I love running and it likes me ok

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A little more than a year ago I wrote a blog post about my one-sided relationship with running. That said blog post can be found here.

Believe it or not, a lot has changed in the past 15 months. Since then, I have completed two 5K races and am in my ninth week of training for a third race in November.

Although I have days I don’t feel like running and although I still don’t love treadmills, I will say this: I finally get it.

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I get why people run. I get why people spend countless hours and days training and I get why people willingly take ice baths. Simply put, running makes you feel better.

I didn’t even realize my relationship with running was becoming less one-sided until about two weeks ago. I was running on some trails behind my apartment and before I knew it I had been running for more than an hour. I looked at my iPod and decided to stop because I had plans that evening. But the point was I decided to stop, I didn’t have to stop.

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So how did I go from rarely running to making it a part of my workout each week? Well, I started a training plan, because let’s face it, I needed some direction. Training plans for 5K and 10K races as well as half marathons and marathons can be found online.

Once I got used to the aching leg muscles and the voice in my head saying it was time to walk, running went from “the worst thing ever” to a new favorite workout.

And as cliché as it sounds, most of my problems with running were mental. When I felt worn out from running before it was because I wasn’t training and because I looked at it as a punishment partly because running laps was literally a form of punishment in both volleyball and softball in high school (thanks, coach).

With a change in attitude, proper training, and a kick ass music playlist (some favorites: Midnight City by M83, Fantasy by MS MR and Rather Be by Clean Bandit), running has become something I actually enjoy.

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A conversation with a rapper

Hip hop and rap music gets a bad reputation. Most mainstream contemporary rap lyrics today have a reputation of having superficial lyrics about partying, drugs, money and love.

That is not what Clarence “T.A.G.” Garrett is about. In fact, “T.A.G.” – an acronym for “Totally Against the Grain” is exactly what Garrett is trying to be.

The Indiana rapper describes his lyrics as faith-based. His beliefs are a big part of his music.

“Faith is a part of my life,” Clarence said. “I’ve always gravitated toward positive and encouraging music.”

Some themes listeners will find in his music include life, struggles people face, relationships and even tough subject matter such as suicide.

Advice he has is to find a common ground. He dedicated his second album, “One Love,” to encourage others to bridge the gap between their differences.

“If we find some kind of common ground then maybe, just maybe, we can change the world.”

Additional advice he has is to keep with it and believe in yourself.

It hasn’t been easy for T.A.G. He has been rapping since 2000 but just recently  started recording music with the support of a friend who believed he could do it.

“I was ready to believe in myself as much as my friend believed in me,” he said.

His songs are upbeat jams with optimist lyrics. Although some of life’s struggles are mentioned on the tracks, the lyrics are friendly for all ages.

Song writing has come easy to him over the years.

“I gravitate toward the music where you stop listening and your life for that moment freezes,” he said. “I’m attracted to that kind of writing.”

T.A.G. pulls inspiration from all genres. Although he is a hip-hop writer, he pulls inspiration from pop, country, rock and others. His goal is not to be the best hip hop artist but to be a very good song writer.

Overall, some of the best  advice he has is to keep a balance.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself and how to balance life, work, music and family,” he said.

A look at some of the questions

What has the response been to your faith-based rap music?
It’s interesting because whenever people first hear the music they tend to think, ‘oh, it’s hip hop’ and then they realize it’s different. I think it encourages people.

What is something you’ve come to realize about the business?

People complain about the rap music that is out there in the market, but continue to buy it. You have to support music like this if you want it out there.

What have you enjoyed the most about making music? 
Meeting people. I’ve been able to travel and meet a lot of new fans.

Want to know more about T.A.G.? Visit his website here for more information.

Read other conversations here.

Monday ramblings

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1.) I really, really enjoy Avicii’s new(ish) song, Wake Me Up. It’s on repeat.

“I tried carrying the weight of the world, but I only have two hands…I wish I could stay forever this young; not afraid to close my eyes. Life’s a game made for everyone and love is the prize.”

2.) Talking about dieting is annoying. I’m on weight watchers and think in points daily. I hear myself discussing points with other people and know how annoying it sounds. I’m just going to go ahead and apologize.

“I really want ice cream, but I don’t want to use the points.”

“God, I’m so hungry, but I used too many points for breakfast.”

3.) Dating is confusing. Not only is dating confusing, but there are several ways to miscommunicate. A text, phone call, email, Facebook chat, Tweet and Gmail chat could produce six separate comments/conversations. Therefore there are six ways something could be misinterpreted. Confused? My point, exactly.

4.) Reading a book allows you to try out thousands of careers, date hundreds of people and live in several different places without beginning a new job, breaking up with your boyfriend/girlfriend or packing up your apartment.

5.) My favorite part of Monday is midnight (Yes, I know that’s technically Tuesday) when I can check out iTunes and see what new songs, albums have been released.

Hiatus interrupted

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The album has dropped, the hiatus has ended. Here is a kind-of-sort-of Fall out boy review. (On a related side note, I listened to the CD while I was on the elliptical last night and had one of the best work-outs of my life).

1.) The Phoenix
First thought: He sounds angry
First emotion: Angsty
Best line: “So we can take the world back from a heart attack. One maniac at a time we will take it back. You know time crawls on when you’re waiting for the song to start. So dance alone to the beat of your heart.”
Worst line: “I’m going to change you like a remix.”
Verdict: Thumping drums, a meaningful chorus and angry voice make this song the epitome of an anthem.

2.) My songs know what you did in the dark (light ’em up)
First thought: This is awesome
First emotion: Ecstatic
Best line: “My childhood spat back out the monster that you see.”
Worst line: “Oh, whoa, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh,”…you get the drift
Verdict: First single that came out after the four-year hiatus. This was released before the rest of the album released, so naturally I’ve played it to death. It’s a good work-out song, though.

3.) Alone Together
First thought: The song was “pop” sounding
Best line: “I don’t know where you’re going, but do you got room for one more troubled soul?”
Worst line: “I’m outside the door, invite me in, so we can go back and play pretend.”

4.) Where did the party go
First emotion: Charmed
Best line: “Silent film stars stuck in talking cinema life. So let’s fade away together one dream at a time.”
Worst line: “You and me are the difference between real love and love on TV, love on TV”
Verdict: The song has an upbeat tune but is about a crash-and-burn relationship. The catchy beat make it hard to discern the song is not so positive.

5.) Just One Yesterday
First thought: The opening sounds a lot like Rolling In the Deep by Adele
Best line: “I thought of angels choking on their halos…get them drunk on rose-water.”
Worst line: “The town ain’t big enough for two of us.”
Verdict: There is definitely a nod to Adele’s song. Besides that, I found the song was just okay.

6.) The Mighty Fall (Feat. Big Sean)
First thought: “Is this a Big Sean song? It can’t be.”
First emotion: confused
Best line: “They say I got screws missing, well hell, only when I’m missing you.”
Worst line: “Bell Air baby, did you get dressed up? Pretty pout, pout.”
Verdict: Weird combination, that didn’t deliver. Fall Out Boy decided to stick with describing it as “How the mighty fall.. in love” while Big Sean (in true Big Sean fashion) said “I’m either f*ckin’ or working, so the grind don’t stop” and turned the song oddly sexual. It showed the difference in balance in rap and alternative.

7.) Miss missing you
First thought: I like the altered concept, to miss missing someone
Best line: “Sometimes before it gets better the darkness gets bigger, the person that you’d take a bullet for is behind the trigger.”
Worst line: “Oh and I’ve heard you got it got it bad. Cause I am the best you’ll never have.”
Verdict: To say someone is gone is to suggest you had them and they were there, but the end states I am the best you’ll never have. This is a break-up song that isn’t about romance.

8.) Death Valley
First thought: This reminds me of the Gorillaz mixed with the black keys
First emotion: rebellious
Best line: “But don’t take love off the table yet.”
Worst line: “I’ll be you’re favorite drug, I will get you high.” Or “Cause tonight it’s just fire alarms and losing you.”
Verdict: Seems to be the punk, battle cry version of YOLO.

9.) Young Volcanoes
First thought:  This could be playing in the background in an inspirational commercial
First emotion: Optimistic
Best line: “We are wild.”
Worst line: “We will teach you how to make boys next door out of assholes.” Complete with an out-of-place chuckle.
Verdict: The music in it is similar to Lumineers and the pop sounds like something Pat Monahan from Train would sing, but with better lyrics.

10.) Rat a Tat (ft. Courtney Love)
First thought: WTF
First emotion: Annoyed
Best line: “No thesis existed for burning cities down at such a rampart rate. No graphics and no f*cking Powerpoint presentation so they just DIY’d that shit and they built their own bombs.”
Worst line: “If my heart is a grenade you pull the pin and say: were all fighting growing old in the hopes of growing old.” (well really I like the latter half of this lyric, just not the cheesy beginning).
Verdict: I was distracted by Love’s sneering.

10.) Save Rock and Roll (ft. Elton John)
First thought: Hell, yes
Best line: “You are what you love, not who loves you. In a world full of the word yes, I’m here to scream no.”
Verdict: Elton John is in this song, which is amazing. The song actually tries to save rock and roll.

Die-hard fans might talk about how this music is different from past music. It definitely has a news sound but a slightly familiar path.

“Fall Out Boy version 2.0 may not be wiser or stronger,” Pete Wentz wrote, “but we’re certainly more fearless.”

Ten worst iPod playlist names

I spend most of my time writing whether it’s for work, my blog or recreation. Yet somehow I can’t name iPod playlists. (Yes, the following playlist names are my own. Yes, I just called them the 10 worst names).

Current playlist names:

1.) Birthday. So this is only supposed to be a playlist I listen to annually? Sure, why not. Watch out, birthday playlist, every July  I’m coming for you.

2.) Legal. This playlist is literally named legal because I didn’t illegally download the songs on the playlist. I bought them on iTunes. (I may or may not be suggesting I have illegally downloaded other music at some point in my life).

3.) New stuff. Okay, this was great when it was new, but how long is new music, well, new?

4.) Relaxed. Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox Twenty and Colbie Caillat ensue.

5.) Shower. I prefer my showers in the morning so most songs on this playlist are the Life-is-so-awesome-and-you’re-awesome-so-go-kick-the-day’s-ass songs.

6.) Sleep. Not to be confused with relaxed. Apparently Beyoncé, Black Eyed Peas and Rihanna made the playlist.

7.) Spring break work out. Pumped-up dance music to help me survive the elliptical/treadmill. The louder, faster the song is, the more likely I won’t realize how many miles I’m running. At least that’s what I tell myself.

8.) Stuff I like. Yes, I actually have a playlist named ‘Stuff I like.’ No, I’m not self-centered and Yes, I realize everything on my iPod is “stuff I like.”

9.) Untitled playlist. __________untitled description__________.

10.) Workout. If Spring break workout wasn’t enough, here’s another workout playlist. Just in case.

Maybe calling them the ten worst is exaggerating a bit. I imagine there are worst names out there, but they could probably hold their own in a contest for the ten most vague playlist names. Anyone holding that contest? …..Anyone? 😉

Sugar, we’re goin’ down

I feel like I’m a freshman in high school again. Want to know why?

I logged into my Itunes account (I like checking the new music that comes out on Tuesdays) and I found a new Fall Out Boy single at my finger tips. Obviously I immediately purchased it and started a one-person dance party.

I think the 16-year-old girl in me has died and gone to heaven. First Beyonce rocked the Superbowl (I don’t care what people have to say, she did her thing on stage in platform heels and she just had a baby) and invited Destiny’s Child on stage with her.  Then I found out Fall Out Boy is back. On top of all the music gods smiling down, my Indiana Hoosiers are no. one after beating Michigan in a basketball game Saturday night.

In honor of the news, I’m listening to ‘From Under the Cork Tree’ while I write this. Others might not be as happy as I am about the news but I’m enjoying my ‘7 minutes in heaven’ (see what I did there)?