The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday December 3rd

Office DJ: Sounds for pounding some pavement

Photo Courtesy of Hannah Collett.
Buy Photos Photo Courtesy of Hannah Collett.

Up until a year ago, I had always been a pretty average runner — the “world’s okayest runner,” as the sticker on my water bottle phrases it.

I ran track and cross country throughout high school, but was always in the back of the pack during workouts and races. If anything, my team was the reason I enjoyed the sport at all. So it was pretty natural that my miles dropped off the first year after I graduated — I still ran every now and then, but the hobby died down significantly.

But when the boredom arrived soon after I moved back home for summer break, I picked running back up with intensity. Unlike running for sport, the miles I was knocking out in the June heat weren’t supposed to make me faster. I didn’t have to worry about my pace, or whether I was keeping up with the team. All I had to do was finish however many miles I set out to do.

Around mid-summer, a friend offhandedly mentioned that completing a marathon was on her bucket list. When she brought the idea up, I decided on a whim that I would finish a marathon in the fall.

Marathon training was hard. Really hard. I missed countless weekend parties knowing that I had to run 18 miles the next morning. I ran in the middle of the night, between classes, and even to and from The Daily Tar Heel on days I was working. Most of the time, completing the training — let alone the actual marathon — seemed impossible. But I kept working at it, and one October morning I woke up, drove to The Streets at Southpoint and lined up at the start line of my very first marathon, the Triangle’s own RDC Marathon.      

Five hours on the American Tobacco Trail later, I had crossed the finish line.

The training cycle required a lot of determination, but will wasn’t always enough to get me out of bed in the morning. So when the thought of spending my Sunday on a four hour run seemed hopeless and I wanted to hang up my sneakers for good, I turned to my greatest ally: my running playlist.

Personally, I can only run to songs that have a good tempo, with a preference for pop-rock.  “Chelsea Dagger” by The Fratellis, for example, has an upbeat, fun sound and the 155 beats per minute tempo helps me keep a strong pace. Lyrics from “Head Right” by Wilderado spur me to pick up my speed and jam out (even if that reaction stays in my head as I jog along).

If a song allows me to imagine that I’m a high-stakes super-athlete, it’s going on my running playlist. The goal is always to make running more enjoyable than it would be in silence, and my collection of tunes is designed to do just that. Believe me, I had a lot of time to perfect this science last year.

Because I clearly forgot how difficult it was a year ago, this year I’m training to run the TCS New York City Marathon on Nov. 6 — and I’m raising money for New York Road Runner Team for Kids while I do it.  Team for Kids supports youth athletic and health programs in schools all around NYC, giving them a positive foundation to be active for life.

I’ve been working hard at both my training program and raising $2,620 to support this awesome charity.  And when I toe up to the start line this November, I’ll be queuing up this playlist to carry me through 26.2 miles.

If you want to donate to the cause, please check out this link.  But at very least I hope you check out this list of fantastic songs and maybe lace up your shoes to go pound some pavement to a sweet soundtrack (long distance not necessary).



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