Martian Invasion of the Races 10k Race Review!

martian-marathon  This past Saturday, I got to run my first 10k of 2014! The Martian Invasion of the races 10k in Dearborn, MI! As I had talked about in my previous post, I hadn’t been training all that much this year, so I was pretty nervous.  We got up and out by 6am with enough time for a stop at Tim Hortons for my Pre-race bagel with peanut butter and Breakfast for the BF. Turns out I just got a plain, untoasted, pre-race bagel. They forgot to give me peanut butter! How rude! ANYWAY…. We arrived with no issues and I found the lot that I had parked in last year and we hung out in the car until 7:15, so as to avoid the start of the marathon.

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Ford Field was where the start and finish were located and there were LOTS of people all excited and ready to run! Luckily, this year, the weather decided to be awesome. I remember standing in 2 layers of pants, a long sleeved shirt, and a hoodie shivering like crazy. This year, it was mid-high 50’s at the start and about 65 by the time I finished! It was the perfect day for a run!

We stood around for about 45 minutes and people watched. I think that’s one of the great things about themed races is all of the people watching! There was a group of ladies all in silver, a guy in a green full body suit with a silver bike helmet (he was also a pacer!), a lady dressed like Marvin the martian…! It was all really fun to take in.

1533766_10100400783838050_2766834600006194512_nWhen it was finally time to line up, they provided a jazzy version of the National Anthem before the start. It was nice to hear something a bit different for once!  I was feeling ready to go and excited to give this a try!

Last year, I got my 5k PR at this race and was really looking forward to seeing what the 10k route looked like. With the sound of the horn, everyone started to inch forward until they hit the starting line and the beginning of the first hill. I know I spent a lot of time weaving around people last year, but I think at this point, I knew to take my time up the hill and keep my pace slow for the first mile.

There was still a good amount of weaving because of the walkers in the 5k…but honestly, for some reason it didn’t bother me as much as it usually does. (Maybe the weather just fixed everything?!) But I also think that this was because they lined everyone up with pace signs at the start. It was extremely helpful to know, that, for the most part, the people around you were going to be going about the same speed as you. I love when races do that!

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I wish I was able to take some pictures of this course because for the most part, it was really great! The course went through the really nice neighborhood around the Dearborn Golf Course.  REALLY big beautiful homes. One looked like an old English Mansion and right next to it was a building that looked straight out of the French Quarter of New Orleans! the route then proceeded onto a highway for a short time and then onto an entrance/exit ramp (?) which was a round and slightly bowled shaped area (right after mile 2 on the map) and onto a road for the out and back portion. This part was a bit difficult on my knee and hip, but I tried to adjust my form accordingly. I hear it had an effect on other people’s injuries as well. The road was slanted on either side, so it didn’t get too much better on the way back, but after this was over, it was a really enjoyable course! The 10k went onto a bike path and back roads and sometimes sidewalks and parking lots. But it was all really nice, and at some points the path went through wooded areas. There were also two bridges along the course that were a little difficult to run over, but it changed it up a bit! The only part I didn’t really enjoy was near the end of mile 6. The course went out onto a busy main road and while it was nice running on a flat and wide surface, it was hot and the car exhaust wasn’t awesome.

I had a little bit of an issue with pain for the first 2 miles or so, but I adjusted my form and kept my pace steady and didn’t push too hard and it seemed to help. I was even able to pick up the pace here and there to pass some people that I needed to. The last .3 miles were great! Everyone was out cheering and enjoying the day, and all the Aliens lined the streets to welcome you back to Ford Field!

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Just after I crossed the finish line!

In the end, I didn’t get a PR…but I’m really, very okay with that. When my dad asked me how it went later in the day I said “I finished and nothing hurt!”. I think that’s a good goal for me to have this year with 3 half marathons ahead of me (June, August, October) I just need to focus on that. That being said, I got 1:07:27, which is almost 10 minutes faster than I thought I’d do! So that was a pleasant surprise! The race had the usual Running Fit post-race foods…cookies, bagels, and bananas along with Water…which I was SUPER excited about. and I got my Alien medal…which, let’s face it, is a big factor for a lot of people when they decide to run this one. It’s SO COOL! Also, the shirts were really awesome this year and the second I saw it I knew I had to run it for the shirt! (I wear my 2013 one all the time!)

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I had a really great time this year and because of that I would totally do it again next year, and I think that you should too! Even if just to dress up fun and skip along the 5k route with friends…it’s just a really fun atmosphere!

Have you ever run this race?
Would you run a race just for the swag?

Things I Love Thursday

I googled "Busy Bee" and I couldn't not use this.

I googled “Busy Bee” and I couldn’t not use this.

It’s been a while…I know. What have I been busy doing? A lot.

Quick Rundown-
-My BF and I Cosplay and attend Comic Book Conventions. In March we went to Indiana and in a few weeks I’ll be taking my first trip to Chicago for C2E2. We have 2 more planned after that. This involves spending lots of time making and putting together a costume. My time has been spent working on this damn frock coat. I’m an advanced beginner level sewer and beginner pattern user…so I’ve been spending all my time trying to finish on time for C2E2…the good news is I should be done in the next few days! Then on to the next project…

– I’ve been taking RCIA classes since September and they are starting to come to a head. Every week I have at least 2 things to attend and that makes for a very busy schedule added to my regular schedule. I just have to get through April and I’ll be able to breathe, I think.

– Not running as much as I should be. My busy schedule makes it difficult for me to get to be early so I can get up early and run. Especially because Michigan has been so crazy cold and snowy for so long that it’s a treadmill or nothing. And really…That’s not a hard choice for me to make when I’m already curled up in bed and exhausted.

BUT! Things are starting to slow down and warm up a bit! I’ve managed the odd run here and there and have started to run outside again (which is really not easy after such a long break)! And I have my first 10k of the year this weekend, which I’m equal parts nervous and excited for. And then I start to train a bit for a Half Marathon, which I will be doing on June 1st! I’m pretty determined to run it with no issues this time around. So I’m going to have to be really good about training and stretching and foam rolling and the whole nine!

okay…with THAT out of the way, here are some things that I’m loving lately:tilt-1

♥My little Family ♥ Warm Weather ♥ Driving with Windows down ♥ Spring/Summer plans ♥ Puppy cuddles ♥ Sunday big Salads ♥ Reading calming blogs and getting back into that lifestyle ♥ New Friends ♥  Easter Candy ♥ Thinking ♥ Captain America: The Winter Soldier ♥ Re watching all of the LOTR and Hobbit movies while working on crafts ♥ Caffeine ♥  Finally getting a legitimate key card at work ♥ Getting stuff done ♥ Grilled Cheese Sandwiches ♥

What have you all been up to?
Anything particularly awesome that you’re loving lately?

Resolutions Vs. Goals

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It is a cold one here in Michigan…and by one, I mean the last 2 days. Temps have been in the double digit negative numbers and the “Feels like…” number has been considerably lower. I’ve been hunkered down in blankets with my dog at home, pondering the differences between resolutions and goals.

I don’t like resolutions. I stopped making them years ago. People would always ask me “What are YOUR resolutions this year?” and I’d answer with an indifferent “Ohhh I dunno…Eat better, I guess. Maybe read some more books…” . All it felt like was a think people do in January and then they would laugh about how they already broke their resolutions in February. “Well now that I’m a failure, I’d better get back to eating this cake and watching hours of TV before I pass out and do it all again the next night! hahaha!”

There’s no meat to a resolution. They’ve become something that, over the years, have become something meant to be broken. A setup for failure. Usually they are fairly vague and there’s no plan of action to back it up.

So now when someone asks me about my resolutions, I say, “I have a few GOALS that I’d like to accomplish this year…” and go on to name some specific things that I’d like to do over the next 12 months or so. I feel like a goal isn’t a big fancy word for something I’m not going to do. It’s a simple word for a simple thing. I want to do this and I will do it. I think goals tend to stick. Last year I had some very specific fitness goals that I wanted to accomplish and I did, with some extra bonus stuff added on as I went! It felt good to finish them and check them off my list.

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Here are a few tips, from my experience, on how to set and accomplish your goals for 2014!

1. Be Realistic. There are short term goals and long term goals. Start small and work your way up.  I started out doing couch to 5k with my running. I knew I could run a mile and I just added onto that. The plan was to run a 5k. I had a bad experience with a St. Patrick’s day run in the past, so that was my first goal. To beat that. So I gave myself a couple months to do the training program, and set a goal within a reasonable amount of time. Not so far away that I’d lose interest, and not so close that I didn’t have time to feel comfortable with what I was doing.

2. Be Forgiving. I knew that it would be a bit of a rough start getting on a new schedule of going to the gym. I knew there would be days that I’d be too tired or busy to go, and I had to let myself be human and rest when I needed it.

3. Make a schedule or plan. I know from past experience, that my body needs some time to recuperate after a workout. So my plan was to hit the gym every other day and never let there be more than 2 days between workouts (unless there were extenuating circumstances).  I could only go to the gym after work, so I had my stuff ready the night before and it was in my car ready to go at 5pm when I was free to go. I made no room for excuses. There was no reason for me not to go, so I went. The schedule was adjusted as needed throughout the year…but there was always some kind of plan behind it.

4. Set Deadlines. If you just say you want to do something by the end of the year, chases are that you will procrastinate and will stress yourself out trying to fit it into your busy end of the year schedule, just so you can say you accomplished your goal. That’s all well and good, but so much more can be accomplished if you get it done by an earlier deadline. I made a goal of 4 5ks and, eventually, 4 10ks by the end of the year. I tried to get the bulk of the 5ks done early (by doing so, I also being realistic). Then I moved on to other races. 1 a month. By adding my other, bigger races, throughout the year, I did end up having to run 2 in November to reach my goal…but that’s better than 4 in a month!

5. Give yourself credit! Also, reward yourself! Every race I ran, I bought myself a new outfit or some new gear to keep myself motivated. I also posted lots of pictures to facebook and posted my times. I know I’m not the fastest person out there. But I also know that I’m faster than a lot of people and doing something is better than doing nothing. So I gave myself credit. Every time I did a workout, I’d post it up to Facebook or Nike+ to give myself  a little pat on the back. This felt good, even at the end of a crappy workout and it helped to get me back out there.

Now…

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What do you like better? Resolutions? Goals?
What are some of your resolutions or goals?
How has your 2014 been so far?

2014 Plans

Run

My rest period is complete! After dealing with some injuries and general fatigue I decided that after my races were done for 2013, I would give it a rest for a while…and I did! Somehow I’ve made it since November 17th (my last race…) until now without running. It’s been kind of nice to sleep in the extra little bit every day and not have to go out in the cold to try to fit in gym time. But now I’m a bit stressed out about starting back up.

I’m worried that I’ve lost a good chunk of my fitness and that my injuries will flare up due to me not doing any kind of rehab exercises over my break (oops!). I’m sure I’ll catch back up in time for my first race (more on that in a sec.) and if I do my exercises, they will help more than not doing them at all…so I just have to start. I might hit the gym before the big snowstorm starts tomorrow night. Fingers crossed!

SO! My goals as far as races go this year…Here’s what I’m thinking so far…

April- Martian Invasion of the Races 10k
A medium type race to get me started, if I don’t randomly run a 5k sometime in March.

May- Kona Novi Half Marathon
I’m really going to focus on getting my half Marathon distance up to par this year. I tried last year, but was a bit naive when it came to how my body was actually feeling and functioning. But now that I know, I think I can do it. Plus everyone tells me that this is a flat course with no scary hills!

August- Camp Chingachgook Half Marathon
I used to work at a YMCA Camp on Lake George in Upstate New York…They have a very small Half marathon and 10k every year. If I can get back to NY for the weekend, I will run this race. The road it goes down is so scenic. I’ve been dying to run this one!

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October- Detroit Free Press International Half Marathon
I’ve already registered for this as an early bird (Got in about an hour before it sold out…PHEW!)! After “running” it last year…I want to redeem myself. And since it only cost me $55 this year, there is no reason not to. Hopefully I can actually physically run it this year!

Everything else will be filled in with what I can do and what I have time for! I’m excited to try a few new races and see how it goes. But I’m not stacking my calendar for 2014 until I know what I’m capable of doing (considering injuries). I know that my new shoes help a lot and the last 10k that I ran went great with no issues. So if I can just keep it all up again, that’s what I’m going for this year!

Also, Look what I did last week! Wall

My 2013 race wall! I’ll add to it when I can this year..but those are all 11 of my bibs and all 6 of my medals (also a pin and dog tag) from my races! I’m quite excited to have it going and it looks so nice. Just makes me happy looking at it!

What are your goals for this year (fitness & otherwise)?
How long do you usually rest for (if you do)?

2013 Race Superlatives!

ANNND WE’RE BACK! Sorry for the unannounced hiatus. December hasn’t been too kind to me. I got sick right after Thanksgiving and had a week that I wasn’t sick, but was working really odd hours, and then right after that ended I got sick again! This time, WAYY worse.  It totally put a damper on my 30th b-day. But it still worked out to be a good one, in the end!

I did a lot of races this year… 11 total. That’s quite a few more than I originally planned on doing. But I’m happy I did every single one, even if they didn’t always turn out the way that I had planned! Here is  a rundown of some of my favorite things about my races in 2013!

Best 5k- Mustache Dache

1459212_10100302516177230_353771843_n  This race was pretty fantastic! It was smaller, so parking was a breeze. The mood of everyone was great! The spirit of the theme was easy to see and people had an awesome time getting into it!

Part of the awesomeness of this race was the course. It was along the Detroit Riverwalk and it was a beautiful (kind of cold and windy) Sunny day, so it was awesome being out there and enjoying it with everyone!

The after party was great too! If I had more time that day, I would have stuck around longer! There’s a strong possibility that I’ll run this one again next year!

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Best 10k- Kona Chocolate Run

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Despite there being some issues with the weather and the whole acquiring chocolate part, this was a really great race! I had done pretty much the same course for my first 10k earlier in the year, but this one was different. The crowd was bigger and more excited. There were some great costumes and the signup process was pretty simple to figure out.

Taking all of that into consideration, and the fact that it really was the best 10k that I ran (not a PR, but that doesn’t matter to me). It rained a bit, but it was warm out. Everything felt good and the feeling of it was one of fun. It made for a really great morning in the little town of Plymouth!

Hopefully they work out all the kinks that they had this year for next year’s race, because it was a really good one to round out my year and wouldn’t mind running it again!

Best Overall Race- Crim 10 Miler

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This race was fantastic. Not just for me, but in general. I love the sense of community that I saw in Flint during this race. Sure there were some neighborhoods that the course went through that wasn’t the nicest, but the people were out spectating and getting into the whole thing. It was very well organized (besides the fact that people were in the wrong corrals…) and the volunteers were all great! As for me, personally, it was a great race! I went into it never running more than 7 miles and nervous about finishing, but I kept a good pace throughout and didn’t have any issues with injuries and though the last 2 miles were really tough, I managed to finish WAY before I thought I would! I hurt for days afterword, but I really didn’t mind because it was a major accomplishment!

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Messiest Race– Gopher the Gold 10k

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Heavy rain the night before + Trails=
One messy race!

The first half included 6 inches of water covering the paved trails at a few different spots and the 2nd half included all dirt and mud made for a slow and messy 10k. Was a little annoyed about this, but in the end, it was really fun!

(Honorable Mention- Color Me Rad)

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Intentionally messy… And Rad.

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Best Crowd Participation-
Crim 10 Miler/Detroit Freep half 

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I mean….I was smiling for the entirety of the Crim simply because the people watching were so awesome. Entire neighborhoods got together to show their support. There was music and hoses and extra aid stations set up along the whole route. It was pretty fantastic.
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The Detroit Free Press Int’l Half Marathon was probably my worst race this year. But the bright spot in a terrible no good very bad race was the really awesome signs that people made and the fact that they were out there just as long as most of us were cheering everyone on! Even when we crossed over into Canada, there were so many people supporting everyone, it was a really great environment to be in! All the support was a huge reason why I kept going even though I felt like I was dying.


Honorable Mention-
YMCA Father’s Day 10k

People were out having breakfast on their lawns and cheering everyone on. The kids with the drums were my favorite. A lot of support from the community made this an enjoyable race!

Best Medal- Mustache Dache/ Detroit Half

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Best shirt-
Martian Invasion/ Lucky Dash

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I know they are both green…but they are both awesome shirts that I actually wear quite a lot!

Honorable mention- Detroit Half/ Kona Chocolate Run

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Best Expo- Detroit Free Press Marathon

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This was the best organized expo with the largest amount of booths and stores for people to stop at! They also had the best selection of quality things there. I would go to this even if I didn’t plan on running the race even if it’s a bit out of the way. It was really awesome and had lots available to participants!

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And that does it! Those are some of my favorite things about the races I ran in 2013! I hope to run a few of these again and a few new ones in 2014 (More about those soon!). I hope you guys all had a great year and have another one ahead of you!  See you next year! 😉

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What were your favorites in these categories?

What was your favorite overall race you ran this year or in the past?

Any fun plans for New Years?

Kona Chocolate 10k Race Recap!

Kona Chocolate Run MEDAL 13

This past Sunday (Nov. 17th 2013) I got to run the 1st Kona Chocolate 10k in Plymouth, MI.  This was the last official race on my list for the year and I’m not gonna lie, I was a little nervous about it. In the week leading up to it, I spent some time with the treadmill and only got 2 runs in with the new shoes.  I hadn’t run 6 miles since the terrible no good very bad race (and even then about 2 miles of it was all walking). So I didn’t quite know what to expect. But I rolled out of bed at 5:15AM and did my normal race routine.

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I didn’t have time the day before to go and pickup my Bib and shirt, so we had to get there a bit earlier. We found the middle school at about 7:10 and quickly found a “Spot”. The parking was a bit odd…but we found a good spot and decided to just walk to the start. I got my stuff fairly quickly and changed my plan of using the restrooms at the school after seeing the HUGE line. The YMCA Father’s Day 10k that I ran in June was at the same location, so I knew where to find the bathrooms. And apparently a ton of other people did too.  I spent the best of about 20-30 minutes in line. And the line for the porta potties was just as bad. I was glad  I got there when I did, though. The line was even longer when I was leaving!

Look who came to watch! WINSTON!!!

Look who came to cheer me on! WINSTON!!!

I found my guys (BF and Puppyface) and quickly got ready and took some pictures before heading over to the starting line just as the 10k was under way! I was a little confused because there were supposed to be two wave starts. but there was no cut off as to where the 2nd wave was supposed to be. I saw the pace signs and lined up with the 70 minute people.  Just as we were about to cross the start, they stopped us and had us wait…So I guess that was the 2nd wave. We waited for a little while, and then they let us start. It felt kinda of strange being so close to the front for once! We got going and I managed to keep it at a decent pace! YAY!

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The start before the 2nd wave….

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Time to run!

The forecast wasn’t great and at the start it was just spritzing a little bit. Nothing bad. It was warm out though, so that was the upside of the situation if there was going to be rain. It maintained general yuckiness until I got to mile 4. Then it started to rain a good amount. I don’t think it made things worse, but it certainly didn’t help either! I was happy that I wore the jacket that I did, because the wind breaking parts of it kept me mostly dry underneath… or at least it felt that way.

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The course was great. This was pretty much the same one that I ran my first 10k on this year, so I knew what to expect. Not a lot of hills, and a really cute little town. I managed to keep my pace more or less the whole time. I was pretty impressed with this. I also made sure to take .10 walk breaks to check in with how things were feeling.

Splits

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The only thing that made me a little nervous on the course was the wet piles of leaves. I tried not to step in them as much as I could. The last thing that I needed was to slip and fall! But honestly, it wasn’t that hard to avoid them.

The rain finally stopped at  about 5.75mi and all that was left to do was dodge big puddles!  Almost ran into someone as I did, but she was really nice about it and we kept going!

Winston was making sure that my phone didn't get wet!

Winston was making sure that my phone didn’t get wet!

I crossed the finish line and got my medal. I was a little bit annoyed at how many people were just standing around at the end of the corral. After running 6 miles, I sure didn’t want to have to push past people to move.  I noticed at this point that the line for the chocolate was huge, and moments after, I found my guys. Winston was wet and tired and refusing to walk, so he had to be carried. That made me decision right there! Skipped the chocolate. I was a little sad about this because I had been looking forward to it and I’m usually STARVING after a race. I had to hunt down a cup of water (I was surprised there weren’t bottles at the finish line) which was at a little tent in the middle of all of the madness, and we left. Just as the sun was coming out!

We got back to the car and saw the lot was a mess…someone parked almost directly behind me. Luckily there was enough space to back out. They need to regulate parking or have shuttles next year or something. Downtown Plymouth isn’t the easiest to park in if you don’t know it.

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I was happy to put my new Kona shirt on for the drive home… it was dry and cozy! Also, I really like the medal. Nothing too fancy, just a square. But it was heavy duty and had a thick ribbon…which is my favorite kind of medal! The only complaint I have about the shirt is the color choice. Yes, I do enjoy pink…but just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean that I like the pink shirt better than the men’s Blue option… But it’s a minor complaint, because I do actually like the pink.  So meh.

I ended up getting a time of 1:04:53 which isn’t a PR, but it’s the 2nd best (by a minute) that I’ve done at a 10k. My PR being on the same course in June, when I nearly killed myself pushing too hard. So I call this a win! I was 89/199 in my age group and 1327/2511 overall! It felt good and I had a good time doing this race. I think once they work out some kinks in the start/finish process, that they’ll have a really good race on their hands! I can see myself running this again!

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And with that. My races for the year are complete! I’ll speak more about my goals and the races that I did in a future post…but I accomplished my original goal and then some and I’m pretty happy with that. Even if my major goal of the year didn’t work out as well as I had hoped, I still finished. And sometimes that’s the hardest part!

Did you run the Chocolate run? What did you think?

What has been your favorite 10k?

How are you on your yearly goals?

Music Monday!

HAPPY MONDAY!
I hope you had a wonderful weekend and your Monday is going well so far!

This week, the featured song is “My songs know what you did in the dark (light em up)” By Fall Out Boy. Now, I generally don’t like Fall Out Boy…Not sure why, I just haven’t really enjoyed their music in the past. But this song, I liked from the start and it’s THE BEST song to run to. It has an awesome steady beat, and kind of an epic feel to it. It’s great in a race situation as well. Which is what inspired me to post this. I ran a 10k yesterday and halfway through, it started to rain. It was a great song to keep me moving in a not so awesome situation.

This is seriously one of my favorite songs to run to and I get so excited whenever it pops up on my playlist! ENJOY!

 

What’s your favorite song on your playlist right now?

Do you like running in the rain?