Category Archives: Chicago Marathon

Week 18

I made it! The Chicago Marathon was incredible. Fun race. Great city. Amazing crowds. Chilly weather (which was perfect). I ran strong and wasn’t sore afterwards (that day or the next). Got my 2nd fastest marathon time with a few stops for selfies along the way :) And I’m so blessed to have my parents and close friends join me in Chicago that weekend. Truly an amazing weekend that couldn’t have been any better. Out of 112 people on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention team…I ended up in 2nd place for fund-raising. Thank you to so many people for making that happen. WE are saving lives! Here are some of my recent posts on Facebook. Thank you all again!

October 9th
Thank you again everyone who supported me this year! It’s never really about the finish line for me. I cherish all steps along the way and am touched by so many stories and support. It may sound strange, but at mile 14 my thought was that this was going to be over way too soon (my thoughts had changed by mile 21 – ha!). This past weekend was filled with memories of my sister and at times the weight of this cause (especially as I crossed the finish line), but also with so much laughter and smiles while hanging out with close friends and my parents. Thanks to everyone in Chicago for making this a fantastic weekend. Chicago was amazing! And thank you everyone for helping fight the stigma! As an extra bonus, Paula Radcliffe (women’s marathon world record holder since 2003) is the one who put the finisher medal on me. I had no idea who she was at the time but others in that short line were taking selfies with her so I did too :) Trust the journey! Thanks again! WE are saving lives. #RaceAFSP

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Strange that out of 112 people, only three of us showed up to meet before the race. I will say that Chicago was complete chaos before each wave of the race started. People were running everywhere. Guys were peeing everywhere. Seemed a bit out of control. Boston was way better organized before the race. But…for the race itself…Chicago did a fantastic job with so many water and snack stops, and the finish area. Although the course has twists and turns everywhere, it is a fun run through the city. I am still so touched by Boston itself – the people, history, route…but Chicago is my 2nd favorite race now. My biggest complaint is that Nike ran out of EVERYTHING in men’s medium by early afternoon on the FIRST day of the expo…seriously?!?? Their planning was complete crap. How could Nike get that so wrong – tanks, shirts, jackets…anything in size medium was gone by Friday morning from the expo and the Nike store. Boooo. They get some redemption for having such cool dreaming signs all over the place, but it’s too bad that more of us won’t be able to buy and wear their gear :(

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I was one of the lucky ones to have Paula Radcliffe put the finisher medal over my head right after the race. Cool! She holds the Women’s World Record time of 2:15:25 for the marathon since 2003.

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Looking and feeling good at mile 21! This was my last stop before finishing the race.

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Visited The Aviary for a post-marathon reward!

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Thank you Jen for being a great training partner! I can’t wait for our next one! :)

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October 7th
Today’s the big day! Thank you all for so much support and for sharing so many stories along the way. WE are saving lives. I carry many names with me when I run today…I’m sure I didn’t list everyone here but it’s time for me to head out to a little race! :) Some of the people I will carry in my heart today and will think about along the way: Katherine, Charlie, Jake, Alissa, Kent, Sarah, Madison, Stephen, Susan, Colin, Sally, Jodi, Vaughn, Joann…and I’m sure some I missed. Thank you all again for the support for this great cause!

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October 6th
Several people ask me why I drove to Chicago for the Marathon. Besides Wisconsin being beautiful this time of year, driving gives me much needed space for thoughts, reflection and self-care. Running on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention team in memory of my sister can get heavy at times. I openly share most of my story (and thank you all for so much support!), but I also know when I need to take care of myself. On the drive down this week, I listened to several podcast episodes of the Hilarious World of Depression (see link at bottom of this post for a great episode). John Moe does an amazing job interviewing comedians and a variety of artists who struggle with mental health issues.

Several themes emerged from my listening: people often struggle for years not feeling like themselves but not knowing why and not readily being able to identify it as something like depression; once they talked to people and often got a diagnosis, they felt relief and could take steps toward treatment; they learned to be ok with themselves – to ignore the negative voice of depression; they know it is a journey but that they will get through it; and they also have often found their own, unique “tools” to get them through daily struggles. Many take medication, but there are also a variety of self-care tips they use on a daily basis to help them feel better. I like to drive and be alone, they did things such as crosswords, puzzles, drinking milkshakes slowly through a straw, exercising, eating cashews, listening to certain songs, and undoing knots (I love that last one!).

The point is…don’t question what works for you, but get to know and trust yourself and provide the self-care whenever you need it without worrying about why it works. Depression wants you to feel alone and to have self-doubt. Anything you do to combat that and makes you feel better is OK. Keep doing it! John and these artists (and me!) share their stories because they never know who is listening and may be inspired to just talk to someone or to call or text a crisis number. By sharing how we’re feeling, and sharing stories, we fight the stigma of mental health issues and save lives.

The Hilarious World of Depression podcast tells many stories and will land with people differently, but one episode I really found engaging was with Ana Marie Cox.

And of course another plug for my fund raising for the race TOMORROW!!!

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October 5th
I made it to Chicago! It’s been 20+ years since I lived here…it’s windy, chilly, rainy, and the police are on every corner preparing for protests – nothing has changed…it feels like home…and I love it! I did a 3 mile run this morning out to the end of Navy Pier. The next time I run will be Sunday morning at the start of the marathon. 26.2 miles on the American Foundation for SUICIDE PREVENTION team. Don’t miss your chance to support me and this great cause…

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October 2nd
My Chicago Marathon race jersey finally came! Here’s the front and back (thanks again Richard Olson for the help!). Running 26.2 miles in something I’ve never worn before – what could possibly go wrong :) I’m ready to do my part! It’s not too late to donate to this great cause – but you need to hurry!!! I’d love your support today to help tackle suicide, mental health issues and to fight the stigma! I can’t bring my sister back, but I can run and share my experiences. There are stories and struggles all around you whether you know it or not. Be there for others – listening without judgment can make all the difference. Tell someone (tell me) if you are struggling. You will get through this. Thank you for so much support already!

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Week 16 Chicago Marathon

Less than two weeks until I run the Chicago Marathon for AFSP! Other than a lingering cough I feel great. Running strong. Staying healthy. Raising awareness. Sharing stories. Saving lives. My long run was 23 miles – pushed by my friend Jen to go way faster than I ever planned to go in a marathon (if the weather is cool & dry on race day we’ll see what happens, but I’m just as happy to finish slower with a smile on my face).

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One of the spectators lining up to watch me on my training run this past weekend!

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At the end of August, I had a great 13 miles in Grand Marais, MN. There is a mile-long hill leading down into town along Lake Superior. In years past maybe I would run up that hill once. This time I did it five times (grey bumps in the graph). Up and down, up and down. Just like those facing struggles each day, if you look at the map view you don’t see my ups and downs, you don’t know what I was going through (especially each time at the bottom when I’d tell myself “What hill”!). The pic with elevation tells the real story! Try not to judge what others are going through – you may never know – just be there for them and listen which can make all the difference. The run felt good. Beautiful scenery. Town was waking up. Helped me make room for the World’s Best Donuts later on.

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For World Suicide Prevention Week in mid-September, we posted a few messages on a whiteboard outside of my office at work. A lot of the content came from the “Tomorrow Needs You” campaign by the nonprofit TWLOHA. Here are some of the pictures and content I shared on Facebook that week asking people to learn and help:

  • Read the fantastic 1-pager from the International Assoc for Suicide Prevention
  • Read this TOMORROW NEEDS YOU blog post. Watch the video. Share with others. Make a list of why tomorrow needs YOU.
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    I can’t tell you how touched I am that the “KCMO lemonade girls” raised $16 for me this past week by selling lemonade. Thank you Boogie, Abby, Gigi and Evie! Boog is the daughter of one of my college roommates and her previous donation of $1 was already one of my favorite donations. EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR COUNTS. $1, $10, whatever, it all goes to the important cause of raising awareness to mental health issues, helping prevent suicide, and fighting the stigma.

    And on this quiet street in Kansas City, in under a few hours of selling lemonade, two of their customers had stories to tell about suicide. Stories are everywhere. I know it can be hard, but sharing our stories and struggles helps fight the stigma. People will listen. I will listen. I carry your stories with me when I run.

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    And here’s why I do it. Love and miss you Katherine.

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    THANK YOU for your support. Tomorrow needs ME to keep raising awareness and fighting the stigma of mental health issues! Thank YOU for helping make a difference. WE are saving lives. It’s all about creating awareness. TALK to others. SHARE your story. LISTEN without judgment. TELL someone if you are struggling. YOU will get through this. WE are saving lives. I’d still love your DONATION too for this important personal cause. Please. This money allows the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to continue their wonderful, life-saving work. I promise I’ll earn it as I run the Chicago Marathon for AFSP in just a few weeks! Thanks for taking the time to read this! And thanks for all of the support already!

    Two weeks to go – I’d love your support and donation. DONATE HERE to make a difference: https://afsp.donordrive.com/participant/Dave-Thompson

    #RaceAFSP

    Week 13 Chicago Marathon

    Here is content from two posts I shared on Facebook this week.

    You. Are. Not. Alone.

    Simple words. So hard to believe when struggling.

    My mom surprised me with shoe tags before I ran the Boston Marathon. I’ve bought them for each marathon since. Here are my tags for this year’s Chicago Marathon when I run on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention team on October 7th (6 weeks away – yikes!!).

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    I am not alone. It’s a great reminder for me. You don’t how I’m doing today. How I’m really doing. You only know what I share. And even that is only if you are paying attention or watching out for me. You don’t know what worries and anxieties I have about tomorrow and beyond. You don’t know what I can’t let go of from the past. You don’t know what struggles and challenges I face today. What makes me want to stay in bed but won’t let me sleep. What may seem small to you but seems insurmountable to me. Maybe today was a low point and I hid it well. Maybe I struggle in silence not sure if others will listen, not sure if things will get better. These shoe tags remind me that I’m not in anything alone, even when solutions and steps forward aren’t clear. That there is hope for tomorrow. The same goes for you. You are not alone. You are never alone.

    I’m also not alone in the steps and training I take towards the Chicago Marathon. I’m not alone in my highs. I’m not alone when I raise awareness and share my story. I’m not alone when I worry about all of those who may be struggling. If I will say the right thing and provide enough support to those who need it. If I’ll even notice when others need help. I’m not alone in providing this support to others and worrying if I’ve done enough. I’m not alone when I reach out, listen, do my best, and just try to be there for others. I’m not alone when I fight the stigma of mental health issues and suicide. I’m not alone when I strive to get better about being accepting of others and what they may be going through, especially when I don’t understand. Thank YOU for being part of this journey with me. WE are saving lives. WE are never alone.

    Six weeks to go – I’d love your support and DONATION.

    A few days ago I ran just over 21 miles while training for the AFSP (Suicide Prevention) team for the Chicago Marathon. It felt great but my run seemed crazy at times – peacocks crossed my path (true), a turkey flew at me (true – got spooked by a dog and strollers after I took my pic), and I saw a flock of flamingos (sort of true). The other craziness from this week is that I’m back in 1st place (for raising awareness & saving lives!) on the AFSP team out of 112 people. Woohoo! Thank you all! It is amazing to have so many people sharing their stories and showing their support. I’d love your help getting to 6K as my next milestone! Thank you all – WE are saving lives.

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    https://afsp.donordrive.com/participant/Dave-Thompson #RaceAFSP

    Week 11 Chicago Marathon

    This is a test…a bit exaggerated, maybe a bit of awkward fun (at my expense), but please read to hopefully learn a bit more about how we react to others who may be struggling.

    I’m in Week 11 (of 18) while training on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention team for the Chicago Marathon. Training and raising awareness for this important cause are going well (keep those DONATIONS coming!).

    But I have a struggle.

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    A marathon is 26.2 miles. Anywhere from 1500 – 2000 steps per mile. ~50,000 opportunities for my shirt to rub against certain parts of my body.

    Seriously.

    That’s my struggle.

    Every step can rub.

    If it’s super hot or raining it’s even worse.

    It’s distracting.

    It’s frustrating.

    That shower after running makes me want to scream!

    Ok…PAUSE and think for a few seconds. What’s your reaction to hearing this? What thoughts went through your brain?

    Did you judge?

    Think I brought this on myself by running in the first place?

    Think I should get over it?

    Think it’s not that bad?

    Think I should be stronger?

    Did you feel awkward and not know what to say? Maybe wish I wasn’t sharing on this topic?

    Think that you’ve been through worse so why should I complain?

    I’m in no way trying to diminish the reality of mental health struggles…but even for this tiny example think about how you react and process hearing about others who are struggling. Who cares what the struggle is. Who cares how big or small you perceive the challenge. Who cares if you feel awkward and aren’t sure how to react.

    We need to work through our own judgments and discomfort to be there for others. It’s not our job to judge. Who knows when something that seems small can spiral into larger issues.

    Many of the reactions I listed are in 10 Things Not to Say to Someone With Depression. Be there for those around you. Listen. Let go of your judgment. Let them know that they are not alone. Sometimes all they need is someone to just be there.

    If you are struggling, know that it is critical that you share with others. Know that you are not alone. Find someone who will listen. Sometimes small daily steps can help (e.g., meditation, exercise) and other times we need professional help. Share what’s going on and we’ll find a way to get through it.

    I’d love your support as we NIP suicide in the bud! ;) Click here to DONATE. WE are saving lives.

    And…just so you don’t lose sleep worrying about me…my new favorite running accoutrement is NipStrips. I’m saved. Problem solved. And I love the guarantee on this fantastic product that has made all the difference…if your nips aren’t fully satisfied…

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    And just a few quick updates on my running progress. Week 11 and I’m still running strong. Thank you Jen for planning another long route! It is amazing that we can run 20 miles and very soon after be able to eat and grab a drink, and not be sore in the days afterwards. So what’s the difference in just running 6 more miles on race day??? I hope NOTHING this year!

    The weather has been fun. Even when I get up early to run it seems I’m facing high humidity and dew points. I haven’t looked yet to see what average temps are for the Chicago Marathon. A nice chilly day in the 50s or 60s would be great!

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    I ran almost 20 miles for my long run this week while Minnesota had poor air quality alerts. They suggested that you stay indoors and limit physical activity. Uh…hard to do when I have a training plan and have committed to run for a cause I believe in.

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    The sun and sky were hazy cool in the morning.

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    Despite some higher temps and poor air quality we ran steady regardless of any changes in elevation!

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    Thanks again for your support. WE are saving lives!

    Week 10 Chicago Marathon

    Wow – great 10th week of training for the Chicago Marathon on the AFSP team! It was a powerful week connecting with others and raising awareness to the importance of mental health for all of us. I was also blessed by so much generosity for this cause that is so important to me and my family. I can’t thank you enough. I went from 4th or 5th in fundraising to #1…let’s keep it that way by keeping those DONATIONS coming in for AFSP! I like to think of it as I’m #1 in saving lives and raising awareness!

    It’s always nice to get unexpected gifts in the mail. Here’s a training shirt for the AFSP team. My kids think it is a bit bright – I guess that’s the point :)

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    Here are a few recent questions we put on the whiteboard outside of my office at work. I can’t deny the feeling of joy and connection that I get when someone reaches out to me or I get a new donation. The notes and stories inspire me and keep me going. The generosity and support touches my heart. I assume it’s a connection with doing good in the world in my sister’s name and knowing that she would be proud of what I’m doing. What gives you joy and happiness in the world? Do more of those things ;)

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    This past weekend we went to the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market (after my 13 mile training run of course!). I stopped by the BBQ At the Market booth which is put on by the Face It Foundation. I met the owner and chatted for just a bit about the work that they do to “give men the support they need to face depression, take control of their recovery and get their lives back” – and all free services. Wow – what a mission. And their food was awesome too – loved it! In the past year or so I’ve had 3 different people let me know that someone connected to them (e.g., friend, neighbor, co-worker) committed suicide, and they wanted to know how they could provide support to the family. The three people who died were all men, I’m guessing all 40+ years old. Guys, you gotta talk. Share what’s going on. There is hope. There is a way out. You will get through this. But we need to do it together. Organizations like Face It can provide support that you need. Reach out to me if you ever want or need to talk. We will get through this. UPDATE: the day after I met the founder of Face It, I had someone at work approach me asking what support they could get for a middle-aged man that they know. Perfect timing. I love it when connections like that happen!

    And how did I hear about Face It in the first place? By connecting with someone at work. When we share our stories amazing connections can happen. Soon after I crossed the finish line at Lola’s half marathon earlier this year wearing my “Defeat the Stigma” shirt, I heard a voice yell, “I like your shirt”. I could hear a bit of emotion in that voice, and I had a hunch they were yelling in my direction, so I stopped and turned around. I met a young man that day who shared that he has been struggling most of his life with mental health conditions and has been in and out of treatment programs. So cool that he yelled out to me. We shared our stories and then thanked and encouraged each other. Get out there and share your story, every time you do we take steps to defeat the stigma. We are all in this together. You never know when what may seem like little acts can make all the difference in someone’s life.

    Thanks again for the support. CLICK HERE if you’re interested in making a DONATION to support this cause.

    Week 9 – Chicago Marathon training

    9 weeks of training for the Chicago Marathon, and I’ve run over 230 miles. That would put me over halfway to Chicago from Minneapolis if I were running that route! I’ve also raised $2837 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention team – which is a fantastic start. If you haven’t pledged me already, please consider donating to this cause that is so important to me.

    I ran 17.5 miles this past Saturday (40 miles total for the week). It was a beautiful day and the run felt great. Those runs take a lot of energy so I finished the day with a Lion’s Tap Double California burger! So good. I keep saying that this is the year to find my 6-pack abs…maybe I shouldn’t check if Lion’s Tap will be my sponsor.

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    I also did the Torchlight 5k recently. It was a great run at night along a parade route in downtown Minneapolis so tons of people were out cheering you on. I didn’t get the memo that nearly EVERYONE else would be wearing blue shirts so my bright green ‘Defeat the Stigma‘ shirt stood out even more than normal! PERFECT! Thank you blue shirts – you all helped me raise awareness!

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    I watched this video “A Year After Losing A Friend” recently. I LOVED what they did with feelings of ANGER and being MAD. What if love is “every emotion all wrapped into one”? It’s ok for love to make you mad. Suicide and mental health issues are complex. It’s ok to feel whatever you are feeling. It’s far worse to hide your emotions or deny yourself the ability to feel them. Be ok with whatever mood, word, emotion hit you, and know that these will change. Sit with that. Share how you’re feeling. Find someone who will really listen. Someone very close to me took some exception to my use of the word ‘anger’ in my article for The Mighty last year (side note: I love searching for “The Mighty Dave Thompson” to find this article – ha!). I will gladly talk to anyone 1-on-1 about what I went through, but I won’t apologize for any emotions and reactions that I felt in the first few years after losing my sister. Thinking of any emotion that you have as another way to express ‘love’ really brings this home. I hope you NEVER go through anything close to the complexities and far-ranging emotions that are present with the suicide of a sibling. And I hope the funds I raise from DONATIONS while running in the Chicago Marathon on October 7th will help keep others out of this situation.

    Thank you for your support and for helping spread awareness to this important cause. WE are saving lives.

    Week 8 Chicago Marathon Update

    My first Chicago Marathon post! I finally created a spreadsheet to track my training miles for the Chicago Marathon (Oct 7, 2018) on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention team. Training plans are supposed to be 18 weeks, but apparently I’m now in Week 8 of training – yikes! The good news is I only have to focus on training for 10 weeks now (but also only that much time to fund-raise for AFSP while fighting stigma and raising awareness for all those facing mental health challenges)!!! Not to worry, I’ve been running…just not with a plan.

    I looked for some pictures to prove that I’ve still been running…but most of my pictures showed me eating or sitting and watching kid’s sports. Ruh-roh! I have recent runs of 15 and 17 miles (thanks Jen for being a great running partner!), so I’m technically over halfway to a full marathon (26.2 miles), but I also love the advice that the race isn’t half over until mile 20!

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    I broke out my FREE Brooks shoes that I got last year while running the 21st mile of the Twin Cities marathon faster than my average pace of the first 20 miles. That was such a great challenge for me. I love the quote in the shoebox, “These shoes are overflowing with possibilities. Show them the ropes. Pound the pavement. Tromp some trails. Wow them. Thrill them. Give them adventure. Run happy.” Amen! That’s how I want to run. Our job is to thrill our shoes and give them adventure – ha! Don’t let your shoes down!

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    Some of my miles were in Rochester, Indiana a month or so ago while attending a wedding and seeing lots of family. I love all the different sidewalks and paths. I have great memories of biking with my grandpa in many of these same areas way back when as a kid. Running frees my brain. It makes me focus on the world around me. It is great therapy. Get out there – pause and notice the world (and people!) around you.

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    I also did some miles in Colorado a few weeks ago. After I saw the sign below I ran the whole way screaming and waving my arms. No way did I want to be the one to accidentally feed the coyotes!

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    I should be happy that I’m 4th in fundraising on the AFSP team out of 110 people. That’s a great spot to be in. I should be happy for the people ahead of me. Ok, I am. But I’ll be happier when I’m ahead of them!!! My dream from earlier this year is to finish in the Top 3 in fundraising (even that doesn’t feel right – I want to be #1!!!). Here are recent standings:

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    Let’s get me to the #1 spot and really raise some money and awareness as we support all of those facing mental health issues. I increased my goal to $6000 – I know WE can do that. Click here to DONATE. Spread the word. Help raise awareness. Help fight stigma. Help educate others. We are all in this together. Be there for those around you. WE are saving lives. Thank you!