Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Increasingly Selfish World of Me, Me, Me. ("Life, Medicated." Part 7)

I already know this is going to be a tough piece to write, because it's only worth writing if I'm completely honest. So let's do this.

Sometimes, I am a really crappy friend. I am oblivious to what's going on around me, and I act like the only things that matter are whatever is happening with me at the time.

There. I said it. And it's true.

What I don't know is how much of this is because of my anxiety and depression and how much is just because I can be an asshole.

That part really stinks. Because I honestly don't know.

No, John. You're such a good guy. Look at all the people you help with your fundraising and community activities.

Yes, that's true. But one doesn't negate the other. I can do the big things and still fail to do the small things. And those small things matter.

For example, a friend of mine recently took a long driving trip. She visited a few states, lots of people, and had quite the adventure. But it was while I was sorting through all of my no-sleep drama and I was mostly oblivious to her travels. Worse, when she returned, I didn't take the time to pull her aside, look her in the eye, and ask, "so, how was the vacation trip?"

Sure, we chatted a bit about it. But looking back, I feel like I really just glossed over it. I didn't press her to share details, say what was great and fun, and tell me all about it. And that's not cool. As a friend, I should want to hear all of that. And I do. I just don't think to ask sometimes, at least not in the moment. Instead, at 3am, I wake up thinking, "well, that was rude."

There are plenty of other examples. I was just asked by a friend if we wanted to join them for a movie. I thought it would be fun, but I needed to check with my husband to see if he felt up to it. But by the time I got back into the house and spent some time talking with him and our house guest, I completely forgot that I was supposed to text the friend back and confirm yes/no for the movie. She had to message me again asking about it.


Am I just a bad friend? Is my depression and anxiety impacting my memory and awareness? Are the meds affecting me?

Here's the really suck part. I have no idea.

And I don't know exactly what to do about it to make things better.

I need people. And when I want to be around them, I really, really want to be around them. Other times, it's like a switch is flipped and I just really want to be alone. In those moments, I don't care about other people or what is going on with them.

Again... rude.

I suppose, like everything else I am dealing with right now, I will just handle this one person, one moment, one interaction at a time. I'll be honest with friends and make sure they know what is happening with me and why I may not be at my best right now.

Mostly, though, I need to make more of an effort to acknowledge other people and remember that they have an entire life of their own. They are also worried about things, happy about others, and interested in talking about themselves to someone who is actually listening.

I can handle this. It's just one more thing I need to do, right?


Monday, October 24, 2016

Lose Some, Win Some.

If I've learned anything about running, it's that it is always a little unpredictable. And that keeps it interesting.

But every now and then, "unpredictable" means that I'm going to have a crappy run. Maybe it's the weather, or my feet, or my legs, or the road, or any of a dozen other things. But it's a crappy run, for sure.

That was my Friday.

Not sure why, but when I started running, my legs felt awkward and clunky. I tried to run, then to jog, and ultimately to walk, but nothing felt smooth and comfortable. I just couldn't get into a groove.

Fortunately, I was running at the gym on the treadmill, so I had other options. I slogged through a mile, then I moved to the bike for four miles and the elliptical for another single mile. I was happy that I didn't give up, though, and that I stuck with the workout.

Contrast that with today. I started out with the same awkward feeling, but soon enough I found my rhythm. The run felt so good that I decided to keep going at the 5K mark and ran a total of 5 miles, instead.

Running. It doesn't always work like you think it should. But that's no reason to quit. Because when it's good, it's really good.

5 miles and lots of sweat later

Friday, October 21, 2016

From Fat To Finish Line - The Facebook Group

If you know me at all, you know that I am very proud of my involvement with the documentary film, "From Fat To Finish Line." It's the story of a dozen people who each lost weight through running and then took on the challenge of the Ragnar Relay Race in the Florida Keys. We battled the heat, the humidity, and the miles, and *spoiler alert* we ultimately crossed the finish line as a team. It was one of proudest moments as a runner.

The film is available now for purchase on iTunes and Amazon or you can watch it on NetFlix.

Believe it or not, the documentary isn't what I'm most proud of, though. It's amazing to be part of it, absolutely. But even more important to me is the community that has sprung up as a result of the film. Let me introduce you to From Fat To Finish Line - The Facebook Group.

Our little group of twelve has become a tribe of more than 7,000 people.

Yes. I said 7,000.

And we're still growing every single day. Because people want to be part of a running community that celebrates who they are right now AND who they want to become. We are fat and thin, tall and short, male and female, young and old. We are every color and religion and nationality. We strive to be the very best at welcoming all walkers/runners/joggers.

We celebrate miles. We cheer finish lines. We applaud non-scale victories. And most importantly, we recognize and support each other when those miles and finish lines and victories feel unattainable and out of reach.

We ARE the reason that people are pushing themselves to try more, to do more, and to be more. We are running buddies and shoulders-to-lean-on and a global support network unlike any other I have ever known.

Thanks to all of you in the group for becoming my running family. And to the rest of you, what are you waiting for? Come join us!

And So I Write.

I make choices.

Feels weird to admit that, given my tendency to act as if things just happen to me.

But it's true. So much of what happens to me is based on the choices I make.

I don't sleep. That's not a choice. But I decide what to do during those long, sleepless hours.

I could drink myself into a stupor, substitute "passed out" for "couldn't sleep." But I don't. That's a dark path that scares me more than being awake.

I could sit and stare at the television. But I don't. I am losing my fondness for that sort of pleasure. I think it's because I can no longer sit comfortably. I fidget. I'm antsy and restless. So I don't sit passively and watch the television.

Instead, I write.

I blog about what is happening with my own sanity. (Or lack thereof, I suppose.)

I write lyrics to songs that will never be sung nor heard.

I write poetry, most of which passes from this world with a well-practiced backspace key.

But I write. Because putting words onto a screen makes me feel like these hours are not wasted. If I can't find peace in a dream, let me at least find comfort in finding my voice.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Life Feels Like This. ("Life, Medicated." Part 6)

I've always been an open book to my friends, and since the rise of social media, I've carried that same transparency to my interactions with strangers. What you see is what you get.


When it comes to my struggles with my mental health, though, I carried that much closer to the vest. I wasn't comfortable dealing with that myself, let alone sharing all of that with anyone else.


Since I've started blogging about my mental health and my decision to seek treatment, thousands of people have read my posts. That's a little overwhelming, but in a positive way. It means that my words are resonating with others and that people appreciate knowing they aren't alone with what they are going through.

It's a big change, sharing this last part of myself. But I have no regrets. And I'm going to keep on blogging about this because it's how I'm going to save my own life.

The Short Version

Me, when I stay silent about what is happening

Me, when I share my struggles with my friends

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It's Funny Until It Isn't. And It Isn't. ("Life, Medicated." Part 5)

I'll be honest. There is a lot of funny to be found in this situation. Changing my brain chemistry is a very inexact science, and it's inevitable that humor finds its way in.

Everything's Coming Up Trouble

I have always struggled with sleep. On the plus side, I can lay down and drift off to sleep almost immediately. On the negative side, I don't stay asleep for very long. After a couple of hours, I am wide awake again. (In fact, it's 3am as I write this, because I couldn't sleep tonight. But more on that later.)

My sleeping problem has become worse with my anxiety and depression medication. My 4-5 hours of sleep per night dropped off to 3-4, at most. That's not good. So I contacted my doctor to let her know and see what she recommended I do. She prescribed a mild sleep aid to help me sleep through the night. I went to pick up my prescription, and when my name was called, I stepped up to the counter and was met by a young-ish pharmacist I'll call Dr. Mumbles. He briefly - and loudly - explained what the pills were, what they should do, and what I should expect. I nodded along, said thank you, and was ready to walk away. Then, quickly and rather quietly, the doctor earned his nickname by mumbling something about additional side effects and a recommendation to "... head directly to the ER to avoid long-term damage."

Dr Mumbles, chatty as usual
Wait. What?!

I stepped back up to the counter, called him back, and said, "excuse me, what was that last part?"

Turns out, one of the rare but possible side effects of this sleeping pill is priapism. I'd never heard of that, so I had to ask him again to explain. Turns out, as I learned in greater Wikipedia detail later, "priapism is a medical condition in which the erect penis does not return to its flaccid state, despite the absence of both physical and psychological stimulation, within four hours. Priapism is potentially painful and is considered a medical emergency, which should receive proper treatment by a qualified medical practitioner."

So, you know, there's that to look forward to. Now not only will I be wide awake, I'll be wandering down to the Emergency Room to let the whole hospital know that my insomnia has turned me into a 16-year-old boy. What else could I do but sit in my car, giggle a little bit, and decide the whole situation was comedy gold? Good times.

Not Laughing Now

Alas, the humor was short-lived. My medication and natural insomnia are conspiring to give me a very bad time, indeed. And it's getting worse each day. I'll be calling my doctor later this morning to discuss the problem and find an alternative solution. Because I can't keep this up.

Yesterday was the worst. I was antsy and fidgety, unable to stay focused on anything. I grabbed the TV remote a half-dozen times but never turned it on, because there isn't anything that I felt would hold my attention. I tried to read and tried to write, but neither activity was enough to calm my racing mind. Ultimately, I just gave up and laid down for a nap. I didn't sleep well, but at least I was able to ease the stress levels a bit.

It wasn't just yesterday, though. In Phoenix all weekend, I really struggled to settle and calm myself. I was tired, exhausted even, but also really wired and unable to sleep. Standing around talking to people, I found myself thinking, "damn, I really just want to crawl into that corner over there and take a quick nap." That's no way to go through life, right? I can't just drop into nap-mode every couple of hours. It started out amusing, but it isn't funny now. Sleeplessness is a significant contributor to a negative mindset, and I really can't afford to slide back into that place.

It's A Problem

I'll be honest. I'm a little worried here. I know that this is all part of the process, but I hate to think that the first medication I am taking might not be the one that works for me long-term. A friend who went through a similar situation said it took him nearly a year, four different medications, and many different dosage changes before he found what works for him. Damn. I don't want that for me. I mean, I want the "this works" part but not the "took a year to get there" part.

But, it is what it is, right? I need to do whatever I have to if I want to get and stay healthy.

My course of action for the day is simple. I'm going to let my boss know I need to take the day off for medical reasons. I'm going to contact my doctor as soon as she is in the office. I'm going to be completely honest about all that is happening with me right now. And I'm going to make whatever changes she recommends to my prescriptions. I trust her.

Yes, this is a problem. But it's nothing that some open communication and a small co-pay won't fix, right?


If you're just catching up, here's what you missed earlier on "Life, Medicated":

Thursday, October 13, 2016

What's Next for Runner 12?

There's a lot of racing up ahead for me.

Three Ragnar Relay Races.
Three half marathons.
Four full marathons.
And a ten mile virtual race.

Maybe you'll join me for a few miles?

Sunday, October 16th - Road Runner Sports Craft Classic Half Marathon Phoenix

Friday and Saturday, November 4th and 5th - Ragnar Napa Relay

Thursday, November 10th - Tun Tavern Ten Virtual Race

Sunday, December 18th - San Diego Holiday Half Marathon

Saturday, January 7th - Citrus Heritage Run

Sunday, February 5th - Surf City Half Marathon

Saturday, February 25th - Phoenix Marathon

Friday and Saturday, March 10th and 11th - Ragnar Del Sol Relay

Sunday, March 19th - LA Marathon

Friday and Saturday, April 7th and 8th - Ragnar SoCal

Sunday, May 7th - OC Marathon

The Long Road to Long Beach (Marathon Recap)

After nearly three months of preparation and training, the Long Beach Marathon - my Marathon Number Eight - is now just a memory. My training was not great but it was definitely better than my training for the San Diego Rock 'n Roll Marathon, so I consider the whole experience an improvement.

Hello, Dexter

The event was in Long Beach, which is at least a ninety-minute drive from my home in San Diego. With such an early start time, I decided it made sense to stay overnight before the race. Hotels in that area are costly and often unavailable the night before a major event, so I opted for AirBnb, instead. Good call. For $80, I found a private room in a beautiful home only a few miles from the start/finish line and two blocks away from the 12-mile mark on the course. That meant a good night sleep before the race instead of having to drive all the way up from San Diego.

The house was also featured throughout Season 8 of Dexter, which is kind of cool. The host was super friendly, too, which reinforces the idea of AirBnb instead of hotels whenever possible.

Pack Carefully

The night before a race is always a little stressful. I have more gear than I can possibly carry or use, but I do like to have options. I opted to carry a few things with me at the start and pick up extras (like my water bottle and sunscreen) from my husband when I saw him at Mile 11/12. 

The Start Line

It's always emotional for me at the start line. I was alone with my own thoughts this time, so it was an opportunity to really think about all the choices I had made that led me to that moment. From a guy sitting on the couch to a man about to run a marathon, it has been quite a journey. 

After crying my way through the National Anthem, we were off.

What A View

The Long Beach course was overall not the prettiest, but parts of it were spectacular. I really enjoyed the sunrise shining down on the water and the Queen Mary. It was so gorgeous, I stopped for several pictures and didn't care one bit about how much time it was taking me. Always notice the scenery, folks.

On Pace

After running a seven-hour marathon in San Diego, I set a goal for myself of 6:30 for Long Beach. I knew that sub-15:00 miles were easy enough to maintain and that would bring me in right around my goal time. My second 5K was actually faster than my first and I still felt strong after hitting ten miles. But me being me, that was all about to change.

Don't Talk To Strangers

Maybe I need to add Rick Springfield's song to my running playlist, because talking to strangers seems to be impacting my finish times. (I tease, I tease. I will always talk to people on the course. That's half the fun of entering a race.) 

I met a man named Rich while we were still finishing our run along the water's edge. He was a friendly guy, running by himself, and we struck up an easy conversation as we ran/walked. Turns out he is normally a sub-four hour marathoner, but he was not prepared with his training for Long Beach and he was paying the price. I opted to slow down a bit to stay with him, since he seemed to be struggling and hadn't yet fully committed to sticking with it and finishing. What can I say? I'm a sucker for helping other people.

Meeting Ric

This race was unusual in that my husband had come along. I expected he would be meeting me near Mile 11/12, and that's right where he was. Seeing him gave me such a boost of energy and momentum just when I needed it the most. I introduced him to Rich and explained that we were going to run the rest together, and he wished us well and sent us back out on our way.

The Long Miles

If you have never run a marathon, let me tell you about the "back miles." They are the ones that you have to run after the half-marathoners have peeled off for their own course. They are miles 14-19, where you have been running for a long time but still have so, so much to still run.

I felt pretty good on these miles, but candidly, Rich was really having a tough time. His body did not want to be out there, and he was physically sick a few times. But he dug deep and refused to quit, so I just kept pulling him along. And by the time we cleared the Cal State University Long Beach campus and hit Mile 20, he was finally convinced that he was going to finish.

No Regrets

I crossed the finish line with an official time of 7:20:XX. It was much slower than I thought I would be, but I am absolutely proud of the race I ran. I could have left Rich and stuck with my original race plan, but that wasn't the point of being out there. I was supposed to catch up to Rich and make sure he finished, and that's what I did. There will be other marathons for me to improve on my last time.

Fun Fact: When we took off at the start line, a Jet Blue Airlines (the marathon sponsor) jet was taking off from Long Beach to La Guardia. The challenge to each runner was, "beat the jet." The scheduled time was 6:20:00, so most people felt confident they would finish before the plane landed. But the unexpected twist was the phrase, "if you can't beat the jet, join it." Several of us that finished AFTER the jet landed were rewarded with a free, round-trip ticket anywhere Jet Blue flies non-stop from Long Beach. Yep, I won a ticket to New York just because I chose to stick with a slower runner.

Who's awesome now? This guy. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

6,000 Members. Seriously. 6,000.

Before the day is over, I expect we are going to hit 6,000 members in our From Fat To Finish Line Facebook group.

Six thousand people in one group. That's a lot of folks, to be sure. But thanks to my teammate, Linda, we have a way to visualize just how many people that is.

This is our team of twelve people featured in the documentary From Fat To Finish Line, captured at the finish line of the Ragnar Florida Keys:

From the original twelve, our group began to grow as fans became friends, friends became teammates, and we all became a tribe.

This represents what our group looked like when we were sixty people:

And then six hundred:

And now, in the next few hours, we'll be at six thousand members. And it will look like this:

Thank you to everyone who has made our original group and our passion project become a movement that continues to grow every single day. We are all so grateful to be part of the ever-expanding tribe of people going From Fat To Finish Line.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
~ Margaret Mead

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Talk Is Cheap. ("Life, Medicated." Part 4)

Status Report

It's been nearly two weeks that I've been taking my medication, and I really don't have an opinion as to how well it's going. On one hand, I feel fine, I suppose. On the other, I've still been dealing with mood swings. Is it because the medicine is still building up? Maybe. Is it because medication only takes the high and low edges off but I still have to deal with the emotions in the middle? Maybe. Time will tell, I suppose.

All the basics are still the same. I'm committed to taking medication to help me deal with the anxiety and the depression that have done their best to take me out. I don't want to spend so much time and energy battling emotional extremes. So yeah, I'm in this.

Drugs Aren't Enough

Even assuming my doctor hit a home run on the first pitch and managed to prescribe (a) the right drug in (b) the right dosage without (c) any complementary medications, I know that the medicine itself isn't a cure-all. It's just a helping hand to get me in a better head space. What I do in that space is a different challenge.
Not at all the kind of therapy I get, but how cool would this be?

Enter William K. He's a licensed therapist that I have decided to see on a regular basis. I first met him more than a year ago, when I decided that I would benefit from having an objective person to talk to about all of the trauma and drama that was happening in my life. He really helped me at the time, and he gave me some very specific advice as to how I could be more mindful in my thinking and in my healing.

Anyway, after I saw him a couple of times in June 2015, I felt "cured" and didn't make any follow-up appointments... until late October 2015 after the man I pulled from a burning car ended up dying at the hospital a few weeks later. William was a great sounding board and, once again, helped me pull myself back together. So it only makes sense that I start seeing him again now.

Talk Really Is Cheap

I mean that in the best way possible. Because my husband is a Kaiser employee, we have no insurance premiums and no deductibles. We each only pay a $5.00 cost sharing payment for any medical treatment we receive. Doctor visit? $5. Surgery? $5. And yes, mental health counseling sessions? $5. So I can't use money as an excuse to not go to counseling.

For anyone wondering, yes, I absolutely know how fortunate we are to have this benefit. Many people are unable to afford mental health treatment, or their plan doesn't cover it at all. I think it should be more affordable for everyone, because who wouldn't benefit from a chance to talk openly and privately with a great listener?

What's The Plan?

Whenever I see William K, he always makes it a point to send me away with a very specific list of to-do items. (He knows I'm a list person.) In the past, he has challenged me to spend time in pursuit of silence and solitude and to focus on the reality of what happened instead of dragging myself through the wringer playing "oh, you know what else even worse could have happened?!" games.

The plan now is for me to be more compassionate towards myself, so I guess that means no more attacking myself for being a jackass and forgetting my medication. He also wants me to be mindful of the moments I'm in, the good moments, instead of always jumping ahead to to the stressful things I have coming up. And finally, he wants me to try to stay in a positive headspace about the many great things going on in my life right now. Apparently, I have developed a bit of a callous around a few really amazing things and have been taking them for granted.

Medication is only a piece of the puzzle. Awareness of my own mental state is another. And counseling sessions - honest and candid - are another. I'm taking the first, I'm working on the second, and I've committed to the third.

I can do this.


If you're just catching up, here's what you missed earlier on "Life, Medicated":

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Well, That Was Fast. ("Life, Medicated." Part 3)

Previously on "Life, Medicated":

Yeah, actually, that's about all you've missed so far. But here's where it starts to get good... or messy. Not sure which way this is going to go, yet.

That Was Fast

It didn't take long for me to screw up. Yesterday was only Day 10 and I already forgot to take my pill. Because it's new, I really don't know what the impact might be of missing or delaying a dose. My doctor said it was important to establish a routine with the medication, but she didn't say it was critical. Still, no matter, my takeaway was that I had already found a way to screw things up.

I was nearly at work twenty-five miles away when I realized I missed it, and there was no way I was going to fight morning traffic in both directions just to get back home for it. I tried a couple of different ways to get the pill (have a friend who was already driving up swing by the house first, get the doctor to call in a single-dose prescription at the pharmacy across from my office, etc), but in the end, I opted to just wait until I got home late afternoon to take the pill. And I appear to have survived with my faculties intact.

Hello, Emotions

I was driving to work and decided it would be a good time to call and talk with my Mother. I know that she's been worried about me and I wanted to give her an update. As I was playing the conversation ahead in my mind, and thinking about saying, "I'm now taking the meds," I realized that I had forgotten my pill. So instead of calling and talking with her, I started churning on the impact of my mistake.

Right away, I slipped into "you're an idiot" mode. I couldn't just go with, "it's still new and you're going to forget sometimes, so let's find a way to remind you until it becomes a habit." Nope. I went the self-criticism route. And why not? Once I start down that path, I want to go as far as possible. I bottomed-out at, "fuck, I hate this so much." That's when I could feel myself close to tears and realized I was truly losing it.

I switched to problem-solver mode and starting making the calls for help. Ultimately, they didn't work, but taking an action helped me shift from attacking myself to attacking the problem. And that's a lesson I need to revisit soon.

Failure or Fear

From the vantage point of hindsight, I have a better idea of what was happening. I was beating myself up over my failure, and that was definitely a part of it. But more than that, I was afraid of the potential consequences of missing my medication. It wasn't really a rational response, but all of this is new to me. My only experience with anything even close to it is giving my dog, Ruthie, pills twice a day to prevent seizures. Our Vet has made it crystal-clear to us that we are NOT to miss a dose. She said, "she is stable now and has been seizure-free for more than a year, but missing her pills even once could result in a massive, life-threatening seizure." Is that true? Well, I trust my Vet. And if it isn't true, maybe she just says it so we respect the importance of the medications.

Either way, I was playing that in the back of my mind. I forgot my pill and I had no idea what that might mean. Was it no big deal? Or was I going to have a debilitating headache or feel out of control?

Yeah, I know. Drama queen, much? In the end, a phone call to my doctor let me know that I was okay taking the pill as soon as I got home. And that put an end to the fear.

The Big Moment

My big takeaway from this experience may seem obvious to everyone else, but it somehow slipped by me.

I might have to deal with this for the rest of my life.

Sure, maybe medication is a temporary thing to help me get back on track. But since I'm dealt with depression and anxiety my entire life, I'm thinking that is unlikely. I'll probably have to take medication in some dose for the rest of my life. And that means having to remember each day to take them. So now my desire to be mentally healthy is going to insert itself into every morning of mine.

And that has to be okay. If living a long and happy life means doing it with meds, fine. I'm still in. Because I need this.

So the story continues...

This is me, this morning, looking oh so glamorous in
a bathrobe with bed-head. So what? I'm still awesome.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

To Full or Not To Full?

In less than eight days, I will be standing at the start line for the Long Beach Marathon. And honestly, right this moment, I can't say if I will be running the full or the half marathon.

A Little History

In 2012, I started a marathon training program that I called Project One Five. Over one hundred days, five tasks each day, I trained to run the Pasadena Marathon. And I was successful. I ran my fastest marathon ever - 4:40 - even taking twenty minutes off of my previous PR. It was a good program and a great performance.

By comparison, I didn't train at all for the 2016 Rock 'n Roll San Diego Marathon. I had an amazing race day experience because of my race companions, but it wasn't a very impressive running performance. The course limit was seven hours and I used nearly every minute of that.

I've run seven marathons so far: 2011 Marine Corps, 2012 Pasadena, 2012 Hercules, 2013 Carlsbad, 2013 Marine Corps, and 2016 Rock 'n Roll San Diego. I know what it takes to finish them. More importantly, I know what it takes to be ready to even start them.

Run The Half Marathon

There are so many good reasons to run the half. I have trained, yes, but not as consistently as I could have. My longest run was seventeen miles, which is enough to know I can finish the full distance but not enough to make me feel comfortable that I'm ready. If I switch to the half marathon, I know I can deliver a solid performance and finish strong.

I also have more events ahead. One week after Long Beach, I am running the Road Runner Sports Craft Classic Phoenix Half Marathon. That is an event with my From Fat To Finish Line team, and it's important to me that I am ready to run another distance event right after. Run the half in Long Beach and I'm more likely to run strong in Phoenix.

There have been some crazy life distractions that have sidelined my training. They aren't excuses, just real-world things that have demanded more of my attention. My husband's fall and concussion meant trips to the hospital/doctor and watching over him, of course, but that took time away from long runs. Starting a job nearly thirty miles from my home took time away. And my own personal drama with depression and anxiety didn't exactly make me want to leave my home, let alone go for a double-digit run.

Most importantly, I have nothing to prove with this marathon. I'm not running it with anyone. I'm not running it for a personal record. And while it is the first in a series of three events in the Beach Cities Challenge, a half marathon qualifies just as well as a marathon. Running either is considered completing the event.

Obviously, running the half marathon is the only choice that makes sense.

Run The Marathon

And yet, there are so many good reasons to run the full marathon. Even with no training, I finished the San Diego marathon in June. I'm more trained now, which means there is no chance I don't finish Long Beach. I signed up for it, I've (kind of) trained for it, and I should run it.

I also owe it to my running coach to give this my very best effort. Dropping down to the half sends a message to him that perhaps I am not the runner he thinks I am. Or worse, maybe I just don't have the commitment that I claim to have.

Why else should I run the full distance? Because maybe... just maybe... I am looking at the half because I'm being lazy. Why go 26.2 when I can run 13.1 and people will still write nice things on my Instagram and Facebook posts? Have I really been taking all the compliments ("Wow, you are running a full marathon?! That's amazing!") without really intending to run it all?

The answer seems obvious. If I can run the full marathon - and we all know I can - then I have an obligation to myself, my coach, and everyone who has ever cheered me on to get out there, suck it up, and do all 26.2.

The Verdict

I'm not a quitter. I'm not sandbagging. And I will push myself as far as I can as long as I can until I can't go any further.

I'm running the full marathon. Let's do this.