I set out with hope.
I set out trying not to dread it.
I set out trying not to be scared or nervous.
I focus on my route, my goal distance, and my breathing.
I try and relax.
I set out. One foot in front of the other.
At first, I do ok. The air feels thick and humid, but it’s (usually) early enough in the day where I can handle it.
About 2-3 miles in, I start to labor. There may be rolling hills or one big(ish) hill I am dreading. I climb up it, good form, chest forward, using my legs, pumping my arms.
I reach the top, and that’s when it happens.
I breathe faster. It becomes labored. I start to panic. It gets worse. I start to wheeze. I try and control it. My sister tries everything to try and help refocus me. Slow down. Breathe deep. In and out. Quiet the panic. Sometimes it works, but sometimes, it doesn’t. More often than not lately, it doesn’t. And once I have one panicky moment, it is extremely difficult to gain focus again and have a smooth remainder of my run. Sometimes I cry. Because I can’t breathe. Because I panic. Because I hate this feeling. Because I am frustrated. And hot. And mad. And just want to like running again.
But I can’t. Because I panic. And then I can’t breathe. And unless I can fix this…I can’t fathom being able to run a half marathon again. (yet when I wrote that post, I was feeling SO good. What changed? Is it the heat? Is it the humidity? Is it fear?)
I SO want to conquer this and run that half marathon. In so many ways and for so many reasons...the biggest being to prove to myself that I CAN. That I AM capable.
So this is my plea to my runner friends (or to anyone that has experienced this sort of panic attack): how do I fix this? How do I conquer it? Is it feasible? (the inhaler I am now using does help but I know now that my breathing problems are 80% panic, 20% asthma-related).
(historical side note on recent runs: The last three runs that I had were 6.8 (Sat), 5.5 (Mon) and 4.5 (yesterday) Yesterday’s run (4.5) was the only one that I wasn’t completely panicking in part because it was early AM and not too hot yet, but it makes me wonder if it’s distance, heat, humidity or literally just my own mind games.)
(thanks to Sparkly & Slimming for this perfect post-it to describe what I’m feeling at this moment).