I love what music does to my mind. Lots of songs bring me back in time and take me down Memory Lane. I have a series of songs I listen to every day on my way to work to get me in a good, positive mood to start my day. Lots of songs make me think of friends I have all over the country and I’ll drop them a text to say hi when I hear a song on the radio that makes me think of them.
But then there’s the songs that get me fired up. I have my pre-race playlist. I don’t know if I’m a pavlovian dog and they trigger me or if I really like the songs, but I don’t run a marathon without hearing Zombie Nation or Lose Yourself, amongst others.
On Friday, I was on a plane, and a song came on my iPhone that triggered something in me. It was a song I didn’t even know was on there. I don’t know if my wife Tiffany downloaded it at one point or if I added it years ago and don’t remember. Whatever the case, I’m glad I heard it. It woke me up. It was some version by Travis Barker of the hip-hop song Soulja Boy. I’ve heard the normal version of that song, but never this one. It had guitars and drums that gave it that Linkin Park/Limp Bizkit kind of edge. And like I said, it woke me up.
As has been well documented here, my life has been a disaster because of issues we’ve had with my son Jack, who’s 9 1/2 and severely autistic and not in school. Click here if you want to read about a worse nightmare than I could have ever imagined happening with my son when we moved to Colorado for a better life. A teacher and a principal who were willing to spite a 9-year-old disabled child for a year and have no business being in education completely turned my family’s life upside down. That prompted lots of hassles with lawyers and fighting the school district and the Federal Department of Education and eventually a relocation to Philly.
Running is way down my list of priorities, but I’ll admit it — I do enjoy training and competing. It’s a way to push myself and I like doing that. I’ve let that go this year, because I’ve had to. Life comes first, and it always will. My fitness has slipped quite a bit. I just ran my favorite race, the Boston Marathon, about 45 minutes slower than I ran it two years ago. I really want to get back next year, because I love the race (I’ve run it the past six years) and I love the city (I have ever since the first day I got there on April 18, 2008) and after the bombing at the end of the race this year, I just HAVE to be there for the next running.
Side note: One of my absolute favorite parts of going to Boston and running the marathon is going to Fenway Park the day before the race for a Red Sox game and hearing Sweet Caroline in the middle of the 8th inning. Love, love, love that, and any time during the year I hear that song, it takes me straight to Boston. Here’s video I took of it in 2010. You haven’t lived until you’ve been to Fenway and heard Sweet Caroline.
Anyways, for the first couple of weeks post-race, I did more recovery than training, and that’s OK. But I’m awake now. I listened to that song and it’s pretty good angry music. It made me mad. Those two women took a lot away from me and my family. I took care of getting my family a better situation. Our new hometown and school district knock the socks off our old one. We will live happily ever after and that’s final. So now, I’m gonna take care of me, too. I’m awake. I’m going to reclaim what’s mine.
I love stepping up to a challenge to get something done. There were the 61 marathons in 2010 to raise money to fight autism, because I felt like I had to. There was finding a job halfway across the country two times in about a year because that’s what my family needed me to do.
And now, there’s Boston, 2014. I’m awake. I’m ready. I’ve got this.[subscribe2]