Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Little Help from My Friends

Last week I managed to get in three runs at one of my favorite running locations--Phil's cabin. Up in the woods of northern Minnesota, curving dirt roads through the pines and aspens of the George Washington National Forest, never knowing what wildlife may appear around the next corner. The temps were cool (good), not too windy (good), with the occasional rain shower (all good). But even as much as I like running up at Phil's cabin, it was good to get home to my familiar roads and routes.

Yesterday I had a good early morning run (5.2) and felt set for the day. But just about Noon I felt the urge to go out again, so over my lunch hour I put in another 4.4. And this time I took music.

Usually I run without music. I like to hear what is going on around me--nature, traffic--but I do believe that it is possible to run with headphones and still stay safe. So yesterday at Noon I thought that for my second run of the day, I would take music. My running playlist on my iPod has driving rhythms, mostly 80's and 90's rock, and songs that I know and can sing along with (even if it is in my head). Sometimes music doesn't work too well for me; like when a slower and quieter song starts just as I am starting a long hill. But yesterday it worked great. Whether it was the distraction or the beat or the words (think "We are the Champions") it carried me along to a quickest-ever time for this particular route. I do not think that I could have achieved the same result on the run without the music.

I wonder how often we all could do better in difficult times if we had some "music" to help carry us along. Music in the form of an affirming conversation with a good friend; or a note of encouragement from someone whom we trust. The music didn't run the miles for me, but it helped me do what I needed to do. Encouragement from friends will not necessarily shorten the duration or intensity of our difficulties, but it may help us get through them with our heads held a bit higher and a little more spring in our step. Embrace whatever today brings--to be music to someone or to hear music from someone.

Pressing on,