chords and cadence

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Archive for the tag “rock n roll”

Activation Confirmed: Training Beast Mode In Progress

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Shelby Pedestrian Bridge, 6:15pm, 18 degrees and windy. So?

It took 18 degree windy weather, 10 hill repeats over the Shelby Pedestrian Bridge in downtown Nashville, and a bum numb enough to eliminate all certainty that my running tights were still up to light a fire.

I’m nearly three weeks into training for the Country Music Marathon. Blame it on the “Polar Vortex,” too much “pop star in jail” media attention, less frequent sunny days or whatever, but I haven’t had the same fire I’ve felt for training that I had 12 months ago. It has left me cynical, unmotivated, and confused (because my Broncos are in the Super Bowl and shouldn’t that be motivation enough? Wes Welker! Eric Decker! OMAHA!) But I digress.

Unlike my purist runner self, I’ve taken 80% of my runs indoors when my iPhone tells me it’s colder than 35 degrees outside. I’ve ignored Training Beast Mode Angel on my right shoulder who says, “tough it out, Taylor. You’ve done this before. You’re a RUNNER.” Training Autopilot Angel on the left is louder, though: “yeah, but…” and I pop myself in the car and head to The Y.

I’ve found comfort in the temperature-regulated gym, predictable treadmill settings, and getting lost in the album Clarity by Zedd. I’ve chosen comfort over discomfort. I’ve settled for good enough over just plain good. Although I’ve completed my workouts, I’ve felt mentally weak and overall defeated.

I was dreading last night’s East Nasty prescribed workout: 10 hill repeats (total around 7 miles) with cold weather and wind. I waivered: I could always take it to the Y (again), leave my warm car and run inside to the warm gym, get on the treadmill, zone out and complete the work, and go home. But my East Nasty training group comes with an elemental dose of accountability. That group is always there, always showing up, and always putting in the work. When I miss a workout, they give me crap because they care. When I show up, they push me harder. This is something the gym doesn’t have. This is something that inspires courage, pushing limits, and getting out of my Y Comfort Zone.

Although my fingers and bum were numb from the beginning, about 15 of us showed each other (and ourselves) what we were truly made of. In comparison, there were about 50 people who showed up for the workout last week when it was a balmy 45 degrees. Each incline presented a new opportunity to shed any annoyance, any fear, any stress or frustration. Each decline offered reward, encouragement, satisfaction. The breath we saw pushed out from our own working lungs was gratifying.

We showed up. We started. We finished. And we crushed even more hills than we did the week before. Beast mode? Beast mode.

Digging deep (with help from accountability) I found some courage, picked it up, dusted it off and used it. That friction started a fire, and I can’t wait to run outside today. Forecast says a high of 28; Training Beast Mode Angel on my right shoulder winks and says, “You got this,” and Training Autopilot Angel on the left shoulder has nothing witty to retort.

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Race recap: Country Music Marathon (or: Crazy is as crazy does)

It has been brought to my attention that I might be crazy.6c5e08deaf2e11e2bcc022000a1fcf26_7

But crazy is as crazy does, and crazy runs 26.2 miles in pouring rain and would probably do it again.

Please don’t commit me yetI’ll explain.

The Country Music Marathon (Part of the Rock ‘n Roll series) was my second marathon in seven weeks. In between Asheville and the CMM, I had several hot dates with my foam roller, yoga-ed my heart out, had an affair with the stair master, and toyed with Hal Higdon’s prescribed in-between-marathons training regimen. As the assigned mileage on my calendar ticked away without being fulfilled, I became increasingly anxious about finishing another 26.2, and uninjured at that.

But then.

On the day most celebrated in the running world, our sport and its loyal supporters were targeted and attacked. People lost limbs and lives, and spirits sunk, to say the absolute least. But in the aftermath, a great quote started floating around:

“If you’re trying to defeat the human spirit, marathoners are the wrong ones to target.” 

You’re damn right.

Calf problems, a pulled butt muscle, an anxious psyche, unfavorable conditions… I became impervious to all of it. This was a race I had to run, because there was now a bigger picture.

Saturday morning, the rain made its crescendo as we filled the corrals and did own little weird pre-race rituals. I found the East Nasty group, with whom I started training at the beginning of the year. We all had a sub-4 goal, and planned to stick together. It was four other men ages 25 to 50-something, and another girl my age, and me.

Appropriately, there was a chilling moment of silence for Boston and everyone held up a peace sign. We sang the national anthem, and they played ‘Sweet Caroline’ to which everyone sang along like you would in a bar at 1am: With gusto. It was awesome and I just got goosebumps thinking about it again.

The details of the next 26.2 miles are nothing less than soggy. I stuck with my light-hearted group and caught back up when I had to tie my shoe, and again when I had to pee. I fueled up around mile 9 first with some GU blocks, around mile 15 with an orange slice and some raisins, and at mile 20 with half a GU pack. My legs started feeling heavier around mile 15, and by mile 19, my IT bands were on fire. My quads were tensing up, and I knew finishing was gonna take guts.

At mile 25 (a nice long incline), it was me, our fearless pace leader Daniel, and Ariel, the other East Nasty lady runner- a couple had gotten behind. We decided we would finish together and hold hands at the finish for Boston. We pushed each other that last 1.2 miles and when we crossed the finish, I saw the clock at 3:59:50, yelled awkwardly out of emotion, and almost cried because I was happy/so relieved to be done. But, guts. I didn’t cry.

It’s funny how hard exhaustion just slams you after you stop running for ~4 hours; I hit a wall and wanted nothing more than to be dry, off my feet, and reassured that I was indeed badass/I’d be okay/there was a hot shower waiting for me somewhere. We took some pictures, I wolfed down a PowerBar and some Gatorade and limp/walked back to my car as fast as my post-marathon legs would let me.

After all was said and done, I know I wouldn’t have gotten my goal if it hadn’t been for my group. They made me laugh, pushed me, reigned me in when I was feeling overly-ambitious, and generally kept my spirits up. Like the sense of community running richly fosters, together we were cold, determined, and hell-bent on not letting the rain, acts of terrorism, or chafing skin get in the way of our goal, for the bigger picture.

3:57:46 chip time, y’all. 

And yep, I would do it all again.  I’m owning it: I’m just crazy.

Huge shout out to my amazing city and its people. All of the spectators, volunteers, police personnel, and race organizers in Nashville blew me away with their enthusiasm and loyalty on such a yucky day. Humanity won. It will always win.

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

Running playlist 11.2.12

Old school, new school, bluegrass, hip-hop.

If it gets you going, it gets you going. Not much to it!

Live and Die – The Avett Brothers

Who – David Byrne & St. Vincent

I’m Shakin’ – Jack White

Hieroglyphs – Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes

Fall Around – Smoke & Jackal

Madness – Muse

Comeback Kid – Sleigh Bells

San Francisco – The Mowgli’s

Little Black Submarines  – The Black Keys

These Days – Dr. Dog

Marathon Runner – Yellow Ostrich

Arizona – Kings of Leon

The Pretender – Foo Fighters

D.A.N.C.E. (MSTRKRFT remix) – Justice

Weapon of Choice – Fatboy Slim (Pleeeeeease watch this video. You’re welcome).

Mercy – Kanye West

Hard to Love – Old Crow Medicine Show

I Will Wait – Mumford & Sons

We Come Running – Youngblood Hawke

Who are you running and listening to? My ears are always open!

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