Thursday, October 6, 2011

When zoning out is a useful skill

A couple of friends posted on Facebook recently about First Flight, an organization that helps people who aren't necessarily athletic to become runners. I've tried running before. It never stuck. But when I saw my friends posting photos of themselves decked out in colorful running gear, grinning before a 5K, I thought maybe I did want to run again. I hate the idea that because I am no longer a child, and now have children of my own, I have missed a chance. I never lost all the weight I gained with Robert, and sometimes I feel weak and tired. I want to be able to keep up with my kids as they grow and ask me to play tag or go hiking. So I went to First Flight. They are starting us out slow and working us up to running a 5K.

The first night was hard, but good. Megan and I had jumped in on week 3 of training, and the most we ran without walking breaks was three minutes. I did all the running but struggled to keep up. When I started running on my own I tried using my iPod, and it helped. I could turn on my favorite fast-paced music and focus on it. I think this is why I've never liked talking to people while I run. It brings me back into the real world where I am tired and my legs hurt.

It made me think of Robert's birth, for which I had taken a class to, in a sophisticated way, perfect my oft-discouraged zoning talent. In Hypnobabies, we listened to scripts for relaxation and self-hypnosis. We practiced, and for various stages of the birth there were special scripts to listen to. We never played them, though. Robert was born without a lot of commotion--so unlike Suzi's hospital birth, at which I had yet to perfect my zoning and it was discouraged, anyway.

I am totally zoned out here, minutes away from meeting Robert.

This skill is quite helpful with running. I pick a tree or cloud to stare through and fall into a rhythm with whatever is playing on my iPod. It helps me run longer and a little faster. If I didn't have this capability I probably wouldn't run at all. When I am done running I feel great. I am happier and have more patience with my kids. I also think regular zoning-while-running will help me greatly if we ever have another baby.

So to all those teachers who got on my case for zoning, which is basically the only thing I ever did to get in trouble in school: See how wrong you were? In our homeschool, The Lost Art of Zoning will be a required class. We will do totally aimless painting, listen to music, walk, run, jump on the trampoline, and stare out the window at the pretty clouds and trees. I bet having a designated time to do it will improve focus when it is necessary, like during math. This is a God-given capability and we must have it for a reason. I know I am not the only one.

Do you zone? Has it ever been useful to you?

P.S. I'll be back soon with pictures of the kids and more about my new running adventure!


CJ said...

I commend you! I HATE running. Hate it!

Lauren Wayne said...

I've been doing Couch to 5K, which is likely similar. I totally agree with the zoning thing, and I thank you for giving me something to focus my running strategy. Because 30 minutes of jogging is a long time! (For me, anyway!) I definitely need ways to distract myself.

And I have to say again, I just love that smiling photo from your birth!

Jenn said...

You make a really good point. Zoning out is strongly discouraged in terms of children, and that's silly if you think about it. As adults, we require mental down time, why shouldn't they? We are trained that spacing out is a bad thing, and then as we grow up we find ourselves unable to relax, spending lots of time, energy, and even money trying to find hobbies or techniques to do so. It IS an important lesson to teach!

And, after many years spent trying to find what worked for me, I now knit to zone out.