Music to Come Back To

By now, many of us have heard the terrible news: Apple is discontinuing the iPod Shuffle. I love my tiny music device and I don’t want to have to deal with music on my phone. I recently sent my Shuffle through the laundry by mistake, but after a rice bath (get it?), it is working fine. I may or may not have ordered a back-up one though, just in case.

I listen to music when I run alone, but that little Shuffle has also seen me through a ridiculous number of hours on the stationary bike and some pretty intense rowing workouts. I don’t care if it’s somehow supposed to be “better” to listen to your own breathing and your footfalls while running. I really love listening to music. So today’s post comes with a request.

When I was injured in spring 2015, I asked my Sub-30 friends to help me put together a recovery playlist. I still have that playlist and I’ve listened to those songs a lot, but a couple of years have gone by and I am ready for something new. Therefore: Music to Come Back To. Here is what I am looking for. A song that represents a new beginning or an enduring truth. Something that brings you hope or joy. I do not want your favorite playlist from Spotify (looking at you, Fearless Leader of Sub-30). I want one song and a story to go with it. I am going to run to these songs (I’m going to run!) and I want to think about you while I am running.

I am a total pop princess, but I am open to all genres. I love what I call “girl-pop” but I run to country, heavy metal, punk, folk, classical and a good dose of musical theater, so your song is perfect, whatever its genre, as long as you’re willing to share its story. Bonus points always for songs that are happy or funny. For a little peek into my head, two of my favorite running songs are “Greased Lightning” and “What Does the Fox Say.” Comebacks are not always easy and laughter is good medicine. I am going to immediately break my own rule of One Song Only by sharing the first three songs that are going on this list. Please share yours!

A Beautiful Day – India.Arie

I discovered this song at the kids’ 2016 dance recital and I knew immediately I had my Vermont City marathon kick-off song. The high school kids danced to this and it was heart-achingly beautiful. So much grace and youth and hope and spirit. Vermont turned out to be really hard but I got through it. Recalling that day by listening to this song has helped me countless times in the last year. Plus, I like the continuity. It feels like this is where I left off. This one is hope and joy and truth all wrapped up together.

Candyman –  Zedd & Aloe Blacc

Aidan’s tap song from the 2017 recital. Again, I knew the first time I heard this song that I wanted to run to it, that it would appear early in the comeback mix. This music is so infectious. Now it also reminds me how many people saw Aidan dancing to this in May 2017 and asked “Who is that young man out there?” He grew up a lot in the past year and this song was part of his soundtrack. Now it will be part of mine.

How Far I’ll Go – Moana Soundtrack – Auli’i Cravalho

Of course this song is for Rose and every other nine year old girl in America. But how could a marathoner resist lyrics like:

If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me,
One day I’ll know
How far I’ll go

I confess when I first saw Moana back in December, I was a little disappointed. I had had high expectations. This was going to be like Frozen, but with music by Lin-Manual Miranda. Instead I found it kind of, meh. Now I think I just wasn’t ready for it. I was experiencing some pretty serious doldrums in December and the hope and excitement of this music just whooshed right over my sad, sad head. When I saw Moana for a second time in July, I bought the soundtrack the next day and listened to it seven times in the following 48 hours. That’s not an exaggeration – I counted. I haven’t done that with music since….since Hamilton. Hamilton really is Shakespeare. It’s full of joy, ambition, sadness, revenge, politics, friendship and forgiveness. I spent a lot of hours with Alex in 2016-2017 and I can hardly imagine getting through the year without him. I am not done with Hamilton, but I am not sure he belongs on this playlist. So Moana as a kind of stand-in for Hamilton. A nine year old girl version of Alex with her eyes on the horizon and big dreams in her heart.

Now, what’s your song and your story?


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4 Responses to Music to Come Back To

  1. Karen says:

    I lived – One Republic. This is my power song when I’m running, and my joy song every other time I hear it. My best story that goes with it has to be this: on the plane, leaving Athens after I ran my first marathon to celebrate my 40th birthday, the song came on my husband’s iPod. He shared his earphones and I immediately and unexpectedly burst into tears! It was the realization that I Did That Hard Thing, and I survived – I lived!

    Rooting for you Sarah!

  2. Kevin says:

    What, you didn’t mention the inscription? Ah, well. I’m not sure it’s a great song to run to, but here are some lyrics for you. I don’t know if they should make you think of me, but they do make me think of you:

    Long distance runner, what you standin’ there for?
    Get up, get out, get out of the door

    Fire on the Mountain — The Grateful Dead

  3. Ed Mitchell says:

    Easy answer for me, its the same song I used as my Nike Power Song way back when I used Nike+ to track my runs.

    Frantic – Metallica

    The reason I come back to this is the lyrics are great at capturing the fear and doubt associate with making a change, or in this case making a comeback. I won’t post the full lyrics list, but a few relevant excerpts.

    “If I could have my wasted days back
    Would I use them to get back on track?”

    “My lifestyle determines my deathstyle”

    “I’m worn out always being afraid
    An endless stream of fear that I’ve made
    Treading water full of worry
    This frantic tick tick talk of hurry”

    Bonus is that its at ~160 bpm which is my running cadence on long runs when things are clicking.

  4. Kevin says:

    Fendaya 😉

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