There is one thing that many, many runners are very divided on. Running with music. Do it, or don’t? Me? I am a die-hard-must-have-music with me type of runner. I even listen to music when I am running with others. Music to me is like my magic feather. I am convinced I cannot run well without it. I know this is not true. In my heart of hearts, at the bottom of my belly where my endurance comes from, I know I am physically capable of just running. Running far. And my next post is going to in fact be about running with others. But today, I’m talking from where I feel most comfortable. On the trail with my headphones in.
I have a vivid imagination. At least I imagine I do. When I’m running by myself and my music is blaring in my ears, and I like BLARING, I think about all sorts of things. Sure, there are days when I have things weighing on my mind, and I’m thinking about serious adult/parenting/financial/life goal types of things. But there are also days when I just feel that music. Each song does something to me.
I never tell people, not ever, the fantasies that play out during my running playlist.
Well, I’ve been holding out.
I’m gonna give it a go. Song by song. For a few songs. Maybe it will make you laugh. Which is always one of my goals 🙂
1. Come With Me Now, by the Kongos. (put it on, and imagine with me)
“Whoa, Come with me now
I’m gonna take you down
Come with me now
I’m gonna show you how….”
This is a bushwhacking through the jungles somewhere in Rwanda song. Barefoot running. Feet thumping, toes splayed, sweat just dripping from every pore – because it’s humid as Hades in the jungle. And it is lush, and green, and bright. With giant insects both crawling and flying. I am running to collect gorillas; to protect them from poachers. I’mma gonna just lead them all to safety like the pied piper of gorillas. So, halfway through this song, it is me and 25 gorillas, 3 giant old-timer silver backs, just pounding over the gnarly tree roots to somewhere safe. And we just keep running. And I save them all. Brilliant.
2. Happy, by Pharrell Williams.
“It might seem crazy what I’m about to say
Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break
I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air, like I don’t care baby by the way…”
It’s really hard for me to not break into a super-high skip when this comes on. Really hard. Sometimes I fail. I have to smile, because I do feel happy. Feeling this song isn’t so much imagining as it is recognizing. It makes me take stock of all the things in my life that make me happy, not least of which is a great run. Thinking happy things makes me just want to tip my head back and grin up at the sun. I get you Sun, I’m just as bright as you. But realistically this would probably throw me off-balance, so instead I just look forward and grin at whatever is out there, and people probably think I’m a weirdo. And since I’m running chances are my smile looks more like an evil grimace….so its better to just focus on the song. Yep. Don’t worry about the rest of the world.
3. Umo the Powerful, from Visions of Kenya.
I do not know how to spell a single word in this song, so just bear with me. It is a little tribal, a little playful, and very Kenyan.
This one is fun. I am long, lean, barefoot and black, running faster than fast across the Kenyan savannah. I have been to Kenya. I have seen Kenyans run; not the ones who are trained to run, but the ones who just run for the practicality of it. They’re amazing. I want to look that amazing. Shit, I DO look that amazing!!! Me and the cheetahs!! We are muscle and speed, and grace and agility, and gorgeous, lithe and,
I could carry on forever. I am pretty sure there isn’t even a hint of gorgeousness when I’m running (trust me, I’ve seen my race pictures), but it is totally worth it to imagine differently. I do run just a little faster…
4. Wrecking Ball, by Miley Cyrus.
“I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me…”
I am mortally embarrassed to say that I love this song. And I have seen the video. I sought it out. I think I turned fire engine red just typing it into Google. This song makes me determined to go home and just shove my husband onto whatever surface is there and do the heck out of him. Yep. I just said that. If I lop off a cotton tee and slap on some workbooks and lick the faux stainless steel dishwasher will that totally turn him on? We don’t have any wrecking balls readily available.
5. Cleanin’ Out my Closet, by Eminem
“Where’s my snare?
I have no snare in my headphones – there you go
Yeah… yo, yo”
I am never as bad ass, as hard-core, as tough and ballsy as when I listen to Eminem. I am pretty sure I can take on anything; man, beast, nasty porta-potty, anything, when I hear this white man rap. And when he swears, I swear. I grit my teeth. I growl. I should take up professional boxing…Shit! I am SO freaking tough….No one should mess with me. EVER. I can’t believe I am living in the suburbs, married to a mortal man, an engineer!!! F*CK!!!! I am so tough I should just keep running until I get to a ghetto somewhere. And when the residents of the ghetto see how ridiculously, undeniably, fierce I am they will make me the ruler of the ghetto. Oh snap. I gotta get outta Lakewood.
Tonight, by Hard-Fi
“Tonight, tonight I’m gonna take whats mine,
tonight, tonight under that bright neon light
And if I ever find a way right out of here,
Tonight, tonight I’m gonna disappear.”
This one begs me to seek out hills in the dark. It is one of my nighttime favorites. Dressed in black. Black beanie. Black gloves. Running. Slick black tights, no socks (I don’t know, its my imagination!), black shoes with silver lightning bolts on the side. I might steal something!! Where is the rain? This is an awesome song to run in the rain to. Forget breaking and entering, let’s race. In my all-black speed costume I win every race. No one even comes close to me. I win every competition, conquer all hills, collect every medal. Leaping off rocks. Taking up parkour and free running. At night. In the dark. Always the dark. No moon at all. Love it.
All You Got, by Tegan and Sara
“The kind of girl who laughs and says
Get up off your knees
Oh yeah all you need is me
Oh yeah all you want is me
So you come and so you go”
I have a lot of old boyfriends. I have also never been dumped. Is it totally wrong of me to occasionally think that they (yes, all of them) might possibly think of me as “the one that got away?” When this song comes on, I practically line them all up in my head, and they take turns begging me to give them a second chance. They swoon over me, gaze longingly at me, and yearn for me. It feels awesome. Sometimes I choose one and imagine that he just drove by me on Morrison Rd, and he’ll be at the stoplight waiting for me at the top of the hill. He’ll have love letters he’s been saving over the years, and they’ll be in his glove compartment, just waiting for me. He’ll ask if he can give me a ride somewhere. And I (super-cooly) say, “No thanks. I’m good.”
and then he just watches me run off, strong and not his.
Have you guys had enough?? Do you want to download some new music, or go running? Or am I just TOO weird now?
Before you decide, just think about how much fun it is to think about gorillas, ghettos and hot husbands. As opposed to planning menus, Costco shopping trips, and which kid gets a bath tonight.