A couple of weeks ago I was with some friends from my high school cross-country team.  We were having dinner with our former coach, Larry and his wife, Tori.  As we lamented getting older, I mentioned how I am stuck in a speed rut.  Actually, to be precise, I am stuck in a lack of speed rut.  I asked Larry if he had any suggestions.  He sighed, in a tone that let me know “duh”, and replied, “Erika, how many times do I need to say it?  You’ll never go any faster until you start going faster.”

Gosh, thanks.  Always a peach, that’s our guy Larry.

Of course, I reflected later, he was right.  In the end, you have to pick your feet up and put them down quicker. 

When I was running in a team setting this was a bit easier.  Let me explain, in a group setting there is a lot, and I mean a lot, of razzing that happens.  No one dishes it out better than adolescent boys, except maybe Larry.  You don’t want to get a ration of grief from your lovely teammates?  Then you’d better give every practice everything you’ve got.

Now I run by myself.  While it’s true, I do make fun of myself on the trail, I seem pretty impervious to my own comments.  Go figure.  So I have had to find other ways to motivate myself.  Timing my runs is helping.   Finding a local running group would be good.

Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for my iPod.  That thing is the bomb.  The music really does help.  I try to listen to songs that have some real emotional component or a great beat.  Preferably both.

In classic David Lettermen style, here are my current Top Ten Favorite Songs To Run To… err, this week at least.  It changes all the time.

        10.      Stranger by Jefferson Starship 1981- Yes, they actually had a couple of good songs. Besides, Aynsley Dunbar drums on this one and I love him.

         9.        This Getting Old Is Getting Old by Silversun Pickups 2009

         8.        Troy by Sinead O’Connor 1987

        7.        Fly From Here Part I by Yes 2011- It has a great line, “Every day that you wait is one more that you waste.”

  1. Walk in the Shadows by Queensryche 1986- What can I say?  Jeff Tate thundering, “Walk with me!” will get you moving.

      5.   Rolling in the Deep by Adele 2011 

     4.   Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) by Journey 1983- Still a classic. 

     3.    In The End by Linkin Park 2000

      2.   Still I’m Sad by Rainbow 1995- I know, usually I’m such a sucker for Dio.  This time though I have to go with another version.  In 1995 Ritchie Blackmore revamped this song for Rainbow’s last album.  Driving guitar, fierce drums and Doogie White sings his ass off (yeah, I said Doogie). 

       1.   Brave New World by Iron Maiden 2000- It’s based on Huxley’s Brave New World because Steve Harris is just that deep.

Honorable mention to two songs that just missed making the list: Bring Me to Life by Evanescence 2003 and What Do You Want From Me? by Nokia 2011.

What do you all listen to when you work out?  I’m always looking for something to get me moving!  This Sunday I’m running my first 5k in twenty or so years.  I am hoping to improve my snail’s sprint of 9:22 per mile on the two-mile Viking Opener to a tortoise’s sub-nine-minute-mile this time on the 3.1 mile course.  Fingers crossed, folks.