Monday, January 28, 2008

Music Monday 1.28.08

Shiny Happy Motivation Mix (Now with less cursing!)

Truth be told, this is less of a mix than it is a list of tunes that get me through a workout with a little less of the edge that comes with my thuggish tendencies. Just like before, click the titles for sound clips. Enjoy.

Suddenly I See
K.T. Tunstall

This is a great "get going" ditty. It was on my iPod when I started the marathon, which was the perfect soundtrack for being in a crowd of 10,000 runners.

You Get What You Give
New Radicals

Um...the title says it all, no?


I haven’t got much time to waste, it’s time to make my way
I’m not afraid of what I’ll face, but I’m afraid to stay
I’m going down my own road and I can make it alone
I'll work and I'll fight, Till I find a place of my own

You Can Do It
No Doubt

This has always been one of my favorites off Tragic Kingdom. It's No Doubt, it's disco, it's Gwennie singing "you can do it" in your ears while you crank the tension on the trainer...what's not to like?

Right Here Right Now
Fatboy Slim

This is the first of two FS tracks to be featured here, but I will say that Fatboy Slim's greatest hits album functions well as a standalone on many levels, not the least of which is training (and not just because the editors mined from it shamelessly for the NBC Ironman broadcasts).


You push me to go the extra mile
You push me when it’s difficult to smile
You push me, a better version of myself
You push me, only you and no one else

See what I'm sayin' here? Plus, this track picks up the intensity of Right Here Right Now and takes it down another avenue. This mix is "shiny happy," but it's not "namby pamby."

Don't Let Me Down
No Doubt

Again, title is self-explanatory, but having Gwennie in your ear with "don't blow it" is also pretty good.

Champion Sound
Fatboy Slim

If you're thinking this one's on here for the title, you're half-right. Just before the female voice starts the "la la la's" where the clip starts, there is something about the timbre of that voice that just gets me...can a voice be sassy and wry? I dunno what it is, but I liked this song better when I imagined the woman/women singing with a smirk. Just sayin'.

One Way or Another

Talk about smirking...

Rebel Yell
Billy Idol

I'm going to say that yes, I am seizing on the lyric, "with a rebel yell, she cried more, more, more." This might be a good place to say that with these up-tempo songs about love/lust, replacing the object of affection with your GOAL is a good way to make a LOT of songs take on new meaning.

Working for the Weekend

1. Who isn't?
2. This is forever burned in my brain as the song Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze danced to as they competed to become the next Chippendale's dancer.

How High

How high are the stakes?
How much fortune can you make?
Does this get any better?
Should I carry on?
Will it matter when I'm gone?
Will any of this matter?

Okay, fame and fortune? No. But finish lines...yes, Madonna, they matter to me very much.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I loved it. It was much better than Cats...

GOOD NEWS: There will be an encore presentation on Thursday, Feb 21 -- GET YOUR TICKETS NOW! I'll see you there!

In the meantime:

I have an on-again/off-again relationship with the fact that I ran a marathon. My iPod died before me -- at Mile 15. On again. I only beat Katie Holmes' time by eight minutes. Off again. There are rumors that she may not have even completed the whole thing. On again. She's kinda strange and her husband is insufferable. Way on again...oh wait. I digress.

I will admit, I felt like I was going to get a little something extra out of the film because I have a finisher's medal. (Not gonna lie -- I teared up a little.) I also thought the event might cement my feelings of ownership over 26.2. If only it were as simple as that.

As I settled in for the opening moments of this film, I thought Hey, I did that! On again. One of the first talking heads validates the "slow-timers" -- that it doesn't matter how fast or how slow your time; the distance has been covered. On again.

Then they showed the amateurs and first-timers training. Off again. Ooh. I didn't do that. My longest training run was 10 miles, over two months before my race. Yes, I will say that part of the reason I don't "own" my first 26.2 is because I don't feel like I earned it. I didn't make months of sacrifice -- I simply forged on for a few hours. That feels disingenuous, somehow. Off again.

Then we got into the meat of the movie: Greek history, growth of marathon-distance races around the world, etc. But the one thing I was most impressed by was how they gave the women their props. From Kathrine Switzer's infamous entry in Boston (go girl!), to Joan Benoit's winning of the first women's Olympic marathon in 1984, I felt a special sense of -- not ownership, but something else, camaraderie, maybe? -- to see my sisters (whoa, I never use that word) kicking ass. And I will admit that I'm not sure if being a woman made me read the film this way, but I LOVED the fact that the end of the women's race was more compelling than the men's race. (Just sayin'.) On. Again.

And then: sweeping aerial shots of Chicago, footage of the race itself, glimpses of the finish line -- I've got to do Chicago. I want to see that city from the middle of the street, not the sidewalk. And you know what? Why NOT try to qualify for Boston? Then I started running the numbers and calendars trying to figure out a timeline. This year = Ironman, so...Chicago...2009? Boston '11 or '12? Is that even possible?

I think this is the moment that I made peace with my 26.2 skin: yes, I've covered the distance -- ran every step. But all I did that day was show up and keep going. So no, it's not so much about the race behind me. I'm looking to the horizon. I'm looking at the road between here and there. I've got some dues to pay. My journey to the finish line needs to be longer than 26.2 miles. But more importantly, it's one thing to earn the finish line -- it's something else to earn a starting line.




Monday, January 21, 2008

Music Monday 1.21.08

I've decided I'm going to try to post a new (hopefully motivational) music mix every Monday...we'll see how this goes. I'm also going to try to make it consistent with whatever theme I have going with the quote and the video clip in the sidebar.


We're about mid-way through January, which is but one teetering point for staying on track. The newness of the plans start wearing off and could use a little boosty before the habit of it really takes hold. Also, I'm starting school again this week...that should explain the tie between the quote, the video, and this mix. GET UP AND GET AFTER IT!

Here's what I'm listening to on this front. I admit, this particular mix is pretty thugged out (even with its detours into pop and country), but I already have a few other mixes in the works that span other genres and themes. So, like Iowa weather, if you don't like this...don't worry, you'll get something different soon.

Ass-Kicking Mix (Thuggy Version)
(click titles for samples)

Let's Get it Started
Black Eyed Peas

What could be a more self-evident first track?

Justin Timberlake

Okay, I will own my vanity and say that part of the reason I'm training is just to get back into all my cute clothes...and my cute body. I miss them both.


Who doesn't want someone yelling "yeah!" while you're working out? (Though I admit, the actual lyrics are pretty reprehensible.)

Till I Collapse

Lose Yourself has already become something of a tri anthem (I've included it further down), but I think this little gem might be more appropo. The prologue on this + Nate Dogg's hook = magnifique.

Cause sometimes you just feel tired.
You feel weak and when you feel weak you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
and just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up
and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.

Until the roof
The roof comes off
Until my legs
give out from underneath me

I will not fall,
I will stand tall,
Feels like no one could beat me.

Mama Said Knock You Out
LL Cool J

This one might be a bit of a throwaway -- sometimes I listen; sometimes I skip it. I just like the opening line: "Don't call it a comeback/I've been here for years," given my recent realizations. But it's a tuff song all the way around.

You Can Do It
Ice Cube

I will just say that in addition to the hook, these lines are why this track is included. Warning: this one is not for the kiddies.

Hear me banging down these back streets
Bumpin' Blackstreet, treated like a athlete
Life ain't a track meet (no) it's a marathon
F*** the cemetery that a nigga get buried on

There is another song by the same name by No Doubt that is also a goodie, but it is for a mix of a different feel (maybe next week).

Christina Aguilera

This sorta picks up the boxing theme from Mr. Smith two tracks back...but mostly this track needs no explanation:

Cause it makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter

'Nuff said.

Lose Yourself

Ah...the requisite Iron anthem:

If you had one shot, one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted-One moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip?

The Distance

This is more of a race day track, but if you don't visualize, how will you ever reach your goals?


Toward the end of a workout, when I might be tempted to cut it short, this and the next track help me dig a little deeper and help connect my present pain to the future triumph that I want so much.

How Bad Do You Want It?
Tim McGraw

This song alone has gotten me out of bed, out of the house, to the pool, through the last few laps, through the last few reps, away from chicken name it, this one is just too good not to include no matter how thuggy the mix might be.

Are you hungry?
Are you thirsty?
Is it a fire that burns you up inside?
How bad do you want it?
How bad do you need it?
Are you eating, sleeping, dreaming
With that one thing on your mind?
How bad do you want it?
How bad do you need it?
Cause if you want it all
You've got to lay it all out on the line

See what I mean?

Friday, January 18, 2008

An Exercise in Dream Interpretation

Here's the wacky dream I just had:

I'm at a triathlon -- my first race of the season. I kick major ass on the swim -- I'm the first one out of the water! And then the whole thing falls apart: in transition I forget my shoes and I try to clip in wearing high-heeled boots (!) then I ride to this storage closet to find my shoes...but my lead was so good coming off the swim that I'm still in contention! But alas, my bike skills are still weak enough that I end up in the back of the pack where I belong.

The alarm goes off just as I'm entering T2.

You think this has anything to do with the fact that I've been hitting the swimming hard and not the other two as much? And maybe I have some anxiety about the fact that my tri room is still not organized?


Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Lessons in 26.2

Ah...the long-overdue race report:

On December 2, 2007, I finished my first marathon. The mile-by-mile account was half-finished for a long time and not all that interesting. Instead, I want to share the enduring memories from this experience – by way of quotes and t-shirts.

First things first: I want to give a heartfelt thanks to my friends, Scott and Ana, for taking such good care of me both physically and mentally in the days surrounding this race. IMHO, having this kind of support is just as important as training. (In my case, it was a good substitute!)

Distance Creep – Last year, GeekGirl and AndraSue wrote about this phenomenon. Even though my training leading up to race day had been spotty, I still fell victim to The Creep. Once 140.6 was on the table, 26.2 seemed somehow lesser, like it wasn’t a big deal. Even though I didn’t know if I could finish, and even though I thought I would start hurting at mile 13, I didn’t feel like anything about me would fundamentally change if and when I crossed the finish line.

Oddly enough, this attitude toward the distance kept me calm at the start line (I have dry-heaved at the start of more than one race). It also took DNF off the table. I knew that only an injury or a freak storm would keep me from the finish line, even if I had to crawl.

And then I took walking off the table as well.

The start line is probably no place to start setting goals, but just before the gun went off a little voice in my head said, “You know you’re going to finish – wouldn’t it be great if you RAN the whole thing?”

So I did. And it was.

The last 10K: "The marathon's about being in contention over the last 10K. That's when it's about what you have in your core. You have run all the strength, all the superficial fitness out of yourself, and it really comes down to what's left inside you. To be able to draw deep and pull something out of yourself is one of the most tremendous things about the marathon." - Rob de Castella

So I’m obviously not a contender of any sort, but this thing about the last 10K is no joke. (I've also seen shirts that say a marathon is just a 10K with a 20-mile warm-up -- also true.) Once I hit Mile 20, my mind started checking out of the race. All I could think was "All right! Just another 10K and you're done -- you've done that before." This is when the real pain started to set in.

Scott cheered for me on the course at miles 18, 20, and 22. Boy, was I glad to see him! At Mile 18 he said, "Hey, you're really going to finish this thing!" At mile 18 I agreed -- I still felt pretty good. Mile 20 was a little different. I honestly didn't know for certain if I would finish between Miles 20-24. There were moments when I thought, "I have to keep running because my muscles will implode if I walk." And "How lame would it be for me to DNF at Mile 24?" Mostly I thought, "How on earth am I going to do this AFTER riding 112 miles?" But I kept moving and about 10 minutes later I reached Mile 25 and then it was ON.

Remember what I said before about The Creep? It completely disappears at Mile 26. When I got there and could hear the finish line around the corner, I picked up the pace -- partly to get the damned thing over with, and partly to look like a "real runner" as I crossed the line, if only in my head. Thoughts of "I really did this" emerged.

The Last Point-Two: The CIM course makes two left turns at the end, each a block apart. After the last turn, you have one city block between you and the finish line. Whenever I imagine crossing the finish line at Ironman, I know I will weep. Perhaps it was The Creep, but I only thought I would feel a moderate sense of accomplishment crossing the line for this race. But when I caught sight of the finish banner, I teared up a little. Then the announcer called me by name -- which I did not expect at all. My arms shot up in a victory-v and a smile washed over my face.

For all the mind tricks and nay-saying -- I DID IT and it felt FANTASTIC! My inner ass-kicker moved a little closer to the surface!

Chip time: 5:21

Is it bad that I'm happy about beating Katie Holmes' time by 8 minutes? I'm going to say no.

Parting Thought: Scott drove me to the start line in Folsom. He said, "You know, we live at mile 21 or 22 and we have been on the FREEWAY driving to where this thing starts for A WHILE now...I can't believe you're going to cover this distance on foot."

Believe it.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

'08 Overhaul

In addition to changing the look of my blog, I’m also changing the focus. Last year was all about making changes, setting ridiculously lofty goals and working toward them with an effort that hovered near the ground, then making excuses for missing workouts, events, etc. with some self-deprecating humor and a pop song.

Then I managed to finish a marathon. (No one was more pleasantly surprised than me.)

And I realized something about this so-called “new leaf.”

It’s not so new. It was just buried under a bunch of crud. One of my favorite comments last year was from my friend, Sunny (00badness). When I posted a Father’s Day tribute to my dad, she wrote, “You obviously have it in you (not Gatorade, silly) – 'it.' Like the eye of the tiger or something. Your dad is an ass-kicker and so are you. Now go find your inner ass-kicker.”

Hell. Effing. Yeah.

I’ll talk more about my ass-kicker in a separate post, but suffice to say, the focus of this year’s blog will be on channeling the inner ass kicker in all of us. Every week, I’ll post a new quote and video clip. The theme songs will remain, though I will embed them in each post. I can’t imagine that my sense of irony will slip away, but my hope is that I will use it to keep myself moving forward instead of reveling in lapses of commitment.

Hope you like the new New Leaf.