Adrienne Martini is up to Week 5 in the Train Like a Mother Half-Marathon: Finish It training plan, and the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon—and spring—feel impossibly far away. Check out her previous posts.
When you live in a place where winter is a force to be reckoned with, you learn to make peace with it. Or, if you can’t make peace, you move south.
We actually lived in the south—in Texas and in Tennessee—for just over a decade. And while there are many things I miss about both places (migas and dogwoods, among others) I do not miss the endless, punishing summers.
I’m a cold weather gal. I’d rather put on a sweater than shorts. I’d much rather crunch through autumn leaves than scuff through summer sand. Give me crisp air rather than air you can wring out like a wet towel.
That being said, this particular winter is getting on my last dang nerve.
I’ve had it. As I type, the snow outside is literally knee-deep. My knees, that is; not the knees belonging to the kids or the corgi. Another 2 - 4” is predicted by this evening. I don’t even know where we’ll put it; I do have a few ideas where Mother Nature can stick it.
I don’t know that I’d be so very over it if I weren’t trying to get training runs in. But I do know that I’ve turned into a Tom Petty song: I’m tired of myself and tired of this town. I’m tired of the kids, too, because they are always in the house. And of slushy boots and of snow days and of icy windshields and of frozen fingers. I have lost my cold weather zen.
I didn’t even toy with the idea of running outside for Saturday’s eight miler, even though I’ve seen a few brave, lithe young men out in blizzard-like conditions. I am just not that much of a badass and have made peace with that.
Besides, about half of my neighbors have stopped shoveling their sidewalks, which makes it hard to wear Yaktrax because it’s not consistently snowy underfoot. For the record, I’m tired of my neighbors, too, but totally get how weary they are.
Fortunately, the indoor track was on open Saturday. Just getting there involved a boring-but-epic adventure that included brushing and scraping another 4 inches of snow off of my car, most of which went into my boots.
My mood was remarkably foul by the time I had my running shoes on and started the first (of 64) laps. Usually on long runs I listen to podcasts but I had deploy my emergency playlist, which is full of the songs I listen to sparingly. Some of them are guilty pleasures; some are R-rated.
This list has little to do with the songs SBS posted earlier this week. All of the songs on the list are great, mind, and inspiring. I totally get why “Girl on Fire” and “Brave” are on so many iPods. Worthy choices all.
My emergency playlist isn’t full of those songs. Instead, it has a mix of music that I’d not recommend to many. This is where I stash all of the songs with nuclear-grade swearing, like Missy Elliott’s “Gossip Folks” or the Beastie Boys’ “Ch-check It Out.” Also on the list are songs that I’m embarrassed to love, like Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” or Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” While my feminist side finds these tunes troubling at best, I still love them. And, yes, I’m aware of this moral ambiguity. These are the songs I needed to keep both my brain and body engaged in something other than grousing about the weather.
As in my last Eminem run, which reminds me to put some of his songs on this playlist, I hit a mental wall about six miles in. There’s just something about being two-thirds of the way that sucks out my will to go on. This time, I went to the silliest song: Amanda Palmer’s “Map of Tasmania,” which is really not safe for work once you figure out what she’s talking about. (And the video is not at all safe for work, the easily offended, or small children, Not that it would harm small children, just that you also need to have the time to have a Very Important Discussion afterwards. Older kids, like, say, my Tween, will simply roll their eyes if they catch you watching it. She does that when I breathe, too, so I try to not read into it. I’ve digressed.)
This song makes me smile every single time I hear it, even when I’m two-thirds of the way through a long run, indoors, in February when I know the most I have to look forward to after the run is a 10 degree afternoon spent thinking about the Bahamas while trying to stay warm. Desperate times call for mildly profane silliness —and both the run and the tunes helped lighten my mood. I wouldn’t say I had my swagger back by the end but I was no longer ready to bite the head off of a kitten.
As proof that training actually works, this eight-mile run wasn’t nearly as exhausting as the first one a few weeks ago. While my legs weren’t anything that could be described as fresh on Sunday, I didn’t think twice about the several dozen trips I made up and down the stairs in order to do several dozen loads of laundry and vacuum up several metric tons of dog hair.
Progress, I guess.
I’m doing my best to not think about the nine-mile run that is coming up this week. I’m also doing my best to not think about how it will probably have to be done indoors again because all this snow and ice isn’t going anywhere, no matter how fiercely I direct my fire-y rage at it.
Sadly, my magic playlist won’t work again so soon, but I suspect I can go back to my old podcast standards since my mood won’t be as grumpy.
Just in case I need them, however, it would be nice to know what songs you have tucked away for emergencies, especially if they are just a little bit embarrassing.