Monday, April 02, 2007

Breath, the metronome

Random thoughts: I still have so much going on, despite completing the Warren Wilson MFA program. As the pressure builds toward each event (and I should be less busy after April 14th), I find myself thinking back and trying to recapture the physical sensations of distance training. That's track and field: not just running intervals on the track, but running intervals during an extended run, anywhere from 3-7 miles. Or just the sensation of pacing myself through a 5-7 mile run, maintaining pace on the uphill slopes (this was Vermont) and letting gravity take me down the downhill sides.

What comes to my conscious mind as I think about this is the physical sensation of relaxing while running--to run at pace is to loosen up and relax. There's a mental trick you can develop to learn to relax as you push through a workout. The more you strain against your depleted muscles, the harder it is; the more you can let the tension drop, the easier it is. Some of this is related to breathing, which is another bodily memory I can bring to my conscious mind.

So, on the metro, while tensing up against the demands and stresses of the day--not just work, but the homefront and the detail planning for the events in an environment where there are simply not enough hours in the day--I find myself thinking about running the 5 or 7 mile loop in Vermont, the rhythm of my feet hitting the ground, leaning into the hills, picking my knees up (reduces the number of uphill steps you have to take, think about it), letting gravity carry my knees on the downhill side, and breathing, breathing, breathing slowly and evenly, pushing out the exhale, relaxing on the inhale, to maintain the rhythm of the workout. That's the metronome, the breath.

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