My goal for this race was to average about a 13 minute mile, which I more or less managed to do. So the playlist functioned exactly as intended. So, here is a race report in the form of notes on a running playlist:
- "Stepz Out" by Zumjay. I wanted to start with something peppy but not so driving that I would be tempted to run too fast. I forgot that if you're at the back of the starting line-up, it's really hard to run too fast at the start of a 5K, because you've got a huge crowd in front of you. I was weaving around dudes pushing strollers and packs of Willow Glen Elementary School students.
- "Surrender" by Cheap Trick. At this point, the pack started to thin out, and I could settle into a groove.
- "I Ran" by A Flock of Seagulls. This song is required by law in any running playlist. At this point in the race, I was in my, "I feel like I can do this forever!" zone.
- "Big Up" by Shaggy. I chose this song as my 1-mile marker pick-me-up. (To the extent I can decipher the lyrics, it appears to be an ode to the virtues of fat athletic women. Even before I could decipher the lyrics, I found the beat irresistable.) Sure enough, soon after it started, the Runkeeper app on my phone chimed in to tell me I'd passed one mile (and was averaging just under my 13 minute goal), and not long after that I passed the official 1 mile marker. (Runkeeper seems to slightly overestimate distances.) Oddly, when this song came up, I had the distinct impression that its tempo had slowed down slightly from what I was used to. Exertion producing a time dilation effect?
- "Hungry as the Hunter" by the Mission U.K. I had no way of knowing in advance that this song would be playing as I passed the first water stop. I'm glad it was, though, because the problem with water stops is that you inevitably slow down a bit to grab your cup of water and drink it, and the temptation not to speed up again is tremendous. But there's something about the guitar and drums in this song that just make me want to run like hell. So I did.
- "The Headmaster Ritual" by the Smiths. This song is a musical "F--- You!" to nearly all the P.E. teachers I had at school. Except for Mr. Hansen, who taught me P.E. for second and third grade, and actually managed to teach my uncoordinated self to dribble a basketball.
- "You're So Damn Hot" by Ok Go. I don't really remember very much from this point in the race. At some point, I passed the 2 mile mark.
- "Gonna Make You Sweat" by C+C Music Factory. I remember thinking that if sweat was the objective, these guys were already late to the party.
- "Feel the Rush" by Shaggy. I tried to time this song for the point where you know that the mile 2 marker was a long way back, but the mile 3 mark seems a long way away, and you start to wonder if you can really finish. I timed it pretty well. It put a little more bounce in my step.
- "This is Home" by Bad Lieutenant. I knew I really was in the home stretch at this point.
- "You Know My Name" by Chris Cornell. I really ought to put together a playlist composed entirely of James Bond movie themes. Running to James Bond themes is awesome. Crossing the finish line of a 5K race to Chris Cornell's "You Know My Name," just like you planned? Awesomer.
- "Never Ending Story (12" Dance Remix) by Limahl. I knew that if I was still running when this song came up, I'd have missed my time goal, so I wanted to make it something a bit goofy and fun as a consolation prize. No consolation was needed, but it was also a nice song to do my cooldown and stretching to.
Runkeeper clocked me at 42 minutes, 51 seconds. My official time will hopefully be a tiny bit shorter, since Runkeeper counted the time spent shuffling slowly towards the start line with 1800 other runners. In any case, it's a couple minutes faster than my previous best time - I'm very pleased with the improvement.