If you work out at the Kennebec Valley YMCA and you hear sporadic broken choruses of “Domino” by Van Morrison or “Dance to the Music” by Sly and the Family Stone, I was probably running on the treadmill at the time. This was probably proceeded or followed by whooping, clapping, wheezing, and/or the occasional rebel yell. When I am in pain or feel like I’m not going to make it, guttural grunts of “C’mon”, “Let’s Go”, or (when things are really bad) a high pitched, desperate and whiney “Seriously” will escape. I am, without a doubt, the loudest and most vocal person at the Y. Those of you who know me are asking how this is different from any other scenario I place myself.
A friend of a friend before we were friends would hear me at the Gym and post about it on her Facebook page. I remember seeing a comment on Facebook through the newsfeed about the Singing Treadmill Guy and I thought, that’s so cool, I want to run with that guy! Turns out it was me. That lovely lady is now one of my running buddies. Not everybody is so keen to run with the singing treadmill guy. I have been yelled at from the far side of the gym, people have moved treadmills, and recently in a race I was heckled for a good couple of miles. On the flip side, I have have had a number of people come up to me after races and thank me for keeping them motivated. I just do my thing. What I am surprised about is how nobody else is so verbal.
Occasionally I will see people chatting on the recumbent bikes or if they are walking on the treadmill, otherwise it’s as silent as a mausoleum. I don’t expect to hear people singing, but I am surprised that people keep their motivation to themselves. Being in the gym, we have entered the arena, even if it is only against ourselves. I am used to the best of coaches yelling at their players, mostly yelling positive encouragement. What about the fans? I love running races where they print my name on the running bib so that random people along the route will cheer you on when least expected. I am surprised not to hear more work out partners pumping up their friends. I know you are thinking, how can I hear them if I have my earphones on or over the sound of my own mellifluous voice? Well, I do try to unplug at least once a week and the silence is oppressive.
Singing helps me in a number of ways. When I’m running alone, it helps me to remember to breathe. Most of my training guides say that I should be running at a pace where I can still talk and singing reminds me to check that. I am rarely running so slow that I can get out a whole verse. When I am running with others, singing is entertainment and fuel for the conversational fires; were we in school when that song came out, was it our first concert, did that song play at our wedding? I will use parts of a song like a martial artist will use “Hai” to chop a wood block in half, as a conduit for energy and focus. When I am tired and can’t remember the words to a mantra, base lines will become my mantra. “BaDump bumbumbumbum Bah Da Da” from ZZ Top’s La Grange is incredibly helpful for keeping me on pace. Most importantly, singing makes me happy. Running makes me happy. Happy breeds happy. Sometimes on the trail, I’m not so happy, so out comes a song.
Give it a try the next time you run. Let out a little ditty or musical doggerel. Give yourself a whoop or a very verbal pat on the ass. I hope to hear you all singing on the railtrail come spring.
I am still focused on losing 1 1/2 lbs a week, but I am ecstatic to announce I lost 4 lbs this week. I am currently 273 – 12 lbs in 6 weeks! For this I thank the added miles and running 5 days instead of 4. I was very consistent with my eating and that really helps too. I have been swimming each day I run and got some coaching my last time in the pool so that made things more difficult and challenging. Worked out with weights on the circuit twice and stretched every day. I will pick a 15-20 minute workout this week and will add it into my regiment.