Running is an Antidote for Depression

Last week was kind of a downer week for me with a total of 41 miles and no long runs. I was a bit sore after my Bulldog 25K run on August 22nd but felt recovered by the 25th.  My goal was to run long on a weekend morning. But with temperatures soaring into the 100s and with smoke from the Station Fire in Angeles National Forest being felt in Ventura County, I just couldn't muster up more than a 5 mile run on the gym treadmill.

Wildfires depress me, especially when I'm training for a marathon.  Extreme heat ain't real fun either.  And I really HATE running on treadmills...though I did happen to start my Saturday treadmill run while the late Senator Ted Kennedy's funeral was on was sad yet uplifting watching the closed caption eulogies...making this particular treadmill run one of my more memorable ones.

Sunday was also hot, and I was tired, just plain tired and cranky. The kids were getting on my nerves. I drove to the gym for another dreadful, slow 5 miler treadmill run. I can't seem to run more than 45 minutes on a treadmill.  Feels like torture to me.

So we're into Monday now and I'm even more tired, sick of the heat, don't like the smoke, kind of just generally bummed out about this huge fire, how 2 firefighters died on duty yesterday, how I grew up in the La Crescenta area near the fire and generally speaking I'd like to just go back to bed!  What else? The stock market was down today, the house is a mess, the grass is turning brown, the water bill is sky high, Tootsie Roll stuck in the carpet...the depression list grows on.  Oh, and I didn't run this morning as I normally do.

So tonight, for the first time since Friday, I ran outside, on the roads.  I felt like a 95 year old slug.  My legs were wooden.  I ran slowly, like I did on the treadmill. It was still 80 degrees outside at 7 pm. But as I ran and all these negative, pessimistic thoughts buzzed through my head, it dawned on me...I've been there before.

I've come back from injuries, tiredness, heatwaves, soreness, family emergencies, natural disasters, acts of war.  This was not the first time I felt slow, sluggish, depressed, burnt out, bummed out, lacking control over the world around me.

And the obvious dawned on me.  What I CAN control is what goes through my mind.  I CAN acknowledge how I feel and REFOCUS the negatives into POSITIVES. And I can realize that life is cyclical, with highs and lows, and that my training and mental outlook will gyrate this way too.

So at 7:45 pm tonight, at the end of the run, my mental state had reshuffled. I still felt like turd with legs.  I was hot, still irritated at my lack of energy. But near the end of this 35 minute run tonight my mindset had changed. Focus on the positive. And remember...these negative feelings are only temporary. I'll be back! (Maybe even tomorrow!)