No, I’m not talking about the crying that comes with the pain (or elation) from training/racing.
Does anyone else ever experience this — there you are, running along, listening and singing along to your running playlist (well, I actually sign along in my head because I can’t run, sing and breathe at the same time), and all of a sudden one of THOSE songs come on. You know what I mean, the song that, even though it has a great beat to run to, makes you start thinking. Thinking beyond the run, to people and places that stir up emotions from deep within. And then, you cry. While you are running. Tears streaming down your face, nose a sloppy mess. (Thank goodness for my Runningluv.)
I guess I have come to find that no matter if I am running solo or in a race with thousands of people, I am a solitary runner. I let the music from my playlist guide my feet, my head, and my heart. The rest of my life is full – of family, work, friends, pets and all the usual day to day stuff that always has me thinking, what do I have to do next? When I head out the door with just myself and my music, I’m away from all that. I can block it out. No texts, no calls. Just music. And I can actually listen to each word. And when I listen to each word, I infer a meaning. Even if the song was not written as a “sad” song, it can remind me of people, of things, of defining events in my life that maybe are pushed out of the day-to-day craziness, but are always in the back of my mind because of their importance to me.
Right now I have three songs on my playlist that make me cry, because they remind me of people who were taken from me way too soon, and no matter how much time passes, the pain will always linger: my mom, who died unexpectedly when I was 24; my dad, who died unexpectedly when I was 29; and my sister/best friend Ann, who died after battling breast cancer when she was 35 and I was 33.
Why do I keep these songs on my playlist, if they cause me to cry? Because these are good tears. Sad tears, but strong tears, because every step I take I am doing in memory of these three people, trying to make them proud. These tears propel me forward. These are cleansing tears. My soul aches but my heart opens with these tears. At the end of my run, when the tears are all gone, I feel empty and full at the same time. I guess that is balance; balance is what I need. Along with my running shoes, my playlist, and my tears.
These are my three songs, I hope you enjoy them.