P is for Playlist

PSome runners like to run to music. Some runners do not. On one Facebook group I belong to, there’s the occasional message about running “tech free” and listening to nature. I’m pretty sure everyone reading knows where I fall in this debate—I have a playlist and I run to it every day (unless I somehow get to the trail without my phone or sans earbuds).

I’ve written plenty about how I pace myself according to where I am when particular songs come on. With a pattern (rut?) like I mine (running the same routes, listening to the same playlist), it is easy to tell how well I’m running from day to day.

My current playlist is about my fourth since I started running, the third in the past year. Here are the songs and artists in order and the approximate mile I should be on when they play:

Sara Bareilles, Brave

Roy Orbison and kd lang, Crying (.75 miles by the end of the song)

Florence and the Machine, Dog Days of Summer (1 mile by early/mid song)

One Republic, Counting Stars

Fall Out Boy, My Songs Know what You Do in the Dark

Adele, Rolling in the Deep (2 miles)

Rihanna, S&M

Cher, Woman’s World (3 miles)

kd lang, Hallelujah (usually play this twice)

Adele, Rumor Has It (4 miles)

Sara Bareilles, Brave (again)

Hozier, Take Me to Church (5 miles–such a haunting song. Check out the video!)

kd lang singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah is one of my favorite songs on the list, and I often play it twice. There’s something magical about running on a gorgeous PNW day and coming down the South Bay Trail or around a corner with a view of the water on Chuckanut and having kd singing her lungs out in my ears. Takes my breath away.

I’m often struck by the words of a particular song, too, while running. Many times I will hear a song without really listening to the words or thinking about what they mean. When I hear them day in and day out on my runs, it’s easy to not pay attention to the words. Just this morning after months of running to Rumor Has It (it was on my old playlist as well), I really heard the words for the first time . . . go figure.

Of course, I can run without the music if I so choose. And I have a few times, but tuning in to my heavy breathing and the sound of the water sloshing in my water bottles only makes me anxious and self conscious. And lord knows, there’s enough of that going on already.

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