Wednesday, March 31, 2010

you're never gonna keep me down

I have a lot of running music that brings back very distinct memories/moments.  When I first became a runner, I had no idea what I was doing.  I would just hop on the treadmill and run until I felt like I was going to keel over.  20 minutes (of running! no stopping!) was a huge accomplishment.  And one of the songs that fit my pace perfectly was "Survivor" by Destiny's Child.  I didn't even particularly like the song, I just liked that my feet slapped the belt with the beat.  Most days I would listen to that on repeat the whole time, and then let me mini-disc player (hey, it was 1999) continue on while I did some other things in the gym.  

Now, whenever I hear that songs, it reminds me of that time of my life, specifically the spring of 2002 when I was living in Indianapolis, student teaching, not really knowing anyone because I was only there for 4 months, going to the gym after teaching all day, eating mini-meals in my studio apartment with the bed that flipped out of the wall, rushing home on Thursday nights to push play + record on the VCR so I could watch "Friends."   But now the lyrics mean so much more, "I'm a survivor/I'm not gonna give up/I'm not gonna stop/I'm gonna work harder/I'm a survivor/I'm gonna make it/I will survive/keep on surviving."  

Later in 2002, I was injured for the first time.  I didn't really know how to deal with it, and it kept me from running again until 2007.  On and off throughout that time I would spend a few weeks in PT here or there, but it wasn't until the beginning of 2006 that I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to run again.  I spent a lot of that time angry and frustrated.  And the first time I hopped back on that treadmill, "Survivor" was what I listened to.  It's on most of my running mixes, and whenever it comes up, I remember how awful it was to not be able to run, and I survived that, and it gives me some extra oomph when I'm feeling tired, or my foot/IT/hip is hurting and I want to give up.  Because at least now, I can run.  Even though things hurt and something isn't exactly right and I'm still slow - I can get out there. 

Last spring, I was injured again.  I spent about 9 months not running while some really crappy Army doctors tried to figure out what was wrong while I sat around on my ass, getting fat and being grumpy.  I'm a runner, how can it be this hard?  And finally, at the end of December, I just started running again.  I made a bunch of new playlists, and "Tubthumping" ended up in there.  I don't know that it's ever been in a playlist before, but the first time it shuffled through, it really struck me.  Last year was a really hard year.  My entire life kind of imploded - my relationship, my job, my running.  It was really difficult to get out of bed every morning.  I wanted to give up.  And now, a year later, I'm so much happier.  So much stronger.  I know that it's hard for non-runners to understand this, but I need to run. It's like breathing, like needing water and sunshine.  

"I get knocked down/but I get up again/you're never gonna keep me down."

This is not my power song, this is the anthem of my life.  Let that motherfucker ring.


  1. I love it, well stated Katie!

  2. love that song! it's going to be stuck in my head all day!

  3. That song once came onto my iPod right after I had stopped to eat and drink during a long run. I had trouble finding energy to speed up again and changed the lyrics (in my head) to something like: "I slow down/I pick it up again"... so fun!

  4. @Brittany I love it! usually I'm doing some fist pumping as well. haha!