Unitarian Hymnal Sing-along

In which Kathryn attempts to sing a different song everyday from the Unitarian Universalist hymnal, 'Singing the Living Tradition'. Earlier posts are based on songs from the Reader's Digest songbooks she found at yard sales as a child, including: 'Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs', 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook', and 'Reader's Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy'. Bonus Folk song material from: 'Folk Song USA', by John and Alan Lomax.

01 October 2005

"Bye Bye Blackbird"

Hands down my favorite of the 'Reader's Digest' songs, and not just because the key is comfortable for me. It's a song that I'll just start to sing for no reason, because it's fun and bouncy. And it's got this illustration that I like for some reason, a man waving from the back of the train, very 'Music Man' feel to it. 1926.

Last weekend I ran my first 10K. My husband's been running for a few years, doing marathons for the most part, but last year he ran Pittsburgh's Great Race. I suddenly had this idea that *I* could do this, could run a race, this race. And so, around Thanksgiving last year, I started running on a regular basis, following a training schedule from an online running site.

My family isn't very athletic. I did swim team, and rode horses for a little while. My sister played lacrosse, did some cheerleading. One of my brothers ran track, I think. Overall, nothing very impressive. But I've always been active, dancing some, doing yoga off and on, exercising of the fitness video type fairly regularly in recent years. I never thought that I would run, or even could run. My mom always talked about her bad knees, and how she couldn't run, and I just assumed that if I ran, my knees would somehow fail me. Not that I had any evidence to support that, but you know, family history asserts itself in ways, here in imagined ways just as strongly.

Still, I had always liked the action of running, if I did a brief sprint: the feel of my legs moving under me, the extension and exertion of it, the movement through space. When I began running officially, all this was still true, still good. Moreover, I was reminded that I hadn't gotten outside much in my recent life. How good it was to be out in the weather, to hear the birds, to see trees, to feel the air. And once I was out there, I had to finish, to come home--but not until I was finished. I was alone with my thoughts and my breath and my body, and that felt really good as well.

My husband says that 'feeling good' is not the point of running, and implies that I'm not doing something right if I'm enjoying myself at all. But I still like it, a year later. Not every run has been a barrel of laughs, but the sensation is still good, and I'm stretching my body and mind in ways that I never thought I would, which is good for me all on its own. Years ago I did a firewalk--actually walked on hot coals, without injury--and it helped me to believe that I was capable of a lot more than I could conceive in the normal scheme of things. Beginning running, running 5-5Ks, and now my first 10K, is less dramatic of an event, perhaps, but it reminds me again of that truth.



At 3:08 PM, Anonymous binky said...

What, we should run to feel pain? Your husband, lovely soul that he is, is warped.

At 4:21 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

The pain (or discomfort, really) is a sign that we're on the edge. Running not on the edge is good only in that it prepares you for the extra effort of pushing a limit.

I don't run - or sing, or play piano or anything, really - to feel 'good'. I do it to feel a lot of something.

At 9:45 AM, Anonymous binky said...

That additional statement assumes that ultimately the only goal of running is to push limits, and the pain is merely an indicator of when that will happen. For you, this may be true.

However there are vast numbers of people who run for many other reasons: for joy, for pleasure, for companionship, for health, for sanity, for escape, for communing with nature. Pain and surpassing limits has very little to do with any of these.

Not to mention that there is a great dela of medical advice that says running to the point of feeling pain is not only not good, but is setting oneself up for serious injury (and long layoffs from running).

If running is a competition, with oneself or others, then pushing limits is part of it. It's hard to see how one would find the enthusiasm to spend hours and hours doing an activity during which one "shouldn't be enjoying myself at all" and " feeling good" is beside the point. Everyone has some runs that are no fun. I disagree with you that "no fun" should be the modal category.

Love you anyway though. :)

At 3:10 PM, Anonymous andrew said...


I don't thnk it assumes that the only goal of running is to push limits. If anything - and I need to interpret my thoughts here also - it assumes that the running is to ;feel something'. That could include joy, pleasure whatever.

But why feel just a little bit of joy, or a little bit of pleasure. And beyond that little bit of a line, what's really the difference between the sensations?

Perhaps I should have been clearer in my definition of 'pain', but I didn't start with that in mind. Of course the sensation of a torn ligament is not the desired outcome.

I also don't think I mean that 'pain/beyond limits' = 'no fun modality'.


At 10:45 PM, Anonymous binky said...

Hmmm, so you mean we shouldn't hire someone to chase behind you with a whip while you run to increase your pain experience, eh?

No really, I twigged on this:

"My husband says that 'feeling good' is not the point of running, and implies that I'm not doing something right if I'm enjoying myself at all."

I think I understand now. I also think I am sensitive to the pain issues, suffering with a nasty bout of shin splints and tendon stuff (switched shoes, dammit) this training season.

At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

If you're volunteering to flog me on my morning runs, then how can I say that wouldn't amp up the experience?

Volunteering? I'd even pay a small but reasonable stipend.

We've all - Kathryn, myself, several of my colleagues - had great success with Elite Runners and Walkers in Pittsburgh. Worth the field trip, he'll analyse your stride and hook you up with the appropriate shoe.

At 8:26 PM, Anonymous binky said...

Did that already. But I did a dumb thing and swiched from Saucony to Brooks, because they didn't have the new version of my old Saucony in my size. My own damn fault. But they did help choose for me based on watching me run.

At 8:58 PM, Blogger Kathryn said...

I have to say I was pretty thrilled to have them analyze my feet, as it were. I've got a new pair of Avias that I bought at the Great Race expo, so far so good.


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