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The One Where Monique Takes Up “Running”

The Ravings of a Professional Lunatic: Getting Fit

By Monique MolnarPublished 2 months ago 5 min read

I have decided to take up running. Not for fitness, but instead for, get this... "relaxation." So yesterday I laced up my running shoes, threw on my headphones and set off down the road. One foot after the other, the picture of athleticism. I was speed, I was grace, I was hyperventilating? Less than 30 seconds in and I can't get enough air into my lungs. What is going on?! I am running downhill!! Can I really be this unfit?! I stop. "Relax..." Perhaps warming up will make a difference? "Breathe in..." I can't catch my breath! Maybe a different playlist? "Breathe out..." My heart is racing! This is supposed to be RELAXING!! "Inner peace..." New tactic: walk up the hills, "Find your flow..." jog down them. My lunges are on fire! I try breathing through my nose. "Pathetic..." I try breathing through my mouth. "Useless..." This is how I am going to die! "Weak..." In through my nose, out through my mouth. "GO BACK!!" I can see the yard. "Do not STOP until you get there!!" I made it, I didn't stop. "Failure..." I lift weights until my limbs are shaking as penance for my attempt. So much for relaxation.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Since I am not insane I decide to google "Running for beginners." And after three different "experts" and 40 minutes of YouTube tutorials I have learnt the following:

1. Running is great for both physical and mental health.

2. There are people who exist that can talk and run at the same time.

3. Running has nothing to do with running; it's all about breathing.

Armed with this new found knowledge, I decide to tackle this afternoon's run a little bit differently. Firstly I will choose a relaxing playlist. Then rather than "hit the ground running" I will actually stretch and warm up. I will focus solely on my breathing technique and above all else, I will stay relaxed. So with a new found confidence, I laced up my running shoes and threw on my headphones, I've got this. YouTube expert number three suggests inhaling and exhaling through your nose, to the count of four steps. This seems like an achievable task. So off I go through the gate. "Breathe in...two, three, four." My heart is already racing. "Breathe out... two, three, four." I am only walking. "...two, three, four." I haven't even reached the top of the driveway. I can't inflate my lungs. Expert number three warned me that this would happen, but I should stick with it. "Deep breaths..." So I keep walking and focus on getting the air as deep into my belly as I can. Panic starts to set in though, so I try to outrun it. "One, two, three, four!" There is not enough air and I am drowning. So I do the intelligent thing: stop and reset. I stand on the side of the road and catch my breath, tears streaming down my face. You have to walk before you can run; you have to breathe before you can walk.

I go back to the house, drag myself up the stairs and collapse on Katie's lounge room floor. New tactic: I am going to just lie here and let go... surrender to the carpet and breathe. Don't worry the ground will catch me. It doesn't get much easier than this. So I close my eyes, inhale deeply and start sinking into the carpet. As I start to let go, all hell breaks loose. The carpet turns into quicksand and if I don't do something fast I am going to crash through the floorboards and land on the ride-on mower. So I do what I do best and I fight. I fight with every fibre of my being. I'm clawing at the carpet, gasping for air, trying to levitate off of the ground. What is wrong with me? Change of tactic: I scramble for my phone, open Apple Music and punch in "guided meditation surrender." The relaxing music floods my ears allowing me to settle back onto the floor, as the soothing voice of Jason Stephenson tells me to "relax" and "breathe..." As I try to follow his instructions I can't help but laugh at the absurdity of the situation. How hard is it to lie on the floor and just breathe? In an effort of self acceptance, I let myself laugh. I just lie there, laughing uncontrollably whilst Jason Stephenson talks about "scaffolding." And then I hear it. Uncontrollable sobbing. Someone is crying. Strange, I am the only one here. Then Jason Stephenson asks me a question that hits me in the throat like a red hot branding iron: "Do you feel safe?"

I am no stranger to this question, I feel like Katie has asked it, 100 times before. I have no answer. Jason Stephenson assures me that I am. My toes are safe, my feet are safe, my calves are safe, all the way up to the top of my head. The more I surrender, the louder the sobbing gets. And then like a wave, from the tip of my toe nails to the ends of my hair: searing pain. Why am I in so much pain?! Every bone, every muscle, every tendon, every atom is on FIRE! I can not move. I can not breathe. I can not cry. My throat is on fire and I am completely paralysed. I stand corrected; this is how I am going to die: shattered in a thousand pieces on the living room floor, just trying to breathe. Why is this so hard? Breathing is the one thing that we do not have to learn. It's the only thing we are born with. Breathe in, breathe out. Simple. Then it hits me, the punchline to this cosmic joke... I was born dead. I never learnt how to breathe.

HumanityEmbarrassmentBad habits

About the Creator

Monique Molnar

I am a part-time Actress, part-time Writer and full-time "Professional Lunatic" just trying to figure out life in this crazy world.

Follow me to read more of "The Ravings of a Professional Lunatic."

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