I’ve been on such a runner’s high this evening. My day started out kinda rocky, since I’d been planning a 7 mile hike for the day and it was a really beautiful morning that would have made for a really wonderful hike. Then I unexpectedly hung out with a friend til the wee hours of the morning and was in no shape to get up for a 7 mile hike on no sleep.

Accidentally sleeping in (or I guess in this case accidentally staying up and intentionally sleeping in to make up for it) always makes me feel kinda crappy. Just this past week I was discussing with my therapist how above all else, above medication, therapy sessions, both of which are incredibly important for someone with clinical depression like me, but above all else the most important and and effective way of coping with depression is to DO something.

Which unfortunately can sometimes be a Catch 22. Sometimes we can be so depressed that it’s paralyzing, and doing something feels impossible. When I’ve been at my most depressed, just managing to brush my teeth has felt like a huge feat.

This summer I’ve been in kind of a rut. I love my internship but I’m increasingly anxious about my financial future and subsequently depressed and feeling like kind of a loser for not being gainfully employed with a regular paycheck. I told myself this summer when I was not working, “just” interning, I’d be a full-on renaissance woman, reading voraciously, running of course, also teaching myself guitar and re-teaching myself Spanish. None of that except running has been happening – I’ve been too discouraged.

The one thing I’m not discouraged about, the one thing that, because I’m in the cycle of doing it and therefore rewarded and therefore motivated to keep doing it, is running. Having a structured training program like the zenLabs 10K trainer (I’ve already completed it’s Couch to 5k program) has been absolutely necessary to getting through this quarter-life crisis of a summer.

So when I found myself midday today feeling frustrated, caged, and discouraged, I looked outside and saw that, glory of all glories, it was a beautiful day. I peeked my head outside and found that, gloriously too, it wasn’t humid at all! It was absolutely beautiful!

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Today started a new and tougher week of the 10K trainer and I was a little apprehensive about starting it. Usually when I’m nervous about a day, worried I can’t do it, I usually don’t end up doing it. I usually quit. It’s all about talking positively to myself, but today, I couldn’t convince myself I’d be able to finish the day’s requirements.

But I went after it anyway. It was too beautiful a day to not run in it. That’s one of the things that’s kept me running. When I spend a whole day inside it feels completely wasted. Running gives me a reason, an excuse, it forces me outside. I’ve come to hate the gym and the treadmill.

I got out on the pavement today and just drank it in. I didn’t know how the run was going to go but I figured I’d just go and do the best I could according to the program and if I couldn’t finish it, I’d do what I could and just enjoy being outdoors.

ImageIt may not look like much to you, but that’s a PR for me. I’m not sure how accurate my Endomondo’s GPS is, I think it’s a LITTLE ahead of itself, according to my last official 5k race at least, but at least according to my Endomondo-tracked runs that’s my new 5k record. I’m a slow runner, and I averaged ~11 minute miles for most of today’s five miles, down from ~12 minute miles which is my normal.

That’s right, I said 5 miles.

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disregard speed: screenshot was taken when i hit 5 miles and slowed for a cooldown walk

How cool is that?! I did half the distance of the Army Ten Miler I’ve been so nervous about being in last place for and it was in under an hour! That’s been my goal all summer – to get to five miles in under an hour. I’ve rarely done 5 mile distances and they were always between 1:02 and 1:07.

I was and am SO proud of myself. I was pretty much ready to chatter my excitement away to whatever random stranger I passed out walking their baby in a stroller.

I was so ready to quit on the fourth mile.

ImageRight as I rounded that corner at the 5K split my body was begging me to quit. I even stopped for about five seconds to walk and paused my trainer – I had decided to quit. But five seconds after deciding to quit something came over me – NO. Today I would not quit.

I’ve posted before about that spot on my route – it’s pretty seriously uphill for a good half mile. And at that point in my run my feet were starting to blister and I could barely even keep my arms up from flailing at my sides while I tried to truck it up that hill. I just kept telling myself not to worry about speed – I could run it slower than I could walk it, as long as I kept in running motion. And I did, and it was my slowest mile of them all, but I did it.

And of course, as soon as I crested, I had to put on New Found Glory. I wanted to play “All Downhill From Here” but sweat and sun was in my eyes and with my cracked phone screen I wasn’t going to spend too much time looking for it so I settled for their cover of “King of Wishful Thinking.” I played it three times in a row, through the rest of the run. I love their cover of that song, I was loving finally getting to go downhill,  I was loving the knowledge I was just racking up mileage, I was loving knowing when I was done I was getting yummy food with one of my oldest and best friends, I was just loving the whole thing. I was full of joy.

This was on my facebook news feed tonight. It felt pretty apt.

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I’ve been in the best mood the rest of the night. I took a glorious shower, put on a beachy sundress for dinner with my friend, felt so relaxed the whole evening. Food had never tasted better, and actually rejoiced for a moment about living at home because I got to watch the beginning of Shark Week with my dad. I was just happy about simple things like “True Blood” coming on at 9, looked forward to the crazy twitter timeline for #runchat tonight, and just felt all around more optimistic about what’s ahead in this uncertain fall.

Everything will be okay. 🙂

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