I’m about to get really, really real with you right now. I was really depressed for a few months recently. I’m going to share my story in hopes that it helps someone else who is going through the same thing.
I crossed the finish line of the Chicago Marathon in October 2014, knowing the next few months would not be easy. I always experience the post-marathon blues. If you’re a runner, you know the feeling. It’s like, “Now what? I have nothing to train for.”
But for me it was more than the post-marathon blues. I had a lot of recovering to do. I alluded to what I’d gone through with my physical injuries in a prior post; I knew I was going to be in physical therapy for a little bit longer to work through severe plantar fasciitis in both feet. Unfortunately, I thought “a little bit longer” would be a few weeks. It turned out to be a few months.
I wasn’t getting better on MY timeline and I was so upset. I was frustrated because I couldn’t do any kind of exercise besides swimming and biking. Lower body injuries are hard; it’s even harder when it’s your feet. You need those to do pretty much anything. I learned early on in my fitness journey that I absolutely need exercise to stay sane; swimming was helping but it wasn’t really cutting it for me.
On top of that, I was really struggling with nutrition. When you’re training for a marathon it is so easy to get off track because you can basically justify eating anything. I thought, what’s a little ham and cheese calzone if I’m going to run ten miles tomorrow? Except after I crossed that finish line, flew home, and got back into non-training life…I was eating like I was still training.
I felt like I was so deep into those habits that I couldn’t break them. I didn’t grocery shop; I literally ordered food or ate at restaurants with my husband for a good three months. Dunkin Donuts in the morning, the sub shop for lunch, restaurant or take out or delivery for dinner. It was a vicious cycle that I didn’t know how to stop because I hadn’t known anything else for so long and I was so used to eating that way. On top of that I was depressed because I wasn’t working out….so I ate. And I gained about 15lbs between October and December 2014.
I remember walking into physical therapy one day and said to my therapist, “I’m getting so fat.” She said, “Krista, you are not getting fat. I see fat people every day and you are not one of them.” She was right; what I meant was that I was uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable in my own body. I can’t put into words how horrible that felt. I hated what I saw in the mirror.
But my foot injuries didn’t last forever. I was discharged from PT toward the end of December and feeling so much better. I knew I had to make a change. I had to find something else to do besides running (I promised my PT I’d give it a break for at least 6 months). I walked into a mixed martial arts academy and that was it for me; I fell in love. It was the spark I needed to get healthy and fit again. I started working out at home and did kickboxing a few times a week. I started eating healthier.
I came out of my darkness and I got happier. I stepped on the scale recently and saw a number I really, really liked. I hadn’t seen this number in a while. “I’m finally getting my body back,” I thought. It felt amazing.
If you’re going through something like this, I want you to know that this is the ebb and flow of life. Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down. Sometimes you get handed some really shitty cards. It’s okay; it won’t last forever. If you’re ready to make a change, start wherever you are. If you take baby steps forward, you’ll still get there.