Thursday, November 28, 2013


Yesterday, despite the gale force winds and the torrential rain, we took the ferry over to Martha's Vineyard to spend the holiday with my extended family.  My parents bought this house in 2003 and we have spent 10 amazing years here; this one being our last, as the house was sold last month.  This Thanksgiving will undoubtedly be a little bittersweet.  We have already shed a few tears and had some good laughs over some of the memories and will likely continue to do so until we leave on Sunday.  It is what it is.  I love running on the island and have been looking forward to doing the Oak Bluffs Turkey Trot, a very low key event that I've always enjoyed.  This morning I woke up early intending to head over for the race.  My 6 year old shuffled in shortly after I arose to show me the rainbow tattoos and $2 that she got from the tooth fairy.  She was incredibly relieved that the fairy was able to find her even though she wasn't sleeping in her own bed.  I was incredibly relieved that I remembered to let the fairy know where we were before I went to sleep.  She crawled into bed with me, we chatted, and read some books.  The race was still on my mind, but the importance of making it over there was fading quickly.  After some good quality time with Grace, I hopped up, made some coffee and threw on my running clothes thinking I might still be able to motivate.  And then my nephew came in to my room and asked me to help him find his Nintendo DS.  It was urgent, he claimed.  I understood.  We all have our priorities.  As we began our hunt, I decided that the race was not in the cards for me.  And I was totally good with that.  I grabbed another cup of coffee and settled in for the day.  Thanksgiving day.  A day to spend with my family, to soak it all in, to relax, to snuggle with my girls, to drink more coffee, to hug my mom, to do a crossword with my dad, just to be thankful.  For all of the incredible years that we have spent at this house together.  And for all of the future adventures that are still to come for us, wherever we may be.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.

Listen to this:
Come Back Down - Greg Laswell (feat. Sarah Bareilles)

Monday, November 25, 2013


"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
~ Winston Churchill

This morning I took on one of Oiselle's #RUNGIVING challenges and bought the guy in line behind me at Starbucks his coffee.  Or, I should say, his grandé, quad, skim, mocha.  QUAD??  In fairness, he did give me the out after I learned what his order was.  But, I had already made the offer and I was sticking with it.  Nick, who had clearly just woken up and was wearing flip flops despite the 16 degree temperature, was incredibly grateful and thanked me multiple times before he headed off.  I have to give kudos to Oiselle here as they are successfully highlighting the importance of both giving and being thankful in one fell swoop.  Very cool.  I am incredibly thankful for so many things.  Every day I count my lucky stars for my family, my friends, my health, my babysitter (I've been needing her a lot lately)...the list goes on and on.  But, I am also thankful that I have the ability to give something back.  Not millions of dollars mind you, but a smile or a hug or, as was the case this morning, a coffee to a stranger; little things of big value that will hopefully have a significant impact.  After successfully completing the coffee challenge, I was inspired to keep it going.  I gave my high school xc girls a sweet treat after practice.  I gave my dog, Lucy, some extra love and attention.  I gave my friend FC a heavy dose of sarcasm and a good laugh over an afternoon latte.  If I could find a way to give, I'd do it.  It's ridiculous how easy it was.   It's also ridiculous how good it can make one feel; the giver, the receiver or both.  So now, because I'd like to end my day in the same way that I started it, I have one more thing to give.  And it's for you.  Here's what gives (sorry, I couldn't resist).


Hydration is critical during these holiday months for a plethora of reasons.  NUUN will support you all the way through.  Many thanks to all of you who read this blog and give me your time and attention, your thoughts and feedback, and a reason to keep writing and sharing day after day.  I am so grateful.

The Details:
To enter, comment below.  Tell us what you are thankful for.  Or, tell us what or how you recently gave.  Bottom line, tell us a story about thanks or giving.  The winner will be chosen via on Saturday, November 30th.  A huge thanks to NUUN for providing this fantastic treat. Winner can pick a 4 pack of any flavor (excluding watermelon and banana).   Contest is for US residents only.

Listen to this:
All the Days - Haerts

Friday, November 22, 2013

2 - 4 - 6 - 8

1. recognize the full worth of.

I've had a perma-grin on my face since running the Plymouth marathon last Sunday.  Twice this week my 8 year old has asked me why I was in such a good mood (for no particular reason that she could see) followed by some eye rolling and "whatever"s when I responded that I just was.  I'm not gonna lie, it's pretty fantastic to feel this way.  I have run hundreds of races over the years of various types and distances.  But, it's been a while since I had the overwhelming feeling of complete satisfaction from one particular race.  Even with my best performances, I find that I tend to ask the standard questions post-race:

~ Did I push as hard as I could have?
~ Did I go out too fast?
~ Did I wait too long to kick?
~ Did I eat right the day before?
~ Should I have hydrated more during the race?
~ Should I have tried to get more sleep?
and, even when there is a PR to celebrate,
~ Could I do better if I train harder next time?

I'll admit that it's not necessarily the best way to break down a race each time and it kind of kills the overall experience a bit; good or bad.  But, I am a runner, I am stubborn, and I am competitive with myself.  So, it is what it is.  That said, my experience at Plymouth really threw me for a loop and changed my whole perspective.  In a good way.  I can honestly say that I have a totally new appreciation for running and a much better understanding of why I should and will continue to do it.  Yesterday I went for an easy, four mile cruiser; my first jaunt since Plymouth.  Throughout said run, I realized not only that I have a new respect for running, but with many things running related as well.  I also came to the conclusion that, moving forward, as I continue to train and race it might be worth approaching each race a little differently.  After my experience at Plymouth I learned that it doesn't have to be so freakin' intense all the time.  All this in four short miles.  Well, four miles, 8 marathons, 10 halfs, and countless 5Ks.  Let me break it down for you (forgive the high cheese factor.  It was unavoidable):


~ For running and how incredibly rewarding and freeing it can be, particularly when I'm willing to let go of my expectations and run just to run.

~ For music and how it never fails to motivate me from start to finish.  Because it helps to drown out the doubt frustration when they start to seep in.  In running, it is truly my most reliable companion.

~ For my arms.  There were some serious hills throughout Plymouth and the strength in my arms helped to drive me up and over each time.  (Note to my LHS ladies who might be reading this...all those push-ups this season were definitely worth it!)

~ For my coach who is both a runner and a father himself.   For reminding me to sit back, relax, have fun and enjoy the experience along the way.

~ For the race volunteers, particularly in the smaller races.  There was not a whole lot going on out there on Sunday with only 300 runners on the course.  No bells and whistles like at Boston.  It undoubtedly took some serious dedication for them to stand out there alone for 4-5 hours in the quiet as we tossed cups and GU packets at them.  

~And for my husband.  I will always appreciate him.  But I appreciate him more because after Hartford, despite having just given up an entire week-end for me to race, he was the first to suggest that I sign up for another race right away to wipe the slate clean.  Because he "gets it."  And that's amazing.

2, 4, 6, 8...who do we appreciate? Goooooo running.

Listen to this:
Jungle - Emma Louise  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

In Her Words: The Soundtrack of My Run

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything”
~ Plato

A guest post by fellow runner & music fan Stephanie Surratt:

I am a 36 year old married mom of four. I have been running for about 18 years.  I have a full time job in sales and I am an avid runner.  I love it and it is definitely a passion of mine. I live in Nashville, Tennessee and I love it here. (I mean after all, we are known as The Music City) I recently partnered with a fantastic, locally owned sports store here, Sport Seasons, and I am doing a weekly blog on their site.  I found RunningWithMusic on Facebook and I loved the page and the blog as it was so in line with the passion I have for music and running.  Rebecca was kind enough to ask me to guest blog… here I am!

After I began having children I became competitive with myself and my race times.  I decided that I needed my own personal goals, both to keep me interested and to be a role model for my children. I have been known to start a very long run at 3:30 in the morning so I can make early soccer and basketball games for the kids. Through the last several years I slowly chipped away at my time and started placing or winning my age group. This year I ran my fastest full marathon (3:29 in the pouring down rain) and my fastest half marathon (1:32) ever. This April, after 3 qualifying times over the last 5 years, I will run my first Boston Marathon. It has been a long road to get there but I am finally doing it.  To say I am excited is an understatement! (Did I mention it will be my husband and I’s first trip with no children?!)

 I can tell you for certain that aside of course from the support of my husband, family, and friends, I would not be the runner I am today without music.  I have always loved music and I have always exercised with it.  From the Walkman to the Discman to the MP3 player and now to the fantastic iPhone (thank you Apple!), music has always been an essential part of my running.   Music became an even bigger part of my running after I had my children.  My schedule became more demanding and I wasn’t able to run as often with my friends.  I had to find motivation to still get out of bed on a day to day basis to run!  While nothing can ever replace the time I had (and still do sometimes get) to spend talking with my friends, music has become a close second. Those long talks with friends are therapeutic, but so is music.

Music is motivating, relaxing, inspiring, healing….I could go on and on. Some people say it’s the pace of the song or the beats per minute that stimulate a runner’s mind.  While I do believe that, I say it’s also about a chord that a song strikes deep within in an individual.  I try to find songs I associate the people in my life that make me want to be better, like my family and my friends. When you make that connection, your mind can take over and you can soar to new heights. Often my mood dictates the type of music that I play that day.  I have even been known to have an occasional KidzBop song on a playlist if it is a song I have enjoyed listening to with my kids. (We are no stranger to impromptu dance parties in the playroom!)

So what’s on my playlists? Well, that is what I love about music. I don’t have to pick just one genre.  I have a wide variety of songs that I favor. As I mentioned, I live in Nashville….so yep country is on there! I also love hip hop and R &B. (old school and new)  I love songs from movies as well, I am not ashamed to say that Footloose and Flashdance are two of my favorite movies and yep, the songs are proudly in my iTunes library. I mix all types of songs together to create the perfect, personal playlist for me.  Another thing I always do is create a new playlist with fresh, new music before any race.  When you are feeling tired, there is nothing that can pump energy into you like a good song. I saw this quote and it is forever etched in my mind:

“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”  ~ Hunter S. Thompson

I try to remember that quote when I feel I may be hitting a wall in a marathon or even a training run, and I know it is time to find that perfect song, that fuel.

Below is one of my favorite playlists.  As you will see it is a mix of things, but it is all music that moves me and motivates me in one way or another. It may surprise you that a few of the songs are not as up tempo as others.  As I mentioned earlier, for me, sometimes it’s more about how the song connects with me, how it makes me feel, and if it moves me.  I hope you enjoy it, and I am always interested to see other runner’s playlists.  A few new songs can make or break a race.  And, finally, thank you RWM! So many of us can learn and be inspired from your blog!

----> And thank you, Stephanie.  My feelings are mutual.  Rock on.

Fall 2013 Playlist  by Stephanie Surratt

Stronger - Kanye West
Moves Like JaggerMaroon 5
PayphoneMaroon 5
Wake Me Up –Avicii
We Were Us – Miranda Lambert & Keith Urban
Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
Applause – Lady Gaga
Marry the Night – Lady Gaga
Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
Holy Grail – Jay Z and Justin Timberlake 
P.Y.T – Michael Jackson
Cry Me A River – Justin Timberlake
Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys
Southern Comfort Zone – Brad Paisley
DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love – Usher
Roar – Katy Perry
Drink a Beer – Luke Bryan
I Drive Your Truck – Lee Brice
Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke
Mama’s Broken Heart – Miranda Lambert
Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus
Done – The Band Perry
Scream and Shout – Britney Spears and Will I Am
I Want Crazy – Hunter Hayes
Fire Burning – Kidz Bop
Hold On We’re Going Home – Drake
She Wouldn’t Be Gone – Blake Shelton
Super Bass – Nicki Manaj
As Long As You Love Me – Justin Beiber
Dancing in the Dark – Bruce Springsteen
My Wish – Rascal Flatts
Diamonds – Rihanna
Night Train – Jason Aldean
Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood
Footloose – Kenny Loggins
Flashdance – Irene Cara and DJ Bobo
What About Now – Daughtry

Note: Find Stephanie at Sports Seasons Blog.  She is also on Twitter @stephsurratt.  You can also  'Like' Sport Seasons Facebook page to get updates on blog entries.  

******************Stay inspired!  Music only makes people stronger!******************

Monday, November 18, 2013

Race Review: Myles Standish Marathon

As many of you know, the Hartford marathon, which I ran back in October, did not unfold as I'd hoped.  From mile 18 on, there was a lot of cursing, heavy cramping, some limping, slow shuffling, and more cursing all the way through the finish line.  Despite running a decent time, the whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth in regards to marathons in general.  I was seriously doubting whether I even wanted to continue doing them anymore.  That said, rather than close out the year with a bad race, I decided, upon my husband's recommendation, to run one more marathon with the hopes of having a different and better experience.  I have never run back to back marathons (these being 5 weeks apart), so this was a foreign concept and a bit daunting.  But, in my head, my heart and my gut, I felt like it was something I needed to do.  I truly believed, or wanted to believe, that what took place in Hartford was not the end all be all and that I could still find joy in marathon running.
So, the next day, before I could change my mind, I signed up for the Myles Standish Marathon, which was taking place on November 17th, in Plymouth, MA.  The race was small (about 300 runners), close by (45 min drive) and inexpensive ($50).  Done and done.  Five weeks, I thought, would give me just enough time to both recover from Hartford and to re-amp up my mileage for Plymouth.  I was looking at it as an opportunity to try again under very little stress and with no expectations other than to finish strong and have fun.  Game on.  The lead up to this second race was everything that Hartford was not.  First, there was no fanfare.  I decided to keep the fact that I was running it to myself.  This was a personal journey and there was no reason to shout about it on Facebook or Twitter.  I didn't even tell my parents I was doing it.  Second, for all 5 of those weeks, I was completely focused on my high school cross country team.  The girls would be competing in their League Meet, their Divisional Meet and, assuming they made it, their State meet.  My training was secondary to my job for those few weeks and the distraction was both welcome and appreciated.

LHS Ladies after finishing 4th in the EMASS Divisional meet, good
enough for a spot at the State meet the next week.
As I had hoped and expected, my girls made it to the State meet which happened to be the day before the Plymouth marathon.  Not ideal.  But what can you do?  In all honesty, I didn't have time to think about it.  But, after running around like a crazy chicken all day at the State meet, I seriously considered bailing on the marathon, as I was totally drained both mentally and physically.  I decided to sleep on it, and when I woke up at 5:00am the next morning, before my alarm went off, I took it a sign that I should forge ahead.  It was a beautiful morning; 40 degrees, clear and calm.  Perfect day for a marathon.  I drove to Plymouth North High School, which was the end point of the marathon, parked my car and hopped on a shuttle to the start of the race which was in the Myles Standish State Forest.  I jumped off the bus and within seconds I hear, "HEY!! Rebecca.  It's me, Rebecca!"  This other Rebecca, who I've never met but have chatted with over Twitter, is a fellow Oiselle ambassador who works at the Bayside Runner, the store that was sponsoring the race.  So, naturally, we hugged and asked someone to take our picture because we were really freakin' psyched to have found each other.

Rebecca T-W & I at the start of the race.
After chatting a bit and then agreeing to meet at the end, I checked my bag and headed off to the starting line which was a 1 mile walk from the drop off.  Huh??  As I stood waiting with the handful of other runners who were about to head off into the wilderness with me, I questioned my sanity and said out loud, to no one in particular, AM I COMPLETELY NUTS?  Seriously, what the hell was I thinking? It was not the best time to doubt my decision, so I turned on my music and turned up the volume to drown myself out.  After a very uneventful and almost zen-like, "ready, set, go", we were off.  My typical mistake when I run these things is to get caught up in the excitement and go out too fast.  Such a classic blunder.  Sometimes it pays off but most times it doesn't and it definitely didn't in Hartford.  So, despite my strong desire to cruise ahead, I held back.  Big time.  I was doing this for fun, NOT for time.  The course was beautiful.  We wound our way through the park, running on quiet roads and trails, passing lakes and horses and tackling hill after hill (after hill).  Did I mention the hills?  They were big and rolling.
The hills were alive with the
sounds of music and heavy breathing.
But, again, I wasn't worried about it.  I tracked my splits to make sure that I didn't get going too fast and held steady at a comfortable pace for miles 1-18.  And then, at mile 18, I had my first ever EUREKA! moment in a marathon.  It all made sense.  Conserve in the beginning and it will pay off in the end.  So ridiculously simple.  You'd think I would have figured this concept out before my 8th marathon, but alas, I did not.  When I hit mile 18 my legs were ready, my head was in the game and I was good to go.  I shifted gears and tapped into my reserves to give it my all for the last 8 miles.  I was able to bring my split times down 30-45 seconds per mile depending on the hills and I felt amazing.  I was running solo for several of these last few miles which was incredibly peaceful and oddly freeing.  I was able to cruise all the way into the finish with a smile on my face.  My time, 3:25, was not my best, but not my worst.  It was good for a 2nd place finish among the females and a $75 cash prize which I happily spent today at Whole Foods.  The experience, however, was far and away my best.  I have never had so much fun and appreciated a race as I much as I did on Sunday.  It was a much-needed reminder of why I love to run and should continue to do these races.  It could not have gone any better if I'd planned it.   And, in this case, I hadn't planned anything.  There is no manual to running a successful marathon.  We train, we prepare, we strategize, we eat right, we do everything we are supposed to do.  But there is more to it than that and there is no guide to this 'other' part.  On Sunday, I was reminded that so much of it is passion and spirit with a sprinkling of chance and luck.  I will most definitely be doing another marathon.  I am thrilled to report that I have, once again, found the joy in running.  Hallelujah!

Rebecca, Jayne (who came in right after me and happened
to be wearing the same shorts) and I at the finish.

Listen to this:
We're On Our Way - Radical Face  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Music Makes Me Stronger

This past Tuesday when I woke up it was snowing (well, flurrying, but still) and the temperature had dropped to the low 30s.  Motivation to run:zero.  Regardless, I threw on my running duds hoping that if I was already sporting them after I dropped my kids off at school I'd have one less reason to procrastinate.  Turns out, there were several other ways to delay my run, including but not limited to, checking my email (for the second time), having another cup of coffee, calling Delta Airlines to book a flight, folding laundry, unloading the dishwasher (which I hate doing).... I could go on but you get the point.  Sometimes it's really damn hard to lace up and hit the road.  I hadn't run on Monday so I couldn't even play the "day off" card.  I just needed to get out there.  I put my headphones on and started listening to my music as I grabbed my hat and gloves and got ready to leave. Typically, one or two songs does the trick to get me fired up and ready to roll.  Yesterday?  Not so much.  My own playlists weren't even working their magic.  It was a problem.  I sat down and pondered over my situation (translation - stalled).  Each time I looked out the window I was convinced the sky was getting darker and the air was getting colder.  Oh, boy, I thought to myself, this is going to be a long winter.  Finally, I snapped to and asked the question that always seems to help me solve my problems...What would Keanu do?  Okay, not really, but I have seen that bumper sticker and I do think it's amazing.  What I really did was grab my phone, set Pandora to Alt-J, turned up the volume and got my arse outside.  My thinking... if anyone could work some magic, it would likely be Pandora.  A goddess known as "she who sends up gifts," has got to have something up her sleeve, right?  As expected, she did not disappoint.  Two songs.  That's all it took.  Not two songs of my own choosing, mind you.  Two songs that I'd never heard before and would not think to run with if I had.  The music flowed, my mind drifted and my legs responded.  I settled in and grooved out for an hour, picking up my pace and easing back down with the bpm of each new song.  All was good and before I knew it, my originally dreaded run was coming to an end.  As I sit and write this now I can't tell you how my legs felt during this run or what my pace was.  I have no idea.  Nor does it matter.  Running makes me strong.  Music makes me stronger.  Oh, and a little magic always helps, too.

Listen to these: PANDORA'S MIX

Forever - Walter Meego  
Heart It Races - Dr. Dog  
Walk On By - Noosa  
Say Aha - Santigold  
Regalia - Savoir Adore  
1940 (Amplive Remix) - The Submarines  
40 Day Dream - Edward Sharpe & The Mangetic Zeros  
Buzzcut Season - Lorde  
Let Me Show You Love - Cut Copy  
Electric - Atlas Genius  
Runnin' - The Pharcyde  
Creator - Anti-Crew (feat. Santogold)  
Hearts (R.A.R Mix) - I Break Horses  
On & On - Autre Ne Veut

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Dad & Music: A Tribute

Today, in honor of Veteran's Day, I thought it would be fitting to chat with my dad who served in the Air Force as a loadmaster in Vietnam, about music.  My dad, who's in his early seventies, has always been into music and is particularly knowledgable about the music he and his buddies used to listen to while in the service and then after that in college.  Soul music was his go-to back then - artists like Sam & Dave, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles.  That said, he would listen to anything he could get his hands on...classical, folk, rock and roll, you name it, he played it.  When he was on base in Dover, DE, he had a little record player in his dorm and, he told me, he would listen to music all the time.

--> It was a very important source of entertainment for me.  Guys were flying out on a daily basis so it could often be fairly lonely back on base.  The music made daily life more pleasant.  There wasn't a lot of really good music in the barracks and not a lot of guys had music players so many of them would wander into my room to hang out and listen.  In that way, it brought us together.

Once he got to Vietnam, the world of music changed for him.  Tape players and stereos were accessible to everyone.  As a result music was literally pouring out of everything.

--> We lived in screened in huts and had zero privacy.  If someone else was playing their music, you were listening to it.  You didn't have a choice.  The guys played Brenda Lee to death.  I liked her at the start, but by the end, I couldn't stand it.  Music played non-stop to the point where it was just too much.  I lost my appreciation for it when I was over there.

When he got home, his love of music slowly came back.  He played it in college and in grad school and listened to anything from James Taylor to Willie Nelson to Janis Joplin.  But, once he started working as a management consultant, he couldn't keep up with it as much.  He wasn't around music they way he used to be and the people he worked with weren't into it either.

I didn't have time for music when I started working.  So, I tapped into what you and your sister were listening to.  Courtney (my sister), in particular, got me into some of the bands that I still love today.  The Allman Brothers, Little Feat, Jimmy Buffett, I loved that stuff and I still do.  You guys sort of kept me in the loop.

When I was a teenager, my dad and sister and I used to make trips to the music store together; him often spending time in the classical and country sections while my sister and I were at the other end of the store seeking out Duran Duran and The Cure.  Those were fun trips.  It didn't matter that our music tastes were different.  On a higher level, we all were there for the same reason, because we loved music, and that was really cool.  When I was in high school, my dad sat down with me and played The Moldau, a classical piece composed by Bedrich Smetana, about a great river in Bohemia.  He told me the story as I closed my eyes and tried to hear what he was describing.  It was unbelievably moving; both the music and the moment, and spurred my own love of classical music.  Today, dad's not as into music as he used to be.  He typically listens to the classical stations on the radio because he "can trust it."  Basically, he knows he's likely to hear something that he enjoys.  That said, he's more than happy to sit down with me or my husband and listen to an entire album, The White Album by the Beatles, for example, from start to finish.  He's got an open mind about what he hears now, particularly the new stuff that we play for him like The Be Good Tanyas and Aimee Mann (we don't bother with Radiohead or The Yeah Yeah Yeahs...definitely not his thing).  What's great, though, is that we can still connect over music and that he does like to dive in from time to time.  I've listened to a lot of good music over the years, he told me this morning, lots of good stuff.  And I still enjoy it.  All of it.  Me too, dad.  Rock on.

Listen to these: A Playlist by Walter Jewett

Monday, Monday - The Mamas & the Papas  
Light My Fire - The Doors  
Hold On, Im Comin' - Sam & Dave  
Jessica - The Allman Brothers Band  
Rhiannon - Fleetwood Mac  
Night moves - Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band  
She Came In Through the Bathroom Window - Joe Cocker  
Me and Bobby McGee - Janis Joplin  
Sailing to Philadelphia - Mark Knoplfer  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Going GAGA for Running

A guest post by fellow writer & runner, Spencer Blohm:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you know that Lady Gaga is releasing an album soon. Artpop is set to be released Nov. 11, so in celebration of that, Rebecca has been kind enough to let me put together a running playlist for you that spans Gaga’s career to help you power through your next run.

Do What U Want: With lyrics like “Write what you want/Say what you want about me/If you’re wondering/Know that I’m not sorry” this song provides a bit of an self-confidence boost as you hit the pavement. Her third single off Artpop clocks in at 99 bpm it’s the perfect song for those of you looking to hit a 5:12 minute mile.

Teeth: The pounding beat of this song off The Fame Monster serves as the perfect setting for any run. With a bpm of 99, you’ll have to run at double the pace of the song to get a mile time of 5:48.

Applause: Her first single off Artpop serves as her answer to “Jock Jams” with lyrics like “Give me the thing that I love/ Put your hands up, make em touch”. The upbeat lyrics make the song a perfect track to start your workout and clock in at an 11-minute mile.

Beautiful, Dirty, Rich: This jam off her debut album, The Fame, serves as the perfect track for a slower day. With a bpm of 120, the song is the perfect tempo for a slow 13-minute mile or serves as the ideal track for a power walk or elliptical session.

Telephone: This megahit featuring another pop diva, Beyoncé, is guaranteed to get you up and moving, even if it’s just dancing. Clocking in a 122 bpm, the song is a nice warm-up track for a slower first mile, or a rapid dancing session.

Speechless: This power ballad off of her sophomore album, The Fame Monster, is a great choice for those of us looking at clocking in at around 10 minutes a mile. It’s powerful piano led beats can be doubled for a bpm of 73, an ideal bpm for a mile time of 10:24.

Bad Romance: Bring your workout to a close with Gaga’s trademark song. At 119 bpm, it’ll give you a 13:06 mile time which is perfect for a cool down jog or a quick walking pace if you prefer to cool down that way.

About the Author: 
Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment, music, fashion, and lifestyle blogger for SatelliteStarInternet. When not working, he can be found pounding the pavement in Chicago’s north side or working on creating the perfect running playlist.

---> Many thanks to Spencer for his contribution.  Always a pleasure.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Keep On Running

"As every runner knows, running is about more than just putting one foot in front of the other; it is about our lifestyle and who we are." 
- Joan Benoit Samuelson

I have been running in some way, shape or form since I was 10.  I didn't catch the marathon bug until after my kids were born.  Boston had always been on my bucket list so I ran the Baystate marathon in Lowell (great race) to qualify and then the next year I checked Boston off the list.  That was back in 2007.  Fun fact...when I ran my first marathon, I was the co-owner of small women's accessories company called Laurie Weber.  We designed belts and handbags that were carried in hundreds of retail stores across the country.  It was the hardest I'd worked.  Ever.  I ran on the side, as a stress reliever, often with my partner-in-crime/best friend who owned the company with me.  Then I had a second kid, she got married and had her first of three and, in a nutshell, life got a bit too complicated for trade shows and road trips.  So, we closed our doors and moved on.  But the running never stopped.  When my girls were little, particularly my younger one who claims she's never getting married and wants to live with me forever (no joke), they would cry and hold on to my legs if I told them I was headed out for a run.  The melt down would be twice as fun if I was leaving them with a sitter versus their dad or a family member.  Oh man, the guilt.  It was heavy and hard to shake.  And yet I kept running and racing because I was hooked and once I got over the guilt of ditching my kids, it made me feel like supermom which benefitted all of us.  As the girls got older, they started to understand or, more realistically, accept that mom needed to run.  For the first few marathons and even for some of the shorter races, they would come and watch.  Unless there was face painting or a petting zoo at the end of the race (thank you Greenstride), they would likely be cold and/or painfully bored by the end, usually chomping at the bit to go home.  Fast forward seven years, seven marathons, a handful of halves, and more 5Ks than I can count.  My girls are 8 and 6.  They have their own agenda.  They both play soccer on the week-ends and their social lives are busier than mine.  My husband and I have to divide and conquer and rarely do they come to my races simply because we can't make it work.  It's okay.  I still do it and they, my husband included, all seem to "get it".  Case in point, my older daughter recently did a cartwheel and landed on my foot, stood up and gasped as she asked if I was okay.  "Yep, totally fine", I told her.  "Thank goodness", she said.  "I would NOT want to be the one who kept mom from running.  That would be really bad."  We both laughed.  Today I am a high school girls running coach.  I am a relatively competitive runner myself.  I blog about running.  I am an ambassador for Oiselle, a women's running apparel company.  Running is at the epicenter of all that I do.  And there is not a day that goes by where I don't think about how lucky I am that this is the case.  Over the years, I have wondered how my running and running-related activities will impact my children in the long run.  I have struggled with the balance of running and family and have made every effort to keep them in check, which is not easy. Now, if my kids are bummed that I'm leaving for a race, they basically give it to me straight.  And if they're okay with it, they give me a hug and wish me good luck.  We're figuring it out together as we go.  This past week-end, I raced in a local 5K.  It was a disappointing performance for me, but there was no time to dwell on it.  That same day, my older daughter had played like a rock star in her soccer game. She was thrilled.  The focus was all on her that day -  as it should have been.  But here's the kicker.  The next morning, I sat down at my desk and found the following note on my keyboard from my 6 year old:

Translation: i love you mom (keep on running)
I smiled.  Okay, fine, I might have gotten a little teary.  But, I was also floored.  Somehow she knew.  We didn't talk about it, but she had sensed that I was bummed after my race.  And she also knows how important running is to me.  To have your six year old encourage you to stick with something you love...there's nothing better.  Turns out my running is having a positive impact on them in more ways than I ever could have imagined.

Listen to this:
Thunder Clatter - Wild Cub  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Every Day is the Day

So, yesterday, I took on #3 of my November "to-do" list and ran the first of three shorter, local races I have on the books for this month.  After having run a marathon in October, I have been looking forward to racing a 5K.  There is nothing like gearing up for a race knowing that I will be done in about 20 minutes versus 3+ hours.  It was a cloudy, chilly day, one of the few we've had all fall (which is nuts, but I'll take it).  I warmed up with a friend/fellow coach and he very generously lent me his ear as I vented about some frustrating issues I'm currently dealing with at work.  I have a few things I'm working through and this is about the third time in a week that I have bounced my thoughts off of him.  As I'm writing this I'm realizing I should buy him lunch or a beer or both.  Anyway, this race, in particular, is always fun because it's held in Lexington, which is where I coach, and I get to see a lot of my runners who typically volunteer before, during, and/or after the race.  It's a treat to hang out with my girls without the pressure of practice or a race looming over their heads.  I also get to catch up with some of the parents, many of whom run the race themselves, while their daughters cheer them on, which is really cool.  At the start, I was feeling good.  I  had infused myself with as much 'high school girl energy' as possible and as a result was feeling quite bubbly.  So, off we went.  As I pushed myself through these 3 short miles, I was reminded why I like the longer, slower marathon distance in comparison to the all out sprint of the 5K.  Grass is always greener, right?  In the end, the race was, um, fine.  I ran most of it with the same friend I had vented to earlier and then, well, then I just kind of lost my drive as he pushed on to the finish.  It was a hilly course and by the start of mile 3 my legs were toast.  But, that wasn't what took me down in the end.  It was my mind.  I wanted to push.  I did.  But at the same time, I didn't.  Don't you just love running??  My time was okay.  Not my worst, but far from my best.  Like a "over a minute" far.  Post race I hung out and chatted with friends, other runners, and parents which put me back in a good mood.  Then I headed off to cool down on my own.  As I shuffled along, my head swirled with many thoughts including but not limited to:
~ that was fun.
~ that kind of sucked.
~ where has my speed gone?
~ well, I did just run a marathon 3 weeks ago.
~ but I should be able to crush a 5K after a marathon, right??
~ maybe I still need more time to recover.
~ clearly I need more track work.
~ why do I even do this?  
~ because I love it.
~ but I kind of hate it, too.
~ get a grip, Rebecca.
This morning, I got an email from my friend and fellow runner, Robin A.  She had forwarded a list from the another mother runner site titled '10 Things I Wish Weren't True About Running'.  Her timing was impeccable.  When I read it, I felt as though it was written specifically for me; particularly the quote at the top of this post.  It is so hard to see eye to eye with running.  Every day is different.  Every race is different.  Some days are harder than others.  Some days I just...don't...get it.  And yet still, EVERY DAY IS THE DAY.  And so I run.

Listen to this:
Easy to Love - The Jezabels  

Friday, November 1, 2013

New Month, New "To-Do"s, New Music


There's nothing like starting a new month the day after Halloween.  Seriously, who thought of that??  Super fun to get my kids out of bed today after they'd been hopped up on sugar all night.  'Tis the price we pay.  Moving on.  November happens to be another big one.  Big for my high school cross country team because they will run in the most important races of their season this month.  Big for family as we all gather for Thanksgiving after not having seen each other since the summer.  And big for my daughter, Rosie, who turns 9 at the end of the month. WHAT??  Yes, I am in shock.  It's also kind of big from a seasonal perspective as the temps will begin to drop and we'll likely start to see some snow.  It's the relative calm before the holiday storm that follows in December.  Never a dull moment, folks.  Here's what I have on my November "to-do" list:

1. Get out the hats and gloves.
2. See my high school XC team through their final weeks of the season; taking them first to Divisionals (11/9) and then, hopefully, on to States (11/16).
3. Run some fun, SHORT, local races with friends.
4. Mentally prepare myself for my daughter's birthday party which will be happening in my basement and involves nine 8 year old girls, ice cream sundaes and nail polish.
5. Enjoy a relaxing Thanksgiving break with my family, eating a lot of food, and watching a stupid amount of football at my parents' house on Martha's Vineyard.
6. Bid farewell to the aforementioned house that our family has enjoyed for over 10 years, as it was recently sold. (sniffle)
7. Start the Christmas lists. (deep breaths)
8. Read "Where'd you Go, Bernadette" by Maria Semple (I'm halfway through, it's hilarious)
9. Watch my daughter perform in her 3rd grade play as a 'person' from the American colonial past.
10. And the easy one, listen to some good music.

Happy November, everyone.  Here's to another great month.


Here Comes the Night Time - Arcade Fire 

* Note: Arcade Fire's new album, REFLEKTOR, is epic and deserves your time and attention.


Sleigh Bells - Bitter Rivals

OH, AND.....

TRICK OR TREAT YURBUDS WINNER: Congrats to Lindsay D, who won herself a new pair or orange INSPIRES for women.  Rock on, Linsday!