Tori Amos and an Old Man

This story starts on Thursday. I was out for my normal short training run with my iPhone pumping my favorite running songs into my ears. Tori Amos’ “She’s Your Cocaine” came on and something felt different. I realized that the little voice from my running app wasn’t making a peep, which meant I was maintaining a 10minute/mile pace all by myself with out her telling me to run faster or slower. (Note: I was actually shooting for an 11minute/mile pace to keep it easy, but apparently my app doesn’t know how to tell time)

Hmm… I started thinking that maybe there was something about the song that was keeping me steady at a good pace. As an old band geek, I have a tendency to unconsciously tap my foot or walk with the beat of the song. I’m going to use this. I determined that “She’s Your Cocaine” has a tempo of 85 beats per minute (bpm.) So I did what any crazy person would do and put together an entire playlist of just songs that are 85ish bpm.

Saturday morning, I ran in the Maybrook Autumn Classic 5K. I started up my play list and hit the start line. At each 5 minute interval, my app tells me that I’m maintaining a pace of less than 10 minutes. Holy crap. My typical average pace during runs on this course is 11:30-12 minutes (stupid teensy weensy hills) but I’m going much faster now and I don’t feel like I’m going to die. In my head I’m thinking that I’m totally going to break my PR of 32:27 at this rate. Friggin’ awesome. “Just keep up this pace and you’re golden,” I tell myself.

Two blocks from the finish line, I am greeted by a 60ish year old man who already finished and had headed back down the course to cheer on others. He’s a regular at this 5K and always comes in the top 10. He tells me to run harder. I tell him I’m already going to break my PR by a whole minute so I’m not going to go nuts and push harder. He tells me I need to give it my all and make it even better. Not about to get chased down Tower Avenue by a senior citizen, I do what I am told. I put everything I had into that last stretch. And I mean everything. If there were finish line photos, I’d probably look kinda like this:because I was screaming to my mom and husband for my asthma inhaler. Sprinting against a headwind when I forgot to take a hit of Xoponex before the run was not a smart idea, but it paid off. I broke my PR not by a minute, but by 2 minutes and 29 seconds. Which means that I also got my first ever sub-30 5k chip time!!! 0:29:58!! WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Was it the music or that final sprint that nearly killed me that got me such a great time? Like a good scientist, I had to perform a second trial. Like an idiot, I did another 5k the next day- the Sudbury Halloween 5K. I put on my special playlist and toed the line with 2 chicks that I’d be running the Disney Half with. I told myself I wasn’t going to push since I had already run the previous day and didn’t want to wind up on crutches again. 30 minutes and 31 seconds later, I crossed the finish line- without screaming for a medic or even a bronchodilator, no less. Sweet!!! It wasn’t a total fluke! Behold the power of music!

Has Tori Amos and an old man finally made me a 30 minute 5k runner? I guess I have to see how the Turkey Trot goes next month.


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