I had thought my 18-mile run would be the last long one before my marathon since it was three weeks out, but my coach gave me a 20-miler for two weeks out.
I was not thrilled about this because I was on vacation in California, but I spent a lot of time in advance on Google maps trying to plot my route through the city. When I arrived, however, I learned that California is freaking mountainous. Who knew?
So I threw out my map and planned to run six dull laps around the lake.
I went to bed at a reasonable hour and woke up the next day . . . with a terrible stomachache and still felt dreadfully sleepy. So I dozed another hour, felt a little better, and got dressed to go despite a deep feeling of dread and "I-don't-wannas" . . .
And then I found tears streaming down my face for no reason at all for like ten minutes straight before I even left. Wtf? It was a beautiful day; I couldn't have asked for better running weather.
I dragged my butt out the door, spent another five minutes just trying to set up my freaking interval timer and GPS tracker, and set off downhill a half mile to the lake. The "I-don't-wannas" persisted, and though I can usually shake it off and push through, I really struggled to make myself run during the designated intervals and even stopped to sit several times (which I never do) to try and get it together.
After an unbelievable mental struggle through the first lap, I cried through the entirety of the second, stopped many more times and longer, and was too far gone to reliably assess whether the pain in my hip and butt was serious enough to stop. I tried to start a third lap but knew there was no way I'd finish it without walking the entire thing, so I turned around to walk back to the apartment. Still crying for no fucking reason at all PLUS feeling like a complete failure PLUS looking forward to telling my coach I'm a complete failure PLUS suppressing all sorts of terrified "how am I ever gonna finish my race—what if I DON'T finish my race?!" thoughts.
I'd managed only a piddly 8.33 miles out of TWENTY in two and a half hours, whereas those 8 should have taken less than two hours.
Crying for no GD reason.
Can't run another step, and I know it's not physical.
Is my depression doing this?
In recent weeks, I've had a few bouts of the uncontrollable urge to cry for no reason. Last year it was constant for weeks and meant I needed to up my dose of bupropion. Running has usually balanced my emotions and I have never before had to face this while running.
I felt a little better after showering and dressing, mostly because I wasn't running anymore. But this was a seriously important training session, and there was no way to try to redo it in time for the race.
The next day I ran a similarly slow 4 miles instead of my scheduled 2, and I still felt crummy and weepy, though less so than the previous day.
As miserable and difficult as the summer slog had been, at least my fucking brain wasn't malfunctioning. Even though I'd had some crummy runs, they were just that and nothing more: no additional weight or emotions attached to or triggered by them.
There's not a happy or conclusive ending to this post except that my hosts totally understood and offered me hugs, didn't mind when I said "not right now," and didn't push me to talk more about it when I withdrew.
My coach was very understanding, which I pretty much expected, but depression brain doesn't understand anything more nuanced than "OMG, I have to tell her I'M A FAILURE."*
However, the week improved markedly, and I'll write more about that next time.
*Aside: wicked déjà vu just now