Post-race-um Depression?

“Now what?”

People are interesting.  We train hard preparing for a big race and after the race, regardless of the outcome, good or bad, we feel a let down.   I guess that it’s only natural;  after preparing mentally, physically and emotionally for any big task, after it’s over, what do you do with yourself?!

I have a friend who was a world class wrestler.  He finished 4th in the Olympic Trials, and competed internationally for 20+ years of his life.  After injuries ended his career, he felt lost and depressed for probably 2 years…wondering what to do with his life.

I guess this is a good reminder that we must learn to find our self-worth outside of what we do.  We are not our vocation.  In America we tend to define people by their career (“Oh David, he’s that lawyer”),  by their accomplishments (“Bob finished first in his class at Yale”), by their time (“Zach is a 4:05 miler!”) – or negatively by any of those categories (“Boy, that Sam guy can’t keep a job, dropped out of college and couldn’t break 30 minutes for a 5k if he had to!”).  Worse yet, we define ourselves by our career, accomplishments, awards and 1/2 marathon times.

Searching for personal worth from these sources leads to major emotional swings, because accomplishment will never fully satisfy our need to feel valuable.  You feel only as good (or bad) as your last success (or failure).  In my opinion, people are valuable because they are people;  and we all reflect the divine.   Without this recognition, we will always swing through the pendulum of feeling great about ourselves (when we do things well), to feeling bad about ourselves (we we fail ourselves or others)…

But back to the original question, what now do we do?  Well I have three suggestions:  first 1)  rest and enjoy; then 2) keep growing, learning and challenging yourself; and finally 3) pass your knowledge/passion/wisdom along to the next generation.

That’s where life took my friend the wrestler.  He learned to appreciate his past as a wrestler, he took on new challenges at Teach for America, and now he is having an opportunity to pass his love of wrestling along to a younger generation.  (Oh yes, and he has rediscovered his personal enjoyment of wrestling by finding other former wrestlers to grapple with on the weekends!)

Luckily….I can help with all of these… 🙂

1) Pass on the Passion. Girls on the Run:   Girls on the run gives 3rd through 6th grade girls an opportunity to train for a 5k.  I would love for East Nasty to get involved.  Ladies, if this vision resonates with you, please consider becoming a running buddy.   Guys, I would love East Nasty to show up en force this Saturday (tomorrow) to volunteer for the Girls on the Run 5k in Shelby Bottoms!   The race starts at 7:30, as a volunteer you need to get there by 6:30.    Let’s support this great organization!

2) Challenge yourself in a new way. Summer Speed Sessions: When is the last time that you ran one lap of the track as hard as possible?  This year, Fleet Feet’s summer speed sessions is focused on making you a fast miler!  If you have never trained for or raced a mile, it is a beautiful combination of speed, strength and stamina.  Perhaps (in my expert opinion) the perfect race.  Not only that, but your mile time, has a direct correlation with your potential in longer races.  A faster mile PR will eventually produce faster 1/2 marathon PRs.

3) Rest and Enjoy: Memorial Day horseshoes tournament.  My friends Drew & Casey Sloss (originators of the name “East Nasty”) and I have been hosting a Memorial Day Horseshoes Tournament for 4 years.  It is slowly becoming the East Nashville event to see and be seen.  Well…that’s not exactly true, but it’s a great time with good friends.  Consider yourselves invited!  Here are the details:

Location:  Drew and Casey’s House  708 Porter Road, 37206 (We’ll run by their place next Wednesday on the run!)

Time: 12:00 Grilling begins – we’ll provide meat and buns etc… you bring the other stuff (drinks to share, chips and side dish if possible!)

Tournament:  2:00 – the tournament begins.  Believe me, you do not need to be good at horseshoes to play!

This is a rain or shine event – last year we had rain, this year we’ve ordered shine.

I hoep to see you at Shelby bright and early tomorrow morning!

Mark

3 Responses to Post-race-um Depression?

  1. Christy says:

    Most accurate title of my thoughts lately. Thanks for the challenge to refocus.

  2. Scott says:

    Great words of wisdom Mr. Miller. Glad i’m not the only one, but now i’m depressed b/c i didn’t volunteer.

  3. Heidi says:

    Those words definitely hit home with me and are greatly appreciated! Glad I saw you at GOTR! 😉 Despite your lack of caffeine you were pleasant and honest as ever.

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