Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Finish Line

For this last entry of 2011, I simply want to say "thank you";  to the readers who support 'Running With Music', to the musicians for continuously putting out music that moves us and to my family and friends who give me so much inspiration when I write and when I run. Happy New Year to all of you.  

Listen to this:
The Finish Line - Fanfarlo  Finish Line - Reservoir

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's Friday - Reader's Pick & Holiday Bonus

From FXMarkey.  He had so many suggestions that it warrants a little list.  Check it twice because there is some good stuff on there.  Thanks for sharing!

Listen to these:
Run - Gnarles Barkley    Run (I'm a Natural Disaster) - The Odd Couple
Slow Show - The National    Slow Show - Boxer
Wolf Like Me - TV on the Radio   Wolf Like Me - Return to Cookie Mountain
Dare - Gorrillaz   Dare - Demon Days
Comfort Eagle (the album) - Cake Comfort Eagle - Cake

Legend of the Christmas 5K - from the RUN THE EDGE blog.
The humor is amazing and the message at the end so true.  Worth a read when you have the time.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Basic Need

My four year old has woken up at least a dozen mornings since Thanksgiving and asked me why Santa didn't come.  I have tried several times to explain to her that even though the tree and lights are up, we have to wait until the end of the month for Santa's visit.  To help with this, we have not one, but two advent calendars where we're either flipping the windows open or put ornaments on a felt tree for twenty five days.  Unfortunately for her, day after day she's still not understanding why Christmas is not happening 'tomorrow'.  At this point, time for her is simply pre-Santa and post-Santa with our visit to nana and papa this week getting an honorable mention.  Yesterday, she let me know that she had added something to her list.  "Really", I asked?  "And what was that exactly?"  She told me it involved Dora but that Santa would know the rest.  I'm still working on this one.  Have I mentioned how much I need running lately?

Listen to this:
Gold on the Ceiling - The Black Keys  Gold On the Ceiling - El Camino

Monday, December 19, 2011

Morning cont.

I recently mentioned that, rather than complain about having to run early in the morning throughout the winter, I'm going to try to embrace all that it has to offer.  It's nice to get a run in before most people wake up because it gives me that extra time to tackle the rest of my day.  It's also a treat to get to have a big breakfast and several cups of coffee knowing that I don't have to worry about running afterward.  I have to remind myself that these small bonuses do make it worth getting up early to run as they help me get past the fact that I don't have really have a choice.  So, a little before 6:00 on Saturday morning I headed out the door with my dog, Lucy, who was wide awake and thrilled that she was going with me.  I decided not to take my iPod since it was still dark and I felt I should try to be alert.  For someone who is driven by music on the road, it was not easy for me to leave it behind.  At first, it felt oddly quiet but I soon became aware of Lucy's breathing which was steady and in time with mine.  Then, gradually I became aware of the simple sounds of early morning.  It was me, Lucy, a snow plow, and all the various nocturnal animals who had not yet turned in.  It was oddly thrilling. There was a groove out there that morning; it was different, but it was my own.  Do I dare say I'm looking forward to next Saturday?

Listen to this:
A Million Years - Alexander  A Million Years - Alexander
From Now On - The Features

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

From 'Treadmill Warrior'.  If this doesn't make you run faster, I don't know what will.  Thanks for sharing.

Listen to this:
Chateau - Rob Dougan  Chateau - The Matrix Reloaded: The Album

Thursday, December 15, 2011

When It's Good to Have a Running Partner

Yesterday, I came down with a stomach bug in the afternoon which totally knocked me out for the rest of the day.  I had tickets to see Graffiti6, a fantastic alternative, funk band, for that night but I couldn't muster up the energy to make it happen.  I called my running partner, who was planning to go with me, and told her that not only was I bailing on the show, but that I was probably not going to meet her on Thursday for our workout, as we had discussed.  She understood on both counts.  I went to bed at 8:30 and hoped that whatever had gotten to me would be over by the next day.  When I woke up on this morning I felt pretty wiped, but otherwise, totally fine.  I had planned to take the day off, but after I dropped my kids at school, I decided I could use an easy run to help purge whatever had hit me the day before.  I checked in with my running partner before I headed out.  Here is how it played out:

RT: I think I might go to the Y and jump on the treadmill for an easy 4 and some stretching.  That's about all I have the energy for today.  What are you thinking?
KH: Well, I have my son home from school today and I'm feeling a little burnt out, so I might just take today off.  Plus, I don't think I can motivate to get us out the door in the next 10 minutes.
RT: Cool.  So, I will catch up with you tomorrow?
- at this point, I realize I have forgotten my iPod and decide to turn around.  No, I can't run without it, especially on a treadmill.
KH: So, are you already at the Y?
RT: Nope, I just turned around to get my iPod and I'm leaving home now.
KH: Hmmm.  Ok.  I think we can make it happen over here. We'll get out stuff together and meet you there for an easy workout.  Save me a treadmill.
RT: Sounds good.
- 10 minutes later we're on the treadmill, warming up.
KH: So, you're doing 3-4 easy?
RT: That was my plan, why? What are you thinking?
KH: Well, I was going to take it easy, but now that I'm here, I'm kind of fired up to try and do our original workout, so I think I might go for it. (she's smirking now)
RT: Crap.  Really? (eye roll)  Ok.  Maybe I'll give it a shot, too.  I think I might be able to pull it off.

And then we shifted gears and we were off.  Headphones on and rocking out, we ended up running together at various speeds for a total of 7 miles, pushing each other throughout the workout.  I ended up finding a hidden stash of energy that I didn't know I had.  It was a very satisfying run and I would not have even attempted it had I not had her there with me.  Halfway through the run, she looked at me and said, "this is when it's good to have a running partner." I could not have agreed more.  

Listen to this:
The Bones of You - Elbow   The Bones of You - The Seldom Seen Kid

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Morning Warrior

There are so many runners who get up early and brave the elements on a daily basis.  I'm in awe of this group and I applaud them for their drive.  As I've mentioned, I rarely head out for a run until I've had a cup of coffee and some time to wake my legs up a bit.  It wasn't always this way.  I used to be able to jump up any time and hit the road with no added fuel and still half asleep.  But, I am 36, I have 2 kids, and I'm way more tired than I used to be, so this is just the way it is now.  Throughout the winter, due to a shift in our family's schedule, I no longer have the luxury to run when it works for me on the week-end.  I have no choice but to get up early on Saturday morning and get out there before the day starts.  This shift in routine is extremely difficult and often slightly painful.  Here's the's 6:00 AM, it's pitch black out and it's a balmy 11 degrees.  Motivation level, zero.  And yet, it has to be done.  So, I roll out of bed, get dressed in 5 layers of fleece and microfiber, and set out, slowly and rather unsurely.  For these runs there is typically no one else on the road, so it's just me and my music.  Here's when the singing and, yes, dancing are helpful tools and totally acceptable.  I might be dragging and ridiculously cold, but I am free to do whatever it takes to make this a run worth getting up for.  So, this winter I will attempt to embrace the morning, savor the freedom, and remind myself every Saturday that it can be done.  For four months only, I will join the morning warriors.  Oh boy!

Listen to this:
Born With A Broken Heart - David Wax Museum   Born With a Broken Heart - Everything Is Saved

* For Jackie R. who gets up at 3:00 am to get his run in.

Monday, December 12, 2011

When In Doubt, Do

In October, my teammate and I ran a 5K in Plymouth, MA.  It was hot, humid, and the course was hilly.  Let's just say conditions were not ideal for a personal record.  At the end of the race we were both a bit frustrated with the outcome.  We were determined to run one more 5K before the end of the year with hopes of getting better weather, a flatter course, and ideally, with those factors working in our favor, a faster time.  So, we went ahead and signed up for a race on a Sunday morning in December not thinking, at the time, about the fact that this would be during the holiday season which typically goes hand in hand with late night festivities.  This past Saturday afternoon, my teammate saw my husband and told him that she was likely to bail on our race, which was the following Sunday, because she was so tired and wasn't feeling up for it.  I talked to her later that evening and we decided that, despite the fact that we were both low on energy and going out again that night, we would go ahead and run and just treat the race like a regular workout.  We decided we would attempt to have fun and try not to worry about the results.  When I got home at midnight, I looked to see if she had texted me with a change of heart, which we both said we might do, but there was no message, so we were still on.  I picked her up on Sunday morning and though we were both fully committed by now, we were both pretty wiped out and neither of us had high expectations.  At the starting line, we smiled, high-fived, laughed a bit and off we went.  I'm guessing that something about our approach to this race released some of the pressure that we tend to put on ourselves and set us free to run just for the hell of it.  We both finished with faster times than we've had all season, feeling totally elated and stronger than ever.  It was truly amazing.  Chances of this happening for even one of us that morning were slim to none, but you just never know.  It's normal to question whether it's worth doing something when there are so many variables that lead us to believe it might not fall into place that way we want it to.  My new philosophy in this case - when in doubt, do.

As a side note to this story, my teammate decided to listen to her iPod during the race, something she doesn't normally do.  Afterwords, she mentioned that the music helped her out and that it will likely be something she adds to her routine from now on.  She specifically said, "I loved listening to the cheesy, pop songs when I was running because they made me smile and that made me go faster."  Amen to that.

Listen to this:
Walking On A Dream - Empire of the Sun  Walking On a Dream - Walking On a Dream

and in honor of Team Bacon:
Ain't Nothing Wrong With That - Robert Randolph & the Family Band Ain't Nothing Wrong With That - Colorblind (Deluxe Version)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

99 Cents

Ahhh...Saturdays.  They are such a treat.  No pressure to get my kids up and out the door to school.  Plenty of time to have one and maybe 2 cups of coffee before I even think about running or whatever else I have to do.  Lately, I've been adding a little bit of excitement to each Saturday run by purchasing a song on iTunes that I may have heard over the last couple days that I know will get me going.  Not only does this get me fired up to hit the road, but it puts that extra skip in my step as I get started.  I find myself playing it a couple times to explore the sound and then forgetting completely about how cold it might be or how tired my legs are; at least for the first mile or two.  All of that for just 99 cents.  Such a bargain.

Listen to this:
Miike Snow - Black & Blue   Black & Blue - Miike Snow

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

From Wendy B.  She claims she listens to "weird, old stuff."  Works for me.   Thanks for sharing.

Listen to this:
The High Road - The Feelies     The High Road - The Good Earth
Cherub Rock - Smashing Pumpkins    Cherub Rock - Smashing Pumpkins: Greatest Hits

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Old 'New'

I am constantly on the hunt for new music.  There is nothing better than finding an artist or album that I like and taking the time to explore their sound or it's story, respectively.  That said, every once in a while it's good to pull out something from the past; to listen to the artists that helped influence much of what we listen to today.  I can't deny that much of my love for music is rooted in many of the albums that I discovered throughout my tragic years of junior high.  My husband (who also has a passion for music) recently suggested that we sit back and listen to U2's Joshua Tree, which was released in 1987, from start to finish.  As each song played, we talked about where we were when the album came out, the memories that certain songs brought to mind and how we shared the experience with our friends at the time.  For both of us, this album had such a strong influence during a time in our lives when music had a huge impact.  I was totally blown away by how moved I still am by this album.  Without the work of artists like these, we wouldn't have the work of the new artists that we're listening to today.  Next time you're scrolling through your music library, consider taking some time to rediscover an old album.  Enjoy the old 'new'.

Listen to this:
Exit - U2 (Joshua Tree)  Exit - The Joshua Tree (Deluxe Edition) [Remastered]

and if you have the time, listen to this, too:
One Tree Hill - U2 (Joshua Tree)  One Tree Hill - The Joshua Tree (Deluxe Edition) [Remastered]

Monday, December 5, 2011

Look Up

On Saturday I went for a run in Franconia, NH.  This was my first of many runs that I will do up there this winter.  Despite the fact that it was chilly, it was a crisp, sunny afternoon and unlike last year, there wasn't any snow on the ground yet.  I have a love/hate relationship with the running up in NH.  It is almost impossible to find a run in this particular area that doesn't include several long, often steep, rolling hills.  While I know these make me stronger, they are not my favorite.  Unfortunately, I do not have a choice, so I  complain about it once or twice at the start of the season and then I try and accept it for what it is.  I find myself "tackling" these runs.  I grab my ipod, turn up the volume and zone out.  When I get to the first hill, I usually tuck my head down, lean forward and trudge up while trying not to think about it too much.  When I get to the top, I tend to quickly shift gears and enjoy the easy cruise down the other side.  This is how it goes for most of the run.  On Saturday, I happened to look up and to my left when I got to the top of Sunset Hill Road.  I did a double take and then I paused my music and stopped completely. I had to take a minute to stare at this incredible view of the mountains with the sun behind them.  It was surreal.  If I hadn't looked up for that random moment, I would have missed this small treat that the run provided.  What a shame that would have been.  This was another one of the moments when I realized how much more running has to offer.  Don't forget to look up.

Listen to this:
Stay Gold - The Big Pink   Stay Gold - Stay Gold - Single

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

From Dina H. (my live music partner).  Oh, how we miss you!  Thanks for sharing.

Listen to this:
When I'm Small - Phantogram  When I'm Small - Eyelid Movies (Bonus Track Version)