Friday, March 30, 2012

It's Friday - Reader's Pick & OISELLE SALE

From LT.  The first one, she claims, has a groovy vibe.  The second one, she tells me, makes her want to skip down the street.  Go'll get it.  Thanks for sharing!

Listen to this:
St. Petersburg - Brazilian Girls  St. Petersburg - New York City
Port of Call - Beirut  Port of Call - The Rip Tide (reader's note: give this one time and let the horns kick in - so fantastic)

ALSO WORTH MENTIONING (for the ladies):

There is a blowout sale at Oiselle this week-end only.  In addition to the already reduced prices, you can save an additional 20% off certain items this week-end (see offer below).  I can honestly say this is the best brand of running clothes I've found in a long time - so much so that I recently joined their team and wear them exclusively when I race.  These clothes are very high quality, they fit well and most come in several fun colors.  It's worth mentioning that the distance short, which is not on sale at the moment, is by far the most comfortable running short I've run in in years.  I am 37 and I've been running since 5th grade.  That's a lot of years.  
Happy shopping!

Sale Details:
Friday 3/30 - Sunday 4/1
Customers receive an extra 20% off sale items with code: SPRINGTIME this weekend only.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Passion (continued)

On Monday, my teammate and I ran twenty two long, slow, miles.  Before we started, I had high hopes that the GU we would ingest at miles eight and eighteen would provide some much needed support, but that didn't really pan out.  We were dog tired by the eleventh mile so you can imagine how the rest of the run went.  We continuously tried to talk about various subjects but within minutes it would get quiet and we'd just hear the shuffling.  At mile sixteen, I was spacing out and tripped on the sidewalk.  I managed to land on my palms and brush it off rather quickly but the mailman still stopped to make sure I was all right.  "All good" I said and waved, despite the fact that I really wanted to hop on the back of his truck and get a ride home.  We headed into our final loop and at mile eighteen I somehow managed to trip again; on a root this time.  That was awesome.  At that point, my teammate was starting to worry.  "Um...", she said, "maybe we should walk a bit" as she brushed off the leaves that were stuck to my shirt.  "No, let's just keep going and get this done" I said and we continued on.  Funny how I just mentioned how incredibly lucky I am to have running as a passion.  As we were tackling this run, I was kind of wondering why the hell I was so passionate about something so freakin' hard and often very painful.  Seriously, why do I choose to do this and what is driving this very bizarre passion of mine?  After three long hours, we finally finished and headed into town for coffee.  The next five minutes were so unbelievably rewarding.  In addition to sitting and relaxing and sipping a hard earned beverage, we realized, to our delight, that we had just successfully completed twenty two miles.  That, in and of itself, was HUGE.  We talked about how psyched we were to be in the home stretch of training and how nice it was that we had made it past another huge milestone.  We rejoiced that the next day would be a day to rest, a small but valuable gift to our bodies.  And then we'd be ready to run again and we would be fired up.  We didn't actually say this but I knew it and so did she.  In five short minutes I had answered my own question.

Listen to this:
Angela Surf City - The Walkmen  Angela Surf City - Lisbon

Monday, March 26, 2012


Yesterday, I was waiting for a coffee at Wendell's in Franconica, NH (have to give a shout out to this place) and I happened to looked up and see the following quote written in chalk on the ceiling, "Life without passion is unforgivable."  Wow, I thought, I need to remember this one.  I smiled as the woman handed my my drink...I'm definitely passionate about coffee.  Ok, borderline obsessed but that's passion in a way, right?  Seriously though, this quote made me pause to think about how unbelievably lucky I am to have not one, but several things that I am passionate about.  As I drove home, I started a list in my head - I'm incredibly passionate about my family and friends.  I'm also passionate about running, coaching, skiing, and music.  There were more but you get the drift.  I then realized how amazing it is that I can carry out all of these activities, in some way, shape or form with my family and friends.  For example, I can run with my teammate, who happens to be one of my best friends, I can run with the fabulous girls that I coach and I can run with my own girls any time.  I can ski with my family and friends and I can go see music with anyone who might want to join me - family, friends, friends of friends.   And so on.  This exercise put me in such an incredibly good mood and as I pulled into our driveway I sat and just took a moment to myself.  How sad, I thought, for anyone who can't drum up a little passion for someone or something that they love.  Moving forward, I decided, I need to remind myself not only of these passions, but why I have them.  Yes, life without passion is truly unforgivable.

Listen to this:
All of Me -Tanlines  All of Me - Mixed Emotions (Bonus Track Version)

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

From D. H.  This one is fresh and totally different.  The band, she tells me, is a bluegrass band with a great contemporary sound.  Now, I'm interested.  I wouldn't normally run with this type of music, but this one makes me reconsider.  I dig it.  And after a little exploration on my end, I'd also add that the rest of their album, "Who's Feeling Young Now" is worth a listen.  Thanks for sharing, D.

Listen to this:
Movement and Location - Punch Brothers  Movement and Location - Who's Feeling Young Now?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Today's Pick Me Up (A Top 10 List)

Typically, those who decide to tackle a marathon start their training about four months before the race.  The first month or so tends to be base building and the excitement about the end goal is usually high at this point.  In the second month, it's common to ramp up both the mileage and the intensity of the workouts.  This might be when someone who was on the fence about the whole thing either bows out or commits themselves fully to the challenge.  By the third month, both the most critical and arduous in most training plans, some runners, particularly those of us who are not used to running at this level, start to break down a bit.  Aches and pains tend to surface.  Exhaustion sets in.  And often times, as is in my case, a runner might begin to get frustrated and doubt his or her abilities.  By month four, the taper begins and most start to feel fresher and more rested within days.  During month three, however, many of us might not be thinking about this relief as we're simply wondering how we are going to make it to the starting line.  Currently, my teammate and I are in our third month of training and the mental/physical breakdown has started to hit.  Today, as I was running, I needed something to pick me up.  Here's what I came up with.

Top 10 Things To Do WhenYou're Feeling Beaten Down By Your Training
1. Buy yourself some new running gear - shoes, shorts socks, whatever.  You'll need it anyway.
2. Read a motivational book or blog on running. There are so many out there.
3. Fill up your iPod (or any music listening device) with new songs.  This never fails to add a little kick.
4. Go see some live music.  I'm always fired up to run after I do this.
5. Go out to dinner and treat yourself to a burger, you're working your ass off, you deserve it.
6. Schedule a massage.  This one is a given.
7. Call someone who "gets it" and tell them you need a pep talk.
8. Power through it.  Not my personal choice, but I can see how it would work for some.
9. Take a much deserved and very needed day off.  You'll lose nothing and feel fresher the next day.
10. Do all of these things.


Listen to this:
I'm Not Me - White Rabbits  I'm Not Me - Milk Famous

Monday, March 19, 2012


Yesterday my teammate and I ran the New Bedford half marathon in MA.  We were using it as a "training run" in preparation for the Providence marathon in May.  As we stood in line for the bathroom, we listened to a conversation between the two guys in front of us.  One asked the other how what he was feeling about the race.  His friend shrugged his shoulders and said, "I'm not expecting much because I haven't really been training."  Right.  I've said that before.  Forty five minutes later we were waiting in line again and we heard a woman tell her friend, "I'm really only doing this so I can complete the race trilogy and get the jacket they give out for completing all three."  I was beginning to see the pattern at this point.  I started thinking of all the things I've dished out to a friend or myself (or a stranger) prior to a race to avoid potential disappointment:
~ My kid was up all night.
~ I haven't broken my new shoes in yet.
~ I was sick last week and I'm not quite over it.
~ I haven't run in a while because I've been really busy.
At the end of the race, if I had run a personal record (PR), none of those things would be mentioned again.  I would just go home tired and happy.  If not, then after the race I could easily come up with several additional things to explain what happened:
~ The wind was brutal.
~ I wasn't expecting those hills.
~ My blisters kicked in at mile 2.
~ My iPod died.
My teammate and I were disappointed with our performance yesterday.  To be fair we had just run a 20 miler on Monday and we were both coming into the race with tired legs.  Oh, but there it was again.  We always want to run our best and we're secretly hoping for that PR.  If it happens, we jump for joy.  If it doesn't, well, in the words* of Tom Derderian, head coach of the Greater Boston Track Club, "life is worth living because you will have a good race next time.  You are sure of it, so out the door you go".  Next time, I'll try to leave the excuses behind.

Listen to this:
Hi-Fi Goon - Throw Me the Statue  Hi-Fi Goon - Creaturesque

*From New England Runner - Jan/Feb 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

From Kim F.  After seeing Green Day's American Idiot musical (which she thought was awesome), she has been loving their song, 'Holiday', to workout to.  She also likes Gotye's, 'Somebody That I Used to Know' though she claims this song is better somewhere in the middle of a run once you are in the zone.  Thanks for sharing, Kim!

Listen to this:
Holiday - Green Day  Holiday (feat. John Gallagher Jr., Stark Sands, Theo Stockman & Company) - American Idiot (The Original Broadway Cast Recording) 
Somebody That I Used To Know - Gotye (feat. Kimbra) Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra) - Making Mirrors

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why & How?

On Monday, I got a text from a friend of mine who ran her first marathon last fall and is now training for a half.  She let me know she had run a 10 miler with hills and that while it had been physically tough, she had a harder time getting through it mentally.  She asked if I had any advice on breaking down that psychological barrier.  Hmmm.  Great question.
Then, this morning my running teammate and I were discussing our route via email and in her last message she wrote "i am soooooooooooooo beat down right now. I am trying to not even think about the next 5 weeks.................".  I nodded quietly to myself as I read.
Later, I hobbled into my physical therapist's office with back pain and sore muscles and asked her how I could possibly make it through the next eight weeks of training if I already felt like this.  I was hoping she might have the magical answer.
Despite the fact that all three of us and so many more people out there choose to run, we often wonder why and how we can do it.   It can be so freakin' hard.  It takes so much out of our bodies and can beat us down mentally on a regular basis.  So what the hell are we doing?  I ask myself (and whoever else might know) this on a daily basis.  It turns out my PT did have the magic answer for me.  Here's what she said.  "It's really simple, Rebecca.  A race is just a race.  The hard work is your reward.  That's what you love.  Remember to enjoy the struggle.  Because that's truly what it's all about."  And she's right.  I do love getting out there every day with my teammate, powering through the workout, high-fiving when it's over and earning my coffee and maybe a few bragging rites.  I love and often crave the hard work.  If I didn't, I wouldn't be a runner.
Finally, my realization was reinforced when I read the following quote from Jim Taylor, Ph.D., a sports psychologist and author who said, "when you get a fundamental enjoyment from just being out there running, that keeps you going...the greater goals shouldn't be about crossing the finish line, but the process involved in getting there."  Amen.

Listen to this:
I Go I Go I Go - Wave Machines  I Go I Go I Go - Wave If You're Really There

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Breakdown of a 20 Miler

Today my teammate and I ran our first of four 20+ milers in preparation for the Providence marathon in May.  Whether you are a runner or not, you probably know that it's pretty tough to pull off a marathon without doing at least one of these long runs.  Personally, I either need to have a running partner (thank you KH) or a damn good playlist to help me out because three hours with no mental support is border-line torture.  So, we met at 9:00am and hit the road.  Here's how it played out:

Phase 1 - Miles 1-5
We're fired up.  Our legs are relatively fresh and the caffeine from our coffee is providing a pleasant buzz.  We haven't seen each other over the week-end, so we're chatting away, catching up and telling stories.  The miles fly by.

Phase 2 - Miles 5-10
Reality slowly begins to creep in.  We're still cruising along but our legs are reminding us that we'd done 45 miles the week before and, despite a rest day on Saturday, they are still tired.  We're motivated by our upcoming water/GU stop at mile 10 and we still have some energy for conversation, so we're holding steady.

Phase 3 - Miles 10-14
Now we're tired.  Our legs are on autopilot.  All we're dishing out at this point is quick questions with one word answers.  For example, I asked if there was any way to avoid the hill we were going down at mile 14 on the way back.  "Not really", my teammate replied.  It was worth a shot.  We run by some Swedish fish that someone has dropped on the sidewalk and I seriously consider picking one up and eating it because I'm craving the sugar.  I don't do it.  But I want to.

Phase 4 - Miles 15-20
It's quiet now.  All we hear is the shuffling of feet and our synchronized breathing.  Cars are whizzing by.  Dogs are barking.  Geese are honking.  And exhaustion is setting in.  Will power is moving us along.  There is no more talking.  Just camaraderie.

Done.  One down.  Three to go.

Listen to this:
California - Delta Spirit  California - California - Single

Friday, March 9, 2012

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

From V. Marcina who was kind enough to send these along when she read that I was low on suggestions.  Perfect timing.  Personally, I dig both of them.  Thanks for sharing.  Enjoy.

Listen to this:
Home - Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros  Home - Up From Below (Deluxe Edition)

Little Talks - Of Monsters and Men* Little Talks - Into the Woods - EP

*This was a song of the day in the past, but it's worth the second post.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Monday night I had the pleasure of seeing Fanfarlo, a London-based indie/pop/folk (yes, all of them) band, in Boston.  Week nights are not an easy night to get out for a mother who typically goes to bed at 9:30 and wakes up at 5:45, but occasionally it has to be done.  I also dragged my friends out with me who may not got to bed as early as I do but have three kids each to deal with in the morning, so I was hoping that this would be worth their efforts as well.  Fortunately, these guys did not disappoint.  Their first album, Resevoir, is one of my favorites and has become a staple for both listening and running.  Monday night they played quite a few songs from their new album, Rooms Filled With Light, which was just released in February.  Their overall sound is unique, unlike anything I've heard lately, and I think a lot of that has to do with both the variety and their creative use of so many different instruments.  This new album takes their music in a new direction, but their distinctive marks, including the blend of multiple horns, Cathy Lucas' violin, that often sounds like another horn, and Simon Balthazar's unique voice, help to carry them down this new path successfully.  The songs tend to start with a simple flow and then steadily build up to a level that is texturally complex and musically rich.  While listening, I was easily hooked in and found myself, as if reading book, eagerly waiting to see what was going to happen.  It was a fantastic show and if you haven't heard of them or listened to them in depth, I highly recommend taking some time to explore.  And, again, if you haven't been to live music in a while, make it a priority.  It's so incredibly worth it.

Listen to this:
The Walls Are Coming Down - Resevoir  The Walls Are Coming Down - Reservoir
Feathers - Rooms Filled With Light  Feathers - Rooms Filled With Light
Dig - Rooms Filled With Light   Dig - Rooms Filled With Light

Monday, March 5, 2012

It's Never Over

Last Friday I reluctantly emailed my training teammate and told her that I would be joining her for our eight mile hill workout.  I had been sick the week before so I wasn't sure if I had the energy to pull it off, but I decided to go for it knowing that I could always cut it short (while also knowing that it was very unlikely that I would actually do this).  We have been following a specific Runner's World marathon training plan and this happens to be one of the more grueling workouts.  Specifically, the plan tells us to "seek out the hilliest route we can find" and we have managed to find a route that has six ferocious 'beasts'.  My teammate, who is always very supportive and understanding replied, "Ok - sounds good!  Hang in there, I have a feeling that this is almost finished." This made me smile.  With two months to go until the Providence marathon, she's right, we are almost finished.  But, then what about after that?  We both race throughout the summer and fall and we've already started talking about when and where our next marathon might be.  The truth is, we will never be finished.  Yes, it does help to treat each race as a major milestone and know that when it's completed we will be temporarily finished.  We can pat ourselves on the back and take a much deserved break, but then it's on to the next.  We both know, as all runners do, that unless something crazy happens, it will never truly be over.  And, despite our grunts and groans, that's the way we like it.

Listen to this:
Santigold - Disparate Youth  Disparate Youth - Disparate Youth - Single

Friday, March 2, 2012

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

From Christina H.  She's pretty and sweet and quiet and yet she's a total badass and a hard core rocker at the same time.  Not many people can pull that off.  She also likes to weasel up to the front row with me at live shows.  So nice to have a wingman who will do that with you.   Thanks for sharing, Stina!

Listen to this:
Good Time - Leroy  Good Time - Leroy
Fake It - Seether  Fake It - Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces (Bonus Track Version)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ode to Classic Rock

As a runner and an avid music fan I do not tend to lean toward classic rock for inspiration and/or motivation when I hit the road.  The Allman Brothers, though incredible musicians, do not tend to get me going during a speed workout.  That said, I do realize we all have our own taste and what works for me might not work for someone else.  Last week I was surprised to realize that, in some cases, the unexpected can happen when it comes to music.  Sunday morning I was working a 9:00 shift at a lift up at Cannon Mountain in NH.  The lift attendants were blasting tunes from their Bose speaker that was held together with duck tape and getting its power with the help of multiple extension chords.  Clearly, music plays a vital role in their job. These guys work all day, usually in the bitter cold and often dealing with a plethora of interesting situations with skiers, some good, some not so good.  As you can imagine, they were not rocking out to alternative music.  No, blaring from their speaker was good old classic rock.  The Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd and Traffic, to name a few.  As the lines of skiers started flowing in I looked around and noticed that everyone was LOVING it.  "Turn it up" one guy yelled from the back.  Heads were shaking, lips were synching and, for those who were a wee bit older, there was some heavy duty reminiscing going on.  People were not afraid to get the "Led" out.  It was incredible to watch.  What I quickly realized that morning was in some situations music, any type, is appreciated by all.  And though the classic rock genre is not my "go to" for listening or running, I can see why it works for so many others.  When I got home, I found myself loading a couple of these classic gems onto my latest running playlist.  I write not only with a new respect for classic rock but with a new understanding of the effect that music has on all of us.  And to the lift attendants, well, I think I owe them a 'thank you', don't you?

Listen to this:
Paint It Black - Rolling Stones   Paint It Black - Hot Rocks 1964-1971
One Way Out - The Allman Brothers Band One Way Out (Live At the Fillmore East) - Eat a Peach (Deluxe Edition)
Pinball Wizard - The Who  Pinball Wizard - The Who: Greatest Hits