My Marathon To Mental Health


I seem to have this notion that once I’ve completed this marathon, my PTSD symptoms will disappear (or be very manageable) and my marriage and parenting will be on track. It seems like quite an unrealistic notion, as running does not improve marriages or parenting, and while it is a healthy outlet, it will not magically remove my PTSD diagnosis. However great I feel after running, I still have to walk back in the door to a needy family; I will still have severe attachment issues; I will still be triggered by the little things.

If my problems will not magically disappear, what will be the benefits?

Faith: There is no way I will be able to complete this training or the race without God giving me energy and stamina. My daughter is nearly nine months old and is still waking several times a night, and my PTSD symptoms have wreaked havoc on my body. I also feel like my mind has been clearer and as a result, I’ve been able to do more devotions over the past month. I have not self-harmed since I’ve been running.

Fitness: Before last month, I had not run farther than 4.5 miles, and honestly I had no desire for more! That particular mud run (in 2012) was 95 degrees, I had taken 2 ibuprofen so I could run through a knee injury, and then I was given a 5-Hour Energy drink (and I rarely have caffeine!); by the middle of the race I was dizzy and I very nearly threw up at the top of the 20 foot wall! However, each time I go out now, it seems I am improving my distance and my pace. My biggest goals are 1- not be the last person to cross the finish line (or be in the top two-thirds), and 2- put a 26.2 sticker on the back of my car!

Nutrition: It is very hard to run any distance when you’ve eaten a giant buffalo chicken cheesesteak or an enormous burrito (with queso) from Moe’s. My husband and I are slowly working to improve our diets so that our bodies can manage our respective training programs (because my husband is also doing the marathon).

Marriage: My husband and I finally have something in common! We have something to talk about, besides the kids, that we both care about equally. That’s big! We’ve been married nearly five years and my conversation falls short on the topic of sports, much like his conversation falls short with psychology.

All of the above will contribute to improving my mental health; I am already seeing the mental benefits of exercise and am looking forward to seeing where I’ll be in September. If I can conquer a marathon, I feel conquering my past will be cake… or I’ll be too distracted to be bothered by it! While I know this endeavor will not magically remove my PTSD diagnosis, it is a big step towards healing (well, 26.2 miles worth of steps, plus 18 weeks of training, towards healing!).

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4 thoughts on “My Marathon To Mental Health

  1. You are very wise to avoid the salvation fantasy that could come from the idea of running a marathon to make the PTSD go away. I have fallen in that trap so much my whole life – it is the equivalent of what they say in AA as a “geographic cure”. I am always thinking – a new job, a new home, a new routine, a new therapy, a new life goal – if I get there or do that – I will be better. It is me idealizing the future. This weekend I was obessessed with the idea that I needed to switch gyms – to one that was open 24 hours, so I could work on the weekends when my current gym opens late. It was just distorted thinking. There is thing called running I could do on weekend mornings, and/or with some pushups and sit ups at home. But you are taking it a step at time and a mile at a time – the health benefits for both your mind and body in the training and running of a marathon will make things so much better in so many ways. It’s inspiring me to sign up for a couple 5K runs. I did 3 during the winter but the weather is nicer and some aches and pains I had this spring are now healed so time to hit the pavement. Good luck!

    • Nice! Glad I could inspire you 😄it is human nature to seek after earthly things for healing when Christ is the only true means of healing. Good luck on your exercising!

  2. You are doing tremendously well and should rightly be pleased with yourself. May Christ be at your side while you are running to achieve so much in your life. Being realistic about your PTSD is good and necessary. God will bring you His healing from your fears and demons of PTSD in His time. Loads of luck with the marathon! I’m so proud of you xxx 🙂

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