Tuesday Tunes: Songs for Moving Forward

Tuesday Tunes: Songs for Moving Forward

I don’t want to be a runner.

That’s a new phrase for me. I used to phrase it as, “I’m not a runner.” As in, I’m not capable.

But I’ve realized recently that that’s not true. Back in May I signed up to run a seven-mile road race, for many other reasons outside of the running itself—the course was beautiful, mile five was right in front of my cousins’ house, and it meant a weekend vacation on the beach. What came with all of that, of course, was the commitment to actually run seven miles. And I was not a runner.

But I was registered and I’d paid for this experience, so I trained. I started small—one mile here, two there. I started waking up early to beat the heat; I made playlists and downloaded podcasts. My body hurt a lot and then it didn’t, and then it did again, and then it didn’t. Running has never come naturally to me, and at the heart of this whole undertaking, I wanted the challenge. I wanted to do the thing I always told myself, and others, that I could not and would not do. There were no stakes besides that. The stakes themselves were relatively low. But they were high enough for me to feel them in my way.

I ran the race. I did not win, and I still did not stop. I high-fived my family and felt the ocean breeze on my sweaty skin. I ran across the finish line and I dismantled a lie I had told myself for many, many years. And now I had a choice: continue to build on this newfound, foundational belief that I could be a runner—or step away and go back to life before.

I’ve chosen, for now, to step away. I didn’t find joy or peace or healing in running; actually, it all kind of hurt and I wanted to bail by mile five. No one needs me to prove myself any further. I don’t feel the need to stack race numbers in my hands. I want to go back to the gym, to long walks, to sleeping in. I could have a runner’s life—my body and mind have shown me that. But I want something different right now. For as glad as I am that I tried, it’s that different life I’m choosing to pursue.

Here are five songs for putting one foot in front of the other, for doing what you thought you could not do, and for making the choice to live a life that you choose for yourself—a life that’s always changing and always moving forward.

“Nice for What” // Drake

For the starting line, mile one. I love that this song has so many false starts before the beat really kicks in—it gives me time to settle into my rhythm.

“24 Karat 2016” // Gladius ft. Klara Elias

For the first three miles, running full up on adrenaline. The drop at 0:42 had me dancing as I came up on the four-mile mark, just over halfway with the hardest part ahead.

“Born to Run” // Bruce Springsteen

For the end of mile five, to keep me calm and steady right as things got really hard. And also the point where I ran by my family, who raised me on Springsteen, and got high-fives and water bottles from the people I love most.

“Mr. Brightside” // the Killers

For a wicked uphill that took me through the start of the last mile. A challenge and a triumph. You know I had to.

“Jubel” // Klingande

For the finish line. I’ve ended every run, nearly every workout, with this song—for years now. Every chord, to me, feels like completion.

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