Ever since the Berlin marathon I’ve had a bit of a hot and cold relationship with the notion of signing up for a Spring marathon. After my huge PR in the 10k at the Detroit Turkey Trot I, of course, immediately began to think about how I should capitalize on my fitness and try to BQ in the Spring.
But if you look at that sentence closely, you’ll notice the word should instead of want. So I backed off of training and allowed myself to run how I wanted while I was in Australia with the thought that I would regroup and rethink race goals when I got back stateside in early January.
But coming back to the states was hard and I got hit with some pretty big post-travel blues which made it hard to run. Those of you who know me will understand that it’s hard for me to run when I’m sad. I started doing a bit better when suddenly I became completely overwhelmed with depression and anxiety. It hit me like a semi truck. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right and I wanted to disappear, become small and push everyone that cared for me out of my life. I hit rock bottom. I can honestly say I have never been so low, so burnt out on life. Getting out of bed was difficult. I felt like a shell of my former self. As someone who usually thrives on meeting new people and embracing life’s little daily adventures, I didn’t even recognize the woman in the mirror who avoided saying hello to people she knew, skipped social gatherings where new people would be present and had no interest in life at all. I hated myself.
I tried running here and there. People would ask me “Hey, you running much? You doing any races this spring?.” To which I would respond “Nah, I think I’m just gonna run as a means of therapy for a bit.” But there in lies the problem…I was looking at running as therapy…
Running is a great tool, but it is no substitute for actually therapy and true self-healing. I had been ignoring the need to go to therapy for one reason or another until finally there was a day where the depression just got too serious. I was full of despair and hopelessness. I felt like a complete waste of space on this earth. The optimistic Genevieve that was so full of life and adventure seemed to have disappeared and I felt like there was no hope of ever finding and being her again.
So I’m back in therapy now, taking the time to look at the root of my depression and anxiety and learning how to heal. It will be a process, perhaps even an ugly one at times, but one that will be worth it.
Now, I’m not sharing this as a means for anyone to take pity on me (believe me I’ve been throwing a pity party for myself for longer than I’d like), but to share my raw experience that many others face regularly. Part of what got me to start moving again was hearing other people’s experience with depression and anxiety. Loneliness is crippling so knowing that I wasn’t alone in my feelings gave me a glimmer of hope.
So coming back to the question, “Another marathon…?” Now the answer is YES. I will be running a marathon this Spring (the Colorado Marathon on May 5th to be exact). But training will not be my therapy. Instead, it will simply be a tool to bring me back into living life fully. Healing is a mind/body experience so I figured that while I am working on my mind in therapy, I can show my body some love by making it useful again and hopefully the two will come together in a beautiful way. ❤️
Now, signing up for a marathon probably seems a bit extreme…and for some it probably is. I, however, know myself well enough to know that I needed this marathon to hold me accountable. But the important thing about this marathon is that I signed up for it with no intention other than to run it as a means of practicing self-love. There are no BQ expectations. No PR hunting. Just running to run and allowing myself another means of healing as I work on the mind and spirit in therapy. And it should be a BEAUTIFUL marathon (I mean it’s in COLORADO, folks). What better way to make myself aware of life’s beauties once again?
Thanks for listening, friends. Life can be difficult sometimes, but having your support makes these times more bearable. And for anyone else going through a tough time, know that you are never alone and that life has a purpose. I’ll leave you with the quote that has been helping me daily…