This past Sunday I ran my second LA Marathon! And let me say, it was ROUGH! No matter how many times you run that race, it does not get any easier. It's such an amazing experience that everyone should have on their bucket list. My first LA Marathon was back in 2015 and I swore never again would I run 26.2 miles. But two years later here I am just completed my second marathon. Call me crazy!
Last February I signed up for the Conqur LA Challenge. The challenge consisted of three races: the Santa Monica Classic (10k), Pasadena Half Marathon, and LA Marathon. At the time I thought it was a great idea and was excited to take on this challenge! But, little did I know my life would be turned upside down by anxiety and depression just months later. The toll anxiety and depression took on my body greatly affected my mental and physical health. I had no will to get out of bed, let alone run these races! What did I get myself into? I had already paid for the races; I had to run!
Anxiety and depression is no joke. It literally affects every inch of your life. Living in a body that fights to survive, with a mind that tries to die became my daily battle. I wasn't eating or sleeping, always fatigued; it was a vicious cycle. Marathon training is hard it takes commitment, dedication, determination, and desire; and here I was with no will to live. But something in me said "Jess you have to do this." So I listened to my gut and began training for my races. A year of my life was dedicated to getting back on track with my health and becoming the strong women I once was. It was the hardest year of my life. Every day was a battle. The only thing that kept me going was the memory of how much I used to love running; how good it made me feel. Sure enough running helped tremendously with my anxiety. Training had been going well, I was starting to feel like my old self again. I completed my first two races feeling confident that I would accomplish my goal time for the marathon.
Weeks leading up to the marathon I felt a shift in my body. I started to become annoyed with running. I just didn't want to do it anymore. But I had come way to far to just give up a month before the big race! The race I spent a year of my life training for! I began to feel numb. Nothing made me happy, sad, or mad; I was just going through the motions of life. I didn’t know if it was my medication or the depression creeping back, I was at a crossroads.
The day of the marathon I woke up early prepared and headed to the start line at Dodger Stadium. I was excited and nervous, I just kept thinking "Holy crap I'm really about to do this all over again!" Right away I knew it wasn't going to be a good run. I wasn't feeling it. But again I didn't come this far to quit. My goal was to finish in 4:30:00, but early on I knew that wasn't going to happen. At that point my new goal was to just finish the damn race! The miles went by pretty fast. By the last 10k I was hurting bad, but seeing my family at the 23rd mile pushed me to keep going. I finished the marathon at 4:51:24. Not what I expected, but I beat my 2015 time by 11 minutes.
Nothing beats the amazing feeling you get when you finally cross the
finish line! It is the most empowering moment! "Hell yea I just ran 26.2 miles, I'm unstoppable." It takes a special type of person to run a marathon. It's not for the weak of heart. The moment your body stops working you run with you HEART. You give your all on the course and nothing less. I am proud that despite my mental illness I accomplished my goals! Even in my darkest days when I wanted to give up, I kept going. "Running is the greatest metaphor of life, because you get out of it what you put into it."
"Life's a marathon, not a sprint."