Music of Running

rUnconscious…

(Normally, I’d reserve the term rUnconscious as the feeling of being “in the zone” during a run. The following could be an alternative situational definition):

I open Facebook.

I see a motivational running post from [Insert page of your choice here] – From one of the many motivational pages we all “Like” on Facebook/ or Follow on Twitter.

It says:

The feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running.”

I think Good one.

I add to myself: A bad run is better wishing you were running too.

Then I think, Why the heck am I on Facebook?

I could be running right now.

(and the stream of consciousness goes on)…

Hmm, I guess talking about running is better than nothing?

Good Run>Bad run>Talking about running>Facebook/Twitter motivation>No Run

Then I think of the last part of the quote: “…wishing you were running.”

Hmm, what if you are injured or if it is rest day?  You might wish you were running then?

Good Run>Bad run>Talking about running>Rest Day>Facebook/Twitter motivation>Wishing-you-were-running>Injured Runner>Non-Runner

Injured runner?  What is good about that? Not much, but at least you’re a runner (just unable right now). You can do lots of things even if you’re injured.

Cross train? Not ideal, but it’s something.

What else?

Volunteer at a race?  Oh, I like doing that.

Good Run>Bad run>Cross Train>Race Volunteer>Talking about running>Rest Day>Facebook/Twitter motivation>Wishing-you-were-running>Injured Runner>Non-Runner

Then, I’m reminded that I’m sitting on my butt: writing, not running.

Hmm, Writing about thinking about talking about wishing I was running.

That is kind of confusing, and I’m not even drinking.  I could use a glass of wine.  I really need to run though.

Hmm…. Wine=Running?

Songs For Your Recovery Run…

(For the runs in which you leave your watch at home).

Here are 51 songs for a recovery run, a cool down or for after you’re done.  These songs will help you get lost in the moments of a relaxing run, or they will help you shed your intensity after a tough workout…

1.  Nothing Left to Lose by Matt Kearney

2.  In a Daydream by The Freddy Jones Band

3.  New Hampshire by Matt Pond PA

4.  See the World by Gomez

5.  Holocene by Bon Iver

6.  Kingdom of Rust by Doves

7.  Paradise Cove by Pete Yorn

8.  California Stars by Billy Bragg & Wilco

9.  Have a Nice Day by Stereophonics

10. Just Breathe by Pearl Jam

11. Run Run Run by Phoenix

12. Half Moon by Blind Pilot

13. Summer Skin by Death Cab for Cutie

14. Good to Sea by Pinback

15. Wonderful (The Way I Feel) by My Morning Jacket

16. Let Your Troubles Roll By by Carbon Leaf

17. Champagne Supernova by Oasis (See also Matt Pond PA)

18. Time Is A Runaway by The Alternate Routes

19. Concrete Sky by Beth Orten

20. Better Together by Jack Johnson

21. In the Morning of the Magicians by The Flaming Lips

22. On My Way Back Home by Band of Horses

23. Satellite by Guster

24. Valley Winter Song by Fountains of Wayne

25. Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby by Counting Crows

26. Fire Away by Dawes

27. Lost In My Mind by The Head and the Heart

28. Rise by Eddie Vedder

29. All My Days by Alexi Murdock

30. Nuclear by Ryan Adams

31. Middle Distance Runner by Seawolf

32. Life In A Northern Town by The Dream Academy

33. The Finish Line by Train

34. Lucky Man by The Verve

35. Eyes by Rogue Wave

36. Chicago by Sufjan Stevens

37. Head Home by Midlake

38. The Only Living Boy In New York by Simon & Garfunkle

39. I’m In Love by Francis Dunnery

40. Light & Day / Reach for the Sun by The Polyphonic Spree

41. Run by Snow Patrol

42. Sailing to Philadelphia by Mark Knopfler

43. Breathe by Wheat

44. Specks by Matt Pond PA

45. Pink Moon by Nick Drake

46. Peace Train by Cat Stevens

47. All Kinds of Time by Fountains of Wayne

48. Sail Away by David Gray

49. Windows Are Rolled Down by Amos Lee

50. Zig Zag by Ben Arnold

51. How to Save a Life by The Fray

Road Test: “Marathon Runner” by Yellow Ostrich…

“I run until I know what to believe.”

On Friday, Runner’s World posed the following question about a song called “Marathon Runner” by a band called Yellow Ostrich:

Is it worthy of your long-run playlist?

So, I decided to Road Test it this weekend.  Nice song with a great Indie sound.
After a few listens, I gathered the song is about a flawed person in search of purpose. He shoots down the dreams of others, perhaps because he’s yet to figure out his own dreams.

My initial thought was: I don’t like this guy, and I don’t know how I feel about this as a running song. However, something strange occurred. I happened to be running up a hill during part of the chorus:

“I am a marathon runner. My legs are sore, and I’m anxious to see what I’m running for…”

…and somehow, it assisted me in getting up that hill.  Then it hit me: the song is also about inner struggle. I think we can all relate to this as people and runners (We’ve all struggled up that hill).  The slow build into the thunderous chorus works really well too. If the protagonist in the song has a redeeming quality, it’s that he has some insight into his character flaws. He’s looking for something in which to believe.  Aren’t we all?

I recommend it for a longer run, but not a speed workout.

GRADE: 2.5 WINGS (out of 5)

 

8+ MPH

Sometimes a workout defies logic. Before a recent run, I didn’t eat well or prep well. It was slushy. It was rainy. My left foot had been bothering me. Yet, it felt effortless. It was one of those “Breakthrough Runs” I’ve written about in the past (see post from 11/1/11: The Breakthrough Run). I didn’t question it…I just decided to enjoy the moment.

I am starting to think I have turned a corner in the 14-month runner’s rut I’ve also posted about. The motivation is back.  The form is back. The desire to race (at my pace) is back.

Speaking of racing, last week I did the Icicle 10 Miler in Delaware. It was my first non-rabbiting race at that distance in over a year. I was not satisfied with my pace, but it was a decent pace for me in January.  However, I was not satisfied.  This is a key sign for me.

Those of you who know me know how I feel about contentment with running performance.  I’m rarely content with my own performance.  At times, I have not signed up for races because of this attitude.  However, after last week’s race, despite feeling a bit humbled, I’m ready for another one.  I am ready to push it again.  This is a good feeling.  This feeling has not surfaced in a while.

Look, I’m not an elite runner (few are).  Second, I’m not a “Back” or a “Middle” of the pack person either.  I am a “Closer-to-the-front” runner. This can be a wonderful but weird place to be: You don’t usually place or get medals (actually, when you turn 40, sometimes you place in your age group), yet you’re not there “just for the experience or the fun of it” either. You can usually detect such a runner because he or she has a certain intense look to them.

I’m one of those people. I generally run over 8 MPH during a typical training run.  In races, I’m usually in the top 5%. Good but not elite.  Good but not “just happy to be there.” Good but not content if it’s not a PR. It can sometimes be a tough place to be. At that pace, people don’t always look like they’re having fun.  Often, they appear to be dissatisfied.

I’ve run marathons at my slower-than-usual pace to help my wife or a friend achieve a goal.  I like doing this.  I tend to become more observant when I am running slower.  I’ve noticed that people at that different pace are often more talkative, and it seems like they smile more. It seems like most of them are having a blast.

I could be wrong. In fact, I’m sure people are intense and nervous no matter what the pace is, but, for me, I tend to have more vivid memories of the races in which I’ve slowed down my own pace.  Perhaps this is because I’m more relaxed at a slower speed?

Maybe others would have the same experience if they slowed down their own pace?

On the other hand, my memory is mush when I run faster.  When I am running my own pace, my wife will ask me afterward: “Did you see this or see that [famous landmark], etc?” and, to be honest, my answer is almost always “no.”  I usually have my blinders on, and I miss a lot of the scenery. This sometimes saddens me. Before you say: “Hey jerk, you expect me to feel sorry for you?”  No, I don’t expect that.  I’m just asking you to understand what goes through my head.

Why speed it up then?  Trust me, I am always tempted to run at that slower pace, but my competitiveness ultimately gets the better of me.

I’m not sure why I’m telling you this, but I think it’s because, despite the temptation to keep it slower, I’m ready to be faster again. I’m ready to go for it again. I’m ready for that “dissatisfied with my performance” attitude again. I think I’m moving out of Rutville.

Stay tuned.

#runchat Question 6 – 01/22/12

I loved all of the one word answers to tonight’s last question, so I tried to put them all together.  If I missed any, please let me know, and I will add to the list.

(from @RunningBecause): “One-word answer time: Give us one word to describe your state of running right now.”

Strong

Optimistic

Determined

Steady

Love

Calm

Fierce

Sidelined

Cautious

Recharged

Limitless

Recovery

Cold

Dedicated

Injured

Bipolar

Joyful

Adventurous

Rebuilding

Unpredictable

Improving

Hopeful

Strong

Maintaining

Commitment

Non-existant

Motivated

Learning

Kickass

Possible

Liberating

Comeback

Everlasting

Experimenting

Optimistic

Hopeful

Motivated

Progress

Excited

Ramping-up (one-ish)

The Next 101 Running Songs…

Thank you for your feedback.  I’ve added many of your suggested songs to my list, which is continued below.  Please note, even though the songs are numbered, it doesn’t mean they are ranked.  I number them just to keep track of them.  Enjoy the running, and enjoy the music!

102. Spirit of Radio (Live Version) by Rush

103. Unless It’s Kicks by Okkervil River

104. The Power by Snap!

105. Everything’s Magic by Angels & Airwaves

106. Rez by Underworld

107. Harder to Breathe by Maroon 5

108. Sabotage by Beastie Boys

109. Stand Up and Be Strong by Soul Asylum

110. Alive and Kicking by Simple Minds

111. The Pretender by Foo Fighters

112. I Predict a Riot by Kaiser Chiefs

113. Is There a Ghost by Band of Horses

114. Yeah by Usher

115. Four-Leaf Clover by Old 97s

116. Till I Collapse by Eminem

117. Help I’m Alive by Metric

118. Dakota by Stereophonics

119. Save Yourself by Stabbing Westward

120. The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga

121. Given to Fly (Live Version) by Pearl Jam

122. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana

123. Why Can’t I Be You?  by The Cure

124. Taking Control by Alberta Cross

125. Crackerman by Stone Temple Pilots

126. The Boys of Summer by The Ataris

127. Nearly Lost You by Screaming Trees

128. Candy’s Room (Live) by Bruce Springsteen

129. Soul Meets Body by Death Cab for Cutie

130. Bullet With Butterfly Wings by Smashing Pumpkins

131. Time is Running Out (Live Version) by Muse

132. Lisztomania by Phoenix

133. The Trooper by Iron Maiden

134. Don’t Change by INXS

135. Next to You by The Police

136. Dog Days Are Over by Florence & The Machine

137. Beautiful Day by U2

138. Wherever I May Roam by Metallica

139. Rush by Big Audio Dynamite

140. Should I Stay or Should I go?  by The Clash

141. Love Removal Machine by The Cult

142. Blue Sky by Patty Griffin

143. Learn to Fly by Carbon Leaf

144. My Body by Young the Giant

145. Supersonic by Oasis

146. Rolling in the Deep by Adele

147. No Cars Go by Arcade Fire

148. The Funeral by Band of Horses

149. Satellite by Rise Against

150. Your Touch by The Black Keys

151. The Remedy by Jason Mraz

152. Let’s Get It Started by Black Eyed Peas

153. I Wanna Destroy You by Uncle Tupelo

154. A Shot In The Arm by Wilco

155. Best of You by Foo Fighters

156. Song 2 by Blur

157. Welcome To The Jungle by Guns n Roses

158. Unchained by Van Halen

159. Barrier Reef by Old 97s

160. Forgiven by Ben Harper

161. Mama Said Knock You Out by LL Cool J

162. Crazy by Gnarls Barkley

163. Never Let Me Down Again by Depeche Mode

164. Resignation Superman by Big Head Todd & the Monsters

165. Superhero by Garrison Starr

166. America Town by Five For Fighting

167. The Only One I Know by The Charlatans

168. Praise You by Fatboy Slim

169. Black Tambourine by Beck

170. Stay Positive by The Hold Steady

171. New York New York by Ryan Adams

172. Shake It Out by Florence & The Machine

173. The Rising by Bruce Springsteen

174. Heat of the Moment (LIVE Version) by Asia

175. Rebellion (Lies) by Arcade Fire

176. Sometimes In The Fall by Phoenix

177. Gonna Make You Sweat by C+C Music Factory

178. Lunatic Fringe by Red Rider

179. CrushCrushCrush by Paramore

180. In The Air Tonight by Nonpoint

181. You Could Be Mine by Guns n Roses

182. The Re-Arranger by Mates of State

183. Thnks Fr Th Mmrs by Fallout Boy

184. Island by The Starting Line

185. The Underdog by Spoon

186. A-Punk by Vampire Weekend

187. Take It On The Run by REO Speedwagon

188. Why Go by Pearl Jam

189. Rio by Duran Duran

190. Rubberneckin’ (Paul Oakenfold Remix) by Elvis

191. The Sound of Sunshine by Michael Franti & Spearhead

192. Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve

193. I’m Gonna Win by Foreigner

194. Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne

195. All Night Long by Billy Squier

196. Won’t Be Home by Old 97s

197. Thunderstruck by AC/DC

198. Gold Guns Girls by Metric

199. Wolf Like Me by TV On The Radio

200. Gonna Fly Now (Rocky theme) by Bill Conti

201. Red Morning Light by Kings of Leon

202. Emblems by Matt Pond PA

Sunday Morning Streets

(Apologies to Patriot’s Day).

Road races allow runners to be unique pedestrians.   We get to see cities, small towns and countrysides with our feet having the “sole” right-of-way.   Few people get to experience this.

Unlike a training run, when you have to share the sidewalks, paths and roads with casual walkers, baby strollers or automobiles, during a race, it is only you and your running comrades in some pretty cool places.  Even a solitary running trail, while beautiful, can sometimes be an obstacle course filled with mountain bikes and pets.  However, on race day, which usually occurs on a Sunday morning (sometimes a Saturday), there is only one mode of transportation, and you are the vehicle.

This didn’t occur to me until I visited Times Square as a tourist two months after running the NYC Half Marathon.  As my wife and I walked and navigated around the claustrophobia-inducing sea of tourists and activity, I thought back to the race, which came down 7th Avenue before hanging a right turn on 42nd Street.   I thought to myself: “These streets belonged to runners two months ago, if only for a little bit.”

The feeling of freedom running through Times Square, the center of the universe, is almost indescribable.  The colorful, animated advertisements were illuminated, but the streets were filled with only runners, not tour buses and taxis.   The main sound was each runner’s stride, not horns blaring or whistles blowing.  This memory will always be with me, even though the race is long over.

I once wrote about the temporary yet lasting interactions runners have with each other, and sometimes with spectators.   Well, the same can be said about connecting with the streets of a race course.

During that same sightseeing trip to New York City, more memories came back to me, this time of the 2006 ING NYC Marathon.   I thought about the moments I spent on the 59th Street Bridge, a dark structure with a sinister sign overhead reminding us that there were still over “ten miles to go.”

While temporarily facing this harsh reality, the other runners and I ran on, eventually crossing the bridge.   No cars would be going from Queens to Manhattan via the 59th Street Bridge that morning or early afternoon, just us runners.   We were then catapulted down the spiraling road from the bridge and up First Avenue via the inspiration from the screaming spectators.  The 59th Street Bridge and First Avenue are simply unforgettable.

Soon after our trip to New York City, we were visiting Washington, DC.   Memories flooded back from where I once ran the Marine Corps Marathon.  This time, I was crossing the streets surrounding the National Mall…streets that once belonged to a group of us runners, if only for one Sunday morning in October.  On that race morning, if a politician needed to head to the Capitol Building, he or she would have to yield to the runners passing around the Mall.

Being the pedestrian and the vehicle is an interesting phenomenon.   This especially rings true for me in point-to-point races, such as the Steamtown Marathon or Boston Marathon (a Monday race…um, I don’t like Mondays).  If you don’t know, point-to-point means that the starting line is geographically 26.2 miles away from the finish line, and this can be intimidating.   The only way you’re getting to the finish line is with your legs. However, it can also be inspiring because each step you run is a step closer to the finish line.

That linear, point-to-point route belongs to you briefly, and it is usually a scenic state road containing enthusiastic small town support along the way.  Such races also have amazing final stretches, whether it is from the inspirational cheers of the St. Joseph’s children on Electric Street near Scranton or the goosebumps produced from the action of making that left turn onto Boyleston Street in Boston.

There is nothing like being the engine that gets you through the streets of a race.   You can’t hail a cab or hop on a trolley.  Your running stride is the mode of transportation.

Crossing famous streets where you once raced is a satisfying feeling.  You can always say those streets were briefly yours.

The Music of Running: Vol. 2

The beauty of a running song: What might be a running song for me might not be a running song to you.  Vice versa.  We are unique creatures, and different things move and inspire us.   Some of these songs have nothing to do with running, but the point is, if they make you or me want to run or run faster, then well, yes they are running songs,  even if they are running songs by accident.

This is Volume 2 of the Music of Running.   Many topics will be covered:  love, bad days, lungs, summer, Lightning McQueen, and even Mr. Spock.  Also, I will discuss the slower song, and how it can be useful for runners.

Let’s begin with love…

Always love, don’t wait til the finish line.” – Always Love by Nada Surf

Often, we find ourselves fixated on the negative, on the people or things that anger us.  The theme here is to rise above it; to focus on the positives, to let go of resentment.  Another underlying theme in this song is regret, and leaving things unsettled.  If you apply this to running, it would be about leaving something out there during a workout or a race.   For example, there is usually a moment in a race when we are tempted to either give up or to fight on.   I’d like to think this song is about fighting on, and not leaving anything on the course.

It helps that this song also has such a beautiful sound; you’ll run a ½ mile during it and you won’t even realize you’ve run that far.

Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks.” – Walls by Tom Petty

OK, this is NOT a running song, but the opening line of this tune is how I describe either a good run or a bad run.  The days of the good runs are “diamonds” while the days of the bad runs are “rocks.”  Some days you have it, and some days you don’t.

I have no idea if Tom Petty ever was/is a runner.  Based on Mary Jane’s Last Dance, I will guess “no.”  I also have no idea why I’m giving the above song more weight than some of his others.  After all, running is such a theme in his music (and it might be by accident).   He’s been Runnin’ Down a Dream, he has warned that he Won’t Back Down and he keeps “running for another place ..to find that Saving Grace.”   However, Walls sticks with me for some reason. Why is a love song about waiting for someone inspirational to me?   The truth is I have no idea.  Maybe waiting for someone to reciprocate love involves mental endurance.  I don’t know.  Sometimes you just can’t explain why a song inspires you.

One two three set ready set go,, may heaven help you if you’re slow.
We’re gonna run like bandits, wild flames are chasin’
Racin’ racin’ racin’ racin’, Oh I’m gonna race you back home.“ – Race You by Elizabeth & the Catapult

A perfect song for a summer run at dusk.   It is a perky and quirky tune that will have you zooming home in time for a late dinner.   There is nothing like a summer sweat, and this song is a good accompaniment.  It also evokes a “Stand By Me” kind of nostalgic feeling of being outside all day, and then rushing home.

...and when I go there, I go there with you, it’s all I can do.” – Where the Streets Have No Name by U2

When I get my monthly Runner’s World, there are two things I do immediately: 1) I check the back page to see who the famous “I’m a Runner” is, and 2) I check to see the location of the “Rave Run.”  When I am staring at the beautiful locations of the Rave Runs, I envision running in these places while listening to this song.  It is the perfect match for the epic landscapes of the Rave Run.  This is one of the few songs that can actually give me goosebumps while running.  Yes, another appearance by U2.   Get used to it.  They will most likely get mentioned in Volume 3 too.

“It’s funny how life turns out, the odds of faith in the face of doubt.
Camera One closes in, the soundtrack starts, the scene begins…You’re playing you now.” – Camera One by Josh Joplin Group

Camera One defies logic.   Overall, the subject-matter in each verse is heavy; however, I’d like to think that the overall theme is about not giving up when faced with a difficult situation. There are moments during a race when doubt flows in and out of our consciousness.  By doubt, I mean, the thought that we might not achieve our race goal on a particular day.  Some days ‘doubt’ wins; however, on other days, we have the faith in ourselves and the ability to rise above the doubt.  We truly have “faith in the face of doubt.”

When I run to Camera One, the opening guitar riffs make me keenly aware of my surroundings, as well as my stride.  Also, because of the “movie” component of the song, the goofball in me likes to imagine that I am filming a scene in a movie: the song, in combination with the surroundings of my run, make for some fun cinematography.

Come on and we’ll sing, like we were free.  Push the pedal down watch the world around fly by us.” – Nothing Left to Lose by Matt Kearney

Louder louder and we’ll run for our lives.” – Run by Snow Patrol

I decided to group these two songs together because they are slower songs, and it is time to give the slower song some props.  Now, I know the importance of the faster, harder songs, especially for the more difficult workouts (tempo runs, track workouts).   When running or workout songs are listed, the term BPM (Beats Per Minute) is sometimes emphasized.  The more “Beats Per Minute,” the more intense the workout, etc.

However, I would like to discuss a different kind of BPM (Breaks Per Mile).  I am saying that on certain days (or during certain portions of a run), we need to take a break from the intensity.  Not every run should be at tempo or race pace.  We need recovery days.  These songs allow us to recover, even if it is during a cool down.

Don’t get me wrong, we need more Beats Per Minute during the tougher workouts; however, we don’t need to race along the Interstate everyday.   Some days, we need to take that scenic route and slow down.  I believe Lightning McQueen learned this when he visited Radiator Springs.

The two songs listed above are nice for recovery.  I am working on a list of “Recovery Songs” and when it is ready, I will share it with you.

That being said, let’s get back to some speed…

I got a landmine in my bloodline.
I’m not immune to getting blown apart. – Time Bomb by Old 97’s

For those of you not familiar with Old 97s, I suggest you get familiar with them ASAP.  Mix clever lyrics with punk and country, and you have one of the most incredible live acts around.  There are so many Old 97s songs that are good for running, but Time Bomb is a good enough place to start.  It is aptly named and is a “go to” song for the more intense workouts.  I am sure Rhett Miller and the boys have no idea that their songs are great for working out.  They can even get you running fast to a song called “Smokers,” and no it isn’t about running fast; it is exactly what you think it is about, but somehow it works.

...not so beautiful when your lungs are caving in.” – Beautiful is Gone by The Ruse

Thank you ITunes for the “free weekly download.”  Otherwise, I would never know about this song.   It is the perfect accompaniment to a tempo run, fartlek or track workout.  It will help you push yourself to the point where you might feel like your lungs could actually cave in, so be careful!

Smashing through the boundaries, lunacy has found me, cannot stop the battery.“ – Battery by Metallica

This song makes me think of Spock from Star Trek.   “Why?” you ask me as if I have two heads.   Because Spock didn’t care one way or the other about too much.  It was almost as if he was a machine, powered by a battery.   Cue Metallica.

During a long run with my wife, I tried to describe to her what it is like to run a marathon in an attempt to qualify for Boston.   I did this because she was recently attempting to qualify for Boston herself.  I told her that you can’t get too high or too low during the race.   You can’t worry about the weather or your belly.   You can’t retreat during the tough moments of the 26.2 mile stretch, and yes, expect there will be a few of those moments.   I told her, you almost shouldn’t care one way or the other about a potential obstacle.  Yes, I actually told my wife she needs to be like Mr. Spock.  Highly Illogical?  I think not.  She qualified.

Now that you think I am crazy, let’s go to Boston…

She said I think I’ll go to Boston…I think I’ll start a new life.” – Boston by Augustana

This is simply the Boston Qualifier Song (BQ Song).  Boston is not overtly an actual running song, but it is your destination.  If you are training 18 weeks for a marathon with the hopes of a BQ, then this song should be played weekly to keep you on point with your goal of being in Boston in April.

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?  – Lose Yourself by Eminem

Say what you will about Eminem, but when those first few notes on the guitar are combined with Mr. Mathers’ opening question, your legs will answer him. The key to this song is strategic placement within your running Playlist.  If you want a strong finish, I suggest placing it toward the end of your Playlist.  Otherwise, you might burn yourself out too soon.  It is that good.

That being said, we have come to the end of the Playlist for Volume 2.  From “Love” to Eminem, we covered a lot of ground.  I am tired.  I need a recovery song now.

Don’t worry fans of instrumental songs, electronica or even podcasts.  I will begin to cover that in Volume 3.  Until then, “Live long and prosper.

Running It Forward

Do you remember when you started running?  Did someone you know get you into it?  Chances are, the answer is “yes.”  Chances are you got someone into running too.  I call it “Running It Forward.”

I blame and thank my brother, Tom, for getting me into the sport as a teenager.  I was going into high school, and since my dreams of becoming a Major League Baseball player had been crushed by a three-error inning over the summer, I needed something else to do.   My brother was a senior on the Cross Country team, so, as the younger one who mimicked everything he did, I became a runner.  I am not sure I would have considered running otherwise.

I ended up running every season in high school (twelve if you want the count).   I “paid” or “ran” it forward by influencing my younger cousin to pick up running too.   I call it “Running it Forward” because you are passing something good on to somebody else: the interest in running.

My 20s were essentially “run-free.”  I only ran partially through college because I discovered other things, such as female students and kegs.   That was it, until about age 30, a time in which I was going through a divorce and needed something that would be less expensive than therapy.   Running again seemed to make sense.  At first, it was casual.  A slow jog here and there, then a 5K or two.

It wasn’t until I was a spectator at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2000 that I decided to go “all in” as a runner again.  I witnessed my friend, Bob, run and finish it.  I knew then that I would run the same race the following year.

So, as an adult, I blame and thank Bob for rekindling my interest in running.   He “Ran It Forward” by getting me into it again.

Soon after witnessing Bob’s race, I met my current wife.  Jill was into fitness but never ran a road race in her life.  She was a spectator for my first marathon in Philadelphia, and she was amazed at the number of people running 26.2 miles.  Jill couldn’t imagine running that far.  She recently qualified for the Boston Marathon.   I got to “Run It Forward” by influencing her to pick up running and racing.

Jill has, in turn, gotten two friends into marathons.  In 2006, she helped her friend Kim complete the Marine Corps Marathon.   This sparked Kim’s husband’s interest in running a marathon, and he and I did the same race in 2007.

In 2008, I got my friend Jeff to complete his first marathon, and he has in turn gotten his girlfriend and one of his friends into the sport too.

You get the point?   Most of us have been influenced or inspired by someone to pick up running.   Furthermore, each of us has influenced or inspired another to run as well.

In 2009, I got to repay my brother by issuing a challenge:  Disney Marathon 2010.   He hadn’t run much since high school, and I figured he would say “no.”  He surprised me by saying “yes.”  So, it sort of came full circle, or maybe I “Ran It Backward” in getting him back into it.   My cousin and wife joined us in Disney, and we all continue to run.

(Pluto is my favorite Disney character)

I even keep a “Running It Forward Chart.”   It is organic and growing.  I bet you can come up with your own, similar chart.   It is fun.   Give it a try.

My First 101 Running Songs…

This is my ongoing list of great running songs.  It is evolving.  Help me add to it…

1.  Everlong by Foo Fighters

2.  Radar Love by Golden Earring

3.  Knights of Cydonia  by Muse

4.  The Four Horsemen by Metallica

5.  Baba O’Riley (Live Version) by Pearl Jam

6.  Keep the Car Running by Arcade Fire

7.  Jesus of Suburbia by Green Day

8.  The Joker and the Thief by Wolfmother

9.  A Little Less Conversation by Elvis Presley

10. Reach for the Sky by Social Distortion

11. Peace Frog by The Doors

12. Saving Grace by Tom Petty

13. All These Things That I have Done by The Killers

14. Race You by Elizabeth & the Catapult

15. Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance

16. Run by Gnarls Barkley

17. Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand

18. Bring on the Comets by VHS or Beta

19. Running on Empty by Jackson Browne

20. Time Bomb by Old 97s

21. So Alive by Ryan Adams

22. Daft Punk is Playing at My House by LCD Soundsystem

23. Where the Streets Have No Name by U2

24. Ch-Check It Out by The Beastie Boys

25. The Catfisherman by Marah

26. The Zephyr Song by Red Hot Chili Peppers

27. The Bleeding Heart Show by The New Pornographers

28. The Captain by Guster

29. The Adventure by Angels and Airwaves

30. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

31. Right Now (Live Version) by Van Halen

32. Lose Yourself by Eminem

33. From Debris by Matt Pond PA

34. Can’t Hardly Wait by The Replacements

35. Run Like Hell by Pink Floyd

36. Boston by Augustana

37. Crystal Village by Pete Yorn

38. Supermassive Black Hole by Muse

39. Night Train by Guns n Roses

40. Elevation by U2

41. Ready to Start by Arcade Fire

42. Big Weekend by Tom Petty

43. All My Life by Foo Fighters

44. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Iron Maiden

45. Camera One by Josh Joplin Group

46. Pain Lies on the Riverside by Live

47. Intergalactic by Beastie Boys

48. California Waiting by Kings of Leon

49. Bushwick Blues by Delta Spirit

50. Far Behind by Social Distortion

51. Girlfriend by Matthew Sweet

52. Duality by Bayside

53. Chelsea Dagger by The Fratelli’s

54. Drumming Song by Florence & the Machine

55. Life on a Chain by Pete Yorn

56. She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult

57. I Won’t Back Down by Tom Petty

58. Right Here, Right Now by Fatboy Slim

59. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger by Daft Punk

60. Running Two by Tykwer, Klimek & Hell

61. The Middle by Jimmy Eat World

62. This Is It by Ryan Adams

63. Beautiful is Gone by The Ruse

64. Happier (Live Version) by Guster

65. Fortune Flashlight by Matt Pond PA

66. Help Is On The Way by Rise Against

67. Club Foot by Kasabian

68. Strength by The Alarm

69. Kick Drum Heart by The Avett Brothers

70. Bastards of Young by The Replacements

71. This Too Shall Pass by OK Go

72. Zak and Sara by Ben Folds

72. Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes

73. The Royal We by Silversun Pickups

74. Show Me What You Got by Jay-Z

75. Mistaken for Strangers by The National

76. The Distance by Cake

77. Kids by MGMT

78. American Slang by The Gaslight Anthem

79. A Murder of One by Counting Crows

80. Such Great Heights by The Postal Service

81. Munich by The Editors

82. Perfect Shape by Francis Dunnery

83. Free Energy by Free Energy

84. Are We The Waiting / St. Jimmy by Green Day

85. Teenage FBI by Guided By Voices

86. Heavy Metal Drummer by Wilco

87. Wake Up by Arcade Fire

88. Shakedown on 9th Street by Ryan Adams

89. Airport Song (Live Version) by Guster

90. Baby Got Going by Liz Phair

91. California Love by 2Pac featuring Dr. Dre

92. This Is What I Do by Rhett Miller

93. Plowed by Sponge

94. I Will Follow by U2

95. Only The Young by Journey

96. Going The Distance by Bill Conti

97. Lazy Eye by Silversun Pickups

98. Destroyer by The Kinks

99. Always Where I Need To Be by The Kooks

100. So What by Pink

101. Always Love by Nada Surf