Lessons from the Pavement, Part I: An Earful of Melody

The quest continues!  I am following the “Active” plan, I am walking, I am jogging, and I am resting.  I am following some of my loves — making healthy choices, taking up an activity that leaves me feeling strong, and soaking up a bit of Southern California sunshine.  Yes, this does also mean that I’m doing some of my “unloves” — exercising, getting sweaty, and…running.  But in the end, it’s worth it.

A woman once said to me (and a roomful of other folks), “I know how much we all hate exercise, but really…does any one of you walk away from a workout saying, ‘Gosh, I really wish I didn’t do that – I really feel terrible now,'” and admittedly, none of us could say or think that we do.  As much as I hate the idea of exercise, if I find ways of making it fun (and I am), and I remind myself of what I get out of it (still waiting for my flair), I do enjoy it.

As I complete day after day of the 8-week plan, I am finding that the running part of my routine is getting easier – my legs seem to move with more assurance, I’m not having to spend as energy motivating myself to run those next thirty seconds, and I’m not gasping at the end of my running stint.  One thing I have noticed, however, is that I am still very aware of my time.  I have started my routine listening to the 45-minute Nike recording of rhythms and beats, but it seems that I’m paying more attention to the seconds and minutes of the stopwatch rather than the beats and rhythms of the iPod.  This is okay, but I really want to feel more absorbed in the music, so that I can casually glance down at that stopwatch and, “Surprise!” realize that the interval of running has just finished.

So, I did some dialing around through my Nano playlists and picked one that “sang out” to me.  Even though the beats and rhythms of the Nike track are probably better pace-setters than the new selections, I realized that it didn’t matter.  What matters is if the music moves ME — although upbeat is better, if the song really lifts my spirit, gets my insides humming, and my heart beaming — then it will also get my feet moving.  After hitting on just the right selection of music, I had a little note of Mary Poppins go through my mind — “just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, the medicine go dooown, the medicine go down…”  only now it was, “just an earful of melody makes the timing count down, the timing count dooown, the timing count down…”  I got what I wished for — the seconds seemed to fly that much faster, my smile was brighter, and my steps felt lighter.  Not only did I get to feel good about exercising, but I also felt good about spending some really good “me time”, and getting myself pumped up for the rest of a beautiful day.

For those of you looking for the right mix of songs in your own music collection, browse through and think about those upbeat songs that make you feel happy.  Those ones that brighten your mood and sing to your soul – those are the songs you want to include.  Now if you’re really desperate for a mix and need one now, iTunes has many iMixes that can be great sources of motivating music — I looked through their iMixes for anything to do with running, and here’s a cool one that I found.  Once I put up the one that has most inspired/motivated me, I’ll share that too.

Until then, lesson learned — if I want to keep my feet light, I must keep my heart full.

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