73 days until the Chicago Marathon: Am I ready?

73 days until the Chicago Marathon: Am I ready?

October seems so far away while we’re suffering through yet another 100+ degree day. We have to finish off July, survive August, and somehow make time for running in September, when school will be in full swing. Then the marathon, on October 7th.

73 more days, according to the marathon website, and 20 hours left, until the start of the race.

I was up to half marathons not that long ago. Then three weeks of heat, a wedding, and other crap to deal with left me out of shape again…but at least I’m not that out of shape. Not like I was last October, when I could barely gather my energy to go to work. And last October was better than the fall/winter before that, because I wasn’t actually crippled by my depression.

Though this blog was intended to be a record of training from 0 to 26.2, it’s become a record of my progress in other areas. After all, why did I decide to take on this cockamamie plan after the last marathon? Because I wanted to help myself heal.

I wanted to heal from depression and PTSD. Exercise helps with that. It boosts self-confidence, and provides endorphins from other sources besides junk food. Plus, as my therapist told me, movement helps to break free from the mental downward spiral. It’s a tendency of mine to curl up when I feel overwhelmed by negative thoughts or memories–and curling up gives me nothing else to do besides thinking. And thinking, while in that state, only sends me careening down into the abyss. Running or walking provides a steady beat–very similar to EMDR and can also be done by tapping–that keeps me in the present, the here and now, while I also think about the past. Also, just by getting up and moving around breaks my habit of curling up and crying. Do it often enough, I’ll have retrained my mind to say, “Oh, I’m upset. I should take a walk” instead of saying “Oh, I’m upset. I’m going to gorge on carbs and curl up and sleep and cry.” It helps to form new pathways in my thinking, to help increase the effectiveness of therapy.

I wanted to heal from the side effects of my major depressive episodes. I’ve had three so far where I lack any and all energy and desire to do anything, let alone go to work, let alone live life. I gained a total of 25-30 lbs from the last two, and while I may or may not be able to get back to 140-145 lbs that I was for most of college, I wanted to at least prevent any further weight gain. (I’m 5’5″ in case you were curious). I am aiming toward simply being healthy, hoping that the weight will follow in due course. Exercising more, eating more fruits and veggies instead of chips and candy, making healthier decisions with other foods…and I feel much better for that.

I also wanted this to be a big fat “fuck you” to my father. I always hated the nightmares where I could never outrun him. He would capture me in the dreams. I would try to escape, run away, and fly, but his negative energy always weighed me down, and I would get captured. That’s one reason why I never ran away for real. I was afraid that he would hear me leave the house, and outrun me.

I thought that if I could train myself to run, I could take away that key element to those nightmares. If I can run in real life and have good endurance, then it’s no longer a subconscious fear. I’ve overcome it in real life, and therefore I’ve overcome it in my dreams.

This blog is a record of my many kinds of journeys: running, healing, fitness, and faith.

Thank you for joining me in my journeys–you’ve kept me on the path, you’ve kept me motivated, and you’ve kept me company. I think, with your support, that YES, I finish the marathon. Yes, I can mark a symbolic milestone in my life.

Now, I just need to figure out how to get my endurance up to 26.2 miles in 73 days, and I need to figure how to finish fundraising for the marathon, in 72 days.  Hmmm….

Filed under: Abuse, faith, Marathon

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