I was recently selected to be an ambassador for Sweat Pink and couldn’t be more thrilled! Sweat Pink Ambassadors are part of the Fit Approach community, a place for enthusiastic, positive, inspirational people to connect and support each other in reaching their health and fitness goals.
As a new ambassador, I’ve been encouraged to share my story. I’m still getting used to the idea of sharing some of the more personal aspects of my life, but when I started this blog I decided I would commit to being as transparent as possible. I’m inspired by the many amazing bloggers I’ve been following the past few months who have open hearts and are not afraid to admit their failures as well as triumphs. I have a tendency to hold everything in, but my goal with this blog is to be open and share my truth, so here goes.
Before running became an everyday part of my life, I suffered from severe bouts of anxiety. My 20’s were spent working in the Hollywood rat race. I managed to build a successful career as a talent agent in a cut throat industry and definitely put in my dues while climbing the ladder, but not without a price.
I can still recall the sheer terror I felt during my first panic attack. I was 23 and a newbie literary agent’s assistant. The competition for entry level assistant jobs that paid next to nothing (we’re talking Harvard MBA’s fighting to get in) still boggles my mind, so when I landed my dream job (or so I thought at the time) I was ecstatic.
Three months into this job I experienced the first of many panic attacks. It came on while I was watching a movie with K (now my husband). Out of nowhere my heart started beating a million times a minute and it felt like the walls were closing in on me. I literally believed I was having a heart attack and was going to die right then and there. K picked up the phone to call 911 and within 10 minutes it was over, but not before I was shaken to my core.
I lasted in that job another three months before I moved on to another agent’s desk at a competing company. This agent was less verbally abusive, but the nature and competitiveness of the job remained the same. I had several more “attacks” during this time, but could not comprehend that it had anything to do with my career.
I’m a natural born competitor and was not about to let anyone or anything stand in the way of my dreams of being an agent, so I learned to live with being in a perpetual state of anxiety (with the help of Xanax) and a couple years later was promoted to a full fledged talent agent. I got caught up in the game and lost sight of what I really wanted in life. Did I really want to be in this soul-deflating business for the rest of my life?
Finally, after five years, I came out of my cloud of denial and asked myself that very question. Around this same time I took up running.
RUNNING SAVED ME.
At first it was just a mile before work each morning. Within a few months the anxiety and panic attacks stopped. Then I found the courage to leave the career I thought defined who I was. K and I got back together after being a part for over 2 years. We moved to Santa Barbara. I signed up for my first half marathon and never looked back. Training and racing replaced Hollywood as a source for fulfilling my ambitions and competitive spirit.
Since then I have done eight triathlons, three half marathons, gave birth to twins and have not had one panic attack. I will do my first full marathon this spring, followed by a Half Ironman triathlon in the late summer/fall. Training is not always easy and there are some days that take more motivation than others to lace up my running shoes, but I truly love this sport and will forever be grateful for how it changed my life.