You're downloading music from "High School Musical"?
I could detect the hint of judgement in my husband's voice as he looked over my shoulder and watched me click the mouse on the "purchase song" button in iTunes. I had been found out. The gig was up. I was forced to take stock of the playlist on my iPod and, well, face the music.
In the 20th week of my training, it was time once again to update my running music and find something to keep me energized and help me ignore the humidity of May mornings. I just had not realized how much of a closeted 13-year-old I had become when choosing music for my morning run. It started innocently enough, but has now turned into a full-blown monstrosity that must be dealt with.
Last summer, Green Day's "American Idiot," was the only thing on my iPod. I listened to it every day and it never failed to propel me forward through at least 45 minutes of hard cardio. It was as if they designed the album specifically for runners, with the way the songs transition and the tempo stays upbeat. I couldn't imagine listening to anything else for my run.
I don't remember why I shifted, but around the fall I added some lighter fare to shake things up. By October I had memorized the words to "Mambo No.5," and "Funky Cold Medina." When "The Biggest Loser," was on NBC, I downloaded the theme song, and then realized it isn't nearly as inspirational to listen to the whole thing at 4:30 am than to hear the edited version on your couch while watching out-of-shape people get born again by Jillian Michaels. But I did keep Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff," and Joe Cocker's "You Can Leave Your Hat On." You just can't help but move when those songs are playing.
Around the beginning of the year I transitioned to more recent stuff, like Natasha Bedingfeld's "Unwritten," and KD Tunstall's "Suddenly I See." Soon Amy Winehouse joined the crowd and I started to feel a little more current, almost as if I were not someone whose only connection to news and pop culture is whatever happens to be on NPR between 6:00 and 6:15 am.
Then my playlist began to take a definite turn for the pre-teen. I heard, "Walking on Sunshine" on the radio and immediately placed it as number one. As I jogged along and be-bopped to the upbeat song, I realized the version I had downloaded wasn't the one I was used to hearing. Upon closer inspection, I found that it was recorded by a duo called, "Aly and AJ." I vaguely remembered seeing a glimpse of their reality show on MTV, in which one of them fails her driving test. The next two songs were by Avril Lavigne. Then, Beyonce. Somehow, my iPod had come to resemble what I imagine would be playing at skating rinks if that was still a cool place for teenagers to hang out. Since I am neither cool nor a teenager, I have no idea what the equivalent would be today.
Regardless, I liked it. I felt happy and peppy and practically sprinted down the street when Avril sang about how she doesn't like my girlfriend and thinks I need a new one. And faster than I could text my BFF on the way to Biology, I found myself in front of the computer entering the words, "High School Musical," into the search field. I was ashamed, but as a (former?) theatre geek, I am forever at the mercy of all-cast musical numbers with full-on jazz hands. And, "All for One" has the perfect tempo for a nice 9-minute mile. So I clicked.
Go ahead and judge me, I don't care. Thanks to Zach Efron and pals, my morning jaunt on the pavement is laced with promises of a beach party and fun in the sun. And besides, it could be worse. I happen to know for a fact that one of the biggest guys in my gym listens to Kelly Clarkson.