I went to the psychologist today. And the verdict? I'm going to make you wait.
I want to start this post back last Saturday. I wanted to run a 20k before Melbourne. A confidence run which would give me enough self-belief to get me through the parts of the half that were going to hurt, where my energy was running low and when I was just wanting it to be over. At this point I want to stress that I really DO want to run. And that I do it for fun. And no one is standing over me with a gun making me do it.
I'd run a really good 18.5k three weeks before but then had a couple of really stressful weeks. Stress does not make me a good runner. The week before had been my aborted 20k - which ended up a really ugly 14k. I gave myself every chance with Saturday's run. I chose to opt out of the group who were running a hilly route. And I took it out slowly.
And it was pretty horrible. The last 3k just sucked and when I finished I got light-headed and had to keep walking to stop from fainting. Then I went out for our usual Saturday breakfast and threw it up. Man, I hate throwing up perfectly good food that I didn't prepare myself. I had to spend the rest of the day lounging around trying to recover. As a confidence run it was a huge FAIL!
Sunday I actually went running again - because I am stupid or crazy or slightly addicted (or all of the above). I did a 7k slow run with Sam and it wasn't too bad. Then Monday I had to get out of the house and I did another 7k on the mountain.
Then it was Tuesday's speed session - I was breaking my self-imposed rule of never running more than two days in a row - and I had a surprisingly good run. 16 X 400m with 100m recovery (which went from being a slow jog to a walk). Confidence was starting to return. So I decided to do something even more crazy considering it's so close to the event. I decided to go long today - 20k to decide whether to run Melbourne.
I set out at 4:50am. And right from the start I felt pretty good. I ran along in the semi-dark watching the sun rise without my music so I could listen to the birds. By the time I got to the river it was light. I put my earphones in and just enjoyed being and doing. It never felt too hard and I finished faster than I started. And I even ran around the oval next door until I hit 21.1k. Can I finish Melbourne? Absolutely.
So what do you do after running a half marathon before breakfast? You go grocery shopping of course. I've never actually run that far before doing my shopping and I have to confess that it impacted what ended up in my trolley. But I'm pretty sure it was someone else who put those packets of lollies in there while my back was turned. And I want to thank the person who left the step in aisle 7 - it was perfect to help me stretch my hamstrings.
And then it was off to the psychologist. I made sure to tuck all my most crazy bits away - I want help, I don't want to be sectioned (although a little rest at one of those special 'resorts' sometimes sounds appealing). She totally agreed that I suffer with anxiety. And that my family possibly suffer from my anxiety. And she agreed that I had plenty of reasons to be anxious but that it just wasn't working for me.
And her treatment? Chamomile tea. Seriously! When I wake up having a panic attack I'm to go to the kitchen and make myself a soothing cup then take it to the lounge and focus on it and some breathing exercises. The idea is to ride out the anxiety and eventually the anxiety becomes less and less until it's not impacting my life so negatively. And I have to stop over-mothering my 23 year old. The phrase helicopter parenting came up and I'm happy to own it.
I feel better just having been to see her. Feel better to have a plan for next time the panic hits. And definitely feel better about Melbourne. It's been a good day.