I’ve Completely Underestimated the Power of Great Music

Let me start by saying I’m a music nerd. I wear that badge with pride. I’ve played 3 musical instruments in my lifetime, 4 if you count piano. I performed several musicals with a local theater group. I sing with my church choir. I sing with the praise band. I sing in the shower, in the car and occasionally at my desk. I even auditioned to sing with an 80’s/90’s rock band. I love all kinds of music too; classical, rock, jazz, pop (except for some of the new stuff) – heck there’s even a place in my heart for rap.

When I first started running I was an avid fan of the Rock My Run app. I loved the variety it provided for me and how things were mixed together to create a very unique listening experience. However- as my mileage increased, I found myself enjoying the silence of a good long run. I never thought I would enjoy running without music. I found having a conversation with myself kept my mind busy (and passers-by entertained). I could sing whatever song I wanted while I ran because I had so much music in my head I could just scroll thru the “mental jukebox” and pick one.

Yesterday- the weather was actually cooperating. Well “cooperating” means it wasn’t -15 and snowing. I picked the wrong winter to train for a marathon. It is April 11th – we have over 6 inches of snow on the ground in some places and a blizzard in the forecast for the weekend.  Come ON Mother Nature! Anyway- it was in the high 30’s. The sun was out and there was a bit of a breeze but it wasn’t unbearable. I could run in a long sleeve shirt and a t shirt- no sweatshirt needed! I still wore my stocking cap because my mom’s voice keeps ringing thru my head “There’s still snow on the ground. You need a hat!” It had been weeks since I’d run with music so why not give it a whirl. This time I used Spotify instead of Rock My Run and what a difference!

Maybe I was overly excited to run 9 miles. Maybe the weather got to me. But I honestly think it was the music. I finished 9 miles in 1 hour and 46 minutes. That was an 11:52 pace! I haven’t been this fast in months. My fastest miles were my first and my last – 11:14 for the first and 10:52 for the last! How is that even possible?  Music! I used my “fun stuff” play list which has everything from the Game of Thrones theme to Eminem on it.  In my first mile, I heard “Better When I’m Dancin’” from Meghan Trainor. If you have never heard this song, I encourage you to click on the link and go listen. It is from The Peanuts Movie and it is so fun and catchy- I was actually DANCING while I was running…and singing along.

During my last mile I heard “Smoke a Little Smoke” by Eric Church and sang along. I couldn’t help myself. I let the music move me and it was amazing. I heard “Handclap” by Fitz and the Tantrums and my brain shut down and my body took over. I was running faster than I had ever run while outside. I was clapping along. I was singing along. I’m sure it was quite the show for anyone driving by -but I did not care. I remember looking down at my arms and legs thinking “What the HECK is going on??” – I smiled and just went with it.  It felt like a sprint and I didn’t care. I had the energy to run that fast and I finished. It was amazing.

Tomorrow – I will run 18 miles. I have to get that long run in before the snow flies, again. Not sure yet if it will be an o’dark 30 kind of run or an afternoon in the sun kind of run. All I know is that I am going to be listening to music again. I doubt I will be able to run 18 miles as fast as I ran 9, but if I can keep just a small fraction of that speed, it will be worth it.

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