Learning to Breathe :: The First Mile

I’ve not said anything about this, but on Monday I hit the first major milestone in my new goal: running distance.

It had always been my PT’s intention to get me to do 1k as part of my ‘training’ this week, and I knew I had the potential inside, but having had an asthma attack on Sunday after stressing myself out? Brain was already trying to stop me before I began, and I was nervous. My PT hooked me up with her own heart rate monitor so she could check I was okay, and I began the run reasonably confident until I hit 600 meters and just wanted to stop. Then an important connection got made in my brain: I could keep failing forever, and really it wouldn’t matter. Nobody dies if I don’t do this, nothing bad or wrong transpires. I just don’t push myself out of a comfort zone and move forward. What made me finish the last 400 meters wasn’t my own desire to complete the task, but the realisation I’d let my PT down. She knew I was capable, but that panic was setting in. Once the understanding became apparent? It was done. I did it.

I can run 1000m in seven minutes and fifty seconds.

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The biggest problem I have now is my feet, which are suffering more than any other part of my body and I think this means I’ll be trying to pick up some better cushioned footwear as a matter of urgency. That’s not a problem on a treadmill, by the way, but for the extra miles I’m sticking in on the pavements: I did another 4.7 miles today to and from school and the last mile and a half was painful, especially for ankles. However, the changes to my body are now inescapable, and I’m beyond happy. In fact, I don’t think there would have been a point in my entire life where I’d have gone out simply wearing a sports vest top with support on the upper half of my body and nothing else. It is so hot here today I still sweated buckets, but this is an all-time high for body confidence.

That alone makes those last 400 metres worthwhile, because an important threshold has been crossed.

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I’m also managing to maintain the attack on domestic chores, the removal of unwanted crap and getting everybody else in the house to help out more, and the results are beyond satisfying. WHO KNEW that if you showed willing, people would help you? The downside to this however is where before I’d spend time talking to people and ‘online’ or via social media, there is no longer this luxury and inevitably, I sense some people have felt as if they’re being left out. Again, this boils down to the definition of friendship and how you conduct yourself in the Modern World. The people that matter I’ll always have time for, but I won’t allow negativity to bring me down as it has so often in the past. I can’t afford to go backwards at what is, at least for me, a very crucial stage of my journey. If people want to be a part of this that’s brilliant, but to make it work there will have to be give and take. Inevitably, I realise, there will be casualties. I just hope that in the end everyone can be happy for me, but if they want to be with me? This is the path.

Get some good running shoes and come make the journey with me.

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I realise this first kilometre is significant, but what will matter more is when I go to the Gym tomorrow and do it again, and the one after that and when I stop thinking about them as benchmarks and simply numbers, then we will have made progress. For now, like everything else, this is a line in the sand. I need to learn to do less moving with upper body to not stress out my chest muscles. My stride needs to be lighter and less compressed. There is a lot of technique to learn and yet none of that matters if I can’t keep doing that benchmark until it becomes routine. I’m going to buy my PT a gift and when I see her next it will be presented with a Thank You card to make sure she understands just how grateful I am she was there, and that finally I stopped being scared of myself and made actual proper progress.

That alone makes Monday’s achievement that much more special.