The cinematography was foreboding. It was essentially black and white. A stark contrast of light and shadows made me shiver as if I were standing in the mud beside the lake’s eerie, frosted shore.
I had been washing dishes when the movie on the living room TV caught my eye and drew me in. A man and a woman were in an isolated location, living in a cabin which seemed sparsely equipped for the cold. He appeared comfortable there. She did not.
Was he keeping her against her will? I wasn’t sure. He made her get in the frigid water and swim. Was he trying to acclimate her? Was she training for something? I didn’t know.
I watched for maybe 10 minutes before I turned back to my chores. The last eerie scene I saw had the two characters out running in the fog. The man was fit and proficiently able, but the woman was struggling and falling behind. Her respiration was labored, and easily identifiable because the icy air made it visible. He advised her “Don’t try to breathe to keep up with your feet. Find your breath and then set your pace by it.”
That one scene has played again and again in my head. I am a distance walker. I put hundreds of miles on my shoes and wear through them in months. But I struggle to run.
I have the fantastic excuse that I am often holding hands with people I love and enjoying their pace. (See related post: How Hand in Hand with My Girl Plunged Me Heart to Heart with My God.) I jog maybe once every two weeks. It is definitely not often enough for it to get easier.
The woman in the movie was not a runner, yet she settled into a sustainable rhythm when she heeded the advice to set it by her breath. It was a movie, I know. But I was curious. Could I prolong a pace if I used my breath as a guide?
I have always allowed my feet to lead. If I start out too quickly, I will be out of breath in mere minutes. I have learned to slow my pace at the beginning and work into a more robust stride. But my focus has always been on my feet and after a mile or so, I tire of running and settle down to a walk.
If you read Truth 4 of the Halloween Series last Sunday, you may remember that I jogged to my old neighborhood in search of some décor. I expected to run for the usual few blocks and walk the restt of the way, but I wanted to put this new idea to the test.
I walked about half a block, focusing on my breath and hearing its cadence. Then I started to run, my feet keeping time with my breathing. And you know what? I jogged the entire 3 miles! That is the furthest I’ve been able to run nonstop in a very long time.
If you’re a runner, talk to me. Is this something you have known about forever? How did you learn and how did I miss it until I was last-week-years-old?
If you’re not a runner, but would like to be, give this a try! I guess I have to add the caveat that you should always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen and all of that. But if you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes for you!
I had it backwards. I was allowing my feet to lead when they should have been following. Are there other areas of my life where my cadence is being dictated by that which should be subordinate? I’m praying it all through with the Lord.
I’m thrilled to have a new strategy for exercise, but I suspect God has something deeper for me to learn. Once He gets it through my knuckle head, I’ll be sure to share it with you. Until then, what is God giving you to run with? Have you been impressed lately by any ideas, big or small?
“The drum to which we march reveals the conductor to whom we’re listening.”Craig D. Lounsbrough