Today I did the Race for Life. It was tough and I didn’t want to. But I did it. Let me set the scene…
My anxiety has been very up and down lately and in April I injured my knee and since then I haven’t really been able to run much without pain. Three weeks ago I tried to run the 5km park run and ended up pulling out because my knee was really painful. So since then I haven’t run because I didn’t want to injure it again and not be able to do the 10km Race for Life. This played on my anxiety even more thinking I wouldn’t be able to complete it and worrying my knee would be really badly damaged. I spent this morning a bit tearful just not wanting to do it at all but knowing I had to because I had been sponsored to and couldn’t let everyone down. Then when we got there it was challenging with parking and stuff with my family and that just stressed me out even more. By the time I got to the start line in the massive crowd I was getting really anxious and was fighting the start of a panic attack. But then everyone started running. And I remembered…
I remembered why I love running. How I love the space it gives me from everyone else. How I love feeling the rhythm of my feet pounding on the ground. How I love the determination it gives me to better myself. How I feel like I’m setting a good example for my children to live a healthy lifestyle. How I CAN keep battling my PTSD and winning.
I am not saying it wasn’t tough. My knees started niggling about halfway round and anyone who went past me must have thought I was weird telling my knees that we could do it and begging them to just keep going until the end! I struggle a bit with getting my breathing right. And there were times I just wished the finish line was a bit nearer. But I did love it. And funnily enough I was so determined the voice in my head telling me I couldn’t do it was silent for once.
One of my favourite moments was when my family were at the edge just after halfway and my children shouted “Mummy!” and my son gave me a high five as I went past. It reminded me how I run for them. I run so I am mentally well enough to be the best mum I can be. I run for them so they can see that it is great to do exercise for charity, your body and your mind.
I was there beating cancer but also beating my PTSD at the same time. I Raced for Life for others but I was also running for MY life. Exercise is one of the best methods of self care for me. It makes me physically and mentally stronger. The endorphins make me feel happy and enjoy it and the achievement makes me feel like I can take on the challenges that life throws at me. I have had moments where I haven’t wanted to be alive. I still challenge these thoughts but running is one thing that helps me feel very alive and happy to be so.
So for any of you reading this who are thinking about taking up a sport or form of exercise then I definitely recommend it. It’s scientifically proven to help. And to anyone dreading something challenging coming up. Just take the first step because you never know how amazing it could be!