Sunday, June 21, 2009

Every Breath I Take

For those of you that have read my blog, you probably have figured out that I am a runner. Not a very good runner, but a runner none the less.

Right now I am running 4-6 miles per run several days a week. Since I live in the desert south west, my runs are early morning events, usually just before sunrise so I can avoid baking in the summer heat. I gear up to the nines for my runs. I lace up my shoes (I have invested in great shoes - a must at my age. ) I fill my hydration and fuel belt with the necessary water and energy supplies. I grab my favorite hat and polarized sun glasses. And last but not least, the I-pod.

I mention the Ipod last because it is the last piece of equipment that I attach to my body before I head out the door. It is also an essential piece.

Off I go on my run being serenaded by some of my favorite artists - Nickelback, Guns n’ Roses, Pink, Abba, Journey, Kid Rock, Justin Timberlake - an eclectic mix of tunes that keep running and breathing in a rythnm that helps pass the time as my feet pound the pavement. The music is encouraging too. When Axle Rose sings about my “hair reminding him of a warm safe place“, or when Billy Squire tells me that “everybody wants me” what better motivation is there to keep the body moving?

But, yesterday’s run had a problem. A mile into my 4 mile run, the I-pod died…..kaput, zilch, nada, nothing, no juice in the battery, no tunes in my ears. There I was with 3,now much longer miles ahead of me to go. I had a choice, I could cut the run short and go home or trudge on. I chose to trudge on.

From that point on, instead of hearing my tunes, The only sound I heard was my feet pounding on the pavement, and my own breath getting louder and louder. My focus was no longer on my music, but on my body and how hard the running really is.

Every breath I took seemed to get more difficult, more shallow, and more of a distraction. I became very much aware of the inflow and outflow of oxygen that fuels my body. So much so that I began to obsess over it….and we all know that obsessing leads to the problem becoming bigger than it is. I struggled trough the rest of the run, my windedness overtaking me several times. But I eventually made it home, completing my 4 miles.

The point of the story is this….

With my music, I am distracted from the difficulty of the run. It doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult, but by having my focus elsewhere it doesn’t become a bigger issue than it really is…’s in a way kept in perspective. When I focused on my breathing and the difficulty I was having created a problem that was difficult to overcome. I gave it too much power, and it nearly overtook me.

I think this can be applied to most of life’s issues. We need to address them and at times trudge through them. But if we obsess about them, they gain a life of their own and then they take over our lives.

Giving up our power to life's difficulties is a choice. Today, choose to keep your power. Refuse to give yourself and your focus to things that really don't deserve it.


  1. I completely agree! I don't run partially out of fear of running out of "juice" too far from home and partially out of concern for my already damaged knees.

    I do, however, beat up on the cross trainer, bike, and treadmill and I find that it's essential to have 'tunes' in your head while working out. I have found time after time that not only do I get through the session with tunes but if I tailor the selection to up-beat snazzy dancy music I actually work harder!

    I totally agree that you should never, ever be without music while you work!

  2. Excellent post and insight. The rhythm of music seems to keep us in sync with the task; and the song helps us to float above the distraction of our self absorption.

  3. wonderful post. yes i agree, seeing as i have been obsessing about something lately :) and i too can not run the same when my tunes aren't on. way to go finishing up in silence.

  4. Nice post. I run, too, and know the feeling when my ipod isn't working to get me through. Can't imagine running in AZ, though.

    Distractions are good in any difficult situation. My mother is going through chemo right now, so my sisters and I started a blog to distract her on those days of dosing... We called it habanero brownies because the chocolate kind of distracts from the burning peppers.


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