Monday, October 31, 2011

A Thought On Fear

This quote made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.  Though I do feel fear sometimes motivates us, more often than not, I feel it fear can hold us back.  On this day, we celebrate fear, but on most other days we try to avoid it.  Hmmm.

"Fear plays an interesting role in our lives.  How dare we let it motivate us.  How dare we let it into our decision making, into our livelihoods, into our relationships.  It's funny, isn't it?  We take a day a year to dress up in costume and celebrate fear."

~ as said by James Spader on 'The Office', 10/27/11

Listen to this:
Cannonball - The Breeders   Cannonball - Rhino Hi-Five: Modern Rock Blender - EP

        **************************** Happy Halloween! ******************************

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"I Used to Love This One"

As someone who is interested in music, I feel as though I'm pretty tapped into the current trends.  I realized today that this is not the case when it comes to pop/dance music.  I do tend to lean toward alternative picks when I make suggestions, but I must say, there is nothing like fighting my way up a hill or to a finish line with a song like 'Dynamite' by Taio Cruz  blasting in my ear.  I had heard a couple songs in the last week that I thought would be good ones for running and I played them for the girls' cross country team that I coach at the end of their practice this morning.  As we were stretching, I was hearing, "oh, I remember this, I used to love this one."  Ok, so, I'm a few months behind in the pop world, which might have something to do with my age.  However, these songs, even if they are "old", still got everybody fired up and I was seeing some head shaking and lip-synching as I looked around the circle.  I guess the bottom line is, songs like these are timeless and will never fail to shake up the scene.

Listen to this:
We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris) - Rihanna   We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris) - We Found Love (feat. Calvin Harris) - Single
You Make Me Feel...(feat. Sabi) - Cobra Starship  You Make Me Feel... (feat. Sabi) - You Make Me Feel... (feat. Sabi) - Single

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

From Kirsten H.  Go Team Bacon.  Thanks for sharing!

Listen to this:
That's Not My Name - The Ting Tings  That's Not My Name - We Started Nothing

I like You So Much Better When You're Naked - Ida Maria  I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked - Fortress 'round My Heart

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I am still a bit beat down today, which means running is out of the question.  My only option is a walk with my dog in the rain.  Clearly this is not going to get my heart rate up it won't really fill the void, but it's all I've got so I'm rolling with it.  I grab my iPod and plug 'Vampire Weekend' into Pandora (an app that I'm sure most of you have, but for those of you who don't, it's fantastic).  I know this band never fails to put a kick in my step, even if it is just a walk.  Then, as we're cruising through the woods, songs start flowing out of Pandora that I've never heard of by bands like Sea Wolf, Ra Ra Riot, Cold War Kids, and so on.  So, I'm fired up.  Now, this walk that I was taking because I 'had to' has turned into a total music exploration.  On top of that, walking, instead of running, lets me focus a bit more on the song itself and gives me a different appreciation for the rhythm and melody.  Yes, I am a total dork.  But, today, I feel really lucky to have something else that inspires me as much as running.  So, I'm replacing "it's Friday" with "for music" and I'll leave it at that so I don't offend anyone.  T G F M.

Listen to this:
Boy - Ra Ra Riot   Boy - The Orchard (Bonus Version)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Run Down

Too often I take on more than I can handle.  For some reason I always find myself saying, "sure" when someone asks me to do something and saying "just go" to myself when I might not be up for going.  Lately, I tend to pack my days as full as possible as if I might win a prize for the amount of tasks I get done with a bonus for making it on time.  We all do it.  And to be fair, most of the things I'm running to are things I've chosen to do and that I love.  So, really, I can only blame myself.  But when I continue to pile things on my plate, on top of the every day things that need to happen, things begin to crack, or in my case, shut down.  You would think after all these years that I would have learned to pull back when I start to feel this wave of chaos coming on.  Running through bronchitis, not a good idea.  Taking a week off and starting fresh, better idea.  Thus, I will continue to remind myself whenever this pattern repeats itself that I don't like having to slow down any more than necessary.  Easy, right?

Listen to this:
Better - Regina Spektor   Better - Begin to Hope (Bonus Track Version)

Monday, October 24, 2011

"The Power of Buzz"

This morning I was listening to XM radio and heard a deejay say, "I believe in the power of buzz."  I thought about this one for a while.  The 'power of buzz' can apply to almost anything.  It could be the buzz I get from my first cup of coffee or perhaps it's the buzz I feel in my gut when I'm about to race or maybe it's the buzz I feel when I hear a song for the first time and I can't wait to play it for someone.  I could really take it in any direction.  I realize this was not necessarily the 'buzz' the deejay was describing, but it was working for me and I liked the way it sounded.  That said, what he's most likely talking about is also something that might be worth wrapping our heads around.  It's 'the buzz' that gets us excited, gets us talking and sharing and, as a result, gets other people buzzing.  It's how we learn about new music, new books, new technology and so much more.  What's the buzz, people ask, and how do we get more info?  It's a little piece of what makes each day unique and thrilling and helps to keep us guessing.  So, may you embrace the 'buzz', however you interpret it.

Listen to this:
Little Talks - Of Monsters & Men    Little Talks - Little Talks - Single

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Soulive & Lettuce

When I was young and spritely, just out of college and living in San Francisco, I used to see live music on a weekly basis.  I could even pull it off on a week night and make it to the office on time the next day.  I so often wonder how I did that?  I was reminded, last night, how a band could have such crazy energy and produce such an electric vibe that it is totally possible to lose track of time while also tapping into a hidden source of energy that I was not aware I had.  The night started with Soulive,  a jazz-funk trio that we've seen several times over the years and who never disappoint.  Soulive has this eery way of taking their listeners in one direction, steadily building up, creeping almost, shifting up to the next octave, and then, taking a 90 degree turn into something totally different that, oddly, fits together perfectly with the groove they originally started with.  It's mind-blowing, really.
You can imagine our surprise, then when Lettuce comes on stage, a funk group that we've never heard of made up of members of Soulive and an additional horn section; a "sideman supergoup" as described by iTunes.  These guys quickly and effortlessly took the evening to a whole new level.  They picked right up where Soulive left off, giving us a similar sound but something fresh that could only be produced with all the pieces of this new group.  The horns, alone, were worth the extra effort to stay out a bit longer.  There was almost a hectic vibe in the room at this point as the excitement level was growing totally insane.  It was truly an incredible thing to be a part of.  And, to my surprise, I made it until the lights came on.

Listen to this:
Up Right - Soulive   Up Right - Up Here

Speak E.Z. - Lettuce   Speak E.Z. - Rage!

Friday, October 21, 2011

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

From Matt J.  He sent me several, so I'm just randomly selecting two.  Will save the rest for later.  Enjoy!

Listen to this:
Airplanes - Local Natives   Airplanes - Gorilla Manor

Let's Go Surfing - The Drums  Let's Go Surfing - The Drums

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Carb Overload

For those of us who race, figuring out what to eat the week before an event, right up to the night before, is always a bit tricky.  I have had 3 conversations on this topic with fellow runners in the past week, so I figured I would share what I know.  According to sports nutritionist Monique Ryan, it is not possible to fill your muscles with glycogen from a single meal.  Carbo-loading should really start 2-3 days before the race as opposed to the night before.  About 90% of your calories should come from carbs alone during this period.  I find it's good to stick to simple foods like rice, pasta, oatmeal, bagels; foods that are high in carbs but NOT high in fiber.  My biggest meals before a race are breakfast and lunch on the day before the event.  I used to load up on carbs the night before which was really overloading as I would go to bed uncomfortably full with too much to digest.  Now, I opt for a smaller meal, early in the evening which helps me fall asleep easier and feel lighter in the morning.  So far, this formula seems to pay off for me.  Clearly, everyone has different theories and methods that work for them, so to each his/her own.  Happy eating.
To those of your who could care less about running and/or food, sorry I didn't grab your interest on this one.  Will try to hook you back in with today's song.

- Reference: Runner's World, November, 2011

Listen to this:
Hoop of Love - Dominant Legs   Hoop of Love - Invitation

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Something Different

As a runner, yoga is extremely challenging for me.  I can run for hours but when it comes to yoga, I have zero balance and even less flexibility.  This is why I force myself to take a class at least once a week.  I have been lucky enough to find a studio and an instructor that I love, which helps motivate me, particularly when I'm pulling into the parking lot and dread starts to creep in.  Molly shows up every week with a smile on her face, so genuinely excited that we're coming to her class and works us so hard that every ounce of energy is wrung from our limbs.  We all walk out of class completely wiped, but thrilled because we've accomplished another one of Molly's classes.  In addition to the workout, there is a bond throughout this group of people who come from all walks of life specifically for this class, which is another reason I find myself going.  I can honestly say that I have become a stronger and faster runner because I have added something totally different to my routine that pushes me in a direction I would never go on my own.  Regardless of whether you run or not, find that "something else" and give it a shot.

Listen to this:
Shuffle - Bombay Bicycle Club   Shuffle - A Different Kind of Fix

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Say "Thanks"

As I mentioned, on Sunday I ran the Baystate half marathon.  It's a fast, flat course which all runners love, but the crowd is pretty sparse which makes it challenging in a different way.  For me, this is a race where my music is so crucial.  Without the masses of fans who clap, scream and shout, as they do at bigger races,  I tend to lean heavily on my iPod for that extra motivation.  That said, I was impressed with how many people came out and cheered us on despite the small size of the race.  As we lined up before the start, the race director asked us to please thank a volunteer or two for helping make the race run smoothly.  What I realized is, it doesn't matter whether it's the Boston Marathon or a 5K with only 200 runners, without those people who give up their time, we wouldn't be able to do what we love.  So I tried very hard to say "thanks" at every water stop and to each police man that I passed.  And then, at the end of the race, I said it to one of the race coordinators, a lovely woman, who patted me on the back, and opened my bottle of water for me without asking.  To all of you who do this for us, THANK YOU!

Listen to this:
Heavy Metal Drummer - Wilco   Heavy Metal Drummer - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Monday, October 17, 2011

Truth & Salvage Co.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of ending my day with some live music by Truth & Salvage Co. at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston.  I had started my day off with the Baystate half marathon in Lowell (which, if you are a runner, I highly recommend) so I was pretty wiped by the evening.  I was looking to find my second wind as I headed into the show, and fortunately, this wasn't difficult as Truth & Salvage came right at us with their classic, southern rock and roll sound.  Within minutes, the crowd was grooving and the room was flowing with an almost tangible energy.  Song after song they continued to raise it up to the next level, each song a little tighter than the last, with harmonies that were complex and yet simple at the same time.  Honestly, I was blown away and then slightly depressed when they had to call it a night.  Fortunately, for all of us, they will be back in Boston on November 12th and I highly recommend checking them out.  You will not regret it.

Listen to this:
Call Back - Truth & Salvage Co.   Call Back - Truth & Salvage Co.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Why Race?

1. Because it gives me something totally different to do for a day.
2. Because it gives me butterflies like I got in 3rd grade on my first day of school.
3. Because it makes me push a little harder than my norm.
4. Because it gives me something to talk about with my fellow runners.
5. Because it gives me a reason to buy new music and enjoy it during the race.
6. Because it sets a fantastic example for my kids.
7. Because it's fun.
8. Because it's something that I do just for me.
9. Because I get a free shirt and they've gotten much better over the years.
10. Because, when it's over, regardless of my time or my place, I feel like a rock star.
What's your reason?

Listen to this:
Something Good Can Work - Two Door Cinema Club    Something Good Can Work - Tourist History

Friday, October 14, 2011

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

From Patrick H.  Thanks for sharing.

..."has a nice rhythmic drive that makes me want to dance, which can be inspiring during a run."
                                                                                  ~ Patrick H.

Listen to this:
Mr. Brightside - The Killers   Mr. Brightside - Hot Fuss

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Vivs

There is this woman whose kids go to the same school as mine and she walks through the halls exuding coolness.  This year, my daughter is in her son's classroom, so I finally had a legitimate excuse to strike up a conversation.  Imagine my surprise and excitement when I found out she is a bona vide rock star.  The sound of her band, the Vivs, has a taste of pop/rock mixed with a bit of punk.  Karen Harris, the band's lead singer, has this unique, dark, yet feminine voice that hooks you in right from the start.  I was lucky enough to get some cds from Karen herself and I took some time to explore their sound.  I highly recommend you do the same.

Listen to this:
November - The Vivs   November - Mouth to Mouth

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Good Song and Cup of Coffee

It's Wednesday morning.  My girls are still asleep and I'm enjoying a cup of coffee.  I just heard this song on Sirius XM U (Sirius channel 35).  I'm always amazed how one song can change my mood.  For a brief moment, I feel like I am going to accomplish everything that needs to get done and more and I can't wait to get started.  Such a nice way to start my day.  Find a song that does the same for you, or perhaps this one will make it happen. Enjoy.

Listen to this:
Mighty - Lord Huron  Mighty - Mighty - EP

Monday, October 10, 2011

To Trip

Yesterday I took a stellar digger while I was running.  I tripped on a branch and slid about 5 feet on the wet sidewalk.  Luckily, I managed to get get my hands out and do a little roll before I hit the ground.  It was awesome.  I laid there for a few minutes to make sure I was in one piece.  I just had a few scrapes on my hands, elbows and legs.  Then I laughed at myself.  How many times have I tripped in my life?  Hundreds?  More?  While running, strolling through town, walking out of a restaurant, racing another woman to the front desk of a hotel because it's the last one in the entire town that has rooms available; countless, really.  The tragic part about yesterday's fall was that there was no one there to see it.  That would have made it so much more worthwhile.  In life we fall.  But we can't just sit there or we won't get anywhere else.  And we all have places to go, right?

Listen to this:
Gangsta - Tune-Yards   Gangsta - Whokill

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Seek It Out

Once again, I am reminded how easy it is to find live music.  We are on vacation in Miami and, simply by asking our waiter, we find an amazing venue called STAGE where we get the pleasure of seeing the reggae band Jahfe.   To be honest, I struggle to stay awake past 10:00 pm these days, but the electricity in this place and the vibe from the band kept me there past midnight.  The best treat was the of covers of Steel Pulse, a timeless reggae band that I hadn't listened to in too long.  How cool, then, to wake up the next morning and listen to them as I'm running and throughout the rest of my day.

Listen to this:
Chant a Psalm - Steel Pulse   Called Out In the Dark - Called Out In the Dark - Single

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

From Bettina P.  Thanks for sharing.

Listen to this:
Called Out in the Dark - Snow Patrol  Called Out In the Dark - Called Out In the Dark - Single

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Remembering Steve Jobs

I wrote today's entry on my iPad while listening to my iPod which is filled with music purchased from iTunes.  How appropriate, then, to take a moment to honor Steve Jobs, for all that he did and will continue to do regardless of the fact that he's not here with us.  May we all have the same passion for work and for life.  Thank you, Mr. Jobs.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
- Steve Jobs

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Go Outside

For those of us in the Boston area, it has rained 3 out of every 4 days and been incredibly humid for several weeks. Today, it feels like fall.  No rain.  Blue sky.  Cooler air.  If you haven't yet, you've got to get outside.  Grab your ipod, your phone, your mp3 player, your yellow sony walkman from 1987; whatever you use to listen to music.  Go for a run.  Walk your dog.  Walk to town.  Walk around the block.  Take a few minutes to enjoy the day, and if you so desire, take the tunes with you.  Listen to something new or something really, really old that you forgot you had.  Soak it all in.  Now, go!

Listen to this:
All to All - Broken Social Scene  All to All - Forgiveness Rock Record

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Time Off

Four years ago I was training for the Boston marathon and with three weeks left before the race I felt a strange pain in my lower back.  I went to my doctor hoping to for a quick diagnosis and to be treated on the spot.  Turns out, there would be no marathon.  An MRI showed multiple stress fractures in my sacrum and sitz bones.  I walked out of her office on a pair of crutches.  I was told I would have to take 6 months off from any activity, including walking, to recover from this injury.  For someone who thrives on both running and a routine, this was extremely difficult to swallow.  But, reluctantly, I did as I was told and in September, I started all over again.  I felt slow and out of shape, which was really annoying.  But, I had a completely new appreciation for running and could not have been happier about being back on the road.
 I'm sure many of you have been in a similar situation whether you are a runner, biker, walker; basically active in any way.  Just today a friend mentioned she needed work done on her foot and would be out of commission for a week.  "I feel your pain", I told her.  Whether it's a week, a month or a year, if you are active on a regular basis, being told to stop is not easy to hear.  All that said, sometimes your body needs a break.  Rather than fight it, try embracing the situation. Do something different that you've never been able to do because you haven't had the time.  The bottom line is, you know you'll get back out there, and when you do, you'll be so incredibly fired up to start again.  And that's such a great feeling.

Listen to this:
Life on the Nickel - Foster the People  Life On the Nickel - Torches

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lose the Watch

Most days, I run with a watch.  I have a Garmin Forerunner with a GPS that helps me stay on pace and, more importantly, makes me feel really cool.  There are days when this is a good thing.  A race with my watch can force me to push my limits.  Other days, I've learned it's best to leave it at home.   Today I did a long run with a friend and I didn't wear my watch.  I won't lie, she did have hers, but just not having it on my own wrist made me a feel a bit freer and more relaxed on a run that was supposed to feel just that.  Rather than stare at the screen for each mile, I picked my head up and looked around.  It is possible to run just for the pleasure of running and nothing more.  Try it.

Listen to this:
Broken Up a Ding Dong - Beta Band  Broken Up a Ding Dong - The Beta Band

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A New Month

For me, it's incredibly satisfying to change the calendar; to take a minute and look back on the last month, and to assess what's ahead.  I love to embrace the newness and potential of a fresh start.  This month, I'm going on a short vacation, I'm going to run my favorite half-marathon in Lowell, I'm going to see Soulive at the Paradise and, most importantly, I'm going to listen to my kids talk about Halloween costumes and candy for 31 days straight.  Gotta love it.  Happy October, everyone.

Listen to This:
Holiday - Vampire Weekend  Holiday - Contra (Bonus Track Version)