Using music as a motivational playlist for your life is nothing new. When I drive into Harvard or out to Brookline, I keep my iPod on shuffle to see what tone I need to set for myself. Today's inspiration came from Trout Fishing in America.
Umm.... Trout Fishing in America? That odd book by Richard Brautigan that inspired hippies everywhere back in the day? Nope, the band from Texas that do acid folk and kids music that adults can listen to without wanting to stab their eyes out with a fork. (Screw Raffi and the Wiggles, my kids grew up listening to Trout and They Might Be Giants... before they started doing kids' music along with good old rock and roll.) Trout keep getting nominated for grammy awards and lose to Elmo. When they lost to They Might Be Giants, it was all cool because that's kind of like Judy Dench losing the Oscar to Meryl Streep, it was a call that was more of coin flip than because someone was better than the other.
But I digress. Trout set the tone today with their song "Eleven Easy Steps" and the declaration, "I know imagination is the only thing that can stop me."
If you have never done a stadium step run when you have a touch of acrophobia which leads to a sense of vertigo, then you know that your fears are in your imagination. That image of your broken body after it's rolled down 30+ concrete steps to lie broken at the bottom of the wall is your imagination. It is that "can't do" instead of your "have to." (For those of you unfamiliar with the "have to" speech, rent a copy of "Rookie of the Year" and it's that fabulous moment where even Gary Bussey realizes how incoherent he really sounds.)
Banishing the image from my imagination, I started up the stairs today with a new goal for August: how far can I get in 35 minutes? This is important because come September, I have to be at school at 8 am, showered and ready to herd cats... I mean elementary students. Thirty five minutes gives me a good work out and enough time to get home, shower and head into school ready to face the day.
Taking a deep breath, I let my good imagination kick in. The one that saw me in a pair of jeans a size smaller before the school year starts. The one that saw me getting stronger, faster and ready to rock. Up the stairs, down the stairs and do it again. Less breaks for shorter times, section by section I pushed and climbed and clambered down.
In the end I managed to cover 16 sections in 35 minutes, a new PR for myself. Not bad given my hip flexors were flipping me off the whole time. Had I let myself go to where I finished last week, it would have been in less time than I finished last week... either way, it works. I went to the "have to" and my imagination didn't stop me.