40 Weeks to 40 on Throwback Thursday: My 40 Favourite Songs

I love music. It shapes my mood, lifts my heart, sets my foot to tapping, and serves as a backdrop for my life.

Right now, in fact, as I take a break in my work day to get my thoughts out onto virtual paper, I’m listening to a Songza playlist called Soaring Morning because I was in need of enlivening and “Soaring Morning” sounded like exactly the right fit.

40 Weeks to 40 & Throwback Thursday My 40 Favourite Songs - mostlyfitmom.comThe countdown to my 40th birthday continues, and today I’m sharing a list of my 40 favourite songs. These are the ones I sing along to when I’m driving down the highway across these open plains, I dance along to in my kitchen as I’m putting away the dirty dishes, I bop my head to when I hear them in the grocery store and I’m deciding between baby kale and baby spinach. They are the songs that I listened to on my clock radio in the basement bedroom of my parents house when I was a teenager, that I sang along to as I danced with my high school boyfriend, that I absolutely had to include on all of my running playlists because they make me narrow my eyes and go for it. They are the soundtrack of my life, entangled with the most important of my memories. Enjoy!

  1. ACDC – Thunderstruck
  2. The Knack – My Sharona
  3. Counting Crows – Mr. Jones
  4. Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69
  5. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Fishin’ in the Dark
  6. Roxette – Joyride
  7. Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’
  8. Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
  9. Poison – Talk Dirty to Me
  10. Bon Jovi – Wanted Dead or Alive
  11. ABBA – Take a Chance
  12. Madonna – Material Girl
  13. Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire
  14. Kenny Loggins – Footloose
  15. Living Color – Cult of Personality
  16. Motley Crue – Kickstart My Heart
  17. Nelly Furtado – I’m Like A Bird
  18. Tom Cochrane – Life is a Highway
  19. Elton John – Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)
  20. Dixie Chicks – Ready to Run
  21. Foo Fighters – Learn to Fly
  22. Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer
  23. Rihanna – Don’t Stop the Music
  24. Bruno Mars – Grenade
  25. Bruno Mars – Locked Out of Heaven
  26. Usher – DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love
  27. Pink – Raise Your Glass
  28. Pat Benatar – Hit Me With Your Best Shot
  29. Heart – Barracuda
  30. Honeymoon Suite – Feel It Again
  31. Justin Timberlake – Sexy Back
  32. The Killers – When You Were Young
  33. George Michael – Faith
  34. Ke$ha – TiK ToK
  35. Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way
  36. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
  37. Sara Bareilles – Love Song
  38. U2 – Desire
  39. Starship – We Built This City
  40. Bangles – Walk Like An Egyptian

Which songs bring up your fondest memories?

Spring Has Sprung: A Spring Walking Playlist

Spring Has Sprung A Spring Walking Playlist - mostlyfitmom.com

The weather here is beautiful. The sun has been shining, the snow is melting like crazy, and everyone’s mood is lifting now that the days are longer. Spring is in the air, even though we Saskatchewanians know that there’s likely some winter left ahead of us, which is why now is the time to seize the good weather and get outside. Time to get on track with my 10k training, which I have to admit I’ve been slack about for the past two weeks.

When it comes to working out, there’s nothing like a dose of musical energy to help me power through my walk/run (mostly walk) workouts. I’ve put together a playlist that’s in the 135-150 bpm range to keep my pace brisk and my feet a-movin’ (and my ass out the door).

Spring Has Sprung Walking Playlist - mostlyfitmom.com

Do you use music when you workout? What’s your favourite energy-boosting song?

The Ultimate Energy-Boosting Playlist

The Ultimate Energy-Boosting Playlist - mostlyfitmom.comI love chocolate. Really, really, a lot. But if I eat too much, my blood sugar will crash and my stomach gets upset and I start to feel blah. Before long, the guilt for eating all those calories kicks in and I feel terrible.

The beautiful thing about music is that I can indulge – indeed, overindulge – without all of the negative consequences. Oh sure, I might get sick of that Taylor Swift song if I play over and over and over, but music is almost magical in its ability to uplift me. Not happy about doing the dishes? I can crank up the tunes and bop while up to my elbows in the sink. Feeling low energy and avoiding that workout? Let’s turn up the Bose. It’s almost impossible to not move.

A girl’s gotta have a go-to playlist to get the blood pumping and to put a spring in her step when she’s in a slump. Feeling down in the dumps because it’s minus 33 with the windchill and still dark outside at 7:30am? Turn up the volume on these songs that you can sing to, dance to, face the day to. Without any guilt at all.

Boost Playlist

Old School, with a Kick: My New Running Playlist

One more exam done, which means just one more to go!  When I finished my test this morning, I was so excited I was practically vibrating.  I knew that I was going to have a hard time getting down to the business of studying, so per the plan I laid out yesterday, I went for a run.

It was not a great run, or even a good run.  It was one of those runs that just feels awkward the whole darn time, where you never feel like your legs find their stride, where you Just. Feel. Slo-o-o-w.  I started out by forgetting to turn on my Garmin, so I ran probably about a km without having it on.  Then, per the Jeff Galloway Disneyland Half Marathon training plan that I’m following (adapting is probably more accurate), I was supposed to run an easy warm up and then what the plan calls a “Magic Mile, ” which you’re supposed to try to beat the following week, and then again the following week, and so on.  (Note that the 30 min runs they list are supposed to be 45 min.)  I pushed a little hard, felt gross, and decided I’d better do a little walking.  I ended up running it in 12:52, which is INSANELY slow, even for me, but my heart rate was just so high during the whole run, there was really no running it any faster.  And, to top it all off, my knee was twinge-y at the end.

So those are the kinda disappointing parts of today’s run.  On the other hand, it was sunny, relatively warm (but not too warm), and I was loving my playlist.  For your listening pleasure, here it is, my “Old School, with a Kick” playlist:

You Give Love a Bad Name – Bon Jovi

Talk Dirty to Me – Poison

Here I Go Again – Whitesnake

Fishin’ in the Dark – The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

My Maria – Brooks & Dunn

Airplanes (feat. Hayley Williams of Paramore) – B.o.B

Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

Devil Inside – INXS

Africa – Toto

Are You Gonna Go My Way – Lenny Kravitz

Hole Hearted – Extreme

Hot Tottie (feat. Jay-Z) – Usher

Desire – U2

Kickstart My Heart – Mötley Crüe

The “old school” part is pretty obvious, but the “kick” part of the title refers to the fact that every few songs is one with a rhythm of 90bpm, which is aimed at keeping my stride rate right around the “ideal” 180 per minute.  Every song on this list is on here because it has some sort of pleasant memory associated with it.  Smells like Teen Spirit = staying out late with friends and partying in high school.  My Maria = dating my (now) husband and hanging out.  Desire = hanging out in my room, reading, listening to music as a teen.  Africa = enjoying some barbecued sausages, chatting with a friend of ours about how he had attended a Toto concert in South Africa, while we were sitting outside our rented cabin in Kruger National Park, listening to the lions on the other side of the electrified fence.  You get the idea.

Kruger National Park, circa 2003. My husband and I are in the middle.

Now that I’ve taken a short stroll down memory lane, I guess it’s time to get to what I’ve been trying to avoid, which is studying.

Do you have any favourite songs that always bring up good memories when you hear them?

A 90 bpm Running Playlist, and Other Random Bits

A bit of a random summary today:

No run yesterday.  My body decided to have GI issues instead.

Went to the hockey parents’ social I mentioned earlier and had so much fun, even though we left around 10:45pm.  My husband was going to go back solo after we dropped off the babysitter, but we both ended up nodding off on the couch while watching The Mummy Returns.

Went for a 4.5k (or so) run today and kept it at as easy a pace as I could.  My Garmin’s batteries died around 3.75k, though, and then for some reason I couldn’t upload this workout or the past few workouts to my computer.  Not sure what was going on there, but I’m done trying to figure it out.

Ate too much chocolate today, including some Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt.

My abs are so sore from yesterday’s iTrain workout!  And so are a few other body parts.  I’m actually surprised by this because I didn’t think the workout was that intense.  I guess that’s a good thing, right?

Added some songs to my running playlist.  I have a collection of tracks in the 90 bpm range and am working on my running cadence by striding to the beat.  In case you’re interested, here’s the list:

Rude Boy – Rihanna

Jumpin’, Jumpin’ – Destiny’s Child

Love Is a Battlefield – Pat Benatar

Turn Off the Light – Nelly Furtado

Love the Way You Lie (feat. Rihanna) – Eminem

Hot Tottie (feat. Jay-Z) – Usher

I Hate Everything About You – Three Days Grace

Won’t Back Down (feat. P!nk) – Eminem

California Love – 2Pac, Roger Troutman & Dr. Dre

I’m Like a Bird – Nelly Furtado

No One – Alicia Keys

If I Had $1,000,000 – Barenaked Ladies

Livin’ la Vida Loca – Ricky Martin

Bang Bang (feat. Adam Levine) – K’naan

Whataya Want from Me – Adam Lambert

Kickstart My Heart –  Mötley Crüe

Epic – Faith No More

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Here I Go Again – Whitesnake

Not Afraid – Eminem

Have had an achy throat yesterday and today.  Almost feels like the lump in your throat you get when you’re going to cry.  Hope I’m not getting sick, but wouldn’t be surprised if I did considering all the viruses going around at school

My daughter went over to a friend’s today for her first official playdate.  The girls had a blast and we had time to ourselves.  Looking forward to more playdates in the future!

My son’s birthday is on April 6th and I haven’t planned a party yet.  Er, bit of a bad mom moment there, I guess.  I have warned him that the party with his friends might not happen until after finals, so that we can put some decent effort into planning the event.  He’s changed his mind from wanting a Bakugan party to an Indiana Jones party, which I am ALL OVER.  Love Indy!  Am going to see if we can book into the zoo for a reptile educational session – lots of snakes and bugs in the Indiana Jones movies, in case you aren’t familiar – and then hopefully there’s a facility there we can rent so we can do the cake thing.  I’m thinking of rubber snakes and spiders as decorations and party favours, and tri-color cake pops a la Bakerella (except in brown, orange, and yellow) as snacks.  Gummy snakes and bugs are probably a necessity, too. And maybe some chilled monkey brains or eyeball soup?  🙂

Signing off and heading to bed.  Lots of studying coming this week and I’m not looking forward to it.  At least there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Did you have themed birthday parties when you were younger?  What was your favourite? I had a Holly Hobbie cake I really liked once, but otherwise no specific themes I can remember.


Getting Back to Normal

I almost felt normal today.  Still a little more tired than usual, but no pounding headache by the end of the day, and my upset stomach has settled down (*knock on wood*).

It was a long day, though.  Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings are my least favourite clinics of the week, so they’re very long and draining.  I had planned to do cardio + upper body today, and as I was leaving school, I was trying to figure out how to motivate myself to get my workout in.

To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t hard to talk myself into going out for a run.  It was a little cold (-13 C), but it was sunny out and looked pretty decent.  I was thinking of doing 5 k, but 1 k into the run, I realized that (1) I haven’t done anything more than 3 k since I don’t know when, (2) I haven’t run longer than 25 minutes in a heck of a long time, (3) I’m trying NOT to re-injure my IT band, and (4) I’m on antibiotics and am still getting over being sick.  So, once my iPod died around 2.25 k, I convinced myself to go to 3 k and call it a day.

I’m happy with my decision.  There’s still snow here, so the ground is very uneven and often slippery,making it slightly treacherous out there, so I was using muscles that I haven’t used in quite some time just to stabilize.  Things in the hip and pelvic regions are feeling pretty sore and tight right about now, so I’m glad I didn’t push through to 5k.

After my run, I felt like I could just go to bed.  I took that as a sign that doing the upper body workout should be postponed to tomorrow night, when I have the energy to really nail my workout.  Even though I was slow as “molasses in January” (or, in these parts, March apparently.  betcha haven’t heard that oldie-but-a-goodie saying for awhile, by the way.), I was happy about the run.  I basically ran as slowly as a could to keep my breathing under control – so really, really slowly – but a slow run is so much better than no run at all.

However, a run with music is much, MUCH better than one without (to me.  you are allowed your own opinion).  While I like the idea of running sans music, so that you tune into your body and appreciate nature, etc., the reality is that at this point, I need something to distract me from the fact that my legs are tired and I’m breathing in a hard and ugly way and, my gosh, running is hard when you haven’t done it for awhile.  When my iPod died on me today, I realized just how much I love listening to music while I run.  Oftentimes I find I’m not even listening to the music; I’m just working through stuff in my head or paying attention to my posture or how my feet are hitting the ground, but I’m definitely distracted from the hard-ness of running.

You might be wondering what I listen to when I run.  Well, I haven’t really created any new running playlists lately, but I downloaded a new album + a few new songs the other day, so today I listened to:

  • Born this Way by Lady Gaga
  • I Need a Doctor by Dr. Dre (featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey)
  • the album 21 by Adele (well, I didn’t quite listen to the whole thing)

So, to recap:

  • happy with my run
  • pushed back my upper body workout to tomorrow night
  • listened to new music (and am loving the Adele album)

How have your workouts been going?  What have you been playing on your iPod lately?



Fight Sluggish Feet: A Long Run Playlist

I had mine engraved: "Life is short. Carpe diem."

I’m just finishing up training for my first half marathon, so I’ve recently put in some fairly long runs – well, probably not that long to you marathoners out there.  21k was my longest training run, and a few of my runs were in the 2 1/2 hour range (I’m pretty slow).

I know some runners don’t like to run and listen to music, but I LOVE my iPod.  The right music gets my feet moving faster, distracts me from the pain in my lower body, makes it easier to maintain a steady pace, and makes me feel happy to be out there.  The wrong music makes me itch to pull out my iPod to skip the song, slows my cadence, and makes it feel harder to run.  Guess I’m consistent with the results described in this article.

Running to favourite music isn’t enough for me.  I need upbeat songs that are as fast or faster than my running cadence; otherwise, I run slower, and if I run any slower, I’ll be walking!  Over the summer, I slowly added songs to extend my playlist, replaced some songs that were dragging me down, and found some new ones that helped me increase my cadence.  Here’s what I ended up with:

  • TiK ToK – Ke$ha
  • When You Were Young – The Killers
  • Higher Ground – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Not Afraid – Eminem
  • Dynamite – Taio Cruz
  • Airplanes (feat. Hayley Williams of Paramore) – B.o.B Airplanes
  • Epic – Faith No More
  • Cooler Than Me – Mike Posner
  • Rude Boy – Rihanna
  • OMG (feat. will.i.am) – Usher
  • Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses
  • Notion – Kings of Leon
  • Viva la Vida – Coldplay
  • The Boys Are Back in Town – Thin Lizzy
  • Gold Digger – Kanye West & Jamie Foxx
  • Love the Way You Lie (feat. Rihanna) – Eminem
  • Alejandro – Lady GaGa
  • The Hand That Feeds – Nine Inch Nails
  • Learn to Fly – Foo Fighters
  • Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani
  • Evacuate the Dancefloor – Cascada
  • Miss Murder – AFI
  • The Boys of Summer – The Ataris
  • The Look – Roxette
  • Walk Like an Egyptian – Bangles
  • Kickstart My Heart – Mötley Crüe
  • Low (feat. T-Pain) – Flo Rida
  • Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
  • Sex On Fire – Kings of Leon
  • Rude Boy – Rihanna
  • Joyride – Roxette
  • If U Seek Amy – Britney Spears
  • Bang Bang (feat. Adam Levine) – K’naan
  • Devil Inside – INXS
  • Won’t Back Down (feat. P!nk) – Eminem
  • Black Horse and the Cherry Tree – KT Tunstall
  • Bleed It Out – Linkin Park
  • California Love – 2Pac, Roger Troutman & Dr. Dre
  • Enter Sandman – Metallica
  • Girls, Girls, Girls – Mötley Crüe

What songs are on your running playlist?  Which get your feet moving just a little faster and keep you running a little longer?  Or do you not like to run to music?  Why not?

Songs to Spin to: A Biking Playlist

I WISH this were my stationary bike. Mine is a much (at least 16 years) older version.

I did my first triathlon this year, but since I hadn’t owned a bike for, gosh, it’s gotta be 10 years or so (and longer since I’ve really ridden a bike), I went out and bought one.  Luckily, I re-discovered that riding a bike is FUN.  There’s something about covering ground more quickly than you do when you run that makes it kind of exciting.

Sometimes, though, I have to get a bike workout in and the weather’s crappy (and sometimes I’ve procrastinated and it’s too dark to go outside – oops!), so I head down to the really old stationary bike that we have in the basement.  Stationary biking is….well, I can’t even come up with a word for how bad I think it is.  “Horrific” may be a little dramatic – it’s just exercise I’m talking about, after all.

Unfortunately, I’ve found I can’t really watch TV when I bike because I get into the show I’m watching and I just don’t pedal hard enough.  What DOES work for me is listening to songs with a beat that makes me to spin at a fairly high RPM.  Here are the songs on my current biking playlist:

  • Not Falling Apart – Maroon 5
  • American Boy (feat. Kanye West) – Estelle
  • Poker Face – Lady GaGa
  • Let It Rock – Kevin Rudolf & Lil Wayne
  • Makes Me Wonder – Maroon 5
  • Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees
  • Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
  • Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  • Learning to Fly – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • Won’t Go Home Without You – Maroon 5
  • 1234 – Feist
  • Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani
  • SexyBack – Justin Timberlake featuring Timbaland
  • Don’t Stop the Music – Rihanna Good Girl Gone Bad
  • Another One Bites the Dust – Queen

I rode to it last night – the first time in quite a while that I’ve used this playlist – and found that some of the songs are a little faster than I’d like them to be (but better faster than slower, ya know?).  A couple, though, had the perfect beat for the interval workout I was doing: Stayin’ Alive (103 bpm) and Eye of the Tiger (105 bpm).   There’s no school like the old school, I guess?  Anyway, I may be looking for some more songs in this BPM range soon.  Will post my new playlist once I pull it together.