One week from today I will have either:
a. Just completed my first half-marathon fulfilling a bucket list item that one year ago I would have never thought was actually attainable
b. Severely injured myself thereby forcing paramedics to cart me off the race course in a very dramatic fashion, complete with me screaming, "NO! I can do it. Running into Memorial Stadium is my destiny!"
c. Overslept leading to great negative self-talk about my inability to wake up before dawn
d. A combination of any and all of the above
For those of you who have not been paying any attention at all, next Saturday I will be returning to The University of Illinois, my Alma Mater, to run 13.1 miles with a cozy group of 10,000 fellow runners. At this point, I am equal parts anxious, excited, terrified, and overwhelmed. Perusing the Illinois Marathon website, and especially the course map for the half, brings me to tears every single time. Are these tears originating from a happy place or one of pure fear? I can't really determine that just yet. What I do know is that I am ready for this race to be over with. It has and is consuming an exorbitant amount of my thoughts and energy, and frankly it's exhausting. I'm ready to see if all this (sort of half-assed) training will be enough.
But I need some help from all of you. I have a fairly extensive inventory of songs on my run play list, but I think for this race I need to spice it up a bit. During a run I get great inspiration from songs that are tied to other people, fond memories, and special moments. Examples include:
Eye of the Tiger...makes me think of Rocky's perseverance. It also reminds me of the girls' playing Just Dance. Both of these visuals push me forward.
Anything by Blink 182 and Green Day...reminds me of training for the Park to Park 5 miler. This, in turn, reminds me that I was able to accomplish that goal and certainly this current goal is equally attainable.
Welcome to the Jungle and Sweet Child O' Mine...distracts me from any pain I might be experiencing as I pay more attention to singing along to the greatest Hair Nation band of all time.
Take Me Home Country Roads...is a perfect 10 minute mile pace song and not only brings back nostalgic thoughts to the soundtrack of my childhood but also reminds me to appreciate the landscape which makes up my runs. (And all you haters can shut it. John Denver is awesome, may he rest in peace.)
Dog Days Are Over...because I love the lyrics "Run fast for your mother and fast for your father,
Run for your children for your sisters and brothers". And since it was a huge part of the soundtrack for Eat, Pray, Love I guess it has some times to that whole "do something that scares you but also feeds you" ideology.
Like A Prayer...aside from just being one of the most awesome songs of all time but one of the greatest artists of my generation, this song makes me think of Tru Stories. I get a visual of her running through the finish line during the Park to Park thereby accomplishing a task that she never thought she was capable of. And if I'm feeling rough when this song comes on, I just remember what Tru Stories told me she said to herself during the last leg of her run and think to myself: What Would Madonna Do? She'd keep running, that's what she would do!
Illinois Loyalty, 3 in 1, and War Chant by the University of Illinois Marching Illini...because duh. What else would I want to hear as I'm running through cheering crowds on the greatest campus in all the land?
Lay Me Down...reminds me of our houseboat weekend, and being on the houseboat is my happy place. Naturally while running multiple miles I would want any song that can transport me to my happy place, and this is just one of several (including Cruel Summer, Shots, Crash, Sheep Go To Heaven, Kiss Me Deadly, Ain't No Rest For The Wicked, and Breakout).
A large selection of gansta rap, club mix hits, and upbeat R&B (including but not limited to Eminem, R. Kelly, Rhianna, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Luda, Naughty By Nature, Prince, Ciara, Bruno Mars)...keeps the beat pumping which in turn keeps the arms and legs pumping too.
So, as you may have noticed, I have a rather eclectic mix on the play list, but I want to add some more before next week. As long as the song is a medium to fast tempo, I'm open to almost anything.
Tell me now: what songs am I missing that are "must haves" for half-marathon motivation? Each song added to the list will inevitably evoke happy thoughts of your warm well wishes (and accusations of insanity and idiocy, TRU STORIES), and those thoughts will certainly be appreciated and needed to help me through. Fire away, readers!
(A special PS to The General's immediate and extended family: Would any of you be interested in participating in a post-Easter dinner run on Sunday? We could celebrate the resurrection AND combat the food coma with a good old fashion family workout! I'll bring my running gear in case anyone is willing.)