Friday, December 28, 2012

RWM Albums of 2012

Happy New Year everyone....almost.  Listed below are a few my favorites artists, bands, and albums from 2012.  I ran with them.  I rocked out to them.  I chilled out with them.  I enjoyed them thoroughly.  They reached out and grabbed me and I've got to believe that there is something on this list that will grab you, too.  When I go back and listen again to these gems, each one of them reminds me how much I love music in so many ways and for so many different reasons.  And then, I think of what's to come in the new year, from both artists that I know and love as well as those I've never heard of, and I get giddy all over again.  Proving, once again, that the simple pleasures in life can make such a huge impact.  I love that.  So, happy listening.  Happy running.  Happy everything.  Catch you in 2013!

Yo!  K & G think you
should check these out.
RWM Albums of 2012
Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams  Lonesome Dreams - Lord Huron
Alt-J - An Awesome Wave  An Awesome Wave - Alt-J 
The Dodos - No Color  No Color - The Dodos 
Fang Island - Major  Major - Fang Island 
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros - Here  Here - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Interpol - Turn On the Bright Lights (Tenth Anniversary)  Turn On the Bright Lights (Tenth Anniversary Edition) - Interpol
Metric - Synthetica  Synthetica - Metric
Patrick Watson - Adventures in Your Own Backyard  Adventures in Your Own Backyard - Patrick Watson  
The Raveonettes - Observater  Observator - The Raveonettes
Reptar - Body Faucet  Body Faucet - Reptar
Throw Me The Statue - Moonbeams  Moonbeams - Throw Me the Statue 
The Zolas - Tic Toc Tic  Tic Toc Tic - The Zolas
Santigold - Master of My Make-Believe  Master of My Make-Believe - Santigold
Sea Wolf - Old World Romance  Old World Romance - Sea Wolf

Monday, December 24, 2012

TrailMix App Update: A Review (and free download)

So many runners who listen to music lean heavily on the beat to get them moving.  For me, when I'm racing a 5K or doing a speed workout, I specifically listen to songs that have a faster BPM (beat per minute) to help keep me motivated.  This past summer I posted a review of TrailMix, an app that let's you play songs from your own library at the BPM of your choice.  Though I thought it was a bit strange to listen to some of my slower songs at a higher speed, I loved the fact that if I felt like I needed a little boost during my run, I could get it through my music by using TrailMix without having to stop and think about it.  It took a while to get used to, but eventually I started using it on a regular basis to mix things up.  With their latest update, TrailMix added the Magic Shuffle, a feature that chooses songs from your library that have a BPM similar to the pace you are running so the song itself doesn't have to pick up or slow down to match your speed.  I have tried the new version a few times and I have to say it's so freakin' cool.  I love the fact that as I'm cruising along my music is matching my pace AND I'm hearing it all at random which is a new concept for me that I'm starting to really dig.  Oh, and when I'm pushing myself on the track or in a race, I have to say, it's really nice to have something to think about other than how much pain I'm in!  Want to try it?  From now until the end of December, TrailMix is having a holiday sale offering 40% off the standard download fee.  

 BUT, 8 of you can download it for FREE by simply commenting below or "liking" this post on the RWM Facebook page.  Go hit the road and get your groove on! **

Listen to this:
Tunnelvision - Here We Go Magic  Tunnelvision - Here We Go Magic

** RWM will send the first 8 people who respond a promo code in order to download the TrailMix app free of charge.  

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Peace, Love, Running & Music

It's so hard for me to believe another year has gone by.  What an unbelievable journey it's been.  And still it's running and music that keep me grounded, sane, happy and driven.  That, along with my family and friends, of course.  I am so incredibly lucky and not a day goes by when I don't stop to think about this.  Thanks to all of you for sharing this journey with me.  Cheers to the new year ahead and all the excited things it will undoubtedly bring.  I will sound off with some lyrics to a song from one of my favorite bands that has been resonating with me over the past couple days.  Peace.
PeoplePeopleHave you heard the good newsThere's peoplePeopleThey're running just like youTodayI sayIt's all that matters for nowFor youAnd IWoooSo peoplePeopleMake some good ol' love
~ from People by AWOLNATION

And listen to this:
Wild - Royal Teeth  Wild - Act Naturally - EP

WAIT...Please let us know your favorite song or album of the year.  Comment below, post on Facebook or share it @runningwmusic on Twitter.  I will throw it all up there in a list for everyone's listening pleasure to kick off 2013.  Spread the love!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Rock & Run

This is how I feel...
(but, clearly, not how I look)
A little over a week ago I ran a 5K.  I pushed really hard and was fighting a cold at the same time so as a result I was completely down for the count the next week.  Since I started running again everything has been a bit off.  Nothing is flowing, my legs feel heavy and my feet don't want to go.  If I wasn't training for a February marathon I would just write these past few days off, take a break over Christmas and re-start in the new year.  This, unfortunately, is not an option.  So, I have continued to plow through, one heavy step at a time.  Today, I assumed, would be no different, so this morning I added a few new songs to my playlist hoping to drum up a little extra motivation and to tap into some of my dormant energy reserves.  Whatever it takes.  I was cruising along and I suddenly noticed a policeman at a construction site across the street staring and sort of waving his hands at me.  I wasn't sure what he was doing so I turned down my music and shuffled over.  He met me halfway and asked me if everything was okay.  Hmmm, I thought.  I'm tired and I feel slow, but  I didn't think it was that obvious.  I said, "I'm fine, why?"  Then he gave me a funny look and said something along the lines of,  "from where I was standing it looked like something was wrong.  You were waving your head back and forth and flailing your arms, so I thought you were hurt."  Ohhhh.  I chuckled to myself.  Actually, I had been dancing....and the same time.  I guess it looks stranger than I thought.  "Nope, all good.  Thanks, though."  I said and I took off again.  For a brief moment I wondered if I should resist the urge to dance and run.  Then my neighbor drove by, honked and waved and I remembered that those who know me probably (hopefully) know what's going on.  For those who don't, well, I suppose it's okay to just keep them guessing.  And if it stirs up a few smiles and some laughter, that's not such a bad thing, either.  So I will continue to rock and run.  It's what I do.

Listen to this:
Run (I'm a Natural Disaster) - Gnarls Barkley   Run (I'm a Natural Disaster) - The Odd Couple

Monday, December 17, 2012

Memories & Cracks

Every week I post about running...why I love it, why I don't love it and everything in between.  Often, my posts include stories about my children and how they tend to make my life crazy and sometimes difficult.  I tend to add bits of sarcasm and humor in my writing so others can appreciate and relate to some of the craziness that is my life as a mother and a runner.  But, I realize, now more than ever, in the grand scheme of things, my life is relatively simple.  And today as I write, I think back on all of these stories and realize that after living through them and sharing them with others, they all have been etched in my mind and that over time, as I remember them, they often make me smile.  I understand now more than ever how incredibly lucky I am to have these memories and I will remind myself daily not to take this for granted.

On another note, this morning, my five year old daughter called me from her room when she woke up.  Here's what we talked about:
Grace: Mom, come here I want to show you something.
Me: What's that?
Grace: There is a crack in the ceiling.
Mom: Oh, yes, I see that.  You're not worried about it, are you?
Grace: Yes, it could start to break and the room could tumble down on me.
Me: Hmm. I see what you mean, but this house is strong and it would take a much bigger crack for that to happen.  I promise you're safe.
Grace: But caves are strong and they break.
Me: Caves?
Grace: Yes, caves.  Sometimes they break.
Me: Well, that's true.  But dad and I will do everything we can to keep your room from breaking.  He can patch that crack up for you and we'll triple check to make sure it's not going to split.  We will make sure nothing happens and that you are safe.  Does that make you feel better?
Grace: For now, I guess.

She had no idea how hard her words struck me after the tragedy that took place in Sandy Hook on Friday.  Of course, I wish I could seal up all the cracks and keep her inside the house where it is safe.  But it doesn't work this way.  As a mother, all I can do is offer this kind of comfort to her on a regular basis and hope that she feels my support in everything that she does when she isn't with me.  Beyond that, I can only hope.

Listen to this:
Messages - Xavier Rudd    Messages - Food In the Belly

"You know some people they just won't understand
 no I just won't understand
 These things
 Thank you for your message but I don't understand
 no I just won't understand
 These things"

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Angel vs. Devil

Last week I tried to fight through a cold by..... running, not getting enough sleep, and racing a 5K on Sunday.  What?  As you can guess, this strategy did not work out very well.  On Monday my body basically put me in my place and said "no more".   Everything that I had been warding off by sheer luck and will came to fruition including the added bonus of a double ear infection.  When I went to the doctor on Monday afternoon she said, and I have to quote this one, "if you were able to race a 5K in your physical condition with a solid effort on top of that, I see no reason why you can't fight this one out without antibiotics.  You're tough.  You run marathons.  I think we should stick this one out."  Huh?  I love how she said "we" as if she and I were in this together.  I could barely hear and anything I did hear had an echo and sounded really far away, I had zero energy, and the miracle drugs that I thought were going to cure me within minutes were according to the doctor, "probably not the best option."  This is not what I expected.  In the end, in fairness to the doctor, she did give me the medicine, but she "strongly discouraged" me from taking it as she really felt like I could beat it on my own.  I tried to fight it out.  I really did.  But the ears won the battle in the end and I finally broke down and took the meds.  I'm not proud, but it is what it is.  What I realized, though, is that when I get myself in this physical state, I need to knock the "Devil" runner off my shoulder and listen to the "Angel" runner who was gently reminding me that pushing through it was not going to cut it (he's also much more attractive).  Well, I didn't listen to the Angel, ok?  And as a result of this poor decision, I am a week off of my marathon training plan, I am two weeks from feeling like a normal human being, and I missed some really fun events because I was too tired to deal.  Not awesome.  I thought you might be curious to hear how my conversations with the Angel and Devils runners played out in my head last week:

Angel Runner: 
"Hey, Rebecca, you really need to just rest over the next few days.  You should drink more fluids and eat some soup.  And go to bed a little earlier than usual for a few days.  What's that?  Oh, I know your running partner is out there but she can breathe through her nose and you can't.  Just sit tight.  It will all be over soon."

Devil Runner:
"Come, on...let's just head out there and see how we feel.  We'll just do 6 hill repeats instead of 8 if we have to.  Just take a few Sudafed and that will clear you right up.  What?  You're not sure whether you should race.  Just do it for "fun" instead of time and see how it goes.  Ha ha ha.  And just ignore that weird buzzing in your right ear, we all hear that.  No need to just sit back and wait, fight it head on, baby!"

Well, we all know who I should have listened to.  And don't pretend you don't listen to the Devil runner most of the time, either! Next week I will gradually ease back into the running as well as the holiday festivities.  Moving forward, I will do my best to listen to the guy with wings.  After all, he does fly.  I'm guessing he's got it all figured out.

Listen to this:
Cayucos - Cayucas  Cayucos - Cayucos / Swimsuit - Single 

Monday, December 10, 2012

You Are What You Wear

Most mornings the first thing I put on when I get dressed is my running clothes.  During the school year, when I drop my girls off I'm usually wearing tights - long or short - and some kind of running top.  In the summer, when I'm waiting for the camp bus with them, I'm typically in a tank and shorts.  I used to feel a little self conscious about my get-ups.  I don't anymore.  Most days, I run.  Yes, there are times when it doesn't pan out.  On occasion, one of my kids will be sick or a friend might need a favor or I could get pulled into an unexpected meeting at school.  Life happens.  I can't always get the run in.  And when this is the case, I'll eventually go home and change into "normal" clothes.  But, this doesn't happen often.  I am incredibly passionate about running.  When I put my running clothes on, it sets the tone for my day.  I might feel tired or have little desire to hit the road first thing in the morning, but by the time I'm sporting my running duds, my mindset tends to shift.  Then, when I can actually head out, I'm usually pretty fired up.
Do you think I have a problem?
This week-end, my family went up to Franconia, NH for our first ski week-end of the season.  On Saturday morning, I had to work, but my husband had planned to take my girls over to Cannon for a few runs.  There was one lift open and very little snow, so it was literally a very few runs (maybe three).  Nonetheless, my eight year old, who lives to ski, was totally fired up.  She woke up at 7:00am, came downstairs and put on some of her ski clothes.  She ate breakfast in her long underwear and ski boots.  About an hour later as I was leaving, I noticed that she was doing some arts and crafts, waiting patiently for her sister to wake up, in full ski gear including her neck warmer, helmet and goggles.  This is a girl who rarely has enough time to brush her hair and is usually forgetting her socks in the morning during the school week.  And yet, when she's getting ready to ski, it all comes together perfectly.  In the end, she had to wait TWO HOURS for Grace to wake up and she stayed in full ski gear the entire time.  My daughter is incredibly passionate about skiing.  When she puts on her clothes, she is ready to go.  Not once did I question her actions Saturday morning.  It made total sense.
Duct tape? Check. Scissors? Check. Ski boots? Check.

Bottom are what you wear.  Or, perhaps you wear what you are.  Either way, it works.  

Listen to this:
Strange - Built to Spill  Strange - Ancient Melodies of the Future 
Lyrics: "And it's strange, but not all that strange."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My 'Wednesday Morning' Soundtrack

A few months ago, I was waiting for a race to start and I overheard someone say, "don't you sometimes feel like we all have a soundtrack to our lives?"  Every freakin' day, I thought to myself.  I made a mental note to give this concept more thought but after the race I forgot all about it.  Until this morning.  The mornings in our household are always a bit nuts.  I have one child who hates getting out of bed, wishes she could live in her pjs and doesn't particularly enjoy going to school.  And I have another who will jump right out of bed, maybe even start to get changed but then see something she hasn't played with for a while and completely forget the fact that she has to get ready for school.  As I ran today, I thought about my morning.  As each new song came on, I thought about whether or not I would put it on the soundtrack to my life.  Then, I decided a soundtrack to my entire life would take way too long so I kept it simple and created a soundtrack to go along with my morning.  Here's how it all came together.

Me: Girls, time to WAKE UP, it's 7:30.  LET'S GO!
Grace: Mom, do we have school today?
Me: Yes, Grace, it's Wednesday.  Please don't get HYSTERICAL.  You have to go to school.  It's the law. (And I need to RUN, I thought, but didn't say out loud)
I head downstairs to make lunch and after about 15 minutes I don't hear anything from upstairs.  Back upstairs I go. 
Me: Why is no one out of bed yet?  Come on...UP, UP, UP.  We need to move.  We're going to be late.
Grace: But, I don't want to go to school.
Me: (sigh) I know, Grace.  But you can't HANG WITH ME every day. That's just not how it works.  Now please, HELP, me for a change and get yourself dressed while I get us ready to go.
I poke my head in Rosie's room.  She's deep into an American girl doll game.  Stuff is everywhere.  She's wearing jeans and her pajama shirt.  And she has no idea I'm standing there.
Me: Rosie, you need to get ready.   And please clean all that stuff up so I see your carpet.
Rosie: Can you just do it, mom?
Me: No, Rosie.  I'm not HOUDINI (though I often wish I was).  I can't make this mess disappear and make your lunch at the same time.  Do your best and then hurry down.  Please make sure to turn your LIGHTS OUT on the way.
If we make it to school on time today it will be a MIRACLE, I think to myself.  I hear feet shuffling and furniture being moved around, something big and heavy falling, like a chair and then some screaming.  SWEET DOGS...what now?
Me: Girls, can you please SETTLE DOWN!!! Come downstairs and eat some breakfast.  We have 10 minutes until we have to GO.
All of us pile into the car and my fingers are crossed that we have everything.
Rosie: HOLD ON, mom.  I forgot my backpack.
Wow, I am really looking forward to this upcoming HOLIDAY.  I could use a break from all this chaos.  Until's TIME TO RUN!
And then I was off.....

Listen to this: 

RWM 'Wednesday Morning' Soundtrack
Wake Up - AWOLNATION Wake Up - Megalithic Symphony
Let's Go - Matt & Kim  Let's Go - Lightning
Hysterical - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah  Hysterical - Hysterical
Run - Vampire Weekend   Run - Contra (Bonus Track Version)
Up, Up, Up - Givers  Up Up Up - In Light
Hang With Me - Robyn Hang With Me - Body Talk, Pt. 2
Help! - The Beatles Help! - 1
Houdini - Foster the People Houdini - Torches
Lights Out - Santigold  Lights Out - Santigold
Miracle - Cascada Miracle - Everytime We Touch
Sweet Dogs - Trolle//Siebenhaar  Sweet Dogs - Couple Therapy
Settle Down - No Doubt Settle Down - Push and Shove
GO! (feat. Karen Oh) - Santigold  GO! (feat. Karen O) - Master of My Make-Believe (Deluxe Version)
Hold On (sub-focus remix)-  Rusko  Hold On (Sub Focus Remix) - Hold On (Remixes) - EP
Holiday - Vampire Week-end  Holiday - Contra (Bonus Track Version)
Time to Run - Lord Huron  Time to Run - Lonesome Dreams

Monday, December 3, 2012

December - A Top 10 List

Happy December everyone.  Such a fun month.  My daughter, Rosie, and I are writing this one together.  We'll get right to the point.  Here are the top 10 reasons why we love the month of December.  Enjoy!

Top 10 Reasons Why Rosie and I love the Month of December
(~ with my comments underneath)

1. It usually snows. (Rosie)
~ I, too, love the snow... for skiing.  As a runner, not so much.

2. It's Christmas time. (Rosie and Mom)
~ We both love this holiday!

3. We get to celebrate my birthday. (Rosie)
~ Her official birthday is in November.  But the actual party is usually in December.  This tends to draw the celebration out for at least a week or more.  She loves this.  I do too...really.

4. I get to dress up in costume and run the Winter Classic 5K with friends. (Mom)
~ Still working on my candy cane look.  Anyone know where I can get red and white striped knee socks?

5. We get to see our cousins from NYC. (Rosie)
~ SO much fun for them.  TOTAL chaos for us.  But, it's all good.

6. I get to go see AWOLNATION at the House of Blues in Boston. (Mom)
~ Rosie is asking if she can come with me.  Think she'd like to crowd surf?

7. We get a nice long break from school. (Rosie)
~ As a mom, I love this.  As a runner, not so much.

8. Two words...Christmas music. (Rosie & Mom)
~ She loves the classics like Christmas Song by Alvin and the Chipmunks.  I like seeing which current bands break out in holiday cheer.  (See December "Music of the Month" above).

9. Grace and I have our ballet recitals. (Rosie)
~ This year, Rosie and Grace are dancing in two separate shows.  Rosie is thrilled that she'll get to see Grace.  My husband and I are THRILLED that we get to go to both shows.

10. Blow Ups!!! (Rosie & Mom)
~ We both love them!  Everything about them.  Their size, their ridiculousness and their awesomeness.  We always try and find as many as possible.  The below Santa is a first for us!

Ho, Ho, Ho!

Listen to this:
Holidays Rule - Various Artists  Holidays Rule - Various Artists
~ includes some RWM favorites such as the Shins, Heartless Bastards, Fruit Bats & Calexico

Friday, November 30, 2012

Lament of an Injured Runner

The below poem was written by one of my high school cross country runners who was out in the beginning of our season due to an injury.  Being told not to run when it's all you want to do is truly one of the hardest things to hear.  So many of us have been there.  This is her story but as I read it, I thought back to all of the many injuries I've dealt with and how hard I fought to get through them.  Those of us who share this same passion and drive to run will likely do whatever it takes to get back on the road.  Just as Sonia did.  Here it is in her own words.

Lament of an Injured Runner
by Sonia Rowley

A dream-like trance, raw thoughts, my real self
Coaxed from the depths by the rhythm of my Nikes pounding pavement
The musical beat of breath.
As each mile passes, I push myself
A little farther.

Then - ouch.
Something’s gone wrong.
I try to ignore. Forget. Run it off.
But the pain persists.

First a phone call.
An appointment. Another.
“You’d better lay off for a few weeks.”
An eternity.
My breath catches in my throat.

From freedom to blue elastic bands
Like shackles around my ankles.
One, two, three, four... repeat
With closed eyes, I remember what I’m working toward -
My sport. My passion.

From fresh air to man-made machines.
Or the tedium of a pool.
I force myself into the water with the reluctance of a cat.
“I will stay strong,” I say.
Motivated. Passionate.

Weeks pass. Then months.
Self-restraint wears thin.
A feeling of betrayal sets in.
Why does my body fail me?
Hope is only a flicker,
replaced by an all-consuming impatience.
Always looking forward...

To feel the ground passing swiftly beneath my feet.
A memory?
A sweet breeze filling my gasping lungs.
A dream?
Sweaty, pain-free miles behind me.
A goal.
I will do whatever it takes.

Listen to this:
Odessa - Caribou Odessa - Swim (Bonus Track Version)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Game On

I love holidays, but bouncing back from a break is always a little tough; particularly for the wee ones.  Case in point, this morning when I woke up my five year old, she immediately started crying - I know, big shocker.  She claimed that over Thanksgiving I had told her she no longer had to go to school - ever.  I'm not sure how she dreamed up this one, but I am sure I didn't tell her that.  I'm not gonna lie, after having a few relaxing days without a set plan to follow it was kind of tough to get myself back in the game, too.  Today I specifically thought of Operation.  Remember this one?  The players act as a doctor who needs a steady hand and a lot of patience to remove all the various items from the body of the sick (and goofy) man on the table.  I had very little of either of those things this morning.  My girls, on the other hand, kept reminding me of the loud buzzer in the game that makes the players jump and cringe each time they do something wrong.  Super fun.  On our way to school, I realized I wasn't the least bit motivated for the two hour run that I had on my schedule for the day.  As we cruised along, I was thinking of possible ways to increase my enthusiasm for said run such as new music or a new route; admittedly zoning out.  I finally snapped to when I heard my seven year old say, "MOM, DID YOU PACK ME PLEASE TURN ON THE MUSIC FOR LUNCH?"  I started to respond in typical mom fashion with something like, "excuse me, Rosie, there's no need to use that tone...."  But, she stopped me mid-sentence and explained that she had asked me to turn on the radio "like 10 times" and since I hadn't heard her she threw in the 'lunch' part to get my attention.  Fair enough.  And, pretty clever.  Rosie - one.  Mom - zero.  Game on.

Listen to this:
Hide and Seek - Blondfire Hide and Seek - Where the Kids Are - EP