“Catch My Breath” by Kelly Clarkson

The first time this song came on my Pandora workout station, I’ll admit: I skipped the song. I’m a creature of habit, and I wanted a song I knew would pump me up for my run. But the next time it came on, I gave it a chance. After all, it’s Kelly Clarkson. And when it comes to empowering female anthems, Kelly is queen.

Just consider the chorus:

“Catch my breath, no one can hold me back, I ain’t got time for that.
Catch my breath, won’t let them get me down, it’s all so simple now.”

Not only does that give me a laugh thinking, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” but encourages me to keep going and steadies my breath, which can get quite erratic mid-run. I feel like I’m either holding my breath or breathing too heavily. But when this song comes on, I’m reminded to inhale deeply, focus, and get back on track.

And because so much of my running also relates to my “real life,” Kelly reminds me in one of the verses:

“Making time for the ones that count
I’ll spend the rest of my time
Laughing hard with the windows down
Leaving footprints all over town”

Because a lot of times, I am literally leaving footprints all over town! (Yes, I get very excited about these kinds of things.) And every single time I hear this part of the song, I immediately envision those times when I’ve been riding shotgun in a friend’s car, hand out the window, wind turning my hair into a rat’s nest, and just laughing with friends as we roadtrip up the coast. A bit Britney Spears in Crossroads? Perhaps. But I don’t care.

In all seriousness, though, a lot of times I do need a reminder to slow down, catch my breath, and reevaluate what’s most important. Taking time to go running, clear my head, and do something good for myself is certainly important. As is spending silly times with friends (like at the Color Run!) and enjoying just being with the people that love me.

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