If it seems like I refer to running quite a bit in my posts, it’s not because I am an avid, gifted runner- quite the opposite actually. I like to refer to myself as a “special needs” runner, or if that is offensive to anyone, it could also be referred to as “disadvantaged”. My disadvantage is that I am slow and laborious in my efforts to run. I do not take this label lightly. I attribute the origin of my disadvantage to the fact that I did not run in my teens when, based on my observations, it is not nearly so difficult. In addition to being a Music Mom, I am first and foremost just a mom, and in that role I always volunteer to be a timer at my high school daughters’ track meets. It’s in this context that I can appreciate just how disadvantaged I am. The winning girls usually make the long distances look easy, but there are always those who are far behind the others, obviously struggling as everyone claps for the effort as they finish last, murmuring things like, “Well, good for her just for being out there.” It was while timing and with great dismay that I realized that these very slow girls run a mile many minutes faster than I do, so my label as special needs is well informed.
Several years ago, a charitable friend coached me through the training to run a 10K, which I successfully completed and was happy to retire on that accomplishment for many years afterward. For some reason, last year I decided that completing a marathon should be on my to-do list before I die. Though the training was very difficult (to say the least), I did finish and should have retired from running altogether a second time; on to the other items on my to-do list, such as going to Vegas. After a winter of inertia, I inexplicably signed up to run the marathon again this year but decided not to run with a group as I did last year. An energetic new coworker who is a decade older than I am and is built like a well conditioned jockey got wind of this and stopped by my desk recently to suggest that we run together with his friend during the marathon. I actually did LOL at that, assuring him that he is quite a bit faster than I am, having previously heard his times. He was undeterred and reassured me that his friend is a single-leg amputee- how comforting! Unfortunately, the times he suggested were still faster than my time from last year, so I politely declined and decided to plod along independently.
It is with this long buildup that the music comes into play. Because running does not come easily or enjoyably to me, I use a bit of trickery on myself during my training. I only do my long runs on a path that has the miles well marked to keep from accidentally running too far, I intentionally live in the flattest part of the country possible, and you can bet I cross to the inside of a curve in the street. One other thing I do is divide my runs into little 4-minute increments, which is mentally much more manageable than miles and includes a short walk during each such increment. (I should note that this run/walk technique is a valid method that is designed to help people reduce their times and avoid injury since the body has frequent opportunities to recharge; it’s commonly known as the Galloway method for the guy who developed it and is, of course, scoffed at by “real” runners. Since I already know I am not a real runner and would rather walk than run, I do not care about the scoffing and have embraced the Galloway method) To help me, I sorted the library on my iPod by time and took all the songs that were between 3:55 and 4:05 minutes to make a playlist and therefore have a new song for each block of running. I ended up with 178 songs that fit those parameters and will often use the playlist for my runs. Because I did not weed out slow songs, it’s quite a mix, some more conducive to running than others. Here are some that I feel are the best, meaning that they either motivate me or distract me:
· 1 Thing (Amerie)
· Roll on Down the Highway (BTO)
· Crazy in Love (Beyonce)
· Havin’ a Bad Day (Blue Flannel) – this song is hilarious, the singer is so grumpy
· When the Stars Go Blue (The Corrs feat. Bono)
· Hello Again (Dave Matthews Band)
· Survivor (Destiny’s Child)
· I’m Your Villain (Franz Ferdinand)
· Cupid’s Chokehold (Gym Class Heroes)
· Touch the Sky (Kanye West fea. Lupe Fiasco)
· Wasting Time (Kid Rock)
· Superstar (Lupe Fiasco)
· About You (Mary J. Blige feat. Will.I.Am)
· Little Secrets (Passion Pit)
· SOS (Rhianna)
· Barely Legal (The Strokes)
Good luck and enjoy!