2016 was my year of going through some BULL.
After everything I’d been through during that time in my life, I was angry, sad, confused, etc. Back then I didn’t think I was, but today I realize I was battling depression and anxiety, and 2016 just happened to be the year that I finally hit rock bottom. I got a serious case of the “don’t wants”. I started medicating myself by saying “no” A LOT – even to all the good things I loved to do – and shut everything out.
To make this boo-hoo session short, I was blessed with very awesome people that I know God strategically placed in my life who encouraged me to dig deep, find those good bits of Shalin, and nurture them. They encouraged me to take constructive time for myself – as much that’s needed – and find the “things” that fuel my fire.
One of those things is running.
When I first started running I could barely make it a mile without feeling like I was going to fall out. I had to walk/run to finish a single mile within 20 minutes. I cried while I ran. Sometimes I’d stop and just sit on the ground, mad that I let my body go the way I did. But I made sure that after every run, no matter how difficult or how long it took, to sit in my car, meditate, and pray.
At first each run was a serious struggle. I puked up multiple meals, body cramped up from being out of shape and dehydrated, etc. Yet every time I ran, it got a little easier. I got addicted and pushed myself with new goals every week.
Running was a tool I used (and still use) to pull myself through depression. When I’m running, I’m only focused on my breathing – expelling the bad and inhaling the good – and my time with God. I never prayed as much as I do now. I fully believe running helped set the tone for that discipline. It also set the tone for me living a healthier lifestyle.
This year, I’ve challenged myself with running the distance of a marathon by participating in two half-marathon races. On April 22, 2018, I ran the DIVAS Half Marathon in Galveston, TX – my first half-marathon, which was my very first race! I chose to participate in the DIVAS Running Series because it’s all about girl power, and their charity partner is Breast Cancer Charities of America (iGoPink). Many women in my family have battled breast cancer, so the fight against breast cancer is very near and dear to me.
The race route was absolutely beautiful. The start and finish line was at Moody Gardens. I got to watch the sun rise over the Gulf of Mexico while running along Galveston Beach, and most of the race had a decent amount of cloud cover so it didn’t get too hot once the sun was full on shining.
Overall, I think I did well, considering that I didn’t stick to a training schedule. I finished in 3:00:34! My goal was to keep a 10:30 pace, but at mile 12 my body was like, “say girl, you trippin’”, and cramped up on me, so I ended up finishing that last 1.1 miles with a fancy limp-run-walk combo.
Friend and Family Brag
Leading up to my race, my friend Jessica has witnessed my ups-and-downs over the years, so I was ELATED that she was able to come support me on race day. Not only did her and her husband meet me at the finish line, but they also managed to pop up along the race route MULTIPLE times (seriously, like magicians), and even tossed me a bag of pickles!
During the race I had my soul sister Megan by my side the entire time. Without her encouragement, I probably wouldn’t have signed up for my first half-marathon as soon as I did. During the race, I thought it’d be a good idea to speed up – L..O..L..! When my legs started cramping up at mile 12 and I had to bear crawl to the side line, she was there massaging me out and encouraging me the last 1.1 miles. She also drove us home while I completely crashed! Gotta love her!
My mom surprised me by popping up towards the end of the race. She actually caught me limping, and came running up to me, yelling, clapping, encouraging me to push. Once I started running she even ran some with me! That’s when I started to cry. My mom has been working on her health too, and she always talks about how I inspire her. That day she inspired me.
After crossing the finish line, I was overwhelmed with love! Happy tears were everywhere! The support team I had there all know how much running means to me, and what finishing this race symbolized.
It was my “I’m Genuinely Fine” moment.
It was my “I Can Do All Things” moment.
It was my “I Am Free” moment.
It was my “I Am A Warrior” moment.
Check out my 1-minute race recap:
I’ll be running the Swamp Stomp Half Marathon in December. At the time of my race in April, my body wasn’t prepared mostly because I allowed crawfish season to get the best of me! This time, I’ll be training for the race to make sure my body is in tip-top shape. My goal is to hold a 10 minute pace or better the entire time in order to beat my personal record. I’ll be more strict on my diet, and following this 10-week training schedule to the best of my ability:
I can’t wait to complete my “marathon” year. Next year, I’m hoping to complete a marathon all in one race.
P.S. – Do you deal with depression/anxiety? I have for a while and just never really voiced it. Don’t be afraid or think your too tough to talk about it. Everyone needs a release. Feel free to talk with me.
What’s your health/positive/constructive escape? Comment below <3.
Don’t forget to #checkyourstrongfriend .