Post-Race Depression

Here we are two weeks removed from Arches Ultra 50-miler and the post-race blues are hanging on like a life sucking leach. This past weekend I took a mini vacation to New Orleans to take advantage of my recovery time, to spend some quality time with good friends, and to try to avoid this low. The vacation did offer some reprieve, however reality is always waiting.

I’ve always had issues with depression after a race. There’s so much buildup to race day, so much focus and excitement on that one event. I put my heart and soul into that buildup and the day itself. Once its completed, it leaves me wondering what now? A loss of purpose tends to creep in.

My training and racing have become such a large part of my life. It isn’t just a hobby for me anymore, it’s a reason to get out of bed in the morning, it truly keeps me going in the good times and bad. If I had the ability, I would easily walk away from my jobs and just run the rest of my life, live in a tiny house, and live off the land 😊 However, I don’t see that day coming anytime soon.

Every race is just a moment in time, it’s fleeting, it’s unsustainable. The race day comes, and what happens happens, and then all there is just aftermath. For me, I can have a phenomenal race or a disastrous race, either way, post-race blues will always find me.

Arches Ultra 50-miler was the highest of highs for me. Leading up to the race I was in an extremely positive place, basically riding on cloud 9. Things were great with work, training had been going quite well, my personal life was even bright and shiny. Race day came, fun times were had, and then it was all over. I’d say the feeling is comparable to a kid leaving a carnival, straight up gloomy.

I was able to execute a solid race at Arches. I achieved my goal and came away with the results I wanted. It was probably the best ultra-race I have ever ran. So, it’s extremely disappointing how everything can go as planned, and you’re happy as a clam, but then that blues monster lurking in the shadows always reappears.

It almost seems selfish to feel this way after a great race and a fantastic opportunity to run in such a beautiful place. I do have to admit that there are outside factors playing into this situation that are most likely contributing to these blues. During any kind of a low that a person experiences, whether it be running related or not, those are the times that your circle of people/supporters emerge. And I must say, I am very blessed to have the people I do in my life.

I did sign up for the Bighorn 50 in June up in Wyoming, which has somewhat brought me out of the dark. I’m extremely stoked to start training for this race, and in all honesty, I feel like getting another race on the calendar and throwing myself back into the grind is just what I need at this point.

I know this low will pass, just like it always does. However, I never knew what post-race depression even was until I started running ultra races. I haven’t been running in the ultra world long, but I feel this is something that isn’t talked about enough.

The important thing that I need to remember, and anyone else who struggles with this, is that our emotions are real, whether it be related to post-race depression or something else. These blues don’t make you less of an athlete or a person. You are enough.

“We are all broken, that’s how the light gets in.” -Earnest Hemingway

 

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