Half-Marathon: Complete.

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I am officially halfway through my marathon training. I did a half marathon last week, and this week I was able to take my long run down a notch and do 10 miles. I never thought I’d be a long distance runner, but it has been so beneficial. It improves my mood, gives my husband and me something to talk about, and makes me feel more confident about my body. It is strange to exercise so much that you have to eat mid-workout, though! I’ve logged 145 miles on my feet since I started training, and I’ve logged 29.1 hours of running!! I wore out my old shoes and got to buy my first nice pair of running shoes! My husband asked me what my goal time was for the marathon and my response was, “I just want to finish before they pack up and go home.” That’s the six-hour mark. My average pace for long runs is a 12 minute mile (which is really slow, but it’s a pace I’m comfortable with right now), so if I can keep it up, that gives me a finishing time of a little less than 5.5 hours… that means I cannot spare any walking time during the marathon!

It appears that I have turned a corner in my healing. I still freeze and curl into a ball, but it does not last hours. I still have uncontrollable screaming and crying fits, but it does not last as long and is less intense. I still have nightmares and flashbacks, but I am managing them more effectively. I am smiling. My husband’s and my fighting has leveled out. My son’s anxiety has begun to level out, and he’s becoming more talkative (as he sees I’m stable, he has come out his anxiety shell a little bit).

I still have days where I’m so frustrated when I leave for a run, that I stop midway and collapse in tears. But that is healthy. I am allowing myself to feel. I am allowing myself to cry, to express emotion. I know that when I am done crying, I will pick myself up and finish my run.

I have hope.

Week 9 Complete

 

 

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My Marathon To Mental Health

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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!).

Photo credit: http://www.canstockphoto.com/vector-clipart/marathon.html

“You should just run a marathon…”

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Those words passively exited my husband’s mouth the other day on our way to dinner. I had just run 7.31 miles, my farthest distance ever, and was pretty proud of myself. I have been sort-of training for a half marathon and thinking that it was possible for me to run 13.1 miles… Not 26.2 miles!

I looked up various things, such as how often to drink water and how to improve my pace, and I found a great marathon training program for novice runners! I have to start at week 5 to be on pace for the marathon date, but that’s round-about where I am anyway.

I have 4 weeks to decide whether I’m going to register. If I make it through the next 4 Saturdays of running, with my longest distance being 13.1 miles, and I’m still smiling, I think I’ll register!

Photo Credit: http://alexloves.com/2013/04/10-tips-for-beginning-runners/