I didn’t mean to leave it so long without posting anything on this blog. It’s just the way things happened but I feel it’s time I give an update on my running and where I’m at. I think it will be helpful for me to get these thoughts off my chest and possibly helpful for anyone reading who is in the same place. Knowing that I’m not the only one going through this has encouraged me and I do feel better for it.
I’m not even sure where to start so why don’t I just come out and confess the worst.
I haven’t been running at all lately. Right now, I’m not even sure I want to run.
What happened? What happened to me and why did I stop running?
I didn’t mean to stop running like this, and for a long time I tried to keep going but eventually things took their toll and I stopped. The problem is I’m finding it really really hard to get going again. To WANT to get going again.
I struggle with depression, particularly in winter time. I hate winter. Hate isn’t even a strong enough word. I dread it. I fear it. I loathe it. To me, winter feels like death and loss and grief. The lack of light makes me physically queasy; at twilight I have to close the blinds and turn all the lights on because otherwise the deepening gloom outside my window would reduce me to tears. It feels like death, loss and grief; like something vital is missing in my life and I’ll never get it back.
It sounds drastic but that’s how it hits me. Depression and winter leave me feeling so bleak and sad, grieving for that missing piece. This grief saps me of energy and it’s all I can do to go about my usual daily routines like going to work and eating and sleeping. Well, I say sleep but I never really sleep well anyway so that’s not much different.
Normally, running helps my depression. The physical activity, the time to think and be by myself, the fresh air and sunshine usually helps me manage my stress and helps me put my depression into perspective. This year, having had an injury crop up in August made running difficult. I had to take some time off and deal with it but I don’t feel it’s completely under control and my running got progressively worse. This contributed to my depression and eventually, after a rather disastrous race in December (one I meant to blog about but didn’t), I stopped running altogether. My Strava calendar says it all:
It’s hard to look at my running in 2016 because I started off so well and ended so badly. I had some great goals in mind that I knew I could achieve and plans for the future that I thought would keep me going. I wanted to run 1000 miles this year. I wanted to run a 5k in under 30 minutes and a 5 mile in under an hour. I wanted to run the DCM Half Marathon. Then injury, and depression swooped in and I’ve been in such a low place. Not quite so bad as needing medication, which I have done twice before, but bad. I’ve been mentally and physically exhausted. It’s no wonder that I ended up with my usual Christmas break cold; even if I had wanted to run over the holiday I couldn’t.
The title of this blog post comes from a Placebo song called ‘A Million Little Pieces‘. The lyric sums up how I’ve been feeling, what I’m going through so it’s the perfect title for this post. Lyrics like ‘Now my mistakes are haunting me like winter came and put a freeze on my heart‘, ‘Now I fear I’ve lost my spark. No more glowing in the dark for my heart‘ and ‘Can’t you see I’m sick of fighting, can’t you tell I lost my way.’
When it comes to running, I feel I’ve lost my spark. I told my coach that I feel like I have the memory of loving running but it’s just a memory and I can’t connect with it. Failing to achieve any of the goals I set myself really threw me but my coach did remind me that at the beginning of 2016 I had just come off the back of a marathon (did I really run a marathon?!), I was in great shape and had my routine nailed down. I shouldn’t expect I’d be in the same form after injury.
He has a point, and I do take that into account. But with depression raging things look a lot worse then they are and that takes its toll. It leaves me so drained that I find it hard to care; about anything. Even my blog. There’s been a lot that I might have blogged about but didn’t. I cheered at the Dublin Marathon in October. I ran a race in December. I went to London and got new shoes at The Running Works, my favourite running shop in London. I saw Placebo in concert again, twice! So much I could have written about but just couldn’t find the energy or motivation to.
I do feel lately that I have turned a corner. My outlook has improved and I’m eagerly awaiting February where the days will be noticeably longer and the sun will set later and I’ll actually see daylight when I leave work in the evening. I care about updating this blog again and letting you all know where I’ve been. I even went for a short run today, in those new shoes, and felt better for it even though I was so afraid I’d struggle so badly I’d end up hating it and never run again.
There’s another Placebo song called Loud Like Love that I want to end this post with. Part of the lyric has become my life’s motto, I even have a tattoo of it on my arm where I’ll always see it. It’s how I live my life..’breathe, breathe, believe.” I breathe, I survive, I get through it. I believe it will get better. I will get better. No matter what happens, and in my life there’s been some pretty wretched crap, it will get better.
I will get better.