Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Good Day

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.


  1. That 2nd long run sounds idyllic, with the sunrise and birdsong accompanying you. It's so good to hear that you had a useful session with the psychologist. I hope the tea and deep breathing helps you relax. I know my kids are only young, but I can't imagine any other type of parenting than the helicopter variety at the moment. Good luck for Melbourne!

  2. I hope that the herb chamomile may help to relieve your anxiety symptoms. I know that chamomile tea really may calm nerves.
    Good luck on your 21km race!

  3. I love that you just ran a half (in distance) YAY!!!!!! I was worried at the start of this post. I am hoping to hit 20k this weekend'll be a PDR for me if I an manage it (crosses fingers) I feel like I can relate so much to you...even though we are years apart (only a few years ;P) I had the worst "long" run last weekend so I am really hoping to be able to do this!

    I also suffer from feeling anxious....but I never label myself b/c once you label yourself, you are always that label. I've actually just recently stopped saying I have ADHD (even though Ive been diagnosed) I'm just sick of accepting labels.

    I think talking to a therapist is GREAT psychologists.....not so much. Just don't let them put you on drugs unless a) you've research the drug and/or b) YOU feel comfortable being on them.

    Brain drugs almost killed me.

    PLUS I read "psychiatry is hazardous to your mental health" which changed my life.

    Anyway, you're awesome xo

  4. Wow--the tea prescription is very interesting. So are you keeping stashes in your purse? I'm glad you feel better. I saw a sports psychologist last year when I was injured and it did a world of good for me. Good luck with it all.

  5. Or perhaps, you have anxiety BECAUSE of your family...

  6. I'm so glad you had a great long run, Char! Yay! You are totally ready for the half. I definitely think anxiety (even for something like running) can affect how we run and feel. I think it's so great you are seeing someone. Can't wait to hear how the Half goes.

  7. Feel better. Yay for a good long run and running with your son sounds great. Good luck at the half.

  8. wow, you've sure come a long way in your training from when you were injured...nice job!

    parenting is tough...i so admire all parents. i'm a big chicken and not having kids becaues i know i would helicopter parent!!

  9. Great work. It sounds as if everything is falling into place after a bad patch.


  10. I love the fact that you headed to the track and ran that 1.1km to make you training run a half... I am also a slave to Mr. Garmin and always find myself doing funny things like that, and there is nothing wrong with 20+km before shopping, you should be doing that every week as a long run!

    When is Melbourne?

  11. Awesome Char, just awesome :)
    Sometimes the simpler remedies are the best :)

  12. I'm glad your visit went well - how nice she recommended herbal tea and relaxation first, and didn't immediately want to put you on something heavier. I hope it helps! And sounds like some pretty good running, which as we all know, works wonders too!

  13. Running and chamomile tea are a good cure. But with this hectic life it's hard to be calm.
    A long run watching the sun rising, listening the birds and your favorite music is another good anti-stress.
    Good luck on your race.


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