on running and life and anxiety

Happy St. Paddy’s Day, friends.

H is out of town for the second week in a row.  The good news is that I felt zero stress last week and very little stress this week.  He normally goes out of town during the week, for work, but in March he gets together with his college friends for March madness, so he’s out of town for the weekend.  I was a bit worried about how to entertain the kids all day long on a weekend day.  Last week, his trip didn’t affect me in any way in terms of anxiety.  This week, I was feeling some stress from my new job, which in combination with his departure, was making me a bit anxious, but I never felt that panic attack sensation, or anything close to it.  Which is good, obviously.

This morning, I found out my sister is likely getting married on Harbour Island, the Bahamas.  I feel like I’ve mostly kicked the H is traveling so I’m going to freak out thing, but plane travel still makes me nervous.  The two things that triggered horrible, death-wish inducing panic attacks were H’s trips and plane travel.  I’ve had plenty of time to more or less get over the former, but I just haven’t had much need to travel by plane.  And going to foreign countries always stresses me out a bit.  Anyway, I was pretty upset because obviously I want to be at her wedding, but my preliminary servey of travel options indicated it would be AT LEAST a 14 hours journey with a red eye included.

Then, I headed out for a run.  Within half a mile, I was already feeling infinitely better and capable of handling what life throws at me.  It was incredible.  I haven’t been running all week as I wanted to give myself a break after the half marathon, but I didn’t feel like biking today (cold) and just felt like I needed to get out and do something.  It was like the best drug ever.  I was running along thinking of how we’d get to the Bahamas and just feeling fine and I realized how much better I felt and was kind of blown away.  And so I kept running.  4.5 miles at 9:30 or so pace, which in my neighborhood is a moderately hard run (due to hills).  I’m pretty sure it’s more effective than Xanax, for me, anyway.

I have never thrown my hands up at the end of a race before, but the woman who finished in front of me did, and I impulsively did the same.  (It seems the woman behind me also felt inspired by the two of us.)  This picture definitely reflects the way I was feeling – exhausted but victorious.  You can see the spare tire around my waist through my shirt, but that doesn’t actually bother me.  When I’m looking back on this day years in the future, I’d like to remember that I accomplished this time without being perfectly svelte.  I was so happy to finish in 1:43, and now I just want to run faster.

We may travel to NY in April.  Depending on schedule, I may compete in a duathlon that month as well as a 5K.  (The 5K also has a 12K option, so we’ll see.)  Then, in May, comes my next major goal race, the Snohomish Women’s Run.  It has a 10K and half marathon, and I’m planning to run the 10K.  My goal is sub-45.  I’ve never raced a 10K before, but I’m pretty sure it’s a tough race.  The 5K is brutally painful, but it’s over quick.  The half is long and agonizing, but the intensity isn’t the same.  It’s only the last couple miles that really kill you.  The 10K seems like the worst of all worlds, but it’s good to have goals, right?  I’ll start running easy next week, and I’ll start training in earnest the following week.

5 thoughts on “on running and life and anxiety

  1. Becca

    So I am sorry about the anxiety-inducing travel.

    I might offer though that the smaller islands in the Bahamas are pretty incredible and I am sure Harbour Island fits that mold. They are sleepy, with tiny populations, with sparkling water, and endless beaches as far as the eye can see. And you can live on a steady diet of conch (conch fritters!! conch salad!!) and lobster. We’ve done the smaller islands twice, by our own plane, so admittedly that does give us flexibility. The last one we were staying at we’ve encouraged my brother to go to when his kid (eventually kids) are slightly older because the beach couldn’t have been more perfect for a small child — warm water, shallow, crystal clear, completely placid, and full of brightly colored fish (most of the islands are calm on the Caribbean side beaches and rougher on the Atlantic side beaches). I wish I could offer to fly your family there but there’s probably too much uncertainty given your need to be there on specific dates.

    As for getting to Harbour Island commercially, I assume you go through either Fort Lauderdale or Miami or Nassau and then maybe take a ferry from Eleuthra? You’re obviously in the worst case scenario coming from the Pacific NW to the southeast is about as far as humanly possible to fly cross country. One option would be to break up the travel and spend a few days in Florida before taking your onward flight to the Bahamas. Take the kids to Disney or Kennedy Space Center or to see alligators in the Everglades.

    Anyway, I am not sure if I am helping your anxiety but the out islands in the Bahamas are spectacular. So I guess that’s my message. You’re not going to miss your sisters wedding. So embrace the experience 🙂

  2. admin Post author

    Yeah, it should be wonderful. I want to enjoy this amazing trip to a beautiful place. Hopefully, I can. Perhaps I need to train for an Ironman to make that happen. 🙂

  3. Becca

    I think maybe also plan to be there as long as you possibly can given all the other constraints in life. That way its easier to absorb a few travel days, delays, and really unwind between the stress of travel. I have discovered I am getting too old for the rushed 3-day trips I did in my 20s… then you can be on Bahamian time!

  4. admin Post author

    Yeah, sounds like a good idea Becca. It looks like it might not be until December, so there’s plenty of time to plan ahead for a long trip.

Comments are closed.