It was a lot of work to get to 20 and not just because of the physical effort. If you're someone who is internally critical of yourself, it's difficult to spend time on a course surrounded by a bevy of individuals who are younger, faster, stronger, more fit, thinner than you or with better war stories. By the way, if by chance the runner is older, heavier, weaker, or less physically able than you, you often feel even worse about your performance. (I'm particularly looking at you, amazing runners who are geriatric, blind, missing limbs, pregnant, or recovering from major surgery.)
This weekend was hugely important to me for a lot of reasons, but among them because this was the first marathon where I tried hard (to a point) and then just let it be. I've spent four years running as a tool to control and process through the challenges of my personal life: my father's illness and death, my volunteer roles, my career, my mother's loneliness, my marriage, and being a mother myself. There's a lot of mental energy that goes into that, not to mention the physical energy required to run 26.2 miles before a sweeper gets you (in addition to processing constant other "runner-to-me" comparison).
Any runner/walker (of any distance) will tell you that when you're in a race, you don't want to be fussing around with straps, water, tags, nutrition, or your entertainment. And that's really what this post is about. I brought the wrong bra and pants, I was worried about looking like a dork with my preferred hydration pack so I brought a bottle I dislike, and I forgot to bring along more than 240 calories of food. But, by God, I got my entertainment right, thanks to my iPod preloaded with enough music for approximately 19 days and 16 hours (which is roughly what a marathon feels like to me).
So this post is about my Folsom to Sacramento playlist. I don't expect this to be use to anyone except my twin (note: I do not have a twin). But I'm rolling my leg cramps out with a tennis ball right now and need something to do, so it might as well be this post.
Folsom Prison Blues, Johnny Cash. Let's get the obvious out of the way right off the bat, shall we? It's not Folsom to Sacramento without this song. So I played it first. And I went back to it two more times. Because... Johnny Cash.
Only Happy When It Rains, Garbage. I live in Portland. I either run in drizzle, fog, rain, downpour, or occasionally "what the hell it's hot today!" Then I go to the California International Marathon. Okay guys. I know there are all types and stripes of runners. I don't expect you to be any particular kind. But Jiminy Christmas, today's runners whined so much about the rain that lasted all of the first 30 minutes. "I hope it doesn't rain!" "What do I do if it rains?" "Did I dress right for the rain?" "Oh, no, it looks like it's going to rain!" Really? It's water. From the sky. You guys need it. And it won't make you melt. So put on your big girl panties (I'm looking at you 3-time Boston Qualifier stretching next to me) and run in the rain and like it, just like those of us up north do. I played this song AND sang to it for the first couple miles simply out of spite.
I Gotsta Get Paid, ZZ Top. I like ZZ Top as much as the next woman my age who doesn't have amazing legs, is tired of that song, and loathes cheap pantyhose (which is to say I like ZZ Top a fair bit but not that song). This song I really enjoy and it makes me feel like a total badass when it comes up on my running playlist, which is perfect around mile 5 or 6 when I actually am running like a total badass. Fun fact: This is originally recorded by DJ DMD but ZZ Top's version is so much better, which of course is what I'm sharing here because we're friends and all.
Fall to Pieces, Velvet Revolver. Alright, here's me being honest. There's no connection between this song and the marathon that is beyond the personal: 1) I like the song. 2) It represented how I felt this weekend. 3) Scott Weiland just kicked the bucket and, although I have no strong connection to the artist, I enjoyed his projects, he sang this song (composed by Slash), and Scott's work was top of playlist. Consequently, I played this song more than a heartsick 13-year-old girl when she finds out some other girl asked the object of her affection to the Sadie Hawkins dance.
Banks of the Sacramento, Foc'sle Singers. You'll listen to the banjo picking and think, what the heck is this? Well, "Camptown Races" by any other name is, well, a lot of other songs. There's only one part of the race course where we approached the famous American River and it was over a small bridge crossing a small inlet by Sac State. This song evokes Mark Twain and riverboats, neither of which would've been very impressed by this glimpse. But, it includes the name Sacramento, and feels appropriate. (By the way, I'm totally showing off by including it here. I never downloaded this song. Who wants this stuck in their head for any part of a marathon?)
Hurt, Johnny Cash. First off, yes, this is another Johnny Cash song. So I like the guy! What're you going to do about it? Actually, please don't do anything. I'm sitting here with a stomachache and seriously tight IT bands. This is a JC cover of a Nine Inch Nails song (so that makes it cool for you chronically angry folk) but it's so much better. Also, aside from being my go to song when I feel melancholy, it's also how I feel around mile 15 when there's still eleven. more. effing. miles. to go.
Sutter's Fort, Deadly Hi-Fi. A couple years ago, a buddy and I walked through midtown which included a jaunt through Sutter's Fort. This now-abandoned-but-restored fort was built in 1839 and had a good ten years of productivity until it got passed over for another Sutter structure (Sutter's Mill) in nearby Coloma when gold flakes were found. Sutter's Fort was abandoned but managed to find its happy ending when the Native Sons of the Golden West restored it in the late 1890s. I only know this because I'd had a couple beers when my buddy was explaining it to me and promptly forgot everything so I looked it up afterward. Which is also how I found this reggae/soul-roots song that I'm now sharing with you. (By the way, you run by Sutter's Fort around mile 22.)
Sacramento, Deep Dish. This is great trance music which is approximately how you feel (or at least how I feel) after running 26 miles. This will probably never make it into my official rotation of music, but I knew at first listen it would be so much better than whatever disco or Journey songs would be played near the finish line. And I was right.
Alright, there you go. Eight tracks from today's playlist, representing approximately 30 minutes of the more than five hours it took me to run 26.2 miles. Hey, I said I'm not fast! But I'm done. And although that leaves me tired, sore, and host of other emotions, it does leave me pretty content. For now.