Finding Fitting Music to Get Fit With

Are you good at making mix tapes? If so let’s chat because I’m so tragically not. I never fully understood or put into practice all of the so-called fundamentals necessary for arranging (with High Fidelity level fanaticism) music into painstaking order with proper beats per minute perfectly balanced with obscure tracks and tongue in cheek references. Also, I’m dating myself by even referencing the word “tapes.” You can’t even call them mix CDs anymore. Honestly, when was the last time you bought an actual honest-to-goodness CD that wasn’t impulse shopped from the counter at Starbucks while you clutched a latte and stared at a Top Pot Doughnut with longing?

So, yes, when it comes to mix tapes, CDs or playlists I am utterly hopeless but wow do I love it when someone else makes a mix for me. To that end I love Spotify. Are you familiar with this service? There is a free version but for $10 a month you can get unlimited access to millions of songs without annoying ads. If you already have an extensive collection of music housed in iTunes you can still sync it with Spotify for everyday streamlined use. Best of all they have an excellent mobile app that allows you to access the service (and all of that music) with wireless or you can specify specific playlists to be downloaded for use in an offline mode. Plus you can easily create playlists that you can share with friends or keep private. It’s totally up to you.

You might be wondering why I’m bringing this up. Frankly it all ties back to running and my continued inability to improve at it. I call shenanigans on my inner monologue and I suspect I can run much further and longer than my very critical thoughts seem to insist. So in an effort to block out those very loud, “let’s stop moving now” impulses I started listening to my iPod again when working out outside on the weekends.

In the meantime, something desperately needs to be done with the music currently housed on my device. Yesterday, and I’m not making this up, the Bangles came on, followed by a Whitney Houston song (too soon!), and then Sunday Morning by No Doubt. Not to even mention that I hit skip about a dozen times when something even more annoying started to play. Then I’d get distracted and usually end up stopping.

So I’m hoping to use Spotify to find some good workout mixes that I can save for later use and that don’t make me roll my eyes whenever the next track starts.  So far I’ve identified these as being good possibilities to try out.

Work It Out! by Sony UK

2012 Running Music by Runner’s World

The Utlimate Running Playlist

Zone Out Music for a Morning Run

What are your favorite songs to work out to? Maybe together we can create a collaborate playlist for BootCampSF on Spotify? If you already have spotify you can access the playlist at this link or check it out below. I’ve added a few tracks to get us started and can’t wait to see what you like exercising to as well!

A Note on iPod Use From BootCampSF: For most BCSF sessions, we prefer that you not use your headphones during class so that your instructors can keep you safe and ensure you hear all the directions. But if your class is doing a run day, just check in with your instructor to let them know that you’d like to jam out during your workout!

The Hills Are Alive With the Sounds of Sneakers

Approximately 96 factors need to be at their ultimate level for me to be able to run for exercise. For instance, my shoes need to be tied just so, socks a certain fabric, it can’t be too hot or too cold, I need my iPod, my workout clothing can’t be too big or too small etc… Yes, I do in fact realize this is a fantastic array of excuses, but I’m not one of those people who thinks running is fun. For me running is right up there with going to the dentist, shopping at the mall on Christmas Eve, and public speaking. But I don’t want it to be.

In the past I’ve given the running thing an honest go. My boyfriend tried to get me into it. He even bought me this insanely cute Nano a few years ago and had it engraved with my nickname and a very “ra ra” sentiment. I ran and walked and ran and walked and huffed and puffed and somehow managed to be able to run 2 miles without stopping once in awhile (when all of the above criteria were met, of course) but then it would get cold and dark and finally it would snow (this being Boston and all) and I’d hibernate and half heartedly drag myself to the gym to read trashy novels on the elliptical here and there. Then when spring came I had to inevitably start the awful process over again. Run, walk, repeat.

So when I signed up for BootCamp and saw the box inquiring if I could run a mile I suffered some sort of delusion of grandeur and said yes. Then I proceeded to frantically run on the treadmill at the gym to make sure I could. But running on the treadmill is nothing at all like running outside and it is lightyears away from running in Potrero Hill.

Wikipedia opens it’s article on the area by saying “it’s a hilly neighborhood.” To which I can only respond, “Are you kidding me?!” I’m pretty sure most of this part of the city has a steeper incline than the mom and pop “ski slope” in my hometown. Not to mention that I had dinner at a friend’s home in Potrero recently and had to take off my heels before I even got out of the cab so I could get to her front door.

If you’re from this area and grew up running these small, let’s face it, mountains, then you probably don’t think anything of bounding up and down these streets like an elegant gazelle. I, on the other hand, dread our Tuesday running focused BootCamp sessions. This is the day that gets in my head like no other.

Right from the get go I start out behind everyone. I’m slow. Super slow and have seriously questionable stamina on straightaways so as soon as my legs come in contact with any degree of incline my brain pretty much screams STOP. I drag myself as quickly as possible up and then down to our usual first meeting point where there just happens to be a railing perfect for doing many many sets of horizontal pull-ups interspersed with a run up a small hill that I’d much rather tackle with snow boots and a sled.

If you’re very lucky you won’t have to run up the picturesque staircase (that never ends) and happens to also be strategically nestled in-between a number of sleepy homes across from the makeshift concrete gym. It’s like the Bermuda Triangle of BootCamp. I usually have just enough time to think some very dark thoughts about how much I hate Tuesdays and then we’re off again.

Sometimes we’re supposed to run up and down Wisconsin Street, a very long hill that that meanders and tricks you into thinking you’ve made it to the top only to realize that there are at least two more blocks to go.  Other times we have the distinct pleasure of pushing our fellow boot campers up another steep hill backwards, sometimes we might carry a medicine ball up a hill, and other times you may just be asked to do walking lunges for a very VERY long time. And just when you think this crazy outing will never end Brooks sends us all over to the Potrero Hill Playground.

This colorful and cheerful place serves at the backdrop for the final few minutes of class which are generally spent doing things that make my nonexistent abs hurt and holding plank on very shaky arms. Then it’s over and I can hardly believe we’ve only been galavanting about the neighborhood for an hour.

My walk back home takes around 20 minutes. This means that I have plenty of time to forget all about how much I hate those hills and how great I feel. The meditative hike to my apartment does unfortunately also remind me that I inadvertently left that cute iPod in my jacket pocket and washed it a few weeks ago. It still plays but only holds about 20 minutes of charge thus making it, now and forever, impossible for all of the so-called “must have” criteria I described above from ever happening again. Yet, I still somehow managed to make it through class without extra accessories. Hmm… maybe that means I’m getting better at this Tuesday hill thing?