I consider myself a fairly calm person in emergency situations. This has also been tested a few times and been proven mostly true. Earthquakes, car accidents, electrical panels catching on fire, customers trying to beat up employees, etc, I stay calm. Even my first car accident when I was young and dumb, I stayed mostly calm. I calmly came to, assessed the damage ( I hit a wall) and tried to turn the car off and take the keys out of the ignition to cut the power. Too bad I wasn’t thinking about the fact that the car had to be in park to accomplish all that. 🙂 I was also calm when I saw my passenger lying on the ground. I knew he had to have gotten there on his own and he had. He got out and went and laid down. No, none of us had been drinking. I stayed fairly calm through all this but lost it when I called my mom- so mostly calm. That big earthquake that damaged town years ago? I was working when it rolled through, I told everyone to take cover and I went to turn off the large open gas range. We then evacuated, still calm. My point to all this is that I am not one who panics easily. So imagine my shock when I ran myself into a panic attack a couple years ago.
I did a good majority of my runs on the high school track that summer. I would run in the evenings after work. The football team was usually practicing but they never said I couldn’t be there so I would just run in the outside lane minding my own business. The track used to be my happy place and favorite place to run. I headed there one evening for an easy 5 mile run. The team was there as usual and my mother was as well, she was going walk laps while I ran. It was hot but no hotter than any other day. I remember feeling pretty good and keeping a good pace. 2 miles in I started to freak out. For no reason. First, I had trouble breathing. I knew it wasn’t an asthma attack but I could not catch my breath or calm myself down. Then I started crying, I mean full on sobs, again for no known reason. I had plenty of water and didn’t feel dehydrated. In fact my body felt fine other than the emotional freak out. I had no idea what was going on and it was scary but I could not calm down. But I’m wasn’t very smart, so I finished my run, thinking it would help calm me down. I hadn’t discovered the online running community yet so I did the only thing I could think of when I got home. Google. I read stories of people having similar experiences but no clues as to why it happened. I was nervous to run for a while but it never happened again so I put it out of my mind. Until Wednesday’s run.
Summer has definitely arrived and temps in home town have been in the high 90’s to 100 range. While I am loving it, I have been taking things a little slower. Wednesday was day 3 of my training plan and my second run. The plan called for a 30 minute easy run but I was aiming for 40. My weather app said that the temp at the lake was 81 so I headed there to run. It lied. It was more like 91. Still, I was fine with that, I had had 90 oz of water at work and had a full bottle for my run. I used plenty of sunblock and wore my hat, I felt good and ready to go. I walked my usual little warm up and started to run. Then stopped 20 yards later. Walked some more, then tried running again. Only to stop again. Repeat numerous times over the next mile and a half. My head was totally in the game but I could not get my body to do what I wanted it to do. It was like it was refusing to run. The more I tried to push, the more it pushed back. At mile 1.5, I felt it again. My breathing was becoming erratic and it wasn’t from exertion. Maybe it was because it happened before but this time I recognized that I was about to have a panic attack. For no reason, again. I knew I had plenty of water, wasn’t dehydrated and was still sweating so I don’t think the heat had anything to do with it. It hadn’t been a stressful day and my stomach has been feeling better lately. Then, trying to force myself to calm down was just making things worse. Being smarter now (just a little) I just walked back to the car and stayed in the shade while I got everything under control. What the hell?!
Once again, I have no idea what caused it. I didn’t feel like it was too hot, but maybe my run the day before was too hot? I always clear a minimum of 120 oz of water a day, so it’s not like I was dehydrated. Yes, work has been stressful but no more than usual. Sleep is the same as always so it couldn’t have been that. Grrrrr. Granted, it’s only happened twice but it’s still freaky. It doesn’t make sense. And now I am nervous for my next run. Grrrr.
Ever have a panic attack? Running or not?
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