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Archive for the tag “Music”

How to Have a Happy Trail Run

Without warning, it hit me: I really, really needed a good nature fix. I was starting to twitch. I needed more than a weekly, leisurely nature walk that didn’t get my heart rate up enough. I need to be out there longer. Sweat. Climb a damn hill with dirt on it. Burn my quads. Do a snot rocket.

The fiance came out with me for a 4.5-mile hike on the Mossy Ridge Trail at Percy Warner park on Sunday after church. Not more than 50 yards on the trail, it gnawed at me: Where have you been? Why not here? for I am nothing if not a girl in her happiest place on Earth on the trails surrounded by tall trees.

Hill Bench in its glory

I like how they put this bench at the top of one hill and the bottom of another. #foresight

As previously posted, running and I recently re-kindled our relationship and that has included small appetizers of trail running on the safe 2.5-mile Warner Woods Trail. I was secretly ashamed of myself that a short run like that would wipe me out like it did, but only because I know how much I used to tear it up. I wanted to run more and get back to what I used to do, but fear and self-doubt was successful at talking me down. You can’t do what you used to do three times a week anymore like it’s nothing! You’re almost 27. That’s considered your late 20s… Remember the creaking you hear in your knees? Better do some downward dogs instead.

I decided I’d had enough of the negative self-talk; it was time to stick it to the man/myself. I decided to pick up where I left off with trail running and allowing myself grace, I went for a long trail run and bucked any comparisons to my previous altitude-trained, 23-year-old self. And while I had an undeniably awesome, transcendent time (per usual) I did forget some crazy essential tips that could’ve made the beforeduring, and after a little more enjoyable.

Here are my tips for a happy trail run.

Before

  1. Load your car with a fresh towel or two, and a bandanna to bring with you as a sweat rag. Sweat pouring into your eyes and stinging them as you try to dominate a hill is just salt on a wound. Preventable!
  2. Drink up well before the run! Seriously, hydration is and will be your best friend. I’m no scientific expert, but drink enough so that your pee is clear. K? I’d like to make note that this is the first time I’ve talked about pee on a running blog. If you’re a runner, you are so impressed with me right now. Bring along water for after your run, an electrolyte drink (I love Nuun when I have it, or zero-calorie Powerade), and snacks in your car for when runger takes over on the drive home.
  3. Wear an article of clothing with a pocket for your car key. Yesterday, in full rookie mode, I wore no-pocket yoga pants and I improvised. MacGyver skills, while impressive, shouldn’t be necessary when we have been blessed by the existence of pocketed active wear.
  4. Naïveté isn’t cute or safe. Map out where you’re going and check the weather so you know what you’re dealing with. Unless you’re adventurous and have your phone with you, are fully prepared for the elements and have a load of time on your hands, knowing where you’re going and in what conditions are a must.  And since this is trail running, if you can check the elevation gain on the trail, DO. IT. unless you like to learn the hard way that a 4-mile route gains 225 ft. in a quarter mile. Hey, depending on your level of masochism, that may be a picnic! It would be for me on a good day!
  5. Sunscreen and bug spray yourself. I totally remembered this yesterday… totally.
  6. Tell someone who loves you that you’re bad ass and going for a trail run. And/or bring your phone. The good and bad of it is: the world is unpredictable and anything can happen. Turn your phone on “Do Not Disturb” if you really wanna feel like you’re unplugging, but still have a safety net.

    There's no place like a trail that smells like Jasmine

    Right here I had to stop and take a picture because I was breathing really hard but also because it smelled overwhelmingly like jasmine and I felt like I was not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

During

  1. Taylor’s Heaven on Earth = trail running with an eclectic mix that puts her back in Colorado. This includes, but is not limited to: Sam Bush, Infamous Stringdusters, Railroad Earth, YMSB, String Cheese Incident, Punch Brothers, Greensky Bluegrass, Grateful Dead. If you want my playlist, I’m happy to oblige. NOW: The important part of this that I MUST stress is keep the volume low enough to communicate with others on the trail. Guys, I was coming up behind this girl yesterday with her Beats By Dre turned up and although I was kindly alerting her that I was coming up on her left in plenty of time, she had NO CLUE I was around until I had to slow down and squeeze by her (and give her the stink  eye, because REALLY?). Not only for your own safety (hi, random attacker!) but also for the courtesy of others – keep your volume down so you can still hear what’s going on around you. Which brings me to my next point…
  2. Be kind and let people know you’re coming up behind them. Call out a little ways out with a friendly “Hey there! On your left!” Don’t whiz past them like they’re in your way – trails are for everyone to enjoy responsibly. Practice the Golden Rule here. Make friends. Be good.
  3. Pick up your feet! Trail running is not without things you will be challenged to negotiate quickly! Get into a zone and pay attention to what’s ahead of you. You will be amazed at how your brain works to anticipate what’s to come and how your body responds. If you find yourself timid to go too fast down a hill littered with roots and rocks, take it slow but prepare yourself for next time by doing some drills: running stairs, high knees, and butt kicks, or lateral exercises like shuffling and grapevine. Strength training helps, too. Now, give me 10 squats!
  4. HILLS – try not to look at what you have ahead of you too much for too long – it will mess with you mentally. Just take one step at a time as you ascend. Yesterday, I was halfway up a hill before I realized I was running up a HUGE one, and guess what? I had enough (mental?) energy to take me to the top! Then, at another hill, I sized it up as I approached it and didn’t make it up without psyching myself out. Trail running is a mental game, like anything else, and there are ways to hack it.
  5. Stop and smell the flowers. Don’t hold yourself to a strict time limit. Allow yourself to stop and soak in the nature and beauty around you. That’s what trail running is about! Recognize you’re blessed enough to be where you are, feel the burn in your lungs and the pulsing of blood in your legs. THIS IS LIFE! THIS IS WHAT IT IS ABOUT! And then keep going.

After

  1. That towel you packed? Sit on it and save your car seats. Wipe the sweat and dirt and mud off ya, if you got so lucky.
  2. Luxuriate with these. Especially if you want anyone to actually come close to you when you get home. Or, any baby wipe will do.
  3. Drink water, eat something. Avoid headaches, literally, and thank your muscles with carbs and protein.
  4. Check for ticks. Lyme disease ain’t no joke.
  5. Foam roll within a couple hours of your run so you’re not out of commission for the next three days with Icy Hot as your main squeeze. Foam rolling can really ruin a DOMS party in your muscles.

I won’t admit to how many of the above I had to re-learn yesterday, which was the real impetus behind this post. But that’s what I get for staying away so long!

Returning to the trails to run them made me feel more than ordinary; I was no longer a boring person with a desk job. I sank into my zone, listened to each and every note in my hippie music and didn’t do a whole lot of thinking otherwise. It was simple: I had a happy trail run, and after reading this if you go out and try it, I really hope you do too.8926bb1859448aa8bd7cdcc00995a5c6

 

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32 reasons I run (and I’m not getting over it)

I really don’t want to do this. But as a runner, and a writer, I simply must.

I’m going against myself to give MORE attention to an inane article (and poorly written at that) published on the Wall Street Journal titled “OK, You’re a Runner. Get Over It.” Basically, the writer makes an outcry about how people who run, like to run, and like to express it via social media, their bumper stickers, or choice of clothing. (Ha!)

Instead of inciting anger or rendering me doubtful about why I do what I do, the article made me laugh and pity Couch Potato Chad Stafko. Good thing there are programs for reversing that…

Not ones to sit down and stay quiet, the running community went a little vocal when this came out. Instead of writing an argumentative piece counteracting all of Chad’s statements, however, I’d like to thank him first. His article did make me feel a little nuts for loving running so much, but you know, I’ve been looking for what sets me apart from all the other blonde 20-somethings working in the bluegrass music industry. Being nuts is a good identifier. So thanks for the exercise in self-identity, Chad.

I appreciate his article, too, because it made me contemplate the reasons why I run, and why I love it. So in our list-driven world, I’m contributing mine: 32 reasons I run (and I’m not getting over it).

1. It’s free

2. I get to shed femininity and spit and snot rocket and other non-feminine things

3. I genuinely enjoy working up a sweat

4. Post-run beers

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A nice Highlander after my first marathon in Asheville, North Carolina.

5. I have witnessed more beautiful sunrises and sunsets than I can keep track of or Instagram

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At my favorite place, Percy Warner.

6. Getting my nature fix. Because nature is neat.

7. The opportune moment when you pass another runner and give each other high fives

8. Hills

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Real live hill on a 6k trail race course. Brutal. Badass.

9. Stairs

10. Views

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Chattanooga, Tennessee

11. Heroes, and chances to meet them

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Olympian and CU Buff Alum, Kara Goucher and me at the Country Music Marathon Expo, April 2013

12. Weight loss/management (special note: Since I seriously took up running, I’ve lost 30 pounds.)

13. My Garmin

14. Free swag at races

15. Free food and drinks at races (pshhh race fees. shhh!)

16. Running friends who like to talk about running with you, and you don’t feel like you’re boring/confusing them

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These are my awesome East Nasty friends after we just finished a 5k and were looking for beer and food, but we were so fast that it was still so early and nothing was open yet.

17. An excuse to wear a headlamp

18. More showers

19. Exploring new places

20. IT’S THE MOST FUN THING TO BRAG ABOUT EVER, so deal, because I’m not gonna stop

21. Every month I get Runner’s World in the mail, which isn’t bills, bills, bills.

22. Tech t-shirts

23. New shoes every few months

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24. Empty streets early in the morning

25. Running past graduations, circuses, parades, food truck festivals (a lesson in always carrying cash!), proposals, breakups, and many very nice and vocal homeless citizens. Been there, done that

26. Jamming out to music like Foo Fighters, Neil Young, and Tom Petty, and learning all the words because you never rotate their “Greatest Hits” off your playlist

3rd Annual "VH1 Rock Honors" - Show

Dave Grohl, whom I adore.

27. Playlists

28. Athletic wear, because I wish I could get away with wearing tights and Oiselle ALL the time (something of which Stafko totally doesn’t get, which must really suck for him)

29. It gives me something to write about (ahem, hence this blog)

30. I have to do something better than my boyfriend, because he’s really good at a lot of things

31. Two words: Foam. Roller.

32. I really enjoy pancakes, and I also really enjoy being a size 4

whole-wheat-pancakes

Best ones in Nashville are at the Pancake Pantry, mark my word!

Sorry I have to stop there. I could go on. But if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta run.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

When was the last time you did something for the first time? Or even realized you were doing something for the first time?419601_10151632395851469_280030731_n

When was the last time you ran like a kid? Swung on the swings during your lunch break? High-fived another runner out on a run? Drank mimosas with your friends at 10 p.m. on a Tuesday while it stormed outside?

I’m not currently following a training schedule (when you’re on one from November-April a break is necessary), and it’s changing how I run. Now instead of aiming for mileage, time, or speed, I am aiming to just feel joy. To run happy. To do things for the first time, or at least be present in the moment and being attentive while I’m there.

This isn’t to say that I didn’t find joy in my training runs, I did very much. But this joy is different; it’s unpredictable what will trigger it and when. Spontaneity at its finest.

Some running-related examples of pure joy/first time happenings lately:

-Listening to Springsteen’s “Glory Days” while running over a bridge across the Cumberland River in the warm Tennessee sun. If that doesn’t invigorate you deep down, shoot son. (Okay, that video is from 1985 and fantastic. Click on it.)

-Dodging fallen tree branches (but totally splashing through the puddles) on the sidewalk after a storm from the night before. Ten points if you don’t step on the cracks!

-Sprinting up a hill just for the hell of it. (Okay, Busta Rhymes helped).

-Stopping to take a picture of  that white church steeple poking through the trees in the distance on a trail run. Love them Tennessee hills!

-Not hitting a single stoplight on an urban run. Seriously, when does that EVER happen? But, it did.

-Realizing that bipedalism is totally awesome (And other “____ is totally awesome” realizations that seem pretty obvious, but are enlightening all the same).

-Getting into a zone with new Daft Punk, and letting the legs do the work. (Next time I might actually dance AND run, thus hopefully starting a rad and vibrant movement).

-Listening to Kings of Leon (“Ragoo” if you must know) while running by their star on the Music City Walk of Fame. Mentally giving them a high five and saying out loud, “Good on ya, boys!” (screw the on-looking tourists!) and turning it up.

See, the little things are the big things. When the little things happen for the first time, they’ll never be recreated the same way; they will remain those joyful moments you can write blogs about, that you’ll remember as the first time this happened.

So, when’s the next time you’re gonna do something for the first time?

Ten songs I hope I never get tired of hearing

1. James Taylor: “Fire & Rain”

2. Paul Simon: “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”

3. Debussy (as played by David Oistrakh): “Clair de Lune”


4. Neil Young: “Heart of Gold”

5. Ray LaMontagne: “Jolene”

6. Laura Marling: “Sophia”

7. The Black Keys: “Little Black Submarines”

8. Punch Brothers: “Rye Whiskey”

9. The Avett Brothers: “Laundry Room”

10. Bruce Springsteen: “Born to Run”

 

Shower the people

I wanted to take a long walk on Monday after hearing about the events in Boston just to think and be. So I parked at a trail head, left my phone in the car, and didn’t even predict when I’d be back. Okay, I know this sounds a little ‘Into the Wild’ but c’mon, I would at least take snacks. 

Usually when I’m here, I am running. I’m usually trying to crush the hills, cruise the downhills, pass the slow people, and sweat. I often don’t pay attention to the detail on the sides because I’m looking straight ahead.

Percy Warner is gorgeous right now, and I will shout it from the rooftops until everyone in the 615 goes there (preferably one at a time so it doesn’t get crowded) and agrees with me and smiles and says ‘thank you’ to whomever deity they believe.

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I MEAN LOOK AT IT.

But instead of going fast like usual in this place, I knew slowing down and smelling the roses was probably the best thing to do because it would center me in the most needed way, and hopefully help me to realize how I could just be better. Because couldn’t we all just be a little bit better?

When I tried thinking about what I could do better in life (a topic all too often occupying my brain), these things kept popping into my mind incessantly:

Be compassionate. 

Listen.

Forgive.

Be patient.

Slow down.

Smile.

Tell people whom you value that you value them. 

Say thank you.

Give.

And then this song popped into my head after, and I knew my lesson from slowing down, thinking, and being had been realized.

Things are gonna be much better if we only will.

Rewind: February

Seriously… March is tomorrow? As in, the-month-when-spring-happens March?

As in I’m-running-a-marathon-in-March March?

I just got butterflies. That could also just be coffee on an empty stomach, but optimism favors the former.

There’s been a song stuck in my head this week (unoriginal or not to a runner): Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born to Run.’

See his passion? His utter raw energy just erupting? His rad, plaid cutoff shirt? (so awesomely ’80s…I want to go to there)

I mean, woah.

I know his proclamation is not about the actual act of, say, running a marathon, or running recreationally at all. It’s about runaway American dreams and Carpe Diem and breaking out and seizing love. It’s a bold anthem and powerful prose that unifies the most diverse of ears, exclaiming that we are all battling races of our own, and we’re all meant to win them despite brokenness and hardships that weigh us down.

Springsteen has won over 20 Grammys, sold millions of records world wide, and has been named in Rolling Stone as the 23rd Greatest Artist of all time, 96th Greatest Guitarist of all time, and 36th Greatest Singer of all time. I *think* he may know a thing or two we could learn from.

What I’m saying here isn’t anything new, but maybe it’ll at least inspire you to listen to a little bit of The Boss at work today and ponder your own Carpe Diem scheme and therefore, you’re welcome.

Courtesy of Rollingstone.com

Courtesy of Rollingstone.com

((switching gears))

Last month, I logged 204 miles. It was pretty awesome. I pretty much felt like a rockstar.

This month was shorter and my taper began right smack dab in the middle of it, so my numbers won’t be near as impressive. I didn’t feel like quite the rockstar I was in January.

(As I’m writing this, I haven’t even added them up for fear of too-low a number. I’m competitive with myself, what can I do? Okay… whipping out the calculator)

Alright, it was 152. Better than what I anticipated; I’ll cut myself some slack.

My first marathon ever is this Sunday, and I cannot believe how fast time has flown. So I guess the moral of the story is: if you want time to fly, sign up for a marathon. And, boom.

Look forward to a race review sometime next week. I’m still taming my taper temper, but looking forward to eating a little more carbs than usual, oh- and being in a new state: North Carolina!

We gotta get out while we’re young/’cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run

Slowing things down

tumblr_m3emuu07lT1rr7w9fo1_400I began tapering my marathon training this week, decreasing the mileage and intensity in my workouts.

It has been so. hard.

Cuz here’s the thing: I’ve gotten really bad at being okay with not doing much.

I’m not good at sitting still.

I’ve tried being 100% lazy on a Sunday (even after a 20-miler) and just. couldn’t. do it. I had to go outside and move or stretch or do planks or get coffee with a friend or something.

I wouldn’t do well in solitary confinement (plus like, what’s up, claustrophobia?).

Slowing down in marathon training has nudged me to look at my life and where else I could slow down. Since training has hijacked most of my life for the past 12 weeks, there’s not a whole lot else I really need to slow down on. But I thought about my own notions of busyness, and feeling like I always should be doing something, or making plans, or thinking about making plans, or whatever.

But I figured out (even though I haven’t fully put it into practice) that sometimes it’s okay to just… not.

Sometimes we just need to be.

Sometimes I just want Ryan Gosling  (all the time)

I realized that tapering not only applies to training, but should also apply in life (rough draft, working on it).

It’s okay to not always go balls-to-the-wall everyday, all the time.

Sometimes you just need to accept the fact that not doing anything but watching a Red Box flick, by yourself, with a glass of wine, and going to bed at 10 pm on a Friday night is a-okay when, the week before, you were out at the honky tonks with your best friend checking out the lead singer of a cover band and were out til 3 am.

Tapering.

I know my body needs it. My brain needs it: Rest. Because ultimately, allowing nothing to happen just makes room for bigger things later on.

So, here are some songs rotating through my tapering playlists this week and next:

Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car – Iron and Wine

All the Right Places – Zach Heckendorf

Second Song – Assembly of Dust feat. Keller Williams

Ulysses – Mason Jennings

West Coast Fool – Donavon Frankenreiter

Jacksonville Skyline – Ryan Adams

(omg, guys, we are getting SO mellow up in here)

Baby’s Got Sauce – G. Love

I Might – Wilco

You & I – Local Natives

Simple Song – The Shins

‘Til next time, I’ll be taming my taper temper! (i love amazing alliteration)

Celebrating that four letter word

I’m just feeling the love today. 843965_10151444880361469_1030450588_o

Ya dig? Maybe not?

Understandable.

For the past couple years my February 14th focused on red wine, biting cynicism, and scarfing just enough Dove chocolates to sink my single-life-loving battleship.

I wasn’t alone in throwing a pity party because I get by with a little help from my friends; we mocked cutesy couples and lame Zales ads, cheersing our single status while internally lamenting the fact we didn’t have someone who was wining and dining us that night, or next Saturday, or (seemingly) never.

I hopped off the Single Train this year (no doubt I still mock cutesy couples and lame Zales ads) but even so, I decided to embrace love in all aspects of my life. Turns out, there is so much to celebrate:

Running

Music

The great outdoors

Good friends

Sunrises

Hills

Coffee

Pancakes

Inside jokes

Classic rock guitar jams

Fresh snow

Bluegrass

Yoga pants

Muddy trails

Nashville honky tonks

Chocolate + peanut butter

I could go on and on and on because there is an infinite amount in this world to fall in love with.

It counts with anything: inanimate, or full of life. Today is just a good reminder to celebrate all that I love.

…and, I LOVE this video. I get downright giddy. It was one of the happiest nights of my life. Enjoy + cheers!

Treadmills suck

This morning was another sweet reminder to be grateful for and take advantage of the beautiful parks and spaces around me here in Nashville.

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((on the headphones at picture time: ‘Take Me With You When You Go’ by Jack White))

Rewind: January

Man, if every month is like January, 2013 will most surely kick my ever-lovin’ butt.321473_10151400568661469_1163135713_n

January came with a few ‘firsts’ for running and me. 

-First (and second!) 20-mile run.

-First long run in the rain.

-First time experimenting with energy gels (not bad, but not awesome. Trying raisins on this week’s 15-miler instead).

-First time running with water (i.e. a handheld water bottle). Up until now, I’d be okay to go on 10-13 mile runs without hydrating. Maybe not the smartest way to train but you live, you learn, right? Plus, I’m cheap and gear is not.

This past week of training really kicked things up a notch, and I finally started feeling it. Case in point: After a hearty (read: high incline, tempo) 6-miler last night, I almost ran into the sliding glass door at the gym because it didn’t see me walking up fast enough.

And then I found myself in bed at 9 pm.

So I decided to look back at my mileage; what was Hal-Higdon prescribed, and where I took some liberties. 

The magic number for January was 204; no wonder my calves and hamstrings have started twitching lately…

I love monitoring my own progress, however, and haven’t really kept track before, so I will now start posting my monthly mileage here. Whether or not it will be interesting to read, I’m not sure. Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies.

Anywho, I’m kicking off February with 7 miles after work tonight and I’ve already got a playlist cued up.

On it?

Everything from Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown, to Miranda Lambert, to Jay-Z. Because that’s how I roll.

Cheers!

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