Thursday, August 29, 2013

Let the Music Play

I ran both cross country and track in college.  On race days I would always listen to music while we warmed up.  Most of us did.  We all ran together carrying our huge, yellow Sony Walkman Personal Stereos and listening to our mix tapes.  It drove my coach nuts.  She would be trying to talk to us about our upcoming race; maybe giving us advice or information about our competition and none of us could hear her because we were zoning out to our tunes.   Every meet she would get annoyed and tell us to lose the headphones and every meet we'd do it again.  And then, one day, she made us leave them behind.  For good.  That was a huge bummer.  Huge.  Now that I am a high school cross country coach, I completely understand where she was coming from.  I also feel a little guilty, but there's not much I can do about that.  Today, my runners listen to music; most of them on their iPods or phones.  They listen as they walk to practice.  They listen on the bus to meets.  They listen while they are warming up.  They listen as they stretch.  They listen.  A lot.  And I get it.  In running, it is often music that inspires us. That calms our nerves.  That gets us fired up.  That helps us focus.  That is part of our ritual.  All that said, it is very hard to get large group of girls to pay attention when their music is on.  To some degree, I now see what my own coach was up against.  Are there times when I expect my runners to un-plug?  You bet.  Whether it be so I can talk with them or just so they can have a quiet moment to themselves; as I both understand and appreciate the subtle impact of silence.  I do, however, think there is room for music as long as there is a solid understanding of when it works to plug back in.  And if listening to a "go-to" song helps my runners get to the starting line feeling confident and ready to fly then, by all means, they should turn it up.  And, they do.


Obey Your Guns - Matrimony  
Jump On My Shoulders - AWOLNATION 
Can't Hold Us - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (feat. Ray Dalton)  
Spaceman - Hardwell  
Lose Yourself - Eminem  
Hungry Hearts - Nause  
Classic - MKTO  
Mammoth - Dimitri Vegas, Moguai, & Like Mike  
300 Violin Orchestra - Jorge Quintero  
Brave - Sara Bareilles  
I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons  
San Francisco - The Mowglis  
Radioactive - Imagine Dragons  
A Flat - Black Violin  
The Pheonix - Fall Out Boy  
The Show Goes On - Lupe Fiasco  
Daylight - Matt & Kim  
Anything Could Happen - Ellie Goulding  
We'll be Coming Back - Calvin Harris (Killsonik Remix)  
Eye On It - Toby Mac  
Cassiopeia - Sara Bareilles  
Lonely Boy - The Black Keys  
Pompeii - Bastille  
The Middle - Jimmy Eat World  
You Need Me, I Don't Need You - Ed Sheeran  
Fighter - Christina Aguilera  
I'll Make A Man Out of You - From Disney's Mulan  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Talk. Laugh. Listen. Dance.

"Nothing's better than the wind to your back, the sun in front of you, 
and your friends beside you."
~ Aaron Douglas Trimble

Yesterday I did a long run with my running partner and good friend, KH.   We are both training for a fall marathon and, thankfully, our running schedules are pretty similar.  I have been running solo for most of the summer so I was more than thrilled to have a wingman.  We were on the road together for 3 hours. T-H-R-E-E. Hours.  You know I love music.  A new song or album can motivate me to run like nobody's business.  But, truthfully, I'll take running with a buddy over running solo with a new playlist any day.  The first hour or so of our run literally flew by.  We both have kids.  We both have jobs.  We both have a love/hate relationship with running.  And we haven't seen each other all summer.  Let's just say there was no shortage of conversation.  
Talk.  Laugh.  Listen.  Repeat.  Talk.  Laugh.  Listen.  Repeat.  
As we got into the second hour, our conversation shifted into shorter phrases and one to two word sentences such as; "Stop looking at your watch," and "I'm dying" and "No, you're not" and "What the hell was THAT guy doing?"  And, as you'd expect, by the end, things got pretty quiet.  We were both really tired and we'd covered every topic we could think of.  And we were both really tired.  Did I mention how tired we were?  But even still, the steady rhythm of our feet and our breathing was as good, if not better, than the beat of the music that I depend so heavily on when I am running alone.  It was long.  It was insanely hard.  It was hot.  And in it's own, crazy, backwards way, it was awesome.  For me, running is like dancing.   Dancing is fun.  And I have no problem doing it by myself.  But, it's a lot more fun to dance with a friend than to dance alone.

Listen to this:
Pumpin Blood - NONONO  

Friday, August 23, 2013


We are young
We are one
Let us shine for what it's worth
~ The Royal Concept, 'On Our Way'

Yesterday was our first 'official' cross country practice.  Can you feel me smiling?  I am a new, different and, in many ways, better, person/runner/mom/friend when I start a new season.  My energy is refreshed.  My senses are heightened.  My emotions are tapped in new ways.  I see things differently.   I hear things differently.  I relate on a new level.  On their level.  But also on mine.  From day one, I start to learn from them as I hope they learn from me.  Yesterday I was surrounded by almost 50 high school girls who love to run and love to be a part of team.  Who support each other.  Who laugh together.  Who struggle together.  Who push themselves beyond their comfort zone.  And who come back again the next day and do it all over again.  I am giddy.  I am nervous.  I am ready.  And I am so damn lucky.  I have the best job in the world.  GO LEX!

Listen to this:
ON OUR WAY - The Royal Concept  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Joy of Running *

* Full disclosure. It's a long one.

"Life (& running) is not all about time but about our experiences along the way."
~ Jen Rhines

On Monday I had an epiphany.... a re-awakening of sorts.  Let's rewind a bit first.  About six years ago I ran my first marathon.  I had been living in MA for several years and the Boston Marathon had always been on my bucket list.  I'd just given birth to my second daughter and I was fired up to get back into running.  I really wanted to qualify, so I gave it a shot with the Baystate Marathon in Lowell (fast and flat, baby!).  I squeaked into Boston by a hair.  Literally.  30 seconds slower and I wouldn't have made it.  Talk about lucky.  My plan was to go ahead and run Boston the following spring since I already had the mileage under my belt.  Unfortunately, that didn't work out due to a stress fracture, so I had to defer my entry and take a few months off to heal.  As soon as I could, I started to run again.  My mileage base was zero, so it was a slow start.  But, I was determined to run Boston come hell or high water, so I didn't care.  As I began training again, I started to run some shorter local races to mix things up.  With each race, I saw my hard work come to fruition with some solid race times (for me).  And the harder I worked, the more my times came down.  That spring, I successfully completed the Boston marathon.  Once I crossed that line, I was hooked.  I had tasted the Kool-Aid and it was really good.

More, more, MORE!
After the marathon, I decided to shift gears, ramp up my training and see what I was capable of.  I started working with a coach and dedicated most of my free time to running.   I had two goals - I wanted to run a sub-20 minute 5K and I wanted to bring my marathon time down.  After several months and several races, I accomplished my first goal and broke through the 20 minute barrier.  I instantly reset my goal to sub-19.  The next year, I checked off my second goal, bringing my marathon time down by 7 minutes.  Yippeee!!  It was all very exciting, rewarding, thrilling, etc.   But at the same time, it was never quite enough.  I had crazy-eye and my eye was always on the prize, but the prize was ever-changing and always just out of reach.
In this case, I am the cat and the fish is the PR;
always moving and slightly unattainable.
This past March I ran my sixth and fastest marathon to date in Albany, GA.  I knocked almost 25 minutes off of my first marathon time.  I came in 4th overall and first in my age group.  When I crossed the line, I was very happy.  I hugged the pacer and walked around feeling like a super star....for about 5 minutes.  Maybe 10.  And then, my wheels started spinning.  What next?  When?  Where?  Come on, come on, let's go.

So...close.  Just can'
Fast forward to today.  Yes, I am still training.  Yes, I am still working with a coach.  But, over the past few months, my priorities have shifted.  I love running.  I love the way it makes me feel.  But, as I got more into the racing side of it over the years, I now realize I was often running for the wrong reason.  More often than not, the pure joy of running was lost on me.  Since March, I have run 5 short, local races.  My times - for all of them - have been the slowest they've been in years.  No joke.  And yet, they have been some of the most rewarding races I've run to date for reasons totally unrelated to my performance.  (See Samantha's Harvest, Murdick's Run the Chop & Race for Jabberwocky).  In all of these cases, I never walked away feeling defeated.  Something inside of me had shifted and my perspective had changed.

On Monday, I got up early to run 14 miles.  Rather than rush off as I usually do, I sat and enjoyed a cup of coffee with my mom for a while before I headed out.  It was lovely.  I grabbed my music and left my watch behind.  The weather was perfect.  After about 30 minutes, I ran into my friend, Johanna; also a runner.  She was with her boys who were biking along side her.  She asked me how much I had left and I told her I wasn't sure but it would be a while.  She said, "Boys, Mrs. Trachsel is running 14 miles today.  Can you believe that?"  Her son, Jack, who is 7, said, "Can I run 14 miles, mom?"  We laughed.  "Yes, but when you're older" I said.  I gave him a high-five and continued on.  I cruised along, smiling at nothing in particular, soaking in the moment, feeling each step; reveling in the simple joy of running.  It was one of the best runs I've had in years.  This, I reminded myself, this is why I run.  

Listen to this:
Let Go - RAC (ft. Kele & MNDR)  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Race Review:5K Run for Jabberwocky

On Saturday morning, I ran the 5th Annual Race for Jabberwocky in Katama, MA on Martha's Vineyard.  Camp Jabberwocky is an incredible organization that provides a residential vacation camp for people with disabilities.  Created over 50 years ago, the camp seeks to provide enrichment and recreational activities for those in need, both young and old, in a safe and supportive environment.  The organization leans heavily on its philosophy of volunteerism whenever possible.  Today, the volunteers were out in full force and their energy was tangible.  The scene was crazy, but they were all in deal mode; some helping with race logistics and others preparing the many campers who were going to participate.  The volunteers were easily as excited if not more than the campers and I was in awe of their enthusiasm.

Camp volunteers along with Jabberwocky
 Executive Director, Liza (right)
I love this race for several reasons.  First and foremost, it is unbelievably inspiring.  I am inspired by the campers.  I am inspired by the volunteers.  I am inspired by the people who are there to support their family and friends, many of whom are either members of or involved with Jabberwocky in some way.  The whole scene is incredibly moving and I love being a part of it, even as a non-involved, solo runner.  Second, it's held at the Farm Institute which is one of my favorite places on the island.  Third, the course is flat and beautiful.  And fourth, the race is walking distance from my parents' house so the logistics are cake for me.  But the best part of this race is the scene at the finish line.  The smiles are huge, the clapping is so loud you can't hear the person next to you and the support and love for the Jabberwocky campers who come through the line is in full force.  It makes you feel like everything is good and right in the world, if only for that brief moment in time.  And that, too, is amazing to be a part of.
A Jabbewocky volunteer and friend
running with a camper in to the finish.
Two Jabberwocky campers and a volunteer who
 have just come through the finish line together.
Personally, the race was not a good one for me.  I was tired going into it and I just couldn't muster up the energy I usually can on race day.  My time was one of my slowest in a while.  But, to be honest, I didn't really care.  Do I wish I'd had more in the tank?  Sure.  But, I didn't.  And truthfully, hanging out after the race, chatting with runners and volunteers, eating ice cream and watching all the finishers come in; that was as good if not better than finishing with a PR.  As I was leaving the farm to head home I looked to the right and this guy was staring at me.  If he could have, he might have said something like, "life is pretty damn good, eh Rebecca?"  I smiled.  And then, with gratitude, I ran home.

Listen to this:
The Way We Touch - WE ARE TWIN

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Late Night With Rosie & Grace

This past week, my girls and I have spent some quality time with my in-laws on the Cape.  Last night, we had a pretty big night out with Nana and Papa.  We all went to "kids night" at their club, an event that involved hula hoops, shirley temples (multiple), freeze dance and ice cream sundaes.  There might have been some dinner in there, but I'm not 100% sure on that.  According to Rosie, it was "the best night ever".  She tends to say that a lot, which I think is fantastic.  The only downside of the evening, for both me and the girls, was bedtime.  When we got home, the girls were both hyped up on sugar and beyond exhausted.  It's a deadly combo because they are convinced they're not tired but if I don't get them to bed they are guaranteed to unravel.  These nights are few and far between so it's a small price to pay (though, truthfully, I never say that at the time).  After much debating, some whining from them, and some warnings from me, the girls finally settled into bed; face paint and all.  They were still pretty wired and it was after 9:00 so when they asked me to listen to music, I caved.  Here's how the night played out:

Rosie: Can we listen to Taylor Swift while we fall asleep?
Mom: Okay.  But no getting up and no touching the volume.  Deal?
Both girls: Deal
---> There was a nice long stretch of quiet here when I was assuming/hoping that they were drifting off.  Next thing I know, I'm hearing:
"I don't know about you, but I'm feelin' 22"....
The girls were singing at the top of their lungs, belting it out with passion.  They were both out of bed and the dance party was on.  Yes, I was annoyed, but I also thought it was hilarious.  Up I went.
Mom: Girls...what is going ON?  We made a deal.  Music in bed only.  You have got to get to sleep.  I'm turning it off if I hear you up again.
Rosie: Okay, okay.
Grace: no response...just lots of giggles
---> Another stretch of quiet here.  I was cautiously optimistic.  And then...shouting, crying, and more shouting.  Holy crap.  Up I went again.
Mom: Girls...come on.  What happened?
Rosie: I want to listen to 'Red' and Grace says she doesn't like this album which means she basically doesn't like Taylor Swift because 'Red' is, like, her longest album.
Grace: (crying) I do like her, ROSIE. I just don't like this one.  I like the other one better.
Mom: Grace, are you serious?  This is not something to cry over.  We are talking about music here.
Grace: But Rosie said...
Mom: It doesn't matter what Rosie said, Grace.  And, Rosie, she doesn't have to like ALL the Taylor Swift albums.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
Rosie: But, mom, how can you like one album but not another by the same person?
Mom: Every album is different, Rosie.  People hear different things and everyone has different tastes.  And when......(I cut myself off at this point).  Girls, we can discuss this tomorrow.  For now, go to sleep.  No more singing, dancing or crying.  I love you.  Good night.

There were several takeaways for me from this late night circus with Rosie & Grace:
1. Classical musical would have probably been a better choice than Taylor Swift.
2. We all hear music differently and that is a good thing.
3. These conversations with my girls are both valuable and priceless.  I need to encourage them to have them more often. (just not at 9:30 at night).
4. 2 shirley temples and an ice cream sundae might be a bit too much for a 6 year old.
5. We are always learning all the time.  All of us.  And that is also a good thing.

Listen to this:
Don't Stop - The Dodos  

*The Dodos' new album, Carrier, is set to be released on Aug. 27.  Oh boy.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

RWM Daily Songs: 2013

"Without music, life would be a mistake." 
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The Courtship of Summer Preasley* - The Griswolds  

Gold - Sir Sly  

Run - Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.  

Faith - I Break Horses  

Money on My Mind - Sam Smith

Sweater Weather - Neighbourhood  

The Man I Need - Jagwar Ma  

Jennifer - Little Comets  

Mesmerise - Temples  

Landline - Greg Laswell (feat. Sara Bareilles)  

All the Days - Haerts  

Jungle - Emma Louise  

We're On Our Way - Radical Face  

Thunder Clatter - Wild Cub  

Easy to Love - The Jezabels  

Here Comes the Night Time - Arcade Fire  

Coffee Kids - Be The Bear  

Annie You Save Me - Graffiti6  

One Republic - Counting Stars  

Play With Fire - Vance Joy  

I Can Hardly Make You Mine - The Cults  

Cholla - The Joy Formidable  

Tidal Wave - Sub Focus (feat. Alpines)  

Run Boy Run - Woodkid  

Black Out Days - Phantogram  

Fantasy - MSMR  

Team - Lorde  

Crazy - Au Revoir Simone  

Scare Me - New Beat Fund  

Generals - The Mynabirds  

Riptide - Vance Joy  

Winter Is Coming - Radical Face  

You Do You - Bear in Heaven  

Bitter Rivals - Sleigh Bells  

Burn - Ellie Goulding  

The Wire - Haim  

Pumpin Blood - NONONO  

On Our Way - The Royal Concept  

Let Go - RAC (feat. Kele & MNDR)  

The Way We Touch - WE ARE TWIN

Don't Stop - The Dodos   

Every Chance We Get We Run - David Guetta & Alesso (feat. Tegan & Sara)  

The Hunter - ON AN ON   

Music to Walk Home By - Tame Impala   
Come Save Me - Jagwar Ma  Come Save Me - Howlin
Live Your Life - MIKA Live Your Life - Live Your Life - Single
Loveliest Creature - Savoir Adore  Loveliest Creature - Our Nature
Belong to the World - The Weeknd Belong To the World - Belong To the World - Single
California Soul - Marlena Shaw (Diplo Remix)  California Soul (Diplo / Mad Decent Remix) - California Soul (Remixed) - EP
Better Days - Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros  Better Days - Better Days - Single
Don't Deny Your Heart - Hot Chip  Don't Deny Your Heart - In Our Heads 
Doin' it Right - Daft Punk  Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams) - Random Access Memories
Dreams - TV on the Radio   Dreams - Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
Pretty Boy - Young Galaxy  Pretty Boy - Ultramarine
Silver Lining - Guards  Silver Lining - In Guards We Trust (Deluxe Edition)
Rolling Stones - Tattoo You Tattoo You - The Rolling Stones 
Crystal Fighters - Cave Rave Cave Rave - Crystal Fighters 
You & I - Crystal Fighters  You & I - Cave Rave
Body of Work - The Mynabirds  Body of Work - Generals

Keep Moving - Boxer Rebellion  Keep Moving - Promises
Take Your Time - Lydia  Take Your Time - Devil 
Where I'm Going - Cut Copy  Where I'm Going - Zonoscope
Champion Sound - Crystal Fighters  Champion Sound - Star of Love
Drum in Your Chest - BIGkids  Drum in Your Chest - Drum in Your Chest - Single
I Love You - Said the Whale  I Love You - I Love You EP
All I Wanna Do - SPLASHH  All I Wanna Do - Comfort

Beautiful World (Original Mix) - Paul Oakenfold & Disfunktion Ft. Spitfire   
The Mess - Kid Astray  The Mess - The Mess - Single
Spark - Fitz & the Tantrums  Spark - More Than Just a Dream (Deluxe Version)
Hey Na Na - Galactic feat. David Shaw& Maggie Koerner  Hey Na Na (feat. David Shaw of the Revivalists and Maggie Koerner) - Carnivale Electricos
Roll Forever - White Arrows   Roll Forever - Dry Land Is Not a Myth
Stompa - Serena Ryder  Stompa - Stompa - Single
In Ruins - Fol Chen  In Ruins - Part II: The New December (Bonus Track Version)
Diamonds - Boxer Rebellion Diamonds - Promises
Youth - Daughter  Youth - If You Leave
Alive - Empire of the Sun  Alive - Ice On the Dune  

Make It To Me - Manchester Orchestra& Grouplove   
NOW - Matt & Kim  Now - Lightning
Feel Again - One Republic Feel Again - Native
Now - Paramore  Now - Paramore 
Next Stop - Bleached  Next Stop - Ride Your Heart
Sun Blows Up Today - The Flaming Lips  Sun Blows Up Today (Non-Album Bonus Track) - The Terror (Deluxe Version)
Evil Friends - Portugal. The Man  Evil Friends - Evil Friends
Harder Before It Gets Easier - David Wax Museum Harder Before It Gets Easier - Knock Knock Get Up
Diane Young - Vampire Weekend  Diane Young - Modern Vampires of the City
Everything Everything - Cough Cough  Cough Cough - Cough Cough - EP
Life's a Beach - Django Django  Life's a Beach - Django Django
Cholla - The Joy Formidable  Cholla - Wolf's Law 
Welcome Home - Radical Face  Welcome Home - Ghost 
What You Need - Galactic & Lyrics Born  I Got It ( What You Need) - From the Corner to the Block
Cold Feet - Lost Lander   Cold Feet - Drrt

Stars - Hold On When You Get Love  
Sacrilege -Yeah Yeah Yeahs Sacrilege - Mosquito (Deluxe Version)

Spotlight - Leagues  

Pot Kettle Black - Tilly & the Wall  

So Lucky - Dana Buoy  

New Summer - Young Galaxy  
Cheated Hearts - Yeah Yeah Yeahs  Cheated Hearts - Show Your Bones
The Epochs - The Epochs The Epochs - The Epochs

Let It GoDragonette   

Hummingbird - Alex Clare  Humming Bird - The Lateness of the Hour
Miracle Mile - Cold War Kids  Miracle Mile - Single - Cold War Kids 
From Nowhere - Dan Croll  From Nowhere - From Nowhere (Remixes) - EP
High School Lover - Cayucas   High School Lover - High School Lover - Single
Thread - Now Now  Thread - Threads

Shelf Life - TheHistory of Apple Pie   

All Fall DownFive Knives  
Fireworks - Animal Collective  Fireworks - Strawberry Jam
Share With Me the Sun - Portugal. The Man  Share With Me the Sun - In the Mountain In the Cloud
Tessellate - Alt-J  Tessellate - An Awesome Wave
Cradle - The Joy Formidable (Fang Island Remix)  Cradle (Fang Island Remix) - The Big More - EP
Cradle - The Joy Formidable  Cradle - The Big Roar
On Top of the World - Imagine Dragons   On Top of the World - Night Visions
Combat Baby - Metric  Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? - Metric