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Mud, Miles, and Munchkins: On the Trails and Out of Sight, Not out of Mind

lmcgarraughartI have a strange mind.

I wake up every single day with a song in my head. It doesn’t have to be a song I heard the day, the week or the month before. I am not sure how it works, but before children it was something cool like Dr. Dre or Pearl Jam and now it’s theme songs to cartoons, children’s movies or children’s songs.

One of the reasons I chose Palo Duro as my first 50 miler was my in-laws live in the panhandle of Texas, so babysitting was a short 2.5 hour drive from the start line. Jason and I got rid of cable before I started staying home with Morgan but Mimi and Papa Doug have cable. So the entire day leading up to the race my girls were getting their Disney Jr. fix.

Palo Duro is a small race, only 50 people started the 50 miler last year and once the race thins out you are alone with your thoughts or your music for a long time. Around loop two, the Jake and the Neverland Pirates theme song decided to enter my head and went on repeat for 9 hours. I would get a bit of a reprieve at the aid stations with some adult conversation, but it always worked its way back into my head. I was happy to be done with the race and not because I wanted to stop running…I wanted that darn song out of my head!

I know I am not alone in this.

I ran one of the night trail races this past summer and I heard a man grumble. I asked him if he was all right and he said, “Yes”. He then proceeded to tell me his daughter had gotten a hold of his iPod and put Justin Bieber on it. The poor guy was running along, enjoying his alone time and his kids worked their way into it.

Then at the same race, I was all alone in the dark and I heard in the distance someone whistling the Caillou theme song. (For those of you who do not know who Caillou is consider yourself lucky) I still wonder if it was my mind that was whistling Caillou or if someone was cursed with that song in their head.

It seems no matter what we do to get away, our children are always with us. It could be as small as a cartoon theme song stuck in our head or as big as thinking about their first steps. I was listening to an interview with Tim Olsen and he was talking about a difficult training run for him. He said that he was having a hard time getting up a hill and he began to think about his son dancing. That little thought took his mind off the difficulties and allowed him to finish the climb strong. So even though the Jake and the Neverland Pirates theme song wouldn’t be ideal on a normal playlist it obviously got me through 50 miles.


Palo Duro Finish!

One final note, as I type my three year old is singing Let It Go from Frozen. So if you happen to hear someone on the trail singing Let it Go…it just might be me.

– Liz McGarraugh

Talk Tunes

  • Do you have a favorite “kids” tune that has gotten stuck in your mind during a training run or race? How about one that requires a memory purge?

About the author

Liz McGarraugh Liz McGarraugh began her ultra running journey as a bet with Jason when Milena was four months old. Jason told her they could talk about having a third child after she completed a 50 mile race. In October of 2013, she completed Palo Duro and decided, for the moment, ultra running will be her third baby. Liz’s journey has taken her from pounding out the miles and building her base, to learning and understanding the finer points of training, health and technique. As all Mother Runners know, life does not always abide by your training schedule.

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