Diana Angstadt Runs To Find Healing While Raising Awareness For PTSD
Diana Angstadt and I first met via Instagram this past year when her story caught my attention.
In this time of Covid-19 without any races to train for, Diana took this opportunity to challenge herself while raising money and awareness for a cause close to her heart.
I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Diana Angstadt today.
Replacing One Addiction For Another
Diana Angstadt has a background that includes a long military career along with being a smoker.
Running was rarely in the picture unless it was required for her job.
It was around 2008 that she traded one addiction for another.
Diana lost a family member to lung cancer and was a new mom.
This was the wake-up call that she needed to quit smoking and focus on getting healthier for her son.
She recalls those first 3 weeks of running being a struggle where she could barely go a mile.
Diana stuck with it and gradually began to increase her distance as running became part of her routine.
Calm During A Storm
Shortly after Diana had begun running she was deployed to Iraq.
It didn’t take long for running to become an integral part of her day while there.
Running became the only thing she could control in a chaotic and unpredictable environment.
She cherished her time alone that allowed her to think more clearly when she was done.
Even if she was only able to squeeze in 10 minutes, that time was invaluable.
What Diana wouldn’t realize until much later was how running saved her both while in Iraq and also upon her return home.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Once Diana returned home from her deployment it took her about 2 to 3 months to realize something was “off.”
Anxiousness, poor sleep, and frequent nightmares affected her daily life.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had a stigma attached to it at the time.
Diana went to multiple doctors before she was diagnosed.
Her doctor suggested exercise as a way to help manage her symptoms.
Diana increased her mileage to 10 to 15 miles per day for months because she found it greatly helped her.
She has since backed off on the mileage to a more manageable distance that is sustainable.
The PTSD never truly goes away, but Diana is aware of what triggers her and how to manage it.
Inspired To Dig Deep
The month of June is PTSD awareness month.
Diana had come across the 4x4x48 challenge and saw an opportunity to go outside her comfort zone while raising money for a personal cause.
The challenge requires 4 miles to be run every 4 hours for 48 hours.
Diana was 7 months postpartum with her third child at the time yet that didn’t deter her from signing up.
She chose to fundraise for the Wounded Warrior Project whose mission is to provide support for veterans.
Diana completed the challenge and ultimately found the mental part to be harder than the physical portion.
All In The Same Storm, But Not On The Same Boat
When Diana first began her running journey she had one son and now she has three.
Her experience with each pregnancy both during and after has been unique.
For one pregnancy she had to quit running at 12 weeks and for the next one, she ran up until 35 weeks.
Diana required a caesarian section for her third child and she was surprised at how long her recovery took.
She was anxious to return to running quickly and found it hard to be patient.
With the help of her coach, Diana realized the value of working her way back slowly so that she would be able to run for a long time after.
All mother runners can relate to each other on some levels, but they all experience challenges unique to their own situations.
Crossfit And Crosstraining
Since she began running, Diana has consistently run a lot of miles, but she has not always consistently strength trained.
When Diana ran her first 50k she prepared by upping her mileage and never added in a strength routine.
In between her first ultra and her second, she changed her routine by decreasing her mileage while adding in crosstraining and strength.
She crossed the finished line with a massive PR that she attributes to the added strength she had gained.
Running has been a tool for Diana to draw from and be the best self she can be.
Everyone’s experience in the sport is unique and you can either draw upon what others can teach you or choose not to.
This post is accompanied by an episode of my podcast, Diz Runs Radio.
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Originally published at http://www.dizruns.com on July 27, 2020.