Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Sound of Music

Several people have asked about my old blog on Yahoo 360. After thinking about starting a new one, I finally got around to doing it. I hope that those who decide to follow this one will enjoy it as much as my old Yahoo 360 blog.

I've been running for 20 years. It's hard to believe that all those years ago my walking progressed to slow running, then to faster running. I still remember the thrill of finishing my first 5K race and the excitement of finishing my first 10K, half-marathon, and marathon. Now I'm a veteran of over 50 races, including 4 marathons. My favorite race distances are in the 5K to half-marathon range.

Throughout all of my years of running, music has played an important role. I've always seemed to have a song, or at least a song byte in my head while running and racing. Music helps to set the mood of the run and also to take my mind off of any soreness. It also alleviates some of the boredom of having to run on a treadmill. When I had to run on the treadmill, I had a whole repetoire of songs that I'd sing, including the soundtrack to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Fortunately for those around me, I sang to myself and not out loud. When MP3 players came out, I got myself a Rio Sport player and loaded it with a variety of songs. It was state of the art for its time and held a whopping 128 megabytes of music, or about two hours worth. Now I have an iPod Nano that holds about 1000 songs, which is plenty of music for those long runs. I always have the iPod with me when I train, though I leave it at home for races.

When I race, I let myself be surprised by the songs or song bytes that pop into my head. That's one of the fun things about racing. I never know what the DJ in my brain will decide to play. In fact, I associate many of my races with certain songs because they were the dominant ones that played in my head during them. Here are the ones that I remember:

"Eleonara" (Antonelli Venditti). When I hear this song, I think about going over the Coronado Bridge in San Diego (from Coronado) during the 1991 Lifespan 10K, which was my first 10K race. That song also played in my head during the 2003 Hohenfels Turkey Trot 5K.

"Dimelo Tu Cos'e" (Antonello Venditti). This one goes with the 1991 San Diego Half-Marathon, which was my first half-marathon. I flash to the last uphill section around Mile 10 when I hear this song.

"Do Ya Wanna Dance" (Beach Boys). The 1998 and 2003 Amberg Half-Marathons. When I ran this race for the second time in 2003, at the start I wondered which song would play in my  head for the race. I found it kind of fun that I heard the same song both times.

"Brown-Eyed Girl" (Van Morrison). The 2001 Regensburg Half-Marathon. It was mostly the intro to that song which I heard during the race. I think a more fitting song would have been Chris Rea's "The Road To Hell" because it was so hot during that race--it was the half-marathon from Hell with the heat and humidity. But Van was what the internal DJ played.

"Long Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)" (the Hollies) and "Shut Down" (Beach Boys). The 2005 Neumarkt City Run 10.5 km race. Those songs alternated during that race. Whenever I hear "Long Cool Woman" I think about the stretch between the 4 and 5 km points in Neumarkt. "Shut Down" seemed to pop up when I was about to pass someone. "Tach it up, tach it up, buddy gonna shut you down" seemed appropriate as I passed other runners, especially toward the end. My competitive streak really came through with that one. I also ran the 10.5 km race in 2003 and 2004, plus the half-marathon in 2002; but no songs stood out from those times.

"I Saw Her Standing There" (the Beatles) and "Out of the Dark" (Falco). The 2007 Munich City Run Half-Marathon. For most of the race it was the first song. But when I came out of the shade of the English Garden into the sunnier part of downtown Munich, it switched to the second. I also did this run in 2008, but there were no dominant songs.

"Under Pressure" (Queen with David Bowie). The 2003 Hohenfels Box Run 10K. We had 6 runners on our team and the top 5 times would count for the team title. I felt like I was really under the gun to do well because our team captain was a real competitor and really wanted us to win the team title. I knew that I would be one of the top 5 on our team (I was the 4th finisher on the team) because our 6th member was a slower runner who was doing the race more for fun and personal acheivement than to be competitive.

"Authority Song" (John Mellencamp). The 2006 Box Run 10K. It was mostly the second verse which played in my head throughout the race. It was obviously a good song to have in my head because I set my personal course record. I took 45 seconds off of my previous PCR. I also the 3rd woman overall for the second time at that race.

"Rudie Can't Fail" (the Clash). The 2008 Eibsee Herbstlauf (fall run). That one really helped on all of the

"Carry My Picture" (the Connells). The 2007 Munich Marathon. This one was obvious. I pinned a photo of my late running partner Bill to my shirt above my race number. The first line of the chorus, "So write my name and carry my picture..." was a perfect tribute to a person who taught me so much about distance running.  To have Bill with me during the marathon was an experience that is hard to put into words. Bill was the first person that I called when I got home from running my first marathon (Munich 1993), so it was only fitting that he'd be with me for my best marathon. I set a new personal marathon record, breaking my old one by 5 minutes.

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