The 12 That Should’ve Been

I was supposed to run 12 this morning. My last “long run” before next Saturday’s marathon. I hadn’t run all week, so I really needed to get this one in. I knew the wind was going to be howling and it was supposed to feel like about 35 degrees at 5am. But I figured one last suffering, painful run might kick my ass out of this funk I’ve been in and make me feel like I’ve earned this marathon. I laid out all my winter running clothes last night, charged up the Garmin, and was bound and determined to tough it out.

When I had to get up at 3:30 to secure all the flower pots shooting around my balcony like air hockey pucks, I decided I’d just run on the treadmill. I realized there was really no reason to do that at 5am. So I reset my alarm for 7. Then I just turned it off.

The Georgia/Florida game doesn’t kick off until 3:30, so I’d have plenty of time to go downstairs to the gym and run, go to the pharmacy and the grocery store, and still make it home in time for the game.

I opened my eyes about 8:30 and watched the clouds blow past outside the living room windows. It felt so good under my blue fuzzy blankets in front of the space heater. I had no desire to go downstairs and pound the treadmill for two hours. But I knew I’d feel guilty and hate myself if I didn’t.

I laid there longer. I let my mind wander. I thought about what would make me happy as opposed to what I felt like I was supposed to do.

Then I got up, fed the cats, made Cookies and Creme Pop Tarts, laid back down on the couch, and watched “The Twilight Zone.”

I didn’t feel guilty. I felt relieved.

I understand completely how it’s come to this. I decided to challenge myself to go from a 20 mile a week runner to a 55 mile a week runner too quickly. I knew better. I was trying so hard to prove myself, I bit off way more that I could chew.  I burned out mentally and physically before I ever got to race day. I let my pride make the decision instead of my brain. (The outrageous thing is that I seriously considered training to run a 50 mile race in December.)

I could’ve very well run this marathon on 40 miles a week. That got me through my last marathon. I’ve even run one on 30. Why did I feel like I HAD to hit that 55 mark? (And I did. And I WAS really proud of that.)

But now I don’t know which is worse, or if neither is bad; the fact that I made a stupid decision or that I’ve burned out and quit/failed.

I actually fascinate myself, I can usually identify EXACTLY why I do the crazy things I do. But that doesn’t mean I stop myself. And what I’ve done the past few week prior to this race is set up all my excuses ahead of time for when I fail.

I think I’ve eaten one decent meal in the last couple of weeks. Mostly it’s been Pop-Tarts and tater tots and granola bars and Diet Mountain Dew and Diet Coke. I’ve run once in the last two weeks. I’ve fallen into a depression. I’ve started cutting again.

So see, if I don’t meet my goal time (and how could I now), it’s not because I failed as a runner. I just failed as a person. (I have no idea why that feels like a better thing.)

I was telling Boo earlier this week how scared I am about my trip to the race next week. He suggested that I drop back to the half and just go down there and have a fun, relaxing time. But as much as I’ve quit already, I’d rather die than have to tell people I didn’t run the full. I don’t know why. Nobody cares. But it would haunt me forever. I don’t know why.

I’m struggling SO hard trying to figure out who I am and why I’m here. I’ve always identified myself by external achievements. I was a softball player. I was an uber-Christian. I was a shot putter. I was a brilliant theology student. I was a wife. I could drink with the boys. I’m a runner.

But when those things are gone, who is Deanna really? Who am I without those labels I can wear on the outside? I don’t think I know. Maybe I’ve built up such a strong, protective suit of armor that it’s almost impossible to find me in there anymore.

Every time something has happened to strip me of those external labels, my life has gone into a tailspin of depression and confusion. When those distractions and definitions are gone, I have no idea why I’m even here.

Isn’t life supposed to be more than this? Why do I have to be here all by myself without someone to love me? Will I ever be happy, or will I always have to stuggle through these periods of sadness and depression and hurt and self-doubt?

Lots of times I’ve said to Boo, “I’m crazy.” or “I’m a bad person.” And he usually responds. “No. You’re just D.”

I’ve only recently understood that. For a long time I thought he meant that like a funny, depricating thing like, “Yep. That’s just you.” Sort of like those infuriatingly condescending Nathan Deal for Governor ads right now where he says, “That’s just Jason.”

But it’s only been in the last few days that I’ve realized the depth of what “You’re just D” really means. No matter how much I want to be something else, I can only be Deanna. And that’s supposed to be OK. Now I just have to figure out what that means and HOW to be OK with it.


0 miles

Total week miles: 0

Compare to Last Week

Weeks to Savannah Rock n’ Roll Marathon: 1


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

6 responses to “The 12 That Should’ve Been”

  1. christianliving2014 says :

    Great write! Just be happy with the way you are. I believe I don’t need to please anybody bit God. Anyone else I don’t normally care what they think. Be true to yourself!

  2. Thomas Jones says :

    “I’m struggling SO hard trying to figure out who I am and why I’m here.”

    Don’t feel like you’re alone. After all, isn’t the Georgia football team rather snake-bit?

    Hey, there’s a couple of Zen bits about foxes and rabbits that you might want to ponder as you run.

    1. The hunter who chases two rabbits catches neither one.

    2. A Zen master out for a walk with one of his students points out a fox chasing a rabbit.

    “The fox, being faster, will catch the rabbit,” the student observed.

    “Not so,” said the Master. “The fox is running for his dinner, but the rabbit is running for his life.”


    You know the old Zen saying, “When eating, just eat. When sitting, just sit.”

    You can never be in two places at one time. One goal at a time. Make your decision and don’t second guess yourself needlessly. It’s bad enough when others play that role.

  3. dmcco01 says :

    You’re right, Thomas. I’m so much happier when I “just sit.” I need to learn to hold that frame of mind on a more regular basis.

  4. rf says :

    Deanna, Have you tried guided meditation? I struggle through it in yoga class sometimes but I realize that is why it is important. Your church may also offer a meditation practice. I used to be painfully aware of what everyone thought of me. The problem is that although I’m a girly girl, I’m neither high maintenance nor interested in “women’s things.” I’d much rather talk about the space race or what the new opensource software is. Ugh, I went to a baby shower recently – talk about a fish out of water. So, if I’m true to myself – what label am I? Sure, I know what my gender is, but the US cultural standard for women? Yeah, it’s not me. I am achievement oriented too, but I have worked really hard to not tie my sense of self to it. Failure is part of innovation and growth. The more I see how innovation happens, the more I understand it is the essence of humanity. From failure grows great things (like post-it notes! and silly putty! and white out!) However, not all failure is the same – we can self sabotage ourselves and well.. other people can do it too (the person who offers a dieter a cookie, the supervisor who works against their staff). I certainly have self-sabotaged myself more than once – usually in not preparing adequately. (waiting until the last minute). What has worked for me is what you did – give myself a break… but then I get right back to working on the goal (perhaps in a revised format) as soon as I can. Sometimes we push ourselves too hard, sometimes we just cave to peer pressure (and that can even be with things like accepting a new job or dating someone new), sometimes we are afraid… Figuring out the why can help prevent the cycle in the future. Good luck with everything and keep writiing and running. R

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