The event will be forever etched in my memory.  I was a sophomore in high school and had just stepped into early morning band practice.  I played in the percussion section and on this particular day was placed in a bass drum role that I had not prepared for. Playing the bass drum is relatively simple … just keep the beat. Our band teacher was a short bald man who when he became angry his face turned 7 shades of crimson. Halfway through this new song he began the transition from Caucasian to the color of a red Christmas stocking.  At the same time he cocked his arm back, and proceeded to hurl his orchestra baton forward with a pitch any big leaguer would have been proud of.  Somewhere mid-flight I realized the projectile was traveling directly for my head.  Fortunately my reaction time was slightly ahead of the object and I was able to duck. He missed. I had a sneaking suspicion that my days in high school band were numbered.  Confirmation came the next day as I sat in study hall while my peers played their musical instruments in the band room.  Sheesh, all because I missed a simple timing change in the middle of a new song!

I am glad I didn’t let the trauma of this single event dampen my enthusiasm for music.  I like music.  I like playing (picked up some rhythm guitar) and singing.

Racing 6 races this summer I have noticed more people running with ear phones.  Not me.  Tried it once.  Once was enough. I lost the auditory sensory cues created while running. As the music played through my mini music machine I missed the pat, pat, pat of my feet hitting the ground.  I missed the sound of my breathing.  I missed the birds singing.  I missed the dogs barking.  I missed the cows mooing. I missed the whisper of the wind passing through the pine trees.  Guess I am like Steve Prefontaine who said; “Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run…”

So when I run I create songs.  Sometimes depending on where I am running, a little rock and roll.  An easy run? Probably a waltz. Working hard running hill repeats? Something with a strong marching beat.  If I am gutting through a tough workout something with dissonance. Wherever I run I want to create my own music.  My time.  My run.  My world.  Just for a little while… created by me.

Three quarter time? Can I have this dance?

(Photo by the author: kayak trip, Bowman Lake, Glacier National Park)

Until next time – enjoy the run!

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