06 February 2009

Run Gina Run

For lack of a better, more creative name for my running playlist in iTunes, I simply call it "Run Gina Run." My friend Randy's is so cute--RUNdy. Haha.

I am completely dependent on my iPod touch to keep me entertained during a race or practice run. It's the only thing that can distract me from the upper body ache and the weird scar pain in my pelvic area. And when my legs feel heavy in a race, it's a really upbeat track on my iPod that motivates me to move on.

I love listening to music whenever I'm running or on the go because I don't get to do that at all in boxing. Can't have my music player with me in the ring or on the training floor because I won't be able to hear Kuya Mong's rapid-fire punch combo instructions.

There are elite runners (especially the purists) who probably don't need a running playlist--but as I am no professional runner, I prefer having my iPod with me. Sharing with you now a list of my top favorite running songs. I customize the list depending on the race distance or duration of my practice run. Like other runners with iPods, I divide my playlist into various race "phases":

1) warm-ups songs (while stretching and for setting the mood before gun start)
2) the picking-up-the-pace set (catchy, cheerful songs mixed with rock / electronic music to keep me alert as much as possible for the first 15 minutes)
3) the tough stretch set (the most crucial part of my amateur run; these are the songs that motivate me to continue and NOT walk during this difficult period). In other words, "mental power" music, baby. Haha.
4) wind-down, you're-almost-at-the-finish-line-Gina! set (calming songs that give me that happy feeling of surviving another run)

Songs 1 to 4 are for warming up. Daft Punk's "Da Funk" totally wakes me up before the 6 am gun start. And yes, I like the song "Fame", so shut up.

Songs 5 to 10 comprise the first set of the run proper. There's a great comfort in hearing something so familiar as A-ha's "Take on Me" as I join the throng of runners in the first few minutes of the run . I grew up listening to my elder siblings' collection of New Wave / synth-pop tunes, and it's music like A-ha--cheesy 80s pop music and all--that triggers child-like happy thoughts as I pound the pavement. Weird, but A-ha works.

"All the Small Things" and "Here It Goes Again" are such sell-out tracks, but the beats of these songs keep me alive so I'm not taking them out of my playlist. Rooney's "I'm Shakin'" gets points for being the happy-pappy song that gives me a little bounce while I run. How corny but true.

When I'm starting to feel extra tired already, I immediately switch to the remix version of the (in)famous Rocky theme song "Gonna Fly Now." Go ahead and laugh. It's probably the corniest track on my list, but I swear, it works for me. And because I box, I have a certain affinity with that song. I swear, when I visit Philadelphia one day, I'll run up those museum steps and do a victory pose just to recreate that scene in Rocky. Of course, my younger sisters would die of embarrassment if I did that.

New Order's "Temptation" is a track that I can listen to day in, day out. Beautiful, upbeat tune. I'm totally addicted to it.

Of course, what's a playlist without U2 in it? (Well, at least in my own little world, I can't imagine a U2-less playlist. They have a song for everything.) "Where the Streets Have No Name" is, without question, my favorite running song. If each person had to identify his/her own Nike power song, this would be mine. During my 10K run at the UNICEF Walk on the Child's Side 2008, this song was playing as I underwent the 5K-7K mark in Heritage Park. The place looked so beautiful and serene, and I was smiling stupidly to myself while singing (hopefully without other people noticing).

My other U2 song in the list is "Yahweh." This is such an uplifting song, and incidentally, it's my friend and officemate Cecil's power song. We watched U23D together with Randy in IMAX back in 2008, and "Yahweh" served as a fitting end to the concert. When I run, I sometimes find myself singing "Yahweh" out loud as well, because the lyrics are so nice:
Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

It's usually "Yahweh", "Digital Love", Starlight" and "Under Pressure" that are my wind-down songs. Songs 21-25 are back-up tracks if I need to cover a longer distance.

As you can see, I'm so fussy when it comes to my running playlist. No wonder my pace isn't improving as fast as it should. I'm too busy singing along to the music while I race. Haha. Oh well.

To end this blog entry on a baduy yet euphoric note, here's the training scene in Rocky. (Of course, I can't do push-ups like Stallone, and I don't have the luxury of punching frozen slabs of meat hung from the ceiling.)

Have a nice run, people!


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