Shamrock Run 15k (9.3 miles) Portland, OR March 13th, 2016.
Winter was the worst.
After the Portland Marathon the first weekend in October, I took a much needed break. I knew I was over-trained and burnt out going into the race. My weeks leading up to the day of the race were awful….I managed to pull 3rd female, and I feel lucky it wasn’t worse. Afterward, my mind and body just went ka-put. I also add that I was struggling to manage two part time jobs at the time and life in general was just hard!
But the several (acceptable) weeks of recovery bled into months.
October became November, became a dark and cold December…..and I still wasn’t running. Nor was I eating right. I was drinking (alcohol) and sleeping (with sleeping pills) all the time. I lost weight…..and not the good kind. My calf muscles shrunk. I was only rolling out of bed to lace up my running shoes 1x per week, on Saturdays when I led my running shoe store’s weekend run group…..I continued to let myself go.
I was depressed.
To a degree, I still am depressed. Depression, for me, is something I’ve dealt with since I was about 12. I remember self-harming (cutting) and even thinking that it would be nice to be dead because then I wouldn’t have to keep struggling through life (at the tender age of 12!). This winter was the worst things have been in a while. Alcohol, sleeping pills, and malnutrition coupled with cold, rainy, dark days all worked to destroy me. But I am still here. Though I seriously wanted to suffocate myself to death with a plastic bag and a zip-tie in a nearby park on a dark and freezing winter night, I didn’t. (And yes, I fantasize about ways to kill myself frequently.)
But every run, no matter how infrequently reminded me how good I could feel. And how happy it makes me to run. I teared up constantly remembering how fit & fast I was, just months prior when I was racing the Portland Rock’n’Roll 1/2 marathon.
This past weekend at the Shamrock run I felt that way again. I’m not as fit nor as fast as I was. But I felt the thrill of racing again. The weather sucked, it was pouring rain. I was freezing. But the pain of pushing myself 100% and the tactical thoughts that told me to ‘go hard’, ‘back off here’ reminded me of what I am capable of. I finished that run and spent the rest of the day on cloud 9. I’m committed to getting back to what I used to be, and then reaching even higher. My sanity depends on it.
I can feel bad about how I squandered the winter, and lost so much progress…but that won’t help me now. All I can do is accept it, and start again right now.
It’s okay. I’m okay. And I will make today better than yesterday.