dancing in the rain.
  • I believe in the person I want to become
  • Remember the time you thought you could never survive? You did and you can do it again.
  • Keep going. There’s cookies at the finish.
  • Penny gets winded walking to the bathroom (seriously, my friend Penny added this to my list)
  • HOPE – Hold On Pain Ends
  • A positive attitude may not solve all of your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort (Herm Albright)
  • Psalm 4:1 – Lord, be merciful and hear my prayer
  • The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is finished. The pain in your legs? Within days.  The glory of your finish is forever.
  • 26.2 = The triumph of will over reason
  • Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion. -Muhammed Ali
  • Be strong. You never know who you are inspiring.
  • Today, I will be one run stronger
  • I wasn’t planning on going for a run today, but those cops came out of nowhere. (ha, ha, ha)
  • One day, I won’t be able to do this. Today is not that day.
  • Set a goal so big you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can. *This one really struck a chord with me.
  • Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up. (Dean Karnazes)
  • You’re not dead yet, you can’t quit. (Kyle Maynard)

 

That’s just a portion of the encouragement I found yesterday. I will still be looking and still be repeating the ones I’ve found. I’ll probably print some off and bring them with me to the race so I have them there.

I can’t control what others think of what I’m doing or how they view the work I’ve put into it. I can control how I feel about it and decide to be proud of my accomplishments. Today, I choose to ignore the people who think I’ve done anything but improve my character and celebrate my body. I choose to see that I’m setting an example to be healthy, strong, and resilient. I could drown in the negativity that is often tossed in my direction, but I choose to let the good and the positive pull me through and keep me afloat. I am succeeding at something and that’s going to ruffle some feathers of people who are not. It doesn’t change my success.

Thanks for reading! This weekend will be a long run of 8 miles, then on to pre race week! Wish me luck! Good luck on your endeavors and in case nobody has told you, I’m proud of your hard work! Keep it up! Every time you challenge yourself, you get a little stronger. Until you’re a lot stronger.

Here’s a picture of me after running 4 miles of speed work that I really didn’t feel like running. I’m so glad I did it anyway.

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Terrible mood. Great run!