It’s been a while.  A while longer than I planned/expected.  I expected to have a magical post on 10/23 after I ran the Naperville half marathon.  My BIG race of the year.  I thought I’d wax poetic about the merits of training, and positive thinking, and believe you can do all the things.  I felt all those things for a brief shining moment around 10:30am.   I PRed.  I finished my half marathon in 2:30:36 which is about two minutes faster than my 2014 finish time of 2:32:14. I’ve been chasing that PR since 2014, and when I saw how close I was to catching it, I sprinted so hard the last .10 mile I nearly threw up.   I ugly cried.  Just for a moment.  I headed to the “legacy table” to get my 5 times finisher swag.  I called my boyfriend and he told me how proud he was, and how he knew I could do it.   It was all perfect.

But…. my mental health isn’t quite right.  Rather than being proud of all my hard work,  I started beating myself up for all the time I wasted not putting in the work.  Speaking of work, it’s been hard lately.  It’s always a challenge, and my responsibilities are many, but it’s been weighing heavily on me for months- and this was no exception. I started to tell myself that I’m bad at my job.  Since I last spoke to you, I’ve been tight rope walking through my life.  The floor is lava.  My balance is terrible.

Two days ago, I fell.

I’ve been working 6 days a week for the past two weeks, a lot of them 5am-1pm shifts.  I’ve been sleeping in the second bedroom.  I miss my boyfriend.  I miss my bed.   This physical exhaustion is enough even in the best of mental health times to make me extremely sensitive.  I cry easily.  When I’m tired, it’s exponentially worse.  Tuesday, I’m struggling to be two people at work, when I get a call from corporate.  What was said, and what I heard might be significantly different, but the conversation ended with me hyperventilating, crying so hard I couldn’t talk, and deciding I’m terrible at my job.  I got off at 1pm, called my mom, and cried the whole car ride home.  Left to my own devices, I made some really bad choices with food, and did things I’m not proud of.  Hours later, I started crying again, and it got so bad I took a Xanax because I could not stop.   My sweet sweet boyfriend did all the right things, said all the right things, but I couldn’t stop my inner monologue.  So much negative self talk.  So much feeling sorry for myself.

Tuesday would have gone much the same, but I had the presence of mind to take a Xanax as soon as I started crying (got there at 9, crying by 9:15).   My good friend Kaitlin reached out to see how I was doing, and I told her:  Work 2, Katie 0.  She kindly reminded me that I’m due for my period.  Yes.  PMS often sneaks up on me- after years of being so irregular or just not getting a period- I almost never see it coming.  It does make me feel slightly better that my hormones are a factor in my recent emotional instability, but I have to be honest with myself and address the bigger issue.  I’m not in a good place with my mental health.  Something has to change.

The icing on the cake?  I have only worked out twice since the half marathon.  I’ve just been so tired, so down, and so full of excuses.  This is history repeating itself.  This is me back sliding.  I have to get my hands around this, or I will find myself more depressed, and at least fifty pounds heavier.

I’m going to a new doctor today.  She’s a primary care doctor, and not a mental health specialist.  She comes highly recommended, and I’m hopeful she can point me in the right direction of finding the right mental health doctor for me.   If not, I have to give myself permission to try someone new, and keep trying until I find the right fit for me.  Maybe putting this out into the universe (internet) will help me ACTUALLY do it, and not just talk about it.

It’s Sunday..  I wrote everything above this Thursday morning before seeing the doctor.

Re-reading what I wrote, I feel annoyed with myself for being so damn dramatic.  The floor is lava?  Come on.

I talked to the new doctor, and I actually got to talk to the mental health professional in the office right away as well.  I’m depressed.  It is what it is.  I’m taking steps to get better, but right now- I’m not totally ok.  And that’s ok.

I’m so tempted to edit this.  Whittle it down to a funny anecdote if I can, but I’m not going to.   It’s dramatic, and so angsty, but it’s honest.

It’s raining right now, but if it lets up, I’m going to go for a run.  If it doesn’t, I’ll work out in the basement.

Baby steps.  But I’m back.

I’ll be back soon. 

I’ve been avoiding you.  And this.  And myself.  

I’m a work in progress.  All of us are, so why am I so ashamed when I backslide?  

I struggle with some disordered eating habits, and a recent influx of work stress, disappointing fitness/weight loss progress, my upcoming 35th birthday… it’s all gotten the better of me, and I’m struggling to make smart choices on a daily (hourly) basis.  

I was seeing a therapist for several months, and I was feeling pretty good.  She changed practices, and I decided I was doing well enough on my own not to follow her or find another.  And I was.  For a while.  

This week has been extremely hard.  I think I’m PMSing on top of everything, and I keep hoping tomorrow I’ll be better.  So far, not really.  

I’m getting Botox tomorrow.  I bought a very exciting fitness related Groupon which has me TERRIFIED. I just need to get through the next few days, and I should be on the upswing.   I’ll check in soon, and hopefully feel more like myself.  

52 minutes 6 seconds

This morning was glorious.  I had a beautiful five mile run- and scored another PR with my pace.  

The sun was still rising, and the sky was magical.  I felt good, the air wasn’t making me feel like I was in an oven.  

Then I went to work and had my soul crushed. 

Luckily- I came home to the handsomest guy I know.  He worked hard to cheer me up.  There was silly dancing, and even some romantic slow dancing.  Then- the cherry on top was a delicious Bloody Mary made with love. 

It occurred to me during the pity party I was throwing for myself that my birthday coming up bothers me a little.  The whole business of growing older.  Growing old.  I’m mourning my youth a little.  

Tomorrow’s schedule say 3 miles, but I might need a longer run to clear my head before work.  We’ll see how hungover I am from this ONE drink.  The good news: I’m a real cheap date.  

64 minutes 2 seconds

This week got away from me.  It was so hot every day, and work has been crazier than usual.  I still ran, just not as much as I was planning.  

Kaitlin was available for a late morning run on Thursday- but about halfway though it we called it on account of the blistering heat and walked home.  We still got four miles in, just not as quickly as we had originally planned.  

Yesterday’s 5k was under a “yellow” weather advisory.  We walked a lot, and talked a lot, and overall had an EXCELLENT time.  Unfortunately, due to the heat, our mascot was unable to make it (maybe next time!).  I also didn’t have time to craft- so I just had my dad make us shirts.  

I had planned on running 8 this morning- but some stomach issues got me off to a late start (I’m TERRIFIED of becoming the “mad pooper” of Naperville, so I waited until I was SURE I was ok.)  With the late start, I only had time for 6 miles, and they felt glorious.  I did a super basic out and back- one I haven’t done in a while- and it all worked out perfectly.  There was a foggy mist hanging around the prairie path that made that portion of my run feel cooler than the portion I was on pavement.  All in all, good times.  Good times, noodle salad.  

Four weeks until the Naperville Half Marathon.  Two weeks until I’m 35 (gulp.)

20 minutes 8 seconds

Three days post half marathon today, and I went for a two miler before work.  I got progressively more sore as the day went on yesterday, and expected to wake up stiff and miserable.  Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.  Two miles in 20 minutes 8 seconds is pretty great for me.   Back to back ten minute miles is something I struggle to do consistently, so I’ll take it!  

Tomorrow’s plan is 5 miles AND some strength training– especially core work.  I’ve been slacking- and I can feel it. I want to drop another pant size SOON.  I haven’t had any noticeable losses in inches or pounds since march.  I holding steady at 151.4.  I really need to dial in my cross training/strength training.  I’ve just been running running running.   I’m so eager to take my next step and try something new- but the time commitment terrifies me.  I don’t want to join a gym- or buy a class pass- and then freak out about using it.  Must.  Do. Research.  Must find something I can fit in.  See what I did there? At least I amuse myself.  

I’m running a “sundown 5k” this weekend- and I haven’t decided if I’m going to run hard and try to PR (29:14) or if I’m going to run with a coworker and socialize.  She runs a 12 minute mile.  The race is at a local community college, so the number of attendees in my age group might be lower than some of the bigger races around… and I might have a chance to place.  Nevermind!  Just looked up last years results.  I would have come in 13th in my age group last year.  Eh. I still might try to PR, even if I don’t place.  

I somehow convinced my corporate office to send our company mascot out for pictures- so that will be fun.  It also means I’ve got some crafting to do before then…. pictures to come!

22 minutes 43 seconds

First run since the half marathon.  I went to sleep last night with plans of running 3 miles, but woke up feeling a little wrecked. After a giant cup of coffee, I finally made it out the front door around 6:15am.  Thankfully, the sun had started to rise- so it wasn’t pitch black out like it will be on my longer runs.  

Two miles later, I’m equal parts glad I did it and mad I didn’t sleep in.   Running today was another first for me.  It was the first time I got out and ran this soon after a half marathon.  In the past, towards the end of my training cycle- I was only running my long runs.   When I was only doing one fall half, I stopped running immediately after the race until the following spring.   Even with doing two fall half marathons for the past two years- I think I took the whole week after the first one off, then dropped back to only my long runs. 

Really excited that it’s looking like fall,even if it doesn’t quite feel like fall.

Oh well.  Maybe next week it will cool off.  

164 minutes 1 second

Today was rough.

Before the race and before I poured a lot of water over my head.

Welp.  Today was a tough one.  It was much hotter than I had been expecting.  The temperature jumped twenty degrees from my last long run, and the humidity was intense.  I knew it was going to be rough when I took Foxy out at 5:30 this morning.  It was pitch black outside, and the first time I was leaving the house.  I had been wearing a long sleeved moisture wicking hoodie over my race outfit because we keep the house just a few degrees above “I can see my breath.”  Add in the fact that the last several miles the sun tried to roast me alive, and it’s no surprise I didn’t PR.
It’s ok.  I keep telling myself that it’s ok.  I kept saying “it’s a hard, hilly race.  I don’t expect to PR.”  I was lying.  I was hoping to PR.  The first four miles felt GREAT.  Then it got a little harder each mile after.  I walked.  I don’t know exactly how much I walked, but it felt like a lot.  While I can blame the weather (and it did make a huge impact) I’d be lying to myself even more if I didn’t address my midrace mental breakdown.  I know better than to keep looking at my watch- but as it felt harder, and harder, I kept looking.  And then calculating.  “If I stay at this pace for the next five miles- I’ll still miss my real PR. If I can cut a minute off of this mile, I might make it. Nope.  Not happening.  What’s the point.  If I’m not going to PR, what’s the point.”

My PR is 2 hours 32 minutes.  Somehow or another, my watch disagrees.  It was the 2014 Naperville Half.  My watch shows my PR as 2 hours 41 minutes which was the Naperville Women’s Half this spring.    I came in three minutes short of getting a new “watch” PR, and the way I KNOW with absolute certantiy that my mental break is what truly held me back…. I had it in my head that my watch PR was 2:47, and I fought hard for the last three miles to beat it.  If I had known it was 2:41- I would have fought harder SOONER and probably beat it.

So.  Trying very hard not to beat myself up.  Back at it Tuesday with a five miler.  Praying for the weather to cool off. Happy to have finished. 

“Hey, Josh. Come outside and take our picture!”

OH!  So- after I got home, I walked in the house and was greeted with a terrible smell.  Last week, I cleaned out the fridge- and something must have leaked in the garbage.  The garage had started to smell the day before yesterday.  Tuesday is garbage day- and we planned on rinsing out the can at that point.  It could NOT wait until Tuesday.  I rolled the garbage out, lifted the lid to find so. Many. Maggots.   It was the stuff of nightmares.  I I got some rubber gloves, several garbage bags- and I wrapped the trash bag that was the problem (and the only bag in the can) until I ran out of bags.   I looked down- and there was definitely a maggot on the back of my wrist.  I sprayed my entire arm full blast with the hose while shouting “get off get off get off get off get off!”  I then called a local restaurant within walking distance of my house and asked if I could put a very well wrapped, very stinky bag of trash in their dumpster.  I then walked (all the while still in my race gear- salty and sweaty as ever) to said restaurant and waved a friendly thank you at the man inside as I passed the window with my stink bag.  He probably assumed I was dumping a body.   While I normally would have rinsed off and then taken a post race bath– today required a full silkwood shower.

Stink bag!

Should I wear my medals to work tomorrow?  Since the real reason I signed up for this race in particular was the Fox medal?

My new favorite medal!
He likes it, too. (He’s my favorite Fox)