….starts with one lousy 12 minute one. Today.
If you’re new to this blog then I should tell you that I used to run regularly. It’s hard not to yearn for those days, honestly, or to not look at them with rose colored glasses. I liked it. I liked the feeling of my feet lifting with every step, the wind blowing past my ears. I felt like I could go just about anywhere with nothing but what the good Lord gave me. I liked the feeling of accomplishment and the adrenaline that pulsated through my body, exciting and calming me all at the same time.
But I forget the amount of work it takes to get there. Because running became a habit since I was 17 (waking while it’s still dark out to get a few miles in before school), running anything less than 3 miles was chump change. I never ran a 5k because I could run them for free anytime and not have to worry about ridiculous parking situations. Even when I took breaks, I always started up again at 2 miles.
Color me surprised the day I couldn’t even finish one and how much I beat myself up over it.
Sometime within the last 2 years, I started to have occasional anxiety attacks. If you’ve never had one I can describe them in one word: terrifying. I can’t even explain it other than, “each attack I felt like I was about to die”. After a while and too much stress, I ended up having them almost every day. It took time and outside help before I was able to manage it but by then I’d already been out of the game for over a year. Though exercise was supposed to (and did) help, I couldn’t run. At least not the way I wanted to.
The first time I tried to let my feet carry me over the pavement again, I almost blacked out. Pulsing heart. Shallow breath. Those sensations resulting from an afternoon run were now associated with the constricting feeling of death. Once my body thought it was about to have a panic attack, it actually did. I didn’t even realize this would happen as I was going in and I didn’t know how to stop it once it started.
So I stopped running. I took the time to get my body used to the feeling of exercise again — without the association of sudden doom — through milder workouts and variations of yoga. After this first time, I ran a few more times – putting my 2016 total to like….5…probably. Each run after wasn’t nearly as difficult, especially when I started to be easier on myself internally. They were much shorter than what my mind was used to and it took every ounce of energy not to get myself disappointed. Especially with such a stigma surrounding any kind of mental health, it was hard not to feel like I was a failure or that I’m failing because of how screwed up I am.
But through self care, good company and the grace of God; here I am. I’m ready to start again. I don’t know if I’ll be Ko’Ko material this year but I’ll be darned if I don’t try. And it starts with this: my goal to get in 10-15 miles total for April.
Today was my first mile and I couldn’t be prouder of myself for this. Maybe it seems small to whoever is reading this but you have no idea how much this means to me. It just feels like I’ve really been able to overcome this massive hurdle and it’s so overwhelming how great I feel about it. It was the first mile I was able to complete without looking down, without doubts, without falling apart right in the middle. The first time in a long time, I felt truly able to get up and just go. And so, I shall. 2-3 times a week on the streets of Guåhan.
Now….if only that dog didn’t try to bite my leg. I don’t know where this dog came from and who he thinks he is for trying to come at me in #ghededo, but he better watch it. (lol) But seriously, he grazed my leg with his teeth and I don’t know where this dog came from and I was like 10 feet away from my house.