After each 100 mile race, so far, I have experienced post-race blues. I know other runners experience this as well so I thought I would touch on it. This is for other runners that either go through it or possibly might go through it as well as family and friends of runners that may experience post race depression. Everyone experiences the post race blues differently, but I would like to share how I seem to go through it. Maybe you can relate.
The two days after the race I am still on Cloud 9 from the race and experience. I am very positive and proud. It feels great to get through a race like that. Especially when there are significant challenges you have to get through in order to finish the race in the time frame allotted. So the first two days are great! The following day or two becomes a challenge….
I spend a great deal of time thinking about a race and training for it. That time and focus are so routine and comforting to me. I realized this past race that when I don’t have a race to look forward to and train for that I feel almost lost. It allows my mind to wonder to feelings and emotions that I often times try to suppress. I have family issues and relationship problems that I suppose I like to be distracted from with training. When I have down time and start to have the time to face some of those issues it can be quite depressing. As a person who likes to be in control of everything, it is rather unsettling to have to deal with some suppressed emotions.
I know that getting into endurance sports is not the healthiest way to deal with family issues and I will take action to resolve that. Many endurance athletes have some serious issues I have come to find out. Many have substance abuse addictions that they change their focus with endurance sports. I see that many have father issues also. Father issues as it relates to never feeling good enough or abandoned. I will admit that I have some serious abandonment issues from my father and that disturbs me on a conscious and subconscious level. Endurance running and sports is a great and healthier way to handle some of these issues. I don’t think we all should go out and run 100-mile races to avoid dealing with issues in our lives but I can understand how it can happen.
So many friends and family are very supportive of my running and races. I am fortunate and grateful for the kind words that are said to me. Those motivating words do fuel part of my strength out there on the trails during a race. I suppose deep down though, everyone wants to be loved by their parents. It’s damaging to a child when you are rejected and not wanted. I know that my father is a bad person and not someone I would want to have a relationship with but I do wish it was not that way. In a perfect world, we would communicate with each other and I would admire him as he becomes proud of me. I know that will never happen and those emotions can affect a person.
Aside from having to face some emotions, it is hard not to have another race on the calendar. On the days I have felt down I have promptly researched a race and signed up for it that day. I love having a race to look forward to and train for. The structure and discipline become a lifestyle. As I said, everyone handles the post race blues in a different way. If you notice yourself or someone you care about being more sad and depressed after a big race you may want to try to talk to them about it. I know that after the first race in Destin I did not realize why I was so down after it was over and I was back home in my daily routine.