Top 10 Tunes That Will Get Me Through Sunday

medium_2271513941 Hey folks,

I'm still fundraising for the American Heart Association---you can make a donation here. Any amount, large or small, will help save lives (and way secondarily, will give me a boost of morale as I enter the home stretch). AHA has a four-star rating on Charity Navigator so you can feel good about your gift.

I'm also continuing to put together my playlist for Sunday's marathon and would love your recommendations of running music. Some great suggestions here---have already put them in my iTunes.

I'm expecting Disney to keep us well entertained, especially in and near the parks. But there are some long stretches between Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, and I'm told there's a water treatment plant along the way. Distraction and a bada** soundtrack will get me through.

Do you like to run to music? Have you made a New Year's Resolution to work out more? Here are my ten absolute favorite songs to run to. (Most of these have appeared on my other playlists.)

1. Main Theme from Superman, John Williams. Laugh if you want, but this is my A-#1 running song. Some days, I listened to this multiple times. Hey, sometimes you need a surge of the superhero.

2. Run the World (Girls), Beyonce. Queen Bey: not just a singer. Also a life coach. ("This is how they made me, Houston Texas baby." Hey, ME TOO!)

3. Spybreak, Propellerheads, The Matrix Soundtrack.  Nothing gets your heart pumping like pretending to dodge bullets in an elevator lobby. "You'd better run a negative split, Mis-ter Anderson."

4. Groove is in the Heart, Dee-lite. It certainly is, especially if you graduated from high school the year this song came out. Ah, to be 18 again instead of [number redacted]...

5. Vertigo, U2 No big shock that I've got a ton of U2 on the playlist, including some great live stuff. This is the most reliable get-yer-butt-in-gear song of the bunch, especially the Trent Reznor remix I picked up somewhere.

6. The Game Has Changed, Daft Punk, from the TRON Soundtrack A movie (don't tell Robert) I have not seen. But hey, Daft Punk!

7. Jump Around, House of Pain Everyone should have a song that they play when you run out on the field/step up to bat. This is a decent one.

8. Praan, Gary Schyman. Otherwise known as the original "Where The Hell Is Matt" song:

9. Shoot to Thrill, AC/DC. Because Iron Man.

10. Firework, Katy Perry. Because my girls told me to. And there are worse reasons to do something.

Your turn!


photo credit: Abdulrahman BinSlmah via photopin cc

New Running Playlist: Holly Jolly Edition

medium_4179627461 UPDATE for 2014: I've created a Spotify playlist, though not all of the songs were available.

You knew this was coming... after all, I have strong opinions about holiday music.

Very. Strong. Opinions.

On one hand, a running playlist consisting of holiday tunes is a daunting assignment. Christmas music is much more "hot toddy" than "hill repeats."

On the other hand... I own a LOT of Christmas music.

So here it is: the Christmas playlist, and at more than 25 songs, it's a long one. It may not get you pumping your fists like Rocky or strutting like Queen Bey or two-stepping to Texas, but it'll put a jingle in your step and a smile on your sweaty Grinch face.

Full list is below, including album info as needed.

And here it is in iTunes widget form, minus some of the Chieftains medley and the U2 song (sorry, that appears to be on some kind of import that I picked up somehow)

"Jingle Bells," Diana Krall

"Christmas is Coming," Vince Guaraldi Trio (Charlie Brown Christmas)

"Merry Christmas, Baby," Bruce Springsteen

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," Mary J. Blige (A Mary Christmas)

"I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," Frank Sinatra

"Trepak," Modern Mandolin Quartet (from Winter's Solstice III)

"Silver Bells," Tony Bennett

"Sleigh Ride," Andy Williams

"Santa Claus is Coming to Town," Manhattan Transfer

"Go Tell It on the Mountain," Wynton Marsalis

"Little Saint Nick," Muppets (John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together)

"The Holly and the Ivy," George Winston (December)

"Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me," Elvis Presley

"My Favorite Things," Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass (Making Merry)

"Amen," Take 6 (He Is Christmas)

"Medley, 'The Wren, The Wren!'" The Chieftains (Bells of Dublin)

"Greensleeves," Joshua Bell with Chick Corea (Musical Gifts)

"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," Amy Grant

"Soul Cake," Sting (If on a Winter's Night)

"Jingle Bells," Ella Fitzgerald (Ella Wishes You a Swingin' Christmas)

"Sleigh Ride," She & Him

"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," Harry Connick Jr. (What a Night!)

"Maybe This Christmas," Tracey Thorn (Tinsel and Lights)

"Deck the Halls," Butch Thompson, Yulestride

"Good King Wenceslas," Mel Torme

"I Believe in Father Christmas," U2 (All You Need is Love EP)

"Holly Jolly Christmas," Michael Buble

"Hallelujah Chorus," pretty much anyone


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photo credit: Ben Lawson via photopin cc

Week 9 Running Playlist: Sports Soundtracks and Stadium Songs

3.italian-21 It's been a few weeks since I put together a running playlist---my epic soundtrack list has served me well. But I need something new for this, my first 30-mile week.

This week's list includes songs from sports-themed movies, plus several stadium/ballpark favorites. Here's what I have so far, but I need more. What would you add? And a bonus question: What song would you pick to be played when you walk onto the field into a room?

Eye of the Tiger, Survivor (Rocky Soundtrack)

Gonna Fly Now, Bill Conti (Rocky)

Chariots of Fire, Vingelis

Run Forrest Run, Alan Silvestri (Forrest Gump)

Jump Around, House of Pain

Enter Sandman, Metallica

We're Not Gonna Take It, Twisted Sister

Another One Bites the Dust, Queen

We Are the Champions, Queen


Image is a still frame from Rocky's training run in Rocky II. Bonus link: This guy calculated the distance of Rocky's training run through the streets of Philadelphia. Distance: more than 30 miles. Wow! He really is the champ...

This Week's Running Playlist: Epic Soundtracks Edition

46rqiIt's been a few weeks since I've posted a running playlist, because life. Also, I got it in my head to do an a cappella playlist, which proved harder than expected, despite many suggestions from you all. A lot of it was available on YouTube rather than download, and that's a pain. I've not given up on the idea, but I've put it on hold. Here are the previous playlists. This week begins with yet another kid illness, which stinks in its own right, but also gets me feeling sorry for myself because despite how self-entertaining my kids are at this age, I cannot think with them lurking about---and I'd planned some essential thinking work this week. Plus, the kid in question is too young to leave by herself, and I'm supposed to squeeze in six miles today, three tomorrow, and nine on Friday.

SO! I need serious inspiration... some music that says "No, you're not a schlumpy suburban mother of three. You are a warrior, battling germs, inertia and an overstuffed to-do list!"

Nothing fills that need like a good film score.

There are so many great choices in this genre that I've decided to put together several different playlists, including one containing music solely from sports-themed movies (e.g. Rocky, Chariots of Fire). Matthew, my brother and partner in marathoning, helped suggest items for this week's playlist: Epic Soundtracks. You've got your superheroes, your space operas... and your hobbitses:

Here's the list. What have I missed?

"Also Sprach Zarathustra," 2001: A Space Odyssey, Richard Strauss

Main Theme from Superman (John Williams)

"What Are You Going to Do When You're Not Saving the World?", Man of Steel, Hans Zimmer

"Helm's Deep," Two Towers, Howard Shore

"The Riders of Rohan," Two Towers, Howard Shore

"The White Tree," Return of the King, Howard Shore (otherwise known as the "lighting the beacons" music)

Theme from Batman, Danny Elfman

"Imperial March," Star Wars, John Williams

"The Game Has Changed," Tron: Legacy, Daft Punk (Robert's contribution)

Main Theme, Raiders of the Lost Ark, John Williams


Image created with the "One Does Not Simply" Meme Generator.

This Week's Running Playlist: Girl Power Edition

Week three of marathon training is here. For this week, I've picked songs performed by women guaranteed to bring the giddy-up. The Beyonce song is a repeat from last week's Texas list, but it's too perfect not to include this week.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Cyndi Lauper

Flinty Kind of Woman, Dar Wiliams

Respect, Aretha Franklin

Like a Prayer, Madonna

I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor

Tiger, Paula Cole

Run the World (Girls), Beyonce

Love is a Battlefield, Pat Benatar

Heart of Glass, Blondie

Roar, Katy Perry

Fill It Up Again, Indigo Girls

Mars, Lori McKenna

Groove is in the Heart, Deee-Lite

Doo Wop (That Thing), Lauryn Hill

You Can Choose, Carrie Newcomer

You Oughta Know, Alanis Morrisette

Nominate other favorites in the comments.

P.S. These are all from my current music collection---no new downloads this week---but while Googling around I ran across this monster playlist. Wow!

This Week's Running Playlist: Texas Edition

classic-flagHere's what I'm running to this week: a tribute to Texas, that crazy, eclectic, bizarre, rootin' tootin' state of my birth. These artists were all born in the Lone Star State. Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly

Buried Alive in the Blues, Janis Joplin

La Grange, ZZ Top

Boys of Summer, Don Henley

Oh Pretty Woman, Roy Orbison

Walk, Pantera

Take the Money and Run, Steve Miller Band

Run the World (Girls), Beyonce (ok I'll admit it---I have several Beyonce songs on there)

Pride and Joy, Stevie Ray Vaughan

That's Right (You're Not from Texas), Lyle Lovett

Let 'Er Rip, Dixie Chicks (also Tonight the Heartache's on Me)

On the Road Again, Willie Nelson


Wonder if any Texans, or other Texans in the diaspora, have others to suggest. I definitely need some Bob Wills and some Tejano.

UPDATE: Lots more suggestions on my Facebook page, including several by the Texas Tornadoes and Freddy King's "Going Down," a great blues song.

This Week's Running Playlist: Worshipful Edition

medium_386762837 Shelli Latham (whose blog is quickly becoming a must-read for me) put together a great mix of tunes to help her "worship in her running shoes." I tried it out this morning (had to download a couple of the songs) and can testify that it's great for running, and for running as a spiritual practice.

Someone commented on her blog how fun it would be to have with a whole series of playlists that follow this pattern, starting with gathering/call to worship, proceeding through the liturgy of the Lord's Day, and closing with a blessing/sending.

I decided to come up with my own mix. I used Shelli's criteria:

(1) You have to be able to run to it.

(2) It has to have the capacity to point you to God, even if you have to be a little creative.

(3) No references to pimpin', guns, or anything that may sound like making out with Jesus... This is not the place to come for your Jesus is my Boyfriend fix.

Regarding (1), I'm a pokey, look-at-the-trees-while-gasping-for-breath runner, so my challenge was to pump up the energy with this mix, rather than fall back on the sad-sack aging girls with guitars stuff I usually listen to. Regarding (2 and 3), some of these actually do mention God, but Jesus is nobody's boyfriend in these.

I also changed a couple of the categories and added baptism and communion. What do you think?

Prelude: Great Day, Eddie from Ohio

Call to Worship: Get Up Offa That Thing, James Brown

Prayer of Confession: Been Caught Stealing, Jane's Addiction I liked Lori McKenna's Mars here, but it's not fast enough for running. See sad-sack thing above.

Assurance of Forgiveness: Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours, Stevie Wonder

Prayer for Illumination: Ray of Light, Madonna

The Word: I'd suggest putting several things in this slot and/or mixing and matching depending on what inspiration I need that day. Options off the top of my head:  World Leader Pretend, R.E.M. Dare You To Move, Switchfoot All Star, Smash Mouth Yahweh, U2 Where You Been, Carrie Newcomer, which is actually about Jesus, but he visits the gay pride parade in a borrowed El Camino... so a bit of a midrash, no? Anything by the Psalters. Gypsy gospel punk makes ME wanna run, how about you?

Affirmation of Faith: Let It Ring, Amy Ray

Baptism: Glass of Water, Coldplay That seems too on-the-nose, but it works.

Communion: Cheeseburger in Paradise, Jimmy Buffett It's sad the extent to which I'm chuckling at this one.

Prayers of the People: Higher Ground, Red Hot Chili Peppers version See how skillfully I avoided doubling up on the Steve Wonder? But the RHCP version really is better for running.

Offering: Hammer and a Nail, Indigo Girls

Benediction, aka Cooldown: Joy to You Baby, Josh Ritter

Can't wait to try it out. Marathon training starts next week and I'll need all the help I can get. Suggest your favorite running/workout/feelgood song in the comments.


photo credit: eschipul via photopin cc