I love transitions. Wait, let me rephrase that. I love planned transitions. As someone with anxiety, I prefer to plan everything. Fortunately, a new year is a very planned and expected thing. So with the transition into 2018, some goals were obviously necessary (because with a Type A personality, New Years goals are mandatory).
In 2018 I will run my first 50k. To date, I have completed seven marathons, but feel like it is time to bump up my distance. I ran my first 26(.2) the year before turning 26, so I feel like I should run my first 31-mile race the year before I turn 31. (Don’t ask me to make sense of that.) At the time I am writing this, I am on week six of my training plan. For every race I have trained for before this, I have had very specific time goals. It took me seven marathons to finally reach the time goal I set for my first marathon. (Never stop trying!) However, for this 50k, I do not have a time goal. I just want to finish. And I want to finish happy, healthy, and feeling good.
It feels weird not to have a time goal, but it is also liberating. I don’t beat myself up after a training run if I didn’t run a designated pace. Instead, I congratulate myself on getting the miles in (especially these frigid winter miles!) Since I do not have the pressure of a time goal for this race, I am hoping my pre-race anxiety will be significantly reduced going into race day.
Depression is not something I have personally struggled with. However, after every large race, I experience what I call “Post Race Day Depression.” This is common for runners after a big race or a goal-specific race. We spend months training for this huge event. Hours upon hours of time and energy are put into the training. Getting to that finish line is nothing short of euphoric. However, the race and that entire day tend to go by quickly. The next day is usually when I start to experience that ‘post race day depression.’ In the past, I have quickly signed up for another big race in order to help reduce the sadness I feel about my event being over.
However, this year I want to acknowledge that feeling for what it is. I will have worked for 18 weeks to accomplish something very significant. It’s ok to be sad that it’s over. It’s also ok to be happy that it’s over. So my 2018 running goal is to smile the day after my 50k. I will reflect on the longest distance I have ever completed and appropriately feel pride and gratitude while accepting the feeling of depression that comes with it.
Jennifer Symons is one of six Still I Run Ambassadors for 2018. She is a clinical therapist who runs as much as she can. Running helps her with her own mental health – it is the best method she’s found to help manage her anxiety. Jennifer lives in Northern Michigan and thoroughly enjoys running in all four seasons.