Alright, folks... let's bring it down a little.
I recently decided to add more slower-paced songs to my running playlist. Before, I thought there was no way I could run to a song that didn't have a thumping backbeat. Surely my legs would just quit moving, not knowing what to do if the rhythm wasn't there to prompt each step.
Then, on a whim, I added two or three of my favorite slower songs. Not make-my-eyelids-droopy-until-I-start-drooling slower, but make-me-take-a-deep-breath-and-relax slower.
I can't believe I didn't do this before! My mp3 is on shuffle and whenever one of the slower songs comes up, I instinctively but noticeably relax. The tension in my body practically melts away. I've never mastered the technique of feeling completely relaxed while running, but the softer sounds and more mellow rhythms are helping in that effort. I added several more songs yesterday and will have to experiment to determine which ones actually help me to relax by envisioning white sandy beaches, shady palm trees and tall, cold piña coladas and which ones just make me wish I'd brought along my pillow to drool on while I catnap on the side of the road.
But please, I beg of you... if you ever see Copacabana by Barry Manilow on my playlist, somebody do an emergency intervention immediately.