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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Breathe In, Breathe Out

*I posted this last week on my friend Germaine's blog, but I'm posting it today here. It's one of my favorite running posts I've written.*




The sun is not yet up, and neither is my family. Early mornings are my favorite time of day to run. There is no reason for me to feel guilty for leaving; no reason at all for me not to lace up my shoes; there's no traffic except for other runners who nod and smile a "good morning" in that knowing way only early-riser runners know.

Breathe in, breathe out.

The first half-mile is an assault to my still-sleepy senses. My brain is telling my legs to go faster while my heartbeat is trying to catch up. Within minutes, I find my stride; my perfect rhythm my body knows so well.

Breathe in, breathe out.

When I first started running (decades ago in the 7th grade), my gym teacher taught us to "breathe in two steps, breathe out two steps". Running really is all about the breathing; once you have that mastered, your legs will do the rest. 

Breathe in, breathe out.

My mind wanders when I run. I think of the things I have to do that day; I wonder if I packed a snack for my 3rd grader; if I set everyone's clothes out for the school day so there are no last minute, frantic searches; I wonder if I set the coffee maker up the night before so when I come in the door I'm met with that freshly brewed scent I love and depend on so much. And other times I think of nothing at all. I listen to my music; or the pounding of my shoes on the pavement; I let the sounds of silence wash over me, for with four children there is never any silence.

Breathe in, breathe out.

I use running for my times of soul searching; for my sanity-saver; as a way to release frustration and to work out any anxieties I may have.

Breathe in, breathe out.

And when I return from my run, I feel at peace; calm yet energized; ready for whatever my day throws at me in the form of tantrums and tears; messes from markers, spilled milk, and boo-boos; attitude and sass and wars over the T.V.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Being at peace with myself; allowing an hour just for me makes me a better wife, a better mother, more tolerant of those messes and tantrums and tears. I can scoop up my children in hugs and comfort them when they are hurt, kiss away their tears when they cry, and allow the chaos to take over for a while, because I know the next morning I can run it all away again; recharge my spirit and renew my soul in only a way running can.



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