Monday, November 10, 2014

If Music

"If music be the food of love, play on."-Twelfth Night, Shakespeare

I am a musician. More a musician than a runner. More a musician than a doctor. More a musician than a person soon to get a root canal.

I left music professionally to be a doctor and I wish I could be a professional runner, but the sub 5 minute mile eludes me, so, here I am. But music, it never stops feeding my soul. I play it, I listen to it. And I listen to it while I run.

I am thinking about bringing my headphones and music to listen to during my root canal. There is some vague science to support this. What is an optimal root canal play list? Please, let me know your thoughts on this.

Running playlists, they are very personal, I think. I recall the days of carrying a walkman while running. Now why they did not name this the "runman" I do not know. And why it has to be a man, not a person or a woman or an ambulator not otherwise specified, well, this is mysterious to me. What I can say is they were cumbersome and often skipped if you ran over a bump. The fact that I can turn on my playlist on my iPhone and just run for miles and miles without a glitch is a gosh darn miracle!

My running playlists vary. Some days I truly do not want any music at all. Or books, because the other thing I enjoy is which is the iPhone version of books on tape. This is nice for a 3 hour long run. Advertisements show Ryan Hall listening to the Odyssey on his long runs, but let's face it: Ryan Hall is so fast that the Odyssey would still be in the introduction and he would already be showering and eating his pancakes.

I do not listen to music when running with my dog, Miles. I like to be in tune to what he is needing and to talk to him along the way. Like, "Hey buddy! Almost home!" or "Boy, you sure showed those seagulls", or "C'Mon Miles, this hill is nothing. We OWN this hill. You are king of the hill, my friend."

Usually, he just looks at me quizzically. He is not disturbed by hills. And he does enjoy torturing the beach birds. Sometimes he does fall behind, usually at the end of a long run. But if a cute labrador retriever comes running by, he suddenly is Mr. Speed and Strength. I know when he is F.O.S. but I never call him on it. I love him so.

Before track meets as a high school kid, I liked this song. When I hear this song, I still automatically recall the smell of Icy-Hot. And that feeling of anticipation before a 1600 meter run on a track, where there was nowhere to hide.

I have running playlists dating back a few years now, to when such a thing was first possible for me, device-wise. I have been strongly influenced by my friend Martha and my daughter Vera. And her friends, on the road during the Portland to Coast high school challenge. Each of them would request a song to hear blasting as we drove by them, maybe at 2am, maybe in the middle of a hot, sunny day. I have been influenced by a musical education, alas a degree in music as it turns out. I have been influenced by my brother and my husband and my checking out what the great runners of today listen to. I turns out I am often shocked by the language in the songs the great runners of today listen to, but they are usually in their 20's and I am…..not.

Sometimes the music takes away the pain. It is an interesting thing, as a scientist of the physiological being, to consider that there is power in something so benign as music. Maybe the greatest marathoners could've broken 2 hours by now if they could've run with music.

Run. Play music. Listen to music. This is my ideal job description. Is anyone hiring? Hellllooooo out there?????

Here's a great one. A helluva great one.

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