Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Running, Music, Etc.

Tuesday, May 29th
6:30 - Woke up
8:00 - Dropped girls at school
9:00 - Headed out for 10 mile run
12:00 - Picked up daughter early from school for Dr. appt.
----- this was followed by a trip to CVS for the medication, in addition to 3 boxes of bandaids and a pack of gum (all for her).  Yes, I was a sucker.
3:00 - Picked up other daughter from school
3:45 - Stopped by Starbucks for a coffee and wondered how I was going to make it through the rest of the day as I waited in line.
4:00 - Worked on homework with older daughter as she stared longingly outside with zero ability to focus.
5:30 - Apologized to sitter when she arrived because I'd managed to get nothing done ahead of time to make it easier for her.
6:00 - Drove an hour and a half to Mansfield for a Radiohead concert.
7:00 - Remembered why I make an effort to go to shows like this as I marveled at what I was hearing and seeing for four amazing hours.
11:00 - Headed home
----- sat in parking lot for an hour as we competed with everyone else to leave.  Super fun.
----- tried REALLY hard to keep my eyes open on the ride home as I wrote down multiple songs that I was hearing on XM radio that I wanted to remember for this blog.
1:00 - Ate a bowl of cereal for dinner and went to bed.

Wednesday, May 30th
6:45 - Struggled to get out of bed after 6 ridiculously short hours of sleep
8:00 - Dropped girls at school
9:00 - Headed out for a 5-6 mile run
----- cut it short to 4.3 miles (humidity and lack of sleep were not working with me today)
----- tapped my Garmin an then re-set it mid-run as I didn't believe that I could possibly be running as slow as it said I was running.
10:00 - Reminded myself that I am 37 and can only pull off a night like last night once a year and then patted myself on the back for motivating as it was worth every minute.

Listen to these:
Jigsaw Falling Into Place - In Rainbows  Jigsaw Falling Into Place - In Rainbows 
Paranoid Android - OK Computer  Paranoid Android - OK Computer
Staircase - Single  Staircase - The Daily Mail / Staircase - Single


Friday, May 25, 2012

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

Today's picks are from Michele C.  She's another tough runner who loves to have fun while she's out on the road.  She rocks out to G. Love and Madonna but gets an extra boost when this particular song by AC/DC comes on.  I took a minute today to listen to this gem.  Totally get it.  Thanks for sharing Michele.  Rock on.

Listen to this:
Don't Drop It - G. Love Don't Drop It - The Hustle (Bonus Tracks) 
Express Yourself - Madonna  Express Yourself - Like a Prayer 
If You Want Blood - AC/DC (This song is not available on iTunes. It's a rare treasure.)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Top 10 Reasons to Race (even when...)

When I crossed the finish line at the Providence marathon I was over the moon.  I had run a personal best and the race had been an incredible experience.  It really couldn't have gone any better.  I found my family and hugged my girls as I cried a few tears of joy.  I noticed my five year old looking a little skeptical throughout all the chaos.  When the dust settled she tapped me on the shoulder and said, "so mom, did you win?"  I laughed and said, "no, not today."  I told her that in the big races, I would never be in first place but that wasn't why I did them.  This answer was not enough.  "If you know you won't win, then why do you race?" she asked.  It was a fair question.  Here's what I came up with:

Top 10 Reasons to Race (even when you know you aren't going to win):

1. It's fun to be a little competitive once in a while; with others and with yourself.
2. It reinforces several of life's valuable lessons such as:
    - you don't have to win to have a good time
    - always try and do your best
    - there's always room for improvement
    - it's ok to have a bad day
3. It's really fun to hang out with people who share a passion for the sport both before and after a race.
4. It's a great way to visit new places.
5. It's the perfect week-end activity for your family and/or friends.
6. It's an easy way to mix up your routine which is crucial to prevent boredom.
7. It's healthy to push yourself beyond your comfort zone once in a while.
8. It keeps your running wardrobe updated with new shirts of various sizes and colors.
9. Participating in a race often helps raise money for a good cause.
10. On race day, no matter what place you come in, you are a badass.

I didn't give her all of these answers.  I simply told her that each time I race, it helps me get a little a runner, as a mother and as a person.  This still didn't make much sense to her, but she accepted it for the time being.  As we were leaving she said, "good job, mom.  I still love you, even when you don't win."  Reason #11 - You might have a moment like this one.

Listen to this:
Walking the Dog - Fun.  Walking the Dog - Aim and Ignite

Monday, May 21, 2012

What Race?

Yesterday I drove down to Norwell, MA to catch up with a dear friend from college that I hadn't seen in over two years.  We not only shared a dorm room freshman year, but we also ran cross country and track together and shared a lot of funny moments over the course of our four years.  We grabbed a coffee and brought each other up to speed with our lives including updates on our husbands and kids, our jobs and so on and so on.  There was a lot to discuss.  After about thirty minutes, we headed over to the high school (the very one my friend attended as a spritely young athlete) and picked up our numbers for the 5K that we had signed up for.  Had she not checked her watch we would have easily missed the race.  Something strangely similar happened to us during college once but I won't get into it.  As we warmed up and stretched, we continued to reminisce about the old days, laughing a lot and making fun of each other over the many stupid things that we did at school.  The gun blew and we took off and.... then we quickly reconnected three short miles later and continued chatting.  I got to meet her two beautiful daughters and catch up with her parents who I got to know well when we were roommates.  Finally, we ran back to our cars together excitedly discussing which race we would run together next time and then hugged and said our goodbyes.  Running is a passion we both share and though the race was what brought us together, the actual "race" was an afterthought.  Our times didn't matter.  Our place was not important.  We didn't compare and contrast.  We just hung out.  And it was awesome.  Another one of the many reasons to appreciate running and all the amazing things it has to offer.

Listen to this:
L.S.F - Kasabian   L.S.F. - Kasabian

Friday, May 18, 2012

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

Today's picks are from Kate B.  She's a badass runner who likes to crank the tunes in her car.  She threw out everything from MGMT & AWOLNATION to Mumford & Sons and Enrique Iglesias.  I'm loving the variety; ranging from super high energy to a crazy latino beat.  It all works.  She doesn't run with music...yet.  Thanks for sharing, Kate.

Listen to this:
Kids - MGMT  Kids - Oracular Spectacular 
Sail - AWOLNATION Sail - Megalithic Symphony

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Embrace the Hump

It's Wednesday and the 'hump' feels BIG.  It's dark and rainy outside.  My motivation level is less than zero.  My desire to get on the road is being trumped by my desire for a second cup of coffee.  When I open my closet it's as if my sneakers are saying, "please, Rebecca, we want to sleep in today.  We could really use a day off."  Perhaps all the training has gotten to my head as I'm clearly delusional.  I called a friend and explained how I feel like I'm lacking direction since I completed the marathon.  She has three young children, one of which was stirring the water in the toilet bowl pretending it was soup.  Clearly, she didn't have much time to chat but I knew she understood because in addition to being a mother, she's also a runner.  "Embrace the hump", she said.  "Pick your girls up from school and go get ice cream.  Then have a dance party in your basement."  She said I need to ditch the routine and forget about what I think I "should" be doing for a change.  That I need to focus on something totally unnecessary that will reward me in a different way.  "You don't always have to be crossing a finish line" she explained.  And then she let me know she had to hang up before her 3 year old sampled the 'soup'.  So, I opened my front door and waved to the hump.  No, I didn't really, but you get the idea.

Listen to this:
Old S**t / New S**t - Eels  Old S**t / New S**t - Blinking Lights and Other Revelations

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sanity Check

This morning was rough.  As I was rushing to get my girls out the door my phone alerted me that I had a meeting with the head of school at 8:45.  The day before I had failed to look at my calendar and double booked myself for another meeting in a different town at about the same time.  Well, I thought, maybe I can make it work.  I ran into school, ditched the girls and asked if we could start the meeting early which turned out to be fine.  We raced through our agenda and then I rushed out to try and make it to the next one.  Somehow I pulled it off but I was pretty flustered at this point.  After my second meeting, I jumped in my car and headed down to pick up one of my daughters from school so I could take her to an appointment on the other side of town.  While I was waiting at a light, I noticed another driver trying to turn left into a parking lot that I was blocking.  Thinking I was doing a good deed, I backed up to try and give him enough space to get in.  Little did I know a small and unnoticeable Honda Accord had snuck in behind me just as I started to back up.  I slammed right into his car.  I tried to hold it together as I pulled over to exchange info.  I asked him, as nicely as possible to speed it up, because I really didn't want to be late for my daughter's appointment.  He was a very nice high school kid on his way to work but, unfortunately, my stress was not registering.  It took everything I had not to lose it.  I then flew back to school, scooped up my daughter and headed to the other side of town.  When I finally pulled into my driveway I was fuming.  I threw down my bags, put on my sneakers and hit the road.  I left all my "gear" behind; my watch, my heart rate monitor, my sunglasses; all of it.  I didn't need it.  Ok, I did need my iPod, but that's it.  I bolted down the street at a pace I couldn't hold for long and that was fine.  Today there were no rules for my workout.  No hills, no repeats, no warm-up or cool down.  It was simply a "mental run" and my only goal was to burn off the frustration and anger that I was carrying.  I zoned out and tried to let it go.  By the time I got back to my house, I'd managed to leave some of that mental baggage behind.  I love to train and to race and I'm always trying to improve as a runner.  But, today, I ran for my head and to improve as a person.  Sanity?  Check.  At least for now.

Listen to this:
New House - Reptar  New House - Body Faucet

Friday, May 11, 2012

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

Today's reader's pick is from Patrick C.  Here's a little back story on this one.  I was having dinner with friends at a restaurant when my ears picked up a song that I wasn't familiar with and wanted to figure out.  I grabbed my phone and tried to Shazam it.  No dice.  There was too much background noise.  I ran to the hostess and ask her if she knew the song.  She didn't but told me Patrick, the bartender, would because it was his iPod.  By the time I got to the bar, the song was over and we couldn't go back and see what it was because it would have ruined their flow of the evening.  I was pretty sure he thought I was nuts as I tried to hum the song.  He was looking at me closely like he was about to say something and then he turned away.  Ok, I had thought to myself.  I'd have walked away, too if this was happening to me.  But then, he came back with a piece of paper that had his email on it.  He said, "email me and I'll give you the playlist.  I'm serious.  I'm really into music.  I know how important it is to figure this out."  And then he quickly got back to work.  Yes!  All I could think at the time was how lucky I was that he "got it" or they might have been asking me to leave the bar.  We never did figure out the song, but when I went in the next day to write down his playlist (yes, I was obsessed), he told me he hadn't run in a while but when he did he liked to listen to one particular album.  Thanks for your time, Patrick.  And thanks for sharing.

Listen to this:
Blood Sugar Sex Magik - Red Hot Chili Peppers  Blood Sugar Sex Magik - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Now What?

Hmmm. What's a runner to do the day after a marathon?  The schedule is all the sudden wide open and one can only sit and chat over coffee at Starbucks for so many hours.  Seems like a perfect time to go see some good live music.  Here's how I looked at it.  Yes, I was having a hard time getting up and down from a chair and I was taking the stairs backwards due to the soreness in my quads, but as long as I stood in one place with limited movement I would be fine, right?  Both AWOLNATION and Neon Trees happened to be in town on Monday, the day after my race, and I decided it was worth going, blisters and all.  I wasn't going to pass up an opportunity to see a couple bands I love just because I was sore from head to toe.  So, despite my physical state and a wave of last minute exhaustion, I picked up my friends and off we went to the Paradise.  The house was packed and the crowd was buzzing.  AWOL threw out one of their finest performances and reminded me why I enjoy them so much.  Somehow they manage to fuse angst and alternative pop in a way that no other band has mastered.  As always, lead singer Aaron Bruuno's presence was intense and his energy visibly trickled down to all the other band members as they played.  It was impossible not to dance around to the music (if only a little).  I was sad to have only caught part of their show but Neon Trees made up for it in spades.  Lead singer,  Tyler Glenn, came out decked in full eighties attire including skinny jeans, leather jacket and vest (with no shirt under it) along with a multi-colored mohawk.  He jumped right in and took us all with him on a crazy adventure through time.  He's a modern day Simon LeBon with a permanent grin in lieu of the typical 80s angst.  He was loud and unbelievably wild and his dance moves, including high kicks and knee slides, were incredible.  My friends and I wiggled our way up to the front, much to the crowd's dismay, because we wanted to FEEL it.  And that we did.  The biggest treat during their performance was drummer Elaine Bradley who played like it was nobody's business while singing along with a voice as sweet as honey.  The only downside of their show was that we didn't to hear more from her.  Overall, this was a fantastic way to celebrate our race and a solid reminder that there is, in fact, life beyond running.

Listen to this:
People - AWOLNATION  People - Megalithic Symphony 
Everybody Talks - Neon Trees  Everybody Talks - Picture Show
Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees

Monday, May 7, 2012


After four long months of training, my teammate and I took on the Providence marathon yesterday.  On Saturday, we had a few bleeps in the radar that made us more nervous than we already were (translation: freaking out).  We arrived to the expo to pick up our numbers and were instantly confused.  The first room we walked into was holding a gaming convention.  The room was full or 600 silent "gamers" and the air was incredibly tense so we quickly snuck out.  We then walked into a gaggle of cheerleaders who were decked out and heavily made up; waiting to compete in the US Cheer & Dance finals.  As you can imagine, we looked and felt like fish out of water and we found ourselves wondering if we'd gotten our dates wrong.  We finally saw some other runners and realized that our very small expo was being held in a tiny room on the 5th floor.  Let's just say it was an interesting start.  We then headed to the hotel and the woman at the front desk smiled and told us that she had us confirmed for a room with a king bed.  I explained that I had requested two queens.  She let me know that my request had been noted but unfortunately could not be fulfilled.  Um.  Ok.  My teammate and I looked at each other laughed though we were both secretly afraid that the other might snore or move heavily in their sleep.  And there was nothing we could do about it.  Awesome.  We decided to hop in the car and drive the course.  Within the first few miles we both started to panic.  We realized that when a race director describes his course as "relatively flat", that could also mean relatively hilly.  We cruised up and down the rollers that took us out of the city and as we continued on the course the car got very silent.  When we arrived at my friend's house for dinner (huge thank you M & B), she asked me what was wrong.  I explained that I was starting to doubt my ability and had some negative energy seeping in.  She gave me a pep talk and reminded me that I'd done my work and that I was going to be ok.  I smiled and thanked her even though I was still worried.  We headed back to the hotel and turned in at 8:00 since we had to get up at 5:00 for the race.  We were both a bit punch drunk and found ourselves laughing about nothing for a while before we fell asleep.  It was funny to us.  In reality, probably not that funny.  Sunday morning we woke up feeling ready.  As we always do, we high-fived and hugged at the starting line and off we went.  It was a totally different feel to be running with a group of 1500 runners versus the 30,000 who I'd run with in Boston the year before.  Despite the small crowd, the race course was beautiful and new, and the weather was perfect.  Our families came to cheer us on and saw us in multiple places which was a huge boost.  At around the half, out of nowhere a running angel appeared quietly next to me and flew with me all the way to the finish line.  There were no words exchanged while we were running but I could tell he knew I was trying to hold on and he made it clear that he was willing to help me out.  Because of him, I had the will to keep up my pace for the last 10K when my body was telling me it wanted to stop.  We crossed the finish line together and I immediately hugged and thanked him.  This guy has run 70 marathons and is currently on the path to completing a marathon in every state (yesterday was 48) and he was willing to do whatever it took to help me reach my goal.  There are no words to express my appreciation for what he did.  My teammate and I both finished with a PR.  We were very pleased.  All our hard work paid off.  More importantly, though, we had fun doing it.  Will we do it again?  Hell, yeah!  On another note, I want to say "thank you."  To my husband, for supporting this crazy habit and always being there.  To my kids for making me laugh and cheering me on.  To teammate who is an incredible partner and friend and who made this experience so worth it.  To my family and friends who sent their best wishes before and congratulations after, which made it all that much sweeter.  And to AWOLATION, Nicki Minaj, Santigold and all the other musicians whose songs kept my spirits high and helped me forget about the pain as the miles went by.  To all of you, it wouldn't have been the same without your help.  Again, thank you.

Listen to this:
Into Giants - Patrick Watson  Into Giants - Adventures in Your Own Backyard

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Hairy Tortoise

My daughter and I have been reading The Really Groovy Story of the Tortoise and the Hare, a fun and funky version of the original Aesop's Fable.  This morning I asked her whether I should be more like the tortoise or the hare for my race on Sunday.  She quickly shouted, "the hare" but then she thought for a second and said, "no, wait, the tortoise."  She was clearly stumped.  Finally, a wide smile spread across her face and she said, "I've got it!  You should be a 'hairy tortoise' (see below).  Run fast like the hare, but steady like the tortoise."  I laughed and then tucked the image into my brain to hopefully conjure up at mile 20.  Moral of the story, do your best but be smart about it.  And like the characters at the end of this book, make sure to have fun doing it.

Listen to this:
Marathon Runner - Yellow Ostrich  Marathon Runner - Strange Land

by Rosie

Friday, May 4, 2012

It's Friday - Reader's Pick

From JT.  I haven't seen him this fired up about an album and/or a song in quite some time.  He believes in the order of an album and rarely skips around from one song to another.  But, this one made him jump to the back of the book, so to speak, as if he was reading the ending over and over.  You'll need to sit down for this one.  It's that good.  Thanks for sharing.

Listen to this:
Take Me With You When You Go - Blunderbuss - Jack White  Take Me With You When You Go - Blunderbuss

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I Will Survive (or at least be prepared)

I've never traveled for a marathon.  My race this Sunday is only an hour away from home but the 7:30am start requires spending the night in a hotel.  I'm fired up for the adventure.  I realize that Providence is a major city and I'll probably have no problem finding last minute odds and ends if something should come up.  That said, it's nice to head off with everything I might need in order to avoid any last minute stress.  As mentioned, the nerves have kicked in and sleep is eluding me.  One positive outcome of this is the below list that I have created so that I am as ready as possible when I head off on Saturday.  Clearly, we all prepare differently and have different needs as runners, so take it with a grain of salt.  That said, feel free to comment on this one if I'm forgetting anything that you think is necessary.  Here's what I came  up with.

Race Survival Kit
1. Running shoes
2. iPod or other music listening device - even if you don't listen when you are running, it's  nice to drown out the noise beforehand.  MAKE SURE ITS CHARGED.
3. Headphones
4. Extra set of headphones - as a runner who listens to music there is nothing worse than crackly sound from a blown out speaker.  You never know.
5. Bib number (if you have it ahead of time) or ID if you are going to pick it up
6. Money and credit card - you know you're going to want something at the expo.
7. Cell phone
8. Singlet and Tech Shirt - bring both in case the weather is iffy. Oiselle of course.
9. Shorts and tights (see above)
10. 2 pairs of socks
11. Warm clothes - to wear before and leave in bag for after the race.
12. Shirt/pants to be worn until the start (that you are happy to donate at the start)
13. Garbage bag - in case it's windy or rainy (please no, please no, please no)
14. Food and drink - this is very personal but I like to throw in bananas, bagels, GUs, Nuun tablets, water,     jellybeans and gum (which I chew when I'm nervous).
15. First Aid Kit - including but not limited to Advil, bandaids, Tums, tape, body glide.
16. Extra contact lenses - learned this one the hard way as I squinted through my last half marathon.
17. Sun protection - screen, hat/visor, glasses, chap-stick
18. Warm hat and gloves - you never know on the weather, especially at 6:00am
19. Miscellaneous items - rubber bands, safety pins, pens
20. Lucky charm - for me this is fairy dust from my 5 year old (a zip lock bag of crushed up saltines) and a Pokemon card from my 7 year old.

Am I obsessed?  Maybe.  But as my mom always says, "you can never be too prepared".

Listen to this:
Still - Great Lake Swimmers  Still - Lost Channels