It seems like Sunday's Wokingham Half Marathon is going to be some sort of experiment for me. I have been an avid supporter of running with music since I started this whole running thing a few years ago. I've even written a post about the positioning and motivation about where I put particular tracks to help me during the run.
I was reminded of this last night when I saw a Facebook post from eatingtrees explaining that he was currently compiling his playlist for the Wokingham Half but then went into a mild state of panic that I don't have one this time. At all. This will be the first half marathon I've ever run without some musical stimulus helping me get through those last few painful miles. There's a reason for it though, and that reason is Portuguese.
Last year's Lisbon Half Marathon was a horrible, horrible run. Everything that could feel bad, did. I finished over 13 minutes slower than my predicted time and my slowest ever by 7 minutes. It completely knocked my confidence and it completely and utterly destroyed my faith in music getting my through the bad times. I have not run with music since.
In a nutshell, my playlist was designed to be turned on at a certain point in a race and then by knowing the order of the tracks, I knew exactly where I should be on the course at any given time and then finish with 4 really happy and upbeat (read cheesy) songs that got me through that last stretch without any problems. This playlist worked time and time again with me hitting my predicted finish times in numerous events and then Lisbon happened...
For whatever reason, I started falling behind my pace and couldn't get it back. In fact it just kept getting worse and worse. Then the worst thing happened. The first song came back on. The song hat usually comes on with 50/55mins running left. Remaining motivation. DEAD! I tried to ignore it and then had to turn it off. Then I skipped back to my last 4 happy songs to push me through but knowing it was the second time I'd listened just felt like cheating. Then they finished again and I was back to the start. The iPod came off and the last half mile was completed with just my heavy breathing for company. By the way, I in no way blame the music for my poor performance, it had nothing to do with it but they will eternally be linked in my head.
Mind you, all my training runs have been tuneless and I've got up to 10 miles with those so it will be fine. I'm sure... Either way, I'm looking forward to this run, it's gonna be great!