No Need To Panic

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?!IMG_0822

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?

Favorite place to run?

How much water do you drink on average?

15 Comments on “No Need To Panic

  1. that really sucks–I’ve had that feeling on runs and mostly it’s why I kind of hate long runs if that makes sense. I like to stay as close to home as possible IN THE EVENT THAT SOMETHING GOES TERRIBLE WRONG. Personally, the heat is killing me right now.


    • That’s the rough part about long runs. Part of me would love a long out and back but then I realize I wouldn’t be able to bail if I had to. I mean I guess I could call someone but circling my neighborhood just seems easier. I seem to be taking longer to adjust to the heat this year, ugh.


  2. I can’t imagine experiencing something like this while running. It’s impressive how you can monitor your body and manage your symptoms with ease. I would definitely be a huge basket case haha. Favorite place to run = Nantucket. Living in the city, I miss the open roads and uninterrupted runs. I need to drink more water. Not sure how much I do drink, but it’s definitely not enough.


    • I guess that’s one good thing that’s come out of all my stomach issues, I’ve learned I have to pay attention to all the small things I used to ignore. I wish I could figure out what causes the panic attacks though, it is just so damn odd. Open roads sound amazing, I wish I could find a nice open country road to run. We have lots of country roads but they are windy and narrow. I can’t imagine city running, I get stressed when I run across town- too many stoplights!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I aim for 120 oz a day, and usually make it, too! Never had a panic attack, but, your body has been through a lot this past year and the fact that you recognized it and stepped back was a great thing! So very proud of you!!


    • My doc put me on water restriction for awhile and it was so hard! He lifted it at my last visit and now I love tracking my water intake with the Fitbit app. 🙂 Hehe, it took awhile, but I finally act a little smarter, thanks!


  4. My husband has panic attacks also, so I know how scary and crazy they can seem. I wonder why they are triggered when you run though.. hmm. Sorry girl.!
    Don’t be afraid to run next time though.!


    • Right? Running should be calming (for the most part) so it’s annoying that these happen. Luckily it hasn’t happened all that often. I’m sorry your husband has to deal with them! I dragged myself out for a few miles on Friday evening just to test the waters!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve had a few panic attacks, and they are terrifying. Sometimes, they can just come out of no where it seems. I wonder if maybe there is something about the heat and worrying about how you will do that might trigger it (this is totally my social worker hat coming out and wondering aloud)? I have no clue what triggers mine sometimes though, so it sounds like you really are in the same boat. Way to listen to your body though!!!
    Favorite place to run: currently, anywhere there is a breeze. Haha. Welcome summer:)


    • I’ve thought about it being the heat but I’ve run in temps up to 105 with no issues so I can’t figure it out. But that’s really the thing they had in common other than running. It’s hard because the happen so rarely that I get comfortable and then bam! Sorry to hear you have issues with them too. 😦 Yes, the breeze is amazing these days, a month ago I was complaining about it being too windy and cold and now it’s hot!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Training Win? | Slacker Runner

  7. I’m sorry this happened Fallon! I had a panic attack once after getting back to work from a delivery about 4-5 years ago. I had no idea what brought it on and it was so scary because for a minute I really couldn’t breathe right. They say stress can bring it on but I didn’t recall being more stressed at that time than at others. It seemed completely random! I haven’t had one since but I know they are scary and I really have no idea how to get to the bottom of it :/ I just hope you don’t have another one anytime soon! I’m glad you recognized it and stopped what you were doing. That’s definitely the smart way to go!


    • I hate that they make no sense! Just like you, I did not feel stressed or anxious at the time but felt like I was going to lose it all the same. Ugh. Hopefully we can both skip them in the future!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Woah, that’s scary! I’m glad you had the presence of mind to just go back to your car and relax. I’ve thankfully never had a panic attack, but my mom has had a few recently and they’re terrifying. She thought she was having a heart attack the first time.


    • They’re seriously scary, I’m sorry to hear your mom has had a few. I wish they made more sense, at least then we would know what to avoid in the future.


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