My first real race of the season is the Tar Heel 10-Miler. It’s about two months away and always sets the tone for my marathon season.

The race gives me an opportunity to test out my new running skills. Am I faster? Is my form better? Do I have a higher threshold of endurance?

So far, the results are mixed.

I have a difficult time reaching the harmonization of my life, and I treat everything like swim lanes. Work is one lane. My marriage is another. Pilates is one lane. Strength training is another.

My Pilates instructor, Jenna, keeps telling me that I should use everything I know about “everything” to get through life. What do I know about pilates that can get me up a hill? What do I know about running that can get me through a difficult conversation with a vendor? What do I know about push-ups that can keep me calm through a difficult conversation?

I think it’s all about the breath, to be honest with you.

I breathe like a dude at the gym lifting weights. It’s deep — but it comes out in a grunt. Jenna challenges me to breathe in a long, fluid way. Also, she wants me to begin exhaling before I need it.

“It’s not a push or a shove.”

Christ, okay, I got it.

But I don’t … which is why I can’t always do pull-ups or get my hips above my butt when I’m flipping around on a Cadillac. And it’s why my first mile is always the toughest mile when I’m running. Or why I feel like I’m going to black out when I’m mad at someone whom I love dearly.

I need to use everything I know and breathe better in life.

So that’s what I’m working on for the Tar Heel 10-miler. That — and running from my gluteus maximus and not my hips.

When you use everything you know to get through life, you learn faster. You don’t make the same mistakes over and over again. And the struggle is a little easier to endure.

So wish me luck!

(PS — In previous years, this race takes me 1:50 to complete thanks to the brutal bitch that is Laurel Hill. Ugh. This year? My goal is 1:45.)