John Lesteberg Is An Open Book About His Mental Struggles

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Today’s guest was first on the show in 2017 and I’m excited to have him back on.

He has taken some time off of running recently, but he’s excited to get back to it.

I’m looking forward to going a few easy miles with John Lesteberg today.

John Lesteberg

Focused On The Experience

A lot has changed since John Lesteberg was first on the show in 2017.

Among the things that have changed is his preference for running longer distances.

Previously his favorite distance to race was the half marathon, but that has since switched to 50 miles.

He enjoys what he calls “absurdly” long distances for a variety of reasons.

Prior to becoming an ultra runner, John was more focused on his paces and getting faster.

Now that John has completed a few ultras, he enjoys races more for the experience.

The longer the race, the more likely there will be issues to navigate.

John has enjoyed the challenge of all that ultra running has entailed.

Highlight Reel

Since our last chat a few years ago, John has accomplished a lot running-wise in that short time.

He completed two 50-mile races which are currently his longest distances to date.

John also ran a marathon relay which is where he set his half-marathon PR.

During the covid years, John continued to run consistently, completing the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee (GVRAT) twice.

In the last two years, John has fallen in love with timed events and looped courses.

John recently completed back-to-back marathons, after not running a marathon in over three years.

Though he has had a lot of running highlights, his story includes a lot of dark moments.

Don’t Expect Perfection

John is the father to two young children.

He has realized that trying to find a balance between training and raising kids isn’t always easy.

John learned to “get over himself” and realized that running can be fun.

His best advice for other runners is to not expect perfection, because it rarely if ever occurs.

Being too focused on paces and times can take away the joy of the sport.

Trails offer a more relaxed vibe where everyone is encouraged to stop and take in the views.

John appreciates that on the trails, no one gets left behind.

John Lesteberg and His Son

An Open Book

John is an open book when discussing his struggles with depression.

He has hit a rough patch recently that he is continuing to work through.

It was during a 24-hour race when cracks first began to appear in his mental health.

John had to drop from the race at 14 hours in and that is what initially led to what would become an intense depressive episode.

Since that moment, John has been working with doctors along with finding medications that work for him.

John refers to himself as a work in progress and is continuing to do the work needed to get to a healthy place.

His lowest of lows had him in the ER on three separate occasions.

He is working on shedding the heaviness that is depression and running is one of the tools in his toolkit.

Rebuilding Process

John is in the rebuilding process when it comes to his running.

He reminds himself daily that he “gets” to start over with running.

John has been a runner for 7 years and his body doesn’t just forget how to do it.

He is trying to reframe starting over in a positive light.

Rebuilding also means creating new habits.

John wants to be a more well-rounded runner and is trying to make that happen by doing all the little things such as strength and cross-training.

He is remaking his routine in the hopes of coming back stronger.

John Lesteberg and His Daughter

Running For A Purpose

FANS (Furthering Achievement Through a Network of Support) Ultra Races is an organization that John supports every chance he gets.

FANS is a “college and career mentorship program for high school students that have been historically underrepresented in higher education.”

The organization is based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota and 100% of proceeds raised go directly to students in need.

John strongly believes that funds should never be a barrier to college.

He is excited about the opportunity to contribute to the cause along with pushing himself to a distance he has never gone.

John has a big goal to run 100 miles for the first time at this race.

John Lesteberg

Mentioned In This Episode:

Stay connected to John Lesteberg by following him on Instagram and/or Twitter.

John Lesteberg is an open book when it comes to sharing his struggles with depression. Running isn't a cure, but it's there when he needs it. Click To Tweet

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