Sigh no more

I don’t really like to think of New Year’s as a special event. It’s just a day like any other, and frankly, I don’t do well with resolutions or “how I’m going to change my life in a day” hulabaloos. It’s the same reason why I don’t practice lent (that, and I’m not Catholic). But, even though I tend to disregard January first as a significant day of change, I do still have this feeling of starting afresh. Jan 1 (well, Jan 3, actually) marks the start of focused training, since I have attempted, and failed, thanks to the move, new employment, and holidays. I’ve struggled over the last few weeks to stay focused; I’ve struggled with coping with life.Β  I have been sleeping a lot, I have been lackluster about running, and that’s just not me. Frankly, being an adult sucks, and I want to get whisked back to the time (about three months ago) when I wasn’t concerned about having enough money (because I could just take out a student loan and I split rent with a roommate). Without getting too mopey about it all, I’ve basically struggled with being alone, broke, and overwhelmed.

But, I can exhale now. I have a roof over my head, I have been paid, and I have food in my cupboards. I’m finding my groove at my new job, I’m committing to training runs and swims, and I’ve found a few people who could use my help as a training buddy as much (well maybe not as much) as I can use theirs. I’ve got a lot on my plate, but I guess that is what life is all about. One step in front of the other.

And I’ve found a little something else that can help. There are certain things that trigger emotions. Smells, sights, sounds- it can mean something different to everyone, but it can mean something nonetheless. Today, for example, I was struggling to find motivation to hop on my trainer, even though it was the 1st of the year and everyone and their dog was doing something active (at least that’s what Twitter would have you believe). And then I turned on iTunes, and it came to me. I played the song Mastermind by Mindless Self Indulgence and immediately threw on my bike shorts and got to work. Apparently, that’s all it took.

So I wanted to share with you, dear readers, my songs for 2011. These are the songs that are going to get me through the day, whether I’m waiting at the bus stop or I’m finding another gear on the trainer. These are the songs that are going to make me think about home, about life, about who I want to be and who I am now. These songs don’t define who I am; I didn’t write them and they weren’t written for me. Some are old, some are new. But they strike a chord in my soul and they give me something to hold onto. Some give me drive, and others give me hope, and that’s really all I need.

Shut Me Up – MSI

Breathe – The Prodigy

Shake Me Down – Cage the Elephant

Ghosts and Stuff – deadmau5

Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear

Cosmic Love – Florence + the Machine

Animal – Miike Snow

Islands – The xx

Dog Days Are Over – Florence + the Machine

The Ghost Inside – Broken Bells

Wait So Long – Trampled by Turtles

The Cave – Mumford and Sons

What are the songs that are motivating you?


About megankillian

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. I love biomechanics!

Posted on January 1, 2011, in life, motivation. Bookmark the permalink. 51 Comments.

  1. Just wanted to let you know that I did not do anything active today-despite what twitter was all abuzz about. And I am also pretty anti resolution.

    Happy New Year!

  2. I find music is very motivating for me and I especially like music with a fast beat. Like Olympic-medalist Deena Kastor, I listen to a lot of house and trance music with a little bit of dance when I run/work out.
    Here are a few of my favorites recently:

    Miranda Cosgrove – When I’m Kissing You (Jason Nevins Remix)
    Armin van Buuren ft Sharon den Adel – In and Out of Love
    Chris Brown – Yeah 3x
    Miley Cyrus – 7 Things (Bimbo Jones Remix)

    A few of these are my “power songs” that I program in my ipod for the end of a race. All the best to you in 2011.

  3. if you ever need a virtual workout buddy for motivation you know where to find me! πŸ™‚
    hang in there with all the changes- that’s alot of stuff to happen in a month annnnd it can only get better!!
    Happy New Year!

  4. Sir Pumpkin Longshanks

    I find Rammstein particularly useful to get me up and running. Particularly when I am cleaning my house! Or when on the treadmill!

    Did you try Tiesto? Try his music. He generally would hit Dedmau5 right out of the water, on a good day. Andre Tannenbaum (ATB) is another one who comes to mind as far as work out music goes. Armin Vanburren is another guy. Maybe Matt Darey and his nocturnal podcast.

    Yes. Sounds, smells, tastes bring so much back. The mere whiff of mango, for instance, transports me back to my small village in India which I haven’t been to in over 17 years!

    Aaah, the good times!

    Interesting blog you have here!

    • Rammstein is for sure on my “get pumped” list and its always nice to bring it back after not listening to it in a while. I’m throwing them on my ipod now! I love ATB and Tiesto too ! You and I are on the same page. I haven’t listened to Matt Darey though. Thanks for that. and for reminding me of the classic motivation tunes I have been missing.

  5. Colleen Kingery

    I just wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone… I struggle with being grown up sometimes too! πŸ™‚ Sounds like things have been changing a lot and you are finally getting into a groove! HUGS to you!

  6. Wow, how did I not know about Florence + The Machine?? I love her!!! Thanks for posting. Lot of good songs in here. You can never go wrong with The Prodigy; I have a bunch of their songs in my “motivated” playlist. I’m exactly the same way in terms of manipulating mood through music :-)… works every time. I posted my top favs here about a month ago:

    • Isn’t she great?! I love her energy, her smile, and her voice. She’s so soulful and her songs ignite this fire inside me. I love her!

  7. haha – Twitter guilted me into a workout yesterday too even though my body REALLY wanted to stay planted on the couch! So yeah for Twitter, I guess?

    Would you believe I never use an ipod for any of my trainings? I think I might be the only person in the world who does this?

  8. Being a grown-up stinks, man. The good news, though, is that once you hit that groove, it ends up being just as simple as before you felt like a grown-up. I’ve been a homeowner for 4(!) years and I still feel like a kid most of the time.

    Good luck with settling in and hitting the training hard. It’s about time to think about marathon training over here, too… I think your post gave me the motivation to start!

  9. Good for you! I didn’t do ANYthing yesterday! Could have use a song or two. Jan 3rd kicks it off for me too.

  10. No real songs to add, but can I add a eff-yes being an adult kind of sucks. I liked high school, xc meets, daily practice, groceries supplied by the parents, and driving a van. =/

    Oh hey – January 3rd is TODAY! Good luck with the kick off!

  11. Not a big fan of Ghost n’ Stuff with singing… I prefer Moar Ghost n’ Stuff.
    Here’s another to get you psyched, maybe a little dated, but it works for me.

  12. I am officially getting old because I do not recognize any of these artists.

    Songs that motivate me while running:

    Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots- The Flaming Lips
    Lose Yourself – Eminem
    Head On – The Pixies

  13. I’m with Mark on Lose Yourself. One of my favorites. I found some old mix tapes from high school and one was my get-pumped tape for basketball games. The best? Electric Head by White Zombie. Awesome with a capital AWESOME. Beautiful People by Manson is another goodie.

    On a mellower note, I also like:
    Genesis – Justice
    Tornado – MSI (this will be on my race shirt)
    Stronger – Kanye West
    Toxic – Britney Spears (one of the few of hers I like)
    Smells like Teen Spirit – Nirvana

  14. Love your playlist!!! I unfortunately can’t wear an iPod while running b/c I wear a hearing aid, so I have to just think up tunes in my head….BUT during spin classes, my instructors play some cool songs—-Proud Mary-some other version than the original was awesome, it starts out slow for a good climb and then gets faster where you can do some fast sprints =0.

    Another song was Higher Ground by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, awesome for spinning!!!

    Happy New Year!

  15. The whole list is great, but the last two are especially fabulous! Music makes everything easier, and having exactly the right soundtrack can lift me from the couch to the trail within minutes. Downloading some of these now!

  16. Oh man, I can’t imagine NOT being in grad school with the job security and comfort of friends being around all the time. The real world sounds scary! Ha! Hang in there girl, you’ve got blogger buds who’ve got your back πŸ™‚

  17. someone sent me this video, so now “Till I collapse” by Eminem is on my “list” πŸ™‚

  18. I have to agree with Heather…while I find some of Eminem’s lyrics laughable (“Haters can make like bees with no stingers and drop dead”???), I love the beats. Anything by P!NK, too. I have an angry theme going on here, but I guess those songs motivate me. I’m glad life is settling down for you!

  19. I am so old. I don’t listen to any of these songs 😦 I will have to update my itunes. We really need to go for coffee soon. I have the running books for you.

  20. Ok, I am so totally copying this list.

    In fact, forget that – can you burn me a CD!! You know I am not cool enough to have even half of these songs. I am too old. I have Barry Manilow though. Love him! πŸ˜‰


  21. I don’t know any of those songs! I am so old. I better look them up and add them to my playlist!

  22. Great list of songs!

    You should post this playlist on I tunes.

    The Prodigy and Chemical Brothers are killer groups to listen to during an interval set on the trainer

    Yes being an “adult” sucks sometimes but noone ever said we have to grow up.


  23. Music is a time machine for me, so there are songs that I hear that can take me back to a specific moment in time. I heard Katy Perry’s Waking Up in Vegas at mile 25 of my first Ironman and I get goose bumps when I hear it on a run now. Not necessarily a motivational song, but it takes me back and the adreneline follows.

    My playlist is very Top 40 — Cee Lo Green anyone? to old school Jessie’s Girl / Rick Springfield.

  24. you should be a spinning teacher! πŸ™‚

    thanks for the playlist…

  25. Love the list. I was just looking on Amazon for some new songs for my player. I listen to all kinds of music, but lately, I have been into some of Kanye’s new stuff. I need a change and your list should get me started!

  26. so I don’t really listen to music while I’m running/biking, but if I were, my current playlist would be probably a lot of eminem and jay-z. I’m also really digging Far East Movement’s “Rocketeer” right now.

    “let’s flyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
    up, up here we go, go.
    up, up here we go, go.”


  27. Listened to a few more of your list and I really dig the Mumford and Sons album…good stuff!

  28. Great post & playlist. My wife has a great quote up in our kitchen that puts our life into perspective… “who are all of these kids and why do they keep calling me mom”

    Having three girls under 7 is my madness, so I tend to value my quiet training sessions! I think I’ll be racing ultra-ironmans when they hit their teen years….

  29. I too am old and didn’t have most of those songs! But since I have a nice long run on Sunday now I will! Do I sound like a huge dork to say that I have Shania Twain on my Finis to swim too? Up, Up, Up we can only go up from here! That’s my view of the 2011 season – it can only get better than last year!!

  30. I just found Mumford and Sons this past weekend…love them!! I know the feeling of being able to exhale, but I do look back at those years of grad school, just barely scraping by, with fondness. THere is something really special about living on the edge, so to speak…it really makes you appreciate the most important things.

  31. Funny, I know not ONE of these songs! But you’d better believe I’m gonna go check each and every one of them out. Thanks for sharing – perhaps you can spread a little motivation out this way for me… πŸ™‚


  32. Hey! I must say that I felt the same way about the new year. Hard to disregard it as a big day, but hard to take it too seriously too! Hope you are beginning to feel settled in a new city!

    Thanks for the playlist!

  33. The perfect storm…..offseason, move, new job, etc. Glad you found that “spark” to get you going again. Now if I can find one…..

  34. I was also a lazy one on New Years day and did nothing. Recovery day right?!? It is tough to get in the grind of things and sometimes we just need a break. I have been “in the real world” for just over 4 years, and can’t believe how “tough” I thought college life was.

    That being said there are many wonderful perks to being out and about . Wishing you a fantastic 2011!

  35. I sat on my ass in the car for about 16hours on the 1st! You’ll find your groove…you worked really hard last year, and maybe you needed a mental break from all your work and changes??? You’re a rockstar, and once you get mov’n again, you’ll be hard at it kicking ass!

  36. I could write epics about the ability of motivation in songs, and how many times I’ve felt a complete zombie until certain ones start playing. My song, for the moment, is Metallica’s ‘Fuel’; no mater what type of day it’s been, or how I feel, that song comes on my iTunes shuffle, and it’s like someone just lit a rocket up my, well you know… MSI’s ‘Shut Me Up’, the Groandome metal remix is another one of those songs. I didn’t think there were any other MSI fans out there

  37. You are not alone at all…BEING AN ADULT SUCKS. And for some reason it doesn’t get easier you just get more used to the punches. Training is my favorite way to keep my mind off of it πŸ™‚ BTW sans gluten has made my tummy happy!! Thanks again for the advice

  38. Thanks for the playlist. I don’t think I have a single one of those, but I’m always up for something new. Will check ’em out. When things suck, I remember this quote I used to keep on my desk (I am an elementary school teacher) and read daily during a year that almost drove me to drink. β€œCourage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”- Mary Anne Radmacher

  39. Love that song list; you have EXCELLENT taste in music πŸ˜€

    I didn’t realize you were having a tough time with the change over, you seemed so in charge of everything!! Glad you are settling in!! Hugs to you!

  40. Awesome song list as I know I like a few of those and will have to check out the others! Music just makes the workouts so much better!

    My current faves are –
    Hello by Martin Solveig
    Taker Over Control by Afrojack
    Internet Killed the Video Star – Limousines
    Dignity by New Politics
    and always Enrique and P!nk!

  41. Awesome list.

    Here is one of my favorites.

    White Rabbits – Percussion Gun

  42. Yup, don’t know any of those songs – I’m kinda stuck in the 90s mainstream music though. However, I do you feel your main on the motivation and having to deal with the adult stuff. In 2009, training for my first 140.6, I had a steady income (cushy even) and little worries. That won’t be true this year. We make due though, and buckle down when we need too.

    Can’t wait for your swing through IA!!!

  43. I am hiring you to fill my Ipod!! I am glad you’re getting settled in St Louis! Hope your wintertraining is going great πŸ™‚

  44. Megan. I totally needed this list of music! My ipod is way outdated, and I will be putting some of these songs on it. Good luck as you continue to settle into your new home.

  45. So I have absolutely no idea who any of those bands are. Which I find interesting, because I like to think I have a pretty eclectic take on music. I’ll have to download them!

    Recently, I’ve been into a beachy theme (probably beause I miss summer). Lots of Jimmy Buffet, Jimmy Cliff, Ziggy Marley, Bob Marley, Beach Boys, Howard Livingston.

  46. Nice work on the 4hr trainer ride and 4000m swim in Jan- you are going to be ready to rock this year! I don’t know any of those songs- I’m more of a Rihanna, Usher, Ludacris, Black-Eye Peas, and Lil Wayne girl.. 10 of my fave workout songs are: Transform Ya (Lil Wayne), Disturbia (Rihanna), Forever (Drake), Airplanes (BoB), Hard (Rihanna), How Low (Ludacris), OMG (Usher), Sexy B**ch (David Guetta), Like a G6, Boom Boom Pow (black eye peas)

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