One early morning last year I was getting dressed and ready for the Helen Klein 50 mile run. A song came into my head. It was Kid A by Radiohead. I don’t know why, but I just started humming the tune, its austere, serene rhythm. I quickly picked up my Ipod and searched for the song. I found it. As I walked toward the starting line of the race I was listening to it over and over. Normally I’m very nervous before a race, but at this moment I remember feeling a sense of calm, a stillness that seemed to come from the music.
Late in the race, as my legs were growing weary, I played a song list that I had prepared for that moment. These songs exude energy and carried me during earlier runs: “Crush” by Paul Van Dyke (one of my daughter’s favorites); “Harvey and the Old Ones” by Banco de Gaia; “Next is the E” by Moby; “Amo Bishop Roden” by Boards of Canada; and the ever-lifting “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters. I crested the last hill at mile 49 and could see the turn to the finish line. Every muscle in me was screaming to slow down. Somehow I didn’t. I made it to the finish, 10th place overall, a mere 5 seconds ahead of the next runner.
As the WS 100 mile race approaches another song enters my mind. It’s “Nude” by Radiohead, one of my favorite songs. I visualize myself coming through the finish line, stronger than I’ve ever felt as a runner. I clinch my fist in the air. Could this be? To finish WS 100 mile run through the mountains feeling on top of the world? Then I hear Nude playing in my head, I notice its tenderness, and the gradual, escalating tenor of Thom York’s piercing voice as he delivers the final lyric—“you’ll go to hell for what your dirty mind is thinking”.
A chill runs down my neck.
Control Click the Link below to play the Song “Nude”: