A couple folks asked me if I listened to anything during my run, so I thought I’d share my approach and my playlist. The first third of each day I’d listen to an audiobook, the second I’d switch to podcasts (thank you 1000 times to NPR), and for the last third I’d turn to music, starting with my daily playlist. In no particular order…
1) “Praying” by Kesha, because wow. I’ve never been through something like this, but I think we can all relate to the feeling you get when you move through something painful and can truly leave a terrible person behind.
“I'm proud of who I am, No more monsters, I can breathe again”
2) “Dig Down” by Muse. A friend sent me this during the first week and I love both the instrumental and the message in the words.
“When they've left you for dead (dig down), And you can only see red (dig down), You must find a way”
3) “Rise Up” by Andra Day. Dig Down, Rise Up. I found this song the week before I started the run, then I watched the video which is absolutely incredible. It speaks to the power of love and the power of women. If I had to pick one song to listen to on repeat for the run, this probably would have been it.
“I'll rise up, Rise like the day, I'll rise up, In spite of the ache, I will rise a thousand times again.”
4) “Car Radio” by twenty one pilots. I love just about anything by this duo, but this song in particular always made me feel the freedom and pure joy of running fast. It speeds up in the middle, slowly building until it explodes with emotion. Every line of this song is amazing, so I urge to you either read the lyrics or listen to the track if you haven’t.
“My lungs will fill and then deflate They fill with fire, exhale desire” and that’s just the chorus.
5) “My Shot,” “Satisfied,” “Wait for It,” “Yorktown,” and “Non-Stop,” by Cast of Hamilton. I listened to this soundtrack almost every day the year leading up to the race. It says everything about hard work and perseverance. Unfortunately, those things got Hamilton shot, but I think the lesson still stands.
“Ev’ry day you fight, Like you’re running out of time”
6) “Diamonds (Remix)” by Rihanna ft Kanye West. Say what you want about Mr. West, his music is genius. I’ve said that ultra-running requires a balance of humility and arrogance and Kanye’s lines are pure arrogance.
“We in this party and nobody invited me”
7) “Roll Me Away” by Bob Segar. I gotta have some Segar on the list. I love all his work, and know most of it, but Roll Me Away is everything I love about freedom. It’s the most appropriate Segar song for this adventure. I love the idea of choosing the next path, of looking for signs from the universe, and the idea that every day you get a chance to do it better.
“I spoke to the faintest first starlight. And I said next time. Next time. We'll get it right”
8) “The Only Way I Know” by Jason Aldean. Yes, I know this is such a cornball of a song, but whatever I love it. It obviously reminds me of home. It reminds me not just of the lessons of hard work and grit, but also of the stubbornness that there might be a better way, but I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. It reminds me of how narrow-minded, in a sense, I was. I learned hard work and physical labor was the only option for how to live, it’s just how it is. You can get tired, you can get pushed back, just get back up and keep going. It’s rugged individualism mixed with just the right ignorance, which is a great combo for trying to run across the country.
“Sun in our eyes backs to the fences. We didn’t know the odds were against us. Hit the wall smoking and spinning. Still wasn’t thinking ‘bout nothing but winning.”
9) “Freedom” by Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar. The chorus on this song is amazing, Kendrick’s verse is incredible, the whole song is perfect for running. It has a sort of military march beat to it. It literally says “I’m gonna keep running cause a winner don’t quit on themselves,” and has all the fierceness of Beyoncé. It’s also all about individualism and freedom and the power we all have inside ourselves.
“And when they carve my name inside the concrete I pray it forever reads freedom.”
10) “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten because honestly, duh. The title says it all, it’s about fighting. Fighting to make your voice heard. Fighting to break free of whatever bullshit tells you can’t (freedom was a theme here…) and about the sacrifices you make when you just have a passion that you can’t put out.
“And it's been two years I miss my home, But there's a fire burning in my bones”
So that’s the first ten of my “Daily” playlist. I know that smell is the sense most closely linked to memories, but hearing just one or two notes of any of these songs instantly takes me back to road, even makes me miss it a little…..