Today is the annual VHI Women’s Mini-Marathon – a 10k race taking place on the streets of Dublin. For the past 3 years I’ve run this 10k, raising money for charity and challenging myself to PB in the process.
This year, I’m ignoring it. I’m not running it and I’m not even going to go cheer at it.
I have a few reasons for this which I want to explain. Partly as an update on how I’m doing, and partly as a way to come to grips with my own thoughts.
Firstly, I’m not running this year because I would be nowhere near capable of finishing. Not the way I would want to. I haven’t trained at all this year and my fitness levels are at an all time low. I could have signed up and walked the race but I wouldn’t have enjoyed that.
Secondly, I’m not going to cheer because I know it would make my depression worse. Seeing all the healthy and happy women walking and running the race would be like rubbing my face in what I don’t have. I’m not healthy right now, and I’m not happy. I’m also really, really lonely and going to the race today would intensify that.
Every year I’ve run the race I’d been surrounded by women who are mothers, wives, sisters, friends, daughters. The crowds were made up of loved ones waiting for racers to finish, the pubs afterwards were full of laughing families and group of friends while I walked home, alone. There was never anyone to wait for me at the finish line. I have no partner and no children. My closest friends all live away from Ireland and my family are 4000 miles away. In a crowd full of love and warmth, friends and families, I have always felt alone.
This year, I know that loneliness would be intensified. The depression I’ve been struggling with is only slowly getting better. I have felt it lifting only a little and it’s been frustrating how small things have affected me to bring the depression back. I know that going to this race, in my current state of mind, would set me back.
But I am not going to be moping at home. I’ve decided to take advantage of the day off and be kind to myself. I’m going to play my favourite computer game this afternoon. Then I’ll have some pampering; a foot spa, a face mask and a good movie with a nice dinner this evening. There may even been some gin and tonic involved. I think taking some time to look after myself is the best thing I can do to stave off the depression.
And while I may be ignoring the race today, that doesn’t mean I’m not wishing everyone all the best. I do hope everyone taking part has a fabulous day. I hope the weather stays cool but not rainy. Enjoy the race, run your best and have fun celebrating!