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The things music makes me think….

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There is one thing that many, many runners are very divided on. Running with music. Do it, or don’t? Me? I am a die-hard-must-have-music with me type of runner. I even listen to music when I am running with others. Music to me is like my magic feather. I am convinced I cannot run well without it. I know this is not true. In my heart of hearts, at the bottom of my belly where my endurance comes from, I know I am physically capable of just running. Running far. And my next post is going to in fact be about running with others. But today, I’m talking from where I feel most comfortable. On the trail with my headphones in.

I have a vivid imagination. At least I imagine I do. When I’m running by myself and my music is blaring in my ears, and I like BLARING, I think about all sorts of things. Sure, there are days when I have things weighing on my mind, and I’m thinking about serious adult/parenting/financial/life goal types of things. But there are also days when I just feel that music. Each song does something to me.

I never tell people, not ever, the fantasies that play out during my running playlist.

Well, I’ve been holding out.

I’m gonna give it a go. Song by song. For a few songs. Maybe it will make you laugh. Which is always one of my goals 🙂

1. Come With Me Now, by the Kongos. (put it on, and imagine with me)

“Whoa, Come with me now
I’m gonna take you down
Come with me now
I’m gonna show you how….”

This is a bushwhacking through the jungles somewhere in Rwanda song. Barefoot running. Feet thumping, toes splayed, sweat just dripping from every pore – because it’s humid as Hades in the jungle. And it is lush, and green, and bright. With giant insects both crawling and flying. I am running to collect gorillas; to protect them from poachers. I’mma gonna just lead them all to safety like the pied piper of gorillas. So, halfway through this song, it is me and 25 gorillas, 3 giant old-timer silver backs, just pounding over the gnarly tree roots to somewhere safe. And we just keep running. And I save them all. Brilliant.

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2. Happy, by Pharrell Williams.

“It might seem crazy what I’m about to say
Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break
I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air, like I don’t care baby by the way…”

It’s really hard for me to not break into a super-high skip when this comes on. Really hard. Sometimes I fail. I have to smile, because I do feel happy. Feeling this song isn’t so much imagining as it is recognizing. It makes me take stock of all the things in my life that make me happy, not least of which is a great run. Thinking happy things makes me just want to tip my head back and grin up at the sun. I get you Sun, I’m just as bright as you. But realistically this would probably throw me off-balance, so instead I just look forward and grin at whatever is out there, and people probably think I’m a weirdo. And since I’m running chances are my smile looks more like an evil grimace….so its better to just focus on the song. Yep. Don’t worry about the rest of the world.

3. Umo the Powerful, from Visions of Kenya.

I do not know how to spell a single word in this song, so just bear with me. It is a little tribal, a little playful, and very Kenyan.

This one is fun. I am long, lean, barefoot and black, running faster than fast across the Kenyan savannah. I have been to Kenya. I have seen Kenyans run; not the ones who are trained to run, but the ones who just run for the practicality of it. They’re amazing. I want to look that amazing. Shit, I DO look that amazing!!! Me and the cheetahs!! We are muscle and speed, and grace and agility, and gorgeous, lithe and,

I could carry on forever. I am pretty sure there isn’t even a hint of gorgeousness when I’m running (trust me, I’ve seen my race pictures), but it is totally worth it to imagine differently. I do run just a little faster…

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4. Wrecking Ball,  by Miley Cyrus.

“I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me
Yeah, you, you wreck me…”

I am mortally embarrassed to say that I love this song. And I have seen the video. I sought  it out. I think I turned fire engine red just typing it into Google. This song makes me determined to go home and just shove my husband onto whatever surface is there and do the heck out of him. Yep. I just said that. If I lop off a cotton tee and slap on some workbooks and lick the faux stainless steel dishwasher will that totally turn him on? We don’t have any wrecking balls readily available.

5. Cleanin’ Out my Closet, by Eminem

“Where’s my snare?
I have no snare in my headphones – there you go
Yeah… yo, yo”

I am never as bad ass, as hard-core, as tough and ballsy as when I listen to Eminem. I am pretty sure I can take on anything; man, beast, nasty porta-potty, anything, when I hear this white man rap. And when he swears, I swear. I grit my teeth. I growl. I should take up professional boxing…Shit! I am SO freaking tough….No one should mess with me. EVER. I can’t believe I am living in the suburbs, married to a mortal man, an engineer!!! F*CK!!!! I am so tough I should just keep running until I get to a ghetto somewhere. And when the residents of the ghetto see how ridiculously, undeniably, fierce I am they will make me the ruler of the ghetto. Oh snap. I gotta get outta Lakewood.

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Tonight, by Hard-Fi

“Tonight, tonight I’m gonna take whats mine,
tonight, tonight under that bright neon light
And if I ever find a way right out of here,
Tonight, tonight I’m gonna disappear.”

This one begs me to seek out hills in the dark. It is one of my nighttime favorites. Dressed in black. Black beanie. Black gloves. Running. Slick black tights, no socks (I don’t know, its my imagination!), black shoes with silver lightning bolts on the side. I might steal something!! Where is the rain? This is an awesome song to run in the rain to. Forget breaking and entering, let’s race. In my all-black speed costume I win every race. No one even comes close to me. I win every competition, conquer all hills, collect every medal. Leaping off rocks. Taking up parkour and free running. At night. In the dark. Always the dark. No moon at all. Love it.

All You Got, by Tegan and Sara

“The kind of girl who laughs and says
Get up off your knees
Oh yeah all you need is me
Oh yeah all you want is me
So you come and so you go”

I have a lot of old boyfriends. I have also never been dumped. Is it totally wrong of me to occasionally think that they (yes, all of them) might possibly think of me as “the one that got away?” When this song comes on, I practically line them all up in my head, and they take turns begging me to give them a second chance. They swoon over me, gaze longingly at me, and yearn for me. It feels awesome. Sometimes I choose one and imagine that he just drove by me on Morrison Rd, and he’ll be at the stoplight waiting for me at the top of the hill. He’ll have love letters he’s been saving over the years, and they’ll be in his glove compartment, just waiting for me. He’ll ask if he can give me a ride somewhere. And I (super-cooly) say, “No thanks. I’m good.”

and then he just watches me run off, strong and not his.

Have you guys had enough?? Do you want to download some new music, or go running? Or am I just TOO weird now?
Before you decide, just think about how much fun it is to think about gorillas, ghettos and hot husbands. As opposed to planning menus, Costco shopping trips, and which kid gets a bath tonight.

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Dinosaur Train

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So, today before I give up the workouts from last week, I want to share a little motivation. I feel relatively new at this running thing, but I like it a lot. And that makes me excited. I’ll admit, I’m pretty easily excited, but this is some good, long-lasting excitement. But, excitement aside, why do I run? I’m not sure I really know yet. But I’ve made a few observations.

Moving makes me feel good. Being strong makes me feel even better. Possessing noteworthy endurance makes me feel like a goddess. Who wouldn’t want that!!??

Truly. I am confused by people who aren’t willing to work hard to feel good.

I feel good before, during and after. But the feelings of goodness are different from one another. On Monday I did a 10-mile route that kicked my butt. Hard. It had giant hills. Hills called Dinosaur Ridge. Hills that I only thought crazy people ran up. On Monday I got crazy. I ran up Dinosaur Ridge. Before I started I felt excited, springy and light, ready and willing. For most of the run I felt great. But then I got about 3/4 of the way up the mile-long ridge. Then, I felt like ass. I was hot, sweaty, sucking wind and doing the embarrassing runner-shuffle. Not really running, but too proud to actually walk. You’ve seen it, I’m sure. Well, I did it. And it felt rough. But my brain was saying, “You are doing this. You are succeeding. You are awesome.” Thank God for my brain. It kept the good feelings coming. And I ran to the top.

Afterwards I felt accomplished, strong, relieved, tired, starving and chaffed in some spots. Ew. But it was all so ridiculously worth it. And it makes me wonder….why do you run? Or, if you don’t, why not?

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Circuit Workout (partner up!)

So, for this workout, pair up. You will each be doing separate moves, but using each other as a timing mechanism. Meaning:

Set 1: Person 1 runs (we run around a half basketball court twice) then does 50 jumping jacks. Person 2 does a regular plank and then a plank with knees to elbows. P2 switches exercises when P1 switches. Then swap places/exercises.

Set 2: P1 Grapevine x 2, 25 mountain climbers on each side. P2 Russian twists, bicycles. Then swap places/exercises.

Set 3: P1 High knees x 2, 25 burpees. P2 Push-ups, dips. Then swap places/exercises.

Set 4: P1 Squat shuffle x 2, 25 calf raisers 3 ways (toes forward, toes in, toes out, for a total of 75). P2 Push ups and plank raises. (Google if you don’t know a move!) Then swap places/exercises.

Set 5: P1 Speed skater jumps x 2 laps, 30 dips. P2 air squats, dips. Then swap places/exercises.

Red Rocks Workout #2

Warm up – run down a row, run up two flights of stairs, run back the next row. Repeat.

Run down two flights of outside stairs, run up one. All the way to the bottom.

Run down a row. Do five push-ups at the end. Run up the next row. Do five push-ups at the end. Repeat to the top.

This equals an obscene amount of push-ups. I don’t even want to tell you how many because then you’ll obsess about it the whole way up and the weight of knowing the number will likely just make you miserable. In fact, just in case your math brain is on, I’m not even going to tell you the number of rows at Red Rocks. Don’t find out the number until AFTER you’ve done this once. Then, even if the number scares you, you’ll still know you can do this!

Trot down the inside stairs. Yes, just trot. You’ll be tired. Trust me.

Run the planters up. Planters are the brick walled areas on the sides of the amphitheater. Where the trees grow. Run at a planter, climb up it. Repeat til you get to the top.

Jump squats down with 20 dips on each 5th row.

Frog jumps, bounders and backwards (sideways for us for now) push ups back up. We find it more productive to do 4-6 of each move before switching to the next. Eventually we’ll do each move up once…but that takes a little more endurance than I’ve got at this point!

Lemme Break it Down

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So. Before I get too far into this thing, lemme break it down for you. This is my vision:

I want Moms, mamas, mamacitas, women with babies, tots and toddlers, women with baby bumps, women who are lactating, women who are pushing strollers, women who are wearing children, women who are wearing spit-up, women who don’t have time to tie their own shoes, and women who are aching to get out there and blow off some steam to be able to do ONE thing. EXERCISE.

That is why I post. You see, in case you haven’t noticed, I have two luverly children. They are fun, hilarious, adorable, dirty, hungry, fussy, never sleepy and oh so lovable. They also suck up my time like a finely tuned Kirby. Moving and shaking my white girl ghetto booty keeps me sane. And cute. And healthy. And HAPPY.

The workouts I post; I do. Usually on a Monday morning. With other moms and our children. Our location is top secret (but oh so public), because, well, as much as I love all the mamas of the world, if we all exercised in the same space, there’d just be far too many of us. But what I’d really like to happen is for other moms in other cities to take my workouts and make other little workout groups.

A mom I know asked me how I got my group started, and wellllll, I’m a talker. Once I get going I can’t stop!! AH! I think, back in the day, I used to be more normal about talking to other women. But then when I had kids, the dam just burst. Now, if I see you and you have a child, chances are; I will talk to you.

And I’ve learned so so very many things from all this talking and borderline stalking, but one thing stands out. We mamas; we want to be fit.

I started asking particular questions, and keeping a list of answers and names in my head. I started organizing, and offering to share what I’d organized. I started telling people about what I wanted to do and asking if anyone wanted to do it with me.

So, now you go. You, you mama reading my blog. Go find five mama friends with their little lovely children and take my workouts and go to a space, a park, a yard, a basement and DO THEM. That’s what I put them up here for.

Now, here’s another one:

Set 1:

50 Air Squats

40 Push-ups

30 Second Plank

20 Dips

10 Curtsy Squats w/ knee lift (each side)

Set 2:

50 Burpees

40 Reverse Lunges with ab twist (each side)

30 Cross Body Mountain Climbers

20 High Knees

10 Inchworms

Set 3:

50 Jump Squats

40 Triceps push-ups

30 Bicycle Crunches

20 Supermans

10 Donkey Kicks

Set 4:

50 Alternating Lunge Jumps

40 Plie Squats w/ Heel Raise

30 Knees to Elbows

20 1-Legged Dead Lift

10 Clams

This workout is from this blog: http://www.enjoyyourhealthylife.com/2012/05/24/boot-camp-style-workout/

*I’m not certified in anything other than Spinning. I’m not trained or educated in teaching or planning circuit workouts. I am not a fitness guru, I’m just a fitness junkie.