Well, it’s the 26th of December. Like many of you, I woke up knowing it was time to burn some of the eggnog, smoked salmon, tamales, and God knows whatever else delicious food we’ve devoured over the past two days of non-stop noshing. Oh, and beer.
It finally warmed up a bit here in AK, so I didn’t have to get too nuts with the apparel, which was nice. I harnessed up Bonnaroo, threw on the studded Adidas Adizero XTs, and rolled out the door. As I’ve mentioned before, we live conveniently close to the Anchorage trail system. The city grooms the main trails in the winter for cross-country skiing, but the trails are considered multi-use. Normally, trying to run on cross country trails isn’t really my cup of tea, but the trails here are quickly packed down by a multitude of dogs, walkers, hikers, cyclists, fat-bikers, and runners. Conditions this morning were downright pleasant. The trails were nice and firm, temps around 10F, and I waited until around 9:30 so I wouldn’t have to run with my headlamp.
As usual, I began the run chilled, but quickly warmed up with the effort. Bonnaroo was psyched to get out, and it felt good to elevate my heart rate. But something was amiss…not physically – I am considerably out of shape right now, so the slow pace came as no surprise. Plus, all I saved all my sympathy weight gain for after the marathon, so I’ve packed on 6-7lbs since Oct 27th (yay!).
No. Something else was wrong. In my mind. Something sinister was looping continuously. Timing itself to the cadence of my run.
And not just any Christmas music; the most insipid, rote, and simple tune. “Here Comes Santa Claus.”
I blame Pandora, really. We had a bunch of folks over on Christmas Eve and Pandora’s Christmas channel was the soundtrack to a night of jubilation. It was lovely. But, as anyone can attest, Pandora is just like any other radio station. There are only so many songs to choose from once you thumbs-down Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Mannheim Steamroller. After four hours, I’m pretty sure we heard “Here Comes Santa Claus” crooned by Bing Crosby, Harry Connick, Jr., and maybe even Mariah Carey at least a dozen times.
Anyone who has gone on more than one run in their lifetime will tell you that nothing is worse than having one song stuck in your head for an entire run. This morning was beyond cruel. Surely, even Bonnaroo could hear the song on maniacal repeat. And it would be one thing if, when it happened, you could hear the whole song. Maybe a little chorus to break it up? Some instrumental introduction to lighten the mood? But that just isn’t how the mental tape-recorder works, evidently. No, I was instead treated to an hour of one line, over and over and over and over and over:
“Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus lane.”
I tried to recall different songs. Ever do that while running? It’s like trying to do circles on your stomach with one hand while patting your head with the other. I also tried to just zen out and focus on the sound of my feet crunching the snow. But it was all useless. Try as I might, Santa Claus just kept trotting down his damn lane, evidently content to never get wherever the hell he was headed. This, I thought, was the reason headphones and music players were invented.
After an hour, I was mercifully released from my stay in Christmas music hell. A little over eight miles in the bank, and a happy pup in tow, I took off my shoes, and walked into the house. My Pandora will be tuned to death metal and gangster rap for the next 364 days. Enjoy your brief respite between Christmas and New Year’s parties, and for the love of all that’s holy, don’t even mention Christmas music the next time you see me.