Wednesday, May 26, 2010

time for change

Wednesday, May 26, 2010
0.79 miles

Today I ran less than a mile after a week of almost no running. It is kind of demoralizing because it is more difficult to motivate myself than ever. I have tried to commit to running in the morning, because as anyone who lives in Tucson knows, starting in about a month it will be impossible to exercise outside after 9AM, but I'm just never feeling good enough to get out of bed each day. Eventually I get out of bed because I have a job that I must report to nine-to-five each day, but I haven't yet found the motivation to get out of bed to exercise.

I used to have a marathon schedule that said how much to run each day for 16 weeks. That would probably be helpful to have right about now, but I lent it to a co-worker two years ago, then moved two states away, so I do not think I will be getting that handy schedule back anytime soon...

I suppose since we are on the topic of that marathon schedule, and I am ranting about motivation, I could dive into the story behind the marathon that almost happened two years ago. I had decided that my senior year of college, I would run a marathon. I bought a marathon schedule, went to the wellness center at my school to read up on nutrition, bought a heart rate monitor and a Camelback, and began my journey. I felt really good, I ran faithfully each day before class or after work, and I was on track to finish the race at about 4 hours and 45 minutes. About midway through the 16 weeks, though, I started to burn out. I still did my runs and actually made decent times, but I didn't have any energy to do anything else, including homework and my job. Eventually the nutritionist at the wellness center informed me that it had to do with the fact that I was eating less than 2,000 calories per day when I needed to eat 3,000 calories daily to have the energy to train for a marathon. While I tried to make healthy additions to my diet, my training was going downhill fast, and on the day of the marathon I did not run the race.

Food has always been a bit of a vice for me. I would not say that I have an eating disorder or that I am afraid of food, but I guess in a way, I am afraid of weight gain. I somehow found myself in a place where I just did not have to eat a lot to be full, so I did not concern myself with eating three, healthy meals daily. Instead, I ate chips and salsa for one meal, cottage cheese for another, and a can of soda each day and fought off any hunger pangs in between. If I had time to cook a real meal, I made wild rice and seared chicken without seasoning and tried to eat it over the course of a week. So I guess when you look at that diet, on top of a 40 mile-a-week average, it makes a lot of sense that I could not finish my marathon training.

For most of my life, running has been this do-able activity to help me overcome anything else that was going on in my life. But when I trained for my marathon, I was not able to use running to get over my struggle with food. I ended up letting my food issues overtake my desire and determination to run a marathon. Similarly, I am struggling to find motivation to run because I am depressed, and running is supposed to help me overcome my depression. I am hoping and praying that this time will be different, and that I will find some way to conquer the barriers that are making my life so unlivable.

I will close now, but I definitely think it is important for me to note that while I am nervous and scared to talk openly and publicly about depression and how it affects my life, I am terrified to talk about food, and this is the first time that I have ever admitted (even to myself to a degree) that I have issues with food and that it has been an obstacle in my life.

I thought that was particularly noteworthy, and I hope that in recognizing and acknowledging a problem, I will come closer to overcoming it.

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