Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Soundtrack of Quiet Desperation

Emerson wrote that most men live lives of quiet desperation. I am a few hours away from the Livestrong Marathon and I should be sleeping but the anxiety and the desperation is plenty loud so I’m awake. I finished the playlist today for the marathon. I always put effort into my playlists into each race and usually some of it is sentimental but most of it is about the beat or just some cheesy message. This year is the hardest I’ve worked on each race, in previous years just adding more songs from the previous race. Last year, the song right before the Boston Qualifying time was “I think I’ll go to Boston” with the one after that if I’d failed as “So you had a bad day.”
This year I am trying to break that 3 hour mark and it will be really close if I am able to take that 8 minutes off last year. I’ll either go right under from having pulled it off or way over from having crashed. I am very intimidated and the playlist reflects some of that. But most of all, it is the most emotional playlist I’ve ever created for a race. There are nods to the past, the present and the future. There are songs in there that reflect the break up, like “Little Lion Man” a song the my wife sent me as things were falling apart. There are a couple of songs of anger like “That’s a woman” and “not ready to make nice.” There are some songs about rebounding from romance like “For the longest time” and “I want to know what love is.” There are some ambivalent songs about these emotions like “Bells of Freedom” “With my own two hands”. The song to begin it both because it’s my focus and to slow me down at the beginning is “In my daughter’s eyes” and a few other cheesy Disney tunes to help me think of her(it’s more than heart breaking that this will be the first time that Kiana is not at the finish line because I don’t imagine her mother will bring her out to cheer) Right smack in the middle is “The time of of your life” hoping I do it well. There are also some songs hopeful for something like “Lonely no more” and “A Dios Le Pido.” And at the end, exactly at the 3 hour mark is “I’m still standing” dedicated to my tumor. This year there is no song in case I failed, trying to focus on going big or going home. Matt, the friend who finished last year with me is doing so again knowing I’m on extra anti- seizure medication, and has been told that if I have a seizure that they are going to have to drag me off the course to stop me from dragging myself across the finish line. I gave him my race shirt because he's literally my lifeguard.
But like life, the marathon is about if and how you finish not how you start so I am trying to finish well. Last year, I told Stacey Conley, the president of the marathon company, that no matter how many marathons I would do that 2011 would be the most meaningful… she said not to be too focused on that, that the future might bring something more powerful. She was right and this one is one of those. Before running this marathon, I took off the sticker from the first marathon I’d ran and put on this year's Livestrong Marathon sticker. Bib #8 is ready with a sticker of a brain and a lion and lion cub, wearing my livestrong shoes and my ship of fools shirt. I hope this is the focus… and that no matter how good or bad the past is, that I get to keep focusing on the future along the course, smiling, perhaps crying but at least singing my desperation and running as hard as I know how till the end.

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