Last Friday, after a optimistic Wednesday run, I dragged myself through another Couch to 5K regiment, landing at a miserable 11-minute mile pace. I rocked out, threw my fists around, mouthed the words to the song (as is now, apparently, my custom), and still my feet sort of slid along the pavement. My ankles hurt, my thighs hurt, my calves hurt. I did my favorite move, the is-she-running-at-all-or-just-kind-of-walking-and-moving-her-arms-awkwardly? Three minutes of running seemed like a feat initially, and after a nice, endorphin-filled Wednesday, Friday came like a sucker punch. Maybe the weather was too much, maybe I didn’t try hard enough. But when I got home and saw the 11:09 pace (after bragging about my 9:48 on Wednesday), I questioned just how useful this whole thing would be. If I’m running at a walking pace, what is the point?
Monday brought a regiment I audibly laughed at when I saw it. Run for three minutes, walk for one and half, run for five minutes, walk for two and a half. REPEAT.
Constance, babe, ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? I could barely drag my sad legs through two sets of three minutes, you want me to run for 16 minutes now? Ok, cool. Great. Can I do that thing in Mario Kart time trials where I just sort of watch my ghost do the race? Is that ok? I’ll cheer on the see-through version of myself from this curb.
I took the dance-run tactic to a new extreme. I put Nicki Minaj on shuffle, and let her angry, dirty raps kick me into gear. The first stop (no shame): Anaconda.
Have all the issues you want with Nicki, but as a running companion, her take-no-prisoners attitude was extremely useful. There is something hilarious, stupid and freeing about mouthing “oh my gosh, look at her butt, oh my gosh, look at her butt, look at her butt.” And when I’m running, I can totally live in the fantasy world that I am, in fact, talking about my own butt. Because my headphones are loud, and I’m alone, and I look ludicrous, and for a few seconds I can pretend to have a big butt. Really, is that the most embarrassing thing I’ve done today? Not likely.
Next in the playlist was Bang Bang.
The beat is fun and peppy (did I seriously just write that?), and there are several moments in the song where it builds up, psyching you up run a bit faster. Right before the chorus, I actually started sprinting. Not for long (maybe five seconds), but on the second rep of five minutes of running, I needed something to clear my head from the “you suck, you suck, we can’t breathe, we should just stop now,” and pushing myself to sprint the block did just that. Dear brain, our legs just pounded that pavement, so you can shut up, now. We can sprint in the middle of a run. So sit down.
Am I listening to these songs for their musical quality? Not so much. But is a powerhouse female playlist helpful? Is there something awesome about having these straight talking women as running partners? It certainly doesn’t hurt.
Monday’s 9:38 pace and today’s 9:41 pace prove there is something to their madness.