Running Music

That Time I Signed up for the Portland Marathon

Well guys, it’s a big day here in “mostly just dreaming about running rather than actually running” land.

I finally handed over the cash for the Portland Marathon and am pretty darn excited.  [Sidebar: Can we just all take a minute and acknowledge how expensive races are getting?  I’m having mixed feelings about the ROI on this particular $140 investment.  Also, don’t get me started on their website, or their registration form.  It made my web-working head want to explode a little bit, and I swear a part of me died every time I had to resubmit said lengthy form due to internal errors. ANYWAYS.   Moving on.]

Is that the right word? Am I excited?*

It’s a very loaded excitement, bound in all the baggage from my last marathon, simultaneously carrying probably too much hope that the process will be dramatically better than it was before.  There’s still an abiding sense that I don’t know how to do this.

An amazing amount of things have been done by people who didn’t know how. Don’t  let that stop you. The danger is more in doing nothing than in not “knowing how.”

– anon.

So I’m doing it, and this time, I’ve got what feels like a pretty solid strength training routine.  I’m committed to pool work outs and time in the bike saddle for my first triathlon, and I also have physical therapists on speed dial (Thanks so much to my sister and the great crew at Acceleration PT for years and years of moral and biomechanical support ) a best friend for a training buddy, and the experience of having done it once before.  That’s got to count for something? Right?

Let’s do this thing.

Motivation courtesy of The Features:

Folk Music & Other Things I Used to Avoid

I have a tear trigger- its clean, simple, and mercilessly instantaneous. It’s John Denver’s version of “Leaving, On a Jet Plane.” Normally an easy enough song to avoid, it just happens to be in my iTunes library -masochist that I am.

I can only imagine what passers-by might have thought of me – running down the road, tears streaming down my face despite my best efforts to keep the waterworks in check. As soon as I hear the first 5 words,

All my bags are packed…

I choke out a sob and skip feverishly to the next song, but- and I can’t tell you why- I skip back to it. This is the risk you take with musically assisted runs- you sometimes end up in a head space you hadn’t planned on. Anywhere nearly.

A beautiful spring day, birds singing, sun streaming through the trees, maybe that’s what made it so despicably poignant –me bawling my eyes out all over it.

Every listen I’m brought back- in miserable clarity- to the first time I heard it. My overactive amygdala reminds me that as a very young child, near hysterics, I begged my Dad to turn it off, it hurt so bad to hear it. It was on a mix tape my parents were fond of playing, and I trained myself to anticipate its arrival so I could fast forward through it every time.

It’s probably been 20 years since I can first remember this song and the effect it has on me, and on this run, it smacked me in the gut that I’ve been running away, from a song, for almost 2 decades.

It also happened to be my birthday- so maybe I thought it was finally time to stop running away from our friend John. Somewhere in the sorrow that overwhelms me as soon as I hear the first few notes, it’s comforting to know that I still can’t not cry hearing it.

The hurt is good, and deep. Cathartic and sharply physical, it resonates in unreasonable cadence with my footfalls on the trail–It knows– I don’t stop at one listen– I can’t. I go from avoiding this song like the plague to looping it through my head for almost a half hour, all in the space of one run.

Disastrously dehydrated, hyperventilating, and such a snotty, teary mess I can hardly keep running- I finally have to turn everything off and call this run at 3 miles. It’s not the run I’ve planned- confronting my separation anxiety and mortality to the soundtrack of my parent’s hippy days, on my birthday- but maybe it was good for me in a whole different kind of way.

Listen at your own risk:

What’s your trigger song? Is it on your running mix?

New Shoes!

Suggested musical accompaniment to this post:

The crazies from cabin fever have been setting in already.  I’ve been extra spiky and a bit cheeky really as a result of just not having the capacity to run as far as i’d like (thanks so much, first cold of the season!).  I’ve logged a few short runs, but they’ve hardly been enough to shake the cobwebs and the weather and my motivation are both looking pretty dismal after the last half marathon.

The only logical solution to such things of course, is retail therapy.  So physical therapist mandated, i might add,  I took myself to the running shoe store 🙂  I’m very happy with the folks who steered me towards some minimalist Mizunos that I’m loving so far!  My friend described them as “dragon-ish.”  Who doesn’t want to feel like a mythical lizard beast during a run?! It also doesn’t hurt that they happen to be my favorite color: “safety green!!”

Mizuno Wave Musha 4s

The hunt remains ongoing for my beloved Asics, alas, as the ones I’m used to seem to only be available in a freakish pink shade… (I have nothing against pink, mind, its just that it is universally recognized, or should be, that pink is not especially quick as colors go. Orange is the fastest color, of course, with green following a close second.  I can’t run in  slow running shoes, that’s just contrary to the cause.)  Any suggestions out there for other shoes I should check out?

Open plea to Asics: Please bring back the Orange Gel-Kayano!  (Not threatening or anything but I might be forced to explore some exceptions in my brand loyalties if you don’t knock it off with the pinks and the purples and the flowers already.) xoxox Mary