Gonna Fly Now!

I'm not someone who needs a lot of extra motivation to get out there and run. I love it. In fact, I need to run to maintain my well-being. This morning, for instance, when the alarm went off at 4:40 a.m. so that I could be out on the trail and finish my 15-miler before it got too hot, I bounded out of bed.

About an hour into this morning's run, though, I was flagging.

Maybe it was the heat already baking the trail, or maybe it was the fatigue from a really draining week. Whatever the cause, I needed a boost.

Out came the i-pod.The music helped a lot. My legs perked up and my stride smoothed; it all came together. 15 or 20 minutes later, as if on cue, the "Theme from Rocky" came on. You've heard it: Maynard Ferguson's trumpet, the rousing brass, the catchy rhythm, the cheezy 1970s choir singing their hearts out: Gonna fly now! Feelin' strong now! It was one of several tracks I'd added to my running mix a few days ago, pretty much to give myself a laugh.

But today, the timing was perfect. The opening notes rang out just as I began the final ascent out of Westridge Canyon, and suddenly the skyscrapers on the horizon were in Philly, not downtown Los Angeles.

Gonna fly now! Feelin' strong now! The hill was no longer a hill, but the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art -- and I was flying up them. And just then I was rock solid and invincible.

See you on the trail!