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People who run often have a secret pacing weapon: songs that get stuck in their heads. Just this year I learned such songs are called earworms. Lovely image, no? I can even cite the entry for you:

Main Entry: earworm2

Part of Speech: n

Definition: a song or tune that gets stuck in one’s mind and repeats as if on a tape; also written ear-worm, ear worm; also called cognitive itch, sticky tune

Example: The song played in the grocery store became an earworm for her.

Etymology: German ohrwurm


Webster’s New Millennium™ Dictionary of English, Preview Edition (v 0.9.7)
Copyright © 2003-2008, LLC

Anyway, these earworms can be quite positive for me when I’m looking for a nice consistent pace. But on the negative side, how many times will I have to run to “The Yellow Rose of Texas” or some other such rhythmic drivel from my early days of learning clarinet or violin? I’ve even run to dialogue that mimics songs such as the opener from The Music Man: “Cash for the merchandise, cash for the . . .” OK, at least in that case the dialogue actually helps me pick up my pace as the words get rolling.

I imagine earworms are one of the main reasons people choose to load up their iPods with specific songs for running . . . or maybe even stop running!

But, a couple weeks ago when I was running the Chatfield 5 & 10 (the 5, thank you very much!) I was stuck with Kermit the Frog. And who can really get tired of Kermit the Frog? As I got to the point in the race when I was starting to wonder if I’d ever make it out of the weeds and cottonwoods, I began pacing to “The Rainbow Connection.”

Maybe it happened because if it hadn’t been November, the trail would have been a good place to meet a Kermit. Or perhaps I just wanted to “get to the other side,” commonly known as the chute or finish line in a race.

But still, the words struck me. Why are there so many songs about rainbows? Don’t we all have to get through the storms if we want to see the rainbows? So I’ll keep pacing my race through the storms.

I believe in Kermit the Frog. I believe in rainbows. And I know what’s so amazing that keeps me star-gazing-it’s Life.

And now I leave you with a classic from Kermit, himself, and Debbie Harry, back from close to the days when I was going through my own high school storms. Enjoy!

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