I had a bad day.
That's not entirely true. I had a pretty good day, but then someone asked me a deep philosophical question that threatened to open a bunch of mental doors I didn't think I was prepared to open. I was so upset I threw on my shoes and went for an unscheduled run. I started out way too fast. 8:30 per mile (a full minute faster than my fastest 5k pace) and just vowed to never stop.
The paradoxical vocal chord dysfunction triggered almost immediately. I didn't care. I didn't slow down; I just kept pushing. I knew I wasn't getting enough oxygen, but I just kept turning my legs over. I needed my brain to shut up for just a minute. It never happened.
What ended up happening was a total emotional breakdown in the middle of the second mile. I inhaled, and exhaled a sob- a long, painful, burning, breaking-down wail. I slowed to a walk and all the thoughts I wanted to outrun slammed into my chest and crumpled my face into a masque of pain. I was a mile from home, so I had some time on my hands.
I'd like to say I worked through a lot of things. I wish I'd been able to finally see clearly the answers to my questions. But after a 2 minute walk-break I set my jaw and kept running. The thoughts slowed down as I started crying, not from emotional pain, but from the physical pain searing through my throat and chest. I turned the run into a battle against my body- against my need for oxygen- against the physical cues to slow down.
I didn't resolve anything. All the questions are still there. The only thing I did was add 3.2 unproductive miles to my training week, potentially injure my throat and lungs, and exhaust myself for the rest of the day. I used running as a punishment instead of a reward. I used it to hurt myself instead of become stronger. Maybe I'm typing this as a warning to you. Maybe I just need to have this recorded so I never do it again. Whatever it is, here it is. That's what I did. Don't do it again.