Marathon Mix

With great friends at the finish line!

In case you didn’t know, I ran a marathon last Sunday.

I could tell you about finally seeing the finish line come into view after 26 miles. Or about how amazing it felt to cross the finish line at 4 hours 41 minutes and 19 seconds. Or about receiving my Tiffany’s & Co. designed sterling silver necklace from a tuxedoed SF firefighter. Or about my friends showing up with homemade signs and my husband showing up with flowers. Or about all the amazing and encouraging text messages I received mid-race (yes, I read every single one of them while running.)

But instead I think I’ll share with you my marathon mix (with notes). These are the songs I hand-picked from my iTunes that I thought would help keep me going during the race. I shuffled randomly before syncing them to my ipod so that there would be an element of surprise. Enjoy!

Bulletproof – La Roux

Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire

Big Casino – Jimmy Eat World: This band holds so many good memories for me, that of course it goes on my marathon mix!

Chicago – Sufjan Stevens

Help Help – Mates of State: Once, I accidentally discovered that this song has a perfect bpm for my cadence.

The First Single – The Format

No Cars Go – Arcade Fire

Run – Ben Kweller: Um, appropriate, much?

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1 – The Flaming Lips: I bought this album during my semester in Spain, and I would listen to it the few times I went running in Casa de Campo, a vast park in Madrid. So, naturally, this album reminds me of my life in Spain.

Use Somebody – Kings of Leon

Love Lockdown – Kanye West

Kick Drum Heart – The Avett Brothers: Love, love, love this song. I think I was air-drumming to this song during the marathon.

Hey Ya! – OutKast: This was my dance song during my senior year in college. And it still never fails to pump me up. “Hey Ya!” played while I was ascending the Presidio hill–the first really tough hill on the route. Thanks to a little help from OutKast, I didn’t stop to walk once.

Evil Urges – My Morning Jacket

It’s Too Late – The Streets

Steve’s Last Night in Town – Ben Folds Five: A throwback to high school days. Still a great song.

Cold War – Janelle Monae: Have you heard her album? Have you? If the answer is “no,” you really should find a way to listen to it right now.

Best of You – Foo Fighters: Another college days pick.

I Want You Back – Discovery: Check this one out, too. (Yes, this is a cover of the Jackson 5 song.)

Is this How Love is Supposed to Feel – Ben Lee

Submarine Symphonika – The Submarines

Foundations – Kate Nash

Me Llaman Calle – Manu Chao: One of the few Spanish-language artists I listen to. He’s pretty cool, too.

Dance Tonight – Paul McCartney

Miss Independent – Ne-Yo: My favorite line about this “independent woman” is “her bills are paid on time.” That’s right, Ne-Yo, lower those standards!

Make Light – Passion Pit

Whole Lotta Losin’ – Monsters of Folk: This is the second “supergroup” on this mix (after Discovery).

The Way You Move – OutKast

Color – Ojos De Brujo: Spanish-language group numero dos. Some hip-hop flamenco in the mix.

Surf Wax America – Weezer: Need I say anything about this band or this song?

15 Step – Radiohead

Carby – Discovery

Looking Out – Brandi Carlile: Random, I know, but I do love her voice.

Born in the 80s – The Boat People

Rockin’ The Suburbs – Ben Folds

Just Dance – Lady Gaga

Up Nights – Ha Ha Tonka: Think early Kings of Leon. Maybe.

Break Your Heart – Taio Cruz

Has It Come To This – The Streets

Love Me Like The World Is Ending – Ben Lee

The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power) – The Flaming Lips

The Kids (feat. Janelle Monae) – B.o.B

The W.A.N.D. – The Flaming Lips

Pump It – Black Eyed Peas: So, I probably repeated this song three or four times. I remember I was running along the great highway (probably around mile 15 or so), and this song really gave me a push.

Todo Tiende – Ojos De Brujo

DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love – Usher

Firecracker – Voxtrot

All My Life – Foo Fighters

You Are Free – Mates of State

Fraud in the 80s – Mates of State

Can You Feel It? – Apples In Stereo: This song is special because I used to listen to this album as I was first starting to run and building up to my first 5k during my grad school days in Syracuse, NY.

Evacuate – The Boxer Rebellion

OMG – Usher

Fadeout – PlusMinus

Blister – Jimmy Eat World: Possibly my favorite Jimmy song. Well, one of them.

Rock That Body – Black Eyed Peas

LoveStoned/I Think She Knows Interlude – Justin Timberlake

Fit But You Know It – The Streets

I Got A Feeling – Black Eyed Peas: How’d this get on here??

Heartless – Kanye West

Lazy Eye – Silversun Pickups

All I Do is Win – DJ Khaled: So, there are a few more songs on the mix, but this is as far as I got, as I started repeating this song incessantly around mile 24.5. This used to be the first song on my mix, and it’s a great song to hear as the finish line comes into view.

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Bikram: Day Two (and Kale Chips)

Yesterday I went to my second Bikram class. The bad news? It’s still really hard. The good news? I only had to skip two poses due to dizziness.

That’s progress!

Oh, did I mention that I went to the 6 a.m. class? Well, I did. And, surprisingly, I didn’t run out of energy come 3 p.m., as was typical when I was attending a 6 a.m. spin class.

In fact, I had enough energy left to make kale chips at 11 p.m.


Bright-eyed at 11 p.m. with a pan of kale.


The recipe is from Kath Eats Real Food (via my husband’s cousin’s blog).

Here’s what I learned:

  • I don’t remember what kind of kale I used (it was from our produce box), but I think this might make a difference. The kale wasn’t frilly and leafy, like Kath’s kale.
  • Although I usually have to leave baked goods in my oven longer than suggested by the recipe, the same is not true for kale. (Translation: I burned the chips.)
  • A little olive oil goes a long way.
  • Parmesan was a good idea.
  • I don’t know if I like kale chips.

Ok, I’d give them another shot, making sure to only leave them in for 15 minutes, but I’m not convinced yet.


Before: drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with Parmesan and kosher salt.



After: a little TOO crispy.


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Bikram and I get along okay…

Today I went to my first Bikram yoga class. A friend joined me, so at least I wasn’t alone. The instructor, Darius, asked for the first-timers to raise their hands. Naturally, I did. By myself. I was the only first-timer, except for another guy who came in late.

And so Darius made sure to let me know that, because it was my first class, I was welcome to sit down, take a break and drink some water whenever I needed to.

Now, I’m not new to yoga. I took a twice-a-week class in grad school, have gone to a couple of 24-Hour Fitness classes and have tried the P90X yoga video. So, at the beginning of class, as we start the breathing exercises and the first few poses, I was thinking, “I got this.”

Then my body remembered that it was over 100 degrees in the room. And sweat started pouring off of my body. I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in my life.

So here’s how it went (more or less):

  • Breathing exercises: Got it
  • Pose 1: No sweat!
  • Pose 2: A little hotter than I expected…
  • Pose 3: Struggling… not… to… faint.
  • Pose 4: I’ma sit down for a bit. Yeah, some child’s pose sounds good. And some water.
  • Pose 5: Ok, I’ll try this one, I… nope, nope, nope… can’t do it. I’m seeing stars. Sitting down!
  • Pose 6: Ok. I’m ok. I’m posing the best I can without fainting.
  • Pose 7: Taking a break.
  • Pose 8: Back up.
  • Etc.
  • Etc.
  • Etc.
  • Floor poses: Yes! We get to lie down between these! Score!
  • And so forth.

Well, you get the picture anyway. It’s about eight hours later and the clothes I wore are still soaking wet.

Did I enjoy it? Some of it. It was hard. A lot harder than I expected. I guess that’s why they make you sign a form before you participate.

Will I go back? Yes. I can’t really judge how I feel about it after one class. And apparently the feeling-like-you-have-to-faint thing is normal in the beginning. And Darius says I’ll notice positive benefits in my running if I stick with Bikram.




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I was thinking…

I’ve given up television for the month of October. There are many shows I watch here and there, but it’s become rather encompassing lately. Here’s an embarrassingly long list of shows I regularly watch:

  • America’s Next Top Model
  • Hell’s Kitchen
  • Master Chef (both the Australian version and the U.S. version)
  • Project Runway
  • The Simpsons
  • Family Guy
  • The Middle
  • Modern Family
  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • Community
  • The Office
  • One Tree Hill (I know, I know…)
  • 90210 (Stop judging me!)

And I’m going to stop because some of these are really hard to admit. In my defense, I will say that often I pull up a show on my laptop while I’m cooking dinner, cleaning, etc. You know, just something for background noise.

Regardless, I decided last week that it was time for a break. And how convenient that October was just upon us at the time.

And here it is, Oct. 7, and I’m still going strong. I must say, it’s a lot easier that I thought it would be, so I decided to think about how I could challenge myself more. (Because it’s fun!) Here’s what I came up with:

What if I gave up one thing each month for a year? And what if, in its place, I tried something new? That way, instead of just filling my time with other miscellaneous activities, I would be challenged to try–and maybe excel at–something new.

I thought this was a great idea. I could call it “the give up and take on project.” You know, if I wanted to name it. Either way, I think it sounds like fun, and it also sounds like something I can blog about. Huzzah!

So, for the month of October, I’m giving up television. And I’m taking on Bikram Yoga. That’s the hot kind. And I’ve never tried it, but I have a groupon for 25 classes.

Oh, and I’m running a marathon in less that a week and a half.

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“I run for podcasts.”

Ok, maybe not FOR podcasts, but they certainly make my longer runs more tolerable. Don’t worry, I do plenty of runs sans the iPod, but sometimes I just need that extra something to get me going and keep me entertained. I thought I’d share a quick collection of podcasts–music and otherwise–to run to, depending on your style. Enjoy! 


Photo credit:


Indie Soup Runner. This is my newest addiction. Indie Soup Runner offers some great indie music mixes with great beats. It’s true, you probably haven’t heard of lots of the bands, but that’s what makes it interesting. On my latest run, listening to the “Schvitzer Mix,” I found myself constantly saying, “I’ve GOT to go home and download these albums!” 

Photo credit:


PODRUNNER. Another See Jane Run staffer showed me this site. What’s cool is the mixes are by BPMs (beats per minute). So, if you know your pace and can calculate your BPMs, you can find a mix that will keep you on pace. They’re all an hour long, so line up a couple on your iPod for longer runs. 

Photo credit:


JogTunes. I just found this one. It looks like this site offers playlists that are better suited to the runner who likes to run to a particular genre of music. You can see the estimated mileage of each playlist and the BPM sequence. They even have metal and Christmas playlists! 

Spoken Word: 

Image credit: NPR


Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me. For the runner who wants to laugh while running. This is a hilarious pop culture quiz show with comedians such as Paula Poundstone and Mo Rocca as panelists. Peter Sagal–who is also a runner!–is the host. 

Image credit:


LibriVox. For the runner who wants to read the classics. I discovered this little gem years ago when I was working a summer temp job that involved a lot of sitting at a desk and entering data monotonously. I needed something to stimulate the brain. This site is cool because volunteers read several chapters of literature in the public domain and then post their chapters for the rest of us to listen to. A word of caution, though: sometimes you’ll get an unfortunately bad recording. Once I tried to listen to Ulysses, but the readers kept giggling and I couldn’t even make it through a chapter. 


This American Life. For the runner who wants to laugh, cry and learn something new. I am a huge sucker for the stories on TAL. Each week the podcast has a particular theme, and then correspondents share stories on that theme, usually interviewing people around the country. This podcast also works great for long plane rides. 

Well, now you know my secret. Sometimes just running isn’t enough to get me up and going. Having something else to look forward to–some new music, a book, or a great story–is motivation as well. Happy running! 

(*It’s true that I stole this from the See Jane Run blog, but I write that one, too, so it’s not plagiarism.)

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Marathon Training: Week One Recap

I must admit, it’s been several months since I’ve been running regularly.  I’ve been working other parts of my body and on strength and cardio.  I needed a break from running, honestly.  And now, I’m back. 

The race in October is what I needed to motivate me and give me a goal to work toward.  Eighteen weeks.  My second marathon.  I’m really excited!

So here’s how the first week went.

  • I’m getting my “running legs” back.  I’m getting my form back and focusing on keeping an even stride so that I don’t overdo it.
  • I ran two miles in my Vibram FiveFingers on Wednesday (and then four without during run club).  I like the Vibrams because, although I’m still running, I’m working my muscles differently and it’s a nice feeling.
  • Because I ran in my Vibrams, my calves were too achy Thursday and Friday to go for a run.  But it’s all good because I’ve learned about Flex Power.
  • I may have accidentally joined a Team in Training run on Saturday, but running with people was nice (and out of the ordinary on Saturdays).
  • I really need to remember to use my inhaler before my runs and take my allergy medicine each day.  I know, nerdy, but I couldn’t really breathe on the 4-miler on Wednesday.  And that’s a scary situation.
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Day One.

I’m waiting for my dough to rise for my artisan bread, so I figured I’d post.

It’s day one of marathon training.  DAY ONE.  Thus begins an 18-week journey.  I’m using one of Hal Higdon’s marathon training schedules.  (Yikes.  I just realized that posting that–along with my Nike+ updates on Facebook–means people could actually check to see if I’m staying on schedule.  But surely they’ve got better things to do.  And don’t call me Shirley.)

Last time I used an 18-week schedule, and, while it worked pretty well, I think it will be more effective this time because, hopefully, I won’t slack off as much as I did last year.  The key to a training schedule’s effectiveness: it’s user un-slackingness.  I gotta stay on target.

And what keeps me on target?

Food, usually.  It’s true.  Knowing that I have food in the kitchen ready to be prepared makes my runs happier.  It means I have food for fuel and food for recovery.  And it makes me a little more sane.

My shaved asparagus pizza isn't as pretty as Smitten Kitchen's.

Speaking of food, I made this on Saturday.  It was very delicious, and I highly recommend it.  However, the husband said it needed something.  Some meat.  So next time I think I’ll try adding some sweet Italian sausage or ham.

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Blogs Past

I’ve kept a blog for a while now.  I still have posts saved from 2002, though I’m sure I started blogging before then.  I’ve kept a journal since maybe the first grade–when the big news was the Father’s Day pancakes my family enjoyed.  Maybe it’s narcissistic, but I’ve never forced anyone to read my blogs, so that’s ok.

As I’ve reflect back on my former blogging, I notice various purposes for which I’ve used my blogs.  Here’s a list, just for fun:

1. Talking about what I’ve done.  Well, this is just obvious.

2. Talking about what I’m going to do.  In the past–during my college years–this was done as a way to inform friends and get people together, but usually only secondary to away messages on IM.

3. Flirting.  Ok.  I shamelessly admit it.  I used my blog to flirt with whoever was on my mind at the time.  Reading old posts now, it’s so obvious.  I wonder if it was just as obvious then.

4. Telling stories.  Steph–my college roommate and I–once posted this photo tale.  In retrospect, there are a few things I’d like to note about this photo story.

  • Large desktop PC.  I believe it’s an EMachine.
  • Community bathrooms.  How I used them all through college and how I’m happy I don’t have to any more.  Now I just share a bathroom with a guy.
  • You may be surprised at the content of this story–and why it would be such a surprise, seeing as how we were in college.  But you must remember that I attended a dry campus and alcohol was absolutely prohibited in dorms.
  • Instant messaging.  My screenname was “TorchSongHero” and my avatar was the Cheat.
  • Camp Nalgene bottle.  I think I tossed it after the BPA scare, which is really a shame.

5. Self-pitying.  I’ve had my moments, for sure, as evidenced by several blog posts now available to anyone who wants to read them. 

6. Filling out surveys and posting online quiz results.  Meh, everybody did it.

7. Making lists.  I just blew your mind.

8. Posting answers to the daily poll.  This goes way back.  It all started freshman year when When Harry Met Sally came up in cafeteria conversation and this question arose: can men and women really ever be just friends?  Thus begun the daily poll.  Steph and I would daily post a question on our IM away messages and I would later post the answers on the blog.

Well that’s enough silliness for one night, don’t you think?

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Things That Did or Did Not Happen This Memorial Day Weekend.

1. Chip and I took the scooter to La Boulange de Polk for brunch.  Brunch is better when you scoot there.

2. Rode a bike for the first time in years.  Liked it enough to get a helmet (see mom, I’m safe!) and ride to work on Saturday.

3. Saw “In the Heights” at Curran Theater and decided that I would recommend it only for its outstanding choreography.  I can take or leave the plot.

4. Attended two awesome and very different parties.  One on a roof in Oaktown overlooking Lake Merritt with lots of great food and grilled goodies, and the other in Bernal Heights with lots of dancing and pictures projected on a sheet in the backyard.

5. Baked blueberry muffins.  Used 1 cup whole wheat flour to 2 cups all-purpose flour and fat-free milk in the recipe.

6. Participated in the successful inaugural meeting and excursion of our scooter gang.

This scooter gang needs a name. Any suggestions?

7. Watched “Away We Go” with a good friend over ice cream and popcorn.

8. Did not clean apartment.  Seriously, this is getting dire.  I’ve accepted that I’m a messy person, and the fact that the guy I live with is also messy just makes it worse.

9. Did get my final class grades.  4.0, baby!  It’s not about the grades, contrary to what I subconciously believe, it’s about what I’ve learned.  I’ve learned a lot.  But I also know I’ve plenty more to learn, as evidenced by the many notes my professor made on my final stories.

10. Did not bake oatmeal cookies.  I think I’ll do that tomorrow night.

11. Ran Friday.  Did not run for the past three days.  But did ride the bike on Saturday to work and back, so that counts for something, right?

Coming up: a recipe?  I think so.  Stay tuned.

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Not Since Martha’s Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard, May 2008

Today I rode a bike for the first time in two years–when I went with some Syracuse pals to Martha’s Vineyard and we rented bikes.  Before that, it had been an estimated 12 years since I’d ridden a bike.

The lovely sunshine and the fact that I have the day off were just screaming for me to get outside and run.  One of my favorite places to run is from Fort Mason to Fort Point (past the Marina, the green, Crissy Field, etc., and back again), but the last thing I wanted to do was dodge people and dogs along Polk Street just to get down there to run along the water.

Solution?  Chip’s bike.  It’s been collecting dust in our apartment building’s electrical room for probably about a year now, so I thought I’d hop on.

It’s true–as far as I can tell–that you never forget how to ride a bike.  But riding in San Francisco is something completely different.  But I figured I’d be fine.  After all, it was just a few blocks down Sutter Street and then straight down Polk to the water.  And I was fine.  I guess it’s just all about having the confidence, whether you’re nervous or not.

I wouldn’t be making such a big deal about this, but in two weeks I’ll hopefully have passed my motorcycle driving test and be able to start taking the scooter to work.  I think a bike is a good place to start, at least.

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