Powerful Mojo

“You keep alive a moment at a time
But still inside a whisper to a riot
To sacrifice but knowing to survive
The first decline another state of mind
I’m on my knees, I’m praying for a sign
Forever, whenever
I never wanna die, I never wanna die,
I never wanna die, I’m on my knees
I never wanna die
I’m dancing on my grave
I’m running through the fire
Forever, whatever
I never wanna die
I never wanna leave
I’ll never say goodbye
Forever, whatever
Forever, whatever”

Walk – Foo Fighters

Music and running go hand in hand for me. I can run without music, but prefer not to. Occasionally, quiet, music-less runs are good for me, but I prefer to lose myself in lyrics and rhythm.

My playlists rotate songs in and out; Walk by the Foo Fighters is currently my most powerful weapon in my musical arsenal. I need to run an 8:40 pace for a couple of minutes on the treadmill? Better scroll through my playlist until Walk comes up. I need to push through the last half mile of a speed workout and my side is screaming, legs are on fire, the contents of my stomach up near my mouth, and eyes are blurred and stinging with sweat? Time to put Walk on repeat.

It won’t be that particular song forever. Last year, in the last 2 weeks before running the Instant Classic, my power song was “Shake It Out” by Florence + the Machine. It was “Some Nights” by fun. and “Dog Days are Over” (Florence again) leading up to the Richmond Half.

I am not really sure where I am going with all of this. This has been a powerful and difficult week. I am avoiding following much about Boston in the regular news media because they have all been so damn bad about doing their jobs. What I have been following is the stories of runners who were there, who finished, who didn’t, who helped, who ran away, and then the stories of runners taking back the streets, of people who opened their homes to the stranded visitors to the city who couldn’t get back to their hotels, and of runners lining up to donate so much blood, they actually were turning people away. I watched the video of the crowd at the Boston Bruins game sing the National Anthem. Those stories are more compelling to me than rampant speculation; they are powerful mojo.

I tried to donate blood this morning, but as I have documented here before, my iron levels are not good, and even 8 weeks of massive doses of iron supplementation still didn’t get my hemoglobin levels even close to the 12.5 level required to donate. A token effort, but a failure, nonetheless.

Another worthless token: I painted my fingernails and toenails blue and yellow, and so they shall remain at least until I have completed that OTHER worthless token: running 26.2 miles dedicated to Boston.

They are worthless tokens, the miles, the painted nails, the failed effort to donate blood. But to me, they are also powerful mojo. They don’t do jack to help the victims, the maimed, the grieving families. But they help make me feel connected to something that is real, something that is stronger than terror.

I have logged over 9 miles since Monday; every one of them with Boston on my mind, but not in some melancholy, depressed dark cloud. My mind keeps coming back to those lyrics posted above (and I am listening to them right now). It’s more about defiance. How dare someone attack my country, my people, my herd???

With apologies for the insensitive language, my response is, as worthless as it may be in the grand scheme: “Well fuck you, Slick. You don’t know who you messed with.”

A crowd singing the national anthem, runners flooding the sidewalks of Boston to reclaim their streets, people all over the world pledging to put in 26.2 miles, and wearing race shirts or blue and gold may only be worthless tokens, but I see them as tokens of defiance. Powerful mojo in the face of evil.


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