I’ve mentioned my love of music before. Sometimes I think I love running so much because it gives me a chance to listen to music for hours on end. One of my favorite things to do is hear music live, whether it’s with friends or alone. Music has helped me through some REALLY tough times. I love all music, but there are several types I REALLY love: electronic/dance like Daft Punk, French Pop, jazz, and alternative/indie/rock. I definitely credit my love of it to one of my best friends, Soufi, and my sister (thanks for the endless knowledge of Hole lyrics). I add a few new songs to my playlist each month, keeping all the old ones. Yep, I have had Black Eyed Pea’s Meet Me Halfway on my playlist for about 8 years now! Here’s what I love listening to these days, new and old!
- Charlie XCX– Doing it (w/Rita Ora): This song is fun!
- Indila– I partly love this song because of the memory attached to it…driving in the mountains of Vancouver this Summer with my favorite cousin, Mani. We share a love of French Pop, the mountains, and blaring music with the windows down. We listened to this on repeat before going for a 12 mile hike.
- Boston– More than a Feeling: Here’s a little secret…I start EVERY marathon with this song. Each of my 18 marathons. I’ve had it on my iPod for the past 10 years, and the only time I don’t skip over it is at the start line of 26.2. Just one “race-day-tradition.” Every time I hear it, I’m taken back to my first marathon in 2007. THE BEST FEELING.
- Daft Punk– Touch it/Technologic: ALL Daft Punk. I’ll never get enough. Seeing them live is on my bucket list.
- Phantogram– You’re Mine: I love this duo, and got lucky enough to see their show in Vegas in October. One of the best live shows I’ve seen in a long time.
- Santigold– Disparate Youth: I don’t ever not listen to this on repeat at least 3 times in a row.
- Stromae– Papaoutai: One day I will learn French so I can understand all these lyrics. Until then, I’ll just run to the songs!
- The Weeknd– Can’t Feel My Face: I don’t really care what the song is about (Google it), it makes me want to dance…and run more!
Pepper spray I carry
A picture of me that was taken as I was running the marathon, and given to me. I didn’t realize it was being taken.
130 decibel alarm
If you followed the news at all this summer, you’ll remember the two girls in Boston and NYC who were both murdered while they were running alone. The murders of Vanessa Marcotte and Karina Vetrano really shook me to my core. Not just because they were both around the same age as me or that they run alone as I often do, but because I’ve been in situations, all involving men, that have scared me.
I’ve been running at the same park for nearly 10 years. On any given day, if you’re a runner at Memorial Park, you may see me running. I’ve even grown to make some running “friends,” regulars who I’ve run past for years. We don’t always know each others names but we still smile and wave. Occasionally, we even say hi to each other. However, I’ve been saying “hi” to these random strangers, less and less over the past few years. The truth is, men scare me at times and I don’t think they even realize it. Dear Men, you can be scary.
Ever heard anyone say how uggly Uggs are? They may not be the prettiest shoe (ask any guy what they think) but they sure do come in handy after having run 26.2 miles. I’ve calculated that during a marathon I take almost 37,000 steps. That is a lot of pounding on my giant feet(10 1/2 running shoes)! As soon as you cross the finish line, you start to feel the aches and pains you may not have noticed while you were on an adrenaline filled run. Your medal is placed around your neck, you smile for the photographer, and then you begin to limp. Your legs feel like noodles, your back aches, and you discover just how much you use the muscles in your neck and shoulders while running. But, your feet did the most work. Those two suckers just took a beating and now need a break. If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to go anywhere near a pair of running shoes. Most of the marathons that I have run are during fall or winter when it’s (hopefully) cool enough to wear Uggs. I always wear these shoes to the race, with my running shoes hidden safely in my bag with all my other goods. As soon as I finish my race, I head for my bag and tear off my running shoes. Slipping my feet and calves into my Uggs is one of the best feelings, it’s like walking on little pillows. It makes moving around in an effort to meet up with loved ones, trying to find snacks, and then the bathroom so much more comfortable. If you don’t want to purchase Uggs, you can find the same style boot that is more affordable online or even at DSW.
Queens of the Stone Age
1. You and Me- Disclosure: I first heard Disclosure about two years ago when playing around on iTunes late one night. I downloaded their album Settle and uploaded all the songs to my iPod. At the time, I hadn’t heard any of the songs that were on my playlist, but in the middle of a 20 mile long run, You and Me came on. It gave me a little kick in the butt when I was at about mile 15, and needed it. I played the song on repeat a few times, and sometimes still do. This is a great English duo who feature some pretty big names on their songs. They are worth checking out.
2. Whispering- Alex Clare: This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I first heard this song from Alex Clare in a promo for a season of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Come on, you know you watch it! I love this song when it’s dark out and preferably cold. Alex Clare has a beautiful soulful voice.
3. This Girl is On Fire- Alicia Keys: I LOVE ME SOME ALICIA KEYS. She is a secret love of mine. I’ve loved her since 2001 when she took over the music scene with Fallin. I assure you, this will not be the only song of hers you see on my music page. This song just gets me fired up (no pun intended)! Her beautiful voice along with the lyrics will get any girl feeling like she is on fire. (Even better, she just ranher first marathon, the NYC Marathon! You go girl!)
4. In My Head- Queens of the Stone Age: 2005 was the year I first heard Queens of the Stone Age and I have been a fan since. Josh Homme’s voice. Enough said. These rockers are talented musicians who truly play rock’n’roll, which I feel is rare these days. Homme is also a member of Them Crooked Vultures, another great group. I love this song and video. Turn this on when wanting to run a little faster.
5. Reflektor- Arcade Fire: The only group I can’t remember how I discovered, but it doesn’t even matter. All that matters is that I heard them and have loved them since. I love how unique their sound is, I can’t really think of anyone to compare them to, they’re just fun. I have a love of French pop music, so maybe that is why I love this Canadian indie band. I love the sound of Regine’s voice in Reflektor. Be sure to check out their other songs and watch them live, it’s a pretty big group and entertaining.
Ever “liked” a Chevron Houston Marathon Facebook or Instagram post? Are you on the marathon newsletter e-mail list? If so, chances are Vicky Oddi was behind it all. I first met Vicky in 2013 when I applied to be part of the Chevron Houston Marathon Ambassador Program, a program she introduced to the Houston Marathon. She’s an integral part of the marathon and a runner herself. A Pennsylvania native, Vicky has had some amazing career opportunities that have taken her, literally, around the world. Before calling Houston home, Vicky worked for U.S. Water Polo, U.S.A. Track and Field, NBC Universal, as well as NBC Olympics, which gave her the chance to attend the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. When she’s not busy planning Houston’s biggest single day sporting event, she can be found running around town or in the kitchen cooking (beware, her salmon dishes will make you hungry).
There’s nothing better to ruin a great long run like red, raw skin. You all know what I am talking about, and if you don’t, you will at some point. There’s good news though! You can avoid this annoying reminder of your 20 miler with one product. I am a big fan of Body Glide. The reason I use this over other products is because it isn’t sticky, oily, or messy. You just rub it anywhere that your skin rubs together. I usually chafe at my armpits, towards my back (weird, I know) and under my sports bra right in the middle of my upper torso. When I forget to rub Body Glide on prior to my runs, I even have a little scar to remind me of my forgetfulness. However, when I use Body Glide, I never chafe. The bottle is small enough to take with you to a race in your bag and you just rub it on like deodorant. I have had the same tube for about 3 years, it lasts a long time. You can find it at any local running store as well as running specialty stores. If ordering online is easier for you, you can do that directly from their website.
I could not have done any of my long runs and even some shorter runs had I not learned about Map My Run years ago. I started using this site when I first began running to measure the distance I was running through a neighborhood I was living in at the time. There were no mile markers and at that point I didn’t own a GPS watch to keep track of my distances. My first measured run on this site dates back to January 18, 2007. I mapped out a 10 mile run in my neighborhood. Immediately after that, I mapped out a few runs in the Austin area as I spent a lot of time in Austin that year. I also began training for my first marathon, the Chicago Marathon. I have since used Map My Run to help me in planning for training for several different marathons and in several different areas. I have mapped runs in Houston, NYC, Cape Cod, Hawaii, and even in Puerto Rico. It is a user friendly site and you can even download the app to use as you are on the go. When you use the app, it works as a GPS tracker and will log your run online to your account. All you need to do is create an account, which you can link to your Facebook account, or just create a username and password, and then click on “create route.” The site has a lot of other useful features, but my favorite by far is the route creating option. Try it out and let me know what you think.