I Won’t Give Up (On Finding the Perfect Playlist)

I have been meaning to write about my running playlist for a while. I finally found the impetus to do it when Bob Gabordi, Executive Editor of our Tallahassee Democrat, runner, and Move Tallahassee enthusiast, blogged about his list and asked, “So what’s on your playlist to keep you moving?”

Music ImageMy list is not static.  Songs that make me feel incredibly pumped up and motivated for weeks suddenly grow stale and find themselves replaced. But for that period that they’re “in,” they have a combination of great beat, musical novelty, and contagiousness that gets me through many miles and various workouts from my coach that have me running all kinds of combinations of heart rate zones and distances.

The WarmUp Song

I am pretty sure Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys will always be my warm-up song. Its beat is “medium” enough for a warmup and each time I play it, it’s a little tiny homage to my favorite place. Ironically, I miss my favorite place so much right now that I can’t bear to listen to the song so I’ve been going straight to the fast stuff.

Tunes I Love

Shake Señora by Pitbull featuring T-Pain and Sean Paul

Jump by FloRida (The Chocolate Puma full vocal mix)

Scream & Shout by will.i.am featuring Britney Spears

Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton

Magic by B.o.B. (featuring Rivers Cuomo)

Universal Mind Control by Common

Till The World Ends by Britney Spears (The Bloody Beatroots Extended Remix)

Run by Flo Rida (featuring RedFoo – Bonus Track)

Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden

Be Good To Yourself by Journey

Timebomb by Kylie Minogue (Extended Version)

Turn Up the Radio by Madonna (Offer Nissim Remix)

Include Me Out by Robbyn

T.H.E. Hardest Ever by will.i.am (featuring Mick Jagger & Jennifer Lopez)

Lose Yourself by Eminem

Electricity by Ashley Jana

What I’ve Done by Linkin Park

For Cool Downs

Just Give Me A Reason by Pink featuring Nate Ruess

I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz

But Wait!! There’s More!!

When I got back into running (in 2008) and started searching for music, I relied quite heavily for a while on “beats per minute” mixes. Now, I primarily use those when I am doing speedwork at the track or when I particularly want to focus on form and consistency. The ones I have used and recommend include:

Beats Per Minute Music

Podrunner Podrunner is the first “beats per minute” podcast service I subscribed to. DJ Steve Boyett (who is also an author!) works hard to create this free podcast (there are technical considerations, music licensing negotiations, and a whole host of things besides slapping together catchy tunes).

Motiontraxx Motiontraxx has added a lot of options since I began downloading their podcast a few years ago. There are now apps for iPhone and Android, and there are mixes/coaching cues for HIIT workouts and other activities besides running.

BeatRunning I don’t have as much of a “relationship” with BeatRunning as I feel like I do with Podrunner and Motiontraxx; I just bought some of their mixes off of iTunes. They’re the ones I happen to use most frequently now — a solid 180 bpm of something that I can try to attach my cadence to.


I love audiobooks. I go through them rapidly. If I have a long Zone 2 (conversational pace) run planned, I will frequently listen to an audiobook. The miles can go back a lot more painlessly if you’re wrapped up in a biography or great fiction story.


There are so many fantastic podcasts out there. It was through podcasts that I have ended up with some of my favorite running connections.  The first running podcast I ever listened to was Chris Russell’s RunRunLive (fortunately I wasn’t too thrown off by the first five minutes being about mountain goat hygiene services (Chris has a quirky sense of humor). I was introduced to it by Ann Brennan of Ann’s Running Commentary. She now has her own running podcast at Ann’s Running Commentary. Both of these podcasts have my highest recommendation.


I would be remiss if I didn’t give a bit of credit to running without earbuds, without someone else talking or singing into your ear. And of course this doesn’t actually mean you’re listening to “nothing.” If you are working on your running form, you have a chance to listen to your “light fast feet” (or the fact that they’re not as light and fast as you thought!). Birds, traffic, animals, other people, the thoughts bumping around in your head. Sometimes it’s best to leave all the music/talk at home and just run.

A Note About Safety

While I love running with the various songs, books, and podcasts mentioned above, I want to remind you (assuming teacher/mom/coach voice here) that safety is key. This article has a few tips about running safely with headphones (some of which I defy on a daily basis but they’re good food for thought).

But Enough About Me

What are your faves? Let me know in the comments!


Why Do You Love Running? (The #RunChat Valentine’s Challenge)

My week was filled with interactions with the running community. I spent last Sunday morning helping out at race-day registration and packet-pickup for the Tallahassee Marathon and Half Marathon.

As I was leaving that morning, I snapped this picture:

Start Line

I snapped the picture mostly because the “Weekend Hashtag Project (#WHP)” at Instagram was “hide and seek” so I included the following text along with the post:

“Between the home of the FSU Circus and the home of great college football, do you see the place where marathon dreams begin? #WHPHideandseek”

In response to this picture and text, my friend Ann of Ann’s Running Commentary asked me if I was dreaming of doing a marathon. I responded back that my real focus is still getting my 5K down to a sub-30:00 mark.  She used this conversation as a springboard to a video that talks about laying down a running foundation and sticking to our stated goals:

The people (like Ann), images (like the start line of a marathon), and connections (too numerous to describe) I encounter through running are some of the things I love about running. Runchat is encouraging us all, through a Valentine’s Day challenge, to share what we love about running. Sweetening the deal is the fact that there are prizes!

Runchat says:

The challenge is simple: make a list of 5-10 things you love about running. Blog about it and then post a link in our comments [at this post].

If you don’t have a blog? No problem. Create a Pinterest board titled “Things I Love About Running,” tag your pins with #RunChat and then leave a comment here with a link to your board. Runchat will feature some submitted pins and photos from blog entries on our Things You Love About Running board.

If you don’t have a blog and you’re not on Pinterest, head over to Twitter and finish this tweet: “One thing I love about running is ______. http://bit.ly/loverun13 #runchat” There’s no need to leave a comment for this as the tweet will post in their comments.

And YES, you can do all 3. And YES, you can do more. Feel free to create a YouTube or Vine video or post a photo of something you love about running to Instagram. All we ask is that you tag #runchat in your post in some way and then leave a comment here with a link.

(I am saving my image for my Wordless Wednesday, but if you just can’t wait (ha!), here’s the link to the Instagram image.)

All this love can turn into great prizes for you. Up for grabs are:

StrideBox logo, #runchat

  • A 3-month subscription (March-May) to StrideBox. StrideBox a is a monthly subscription service for runners that delivers a box of assorted of running accessories, nutritional products, and apparel.
  • 2 boxes of StrideBox in March. (Be sure to check out StrideBox on Facebook and Twitter as well.)

Tommie Copper compression sleeves

  • A $100 gift card to Tommie Copper. The gift card can be used on any of Tommie Copper’s compression gear, ranging from calf sleeves to shirts to gloves to so much more. Check out their full product line.

#runchat visor

  • #RunChat prize pack of a visor, sticker and 3 temporary tattoos.
  • 3 #RunChat prize packs of a sticker and 3 temporary tattoos.
Holabird Sports, #runchat
  • A $50 gift card to Holabird Sports, which carries tons of running shoes and running gear.

Entries must be received by 10 p.m. ET Feb. 14. Winners will be announced on or around Feb. 15.

Entries per person are limited to no more than: 1 blog post, 1 Pinterest board, 3 tweets, 1 video and 1 of any other way you can think of entering. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out last year’s contest. Blog entries from 2012 are not eligible for prizes.

Lastly, don’t forget to join #RunChat at 8 p.m. ET Feb. 10.

From Magic Mike To The Bottom of The Barrel: My 2012 Favorites (A Mama Kat Prompt)

After a long drought, I just may make it to two weeks in a row with Mama Kat prompts. She made it easy (and irresistible) this week via a template: 2012 Favorites (inspired by MomSmack)!

Here goes.

Favorite 2012 Movie:  The thing is, as much as I love movies, I don’t make it to them very often.  To start things off on an unpredictable roll, let’s go with the one that was the most funMagic Mike!

magic mike

Favorite Album: Gosh, I haven’t bought an album, on vinyl or digital, so I’ll have to pass on that one!

Favorite Song:  The last (and cooldown) song on my running playlist is “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz. Something about this song reminds me of my daughter. It’s the line, “How old is your soul?” I love it.

Favorite Tweeter. There is one person I look for every day on Twitter. I know that what I will find will entertain, encourage, or do a little of both. So unless you’re a Lara Spencer fan, just trust me on this and follow @washingtina. She rocks.

Favorite Blog. How, oh how in a world chock full of incredible bloggers do I answer this one? I think I’ll reward Diary of a Mom for all of those super-early wakeups that she does in order to write for us (I know she’ll say she does it for herself too but……) about parenting, life, autism, and being true to yourself.

Favorite TV Show. Holy heck I am feeling shallow here with the Magic Mike intro and the reveal of my favorite tv show. I love My Fair Wedding with David Tutera. I love it most at 2 a.m. when I’m supposed to be sleeping and I am drifting off to the sound of him rescuing some poor inept bride from her bargain gown and putting her into the perfect couture gown; when he’s blowing off the industrial hall venue and migrating everyone to an opulent seaside setting. I love it when he makes that bride’s dream “his” for the duration and truly invests himself in the process.

Favorite Instagramer. This is a challenge because I just got on Instagram. That said, one instagramer I followed on Facebook before I had it as an app is “tifthegirl.” I met Tiffany when her husband was studying film at Florida State, and her picture-a-day for a year project that was posted to Facebook never failed to capture my attention.

Favorite Moment. Crossing the finish line of the Boston 13.1 race in September as part of the Autism Speaks team.

AS finish

Favorite conference. I went to an interesting conference in Baltimore in June related to Health Care Quality. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that one of the highlights was my extracurricular non-conference activity of getting together super early with my friend and PRS Fit teammate Ann Brennan. What a treat!


Favorite viral video. Here’s the thing. I am a huge fan of Bottom of the Barrel Comedy on Youtube and they’ve done plenty of viral videos (I met many BOTB members when they were FSU Film students). But a lot of them may not be appropriate for a mom audience. For that reason I am embedding one that is technically not from 2012 but is the best I can do for a PG13 audience. Little Chef has had over 343,000 views:

So there you have it. Magic Mike, Wedding Overkill, Kids Running Amok in Kitchens. Maybe it’s a good thing my word for 2013 is direction.

Mama’s Losin’ It

#RunChat Blogger Awards (And A Giveaway!)

I don’t know about you, but I could spend hours upon hours reading blogs about running. I think it’s great that #RunChat is inviting us to share our favorite running bloggers. AND the nominators are entered for an opportunity to win an entry into the 2013 or 2014 Key West Half Marathon. Just for saying who we like to read!!

There are five categories, and here are my nominations:

Best Overall Running Blog:  Ann’s Running Commentary

Best New (2012) Running Blog:  GingerMantra (It’s not JUST about running but Tammy’s evolution as a runner is knocking my socks off and you can see it through her blog).

Funniest Running Blog:  Run Luau Run (Caveat: Run Luau Run isn’t always funny. It’s motivational sometimes, thought-provoking sometimes, and has more references to blue hair and Katy Perry than you might expect but ….. the funny moments always make me smile.)

Most Inspirational Running Blog:  Shut Up And Run

Best Participant in #RunChat:  Alex Bridgeforth – it seems like he’s ALWAYS there!

Nominations will be accepted through 12/14/12, and voting will follow on or before December 21.

Ready to nominate your faves? Here’s the link!


11 Things (The Ann’s Running Commentary Version)

I have been blogging for some time now, and have done quite a few variations on the “tell us something about you” prompt. When two different bloggers I like and respect tagged me in the “11 Things” meme, I bit.

The “11 Things” post consists of a) writing 11 things about yourself b) answering 11 questions put to you by the person who tagged you c) writing 11 questions of your own and d) tagging 11 people to answer the questions you wrote in “c.” I argue that this is a “44 things” post in the long run but I suppose that is splitting hairs!

The first person to tag me was Teacher Girl. This is her “11 things” post. And this is what I wrote in response to her.

The second person to tag me was Ann of Ann’s Running Commentary. I had the incredible good fortune to actually meet Ann in real life this week!

June 14, 2012
Annapolis Harbor

For that reason, it seemed like the perfect week to publish the responses I wrote to her “11 things” post.

Before we get to those 11 (not-so) fascinating facts about me that I promised, here are the rules:

The Rules

You must post these rules.

Each person must post 11 things about themselves on their blog.

Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post, and create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.

You have to choose 11 people to tag and link them on the post.

Go to their page and tell them you linked him or her.

No tag backs.

No stuff in the tagging section about “you are tagged if you are reading this.” You have to legitimately tag 11 people.

11 Things About Me

1.  If my Sag Harbor Jacket and Counterpart pants from Beall’s outlet (among other things) wouldn’t have made me the extreme outlier, I would have gone to the Tallahassee Drake Concert on February 24.

2.  Cool people I have met include former President Jimmy Carter.

3.  Great, memorable places I have been include:
a) ziplining over a former poultry farm turned into adventure course in Lula, Georgia
b) Lake Atitlan in Guatemala
c) Onstage as “part of the show” at Xanadu on Broadway

4.  The reason my “big” goal for 2012 (as it was in 2011, 2010, and 2009) is to run a 5K in less than 30 minutes is that in 1995, I ran a “novelty” run that was celebrating Florida’s sesquicentennial. The run was from somewhere in Central Florida to the Capitol, Tallahassee. Groups of runners had mile segments. I attested that I could run a 10-minute mile when I registered. Whatever the actual timing was, I know that the rest of my group was a lot faster than me and I held up traffic on Highway 41, with law enforcement trailing me, while I slogged in way behind them. That did not feel good.

5.  It may be a sign that instead of immediately worrying about whether Wayne Kevin is playing too much MW3, I thought, “where can I fit that into the blog?” when my son called these palm trees with protective barriers against the construction around them “C4 trees” because they look like they have C4 explosive attached to them.

6.  My Spanish is probably a little better than I give myself credit for but I have a very long way to go. I would love to do a Spanish immersion program.

7.  I lost the county spelling bee when I was in middle school by misspelling the word “yacht” (I spelled it yaght).

8.  I am pretty much endlessly amused/mystified by signs and explanations on packaging – misspellings, weird logic, you name it. For example, why does Weight Watchers feel the need to instruct the consumer to return the 2nd tray to the freezer?

I love dancing – closest I come these days is blasting the music station on Friday nights coming home from Skate World with my son and him Shazaming the lyrics. Fun but not the same.

10. I had braces …. finally …… when I was 41. Still glad I did it.

11. I don’t talk politics on Twitter.

My responses to Ann’s questions:
1. Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Mrs. Clark – she was my 3rd grade teacher, and although the reasons seem impossible to quantify, I think it is simply because she had a good heart. 

2. What were your sports of choice when you were younger?

Wow, I hated sports. Mostly because I was bad at every single one of them. I had this sad tennis ball contraption that I would put in the driveway and hit out in to the street – the ball was on an elastic tether so it would come back to me.

3. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A doctor, a missionary, and a mom.

4. What profession did you ultimately end up in and why?

Administrator for a non profit. It’s not going to end here, though.

5. What is the single most important thing you think parents should teach their children?

To think for themselves, not to “go with the flow”. To stand up for what is right.

6. When you run, what is the one thing your mind turns to the most often?

Getting out of debt.

7. What is your favorite book and how many times have you read it?

Diary of Anne Frank. Once on paper, once on audio.

8. If you could only pick one movie to watch for the rest of your life what would it be?

I haven’t seen it in a while but I loved Beaches. Was obsessed with Top Gun. I’m not sounding very erudite here, am I?

9. Are you more comfortable in the city or the country?

Like ’em both but city.

10. If you had the option of having spending three months of the year in another place, where would you choose?

Manhattan, Manhattan, Manhattan – and here the Teacher Girl 11 things and Ann’s 11 things meet their perfect confluence!

11. What is your all time favorite museum to visit?

That’s a tough one. I have only been there once but I loved the Cloisters in Upper Manhattan.

My 11 questions.

1.  This Daily Good piece discusses selflessness, altruism, and perspective. As an example, it cites Tim Tebow’s generosity in inviting people in need to his games in Denver, and the ways in which he extends himself off the field. The post asks, “What is your privilege?” and encourages you to share it with someone who would benefit from it, who wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. What is your privilege?

2.  This Daily Good piece shares three parables that “give perspective.” What parable or story gives you perspective?

3.  This Harvard Business Review article talks about the challenge of reinventing yourself, using Margaret Thatcher’s career as an example. The author says, “Thatcher’s story is ours as well. We might see the need to evolve, but towards what? When the formula is working, how do we determine the shifting point? How do we come to value the polar opposite of everything by which we have defined ourselves? Have you faced a shifting point in your life? Any advice from that time?

4. Another great question from the HBR article referenced above is this: What is your dark side and do you like it?

5. This iJourney.org piece by David W. Hawkins says, “High power, like high voltage, must be handled with respect.” Have you seen high power abused? Had it and lost it? Tell me more.

6.  Yes, I do like Daily Good! You gotta go with what works. In this article, Richard Whittaker talks about his quest to interview architect Paolo Soleri, who reportedly did not do interviews anymore.
What was a time a door was closed to you but you decided to go for it anyway and hope “the way would open for you”? 
7.  I didn’t take all of my questions from Daily Good. This post from Raising Happiness talks about body image in relationship to advertising. What are your thoughts on body image and how far would you go to change your body?
8.  Another Daily Good post talks about how teamwork can foster creativity. Talk about a time that a group you were in “felt the flow” – especially if egos “blended.”
9. Some of my favorite food memories involve eating a common food in an uncommon place, such as the gyros that I ate with my niece and her friend when we were in Chicago. It was just a mall food court, and we had eaten other “nicer” places on the trip, but the conversation was so good that the gyros felt like fine cuisine. Do you have a similar memory?

10. Would you rather have someone recognize you fomally in public, or informally and in private?

11. Are tattoos right for you? If so, tell us about what you have/want to get?

My 11 Tags:

Jennifer at Run for the Boys

Arnebya at What Now and Why

Karen and Gerard at Right Where We Belong

Susan of Susan Fields

Velva of Tomatoes on the Vine

Robin of From the Ashes Yoga

Sara and Abe of Two in Tally

Amy of 365 Thru Amy’s Eyes

Liesl of Mama’s Log

Jessi of Breathe Easy

J from The Adventures of Boy Wonder

Chest Compressions (A Mama Kat Writing Post)

For my Mama Kat prompt this week, I chose “An invention you’d like to see created.” Although I usually let www.random.org choose for me, number 3 was practically waving its hands and begging to be chosen. 

I have finally entered the world of fitness technology gadgetry. I have had the same running watch so long that I really can’t remember when or where I bought it. The velcro that holds it on is about to fall apart, but otherwise it has been a trooper. Very basic – it keeps time and that’s it but that is all I felt I needed. Until now.

Now I have coaches (PRSFit) and Jeff and Diane of PRSFit use heart rate monitoring as a key component of training. (This post provides their rationale in detail.) I had to buy a heart rate monitor as part of my coaching process.

Enough about the fact that I have taken this baby step. Now it’s time to talk about the strap. The heart rate monitor consists of the watch-like part you wear on your wrist, and it gets its information from the monitor you wear around your chest. I have known all along when lots of my fitness friends and acquaintances had heart rate monitors on their wrists, that they had the other piece strapped around their chests. Now that I have been doing it myself a couple of weeks, I am here to commend them for their patience and advocate for a re-design.

The chest strap consists of the part that has the technology in it, which is enclosed in plastic, two plastic straps that extend out that are supposed to be wet in order to relay information to the monitor, and the elastic piece that stretches around your chest and hooks into the “information unit.”

What mystifies me is why something that we use while doing something that makes us feel so free, is so darned constrictive! Although I am getting used to it, it still feels tight while at the same time feeling like it may fall off at any minute.

I suppose there are a couple of options with the current design:

1) Wear it and just deal with it, or 

2) Shell out around $65 for one of these (a Polar brand “heart rate monitor bra” with little spaces/fasteners where the monitor itself attaches):

The #2 option, however, is expensive and the reviews I have read have been underwhelming.

Surely there’s something that is just as functional but a lot more comfortable. I don’t know what, but for Heaven’s Sake I live in the town that educated the inventor of Spanx. There must be some way to improve the chest strap experience.

Any ideas?

ps – this is a tangent, except for the fact that this post is kind of bra-related. Aren’t these some of the coolest looking sports bras you’ve seen? They’re from Roll Up N’ Dye, an artist I learned about from Ann of Ann’s Running Commentary.