I was riding a runner’s high, excited and celebrating life, but then I hit that wall. At this point in my life, I was in the middle of training for my first Half Marathon with Santa Clarita. I felt my quad start to become irritated after my weekday runs, but I ignored it and went on a glorious Saturday long run. This run, in particular, I traveled from my home in San Fernando to my mother’s house in Northridge. It. Was. Glorious. I felt powerful! That high was about to go even higher, yet, as my body started to cool down, that high started to rapidly deteriorate.
I found myself after this long run barely able to walk, and it only got worse after trying to attempt some small runs. My muscles screamed in pain with every step and I was unfortunately benched for three weeks.
Three weeks of hell! As I withdrew from my new addiction, I reverted back to my old friends; a bottle of wine and Netflix. I started to feel that depression slip in again, and the weight of the world crashed down on me.
Pulling out of this short depression was a hell of a lot easier than the first time I picked up running. It was a great reminder of where I came out of and I’m even using it as a reminder again as I learn to pick myself up yet again a year later.
There were a lot of reasons why I started running; I was in a lot of pain at the end of 2015. I couldn’t remember a time that year I was actually truly happy. As 2015 went on, life just kept adding more fuel to the fire. Honestly, looking back I think I spent the whole year in a depression. I spent the whole year angry. I spent the whole year mostly withdrawn.
I wish I could say that I started running intentionally to be a better healthier person. Nope. That was just what I told anyone who asked. I started running because at first, it seemed to numb my pains much better and cheaper than alcohol could. Fighting to be able to run past one mile, two miles, a whole 5k, kept my mind busy on the pain to keep going and away from traveling down a dark hole. As I kept consistent with it, however, depression started to slip away and I started to be able to reason with that dark side of me like a pro. I was healing.
What I’ve learned from this is running is the best way to heal the mind. It creates a confidence in you to step out of the shadows and just live life.
Almost two years later, however, I have learned a great deal about myself as a runner. I still have days of ups and downs, especially when injuries and breaks creep in. I’ve learned how to take it easy when my body is feeling overworked, and I’ve learned to supplement cross training in the form of swimming and biking when I need a bigger break.
There are no perfect cures to the blues, but I’ve found that running is pretty close. That other stuff of gaining strength, weight loss and accomplishment of crossing a marathon finish line is just all bonus stuff. For me, the best gain from running is finally peace of mind.
By: Christianna Loza