Oh, hi there… 2017 Update

So, yeah. I suck at updating my blog. Maybe one day, I’ll be better about it.

As I was driving around running errands yesterday, I was thinking about the post I made back in December. You know, the one where I said that I was going to be better about updating the blog? And talked about all my big plans for the year?

Surprisingly, I’ve actually accomplished a bunch on my list. There’s still more red  ❌ than there are green ✅ … and a couple that remain to be seen, but let’s be honest – it was a pretty aggressive list.

  • Train for and run my first half marathon in five years ✅
  • Lose weight  ⚠️
  • Travel to Australia to see Shelia and Wales to visit Caroline and Lee  ❌
  • Go to Denver and see Red Rocks  ❌
  • My first Montana trip to see Libby  ✅
  • Send a letter or card a week  ✅
  • Write at least one blog post a week  ❌
  • Conduct a massive, soul-cleansing closet purge (trust me, this one is LONG overdue – there are clothes and shoes in there that just shouldn’t be)  ✅
  • Maybe go on date or two  ❌
  • Reduce the amount of Sugar Free Red Bull and Coke that I drink  ❌
  • Go to 125 concerts in a year  ⚠️
  • Get back into taking real photos  ❌

Let’s talk about the half marathon. It wasn’t pretty. I didn’t train nearly as much as I should have. And I walked a bunch, and I was slow…but I finished. My awesome cousin, Meg, ran the race with me and cheered me on the whole way. If anything, it was awesome to spend time with her where we grew up. We both had challenging years in 2016, so I think it was probably an emotional win for both of us.

I’ve traveled a BUNCH this year, at least for me. I didn’t make it to Wales to see Lee and Caroline, but… I did squeeze in an unplanned trip to Las Vegas to see them for Lee’s 50th birthday. Caroline and I plotted behind Lee’s back…he had no idea that I was coming, so the look on his face when I showed up there at 11 PM at night was priceless.

I said that this year would be my year to do the things I’ve been wanting to do for awhile, and I wasn’t lying. I finally got to attend Mile of Music in Wisconsin – over my birthday, no less. On top of that, I got to spend it with my best friend of nearly 30 years, Steph, who I haven’t seen in so so long. So many great moments, but one of the highlights? Dancing on stage Courtney Cox-style with my buddies in Wild Adriatic during the Bruce Springsteen tribute session on my actual birthday. Lots of new artists to love. The music and the company were just what my soul needed, and I’m going to make it a yearly thing now.

Two weeks after that trip, I hopped on a plan to Montana to visit Libby. It was so great to be with her on her home turf and check another state of my visit list. I got to see a show at Live at the Divide in Bozeman, took an amazing couple of hikes, and Libby and I even had a day where we vegged on an air mattress watching the Golden Girls and snacking. We live so far apart, and when we do see each other, it’s usually on The Rock Boat, so there’s no time for just… friending. The cherry on top was the Flagship Romance house show at Libby and Jake’s beautiful new home. Montana is stunning, and I would totally move there tomorrow if it wasn’t cold seven months out of the year.

Just this last month, I flew to Chicago to see Mighty Oaks. If you’ve not been following along for the last seven or so years, they are a band based in Berlin, Germany, that I have the biggest musical crush on. I’ve only seen them once, in an opening slot. So when they announced a short headlining tour in the States this year, I knew I had to go see them. Chicago won as the closest… and, bonus, one of my closest musical friends who lives in Chicago, joined me for the show.

My concert calendar has been pretty full this year, and I’m 20 shows ahead of where I was at this time last year. I’m not sure I’ll get to 125. I’ll get close. Right now, if I go to everything I have planned, I’ll be around 110. Squeezing another 15 shows in seems pretty impossible, but I’m going to try. Keep your fingers crossed. That said, if I were to hang it up today, it would be an amazing year of fantastic shows. I’ve seen Quiet Hounds more this year than I’ve ever seen them in a year before; saw Mighty Oaks; had lots of face time with my Wild Adriatic fellas (and more to come); got to see Third Eye Blind’s eponymous record’s 20th anniversary tour; kicked off my birthday celebration with Future Thieves at my very favorite venue surrounded by some of my best friends; went to my first SoFarSounds show; have seen SUSTO a bunch; knocked out another four Will Hoge shows (trying really hard to get to the 100th Will show); saw Quiet Hollers for the first, second, third and fourth time; fell in love with Judah and the Lion; got to have The Brevet back on the East Coast for a show at The Evening Muse; and sooo much more. And there’s still a little less than three months to go!

There’s all the “stuff” that still isn’t where I want it to be. I remain way too caffeinated, I don’t write nearly enough, still haven’t gone on any dates, still haven’t lost any weight…blah, blah, blah. Those things get to me, of course, but I’m a work in progress. There are still some things I’m working on fixing, things I’m working on about myself, things I’m trying to love about myself. I’m my own worst critic…maybe that’s my biggest accomplishment of this year…learning to let go and give myself a break.

So there’s the update. Stay tuned to see how 2017 closes out….

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What’s on Your Workout Playlist? Volume 3

After a long hiatus in which my weight grew almost as fast as my music collection, I’m back to working out regularly again. We’re less than six months away from The Rock Boat, and I am determined to love myself in the pictures from this cruise! Thanks are due to my roommate and general partner in crime, Shelia, for giving me a swift kick in the ass and making a workout chart that keeps me accountable to me. And, since I’ve lost 5 pounds in my first two weeks, I’m feeling mightily inspired.  Which, of course, has led to the need for a new heart-thumping, booty-moving workout playlist.

My music buys as of late have been leaning toward the mellower side – not exactly what one needs when doing the impressive overhead press weight of 10 lbs (hey, don’t judge!).  So I’m turning to my loyal readers to help me bulk up (get it?) my rad new workout playlist. I’ll share mine if you share yours – what gets you fired up to get your work out on?

Radioactive – Imagine Dragons (iTunes | Amazon)
Won’t Stop – Midnight Youth (iTunes | Amazon)
Anybody (Featuring Zeale) – The Soldier Thread (iTunes | Amazon)
One More – Jimmy Cliff (iTunes | Amazon)
Kids – Saints of Valory (iTunes | Amazon)
Anarchy Fire – Lovedrug (Bandcamp)
Howl – The Gaslight Anthem (iTunes | Amazon)
We Are What You Say – Dead Sara (iTunes | Amazon)
Turntable – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (iTunes | Amazon)
Tightrope – Walk the Moon (iTunes | Amazon)
Let’s Go – Calvin Harris (featuring Ne-Yo) (iTunes | Amazon)
Tattoo Girl – The Hundred Days (iTunes | Amazon)
Six Shooter – The Rouge (iTunes | Amazon)
The World Is Over – Red Wanting Blue (iTunes | Amazon)

Here’s to whipping my butt (and yours) back into shape!

What’s On Your Workout Playlist? Vol 2.

A good running playlist (and the promise of a beer afterwards) will get me through any race happy! Virginia Beach Rock n' Roll Half-Marathon September 2008

We’re down to less than 12 weeks before the Savannah Rock n’ Roll Half-Marathon – time for the serious training to kick in. This will be my fifth half and while running and I will never be besties, I do get a huge sense of accomplishment out of it.

However, I would not be able to run a foot without my trusty little iPod Shuffle and my favorite Philips earbuds (which I fear may die before the half…dang fraying wires). Forget my carb count and food intake, how much water I’ve consumed, or how much sleep I got the night before – the key to my success on long runs is my running playlist. Unlike a lot of runners, I don’t craft my playlists around BPM; I more or less go with songs I love, things that inspire me, that bring back good memories (so that when I’m cursing the hill at mile 8, at least I’m doing it with a smile!).

I like to run to the same playlist so that I know where I should be…you know, when “Pumped Up Kicks” is on, I should be at roughly 3.5 miles. That kind of thing. But, as my training moves along and I figure out where I’m hitting walls and when I’m on cruise control, my playlist evolves to help give me the boosts that I need – or remind me to slow it down. There’s nothing better than hearing Moby’s, “Bodyrock” at mile 9 when I’m flagging and re-finding my groove!

So, as previously promised, I’m posting the updated & revised version of my playlist here. From the search stats on the blog, I’ve figured out that a LOT of people are looking for workout and running playlist songs, so I’m happy to share so that maybe one of you will find something new. I’ve linked every song to its iTunes, Amazon and/or Bandcamp page for quick and easy buying (after all that running, I know, it’s too much effort to have to track down these tunes!). There are even a handful that are available for free download – take advantage of these aritsts’ generosity and pick up some tunes for your running playlist!

Let me know if you have any great additions for me or if you find something new here that’s been a great addition to your playlist!

Happy running!

What’s on your workout playlist?

Me and Mindy after the San Antonio Rock n' Roll Half-Marathon in November 2009.

Okay, kids.  I need your help.

Training for the half-marathon (because I need pre-training training!) has begun in earnest.  It’s exactly five months from today, so it’s time to start getting motivated.  Of course, it’s hotter than blazes outside and I didn’t go out until 10:30 AM this morning, so after only two miles, I looked like a giant purple beet, but at least I got out there, right?

However, I’m going to need motivation to get through the summer months – did I mention I live in North Carolina and it is rather reminiscent of a sauna in Hell come July and August?  Which brings me to my point…musical motivation.  I need it.  I crave it.  I want new stuff.

So, I started piecing together my Summer Running Playlist this morning.  Creating a running playlist, like all of my Krissie Mixes, takes forever for me to get right.  And I have to have songs that have words – I can’t do all those techno-housey songs that go on forever with just beats. My perfect mix builds up slowly (for pacing purposes), and then gets really rocky and rhythmic in the middle, slows down a bit, and then has a killer finish so I end on a high note.  And I’ll admit, I have my favorites that make their way onto every mix – Moby, Luna Halo.  And there’s stuff on my running playlists that would probably shock some folks – New Kids on the Block, Pink, totally Top 40 stuff.  Hey, if it’s a good running song, it’s a good running song!

But I digress…as of right now, the Summer Running Playlist is only about 45 minutes long, but here’s how we’re looking (and this will be a constantly evolving list!):

1. Probably Nothing – Red Wanting Blue
2. Neon Eyes – Saints of Valory
3. MoneyGrabber – Fitz & The Tantrums (The Gin Mill inspired song! Hear it every time I’m there!)
4. Scale Your Walls – The Enemy Lovers
5. Every Tear Drop Is A Waterfall – Coldplay
6. Shot In the Dark – Augustana
7. Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People (Shawn Fisher, this is your fault!)
8. Sex U – The Hundred Days (Shelia Taylor recommendation and road tested this morning – awesome to run to!)
9. Animal – Neon Trees
10. Matador – The Soldier Thread
11. Bodyrock – Moby
12. Kings & Queens – Luna Halo

I’d like to get this playlist up to about two hours and twenty minutes worth of serious running music.  I’ve got tons, but I need some fresh blood!  What are your favorite workout songs?  Bring ’em on!  Nothing is off limits!  Post your recommendations as comments or shoot me an e-mail.  Can’t wait to hear what music I should be running to….

Running. With music, of course.

I’ve gotten fat.

There’s really no sense in trying to sweeten it – I’ve probably put on 30 pounds since my birthday last year.  The last 10 months of my life have been upside down crazy.  I can come up with any number of excuses for being lazy:  Mom got her cancer diagnosis, and I was preoccupied with her care.   I started working mad numbers of hours.  I was depressed about everything.  Those are all true statements.

But it doesn’t change the fact that I just stopped any kind of physical activity altogether and started eating terribly.

But, I’m going to fix it. Going to get back to running. Improve my diet. Starting now.

I do better with motivation, a reason, a sense of purpose, whatever you want to call it.  So this morning, I signed up for my sixth half-marathon – November 5th.  I haven’t run in months, and I know I’m going to have to work extra hard to get back to where I was, but I need to do it.  Because I hate looking at myself in the mirror right now – and that’s a reason to do this.  Plus, it cost me nearly $100 bucks to register.   And that’s big motivation for me –  there’s no way I’ll let $100 go to waste!

Somehow, writing this out validates my need to do this even more, and makes me accountable to those people that read my blog.

Of course, I can’t do anything without rewarding myself.  And running is inextricably linked to music for me.  I cannot run a foot without music in my ears.  So I signed up for a Rock n’ Roll race.  A band at every mile along the course – hello reward!  I’ve done three of them before, and they’re really well organized and a ton of fun.  And when I ran San Antonio, some band along the course was covering Will Hoge.  If that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is!

The half-marathon may only be 13.1 miles, but it’s going to be a long road getting there.  I’ve got a little over 23 weeks – 163 days in total. My journey starts now.

Wish me luck.