This morning I ran to ‘train’ for my 4-mile race in Central Park on April 6th.
And truth be told, I had tears coming down my cheeks during this shot of me below when I was running:
Why would someone cry when they run? Well, because today I was bigger than my anxiety. I was brave.
Last summer I suffered a major anxiety attack (something I wish no one ever has to go through, yet sadly, it affects so many Americans) and I was afraid of ever getting my heart to race again. In case you have never had an anxiety attack before, let me quickly tell you how it goes down (at least, for me). First, your mind starts to over-think things. And then suddenly, you find yourself freaking out. It could be about anything. Your mind then gets stronger and takes over all of you. For me, it starts to freeze up my fingers, contorting them to bend at different angles, and then stay that way. It is usually accompanied by a painful pull at my forearms that I cannot bare. I then start to scream “I cannot breathe!” and am literally gasping for air. My heart is racing at a speed that I don’t ‘think’ I can control and becomes very uncomfortable. It’s kind of like a suspense movie that is going on internally in your body, just about to climax, everything is coming to a boiling point, the music gets higher and higher in pitch, and then…. it never climaxes. You are just stuck. Scary situation, huh? It is.
The only way for it to go away is by relaxing, slowly breathing in and out, and bringing reality back to your mind. You have to play mind games… with.your.own.self. It’s a battle that s u c k s. But it does happen and when it does, you have to control it. Yoga helped me with controlling this (I’ll post about that another day). But boy, oh boy, does anxiety stink.
So today I cried during my run. Because today was the first time that I ran since last summer. Today was the first time I accepted that my heart will beat fast. Yes, I was afraid and I knew it was going to be uncomfortable. But I did it. And nothing.bad.happened.
NOTE: I am not a runner (by any means! I even found that I wail around my legs and arms when I run!), but for many years I’ve always wanted to run a 5K (I know, crazy). And recently, with this second wind, it made me realize that this is something that will fulfill me and my life. This is something I always said I wanted to do and will prove to myself that I can do it. I am willing to be uncomfortable to fulfill this thing inside me. To be honest, I’m not quite sure where this will take me, but that’s the beauty of life. And I am so happy that I am learning this now. I was brave to sign up for a 4-mile race (eep!), but I am enlightened by what training for it will do for me and what it has, with one little run this morning, already done for me.
My heart will beat fast and I will be stronger than it.