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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