Sunday, April 12, 2009

Avril Lavigne Saves My Run

Last Monday, the day after Brians, I had a two hour run on my schedule. Monday runs are very doable for me, but there are a certain set of conditions on a two-hour Monday run.

They have to start by 5:30 PM at the latest, and preferably earlier. I have to be flexible about the route and be reachable by cell phone, in case there is an accident on 95 or something that will prevent Margit from picking up Ian at day care.

So that means doing a two-loop run, assuming the weather cooperates.

Last Monday it did not. I skipped lunch so I could leave work early. Standing in my office, I told myself that no matter what, regardless of how bad the rain was, I was going outside. Ironic, because my coach posted a few days later about how people needed to stop complaining about bad weather and get outside.

The drive home completely quashed, or rather washed out, that idea. It wasn't raining. It was pouring. The old man was snoring. The ducks were looking for a place to hide. So I pulled into the garage, grabbed the house phone, the cell phone, two hammer gels and a gatorade endurance and started running on the treadmill. Our treadmill only goes to 99 minutes, so I set the treadmill to, well 99 minutes. I then jacked up the volume on the Apple TV, which has some 40.00 speakers hooked up to it and started listening to Evanescence.

This worked for the first 40 minutes or so. When the treadmill got to 69 minutes, I reset it to 90 minutes and kept going. Running two hours on a treadmill is tough. I'd raced the day before and wasn't fresh and I was pounding along on the tread, kind of looking outside to see if it was going to stop raining.

Finally, as much as I love Evanescence, it wasn't doing it for me. The videos, which are more engaging than the songs as just audio when you are on the treadmill, don't play loudly enough. I started browsing and came up with the Boys of Summer by the Ataris. Great song, but it's not 50 minutes long.

So I decided to try something different. I have two Avril albums, Under My Skin and Best Damn Thing. Under My Skin I know inside out. It's a darker, brooding album that critics didn't like because it was uh, dark and brooding. Under My Skin I'm not sure I'd ever listened to. I only ever found out because iTunes gave away Girlfriend (from Best Damn Thing) as a free download and I found myself listening to it while waiting for the port-a-let at Eagleman two years ago and so the song stuck with me.

I turned on Best Damn Thing and yeah, it's pop-ish and silly and totally commercial. It's also about a mile away from the usual stuff I listen to, and it's probably age and gender inappropriate for me as well. When it comes to getting through a workout though, I could care less. I'll admit to the most embarrassing music I listen to- yeah, I think William Shatner's Has Been is awesome- because there isn't anything I listen to I'm ashamed of. Or I can take the abuse. My best friend from U of R beat all the shame out of me with his constant (and sometimes valid) criticism of the music I was listening to in the early 1980s.

The bottom line ? This isn't your typical bubble-gum pop. It's not just Avril's R-rated lyrics. The riffs and digs of the music were just what I needed to distract me from the last 50 minutes or so of a run that was never going to be easy.

I think the sun came out after about 60-65 minutes, when I was just getting on the back half of the run, at that point where I was no longer getting off the treadmill for anything. It had become a test of wills, and although I hated the treadmill with a passion when I got done, and felt beat down, I'd beaten it. And the music, that had been a big, no a huge help. When Best Dam Thing Ended, it went right to Under My Skin, reminding me of races Eagleman and another race in Rochester two years ago, and I was set.

I'll take that two hours on the treadmill. Just don't make me do it again...

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