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I'll give you my first race recap in forever and then I'll try to say why I've been so absent.  If you remember me, you know I'm one for brevity but this one may stretch just a bit.

A colleague and friend has been working on getting his fitness back and we do virtual check-ins with FB messages a few mornings a week to report on running and mental health status.  A local 5K I've been wanting to do was a "go" for this year and was held last Saturday.  it's called the Higgins Lake Sunrise Run and is always around the time of the summer solstice.  They run the 5K through the state park and campground and the smell of bacon from so many campsites at 9 am is both incredible and torturous! I promised to run the whole way with him and be his pacer to get him under his goal of 40 minutes and we did!  37:19 across the finish line for him and like a good pacer, I let him through on his own and held back a few steps.  He was incredibly grateful.   We took a much-needed swim in the lake after the awards were over and it was the perfect cap on a great morning with the running community.  A few weeks ago I ran my own 5K time trial on a very, very flat bike path near my house and did it under 30 minutes and was thrilled with myself so I know what I'm capable of and the Sunrise 5K was all about helping a friend get their confidence back.  I may run it next year and see if I can place in my AG. My next event is as a volunteer at another local 5K for a festival in mid-July and then I'm registered for a 50K trail race in south-central Tennessee in mid-October with my trail partner, Joy.  Going to be a blast of a lady's adventure weekend for us!

On to the "why I haven't been around much" topic:  My mental health took a nasty nosedive after teetering on a cliff for years and years.  I started seeing a therapist and that helped me open my eyes to things I didn't know weren't part of everyone's lives.  I never knew what I dealt with was debilitating anxiety, massive mental stress, and deep depression.  With the help of my health insurance provider and a great person on the other end, I was connected to a therapist and continued with remote visits during the pandemic.

Early this year I "graduated" from regular therapy visits and now only set an appointment when I can't pick an issue apart on my own.  I have an incredible nurse practitioner as my primary care physician, and she agreed to try me on Prozac under my suggestion and approval of the therapist.  I never knew life could be like this.   Relaxed, happy, no short-temper, calm, focused. I had my recheck with my NP on Tuesday and I'm down 32 lbs in 2 years and I may be on some level of anti-depressant for quite a while or forever.  I take care of myself; I get solid nutrition, I rest when I need to, I run, I paddle board, I x-c ski all winter, etc.

Where am I now? I love my life.  I'm so grateful for what I have and what may lie ahead.  I'm forever grateful for this group.  I have amazing friends just because of the Loop.  The end of July I'm set to take off on a covid tested flight via Delta airlines to stay 9 days with "Moose" and "Countess FiFi (Davide and Fiona) in northern Italy.  They're going to hike one part of the Dolomites with me and I get to see Davide speak at a race and run it, too!  They're helping to have a much-needed mental health break from my husband Chris's chronic spinal arthritis issues and constant medical needs.  I've learned a lot the past 2 years and I'm grabbing on every adventure that comes my way (as long as I can afford it!).  Be ready for some incredible race pictures from Italy in late July and early August!

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Jealous of this upcoming Italy trip.

Best wishes for your continued progress on all fronts.

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