As much as I prefer to run in the cooler to cold weather of fall and winter and very early spring, I admit it is extremely difficult to maintain my schedule when all I really want to do is install myself on the couch with some hot tea and a good book and forget I ever thought of myself as an athlete.
Bad idea. I've worked too hard to let it go in a few moments of chilly weakness.
So, after whining and complaining to myself about it, I went out for my regular run -- four miles -- on Tuesday It wasn't terribly cold, just cool enough for long sleeves, and the mercury in the thermometer (do they even still put mercury in thermometers??) was on it's way up. I forced myself out the door right after I dropped Noah off at preschool, so I wouldn't back out, and so I wouldn't decide I had something else more important to do.
Right before I went out, I though, huh, maybe I could use the extra motivation of one of my race playlists. I never run with music unless I am racing, mostly because I run on neighborhood streets without sidewalks, and I don';t want to get surprised by a car. But I took my iPod Nano, and set the 8K playlist to run on shuffle.
That was the best decision I could have made.
While I prefer to work out and run to music so loud I can't hear myself think, I opted for slightly less volume so I wouldn't have trouble hearing the traffic. I loved being in my own little bubble, and after a few minutes of The Wallflowers' 'Reboot The Mission', I was totally jazzed and moving out in my warmup mile.
From there, the shuffle moved on to the rest of the list, heavy on 90's dance pop and various other songs with heavy bass and beat. What can I say, I'm a former dancer.
My dissociative behavior for this run included my favorite head game -- choreographing dances to whatever music was playing. I did some of that, and then I shifted to choreographing musical kur rides . I have always fantasized about riding at the highest levels of the sport of dressage, on a big, powerful horse -- always black -- and performing an out of this world tough ride set to some piece of unexpected and powerful music. In my mind, I was a rebel, performing the kur to popular dance music, electronica, or some rap/hip-hop, or pop song. Something totally unexpected and out of character for the sport. I don't know why, maybe just for the performance art aspect of it. Maybe for flipping the elite level the symbolic bird. Heh.
Anyway, I got so deep into my choreography on one really tough hill on my route that not only did I miss the fact that I climbed the hill, but also I could feel the horse I was mentally riding. I could feel the one-tempi changes at the canter, and the piaffe and passage, and tight canter circles. of course, I was in near-perfect form -- this was MY imagining, after all -- and I could imagine the huge movement of the horse underneath me. This is a testament to the power of the mind. I could feel that horse underneath me. That horse I have never owned, nor ridden, nor even sat on. That horse that does not exist to my knowledge. At one point, the vision became so strong, I felt tears briefly well up in my eyes. It was so perfect -- the loud music, the motion of the horse, my physical effort, my imagination of what the scene would be like.
I didn't actually cry, but it was one of those moments I recognize from performing. When the dance and the dancer literally become the same. It was beyond powerful. It reminded me that I need to harness this power more often, especially when I finished my run and came home to enter my time into my DailyMile page so it would calculate my pace.
Tuesday, I ran a 10:26 mile. That's a minute and a half faster than my usual mile pace.
Music makes me do anything.