This is something I wrote back in 2012, about a year after I had first started running. I found it the other day when I was reading back over an old blog I had and it made me smile. A LOT has evolved since then & much more running has been done, but this is an important post about my history with anxiety. Anxiety used to weigh me down, but I’ve discovered that it’s actually my superpower. Enjoy!
If you had have told me this time 10 years ago I would be a runner, I would’ve laughed in your face! In fact I probably would’ve lit up a smoke said “Don’t be so stupid! Get me another drink!”
Even If you had told me LAST year, that next year I would actually enjoy running – almost same response, except no smoking involved!!
Actually, even at the start of this year, at the beginning of my Michelle Bridges’ 12wbt journey, I had never planned on becoming a runner. It was not something I initially set out to do…it just happened!
I remember my first day of official exercise – I got my 10 year old sport shoes out of the cupboard. Pulled on my 5 year old track pants. Got hubby to put some music on my iPod (which I’d had for several years but NEVER used) and set off on a walk. The whole scenario made me terribly anxious…
1. I didn’t like wandering around by myself – you never know who might be lurking!
2. I wouldn’t be able to hear the ‘lurker’ (potential attacker) if they approached from behind due to the music blaring from my iPod.
3. What if a dog comes after me? (Long standing fear of being attacked by a dog)
4. I might be seen by people I know and they will probably think “OMG! What is she doing?”
5. I’m going to get all hot and sweaty and will have to rush around to get everyone organised for school, etc when I get back.
The list goes on…
However, the thing that actually got me OUT the door that day, was that my eldest son was starting school. It was to be his very first day of Kindy and I could not stand waiting around the house for it all to happen, so I left him with my husband and I took off!! It was the old ‘Fight or Flight’ in action. Big time! So my anxiety had actually helped me to begin my health and fitness journey.
I walked for about an hour that day, thinking about things and storming around in time to my music. I actually started to enjoy myself! That night I was exhausted, but the next morning was so much worse – my legs were in agony and I had the biggest blister known to man kind! Nevertheless, something had changed in me the day before. One of my anxieties had actually forced me to face many of my others. In taking flight to get away from the anxious wait of my big boy starting school, I had actually fought many other voices and ‘what ifs’ in my head; it was somehow empowering!
That second day (filled with my suddenly new found courage and empowerment) I decided I would walk again. It was raining, but I wore a hat. I had a shocking blister, but I taped it up. The muscle soreness in my legs was very bad, but I would power through it. There is a very steep hill around the corner from my house and; yep, I was going to tackle it…soreness, bad blister, rain and all!! And yes – I did it – nearly died – but yet again, that feeling of fighting my excuses and inner voices was unbelievable!
From then on I walked every day and every day the questioning, ‘what-if’ voices seemed to get quieter. Every day I had new voices ‘talking’ to me. “Oh, there’s so many people out exercising at this time of day.” “Oh, look at all these people running!” “Oh the air is so crisp and clean at this time of morning.” “Oh, I wonder if I could walk a bit further today?” “Oh, the sunrise over the river is beautiful!” “Oh, I am walking so fast in time to this music now, I wonder if I might be able to RUN?”
And. That. Was. It! In a few short days I had somehow decided I was going to teach myself to run!
Eek! Eek! Eek!
I followed the 12WBT learn to run program and set mini goals every time I went for a run. Just a bit further each day, or just to one more corner, or up one more hill. The feeling of achievement was amazing and I was hooked!!
Since then, I have competed in a few fun runs. The first one was 2.5km and I got a bit teary when I actually finished the whole thing without stopping. After the second one (3km) I got a phone call on my way home from a friend telling me I’d come first in my age group and had won a gold medal!! My next one (5km) I smashed my PB and at my most recent one (5km) I came third in my age group – a bronze medal!! BLOODY UNBELIEVABLE!!!
I can run for longer times and distances these days and this sounds really strange, but the further I run, the easier it is!?! I know, right?! Weirdo!! But it’s true! I trained for 10km during Round 2 of 12wbt this year and am currently not doing Round 3, but am on a new mission – to train for a half marathon!!! CRAZY STUFF! My furthest run to date is 12km.
Last week when I was out on my long run I was thinking again about how this whole experience has changed my life and one of the biggest things that’s changed is not only this new running addiction, but the way I have fought my inner voices and running has been THE biggest contributor to this. Every time I step out that door to go for a run, I instantly smash so many of my ‘what ifs’ out of the way, just by taking that first step.
If you have been ‘thinking’ about taking your first step, maybe now you can start ‘doing’ it. Fight every negative voice with a positive. It is an ongoing battle, but I’m living proof that the more you face it head on, the easier it gets!
Take a breath, take your first step, and run for your life…