Saturday, December 28, 2013


Well folks, it's hard to believe the time has come to bid this year adieu.  I hope your 2013 was truly fantastic.  Here's to another great one for all of us.  I am already giddy with excitement over some of the new music that is set to be released in 2014 i.e. I Break Horses, Alt-J, Grizzly Bear & U2.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves.  There was some incredible music released in 2013.  We listened to it, obsessed over it, danced to it, ran with it, talked about it, wrote about it, shared it and then did all of those things over and over and over again.  If you are passionate about music as I am, it's likely that you, too, are always on the hunt for new gems.  Fortunately, they are incredibly easy to find as long as we are willing to spend the time to dig them up (clearly, I am more than willing).  A few weeks ago, I asked you to chime in with your favorites which I then compiled to create the below playlist of songs and albums.  The list is long, has some solid variety and, in my humble opinion, is totally awesome.  I realize that everyone has their own taste in music.  I do my best to seek out a good assortment for this blog, though I know I don't always tap into the full spectrum.  This, dear readers, is precisely why I reached out to you.  My goal was to include as many genres as possible and, hopefully, to broaden all of our musical horizons.  Most of the music on the list was released in 2013.  And those songs or albums that were not, well, they aren't as new, but they moved you all the same.  And that is what matters.  Many thanks to everyone for both your contributions and for sharing your passion for music with the rest of us.  Happy New Year & ROCK ON.

Washed Out- Paracosm
Lorde - Pure Heroine
Chvrches - The Bones of What You Believe
Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the Modern City
The National - Trouble Will Find Me
Calvin Harris - 18 months
Avett Brothers - Magpie & the Dandelion
Tinariwen - Emmarr
Frente Cumbiero - Frente Cumbiero Meets Mad Professor
Tame Impala - Lonerism
POND - Hobo Rocket
Jagwar Ma - Howlin
Bombino - Nomad
The Lumineers - The Lumineers
Lord Huron - Lonesome Dreams
Imagine Dragons - Night Visions
Molly & The Danger Band 
Fall Out Boy - Save Rock and Roll
Flogging Molly (any album)
Dropkick Murphys (any album)

Sparklers - Gemini Club
How Loud Your Heart Gets - Lucius
Radioactive - Imagine Dragons
Battle Born - Five Finger Death Punch
Born to Rise - Redlight King
Free - Train
Radioactive - Pentatonix & Lindsey Sterling


************** WINNERS of RUNNERBOX & YURBUDS GOODIES ****************

YURBUDSMARCY, a fan of AWOLNATION and the Avvett Brothers
RUNNERBOX (single box) - RunningNutza fan of Lady Gaga & Bruno Mars (& a Loopster)
RUNNERBOX (gift cert) - Heather, a fan of Fallout Boy & the Dropkick Murphys

Please email me at with your contact information so I can get these out to you.  Thanks again to Yurbuds & RUNNERBOX for the amazing treats.  See you all in 2014!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Everything

Tomorrow we are headed to Cape Cod to spend Christmas with my husband's side of the family.  In all, there will be 6 adults, 5 kids (ages 12-6), 2 dogs, and 2 guinea pigs.  Translation: total chaos.  But it's all good.  It's happy chaos.  I am signing off for a few days as my list of 'to-do's before Santa arrives is long and will likely be pretty time consuming.  And so, fellow runners and music junkies, I will leave you with my top 5 albums and songs of 2013, in no particular order.  It took me more time than I'd like to admit to compile this list but it's only because it was really hard for me to narrow it down.  For a music fan, it's not a bad problem to have.  Not to worry, I am still working on the RWM Readers' Best of 2013 music list which, thanks to your contributions, is lengthy and deliciously diverse.  That one I'll post after the holiday dust has settled. (note: there is still time to chime in on this. Click here)  Until then, here is a little something to sink your teeth into as you forge ahead through the holiday madness.  Eat, drink, be merry and rock on.

RWM Best of 2013 - ALBUMS
Reflektor - Arcade Fire  
Pure Heroine - Lorde  
Bitter Rivals - Sleigh Bells  
Bigfoot - Cayucas  
In Rolling Waves - The Naked & Famous  
Honorable Mention:
Secondhand Rapture - MS MR  

RWM Best of 2013 - SONGS
Here Comes the Night Time - Arcade Fire  
Burn - Ellie Goulding  
We Sink - Chvches  
A Stillness - The Naked & Famous  
Riptide - Vance Joy  
Honorable Mention:
Faith - I Break Horses  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Inside Humor

There are two scenarios that force me to run inside on the 'dreadmil'.  The first is a blizzard as it's pretty tough to run through a white out.  And the second is when temps go below 10 degrees and the roads freeze which is an invitation for frost bite and a broken bone.  Both of those weather phenomena happened this week.  Go figure.  Tuesday morning it was 6℉ and our driveway was a sheet of ice so I headed off to the YMCA to run on the hamster wheel.  Since it was my first time inside this season, I was okay with it.  I hadn't run in over a week so I was a itchin' to move and the combination of that along with the novelty of something new made the run kind of fun.  Kind of.  In truth, I did sing and dance a little bit to keep myself entertained.  During my 2nd of 5 miles, the trainer came over to chat with me.  That was funny.  Here's a little piece of our conversation:

Trainer: Miss, are you okay?
Me: Yes. Why?
Trainer: You were waiving your hands and mumbling. I thought you needed something.
Me: Oh. Sorry. I was singing and, um, dancing.
Trainer: (raised eyebrow) Ah. Do you do that a lot?
Me: Yes. Yes I do.
Trainer: Right. Good to know.

As runners, we do what we have to do to make it work, especially during the winter.  When I run, I like to rock out.  When I'm outside, it's not very obvious.  When I'm inside it probably looks ridiculous.  I guess I don't really care.  On to Wednesday.  It had snowed about 8 inches the night before.  The roads were sketchy and there was no room to run.  I headed back to the gym for a track workout.  The novelty had definitely worn off and I was in no way looking forward to getting back on a machine to run.  I begrudgingly hopped on and did a 2 mile warmup; nice and slow.  Then, I switched gears and started my workout which was 10x400 @ 5K pace with a 400 recovery jog in between.  As you can imagine, going from 7mph to 10mph every 90 seconds looked as bizarre as it sounds.  For my first couple of intervals, as I sped up and slowed down, I could see the trainer walking back and forth behind me.  I'm pretty sure she thought I didn't know how to use the machine and was worried I might fall off.  But, by the 4th repeat, I had settled into a rhythm, albeit choppy, and I guess she assumed I had it under control.  The whole workout took me a little over an hour.  It was so damn hard. (there's no cheating on a treadmill)  When I finished and was walking to a stop, the girl on the treadmill next to me was staring at me with a confused look on her face.  Here's how this conversation played out:

Her: What were you just doing?
Me: Oh, I was doing a track workout that I would normally do outside.
Her: Are you training for something?
Me: Not really.  I mean, I have a few races coming up next spring but I'm always sort of in training.
Her: So you like doing that?
Me: Well, it's hard and I don't like it while I'm in the middle of if.  But, yea, I like it when I'm done.
Her: No offense, but that's just crazy.
Me:  Well, I...yea.  Yea it is.  

I laughed with her as I hopped off and walked away.  It's going to be a long, and, apparently, humorous, winter.  I'm good with that.  No, really, I am.

Listen to this:
Turn It Around - Lucius  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Off the Road & Still Driving

Due to my recent aforementioned fall and a few bruised ribs, I have not been able to run in a little over a week.  As my coach said yesterday when I told him I was still sore and off the road, "If you had to suffer a setback, this is not a terrible time for it."  Not terrible at all.  In fact, I've been having a ball.  So, I have not been able to run.  I have, however....

~ skied with my family up at Cannon in NH. (very, very carefully)
~ over-indulged in festive food and drink at holiday parties.
~ finished all of my Christmas shopping.
~ read the Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. Really good.
~ learned how to care for an Amaryllis flower. (not terribly hard, but I tend to kill plants, so I'm stressed about doing it right)
~ spent some quality time working on the RWM Best of 2013 Music List (there's still time to chime in)
~ consumed copious amounts of coffee with friends.
~ serviced my car (such a ridiculous pain but so satisfying when it's done)
~ figured out how to use the elliptical machine without moving my upper body while also reading a book. (this is harder than it sounds)
~ and much, much more.

....proving, once again, that life does go on even when the running doesn't.  I know, SHOCKER.  But,  seriously, it's good to get the reminder now and again.  I'm 38 years old.  I have had several running related setbacks over the years.  And like a loyal friend, running has always been there for me when I was ready to come back.  More importantly though, I've learned to make the most of my time off the road.  Particularly as I've gotten older.  Running is a "nice to have".  But family, friends (and fun) happen to be available ALL the time.  Well, okay, it's not that fun to service a car, but it IS fun to take your kids through the car wash, let them sit in the front seat and sing with them at the top of our lungs.  The road will wait for my feet.  Until then, I'll be driving on it with a very clean, fully serviced car with the music at full blast seeking out opportunities for more good times.  Àndale!!

Listen to this:
The Courtship of Summer Preasley* - The Griswolds  

* note: there is some explicit language in this ditty. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Take A Message

My 9 year old rarely stops moving.  She has a hard time sitting through a meal, she stands to do her homework, and when she's not trying to be still, she's dancing, cartwheeling, jumping, get the point.  She's a mover.  I am always telling her to slow down.  And she is always rolling her eyes at me.  I'm sure her energy will eventually serve her well, but at the moment, it can be very tough to manage.  Yesterday she hopped out of bed and ran downstairs to get breakfast.  Her wheels were spinning so quickly that she lost her footing on our basement stairs and somersaulted down the entire flight.  Fortunately, she is both agile and flexible, so she bent in all the right places and managed to walk (or hop) away with a small scratch on her back and a bump on her bed.  But, I could see the fear in her eyes as she described what happened with tears rolling down her cheeks.  She was really shaken up.  It was not the right moment to say something like..."Rosie, this is why I am always telling you to slow down", though I did think it to myself.  Instead, I gave her a hug, told her I was sorry and remarked on how incredibly tough she was.  I also made a mental note to chat with her at a later time about her fall and the message she could take from it.  Let's rewind a bit.  Last week, as some of you may know, I slipped as I was walking down my neighbor's stairs and landed on my back, bruising my ribs.  It was incredibly painful and I was incredibly annoyed with myself.  This type of injury is particularly frustrating because there is nothing you can do to heal other than take it easy.  I can sit still and focus for a lot longer than my daughter can, but I have a very tough time "taking it easy".  Having done this exact thing less than two years ago, I know it takes a while for the ribs to heal.  So, to my dismay, this injury is forcing me to chill out for a while.  Today, I can't help but think there is a message I should be taking from this, much like there was for Rosie when she tumbled down the stairs.  I have run three marathons this year and several other smaller races.  I have trained and raced while dealing with plantar fasciitis in both of my feet.  In between races, I have not given them the rest they need/want because I am impatient and more than willing to run through discomfort.  More recently, I have also been battling a pulled hamstring on my right leg.  It started to bother me just after the Plymouth marathon that I ran in November and hasn't let up since....not that I have given it a chance.  I have gotten a sports massage, rolled, iced, heated, biofreezed (is that a verb?)... all those things and yet it has still been bugging me on every run whether it's 4 miles or 10.  I have been running for most of my life.  You would think as I got older I'd listen more closely to my body, but no.  For some reason, I have been shutting out the noise my feet and hamstring have been making.  Perhaps my music is too loud.  Or, more likely, I am just being stubborn.  Do I think I was meant to fall?  Not really.  I don't think Rosie was either.  But I do believe that sometimes things happen for a reason.  Some higher power was telling me to stop.  To give my feet and legs the break they have been asking for.  To be mindful.  To listen.  Like Rosie, this might be where I roll my eyes and say "whatever".  But this time, I'm taking the message.  It's been a week since I fell and my feet feel significant relief.  Imagine that??  It's been a day since Rosie fell and she's already bouncing around like a ping pong ball.  Go figure.  But she's a kid.  Our minds work differently.  Thankfully, the message will always be there for both of us.  I hear it now.  She'll hear it eventually.

Listen to this:
Gold - Sir Sly     

One more thing:
Since we're talking about messages, I have one more.  Okay, it's more of a question.  WHAT DID YOU LISTEN TO THIS YEAR?  Share your favorite song/album from 2013 for running, dancing, whatever.  Click to comment and you'll be entered to win goodies from Yurbuds & Runnerbox.  It's so easy...just leave a message at the beep.  Beeeeep.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Believe, You Receive

So what do you when you slip and fall and bruise your ribs from front to back?  Well, first you wallow in sorrow and pain.  And then, since no one likes to be around a wallower, you pull up your boot straps and deal with it.  For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you will remember the summer before last (wow, that's a lot of blog posts) when I fell off a folding chair and bruised my ribs on the left side.  I had been training pretty hard for multiple races and was forced to take 3 weeks off  But not 'cross train' rest.  'Rib-healing' rest.  Translation: do nothing.  Zip.  Nada.  Because it hurt to do anything physical that involved movement; walking, sneezing, name it.  In truth, I wallowed quite a bit during those 3 weeks.  But this time around, dear friends, I am not going to do that.  I am going to make the most of the situation.  Side I think it's odd that I have fallen and bruised my ribs twice in less than two years?  Yes.  Yes I do.  Perhaps I'll revisit that in a another post.  This week, though, I will be healing with music.  My kids believe in Santa.  I believe in the power of music.  It is the gift that keeps on giving.  The ultimate spirit lifter.  It makes the party...or makes the party better.  It puts a smile on our faces.  It brings us to our feet.  It moves us to dance or to run or both.   It never lets us down.  And it never stops blowing me away.  I believe in music.  And, I also believe in giving.  My thought today...why not close this year out with one final mega RWM giveaway?  I believe, you receive.  Yes, I have too much time on my hands and way too much energy. How does this involve you?  So glad you asked.  Read below and let the festivities begin!

Readers, runners, rockers, all of the above....I NEED YOUR HELP.  From now until the end of the year I will be compiling a BEST OF 2013 music list.  I want to hear from you.  What song or album knocked your socks off this year?  Moved you to cut a rug?  Pushed you to a PR?  Made you not want to get out of your car so you could keep listening (this happened to me today)?  Caused you to spontaneously hive-five a stranger?  And if none of those happened this year....well, first I'm so sorry.  And second, you still have three weeks to drum up something good to share with us.  I realize that we are all insanely busy right now and that time is limited, so I'm going to sweeten the deal a bit to try to hook you in here. You've got 3 shots to win.  One lucky dog will get a swanky new pair of Yurbuds Ironman Inspire Pro Earphones (retail value $59.99).  The best sport earphones out there.  Period.

Two other lucky ducks will win either a box of running related goodies from RUNNERBOX or a RUNNERBOX gift card which they can use to pick out the box of their choice (and there are several options).  BOOYAH!  Oh, and make it snappy because the first 10 people who comment will receive an RWM sticker from yours truly.  I know, it's MADNESS.  And if all of that doesn't get you excited and make you want to chime in, I don't know what will.

THE DETAILS:  Comment below or tweet your "best of" music choices to @runningwmusic. Yurbuds and RUNNERBOX winners will be picked via on 12/27.  Please make sure I can reach you in some way, shape or form.  Contest is open to US residents only.  Many thanks to Yurbuds and RUNNERBOX for being awesome .  Good luck & rock on.

Listen to this:
Run - Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.  

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Friends, Gingerbread, Smiles, etc.

~ Flaming Lips

I have had several valuable realizations this week.  Some more significant than others.  But all worth sharing.  I'll cut right to the chase here.

1. Running is so much better with a buddy (at least for me).  Though my running partner and I have trained and raced together in the past, lately our schedules have shifted and our training plans have gone in different directions.  Sadly, we haven't been able to get out together for a few weeks other than the occasional one-off.  Somehow, we managed to run together 3 times this week and it was such a pleasure to be out with her again.  I love listening to music when I run.  But I like chatting with a friend even more.

2. Though I enjoy most gingerbread products, both edible and non-edible, I do NOT like Gingerbread lattes and was slightly devastated when I realized, despite my best efforts, that I couldn't finish this so-called holiday treat.  Nothing like pouring money down the drain.  Literally.  Moving forward, I will stick with the basics ie. gingersnaps and scented candles.

3. Just when I thought they couldn't possibly make running shoes any cooler, Saucony does it again with the Ride 6 ViZiGLO.  These puppies glow in the dark.  And they are ridiculously badass looking.

4. Pandora is good.  Pandora One is amazing.  For a mere $3.99 a month (which is less than a gingerbread latte, dammit), you can get all the music YOU want, anywhere, anytime.  No ads.  No crap.  It is the ultimate personal music system at your fingertips.  Why not treat yourself this holiday season?  In this case, a little does indeed go a long way.

5. And last, but not least, more often than not, when you smile at someone, they smile back.  I have been making a conscious effort to do this more.  It's so simple. Yet so nice.  And the nice part tends to spread, in a good way.  As my friend KH said to me yesterday, "I'm realizing that life doesn't need to be taken so seriously all the time.  I am trying really hard to smile and laugh more."  I think she might be on to something.

Listen to this:
Faith - I Break Horses  
Note: 'I Break Horses' is set to release their latest album on 1/20.  Oh boy.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Running Gear & Good Music

TOP 5 REASONS to Purchase New Running Gear During the Holidays:

1. It's cold and you can no longer get away with holes in your socks.

2. Your tights from last year aren't meant to be see through.

3. Nothing fits right because it didn't fit right last year and you didn't deal.

4. You need a new watch to keep pace with the chaos of the season.

5. You and Santa had a falling out and you're not sure whether he's forgiven you.

Okay fine, maybe you just want them.  That's okay, too.

TOP 5 REASONS to Listen to Good Music During the Holidays:

1. You're going caroling and you need some inspiration.

2. You will be spending an insane amount of time wrapping presents and you want to take your mind off of all the cutting and taping by rocking out.

3. You have a holiday party to go to and you want to sharpen up your dance moves.

4. You have a holiday party to host and you don't want to play the same old thing.

5. Wait, really?  Do you really need a reason for this?

Go ahead.  Wear sequins.  Drink eggnog.  Belt it out.  GET FESTIVE.  Anything goes during this season of never-ending joy.  Here's some goodies to liven up your spirit.

Listen to these:
Sam Smith - Money on My Mind

Sweater Weather - The Neighbourhood

The Man I Need - Jagwar ma

Jennifer - Little Comets

Sunday, December 1, 2013


'Tis the season, folks.  December is yet another big one.  Particularly for the wee ones.  My monthly "to-do" list is long and multi-layered.  And, yes, most of it is holiday related.  Ho ho ho.  I have just learned that the lego sets that have been on my girls' lists for several months are no longer a hot ticket item.  Total bummer seeing as I'd already let the big man know about them and gone so far as to purchase them myself knowing he would pay me back.  So much for being on the ball.  Though my kids would beg to differ, there is more to this month than Christmas.  My local running group has a 5K on the books that we'll be trying to win as a team...for best costume.  My family will start trekking up to Cannon Mountain in New Hampshire every week-end to ski; my 9 year old downhill racing for the first time this season (deep breaths).  And, as always, I will continue to dig around for good music.  Though, I can not tell a lie, I am a sucker for Nat King Cole in December.  So, to all of you, regardless of what and/or how you celebrate this month, if at all, may you enjoy it as much as my 6 year old does....which is typically a lot.  MerrEverything!

December 'To-Do' List
1. Several holiday related items including, but not limited to:
  • purchase & trim our tree
  • shop for Christmas gifts
  • stress out and panic when my kids change their minds
  • decorate the house with holiday tchotchkes (we have MANY)
2. Run the Winter Classic 5K with the Winchester ladies in full costume, tutus and all.
3. Head up to New Hampshire for the start of our ski season at Cannon.
4. Build a snowman and get some sledding in with my kids (weather permitting).
5. Go cheer on my LHS ladies at an indoor track meet.
6. Eat a ridiculous amount of gingerbread products.
7. Host our neighborhood Christmas party.
8. Enjoy the long break from school, work, & routine between Christmas & New Years.
9. Spend some quality time with my husband's side of the family during the break; a total of 5 kids (ages 6-12), 6 adults, 2 dogs, and 2 guinea pigs when we're all together.
10. Rock around the Christmas tree with the December music of the month.

Mesmerise - Temples


Matangi - M.I.A.

AND (I couldn't resist)

A Very She & Him Christmas - She & Him