Thanks, Music

Today I ran my first real 5K during my lunch hour (and my first sub-40 minute 5K, yes I’m slow!) and was a little late back to work, but it felt wonderful. My last 5K was during a rainforest run, with lots of hills involved, so I ended up walking more than I normally do. Today’s was a straight run minus waiting for two lights and slowing twice to blow my nose. I laugh when I read the snot blowing incidents on a Strava running group I’m in. Anyway, one thing I’ve been noticing lately as I am increasing my pace and, slowly, my distance is that sometimes I feel taller. This usually happens during a song that just seems to send a charge through my body. It is all psychological I’m sure, but for video game nerds out there, you might understand the analogy that it is similar to a shaman’s “blood lust” skill, how it temporarily increases your size and abilities.

This feeling of being taller may be kind of a throwback to the running I did as a kid. I used to run all the time, but stopped due to developing tachychardia (a scary very fast heart beat)–it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I had this problem corrected with laser surgery, so eventually I began running again. So when I was a kid, the ground was a lot closer. Now I’m running and it’s further away, and I become more aware of this distance at times when I’m running. Similar to the awareness runners have of how they are fitting into their surroundings–how they move, how fast they move, where certain streets lead, how far they are from the ground, how their legs move compared to their arms, etc. Running is a very explorative and spatial exercise. Today, for instance, I went off the beaten path and just explored new roads. I found one road that led to another road that I was familiar with. Now I have found a new route!

Today I felt that blood-lust-growing-taller feeling a few times, and looked down at my feet and the grass to just gauge that feeling, that distance, that spatial awareness of where I am in the world at any given moment. This feeling is usually brought on by certain songs that I’m sure kickstart some serotonin processes in my body. I have to say also that Google Music is really worth the ten bucks a month because there is so much there, and you can create infinite playlists from this vast selection. I have some favorite songs, though get bored listening to them every time I run, so I’m always switching out, sometimes hearing a song on the radio or seeing a movie with a good soundtrack (Hot Tub Time Machine 2, for instance!) that week and then finding it and adding it to my playlist.

So I am thankful for music that gives me that occasional boost. That’s what it is. A boost. A lovely kick to an otherwise, to me, tough thing to accomplish three times a week. Usually running is a struggle, a thing I do that I have to often completely push myself in order to move onward. But today the music and the occasional downhill runs (wow, I can really run when I’m not constantly going uphill!) really helped, especially with a short breeze colliding with sweat, and suddenly I feel that free-as-a-bird feeling, where I get tall and soar and feel completely at peace in my place in the universe for a small moment in time and space.

Today’s thank yous go to this music:

  • Arto, System of the Down — a tribal song, very random and different than the others on today’s list!
  • Wherever is Your Heart, Brandi Carlile — a good companion to thoughts of home, which I’ve blogged about before and often think about when running.
  • Bizarre Love Triangle, New Order– Ah, some older music, brings back memories.
  • Stay, Lisa Loeb — Nice temporary playlist addition, from Hot Tub Time Machine
  • Let’s Get it Started, Craig Robinson version — Another song from the above movie, good for pumping you up
  • Dance Away, Roxy Music — Another favorite from my past
  • Tall Tall Shadow, Basia Bulat — A newer song, heard a lot on CBC 2 Radio, great song
  • Urge for Going, Joni Mitchell — There is always a Joni Mitchell song in my playlist; this song in particular is referenced in a new novel I’m writing about an oil spill
  • A few other songs by Barenaked Ladies, MC Hammer, Adele, and others!

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