The Playlist

Tomorrow is the Big One. Our 20 miler. So at practice last weekend, our Team Coordinator Extraordinaire and Patient Fielder of Late Paperwork Jillian asked us to come up with our favorite psych-up songs to put on a Community Center playlist.

Natch, this put me in a bit of a tizzy. I have SO MANY! But with the wounds of  four years of Vassar hipster elitism still fresh, I hesitated to show my true musical colors (incidentally, a solid slow run song choice).


Yes, I was at one point concerned about receiving this man's scorn.

We’re among friends here, though. This blog is a safe space. So with that in mind, below is my Ultimate Psych-Up Playlist:

Best Yasso Song: “Vivrant Thing” – Q-Tip

Clocking in at just over 3 minutes, this is the perfect song for my treadmill sprint workouts. The only downside is that if you get too carried away, it turns into Best Song to Fall Off a Treadmill To.

If Emo Hipsters Ran: “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” – Postal Service

Well, we’ve already established that I haven’t the slightest idea what hipsters actually listen to (except that it’s Decidedly Cooler). But I imagine that if it weren’t for the long-term damage done to their vascular system by skinny jeans, emo hipsters might run to this sleepy sleeper of a running song.

Best Song for Heartbreak Hill: Tie Between” F**k You” – Cee-Lo Green and “Break Your Heart” – Taio Cruz

I apologize if any of you are still laboring under the misapprehension that Cee-Lo is really hoping to just put the past behind him and forget his ladylove. STRONG LANGUAGE IS USED. But it perfectly embodies my sentiments at this point of the race, and I’ve been known to drop a few forget-bombs myself on the hills of Newton.

TEAMmate Sean Biggins, a gentleman with impeccable musical tastes and an allegedly face-melting karaoke performance of Total Eclipse of the Heart, once said Luda can do no wrong. He is so, so right. Besides the obvious reference to Boston’s most infamous hill, this song gets me so excited I’ve been known to punch people square in the face when it comes on.

Best Song to Drown Out the BC Crowd: “Party in the USA – ASL Version” – Miley Cyrus

Do yourself a favor and watch that one with the closed captioning on. You won’t regret it.

Once you’ve passed through the hills, the LAST thing you feel like doing is getting sloshed in the face with some BC kid’s Solo cup of Natty Light while Eye of the Tiger plays on an endless loop in the background. Well too bad, sucker. That’s what Mile 21 is all about. Luckily, I’ve watched this video enough that I can just close my eyes and immediately be transported to a land of green screens and a capella level enthusiasm.

Remember What You’re Running/Hometown Pride Song: “Shipping up to Boston” – The Dropkick Murphys

Indeed we are.  Towards the end of long runs, I like to chime in on the “I LOST MY LEG!!!” part.

Remember Why You’re Running/Don’t Put On Your Actual Playlist Unless You Can Breathe & Cry at the Same Time Song: “Skin” – Rascal Flatts

Go on. Try to get through the first verse without choking up. I dare you.

Best Song for the Last Mile: “Dog Days Are Over” – Florence and the Machine

This little guy’s got the right idea. If my legs weren’t otherwise occupied, I’d be doing the very same thing. This is one of the most exuberant songs I’ve ever heard.

(Aside: I would really love it if after I finished the marathon someone congratulated me with a warmly approving “Good runnin’, monkey!”)

After the Playlist There’s the After-Playlist

Oh, don’t worry. You’re not getting out of this without some Ke$ha. I just don’t know if I could be trusted to actually RUN with Ke$ha on my playlist and not break into a mid-race dance party. So instead, I’ll wait til Copley to get my hot pants on and up.

You know what would psych me up even more than Ke$ha covering a Kelly Clarkson song with Taylor Swift singing backup? Your donation!  Just step-touch on over to the right and click the link, and join the scrolling playlist of awesome supporters there.


Et Tu, Brutal Headwinds?

I thought I’d throw the Ides of March a little love, since it tends to get lost in all the Pi and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Plus, the vagaries of a New England winter has got me channeling Caesar big-time (at least in terms of the wounded betrayal bit. I’m still working on that conquest of Gaul).

Do you remember, back in February, when we had those two gorgeous days of sunshine and near-60s temps? Oh, New

The 'noog, where dreams and warmth reside

England weather and I were the best of friends then. I cranked up the Keith Urban and pretended I was back in Tennessee, land of maple-bacon donuts and Royers. I only wore two hoodies instead of my standard three. It was glorious. AND THEN. Like a knife in the back – or a 30 mph wind in the front – we were once again on the wrong side of freezing. At one point during a particularly trying 13 mile run, I actually stopped, stamped my foot on the ground, and yelled “SERIOUSLY??????”

It could be the awful weather, the looming thesis deadline (*nervous laugh*), or the increasing mileage, but I’ve been feeling particularly woe-is-me lately. And so, of course,  I looked to TNT for inspiration that would turn my frown upside-down. I think I found it during my 18 mile run in the company of Team in Training’s answer to Chuck Norris, John Sganga. You see, John eats, sleeps and breathes pure awesome. He LOVES cold. He LOVES hills. He LOVES mile repeats. John doesn’t see those things as hardships – he sees them as Opportunities For Awesome.

John in Awesome Action

Now there are certainly days where I don’t feel quite up to following in John’s awesome, grilled-cheese-&-chocolate-cruller-pounding footsteps (seriously, I’m fairly certain his caloric intake defies the laws of physics) but luckily my Team is FULL of role models for taking on adversity with panache. Laurie stands out in the cold every weekend handing out gummy bears and has never ONCE (to my knowledge) cursed out a runner for complaining that the Gatorade is too cold – she just smiles and asks how our legs feel. Or take Mark, whose reaction to near decapitation by sheet metal on the day of my wind-induced histrionics was a good-natured chortle. And then, most obviously, there are the people we run with and for, who have found incredible strength in the face of a devastating diagnosis. Temperature tantrums can only last so long when you’re surrounded by so many examples of resilience.

Surrounded by resilience, purple, and enough BodyGlide to slip'n'slide to Copley

Of course, no list of awesome would be complete without you, gentle readers. your admirable stoicism in the face of my terrible seasonal puns and willingness to donate year after year are pretty mind-blowingly awesome. I think even John would be impressed 🙂 So looking for another Opportunity For Awesome? Grab yourself a Big n’ Toasty and sidle on up to the link:

Love wrapped in a toga of AWESOME,


Presidents and Patriots

Happy belated President’s Day, you guys! I hope you had as much fun at your Powdered-Wig-Off as I did at mine (and I hope you learned your lesson about stealing my talcum powder, John “Quincy” Adams).

Now THAT’S an award-winning wig

You may have missed it in the mad stampede to buy cars and mattresses at presidentially LOW LOW LOW prices, but there was a bit of a kerfuffle this past week over our fair Commonwealth’s other favorite way to celebrate America (did I lose you at wig-off? I mean Patriot’s Day). Last Wednesday the B.A.A. released new, stricter qualifying times, making it harder than ever to get an official Boston Marathon number. It didn’t take long for the tenor of the online comments to reach a degree of vitriol usually reserved for the Boston Herald’s “Governor’s Drapes Made from the Skins of Republicans’ Puppies” exposes. The general sentiment seemed to be that charity runners, who get their numbers by raising money rather than running qualifying times, are ruining the pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps ethos of the Boston Marathon. As a qualified charity runner, I have a few thoughts about the True Spirit of Boston, and I hope you don’t mind if I put on my Antonin Scalia constructionism robes and share them (that’s one of those “lived with a law student for three years” jokes  – holla at your girl, El!).

Roommate, Esq.

The Boston Marathon is one of the most prestigious marathons in the country, and it’s true that a great deal of that prestige comes from its exclusivity. While marathons like Chicago and New York draw around 45,000 runners, the Boston field is limited to around 25,000. That means that unlike other marathons, you have to prove you can run 26.2 at a pretty speedy clip before even being allowed to register. How speedy? Qualifying for gals my age means running an 8:24 average mile pace. For guys, it’s 7:15. Obviously, meeting those standards takes a lot of work, and it’s understandable that those who have qualified take great pride in being part of an elite community of runners. But it’s not just the qualifying times that makes Boston so special. It’s the Wellesley scream tunnel, the mile-by-mile Sox score updates, Heartbreak Hill, the drunk BC kids, running by Fenway, and my personal favorite, the bikers of Mile 2. Running Boston isn’t just a tribute to your own accomplishments – it’s a tribute to over 100 years of running history, and the city that enthusiastically and drunkenly embraces it every year.

The Gatorade of beers

Charity runners are small in number (there are actually only about 1,200 of us) but in my opinion, nobody better embodies what the Boston Marathon is all about. We’re not runners, by and large, so for us, finishing Boston is as big an accomplishment as qualifying for it is for the more experienced. We train on this course through Boston winters, and we know and love (or love/hate) every inch of every one of those famous Newton hills. And we don’t just pull ourselves up by our sneaker-straps – we help others out too. Last year charity runners raised over $10.5 million for Boston-based nonprofits, drew at least half the crowd in friends and family members, and helped hundreds of qualified runners identify the best stretch of road to pop a squat off the side of. I am proud of my qualifying time, for sure – I may in fact be buried in my Boston Qualifier jacket – but I’m far, far prouder to be a 6-year veteran of Team in Training’s Boston Marathon TEAM (all caps cause I mean it).

These colors do run

To prove my pride in being a charity runner, and that I deserve to wear the ol’ purple and green, I’d love to raise at least the $3,250 TNT minimum. If you haven’t donated yet, here’s the link:! Also, don’t forget to check for exciting mid-month updates on my madcap marathoning misadventures, as well as versions of these emails WITH PICTURES!


Behind the sandpile at Mile 4 is really your best bet,