Running in the cold & surviving a dip into the red zone

Last Saturday, the weather said “feels like 5 degrees” Fahrenheit, and the weather app mentioned a “wind advisory.” Did that stop me from bundling up and meeting my Run Minnesota Polar Bear run group at 8 am to run 10 miles? Sure didn’t! 

Run gear for the cold

I followed the run gear chart that Greta, the run coordinator for the Polar Bears of Run Minnesota posted for us. I’ve been winter running for a few years now and with the help of the chart and previous experience, gear wise I was perfectly outfitted for the run. 

Wind wins

What derailed me and several of my running pals was the ferocity of the wind. In general, I don’t like wind that much. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, wind makes me crabby and activates anger. I’ve definitely noticed this to be true. Carefree and joyous are not emotions I get from being out in the wind. This day it felt like the wind blasts were whipping me left and right. 

Quite a few of us in my pace group, 12 minute miles, were planning to run around all three Minneapolis lakes as you see in this image.

We made it around part of Bde Maka Ska and all the way around Lake of the Isles and we were coming around Bde Maka Ska again getting ready to head to Lake Harriet and the wind picked up with a vengeance.  

Take all the accomplishments you can

Needless to say, only two of the group that started made it 10 miles. Me, Jenny and Katie made it around two lakes for a total of 6.5 miles. That felt like a huge success and accomplishment. I take the wins where I can.

Kickstarter success

The past three weeks have been difficult for me. My very successful Kickstarter Campaign finished up on Tuesday, November 15th. MASSIVE thank you to everyone who became a backer! 201 people signed on as backers, blowing me away with the generosity and belief in Extreme Healing. I apologize that my despair and hopelessness got in the way of being able to receive the generosity with gratitude and enthusiasm.

Publishing plan set back

The difficult thing that happened is that I discovered that I need more than what the publishing company I had checked out (researched quite a bit, including getting a testimonial or two) offered in the package I had budgeted for myself, all sorted out BEFORE I launched the Kickstarter campaign. As you know, I am a planner and I THOUGHT I had planned it out. Turns out I hadn’t. 

Learning about publishing and book production (which are not the same thing) is quite the learning curve for me. Every other day, I feel like I discover some new nuance and insight about publishing. 

Authors get agents for a reason

I now understand why in traditional publishing they want you to have an agent. Clearly an agent is someone who hopefully deeply understands the publishing industry. Over the past two to three weeks I’ve realized how little I know about publishing. Very humbling. 

Dip into despair

Humbling and massively disheartening. Made me wish I’d stuck with trying to find a traditional publisher and put more effort into finding an agent. Made me become completely distraught and anxious. 

For four nights in a row I barely slept. Me and sleep deprivation don’t do well together. I start not making sense and everything becomes ten times more overwhelming. Additionally, I dip deep into giving up and feeling like a complete failure. Failure, real or imagined, is a profound trigger for me. I start to think my life isn’t worth anything. 

Webinar relief or more overwhelm

I started taking a bunch of free webinars to better understand book production and all the elements of publishing. I attended one on how to plan a successful book launch. And one about how to create affiliate marketing for a book. Webinars galore teach me all kinds of good things to know AND they add to the overwhelm. It’s a fine balance. 

Contract support when you’re gullible

The other thing I started doing was talking to other hybrid publishing companies. I found several that I liked and started meeting with them. Two of them have sent me preliminary contracts. I’m not skilled at contracts so I’ve been talking with a few of my friends who are less gullible and more skeptical than I am for guidance and additional analysis. It’s true, I tend to believe people and not look out well for myself. Often in my life I have been accurately called gullible. 

Fingers crossed I will select a publishing house in the next week to help me with: 

  • all the editing that needs to happen – the developmental editing, copy editing, line editing and proofreading
  • the marketing plan and execution 
  • the book launch design and execution 
  • the interior and exterior book design and layout
  • the Amazon optimization
  • the e-book creation and uploading, AND
  • the printing of the hardcover and softcover books

Thankfully, both of the two houses I’m considering offer a few other important resources that will help me navigate all that is still ahead. I had no idea that publishing, marketing and launching a book was so complicated. 

Turns out I have my focus clearly defined for at least the next six to nine months. 

Anxiety and despair relief

Being so close to selecting the publishing house I will work with to bring my book to life has finally relieved my anxiety. Previous to the relief, it got so bad, I upped my therapy sessions as I had slipped into suicide ideation. I am grateful to report that I am fully out of suicide ideation. Additionally, I want to reassure everyone that I do not have any plans to kill myself. In fact, I have worked long and hard and will continue to work to keep my mental health vibrant, steady and calm.

Suicide ideation 

Since I am a two time suicide survivor, I have learned that suicide ideation is dangerous for me. Thankfully I have strategies in place to keep myself safe. I pulled out my Safety Plan and for nearly two weeks, I reviewed it several times a day. 

Safety Plans work

Top of my safety plan is listening to positive upbeat music, taking time out multiple times a day to meditate and making sure that I am keeping physically active. Also on the list is reaching out for help and support, not things I do with ease. 

Connecting with run friends

One of my newer run friends and I were running this last week in the dark, which five of us meet to do on Tuesday evenings, and she asked me how I was doing. She asked with genuine kindness and concern. I admitted that I’d been having a hard time and that I’d slipped into suicide ideation. I mentioned it had been particularly bad the week before, but I didn’t say anything to the group at that run. She mentioned that I hid it well. 

Katie, me, Christy and Tanya – Tuesday evening in the dark runners!

I acknowledged that I was particularly good at acting like I was totally fine on the outside while suffering deeply on the inside. That was how I survived in my family when I was a child. It has served me well in the past. It is not how I want to move in the world now. My runner friend admitted that she too knows how to act fine on the outside while hurting on the inside. I suspect that is true for many of us. 

Finding safety and support

The goal is to find safety and support in opening up with trusted people. It’s also about growing and learning to love and support oneself through the hurts and aches. I am grateful for all the work I’ve done to heal myself and how that work is paying off to now having much stronger, much more authentic relationships with people in my life. 

Connecting with my runner friend in this way brought deep comfort and a feeling of belonging and mattering. A perfect antidote to suicide ideation. 

10 mile run success!

The wind has calmed down and the temperature has gone up. This morning a group of us successfully ran 10 miles. I wore my Half Ironman short sleeved shirt from 2009 under my long sleeve shirt and for 5 of the 10 miles I was in that short sleeved shirt. Finishing up those 10 miles felt joyous! I had run my 9th Saint Paul Turkey Trot 10K on Thursday, then the Run Minnesota Black Friday 5K on Friday and then the glorious 10 miles on Saturday. It’s rare for me to run three days in a row, and I’m super glad I did it. Mostly for the community and sense of belonging and being connected that arises from being connected to people who care about their health and fitness. People like YOU who read this blog!!

Thank you for reading and for being in my circle of readers and friends. I appreciate you. 

Inspiration from Scott

My long time friend Scott Greenberg recently did a TEDx talk that is all about how to hang in there when life tanks into what he calls the red zone. My despair and anxiety of the past few weeks I would call being in the red zone. I’m hoping that like Scott describes, coming soon is a green zone extraordinaire! 

I encourage you to take a look at his TEDx talk right here.

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12 thoughts on “Running in the cold & surviving a dip into the red zone”

  1. Thank you for being so transparent about your journey and for sharing the Ted talk. I watched it this morning and loved his idea about mapping all of the red zones and green zones along your life. I have been trying to move away from escaping my emotions and work on feeling them and examining them. I am more myself when I feel life fully.

    • Scott is an inspiring person! So glad you got to listen to him today!! And yes, feeling our emotions as they arise is challenging for many of us. Glad you are embracing the challenge. Sending much love to you Brenda!

  2. Mari, I love that one of the lessons you bring is how to nurture yourself through the down times. Being able to be happy in the good times is hardly a life skill for most of us. But when darkness shows up, you show us how to change the bulb. I’m so proud of you and privileged to know you.

    • I deeply appreciate your observations Christine. Thank you. You’re right, there are moments as I write these blogs (and my book) where I see that part of how I’ve learned to navigate the darkness is what I am here to help share. I am so lucky you are a writer friend in my life!!

  3. Mari, Thank you so much for your openness about this journey, and for sharing the very deep challenges you’ve faced. I am glad that you are self-aware and have the ability to make a safety plan and seek out help. I am sending you strength and all my very best wishes.


    • As a fellow author, I appreciate your understanding of the complexity of the publishing process Frances! Thank you for your kind words. I worked hard to create my safety plan and thankfully it includes things that actually work for me!! I wish you all the best too!

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