Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Runnin' Music

Until I got my second-hand iPod shuffle (thanks, Gam, for the Christmas check!) I ran with no music. I wasn't against music on a run, I was (and am) just cheap.  But those solo long runs started to get to me and, flush with holiday moolah, I got a tiny blue iPod.

Turns out, I love listening to music when I run!  It did take me a few tries to work everything out.

The shuffle holds a relatively small amount of music, but it's enough that you count the time in days.  I filled that sucker up with my favorite songs (albums, groups) and went for a run and pressed "shuffle."  Well, in days of music, there are some songs that you really like and that just don't work for a run.  Songs about dying, for instance.  Slow movements of cello concertos.  Thankfully I discovered this on a treadmill run and didn't trip into oncoming traffic while repeatedly pressing the "skip" button.

So back to the computer I went, this time editing out the slow stuff.  It was hard to delete favorite songs.  I felt like I was breaking up with them.  It's not you, it's me- I'm just looking for something different right now.  They're not really gone, just relegated back to itunes, but it still feels like a divorce.  After the purge, I even turned the first twenty or so songs into a playlist.  This is the playlist that fires me up.  These are specific fast songs that motivate me and sometimes even push me to go too fast.  It contains...

  • Ani Difranco (Gravel, In or Out, Fire Door, Arrivals Gate)
  • Amy Ray (can't name them all.  pretty much everything fast she's recorded, including but not limited to Lucy Stoners, Blender, Driver Education, and Black Heart Today.  and "Let it Shine" multiple times.  I can't listen without crying a little and pressing repeat.)
  • Bare Naked Ladies (Hello, City and One Week)
  • They Might Be Giants (Birdhouse in Your Soul, Ball and Chain)
  • Indigo Girls (too many to count...)
Yes, I have bought new music since high school and college, but I like this stuff.  Ani and Amy make me run fast, and I try really really hard not to sing along.  Sometimes I do sing along, and it's loud and out-of-tune.  Part of being a well-adjusted grown-up is figuring out what you like and following it, right?  I love music, and I love this music.  Other favorite artists that made the short list are...

  • Dixie Chicks
  • Todd Snider
  • Keb Mo'
  • John Prine
  • Paul Simon
  • Simon and Garfunkel
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Tom Petty 
  • Eric Clapton (including Cream)
  • Grateful Dead
  • Bob Dylan
  • Cat Stevens
Maybe a few (okay, a lot) of these artists seem mellow, but I'm not a big pop/hip-hop aficionado.  I love acoustic guitar, two and three-part harmony, and angsty and political lyrics.  The storytellers on the list (Todd and John, and Paul Simon to a point) can lose me for a few minutes in a song the way I get lost in a good movie.  I don't always want to get lost on a run, but it's nice to have the option.

My next trick is going to be podcasts.  I listen to a lot of NPR.  I'd love to listen to episodes of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, Car Talk, The Splendid Table, or This American Life during a long run.  If you haven't heard of these shows, you should google them.  They are free to listen online and funny, smart, and sometimes moving.

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