In July of 2014 I NEVER would have thought I would sign up for a half marathon. I thought I was crazy to just decide to “take up” running for fun, and run a 5k. In that time I have learned a lot about running. I have also met some fabulous people. THOSE people are who got me to and through today.
Today, October 23, I participated in my first half marathon. Four times longer than the distance of my first ever run. I have been having trouble with training. More specifically leg cramps after mile six. Switched shoes. Nope, no change. Changed diet and electrolyte intake. Nada. Tried standing like a flamingo as much as possible to help strengthen my calves. Nein. Added compression sleeves while running. Nee. So as I was running along at a good clip on my 45/45 intervals….it was no surprise when my legs tested my ability at mile seven.
Now, 6 miles walking after run/walk intervals for 7 miles feels rough. I seem to feel it more in my feet. And even walking a bit did not help. I was feeling cramps even walking. Sometimes strong and hard cramps. I slowed my walk. I stopped and stretched. I stayed hydrated. However, all of that does not keep the thoughts of my inability to complete more then 6 miles successfully from my brain.
Maybe I am not meant for more. At least at this time. Maybe I need to try something different. But here is the thing. The people. The absolutely, unequivocally, phenomenal people that I have met along this journey.
I still remember going in to my local Gazelle Sports in July of 2014 just to find a better sports bra. My life has changed for the better ever since. I have learned so much from everyone I have encountered through Gazelle programs I cannot be happy enough.
I have officially finished my first half marathon. Over 2 years after saying I would never to anything that has the word “Marathon” attached to it. But it is all those that I have encountered along the way that have gotten me here. Everyone of you was in my heart today, whether I was walking or running. Whether I was smiling or crying. Whether I was positive in my ability or questioning it. It was all of you….ALL.OF.YOU in my life that have stood by me, understand me, pushed me, and changed me. This post is for all of you. I love all of you!
Much MUCH love!
On Saturday October 15th I travelled to Ann Arbor to participate in the Defeat Depression Dash 5k. I was on the fence about going since it did mean I was going to miss my last long run in preparation for the Grand Rapids Half Marathon, but it was for a mission near and dear to my heart…..the fight against depression.
The route was planned to go through Domino’s petting farm. There was pre-race yoga offered as well. This was the second year for the event. This year close to 300 participants were present. The event was also presented by the National Network of Depression Centers and the U of M Comprehensive Depression Center.
“Mental health and fitness is just as important to one’s overall well-being as is physical fitness. The National Network of Depression Centers and the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center, in partnership with the Wolverine Support Network, invite runners and walkers of all ages to join them this October 15 for the 2nd Annual Defeat Depression Dash.”
The course was a windy, chilly course with some gravel and dirt areas, but wonderful views of so many farm animals. Cows, horses, ponies, chickens, llamas, alpacas and goats. So much scenery and so many people walking and running to benefit the fight for depression!
It was a wonderful event that allowed the participants and their families to get up close and personal with the petting farm animals when the race was over!
It’s hovering, right above me, like Mike Teevee floating above Willy Wonka’s head, to remind me that in less than 2 weeks I will be running the Grand Rapids Half Marathon….yikes.
I remember back to when I first started running in July of 2014 and a 5k was difficult. And, in all honesty sometimes a 5k is still difficult. But I remember telling our “fearless leader” Michelle Staal, “um, no way am I ever going to run a 10k!”. Her response was simply, “yeah, you will”.
Never could I have foreseen triathlons, duathlons, 10k’s and now something with the word “marathon” attached to it! But it is happening. Will it be pretty? Most likely not. Will it be fast? Um, nope. That I can guarantee. Will it be life changing? I am sure it will.
I can honestly say that there is no event that I have participated in since my journey that I have not regretted doing. Now, let me be clear, there are events that I will never do again, but I don’t regret having done them. Sometimes you need to do something to see if it is what you want to continue to do. Sometimes you need to take a break to see if burn-out is attached (caringly thinking about you, Colleen). Sometimes you need to try an event to see what you are made of (hateful thinking about you, Spartan Ohio). Sometimes, you need to be out of your comfort zone to find out what you are made of (smilingly thinking about you, MiTi Duathlon).
These events have shaped me. Changed me. And they will continue to do so as I add more and more to my list of what I want to prove. Not prove to everyone else. Not prove to those who look at me and say, “you run what? At your size?” that yep, even at “my size”. But to prove to myself that the strength that is within me is immense and can radiate. Radiate to those around met that are deserving of seeing it. To those who see me break down to tears when I finish a tough event. To those who meet me at the finish to let me know it is okay to say something was hard. It was okay to have thoughts of quitting. It was okay to cry. Because, in the end, I still finished.
And whether you cross the finish line or DNF, the fact is, you did more that day than so many people keeping Art Van in business!
The thing about depression is that sometimes, in your own head, you turn on yourself. I still struggle with this. I still struggle with the mini that is in my mind that tries to make me question me intents. My worth. My capabilities. But this mini voice is something that keeps me on my toes and allows me to challenge myself. Writing helps me get some of this out of my head and allows me to re-read and remember these times. Because these times have made me. Have changed me. These sad and scary times are, in fact, me.
You, Yourself, Are No Longer
There are times when I shut myself up in a cold dark room
The world revolving without the need of me
But what blankets me in it’s falsifying warmth is the gloom
Feeling it fitting to light a match and melt the key
I am unneeded
I am unwanted
I am lacking in effort
I am haunted
Steer clear, my friend as I will absorb you
Pull you in with the glorious mask on my face
You surprisingly look at me and whisper, “who knew”
I smirk at you and respond, “welcome to this dark space”
I need you to feel my pain
I want everyone to see this thick, red, sticky paint
It will encompass you and take over your brain
It is okay….everyone faints
At the sight
At the smell
At the thoughts and memories that fade
You will be forever be changed when I take you
I lied to you and made promises
I covered your face and told you death was coming
I gleefully smiled at your pain and fear
It job is done as are you
You are different now and remember less of your former
The happiness fades and turns to blue
You, yourself, are no longer
You know as we come to the end of this phase of our life we find ourselves trying to remember the good times and trying to forget the bad times. The thing is, those bad times like to make themselves more prominent than the good times. The bad times like to steal the thunder. The bad times like the attention. And the good times are too nice to kick ass.
And we find ourselves thinking about the future and start to worry. “What am I going to do? Where am I going to be in 10 years?” And I say to you, “Hey… look at me. Please don’t worry so much because in the end none of us are very long on this earth. Life is transient. And if you are ever distressed, if you are ever at a loss, if you are ever at the end of what you think you can handle right now…..cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are sustained and speckled across the smooth night and a shooting star trails through the blackness turning night into a bright visionary day… make a wish think of me and make your life spectacular.”
That is a word of different meaning across the grand scheme of the different beings that walk amongst the world.
It could be the best one day, the worst the next in comparison to those around me.
The people around you will make that determination of the day and shape your view of what you want it to be. But always make it
I am still learning now that it is about “good” and maybe never simply done. That the joy and work ethic and virtuocity we bring to the particular can bring in part a singular type of enjoyment to those we give to and of course to ourselves.
Know this: You can never be the best. Not really. And that is okay.
Someone will always run faster or be more fit. Someone will always be thinner or have a look you want. Someone will always have a better solution. The only thing you can be the best at is developing yourself. Because that person with the better of you will push you. Push you to the limit in which you thought you could not go…..and then make you go further. Because you yourself are the only one who knows what you can accomplish. Because you yourself have to challenge your own thought process of what you think is
Of what you see as
Truly. Because you, yourself can only be responsible for your own.