Worked on breathing today!
February 14, 1997 I started the Sheriff's academy in San Diego. I was never an athletic person. I mean, I like dance and step and zumba class but I was...in the band. I was a nerd. I was a fat kid. I played growing up, but nothing like the academy. But I was determined that the academy physical training wouldn't beat me! The first day we had to jog. It was probably only about one mile and we jogged pretty slowly. They drove a van behind us and told us we could get on it if we gave up. I watched some get on the van. I refused and pushed through. I finished that first day and really had to consider if it was worth it to do this every day for the next 11 weeks. Again, I told myself I would not let them beat me! Everyday when it was time for PT I would start having anxiety. My heart would start pounding, I would sweat and pant. Jogging was the hardest thing I had ever done. I graduated from the academy eleven weeks later. I was #1 academically, but the greater success was that I was able to meet all the PT requirements.
Fast forward to 2010. I started a school at my church and in accordance with our vision to incorporate mental, spiritual, and physical fitness our pastor started a boot camp for the staff and students. We worked out 6 days a week for an hour each day for 3 years straight. After the first few months, guess what he added to the training? Yep! Jogging... ugh! But it wasn't that bad. With pastor leading the pack he would call out "Lean back, throw your legs out in front of you and breathe!" Well, the school had to close after 3 years for lack of funding and with it went the boot camp.
It has been three years since we closed our doors. I still work out at the gym, I take the classes (Zumba, RIPPED, SPINN, U-Jam, Kickboxing), I take karate classes, and I still jog. Last week I went out to jog a couple of miles and at the 3/4 mile marker I was DONE. My body was good but I had not been able to control my breathing and I was pretty much hyperventilating! I'm overweight but I'm in pretty good shape. This wasn't about being able to do it or even about my anxiety any more, it was about BREATHING! So I looked it up online for advice and pointers. This is what I learned: Start slow and concentrate. Walk and breathe. Deep breaths. Then walk faster still concentrating on the breathing. Count the number of paces for each breath. Then a slow jog. The breathing should be easier to control. Then step it up to your goal pace. Today I jogged an ALMOST effortless 3 miles!
But this LONG post is about more than that, isn't it? It's about not giving up. It's about focussing on what sustains us and what gives us the power and strength to do what we set our minds to do. It's about overcoming obstacles, looking (asking) for help when we need it and never giving up. If you've read this far, I hope you are encouraged. Don't let struggles in life get to you. Don't let anxiety stop you. You may just need to work on your breathing!