Songs for a Saturday Run

I love my hometown. I'm spending a lot of time there this summer, while my heart is strewn wildly across the southeast and midwest, and I mark my days with a mental countdown to the end of this homesick state. I'm homesick for a normal life, but I'm beginning to be resigned (convicted? humbled?) to this idea that stability isn't coming any time soon.

But my time at home is sweet, and my hometown is full of happy memories - new and old. On Friday night we went to dinner and laughed at the event happening next door - only in Franklin would there be a fundraiser for feral cats. (Which, of course, I've never seen in Franklin. So this fundraiser is either wildly successful and long-standing, or completely unnecessary.)

Franklin half.jpg

And then on Saturday, I ran the inaugural Franklin Half Marathon, which was (naturally) not in Franklin, but rather its outrageously hilly and beautiful neighbor Leipers Fork. It was my second half and by far not my last, though I won't try another before I take on this particular challenge in October.

I normally run to the sweet sounds of Kai Ryssdal and the Marketplace Gang. (That's not a band.) I know it's not particularly exciting, but they are one of my favorite podcasts and I love catching up with the news while I run. But I decided to create a half marathon mix for this particular run, and oh-how-wonderful it turned out to be.

Let me caveat by saying two things: 

1) I don't listen to much upbeat music. This presents unique challenges to creating a running playlist, and forced me to dig WAY back when into my iTunes library to find some sweet beats.  

2) This race was HARD. H-A-R-D. Always check the elevation chart before you register for a race (or better, make sure you know how to actually read it if you do try) ... otherwise you may end up hike-running a 2,000 foot elevation gain over 13.1 miles. Ooops. I will say my normally outrageously slow time of 2:30 somehow put me in the top 50% of finishers, if that gives you an idea just how holy-hilly this freaking race was.  

Caveat complete, and here's a little glimpse into the tunes that propelled me up 13 miles. Obviously I don't run ~4 minute miles, so there were other songs. But these stood out, made me laugh, and in general provided just what I needed to finish the race.

 Mile 1: Golddigger {Kanye} 

I'm not entirely sure why this is in my iTunes, but I don't complain. I kick off my optimistic run with Jamie Foxx pumping in my ear buds. This is good. Get down girl. Go ahead, get down. I can do this.

Mile 2: The Sands of Time Are Sinking (Indelible Grace) 

Whew, what a change, right? Kanye. Church music. You know, that's just how I roll (or, run). I popped it on the playlist for the really tough miles, for a bit of perspective. This is one of my favorite songs (the version linked above features the amazing Buddy Greene on harmonica).  As I crested a beautiful hill in Leiper's Fork, I heard the chorus - Glory, glory dwelleth, in Immanuel's land.  The words and sight combined took my breath away. (Well, perhaps the elevation gain took my breath away. But that's not as poetic.) I conveniently stopped to adjust my knee band, and snapped this photo. Early morning. Sun burning through fog. Rolling hills. Immanuel's land, indeed.     

leipers fork.JPG

 Mile 3: Hips Don't Lie (Shakira) 

Oh yeah.  

My hips weren't lying. This is painful. That hill on mile 2? Baby steps. Mile 3 starts uphill and finishes even more uphill.

Beating the science of my body  . Preach it. This is a good anthem for me.

Mile 4: Since "U" Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson)  

I mentally re-write this song. 

Since u been gone, I CAN'T BREATHE FOR THE FIRST TIME.  

Mile 4 is mean. I can't breathe for the first time works better for me ... all apologies to Miss Clarkson.

Miles 5-7: N/A

The above information is actually accurate. Those songs came on during those miles. During miles 5-7, all I can't think about is the fact that there is a restroom at Mile 6 (until there wasn't), and then I used all my mental energy to focus on getting to the restroom wherever it might be (mile 7.5). Also, these are the toughest hills of the whole race. Everyone around me is walking. I swallow my pride and walk too. I make a mental note to never, ever, ever race in the desert. It's hot. A man in front of me drops ice cubes down his shorts. Note the elevation map below, and you'll see why I don't remember anything from miles 5-7.

elevation.JPG

Mile 7: Ours (Taylor Swift) 

I can breathe again. Mile 7 is delightfully downhill. The promised restroom from Mile 6 materializes at 7.5, as Taylor Swift starts to sing. I finish my energy gel, and down half an orange at the water stop. I'm feeling refreshed, and I know I can do this. Then I turn the corner and standing at the exact halfway point is PRICE.  

Major husband points. He gets a big hug, which causes him to literally jump back and say "ewwwwww".  

It's hot. I am sweaty. But the second half of the race is calling my name, and I know I can beast it. Heck, I bet I'll set a P.R. I bet I'll beat my fall time by at least 30 minutes.

(Oh, what a little breather will do for the spirits. So naive.) 

Mile 8: The Cave (Mumford & Sons) 

It took a grand total of 1/2 mile to start feeling it again.

I will hold on hope, and I won't let you choke on the noose around your neck.  

And I'll find strength in pain ...

 Ok, this works. Find strength in pain.

But is that even a thing? Maybe in a metaphorical Mumford world. I'm not really finding strength in my pain. It's just pain.

Mile 9: 1-2 Step (Ciara) 

Yeah. On my playlist. #winning

Mental notes: you are more than a one hit wonder (ahem). You can do this. Just 1-2 step. One at a time.  

 Don't matter to me, we can dance slow. Whichever way the beat drops.

This beat is dropping slow. And I'm definitely shaking like jello.  

Mile 11: The One You Should've Let Go (The Lone Bellow)

All I can hear is I'm not the one that you were looking for.   

Darn right, mile 11. You aren't the one. I'm starting to get angry.

Mile 12 & 13:

I'm sure there was music, but I could only hear one thing. ME.

Where the h*** is the finish line? Where the H*** is the FINISH LINE?   

It finally appears, after three false hills (as in - oh the finish line must be right over that hill ... FALSE).

I smile. I grin. I BEAM. It's over. I love it.  

I love love love love love it. I want to do it all over again. Just not today.