Anxiety on the Run

I have been struggling with consistency for a little bit through this training cycle.  I shared a little bit about it in my post, CIM Training Update- Too many excuses.  I have been struggling with anxiety which in turn has really crippled my ability to follow through with many of the activities that I usually love.

I have gone back and forth on how much I want to share, if any.  I really like to pretend that everything is okay. I hate feeling weak. However, I am hoping by sharing my struggles and working through them, that someone else will benefit along the way. That I can connect with others who have gone through what I am going through and lead me to a bit of peace.  I want to get back to enjoying things without stress and fear.

I have always been a bit high strung.  Anxiety has never been a stranger for me.  I am pretty sure my mom would agree, of her four daughters I was definitely the worrier.  My biggest issue used to be getting overwhelmed and very irritable.  Being short and rude to people who didn’t deserve it. I would then obsess over the situation weeks after it happened.  I pride myself in being a very goal oriented person, but right now I feel like I am much more in survival mode.

More recently, my symptoms have gotten a lot more physical. Nausea, numbness, shaking and muscle cramping up. Anxiety builds for days until I fall into a full blown panic attack.  I can feel it coming on, I can’t eat and my sleep if awful.  I seem to be able to push back the building panic attack until I can get somewhere safe and private (Thank GOD!).  However, I can not stop them, I can not prevent them from happening.  The longer I push them back, the larger the panic attack is.

Panic attack on the run…

I could feel that background noise all week, building slowly.  I can’t explain it, its a sense of energy that just hangs on and builds with no relief.  As the energy builds, I become absolutely physically exhausted.  My Garmin says I slept for 18+ hours in one day.  When I finally get up and ready to run, I have a bit of a headache and a knot in my stomach. Overall, though,I feel okay.

The weather was absolutely perfect, the overcast and gentle breeze is exactly what a runner would order for a long run.  I laced up and headed out to the trail I frequent almost weekly.  Getting the first half of the run I was feeling super strong, actually holding myself back because the pace was picking up and I didn’t want to crash at the end.  At 12 miles I snagged a gel and some water.  The headache was building but overall I felt strong.

I headed back out on the trail and began to feel that nervous energy building. I was over-analyzing events of this week and became quiet overwhelmed with the list of events I have coming up this coming week; parent conferences, bachelorette party, my baby sisters wedding and a half marathon.

I could feel the knot in my stomach turning, my hands were going numb. Frequent visits to the oh-so-lovely porta-potties.  When I turned around to the car for the last time, I began to fight back some pretty intense nausea.  I had a chills take over my body. I knew a panic attack was coming on. I believe the fear of the panic attacks are my biggest catalyst.

As I closed in the last two miles, time was standing still.  I became a bit dizzy and my legs had fallen asleep.  My hands began to lose motor function. I can’t explain it completely, but I am swept away with an overwhelming sense of fear.  It’s all I can do to get back to my car. I thought, once there, I was going to be okay.  I wasn’t.

The drive back was horrible, I stumbled into my home a complete mess.  My hands and arms were stuck into a locked position that was cramping so hard it was painful. I wanted throw up so bad.  I was shivering, cold and couldn’t breathe. My vision was so blurry I basically fell into my living room. Overall, I was terrified.

Luckily, my husband is my rock, my safe place. Just being around him offers me relief.  He helps me get up to the shower and I sit in there until I can feel calm again. I am so grateful for him.

I have discussed a bit, with my doctor and taken steps to help with some of the daily anxiety, however I haven’t found relief for the debilitating panic attacks that come on.  While working on myself, I am slowly stepping back from some responsibilities that will allow me to find balance and peace.  I will not shy away from these fears.  I will face them and I will overcome. I can’t say that I am doing so bravely.  Each day has been a struggle as I feel like I am looking over my shoulder, waiting on the next attack.  img_0398

It’s so hard when running used to be my therapy, my safe place. I share this part of me nervously. I share this in hope to reach someone else who is struggling and work through it together. I am nervously hopeful.  We post a lot on social media, showing how beautiful and great life is.  It really is, but we also struggle.  This is mine.


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Published by RunCanvas

Hi I am Janell! Avid runner and coach with 14 years of experience helping runners reach their goals. Wondering if working with a running coach is the right choice for you? Run coaching is available for ALL levels and paces. If you run, you are a runner. Hiring a running coach will help you to become stronger and more resilient – both physically and mentally.

6 thoughts on “Anxiety on the Run

  1. You never, ever know how many people you will touch when you post something. You may never know — but I can assure you, you do.

    It definitely sounds like you have an awful lot on your plate. I’m glad that your’e working with your doctor, and I hope that you find your way through this to a more normal state for you.

    My husband doesn’t get panic attacks, but he worries much, much more than I do. And yes, is snappy and irritable with me. Give your husband an extra hug. 🙂


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