Tuesday, February 13, 2024

RACE REVIEW:SUPER SUNDAY 4 MILER

"We got the dream team
We're feelin' wide awake
We got the dream team
We're goin' all the way"
~ 'Dreamteam', Galantis

It's been a minute since my last race review.  Three months to be exact.  I took some solid time off after my last big race, regrouped, spent some quality time with my family not worrying at all about training, and then I got back on the horse in January in preparation for Boston which is a mere nine weeks away.  And that alone is kind of blowing my mind.  But that's not for today.  Sunday morning I headed up to Bedford, NH for the Super Sunday 4 Miler which I was doing with my team.  This is the first in a series that we do together throughout the year and given that I've been cranking out most of my mileage solo these past few weeks, I was excited to get up there and see everyone.  As far as the race itself?  Mmmm. Yea. No.  Not as thrilled about that.  For a few different reasons.  But good to get uncomfortable, though.  Makes us stronger.  Or something.  Ok, here we go.
  

Sunday morning I rolled out of bed around 5:30 to meet up with Clover for a coffee.  That's right, my dog.  When the coffee machine turns on, she knows breakfast is coming shortly afterwards so her company is pretty much a sure thing.  We had a nice bonding session as we waited for the day to lighten up a bit before heading out for our walk.  Yes, I do have another dog.  He prefers to sleep late on the weekends.  


It was a lovely morning with temps in the low 40s; 41 to be exact. This was a gift given that it is February in New England.  Clover sniffed and ate sticks.  I enjoyed my second cup and made a playlist for the race.  Time well spent for both of us.  We got back around 7:00 and I had to turn it around pretty quickly because the trip to Bedford is about an hour and the race start was at 9:30.  


I'm not gonna lie, it's been so long since I've raced that I had a little moment of panic when trying to decide which shoes to bring.  So, I brought them all.  I know.  What can I say?  You've done it, too.  I know you have.  


It was an easy trip up which is always nice.  I parked in what felt like two towns over and then ran down to find my teammates.  My girl, Amy C., had already gotten my bib so pre-race was low stress situation for a change.  We all put our gear in Lauren's car and headed out for our warmup.  Some of us needed to make a pit stop at the bathrooms so Lauren, Morgan and I did about 10 out and backs on the main road as we waited for our crew to deal and join back up with us.  We hadn't seen each other in so long so the fact that we were basically running in place did not bother me as I was just enjoying catching up with them and being in their company.


I promised Dave, our team manager, that I would try and get a lot of photos for our new Instagram account which you can find here.  Shameless plug.  Sorry not sorry.  Seriously, though, I was having a blast jumping around to find all the different groups of people from our team.  I might have also been in denial that I did, in fact, have to race.  Oh, riiiiight.  The race.  Okay, so yes, I've been training for Boston.  But I've had a lot going on in my life since January.  More than usual.  Some of it very stressful.  And as a result, my training has been average, at best.  Let's just say I've had more bad days than good.  Particularly this past week leading up to this specific race.  It was legit hot garbage.  I get nervous all the time before races.  It's healthy and I think it ultimately makes me run better.  But for this one, the fear had seeped in much deeper than usual.  I just did not feel ready for this type of effort.  Like, at all.  I'd decided, with my coach, that I'd start off in control at about 70% effort for the first couple miles and then try to progress down the rest of the race.  But, in the truth, I didn't even know what "in control" was going to feel like and this was daunting.  


THE RACE
After about 10 warmup strides, because desperate times and all, I made my way over to the start.  We were packed in tight like sardines and it was ridiculously uncomfortable.  Granted, it's usually like this in a start corral, but still.  For some reason, I couldn't deal with it and was having to take some deep breaths as I waited to go.  My teammate, Morgan, can attest that things were significantly more chaotic than usual.  One woman next to us was facing the wrong direction and screaming loudly for her friend for what seemed like a very long time.  It was odd.  Finally, at 9:30, they blew the horn.  I eased in and tried to stay calm as the rest of the crowd took off around me.  Literally, flying by.  I checked my watch and it said 6:10.  Nope, I thought to myself.  I'm not doing this.  I had no business starting at this pace given my fitness and state of mind these past couple weeks so I backed off and repositioned myself.  I crossed the first mile in 6:20 which felt manageable.  Okay, I said, this is okay.  I think I can do this.  I had borrowed my daughter's shirt to wear under my singlet and it was a wee bit small so my watch was now sitting snuggly under the very tight left sleeve and there was no way to see it without making a legitimate effort to move the shirt back so I let it be.  The rest of the race would be run by feel and I was good with that.  For mile 2, I focused on my breathing, staying calm and trying to hold onto my pace. No big moves.  For 3 and 4, I worked to pick it up a bit.  I wanted to see if I could find another gear.  Nothing major.  Just a little more.  I focused on passing people who had started out too fast.  And we both know there are always plenty of those, myself included more times than not.  But not for this one.  Rather than think about how hard I was working and how much it hurt, which it did, I just focused on everyone in front of me and trying to gain a better position for the finish so I could score for my team.


I managed to find Leslie, our team photographer, in the second half of the race and made an effort to smile as I've heard that smiling releases serotonin which signals to the brain that all is great and ultimately makes things easier, if only for a brief moment.  “Easier” being a relative term here.  At mile 3, I knew I was going to be okay.  So I just held on to this last hard effort and kicked it in for my finish.  


I was tucked in behind a bunch of people so there are no finish line pics of me.  The above is the best I've got.  But it's all I needed.  I can see that I was locked in, my form was good and I had my game face on.  I'd raced smart and I knew it.  It was a good feeling.  As I said, I'd been a little scared to line up.  This effort reminded me that there is always more in the proverbial well than you think.  And that if you make a plan and trust it, things will likely work out the way you hope.  I tell my Lex athletes this all the time.  It's good to remind myself every once in a while, too.


As we always do, my teammates and I gathered together post-race for our cool down.  And this is what I love about running with this crew.  You can have an absolutely shit race or the best of your life.  Doesn't matter.  We show up for each other.  We pick each other up when we're down, we carry each other when we're off and we cheer for each other when we're on, plus everything in between.  It's truly like a second family.  I love running and racing.  But this is what motivates me to keep showing up at this point in my life.  And I am so grateful to have it.  Plus, most of them drink coffee so it's a guaranteed coffee date post-race which you know I love.  Next up, New Bedford Half Marathon.  Maybe I'll be a little more ready.  Maybe not.  But, there's a really good coffee shop in New Bedford, so I'm good either way.  


Listen to this:
Dreamteam by Galantis feat. Neon Trees

Thursday, December 28, 2023

2023:A YEAR IN REVIEW

"What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven't even happened yet."
~ Anne Frank

Dear RWM Readers,

I'm always floored when I get to this post every year. When we're in the throws of it all some of the days, weeks, months even; they feel so damn long.  And, yet here we are again at the end of another 365 day cycle.  As always, some big things have unfolded for me, my family, my team, my friends; for most of us, probably.  Which is what it's all about, right?  Celebrating the big events but also appreciating the slow and simple phases in between when things just are as they are and that feels good, too.  As far as running goes, for me it was a bit of a shit show.  I had a couple good races in the winter, trained my ass off for Boston, took a spill the week before the marathon and ran it with a broken rib.  So, clearly it didn't really go as planned.  After that, I got mono.  Which I didn't realize I had so I kept working and training right through it and suffering from exhaustion like nobody's business.  Super fun.  I injured my foot in the summer and that took forever to heal, not that I took time off to deal with it.  Because who has time?  And, yes, because I'm stubborn.  Then in early October I lined up for my fall marathon having just gotten over Covid and slogged through it with just enough energy to finish for my team and ultimately seal our tie for the win in the New England Grand Prix Series.  I'm really proud of this one.  Although I don't recommend trying it yourself.  It was probably not the smartest decision.  So, yea.  No personal bests.  No great marathon stories.  Just your standard ups and downs; mostly downs.  Not that I don't appreciate the fact that I am out there running.  I do.  Every.  Single.  Day.  As far as my family goes, my older daughter graduated high school, had the summer of her life and then flew off to college in Colorado in August.  Which has been both thrilling and slightly devastating for me.  I just miss having her around.  My younger daughter is a junior and beginning the college process herself.  I can't even think about her leaving and our house being empty.   Jeff and I cruised through the year as we always do.  Both of us working a lot and navigating parenthood - interesting and very tricky when they're teenagers - while also trying to have fun together and just appreciate all the good.  Which sounds easy but often takes more effort than it should.  In the end, I have zero complaints.  I'm healthy. My family is healthy and happy.  I'm running and coaching which is ultimately what I love to do.  So, I'm very lucky and incredibly grateful.  As far as RWM goes, in addition to my standard posts, I partnered up with the guys over at Six Minute Mile as a guest deejay, if you will.  I'll also be writing reviews for them throughout the year on various running related products.  I'm super excited about working with them.  And that pretty much wraps it all up.  Thank you, again, for following along this year through all my craziness.  My stories aren't always that exciting but perhaps they resonate or make you laugh and I suppose that's reason enough for me to stick with it.  And with that, I'll sign off.  Have a wonderful holiday.  Soak up every second.  Relax when you can.  And get ready to do it all over again in 2024.  

All the best,



RUNNING WITH MUSIC 2023

JANUARY
Rosie's final year as a high school and club gymnast.  
16 years of gymnastics.  Just...wow.

SONG:DRESS - SOFTCULT
ALBUM:ALREADY FORGOTTEN - HIBOU

FEBRUARY
LHS Boys & Girls clenched the Middlesex League Title for the 2022/23 indoor track season. #LEXGO

SONG:ALL THE FEELS - SCAVENGER HUNT
ALBUM:MATA - M.I.A.

MARCH
Rosie got into college! #skobuffs

SONG:DESERT OF THE HEAT - SMALL BLACK
ALBUM:QUIET THE ROOM - SKULLCRUSHER

APRIL
Ran my 31st marathon (9th Boston) with a broken rib. Do not recommend.

SONG:MOTORCYCLE - COLEMEN HELL, LA+CH
ALBUM:THE RECORD - BOYGENIUS

MAY
LHS Boys & Girls clenched the Middlesex League Title for the 2023 outdoor track season. #LEXGO

SONG:DREAMS - SJOWGREN
ALBUM:GIVING THE WORLD AWAY - HATCHIE

JUNE
Rosie graduated from Winchester high School. I cried a lot.

SONG:COVERED IN CHROME - GORDI
ALBUM:HEATHERHEAD - GENERATIONALS

JULY
Grace and I ran a 5K together. Second time it's ever happened. Hopefully not the last.

SONG:SIDEWAYS - MISTERWIVES
ALBUM:DE SELBY (PT 2) - HOZIER

AUGUST
Worked as a summer volunteer for CapeAbilities Farm, an incredible organization.

SONG:THIS - OK GO
ALBUM:I HONESTLY HAVE NO IDEA BC I DIDN'T WRITE IT DOWN. SORRY.

SEPTEMBER
Lex girls slayed their season opener, Clipper Relays.

SONG:FIRE OF MERCY - HOT CHIP
ALBUM:SOFT LANDING - ART SCHOOL GIRLFRIEND

OCTOBER
Cape Cod marathon with Covid.  Also, do not recommend.

SONG:YOU'RE HIRED - NEIKED feat. Ayra Starr
ALBUM:SIT DOWN FOR DINNER - BLONDE REDHEAD

NOVEMBER
Grace ran a person best at Coach's Invitational.

SONG:DO THE RIGHT THING - HAARM
ALBUM:THE SECRET TO LIFE - FIZZ

DECEMBER
Reunited with family for the holiday.  Nothing better.

SONG:NEWRULES - SJOWGREN
ALBUM:COUSINS - WILCO


LISTEN TO THESE:RWM SONGS OF 2023

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

2023 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE & WINTER GIVEAWAY

 "The joy of brightening other lives becomes for us the magic of the holidays."
~ W.C. Jones


'Tis the damn season.  Again.  Sorry.  Had to.  Because, whether you're a fan or not, it really was Taylor's year and we were all just along for the ride.  Seriously, though, here we are.  If you've been reading this blog for a while you know I am a huge fan of the holiday season.  The lights, the decorations, the gingerbread houses, the candy to decorate those gingerbread houses that you eat while you're making them; all of it.  I just can't get enough.  And this year, my older daughter, who is a freshman in college out in Colorado, will be home for an extended period of time.  Which I am giddy about.  Because she's legitimately that much fun.  And we're all more fun when she's around.  Okay, so let's get down to business here.  The list.  Below are the gifts that I feel are worth sharing.  Yes, there's a running theme, but they might also appeal to anyone with an active lifestyle plus readers, coffee lovers, people who like to be warm when it's cold out (tell me who doesn't want this?) and so on.  So, take a look with your friends and family in mind or, heck, even yourself.  Because you've worked hard this year and should absolutely have a list.  Click on the links for more details.  Share them. Learn more about them.  Purchase them.  Enjoy them.  I really dig every one of them and think you will, too.  Now, get going.  You have a lot to do and the clock is a tickin'.  Oh, and don't forget to scroll down and check out our annual WINTER GIVEAWAY, another epic mix of awesome products for you and your bff.  Details and how to enter are below.  Don't miss this one.  Merry, merry! 


********** RWM HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE **********


Retail price:$99*
*Use code rtrax20 to save %20

I won't tell you how many items I own by this company.  It's a lot.  But, hey, at least you know they are tried and true.  Between running, coaching, and skiing, I am never without my Ororo heated vest or jacket.  This puffer scarf is one of their newer items and is also on my list.  Yes, I have a problem.  But imagine standing outside with this warm, puffy deliciousness wrapped around your neck.  Winter is hard.  This makes it so much better.  

Retail Price: £75.00

I have been a Like the Wind subscriber for many years.  It is such a unique publication; chock full of running related stories, poems and stunning photography.  I love to take my time with it, really soaking in the pictures that go along with the writing that, more often than not, is incredibly moving and poignant.  This year, they have created a special package that includes Issue #38 which will launch this month, a full year subscription to the magazine, a limited edition tote bag and a fun card for the recipient.  This one is a no-brainer for the runner in your life.


Retail Price: $99.95 (currently on sale)

As you may know, I am currently on a quest for the perfect headphones.  As someone who runs with music, the fit, sound, quality and battery life of my headphones must all be good in order for me to give them a thumbs up.  I have tried many.  And truthfully none have blown me away.  The Shokz OpenRun were just recommended to me by multiple people so I got myself a pair and gave them a try.  And I am not disappointed.  They are different for me as I usually have earbuds inside my ears and these sit on the outside.  But, this doesn't impact sound at all.  In fact, it helps me hear other stuff going on while I'm running which is super important for a plethora of reasons.  They are easy to use and so far the battery life has been stellar.  So, at the moment, these are at the top of my list.  And I'm a tough critic.  So, trust me, they're good.

Retail Price: $36.99

Okay, truth.  My husband and I are kind of obssessed with Slate milk.  He goes for chocolate but I'm a vanilla fan.  We both reach for them immediately after we run or workout for a quick boost of protein (20 grams) without all the sugar that tastes delicious.  Throw it in a blender with a banana and some peanut butter and your world will be rocked.  Can't recommend these highly enough for the active, health conscious person who's on the go.

Retail Price:$119 (currently on sale)

If you're like me, you don't want to spend money on underwear.  But, if you are also like me, there is nothing worse than a crappy pair of undies when you're running, hiking, skiing... let's be honest...ever.  Paradis Sport has created a sustainable, performance-oriented product that I feel good about wearing and feel good in.  Once you try them you will forever change your mind about how important the under layer is.  Buy the 5 pack for your running partner or break up the pack and put a pair in each stocking for the active women in your family.

Retail price: $44

Yep, the Runnerbox holiday box is on my list again.  It's so perfect I can't not include it.  Who doesn't want a box of joy filled with running related goodies?  All the products have been pre-tested by the crew at Runnerbox so they are guaranteed awesome.  And the amount of things they are able to stuff into this little box will blow your mind.  It's like a stocking in and of itself.

 ************* STOCKING STUFFERS ************



The items above are some of my favorite little treats that can be thrown in the stockings or all together in one big basket of amazingness.

NUUN Spiced Cider - It's apple cider.  It can served be hot or cold.  It's delicious.  And it NUUN. So it's awesome.  It's also a limited flavor so buy a bunch.
Trapstix Lip Balm - They're unique flavors of lip balm cleverly named after musicians like Gucci Mango, Post Melone & Wu Tangerine.  How can you not love these?
David's Tea - Buy the sampler, which has a variety of flavors like Candy Cane Crush and Jack Frosted Mocha, and put a different flavor in each stocking.  Or, buy a box of the Sweet Potato Pie, which is my favorite and give it to....yourself?
Landgrove Coffee Gift Card - Because it's Landgrove.  And, in my humble opinion, it's the best coffee.  And there are lots of choices.  Including a ton of flavors and fun merch.  So why not let them pick it out for themselves this year?

❄️❄️❄️❄️ RWM WINTER GIVEAWAY ❄️❄️❄️❄️



And last, but definitely not least, the annual RWM HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY!  During this special season, there are so many amazing things for you to enjoy and/or to share with someone you love.  And sharing is caring, right?  As I did last year, I'm going to hold this giveaway over at RWM on Instagram as it's easier to have all the entries in one place.  All you have to do to enter is "like" the post and tag the person you'd like to share all these goodies with in the comments.  Yep, that's it.  I'd love it if you'd follow all of these companies, too, as I think they're amazing and worth your time to get to know, but I'm trying to keep my rules to a minimum as we all have enough going on right now.  If you're not on Instagram, that's ok.  Just shoot me an email and I'll add you to the drawing manually.  Huge thanks to all of the companies that contributed to this giveaway.  The vest will be shipped directly from Ororo.  The milk will be shipped directly from Slate.  The Six Minute Mile gear will be shipped directly from SMM.  Everything else comes from me.  Retail value of this prize package is over $500.00. US residents only for this one.  Good luck!

1 ORORO HEATED VEST (winner gets to pick color & style)
1 Holiday RUNNERBOX
2 Issues of LIKE THE WIND Magazine
1 Five Pack of PARADIS undies
2 tubes of Spiced Cider NUUN
2 NUUN Water Bottles
2 SIX MINUTE MILE Mugs
2 SIX MINUTE MILE t-shirts (winner gets to pick color & size)
1 12 Pack of SLATE MILK (winner picks the flavor of their choice)
1 lb Landgrove Coffee
2 Landgrove Coffee visors
1 Landgrove Coffee t-shirt
4 tubes of Trapstick lip balm

Listen to this:
newrules by Sjowgren

Thursday, November 2, 2023

RWM & SMM - FRIDAY TRACKS


Get faster. Get stronger. Get inspired. In under 6 minutes.

Listen to good music while you’re doing it.


If you're like me, you don't like keeping a ton of emails in your inbox. But, if you're also like me, you need a system to keep track of the things that you want to remember from those deleted messages. For those of you who are enjoying the new RWM Music section of the Friday Six Minute Mile newsletter, I have created this post that highlights each song and the story behind it. That way, if you're trying to remember a song from 17 weeks ago, you don't have dig through old emails to find it. Because let's be honest, none of us have time for that. Listen. Like. Share. Repeat. #turnitup


9/8 - ‘The Streets’ by Double Vision

Double Vision is a band that is composed of the duo Aleesha Dibbs & Billy Wright from Sydney, Australia. It’s got an old school, mellow vibe with electric undertones. The intro is slow and spacey before upping the pace when the vocals kick in.  I can’t stop replaying this gem.


9/15 - ‘Run’ by Night Panda, feat Anjulie

Night Panda never fails to disappoint with their super upbeat, highly motivating jams that often make you want to drop what you're doing and cut a rug or go for a run. Or both. Their entire catalog is worth a deep-dive if you’re looking for more uptempo tunes for your playlist. I went with their song ‘Run’ this week for obvious reasons.


9/22 - 'Tide' by JDM Global  

Released in 2021, the song is not new but both the song and the artist are new to me and I am digging all of it. I can't stop listening to this gem, in particular, that has a colorful, psychedelic edge to it.  Makes me want to get my surfboard out and hit the water.  And I don't surf.  So running will have to do.  Close enough. 


9/29 - 'Attack of the Ghost Riders' by MØ w/ The Reveonettes 

I love The Raveonettes and have been listening to their old school, alt-rock music for many years.  But this recent twist on what was already a killer tune is borderline jaw-dropping.  I also happen to love MØ and have a plethora of her songs on my various running playlists.  This particular collaboration is off their most recent album ‘The Raveonettes presents: Rip It Off’ which is a celebration of their original album "Whip It On" released 20 years ago, on which they invite friends to join them for covers of their songs.  The entire album is worth your time but "Attack" got my blood pumping and had me picking up my pace without even realizing it.


10/6 -  'Big 7' by Burna Boy

Burna Boy is an Afro-beat artist from Nigeria.  'Big 7' is off his latest LP, "I Told them..." which was released this past August.  I'd never heard of Burna Boy prior to discovering this new song but the guy is prolific & if you're into this sound he's actually got a total of 7 albums to explore.  I love his quote in Stereogum about this song in particular, "‘Big 7’ is a melodic tribute to embracing new heights in my musical journey."  Amen to that!  This song definitely takes me to new heights in my run journey every time it comes on.  Play it loud!


10/13 - ‘My Whispers Are Wildfire’ by Ida Mae  

The band is composed of husband and wife duo, Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean from the UK.  'Whispers' is off their second album, "Thunder Above You" which was released this past August.  Jean's voice is smooth and sultry but it's Turpin's guitar that mesmerizes.  Listen to the whole song start to finish and then listen again as you hear something new and different each time.  They are labeled folk/blues, a category you may not usually throw into your running mix. This time I think you will.


10/20 - ‘Bloom' by ill peach

The NYC based duo is composed of Pat Morrissey and Jess Corazza. Both were already working together as professional songwriters for other artists such as Icona Pop, SZA & Weezer. Then finally, and to our good fortune, someone suggested they take their self-described "weird" music and start their own project. And thus "ill peach" was born. 'Bloom' is on their recently released EP, 'COLLIDING'. Pop, punk, alternative, sweet, salty - all of it. Please and thank you. In my humble opinion, every song is worth your time. Run, dance, do what you do. They all work. For all of it. #turnitup


10/27 - ‘Dramamine’ by Middle Kids

Middle Kids is a Sydney-based, alt-rock band led by Hannah Joy who also happens to be married to bassist Tim Fitz. I discovered them back in 2021 upon the release of their second album, “Today We're the Greatest." I was running ultras at the time and found myself listening to both their second and their first albums on repeat regularly. “Dramamine” was co-written by Joy and Fitz and is off their soon-to-be-released third album “Faith Crisis Pt. 1” set to launch early next year. It's a happy, hazy, upbeat gem that inevitably lifts my mood every time I put it on. Which in turn tends to get me excited to lace up and run. So, yeah, for obvious reasons, this one is typically a daily pick. 


11/3 - 'The Secret To Life by Fizz

The band is composed of Orla Gartland, dodie, Martin Luke Brown and Greta Isaac, all better known for their budding solo careers in various genres including indie, rock, punk & folk. You often hear the term Supergroup associated with bands that are made up of well-known individual artists but they have rejected this label outright and instead claim to be a cohesive unit grounded by their friendship and their desire to do something totally different on the side. With Fizz they are taking a break from their day to day work and jumping into something creative and fun that also feeds their other interests as musicians. 'The Secret To Life', released just over a week ago, is an upbeat, toe-tapping, high energy jam that hooks you in right from the start. I can't help but smile every time it comes on. Perhaps they have the Secret?


11/10 - 'Do The Right Thing' by HAARM

This Liverpool based trio met in a bar and has been together since 2016 which is surprising because despite how good they are, I'd never heard of them until last year when I discovered their song 'Foxglove'. They're unique in that they have two lead singers, both songwriters, which leads to a different sound that's a bit more trippy and sonorous, almost oddly beautiful. 'Do The Right Thing' was released last month and is one of a string of singles they'll be putting out every six weeks as they build up to the release of their debut album which is set to come out in the spring of 2024. Personally, I will be waiting eagerly for more.


11/17 - 'Blame the Moon' by Cain Culto

This one is totally different from the last few and that is on purpose as I don't want to get stuck in one genre for these weekly picks. Cain, born Andrew Estevan Padilla, began as a pastor making electronic Christian music. In 2020, they chose to take things in a new direction and used their music as a way to express themselves during this transition and to share their new perspective. 'Blame the Moon' is a funky, pop groove that sinks right under the skin; starting with the upbeat percussion and then enhanced by Culto's eerie, falsetto vocals. They have a ton of new music in development and will undoubtedly be a well known name across many genres in 2024. In the meantime, get your funk on with all the gems that are out now.


11/24 - 'Easy' by Misterwives

Formed back in 2012 and based in NYC, Misterwives is led by singer Mandy Lee. Apparently, the band came together because Lee wanted an 80s cover band to play for her birthday. And that's all she wrote. Pun intended. The well-known indie-pop band was dropped by their first label mid-pandemic and "Easy" is about being resilient, managing heartache and eventually getting back up and starting again. The message, even when things are difficult, they will get better, resonated with me and, I'm guessing, likely does with most. I can't help but nod my head to the beat as Lee sings, "I'm still standing and my heart's still beating. It gets easier, but it's not easy." Tell me that doesn't apply to almost everything we deal with in life. Especially running.


12/8 -  “What Now” by Brittany Howard

This talented artist, of Alabama Shakes fame, has one studio album to her name and will be releasing her second, also titled "What Now," next year. She took her solo path back in 2019 and snagged a Grammy for her song "Stay High" in 2021. She's back with this powerful, almost dark lyrical masterpiece that legitimately makes you want to dance – a combination that's wild and oddly magical. It kind of feels like there is nothing this woman can't do. I will be waiting anxiously for the full album. Until then, I will have this single gem playing daily. 


12/15 - 'Lies for a Liar" by GERD

Before hearing this song, I was not at all familiar with this artist. And after listening to it many, many, times, as well as the rest of the songs that she has released, my question to you today is: How is that even possible? Holy hell, this woman's voice. Well, young woman. Born in Sweden in 1995, Elin Gerd Mona Lundgren's love for music began the moment she could walk. She pursued a career in music after high school and following some tough hurdles while getting started, a couple moves and multiple enrollments in schools, she landed in London and started what I can only imagine will be a very lucrative career. "Lies for a Liar", her debut single, was released in 2021. And the rest is history. I will be shocked if we don't hear more from this freckle-faced phenom in the near future. 


12/22 - 'newrules' by Sjowgren

Pronounced "Show-grin," this indie pop trio is based in San Francisco and prefers to keep themselves somewhat under the radar which, for a band, is both rare and – in my opinion – very cool. They formed back in 2015 and gained substantial attention when their song “Seventeen” was in a commercial. They've since released multiple singles and an EP through their own label, all while maintaining their behind-the-scenes vibe; focusing primarily on songwriting and artistic direction. There is a lot going on in “newrules.” It has a dreamy, almost psychedelic beginning that eventually flows into an upbeat rhythm as it draws out all the different vocals. I dig it. I think you will, too. 


**** 2024 **** 


1/5 - Gently, Dreamer by Cayo Coco

I'll go ahead and date myself here but this song takes me back to my teenage years with its ‘80s vibe. Cayo Coco is the solo project of LA-based Lumen Loraine. “Gently, Dreamer” is the first song off his upcoming album set to be released this year. Loraine sings and plays every instrument on the track, a talent that always blows my mind for obvious reasons. He told Broken 8 Records in this interview that he doesn't know much about keys or music theory, but just that he knows how to "have fun and get lost in the sonic landscape." I mean, when I'm running, I basically want to have fun and get lost in the sonic landscape myself, so I get it. I think. Maybe not. But I love the song. And I'm clearly psyched for more. 


1/12 - Bonfire by LANNDS

LANNDS is comprised of Rania Woodard and Brian Squillace and “Bonfire” is off their latest album, “Music for the Future.” In the spring of 2021, the duo holed up in a remote cabin in Northern Georgia with the goal being to just wake up each day and create what felt right at that moment. The two of them produced, engineered, mixed and provided vocals for the entire album. Their music has a funky, electro-pop sound which is enhanced by Woodard's really cool vocals. “Bonfire” has so much going on but is also oddly simple. You have to listen to it a few times to catch all of the intricacies. Which I did. And highly recommend you do as well.  Then dive into the entire album. 


1/19 - Terrible News by Middle Kids

I discovered this band back in 2021 when I was a wee bit obsessed with their song “Cellophane (Brain)“ off their first album “Today We're the Greatest.”  Originally from Sydney, the trio made up of Hannah Joy, Fitz and Harry Day, snagged an ARIA award for that first album and the rest, as they say, is history. Over the past few weeks they've been dropping singles off of their new album, “Faith Crisis Pt. 1,” which is set to be released next month.  Personally, I'm digging all of these teasers but “Terrible News” is a straight up banger and I cannot get enough. Joy's voice is sharp and snappy and together with Day's drums, they manage to keep the whole vibe upbeat despite the fact that the song happens to be about a dark and challenging time during the pandemic. I freaking love this band. Go check them out. I think you will, too. 


1/26 -  'adore you' by Fred again and Obongjayar

This one is pretty out there and I love it for that reason. British producer and DJ, Fred Gibson (aka Fred again) teamed up with Nigerian-born/London based Obongjayar who provided the absolutely stunning vocals on top of GIbson's trippy keyboards. Released back in August of last year, the song has a vibrant, whimsical feel that inevitably makes me smile the minute it begins to play regardless of my state of mind. And these lyrics, "And I pray, pray you never lose your star, I'm so proud, proud of all that you are. Ooh, I adore you." I get chills every time I hear it. Apparently, the song is dedicated to Gibson's sister which is just so touching. Share this one with someone you love. Then dance around the kitchen while you listen to it, preferably with that person. 


2/2 - 'Last Time' by Lovpune

Based in LA, Lovpune is an independent artist who started making music at the age of 15. She experimented with a few different bands before stepping out on her own into the ethereal world of alternative synth-pop. This song doesn't come out swinging; you have to be patient and let it build. Her voice is smooth and dreamy and she hooks you in with that alone, but when the synth is added and the song's rhythm picks up it's like....whoa, now we're rollin'. That's when you turn the volume up and let it sink in for the rest of the song. The legs are almost moving on their own by the end. It's the perfect song for a warm-up, perhaps, when you want to ease in slowly for a beat or two and then switch gears and take it to the next level. Lovpune's first album, “By Design” is set to be released this March. I'm definitely fired up for more from this artist. 


 2/9 - 'Still Getting It Done' by Ghost of Vroom 

Ghost of Vroom is an alt-rap band featuring Mike Doughty and Doughty's long time collaborator, Andrew Livingston. I've been doing a lot of training on the treadmill lately to avoid the icy roads outside. For me, the indoor grind can be, well, a grind. But good music always makes it better.  It doesn't matter what kind of headspace I'm in or how I'm feeling when I get going, when this song comes on everything is good and right in the world. Doughty, formerly of the band Soul Coughing, created this solo project, Ghost of Vroom, in 2020 and “Still Getting It Done” is off his third album, “Ghost of Vroom 3.” Produced by Beastie Boys collaborator, Mario Caldado, Jr., (IYKYK), this gem is an absolute funk fest. I don't believe you if you tell me you don't want to cut a rug when it comes on. Play it loud, my friends. 


2/16 - Falling Apart by Nyassa

This is a new artist for me and I am smitten. I know, I say this a lot. I can't help myself sometimes. That is the power of music, I suppose. Originally from Australia, this mesmerizing pop-artist, whose father was also a musician, taught herself to sing when she was a little girl by listening to other musicians on her CD player and teaching herself their vocal melodies. She spent several years developing as a singer-songwriter, doing much of her work with her dad who played the instruments for her songs. Released in October of 2023, “Falling Apart” was written on her bedroom floor with her partner who provided the beat as she sang the chorus which she made up on the spot. What started out as a project that was just for fun became this brilliant single. Expect new music from her in 2024 and check out her videos as her fashion game also happens to be out of this world.