Just Breathe.

March 15, 2012 at 8:24 am | Posted in And I ran (I ran so far away), Choosing Happiness., Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy), Just Be Enough | 1 Comment

As a follow-up to yesterday’s point about laundry?

I discovered this morning that the very same bedsheets, the ones I blogged about yesterday… they’re still in the washer.

No joke. I HAD intended on folding the laundry in the dryer so that I could get the sheets dry last night. But totally forgot.



So Charlie Brown’s point about my default mood, even though he says he was joking?

Was actually spot on. My default is angry. Followed closely by tired. Which, by the way, makes me angry – I just want to be in my bed.

I knew I had moods, yes, but I never REALIZED how pervasive it was.

So one of the things I’ve been working on recently is to try and NOTICE, really notice, when I’m tense. And it shocked me when I realized just how much it happens. Multiple times on my commute into work. At home, sitting on the couch. During the day, in front of the computer.

Often, I’m not thinking about anything particular at the time. I’m just zoning. But my breathing shallows, my shoulders creep up toward my ears, and my mind starts racing.

And the funny thing I’ve discovered this week?

It’s actually an easy fix.

Because I already do it when I’m running.

As a runner, endurance does not come easy to me. I am the kind who starts off a run waaaay too fast and then can’t sustain the pace: I hit walls early and end up walking far more than I should. Whenever I get tired, I end up speeding up because I just want to get the pain over with. Which makes for some incredible paces at really short distance. Not so much for the long, slow distance.

Which is really important for runners. Long slow distance gives you time on your feet and helps your body figure out how to run aerobically. It’s a better workout, burns more fat, changes your body composition. Gives your body a break from pushing pace and allows for a longer run without being as tired. It’s a REALLY good tool to have in a runner’s mix of workouts. And it’s essential if you’re going to run anything more than a 5k or if you want to want to RACE (as opposed to just running a race nice and easy).

At the end of last season, before the marathon, I was really good at pacing myself. I knew when I should scale back my pace a touch, and could really sustain a long run up to about 15 miles without hitting the wall.

Still, though, always, at the end, I’d have to focus on my breathing, forcing it to be slow and deep. And I’d repeat this mantra: Just Breathe. Just Believe.

Which, yes, is a song.

But it worked. Because at the end of a long run, when I was tired, I wanted to go faster, my breathing got too quick, and my whole BODY would tense in trying to will my legs to keep going. And somehow, focusing on my breath really helped me release the tension from exertion.

And it’s helping right now as I realize, hey, wait a second, I’m slipping back into Default Mode.

I’m just amazed at how often I FORGET to breathe and how tense it makes me. And how much STRONGER I feel, more in control, more empowered, when I focus on my breath.

And when it feels centered, deep inside me, I have this sense that anything’s possible.

Just breathe.

Just believe.


1 Comment »

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  1. I love this. Thank you: now that I’m back from vacation, I have been tensing up. Breathing is key, you’re right.

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