Challenge Accepted; Mission Accomplished!

mission accomplishedSometimes, I need to challenge myself to keep running, Modern Philosophers.

I’m eight weeks into this running program, and on a hot Sunday morning when my legs were sore from two days of running, it was going to take something a little extra to get me out on the road today.

The first goal I set for myself was to crack forty minutes for the second straight day.  Yesterday’s run of 39:20 was my first time beating 40:00 over four miles, and it would definitely be a challenge to do it again considering the heat and tired legs.

That still wasn’t enough to get me jazzed, though.  I stood on the front porch of The House on the Hill, but I wasn’t ready to start the clock and begin my 4 mile journey.  I was going to need something else.

I took out my MP3 player to see what song was next on the set list.  “Sweet Child O’ Mine”.  That would get the blood pumping immediately.  I’ve got 49 songs loaded onto the ancient device, and after it plays song #49, the music stops until I hit the “play” button and begin the shuffling process again.

I was eight songs from the end of this cycle.  Should I chance that the eighth song would finish before I ended my run and risk being thrown off by the silence, or should I just skip ahead and start at #1 again?

That’s when the next challenge took shape in my head.  Could I complete 4 miles before my MP3 player played the eighth song?  In order for that to work, the songs would have to average five minutes, and I’d have to achieve my first goal of breaking 40:00.  But most songs are shorter than five minutes.  There was no way I’d be able to get back to The House on the Hill before the music stopped…

Beat_the_Clock_1958Challenge accepted!  Best game of Beat The Clock ever!  Let the games begin!

“Sweet Child O’ Mine” lasted until I made the turn onto Eastern Avenue.  Now it was time for the long, uphill straightaway on the sunny side of the street.

Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters urged me to pick up the pace, but sweat was pouring off me like rats fleeing a sinking ship.  I was never going to survive this heat.  I made the bold decision to cross over to the shady side of the street.

The shade definitely helped keep my engine from overheating, but it didn’t do anything for my sore runner’s legs.  I said a silent prayer to Nike, the goddess of runners, that the songs remaining on the MP3 player had many verses and long instrumentals.

The fourth song ended before I made it to the halfway point.  Not good.  I had hoped that I would make the turn at the 2 mile mark before song #5 started, but that was not to be.  My legs felt like they were sloshing through quicksand, and even with the shade watching over me, I was sweating an inordinate amount.

As I approached the 2.25 mile mark, I gave myself a pep talk while The Goops provided the soundtrack with “Build Me Up Buttercup”, not a particularly long song.  I told myself that the best way to deal with sore legs, sweat, and an overwhelming thirst was to get back to The House on the Hill as quickly as possible.

So I found that next gear, and I pushed myself.  Song #7 was “Beautiful Day” by U2.  I wanted to turn onto State Street before Bono sang his last lyric.  I pushed myself even harder.  I never check my watch while I’m running, so I had no idea if I was on pace to break 40:00.  All I knew for sure was that I was running out of music.

U2 faded away one block short of State Street.  What would the final song be?  Please let it be “Stairway To Heaven” I thought, even though I knew that lengthy Led Zeppelin tune wasn’t even on the MP3 player.

The Police were going to wrap it up with “Every Breath You Take”.  Sting and the boys needed to slow it down and drag it out for me because I still had about a half mile to go.

I pushed myself as hard as I could, not even slowing down on the final incline.  I turned onto my street and could see The House on the Hill as the instrumental began to fade.  No!!!!  I had come this close…

The music stopped about 20 seconds before I ran up my driveway.  I was so disappointed.  I had come that close, and had urged a strong run out of myself after such a slow start.

runner liar I checked my watch.

39:15!  I had not only beaten 40:00, but I had also shaved five seconds off of yesterday’s time.

I couldn’t believe it.  With how slowly I had started, I was positive that a sub 40:00 run would not be an option.

I guess it proves that anything is possible, especially when you challenge yourself and let the music be your guide…

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Fitness, Humor, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Challenge Accepted; Mission Accomplished!

  1. mandolinsummer says:

    good choice in songs – I’d like to see what the rest of the 49 are. you should post a “modern philosopher’s playlist” for the rest of us to work out to. i do pilates and bike, but i still think i could groove to a philosopher’s beat!

  2. Music, huh? Every day you get faster, Austin. I think you were made for running. Well done!

  3. Lorra B. says:

    OUTSTANDING!! Kickboxing is my torment of choice…kidding, actually love it, but couldn’t do it without tunes. Music makes every punch, every kick, just a little easier to do. You ROCK! 🙂

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