Running can be fun.
Except when it’s not:
This is a picture of the Peterborough half-marathon, back in 2012. I’m the sixth guy in line, the one wearing the blue jacket and black cap. It’s February, which accounts for the crap weather. I’d just passed the 17 kilometer mark, which meant I had 4 more kilometers left to run.
I was hurting. Close to throwing up. But five minutes after this picture was taken, everything changed. Why? Because I put on my headphones and fired up my tunes.
I don’t usually listen to music when I’m racing. I prefer the sound of hundreds of sneakers slapping the pavement on those lonely stretches of road. Also, I once made the mistake of adding an Ed Sheeran track to one of my marathon playlists. I love that guy, but for some reason, his song was way too gloomy for mile 23. I nearly threw myself into a ditch curb and wept.
This time around, I got lucky. Katy Perry came on first thing. The song “Last Friday Night” is cheesy and happy – exactly what I needed just then.
So Katy Perry was playing, and I was on the verge of throwing up. And then, well, this will sound weird… But part of my brain crawled right into the ribcage of that song, and it felt like the guitar licks were shooting out through my forehead. The bass line invaded my legs and made me run faster. I ran past a shop window and caught my reflection. My face looked long and pasty like a Scream horror movie mask. I felt myself rising into the air, and suddenly I was looking down at my body from twenty feet up.
This is what you call a hallucination. In running circles, they call this “the bonk.” It happens when your brain runs out of sugar.
Happily, I only had 4 kilometers left to run. Plus, my tank was full of Katy Perry.
I pulled my brain back down into my body. Not far ahead, I saw a guy in a red jacket. I told my legs to run faster. “RUN FASTER!” I told them. My legs obeyed and a couple of minutes later, I found myself passing the dude in the red jacket. I zeroed in on another runner. When I passed her, I targeted another. And then another.
That’s how Katy Perry saved my life. Her new album is supposed to drop this summer and I CAN’T WAIT!
SOOOO – what are YOUR favourite running / racing songs? What tunes have helped You finish strong?