Running can be a pretty solitary sport, and that’s actually what I really dig about it. Rarely do I run with another person and I would just as soon walk across a bed of thumb tacks as sign up for a group run with strangers. I admitted last week that sometimes running is boring and if I think too hard about running while running I will sabotage myself. I read a hilarious “75 Thoughts Every Runner Has While Out for a Run” last week, and totally recognized this little string of thought:
1. What a beautiful day for a run!
2. This sucks.
3. Well, five miles is only two and half miles each way, which is basically two miles each way, so I’m really only running four miles. That’s not too far.
4. It’s starting to feel far.
5. How long have I been running? A year?
6. SIX MINUTES?!
7. I can barely remember what my life was like before I started this run.
To prevent this sort of dangerous thinking, I like to numb my brain cells with music. Generally, pretty crappy music. Like, the kind my hipster husband makes fun of me for and cringes about (see: my latest obsession with Pitbull & Kesha’s “Timber”). I sometimes hesitate to even tell people what songs are on my running playlist because, deep down, I want to be a cool hipster too, but frankly Bon Iver doesn’t have what I need.
This Saturday at the Goldy’s 10 Mile I have about 100 minutes of running to do (File under: Confessions of a Slow Runner). The things I could think to myself in 100 minutes with no other distraction would astound, embarrass, and frighten you. And me. And though I have about 3 hours of music on my current running playlist, I have been listening to the same songs for 10 weeks and over 120 training miles.
There are lots of awesome ways my family and friends support my running, and I never forget it. Sometimes other runners share their own war stories and successes, people come to watch my events (which I think is nearly saintly and a little silly because watching a running event is like watching the worst parade ever), and once my sister listened as I sobbed into the phone for 20 whole minutes while walking home from a training run gone terribly wrong. That was three years ago. I really don’t forget the support.
So, I could use one little thing from each of you as I head into the first of three(!) 10+ mile events of my season: Tell me a song that gets you moving. Or a song that inspires you. Maybe it is your own running anthem, or the song that gets you to dance with the broom when you are stuck cleaning the house. Is it the song that you cannot help but sing at the VERY TOP OF YOUR LUNGS when it comes on the radio in your car? Whatever it is, I want to know. And I want to add it to my playlist.
I asked this when I ran the marathon as a way to just expand my playlist. But while I was running, I was quite moved to have been ‘gifted’ these songs that inspired people or made them laugh or made them dance, and the stories that many people shared when they made the song recommendation. It made me feel very loved and very supported, even on the times that I felt very alone out there. It was hearing “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress”– one of my mom’s favorites– that finally picked me up out of my multi-mile emotional breakdown. And it was “Katy” by Tom Paxton– a song my dad played often in my childhood and the song for my father-daughter dance at my wedding– that reminded me it really didn’t matter how long it took me to cross the finish line. My friends and family were going to love me the same as they did when I started the race that morning. And some songs just made me laugh out loud and put a little skip in my step. And, man, that makes a huge difference when you have been out there for hours.
What song gets you moving? What song brings a smile to your face, puts some groove in your step, and inspires you?