Thursday, September 25, 2014

Training Diary: 9/25/14

Funny how things work and when answers just appear. Walking, a random thought came to mind. This "depressive" state I've been dealing with is no different than the wall I was talking about yesterday. Finding a way to break through a metaphoric wall at mile 20 is an analogy for overcoming depression.

It's a mindset, it's knowing you can break through. So now I know what I have to do, where I have to go, what I need to do.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Training Diary: 9/24/14

I want to talk about focus and commitment...

Committing to a long run, being out on the trails for hours on end, long stretches of road can be easy and yet it can be a daunting task. "I'm going out for a 30 miler." Come mile 20(ish) I find myself wishing I was at home, napping, showering or anything other than running. I'm finding the longer I'm out there, the harder and more lonely the run can be. Makes me wonder my level of commitment.

Now anyone who is into endurance sports, whether it is long distance running, triathlon or anything else where you're by yourself for hours and hours will understand how lonely it gets out there. You're only friend is that bird flying in front of you, the snake on the side of the mountain. Your mind is your enemy and wants you to focus on your bed, the nice shower or that comfy couch. The last thing your mind wants is to stay out there. Soon, you'll be talking to God.

What tricks are there to take your mind off being alone? Some people being music, and it's worked for me in the past, but I find it throws my rhythm off. How many people go out there to sort through their thoughts? That's what I try and do, but it doesn't always work out that way. I just want to be able to push through that mile 15 on like it was mile 5.

I'm learning more and more how personal running as a whole can be. Everyone has their own tricks or routines that fit their lifestyle. Developing your own routine takes practice, and requires lots of patience.

I'm still trying to find my place.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Training Diary: 9/23/14 "Unplugged"

Lying awake in bed, fiddling with my phone, browsing the internet or whatever else I was doing. Basically procrastinating the simple tasks in life such as laundry. Yeah, with no clean running clothes or gym clothes I was able to talk myself out of a much needed session whether it be running or sweating it out at the gym. Either way, a decision had to be made.

I thought to myself "what am I looking for?" Answers, right? Well I'm not going to get them looking on social media, filtering through the nonsense, looking at randomness and time killers. Advice is so readily available on the web, but it takes away from the one thing I feel I need, human contact. Now I know myself and I know that I have an addictive personality so I easily get consumed by what's going on in everyone's life and forget to focus on those close to me and most importantly, I lose focus of my own life.

It's time to live, it's time to get up and quit feeling sorry for myself, wallowing in self pity. It's time to put on my shoes and keep moving forward, focus on improving and learning all over again. I'm strong and sure I've contemplated giving up many times over, but what picture would that paint to my children? So no, I won't give up.

Deleting Facebook, however temporary it turns out to be, is so gratifying. I feel it'll give me the time to really hunker down and get through this hole filled with depression. I want to be able to stand in a room full of people and NOT feel alone. I WILL achieve great things, but first, I need to practice patience and go back to my roots and that's family, friendship, loyalty, love. 

Here's the funny thing about depression and loneliness. For myself, I hide within myself, pulling in and putting up a gated self defence system up, thus pushing everyone and everything I crave away. So the cycle repeats itself and grows stronger and stronger and eventually the feeling of despair consumes me. That rain cloud over my head, I want to dance in that rain, not shy away from it. Keep in mind I live in Arizona so rain is very welcoming.

You'll hear coaches, sports personalities and motivational speakers say the phrase "giving up is not an option." It's a lie. Giving up has and always will be an option. I choose to keep going, no matter what.

On that note, I want to send out a sincere apology to anyone I've pushed away in the recent days gone by. I'm sorry, I don't have any excuses. I love you all and I owe you all so much for being there for me.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Training Diary: 9/21/14

My mind is in a constant battle with itself to quit or to keep on trucking. One moment I'm out running, feeling strong both mentally and physically. Then the next minute, I'm contemplating just calling it quits, borderlined in tears, questioning my existence and what my motives and goals are.

The trick is to get to a point in my run where it's the same distance turning back and finishing whatever run I'm doing. It's my way of tricking myself to complete the session. See, I feel the need to subconsciously win the mental battle with myself before I even start.

The other day, I lost that battle. Didn't leave my bed. My body just lied motionless, looking at the ceiling for hours on end. And when I give my brain time to think, I focus on all the negative things going on in my life and I get discouraged. I sat there for over 12+ hours thinking and discouraging myself and talking myself out of everything. I slowly started losing ground to my battle with depression all over again. The last few days prior, I was seriously gaining momentum and I fell back. But that's part of the game, isn't it?

Mountains and valleys are just as much literal terms in trail and ultra running or any other endurance sport as they are metaphors in the sense that during training you experience highs and lows. Now I've talked about this many times over, and I know first hand that the longer you spend in the valleys, the harder it is to reach the top or your goal. Yes,  I believe that these lows are just as important as the highs. By going through the lows you're able to come out stronger mentally.

I'm not fond of being low, I don't think anyone is. And though I'm still out there hashing it out on the trails with myself or sweating it out at the gym, but mentally I'm feeling weak. I wouldn't have to force myself to go out and do what I love to do. Getting out of bed is getting harder and harder every day to the point of leaving permanent impressions of my body in the same spot that I spend hours lying motionless contemplating life.

I've said it and I've heard it, it'll get better. It's so important to stay positive, but pretending you're happy when you're not gets old. See, there's something I have a hard time with. That's being fake. I'm generally a positive, happy person so having to pretend that I'm happy when I'm not is brutal. Maybe I'm pretending so I don't worry people, I don't know. Or maybe I'm pretending so hopefully I actually start to believe that I'm happy.

You could say, being out on the trail by  yourself is no different than sitting in your room for hours because you're still alone with your thoughts. True, but at least you're moving forward instead of going backwards. Think about that for a second. Dwelling on the past and current "problems" is like going backwards when you could be moving forward, dealing with whatever it is that troubles you head on. And after your run, you've accomplished something and that's something in its own right. I think that's key to successfully defeating depression is accomplishing something great.

Yeah, I run. I love running far. It's not about the speed, but it's about effort. It's about the experience. Running is a tool that acts like therapy, keeping and maintaining my life. It propels me forward helping me to reach my goals. It helps me grow as man, a friend and most importantly a dad. I run to feel alive and be the best dad I can for my children.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Training Diary: 9/16/14

It was brought to my attention that I should start clearing my thoughts through journaling, writing in a diary or through prayer, meditation or somewhere along those lines. Hopefully this will help my mental fog and struggle with depression.

Running has and always will be a form of mediation for me, but with a 100k on the horizon, the weight of training and staying focused throughout and NOT letting the little things that are out of my control affect me starts to become more of a daunting task than I originally thought. I start to get discouraged, wondering if I'm on the right path (figuratively speaking). Eventually I fight with myself, trying to keep going forward.

There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about quitting and giving up, but that's part of the journey, right?

Am I good enough? Am I a good person, father, dad, friend? Sure, I've come a long way and I'm constantly improving refocusing my energy and evolving into the person I want to be.  But I still harbour guilt, sadness, frustration and so many other negative emotions that only hinder my success. I've used this analogy many times over, "holding onto stress, anger and frustration is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." I really need to live the advice I give, it's so true.

My mileage should be increasing, instead I'm trying find ways to get out of bed and go run. It's not easy, not at all. Today, I napped quite a bit when I could have gone for a run or to the gym. I do love going to the gym and working on some conditioning/endurance stuff.

Thursday, I plan on doing 36 miles, weather permitting. And usually I run without music, but I'm bringing headphones just to break up the loneliness that you experience from being out there for so long. Thankfully, my buddy Erick will be out there for a good portion of it.

I think I need this long run to accomplish something and sweat out all of this negative energy. I'm not giving up, even if I want to. I need this cleansing run.

Monday, September 1, 2014

This

When I have a rough day, I look at my two wonderful kids and remember how lucky I am to have them in my life. I remember how blessed I am to be their dad and to share with them the knowledge I learned growing up. They are already becoming strong individuals, smart, intelligent, educated, loving. I really am a lucky dad. Just thought I'd share.