Today was my first run in a week. And it was only 2.5k. For some this is an accomplishment, but for me, this is a hard pill to swallow. My run club is full of elite runners who challenge me to improve, but even their standards can’t compete with the one I set for myself.
I have been having issues with my right leg the last few weeks and then I came down the cold to beat all colds, so today’s run was a tough workout. So, it was a week…that’s only seven days, right? Seven days where I felt myself starting to get dizzy and fade away. It happened so quickly this time, it took me by surprise. That sounds dramatic, I know, and I’m prone to waxing poetic but today reinforced that running has become the glue that keeps my life together. Running for me is about more than exercise. It’s about survival.
I’ve battled anxiety and have fought off depression several times in my life and running has become a key part of my treatment plan. I realized that this past week is the longest I’ve gone without running in almost an entire year. And it’s been one hell of a year to say the least, (moving across the country, leaving my marriage, establishing a new normal…creating a new life.)
When my running is on track, I feel confident and strong and capable. When my running started to slip, I felt like the rest of me was melting away like something in a Dali painting. I’ve noticed my hydration goals waiver and my commitment to balanced nutrition faded into the background. I felt foggy and lost and so unlike the best version of myself. I was her only a month ago! Where the hell did she disappear to so quickly?
This is what depression and anxiety to do my life. They sneak up on me and chip away at all of the progress I’ve made. First, my confidence as a runner is shaken, then my worth as a mother and entrepreneur and friend. I find myself questioning my decisions but lacking the energy to get back on track. I know better, I really do but it’s like that logical part of my reasoning is locked in a cage and left to scream in solitude.
I know I am not alone. My work as a Worth Living Run Ambassador has taught me there is strength in sharing your story openly. When someone else takes a moment from their struggle to encourage me through mine, I’m reminded that I’ve got an army of cheerleaders behind me. My work as podcast co-host has allowed me to connect with people who have overcome obstacles and to learn from their experiences. I know I am not alone but this challenge is all mine.
I had a Twitter friend sternly tell me to get out for a run today and I needed to take the first step. I need to recommit to drinking my water and eating my vegetables and moving my ass. I’ll recommit as many times as necessary because there’s too much inside me that needs to get out into the world for me to back down from a tough time.
I know not everyone understands why I run and some of you may even think the fact that I need it is unhealthy. I need running like I need my medication. I’ve been through this cycle enough to know what works and what doesn’t and I’m embarrassed that I slipped, but I’m putting myself out here for everyone to see so I can step out from under the shadow of shame that my mind sometimes casts.
I’m not sure why this half-marathon training journey is off to such a shaky start when my experience last time felt almost effortless. I don’t know why my body and mind are at odds with each other, but I’m going to keep moving forward. I will cross that finish line in June come hell or high water. I will do the work like my life depends on it, because it kinda does.