Learning to Breathe :: It’s Not the First Mile

The plan was simple after Monday’s benchmark 1k: it had to be beaten. This was not about just saying I could do it and that is it. I have to get better or else there’s no point, after all, and as I exercised my way through last week there was an understanding that once my brain and chest stopped fighting about who knew better, shit would just happen. It did too, with a speed that I found amazing and joyful simultaneously. Suddenly, thanks to the advice my PT had given over running style, my feet at times would feel as if they didn’t even touch the pavement. To not put too fine a point on it, I’d be walking on air. This is probably perfectly normal for all you people who’ve never had to think about putting one foot in front of the other, but I’m still sitting here in a state of revelation over how incredibly easy it has been to just beat the mental block. That’s what it was, pure and simple: you can’t do this because you’ll have an asthma attack/your body will break/the World will end has been a mantra for so long, but now it’s gone.

The fear has just evaporated.


Next up, having taken the benchmark, it is time to start beating new paths to improvement. It’s about an hour and 20 minutes from the youngest’s school to here, and that time can be improved: not by running to begin with, but with better walking as a starting point. Then, I’ll run sections. Wet roads and winter conditions are already a bit of a niggle in my brain, but we will get past that. What I’ve always done is approach my issues in stages: right now, morning energy levels are an issue. I can do 1k quickly and easily if I’m not worrying about anything else, but stamina remains an issue, so as long as I’m fuelling properly? I think I can take that time down quite a bit. Once I know I’m at the limit of walking pace? Then the run sections can be added, and whilst that happens I’ll work on the ‘static’ mile time. Yesterday I did an evening walk and knew, had I felt like it, I could have run it with ease. To test this was the case, I went into the Gym this morning and did a mile pretty much cold.

I took TWENTY SECONDS off the time I posted a week ago, and it was as if I was a completely different person. No stress or worry, no concern over breathing, it all just happened with a comfort and grace I don’t think I’ve ever possessed before. I stopped worrying, and it all just happened. I realise every day won’t be a PB (Personal Best) if I don’t feel I can push, but right now there’s the belief I’ve got a lot in the tank that could mean I’m shaving seconds off this for some time. That’s also a revelation: knowing my legs have the power and my chest is now capable of backing that up. It’s a feeling that will make me smile every time I recall the ease at which that kilometre was completed. Everything connected in my brain. My body did the business. I sat and had celebratory poached eggs on toast with the full knowledge that the only way now is better and forward.

I’ve not been this happy for a VERY long time.

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