I did a (15K) thing!

The Hot Chocolate 5K/15K is an annual race put on in multiple cities around the country to benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation. This was my third year in a row to run it. It’s a fun event, with volunteers handing out chocolate candies and marshmallows along the course, in addition to the usual water and sports drink. In Houston, it tends to draw a crowd in the 5,000-person range, which is a good size for a split run like this one. About two-thirds of the participants opt for the shorter distance. The rest of us slog it out for the full 9.3 miles.

My run was ugly, but I did it. My goal was to keep moving forward at a pace under 14 minutes a mile, and I accomplished that. I signed up for this race immediately after I finished last year’s. If I hadn’t, I don’t know that I would have done it. I haven’t had the motivation to run in months. The last distance run I did was back in August when Hilary and I ran the Dublin Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon.

One of the (many) insidious aspects of depression is the way in which it feeds vicious cycles. Running eases my anxiety, helping me to keep depression at bay. At the same time, depression keeps me from running. It saps my motivation, increasing my anxiety.

It feels good to have accomplished something hard, even though I know it’s far from the best I can do. At the moment, I’m doing the best I know how. It’s something I think we all live with, the gap between our capability (or desire) and our capacity at any given time. Most of us have far more capability than we do capacity.

When we talk about unleashing our full potential, what we’re really saying is learning how to be and do our best, not just what we know how to do at that moment. The first step in being our best is acknowledging the gap, and that’s hard, because it means admitting to ourselves that there’s more work to be done.

I’ve already signed up for next year. I want to learn how to be better. Time to get training.


  1. I thought a bit about your statement here: “When we talk about unleashing our full potential, what we’re really saying is learning how to be and do our best, not just what we know how to do at that moment.”

    I think I may take issue with it. Our full potential is a continuum, not a finite point. You ran to your full potential this weekend. Own it and love yourself for it. Elsewhere on the continuum of life, your full potential may be elsewhere. Be kind to yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this perspective. Your interpretation is different from mine, in that I mean to say that I sometimes get stuck and let myself off the hook by saying “I’m doing my best”, when I know I’m not. Like, I use “my best” as a shield for having to do the hard work of looking inward and recognizing that I’m more capable than Jerk Brain is telling me I am. I agree that the relentless pursuit of an impossible standard is self-defeating. That just gives us reasons to keep beating ourselves up. I’m proud of the best I know how to do right now and I’m looking forward to finding out just how much I am truly capable of. #shutupjerkbrain


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