I know the running purists shake their heads in dismay, but I will have my music with me when I run my marathon. Yes, I understand that I won’t be able to hear it too well as the sounds of cheering and other bands and blasting music will be hitting me all along the course, but I will still have my songs with me. They may be just in the background, but I can still hear them. If even just a little.
Each song invokes a different, happy memory of a time or place or person and when my brain is frantically searching for some little something to distract it from the eternal agonies of mile nineteen and one quarter, I like to give it that option. I kind of touched on the mind vs. body battle early on in these installations when I was building up my legs in endless hours on the treadmill, but I liken the experience to the consistency of two separate jell-o layers. I have the top layer- above the waist that jiggles up there in the driver’s seat, just kinda hanging out, taking it all in, and mostly counting the seconds until I can stop. Then you have the bottom layer- the lower back all the way down to the tips of my toes that is bouncing around and experiencing all the fun.
I will latch onto anything I can- even if it allots me a solid two minutes of distraction away from the “in your face” agony of the lower region. Music does it for me. I have also talked about it many times before here, but as I am getting my final preparations in order, I am going over my playlist, and setting it up so it will do the most good along Boston’s ever-changing course. I want to suck out the last drop of happy association in each song.
“Sunday Morning”, by Maroon 5 will forever be a state of mind to me, as on a Sunday morning in October I ran through the streets of Chicago at around mile two, the tall, glistening buildings rising up all around me. The crowds were everywhere screaming, and I thought, “What a cool thing this is… I am doing something that few people ever experience, running through the streets of this awesome town. The sun is shining, for once it isn’t windy in Chicago, and all is well with the world!”
It was that same kind of wonder when I ran over the Ambassador Bridge into Canada on a slightly rainy morning in Detroit. The wind was sure blowing then though, and the road went up and up and up around mile three while I listened to “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus. She may be a dingbat, but the song is inspiring.
The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down, but
No I'm not breaking
I may not know it, but
These are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep goin',
And I, I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on, 'cause
There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side
It's the climb
For each course I arrange my songs for when I will need them. The first one is traditionally “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts. It is forever cemented into that first spot as I listened to it on a perfect day, heading out on my first half marathon. I looked up into the clear sky and smiled (it was still early enough to actually feel like smiling). I was so happy to be there with all the other runners and see if I could actually do it. And I did.
I have a hardcore, go-to song in my arsenal that I line up in the worst part of each course, and this time it’s set to play during the Newton Hills in Boston (somewhere around miles sixteen through twenty). “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” by Drowning Pool. Not that I’m planning on being one of those bodies to hit the floor, but that song will kick any hill’s butt. My kids laugh at their mother who listens to some of her son’s scream-o stuff, but only this one song, because this one hits the mark. It fires me up something fierce and when I am face to face with a hellacious hill I will take all the help I can get.
I laugh myself as I recall my brother’s hard rock selections blasting the tweeters and the woofers out of their four foot speakers, and my dear saintly mother would shake her head and scold us, calling the songs, “The cries of Hell.” Not that this has anything to do with anything, just a fun memory of my mommy…