Sunday weigh-in, 5.75 miles and running faster than your ‘black dog’

I woke up this morning with a feeling I haven’t had for years. That feeling of teetering on the edge of depression, of my mental health not being where it should be; the wanting to stay in bed and hide, the barely being able to get up. My black dog was pushing at the door (for some reason I picture my symbolic black dog as a fat black labrador). But there was good news that was worth getting up for – our friends’ baby was born over night and all are doing well. So now I was up, I might as well stay up. I remembered it was Sunday and got an the scales. +1.5 pounds. Hmph (though fully deserved and expected). The plan was to move to the next longer run on the programme, skipping some of the 30 minute ones and moving through to the longer runs more quickly. I had a banana and then we did 15 minutes of yoga.

We set off for our run, heading along the canal towards Bingley for a change. Run/walk ratio continues to be 2mins/30 secs. The first two runs were awful. I couldn’t breathe, my legs felt like led, everything felt like an effort and, if I’m honest, I just didn’t want to do it. It’s hard to describe the battle that went on in my head. Not only did I have the usual ‘ you’re not a runner’, ‘what do you think you’re doing’ and ‘really, you want to run do you?’ going on, I also had a more general crisis. I had a really dark cloud hanging over me which made everything so hard. – the black labrador hanging on to the back of my top and pulling me back. But that wasn’t everything, I also had a tiny little voice, a very quiet voice initially that was trying to be determined not to be ill, not to give in, not to allow the black dog into the room. That voice got louder as we kept going. I had a major wobble just before 2.5 miles where I informed Kath that I couldn’t do ‘it’. I have no idea what ‘it’ was but I was sure that I couldn’t do it. She took no notice of me and just told me that I could and kept going. As she is right about most things I just had to believe her and keep going with her.

The running was hard, I was grateful for every walk break but as I kept going the little determined voice got louder and as we passed 5 miles it got a little bit giddy and almost shouted ‘you can do this’. There was no reply. There was no response saying ‘don’t be stupid’, there was silence. A silence I’m not used to when running. Is this the empty mind, clearing head kind of silence that real runners talk about?  I enjoyed the last half a mile. I actually enjoyed it. I felt like giggling (except I didn’t have enough breath for that), I’d just pictured a big black dog as the symbol of depression running along behind us on the canal desperately trying to keep up with us, tongue hanging out, panting, getting slower and slower and eventually, probably around 4 miles giving up. I win. I ran 5.75 miles today. I woke up not well but I came back from running feeling confident that I will go to bed much better.

So 5.75 miles. Pace of 13.15 minutes per mile. An hour 16 minutes and 10 seconds. However slow that might seem to you, as long as I’m outrunning my black dog it’s fast enough for me. Oh and when I got back on the scales after the run I’d actually lost half a pound since last week. I haven’t changed the weight in the log because that felt like cheating but it felt good.

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