Today I certainly stepped out of my comfort zone & did something that at one point in my life, I never would have thought I could. I walked a 5k – WITH 24,000 other people!
May not sound that exciting, but to someone that deals with anxiety & fights daily against agoraphobia…. this is a HUGE win for me. It wasn’t overnight, but I have been conditioning myself to be in larger groups for some time. My last event was a night 5k with around 20,000 people & I came extremely close to not making it through the starting gates on that one! Medication limits got tested & pushed. Thankfully I am one stubborn goddess & the cover of night helped me to pretend that there weren’t as many there. I HAD to do it. It was the first 5k I finished EVER.
Today’s was pure daylight. It wasn’t the easiest day, but it was far from as hard as I worried it might be. So now I can say I have finished two events! Two large events. The biggest thing for me was that I DID NOT panic – at all! Did this one with my sister by my side & although I got nervous, I didn’t hit panic mode.
One big difference in the two events was the waiting to begin. The first had us standing around just waiting without much to do but listen to the music. This one had tons of swag tents! There was a zumba group happening, food to tempt you into eating (yes I went for the free Krispy Kreme), lots of information and pink breast cancer themes freebies to pick up. Both events people dressed festively but this one, HAD DOGS…. dogs IN costumes like pink tutus! Animals make everything so much better.
It was 6 years ago tomorrow that I found myself hiding outside at my sister’s wedding because I couldn’t handle being around the about 300 guests. It was a time in my life that being outside my house was enough to send me into major panic attacks. 15 minutes was about my maximum limit anywhere. After the wedding, I decided to get help. Now…. I am proud to say that although I didn’t come in first today or raise the most money for the cause, I know I am winning.
& yes. I chalked my hair various shades of pink for the occasion! Now I am going to relax the night away playing with my almost 5 month old nephew while my sister & her husband go out to celebrate.
Admittedly I wanted my next 5k to be a smaller event, I am grateful that I did this. May have been just to be on the Williams Warriors team I had heard so much about, but this experience has meant so much more than just a chance to show support for a Carolina Panther.
In fact, one of my fondest memories will have to be of the party Monday night. Not only did we get to hear why this cause means so much to DeAngelo Williams, but we also got to meet him. Something I never thought I would do. He has the reputation as being a great guy (unless you are on the opposing team) & this night absolutely held true. When I went forward to get my picture with him, he immediately greeted me with a big smile & a hug. I was nervous being in the group at the party & was shaking. He noticed & asked if I was cold…. it was HOT in there so no playing it off that way. I explained I was just nervous in crowds & he took time out to give a pep talk, right then & there.
Yes there truly are still great people out there who care.
Luckily today I got to march with a whole lot of them.