Long Run ‘List: Inspiration Edition

I’m kind of ashamed to admit it but…this week of running has been extremely blah for me.  I’ve finished my runs without any major problems. I don’t have any injuries. I’ve just been on auto-pilot. Even at my first speed workout on Wednesday, my mind was somewhere else. Actually this entire week has been blah for me in general. I have a 6 mile run planned for tomorrow and I really want to enjoy it so this week’s playlist is all about inspiration. I need some songs that will wake me up and push me out of this funk. Warning: this playlist is superrrr random.

1. Paramore. Hallelujah :: One of my favorite Paramore songs. I love that it’s upbeat and mellow at the same time.

2. Flo Rida. Good Feeling :: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love this song. How can you listen to it and not move your shoulders? Try it. I dare you.

3. Lady Antebellum. Just A Kiss :: I’m not really a Country music fan, but this song is so sweet. It’s the perfect description of new love. And it’s slower so it’ll bring my pace back down after my Flo Rida jam.

4. Jessie J. Nobody’s Perfect :: Favorite Jessie J song for sure. Especially this acoustic version. I’ve watched it at least 100 times. (She starts singing at 1:00)

5. Kirk Franklin. I Smile :: There’s no room for blah feelings when this song is on. It wills you into a happy state.

6. Natalie Maines. God Only Knows :: I love the original Beach Boys version of this song, but this version is definitely my favorite.

7. BarlowGirl. Sing Me A Love Song :: I couldn’t find a good video of this song anywhere (sad face), but its a beautiful song about letting God remind you of who you are and who He created you to be in the midst of those times when you’re feeling unsure/insecure/useless/etc.

8. Kanye West feat. Adam Levine. Heard ‘Em Say :: I could listen to Adam Levine all day long. I have no idea why, I just love his voice. This is one of my favorite Kanye songs. I have about 25 favorite Kanye songs in case you hadn’t already noticed.

9. Lily Allen. The Fear :: I really miss Lily Allen. The lyrics to this song are so relevant to today’s obsessive culture.

10. Glee Cast. We Are Young :: I may have gotten a little teary-eyed when they performed this song last week. Although the verses aren’t that..uplifting…the chorus is. It makes me want to do something young and amazing. Like form a band. or write a book. or run 6 miles. Let’s all watch it again…

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Long Run ‘List: Easy Listening

I’m coming up on the end of my first full week of half marathon training and the thing I’m focusing on for these first few weeks is pacing. I have to learn the differences between easy and comfortably hard and how to keep my body in the pace that I need. Tomorrow’s long run must be completed at an easy pace. My goal race pace is 11:30/mile which means my easy/long runs should be run at a 12:30-12:45 pace. What does all of this have to do with my long run playlist? Easy pace = slow music for me. I’m going with all mellow, easy listening tunes this week.

1. Glee Cast. Somewhere Only We Know :: This is my favorite Keane song made even better because Darren Criss is singing it. I just love it. That’s all.

2. Beyoncé. That’s Why You’re Beautiful :: Somehow I had never heard this song before I saw the I Am…Yours dvd. Shameful superfan moment. Is there a more beautiful Bey song? I don’t believe so.

3. Ben Rector. When She Comes Around :: I fell in love with this song after watching this video. At the risk of sounding dramatic, that video changed my life. This song is sure to help me slow down because I’ll be distracted by mentally planning my future wedding.

4. Addison Road. Run :: I apologize for that video being so boring but it was literally the only one I could find. This song has gotten me through even the toughest runs. The lyrics are so simple and so true.

5. Dixie Chicks. Cowboy Take Me Away :: I loved this song in Middle School, but I was too embarrassed to admit it because it was a country song. Now that I’m older and don’t care what anyone says about my music, I play it like it just came out.

6. Anthony David feat. India.Arie. Words :: I need for these two to get married, have kids and form a family band. Their voices go so well together. The video is pretty cheesy though. Just saying…

7. Amy Winehouse. Just Friends :: I couldn’t finish that video. Knowing that we lost a talent as great as hers is just too sad. I still listen to her music every chance I get though and this is one of my favorites.

8. Beyoncé. I Miss You :: This song is in no way relevant to my life. I just love Bey. And I just like sad, breakup songs. Does anyone believe me?

9. Justin Nozuka. After Tonight :: I am in love with this guy. When this song first came out, I was so obsessed with it that I had my boyfriend’s nephew (who typically listens to artists like Lil Boosie) singing every word. Poor kid. He couldn’t even help it.

10. Coldplay. Life in Technicolor :: This is the perfect song to end an easy run. During this training cycle, each week I’ll be running an easy run with a few strides thrown in at the end. This song starts slow and speeds up at the end so it’ll be perfect for that. Life in Technicolor II is a great song for that too.

Long Run ‘List: Hot Chocolate 15k Edition

I train with and without music so that I never feel like I’m dependent on it. I used to have a strict no-music-during-races rule. I just feel like I’ve worked so hard to get to the race that I want to be present for every minute of it. But I broke that rule last weekend during the Ashburn Farm 10k. I needed the music to distract me from the negative thoughts that were threatening to ruin my race.

Tomorrow I’m running my first 15k and I’m as nervous as I am excited. I struggled last week during the 10k and I’m really nervous that I won’t be able to run the entire way. On the other hand, I’m excited about the possibility of accomplishing that goal and celebrating by refueling with lots of chocolate at the finish line.

As much as I want to finish this race without any music, I’ve decided to create a race specific playlist just in case I feel my confidence wavering at any time. I run with my iPhone so I’ll just stick my headphones in my iFitness belt and hope that I never need them.

1. Olivia Ruiz. La Femme Chocolat :: If my dusty French skills are still legit, this song is about a woman who has eaten too much chocolate. Gotta finish this race so I can sing it from experience!

2. Kanye West & Jay-Z feat. Beyoncé. Lift Off :: For someone who attended the Watch the Throne tour without ever listening to the album, I’ve become abnormally obsessed with it. This is my current favorite running song. The chorus is perfect. How many people do I know who can take running as far as I have? Sadly, not many. And I’m not even done yet.

3. Coldplay. Paradise :: It’s so important for me to listen to songs that have a good beat without being too fast because I have a problem with running faster than I should during long runs. This one helps me pace myself. The video is super cute too.

4. Janet Jackson. Rhythm Nation :: 80s/90s Janet is my favorite Janet. I freely jam this song constantly. I remember having my own dance concerts in my basement to this. I replay all of the moves in my head when I run to it.

5. Katy Perry. Hot N Cold :: For a few dreadful months I worked at Planet Hollywood in Orlando. During the day and in their stores, they play a video loop all day long that includes music videos and movie clips. After a few weeks there, I would hear that loop in my dreams (nightmares?). This song was on it and somehow I never got tired of it. Probably because the video is so funny.

6. Karmin. 6’7″ Cover :: I’m no Lil Wayne fan. I’m actually the opposite of a Lil Wayne fan. But somehow this girl made me love this song. I get SO excited when it comes on during a run. It’s really great for tempo runs.

7. Jessie J. Do It Like a Dude :: Speaking of YouTube sensations. I am obsessed with Jessie J. When this song comes on I’m guaranteed to chick at least one guy. He might be an old man, but he’s still getting chicked. If you aren’t convinced of Jessie J’s talent yet, please watch this and this.

8. Glee Cast. Rumour Has It/Someone Like You :: This right here is the reason I love this show. How amazing did Santana look? She looked like a modern-day Audrey Hepburn. Watch it, download it, sing it, run to it.

9. Gavin DeGraw. Follow Through (Live from SoHo) :: By the time I get to this song, I’m sure I’ll be tired and ready to finish this race. Thankfully, my running partner will be there as my personal cheerleader and I’m gonna make sure he’s near the end when I need him. This song reminds me of him. And that’s a post for another day…

10. Florence + The Machine. Cosmic Love :: I love love love this song! I use it a lot for fartleks. I pace myself according to the pace of the song. It’s a great way to work on my speed while distracting myself from the burning in my lungs. I put this song at the end of my playlist because I know it will help me to speed up at the end.

Here’s hoping the race is as amazing as the Ghirardelli chocolate fondue at the finish line!

Long Run ‘List: Christmas Edition

The day after Thanksgiving is all about eating leftovers, bargain shopping and decorating for Christmas. Every year since I can remember, the weekend after Thanksgiving I’ve gone to my Aunt and Uncle’s house for a Christmas Tree party. My cousins and I would listen to Stevie Wonder’s Christmas album while we decorated the tree. I guess this tradition taught me that as soon as Thanksgiving comes and goes, I’m allowed to (officially) dust off the Christmas albums. I am so excited for my next long run because I’m planning on listening to these songs while I’m running through the neighborhood watching everyone put up their Christmas lights.

Last year’s Christmas card. 10 points to whoever guesses where the idea came from!

1. *NSYNC. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays :: Random fact of the day – I read once that JC Chasez loved the Redskins and I had a plan to have my Dad give him an autograph in exchange for a chance to meet the group and go to one of their concerts. Not following through with that plan is my biggest regret from middle school. (only half kidding.)

2. New Edition. All I Want for Christmas is my Girl :: I still have this album on tape. That shows how much I loved it. (p.s. I apologize for the bad quality of that video. Seriously, what is that picture? A stuffed animal?)

3. Christina Aguilera. This Christmas :: I love the original version of this song, but I find myself listening to this one more. It reminds me of the old Christina.

4. Diana Ross & The Supremes. My Favorite Things :: I didn’t even know this was a Christmas song until I bought the Motown Christmas album. It makes me so happy.

5. Glee Cast. We Need a Little Christmas :: Every time I hear this song I think about the scene where they went caroling and the British kid yells out “YOU’RE MAKING ME HATE CHRISTMAS!” I found that entirely too funny.

6. Lady Gaga. Christmas Tree :: A Gaga gem. If you clicked on the video and wondered why I posted it, it’s because I was tired of videos with just a picture. Plus, they deserve to have someone post their video after putting all of that effort in!

7. Bobby Helms. Jingle Bell Rock :: two words: Home Alone.

8. Maroon 5. Happy Xmas (War Is Over) :: For some reason this song makes me want to cry every time I hear it.

9. Stevie Wonder. Someday at Christmas :: If you watch the old home videos of our Christmas mornings, you can always hear this song in the background. It defines Christmas for me.

10. Glee Cast. Welcome Christmas :: Imagine bundling up and running through your neighborhood on Christmas Eve to look at everyone’s Christmas lights in the snow. Perfection.

King B.

Since Fridays are all about music here, I wanted to post Beyoncé’s new video for those of you who haven’t seen it. I cried a little the first time I watched this. I’m definitely adding it to my long run ‘list. (warm-up, cool down or both?)

Happy Friday!

Long Run ‘List: 11:06

Yesterday morning I ran 4.55 miles in 56:49. The first half of the run was awful. I’m talking 13 minute miles, rolling hills, a suffocating headwind literally blocking my body from going forward, a random pain in my shoulder that felt like I was being stabbed and even a few minutes of walking. It was not pretty.

At mile 2.28, I got to my turnaround point and decided to literally turn things around. It had been 30 minutes and I knew I wanted to beat that in the 2nd half. As soon as I crossed the street to head back to the start, my body woke up. I sped up, my breathing steadied, and my legs felt amazing. I powered my way up every single hill and kept my pace under 12:00/mile the entire way back. And then something amazing happened. I ran my fastest mile ever. According to Nike+ my fastest mile before today was 11:30. I think my Garmin had it at 11:45. Today, mile 4 was 11:06 (Garmin). (Nike+ clocked it at 11:01) I shaved 29 seconds off of my fastest mile time and I’m only a minute away from my current goal pace. I tried to keep it as close to 11:00 as possible for the remainder of the run, but there was a monster hill at the end of mile 4 that literally tried to kill me so I settled for keeping it under 12:00. This time next year I’ll be dropping 8 minute miles like it’s nothing. That’s a promise. But for now, I’m proud of my 11:06.

Maybe it was the tailwind. Maybe it was my mental determination to achieve a negative split. Maybe it was my completely random running playlist. I’m gonna believe that it was just me and my newly discovered athletic ability, but I’m keeping the playlist just in case.

1. Jamiroquai. Canned Heat :: This song came on right as I hit a short downhill. I started thinking about the movie Center Stage and how Jody killed this song the same way I was about to kill this mile. Cheesy? definitely. But it worked.

2. Superchick. One More :: “If I can overcome step one, I can face the 99.” Enough said.

3. Kanye West and Jay-Z. Who Gon Stop Me :: This song pumps me up every time. Except the end. The end makes me feel like I’m in a scene from Limitless. (If you didn’t get that you obviously haven’t seen this movie. Please find your local redbox and rent it tonight!)

4. Glee Cast. Anything Goes/Anything You Can Do :: My name is Jerrell and I love Glee, musicals and Glee songs from musicals. And this is my jam.

5. Fireflight. Unbreakable :: “God I want to dream again. Take me where I’ve never been. I want to go there, this time I’m not scared. Now I am unbreakable. It’s unmistakeable. No one can touch me. Nothing can stop me.” Just download this song now.

6. Coldplay feat. Rihanna. Princess of China :: I could probably run to the new Coldplay album from beginning to end. But this song is my current favorite. Sometimes I need a mellow song to calm my breathing and even my pace. This one is mellow without being too slow.

7. Ace Hood feat. Jazmine Sullivan. Champion :: When this song comes on I pretend that I’m not running through the suburbs. It goes too hard for the ‘burbs. (I just made myself laugh so hard with that one.)

8. Britney Spears. Toxic :: This song is a guaranteed speed enhancer. Guaranteed. Here’s hoping all of this running is guaranteed to give me Britney’s (old) body too.

9. Danity Kane. Sucka For Love :: Does anyone else miss Making the Band? Just me? That show was the ultimate guilty pleasure and this song was my jam. Still is apparently.

10. Day26. Exclusive (No Excuses) :: You can’t include Danity Kane without including these guys too. My best friend Amber and I used to listen to this song so much that my boyfriend (at the time) ended up singing it nonstop. Every time I think about it I die laughing all over again.

How many miles are YOU running this weekend and what songs are you using to push your pace?

good feeling.

Yesterday, when I was supposed to be out running an amazing 7-miler, I was in bed sick. My entire day was completely unproductive. Thankfully, I’m feeling a little better today and I will not let this weekend pass without a long run. So this morning I’m getting ready for church, thinking about all the football games I want to watch today, (Skins/Dolphins (HAIL) and Cards/Eagles (BIG crush on Larry Fitzgerald!)) and watching this video. Because today’s run is gonna be hotter than those neon green shoes Flo Rida is running in.

Back later w/ a recap!

Long Run ‘List: Solo Edition

I have a 7 mile solo long run scheduled for tomorrow. For my last 2 long runs, I’ve had an amazing running partner to distract me from the pain of the last mile with his corny motivating speeches and offers to pull me through the last mile. I usually love running alone, but now I’m spoiled. I contemplated doing the 7 miler at my gym in the Cardio Cinema, (last night they were playing Save the Last Dance!) but that would be too mind-numbingly easy. And I’d prefer to save my treadmill runs for really bad weather. Hence the Solo playlist. Solo jam session on the trail tomorrow!

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1. Chris Brown. Forever :: This song will never get old. Remember that SYTYCD routine w/ Comfort and Twitch? I imagine myself doing that when I’m running. If only I could dance…

2. Madonna. Miles Away :: I secretly love Madonna. That is all.

3. Gyptian. Hold You :: Reggae is the only genre of music I can dance to without feeling like the most awkward person in the room. This is my favorite reggae song right now. There’s a remix with Nikki Minaj that is pretty good too. I can’t believe I just said that…

4. Beyoncé. Why Don’t You Love Me :: Don’t let the title mislead you…this song is all about confidence. And running has given me more confidence than I’ve ever had. It also helps when you’re going through a breakup. He doesn’t want you? Who cares?! All this running is gonna have you looking like Beyoncé and then he’ll be sorry. (disclaimer: you’re gonna need to add some lunges, squats, crunches, reverse crunches, bridges, and leg lifts to all of that running in order to get Beyoncé’s body. and possibly some implants.)

5. La Roux. Bulletproof :: There’s a rule for long runs: if you can’t hold a conversation, you’re running too fast. If you’re running solo, try singing “this time babyyyyyyy, I’ll beeeeeee bullettttttproof.” If you can’t do it, you’re running too fast.

6. Glee Cast. Last Friday Night :: Every song Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss) sings gets downloaded onto my iPhone immediately. I’m gonna listen to this tomorrow and pretend that I had a crazy Friday night instead of studying Con Law at Starbucks until it closes.

7. Those Darlins. Night Jogger :: I have no idea how I even know this song. It probably has to do with the fact that the lyrics include this gem: “you got your favorite song so keep jogging on. you’re burning fat, you’ll never look back. night jogger…what you running from?” I can’t believe someone actually wrote and recorded those lyrics. I love them for it.

8. Ellie Goulding. Under the Sheets (Jakwob Remix) :: I first heard this song in this video and downloaded it immediately. It is quite possibly the most perfect running song ever created.

9. David Guetta feat. Usher. Without You :: This video makes me laugh. Usher is singing his heart out to the victim of another failed relationship while David Guetta and friends are having a worldwide dance party. Which is what I do every time I hear this song. Every. Single. Time.

10. Lady Gaga. Beautiful, Dirty, Rich :: If my little sister, Joi, and I had a reality show, this would be our theme song. Either this or All I Do is Win. Jerrell and Joi Take DC. Fall 2013. (I am 100% joking for those of you who are unsure)

Long Run ‘List : Watch The Throne Edition.

On Wednesday, I promised to post a Jay/Ye playlist for your long run this weekend and here it is. I’m scheduled to do my first 6-miler on Saturday so this playlist is absolutely necessary.

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1. Kanye West. The New Workout Plan :: This song is the definition of a hot mess, but it’s so funny that it will definitely distract from the pain/wheezing of the dreaded first mile.

2. Jay-Z feat. Rihanna and Kanye West. Run This Town :: I already liked this song, but once I became a runner I acquired an obsession with pretty much any song that includes the word “run” in it. Totally normal right?

3. Kanye West feat. Pusha T. Runaway :: The first time I heard this, I was so mad that Kanye felt it was ok to use the word “douchebag” in a song. But now I love it and it’s one of my favorite songs to run to. It’s especially great when I’m in a “boys are stupid” kind of mood.

4. Jay-Z. 99 Problems :: I wish I had some philosophical reason for loving this song so much, but I don’t. It just goes hard.

5. Kanye West & Jay-Z. H*A*M :: I’m not gonna tell you how long it took me to figure out what HAM meant. I guess I wasn’t paying close attention to the lyrics. Embarrassing. Either way, this is the perfect pre-race/get-fired-up/I’m-gonna-smash-my-PR song.

6. Jay-Z. Show Me What You Got :: Wave to your fans as you run past them. One of my running dreams is for this song to come on right as I’m chicking a guy so I can throw my hands up and wave goodbye. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that term…

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7. Kanye West feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Bon Iver. Monster :: When Kanye and Jay performed this at their concert the other night, the energy in the arena was out of control. I know every time I listen to it during a run from now on, I’ll remember that moment and literally run my lungs out. Warning: neither this song nor the video are suitable for children. seriously. that video gave me nightmares.

8. Jay-Z. I Know :: This song is perfect for when you want to maintain an easy pace. It’s smooth and laid back without feeling too slow, which is exactly how long runs should feel.

9. Kanye West feat. Mr. Hudson. Stronger :: This song will make you run harder, better, faster, stronger. Enough said.

10. Jay-Z. Young Forever :: I love this song. It reminds me of my last semester of college when I went to happy hour more times a week than I went to class, spent every day with my sorority sisters and pretended like the real world wasn’t coming anytime soon. It’s perfect for a cool down because it reminds me to stop focusing on pace or distance or how many calories I’m burning. I just want to run and enjoy my life while I still can. P.S. if you never saw Jay and Bey perform this at Coachella last year, click that link immediately.

what’s happening wednesday.

It’s 1:30 pm and the only productive thing I’ve done today is get a relaxer and a blow-out. I tried the whole natural thing for a few weeks, but I will never be the girl with the cute afro, nor do I want to be, and it was too much work keeping it straight. I’m Team Creamy Crack all the way. But I digress…

I have a couple of things to write about, but none of them go together so I’m just posting a bunch of randomness that I’m hoping someone will appreciate. For those of you who read yesterday’s athlete post and are back today because of it: THANK YOU! I really appreciate all of the kind words I received on facebook and twitter and I hope I can continue to write things worthy of reading…tomorrow. For now, you’ll have to settle for What’s Happening Wednesday:

#1: a confession – I haven’t run since Sunday. After Sunday’s long run, my knees weren’t too happy with me so I decided to lay off for a few days. Thanks to my impulse relaxer decision, I probably won’t run again for the next 2 days (gotta get my money’s worth!) so basically this week is gonna be an adventure in laziness. I read yesterday that you start to lose fitness after just TWO days of not running, but I just can’t bring myself to wash that $100 relaxer/trim/blowout down the drain. I think hair is one of the main reasons that so many black women are overweight and find it difficult to stick to a fitness routine. I also think that statement deserves an overused, but necessary SMH.

#2: Last night, I attended the Baltimore stop of the Watch The Throne tour. Another confession – I haven’t even listened to the whole album. Turns out, it didn’t matter because I still knew most of the songs and Jay-Z and Kanye did a lot of their own songs. Lesson learned from the concert: I am a diehard Kanye West superfan. I like Jay too, but I found myself singing (rapping?) along to every word of Kanye’s songs and just kind of standing there or instagramming my pictures when Jay was up. For those of you unfortunate souls who don’t own an iPhone, instagram is an app that takes your regular camera phone pictures and turns them into this:

and my personal favorite…

#3: Instead of reading for Professional Responsibility like the good law student that I am, I’m about to go through my entire iTunes music library to make a bomb Watch The Throne playlist that will motivate me to sweat my hair out and go for a run tomorrow. I’ll post it here on Friday. Until then, you can tweet me your fave Jay/Ye songs and I’ll add them. Don’t even bother sending me The New Workout Plan though, it’s already Track #1.