I Don’t Actually Want To Take Over A Small Country…

A beautiful morning in downtown Guelph – with stops at the market (for donuts of course), and Planet Bean (for a latte of course), prior to boarding the train and heading to Toronto.

I just want to feel as if I could. 🙂

I’m currently on the train headed to Toronto. For those who normally take the bus, let me just tell you that travelling by train is far more civilized. Yes, it’s slightly more expensive, but for the extra cost you get more leg room, free wifi, bigger more comfortable seats, and the ability to walk around should you get tired. If Canada actually had a high-speed train service, I’d probably opt for it over flying1. I guess for now AirCanada, WestJet, etc., will retain my business.

But the train is not the point of this post. The point of this post is tomorrow’s marathon.

Again? Aren’t you ever going to shut up about that stupid marathon thingy? We get it. You’re running a really long distance. It’s not like you’re curing cancer or buying me presents. – You yell, rolling your eyes in frustration.

You are correct – I’m not buying you presents. That’s what you get when you yell at me. Ha!

I digress.

Anyway, yes, tomorrow is the big day. And if all goes well I should be finished the race in under 4 hours2.

Let’s consider that time – 4 hours – a little bit, shall we? That’s a long time to be doing anything. I mean, most of us don’t even last that long at work before we want a break – or is that just me? Clearly, with a 4 hour race planned I’m going to need some motivation to keep moving. For me, motivation comes in one of five major forms:

  1. Heading to pick up my race kit.

    Awesomely inappropriate, hilarious, and inspiring posters that the spectators bring with them,

  2. Little kids that put their hands out for high fives as you run by3,
  3. Spectators – often strangers – that scream my name and cheer me on,
  4. Friends and family that show up to cheer me on (especially when I’m unaware that they are going to attend), and
  5. Music.

All of these things have a way of giving me a second, third, fourth, fifth, etc., wind. And in many cases – runner’s high – an incredible euphoric sense that I can only describe as Amaze-balls in Awesome-sauce. For me, runner’s high is an entire body experience. It starts at the top of my head and slowly moves down my spine, through every muscle fibre. Often times, it comes in successive waves.

While I can’t exactly plan or count on runner’s high, I’ve run enough to know that sometimes certain songs seem to trigger it. In all cases, the songs are uplifting, positive, have a great beat, or include the word run or running in them. Seriously. A perfect example: Melissa Etheridge’s I Run For Life – a song I believe she wrote as a response to her own battle with breast cancer.

Anyway, I have several other go-to songs that get me pumped (feel free to mock me ad nauseam for any or all of these – but remember, they get me through a marathon – so they can’t be completely terrible). Not all of these are what I would necessarily call great in terms of their lyrics – but they do get the job done. They either have a great beat, in some cases a great message, or are just kick-ass awesome in their own way. Some of these include:

  • Lady Gaga (Monster, Boys Boys Boys, Born This Way, Alejandro, Edge Of Glory, and Highway Unicorn4, to name a few)
  • Jill Barber (Oh My My)
  • Fun. (Some Nights, We Are Young)
  • Florence And The Machine (Drumming, Dog Days Are Over, Shake It Out, What The Water Gave Me, and so many more)
  • Adele (Rolling In The Deep, Rumour Has It, Set Fire To The Rain)
  • David Bowie (Changes, Golden Years, Oh You Pretty Things)
  • Depeche Mode (Wrong)
  • Guns N’ Roses (Nightrain)
  • Kelly Clarkson (Stronger)
  • Madonna (Deeper And Deeper, Rescue Me, Push, Jump, etc.)
  • Michael Jackson (Man In The Mirror, Black Or White, Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough, etc.)
  • Michael Franti & Spearhead (Say Hey, Soundsystem)
  • The Offspring (Self-Esteem)
  • Peter Gabriel (Solsbury Hill)
  • Placebo (Pure Morning)
  • Prince (When Doves Cry)
  • Robyn (Dancing On My Own)
  • Sinead O’Connor (No Man’s Woman, Mandinka)
  • Stone Temple Pilots (Sex Type Thing)
  • The Tragically Hip (Three Pistols, New Orleans Is Sinking, etc.)
The palindrome-y nature of my bib number appeals to the math nerd inside me.

But now to the point of this post.


What songs do you listen to when you run or exercise?

What songs have you dancing around the kitchen when you think no one is watching?

What songs move you?

I ask because I’m looking for some new music. My play list, while awesome and getting the job done, is getting old. So I’m looking for some new additions.

The songs need to be upbeat, full of awesome, and make you feel like you could take on an army of angry raptors with nothing but your bare hands and a charming (but deadly) mouthful of pearly whites. Or perhaps they make you feel as if you could take over a small country, while at the same time winning the hearts and minds of its residents. Whatever the song does – so long as it moves you – I want to know about it.

Less than 18 hours until the gun goes off. W00t!

1 Can I ask why? I mean, I know this country is huge, but we are the only country in the G8 (according to the all-knowing and all-powerful Wiki) to not have a high-speed train service. Surely we could organize one between some of our cities.

2 My previous marathon took just over 4 hours 8 minutes to complete. Of course, I had to slow down after about kilometre 36 because my IT band decided to explode. Or at least that is how it felt.

3 And I question anyone’s judgement who chooses not to high-five these kids.

4 How can I not include a song about unicorns. Ha!


15 Comments Add yours

  1. Beth says:

    When I last asked for music suggestions for running, Rick suggested The Veronicas. Who, as it turns out, are amazing! I highly recommend their songs Untouched and Take Me On The Floor.

    Also on my running playlist are:
    -Closet Freak by Stef Lang
    -Combat Baby by Metric
    -Evacuate the Dance Floor by Cascada
    -Firework & Hot’n’Cold by Katy Perry
    -S&M and by Rihanna
    -Take it Off and Tik Tok by Ke$ha
    -If I Had You by Adam Lambert
    -Love You Like A Love Song by Selena Gomez
    -Tightrope by Janelle Monae (I think you recommended this one to me, but I don’t see it on your list)
    -Bulletproof by La Roux
    -everything ever made by Groove Coverage
    -Pollywog in a Bog (from the Bare Naked Ladies kids album – though it does make me want to jump when they say “Jump! Jump!”)
    -Barbra Streisand by Duck Sauce (though this might only be inspiring to me because we listened to it all. the. time. during the Longest Game)

    Good luck on the marathon!!!

    1. dangillis says:

      Thanks Dr. Beth. I have more in my list – this is just a list of those that jumped out at me based on the level of runner’s high I’ve had when running to them.

      Oh, and I love Barbra Streisand by Duck Sauce. It’s catchy, has a great beat, and is completely full of awesome-sauce.

  2. I’m not exactly the running type, but I use these songs in the lab to get jacked up and ready to do SCIENCE!

    In no particular order of awesomeness:

    Sum 41 – Fat Lip
    Breaking Benjamin – Blow Me Away, Diary of Jane
    Presidents of the United States of America – We Are Not Going to Make It (perhaps not a good marathon song come to think of it…)
    We The Kings – Check Yes Juliet
    Billy Talent – Try Honesty
    Foo Fighters – Learn to Fly
    Paramore – Misery Business
    Shakira – Loba (Spanish version of She Wolf)
    Treble Charger – American Pyscho
    30 Seconds to Mars – Kings and Queens
    The Trews – Not Ready to Go
    Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue
    Haddaway – What is Love (On repeat. Indefinitely.)
    Linkin Park – Burn It Down
    Our Lady Peace – Heavyweight
    Maroon 5 – Moves Like Jagger
    Matthew Good Band – Load Me Up
    Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks

    I hope these help, and good luck with the run!

    1. dangillis says:

      Sweet. Thanks for the list. I’ll check them out this eve after I fill up on pasta 🙂

  3. Cracklin’ Rosie by Neil Diamond. You can’t hear this song and not sing along! Well, I can’t.

    Also, high fiving kids is awesome with a capital AWE! Gook luck.

    1. dangillis says:


      I hadn’t thought of Neil Diamond. So many good songs to choose from there.

      Awesome with a capital AWE = LOVE IT!

  4. Carolyn says:

    You’re going to kick the marathon’s ass. With one under your belt & a great course? I see only happy fun awesomeness at the finish tomorrow. You’re bigger than the distance. It’s nothing but a number. Probably not the best way to psyche up a math geek…denigrating the holy concept of the number & whatnot, but you know what I mean. YOU GOT THIS!

    1. dangillis says:

      Thanks Carolyn.

      Will I see you before or after the race?

      1. Carolyn says:

        I think I’m good to run. You start an hour before me – I’m taking the 7:26 Yonge bus up to the start. I’m going to try & double back & see you at 35K-ish? Maybe closer to the end…It’ll depend on how organized the finish is & how fast I can grab my bag (and how fast you finish). I’ll check your splits as soon as I can retrieve my phone & shoot you a text if I miss you on course. I’m trying to figure out if I can work some sort of sign into a portable form…lol.

        1. dangillis says:

          Sweet. Good luck tomorrow. You’re going to crush it! Crush it I says.

          1. Carolyn says:

            Well, if napping = running excellence, I’ve got it sewn up. Just woke up. As for your Q…Baby Got Back? It’s not on my playlist, but ya know…it’s a song we can totally relate to. =D

  5. First off, thanks for linking to my blog post about when I learned to love running! 🙂 Some of my favorite songs are: We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel, Eye of the Tiger, and Birdhouse In Your Soul! Good luck on your marathon.

    1. dangillis says:

      No problem. Birdhouse in Your Soul – I love that song. We Didn’t Start the Fire is awesome (and it’s actually on my iPhone already – just not in my list – weird). Eye of the Tiger – how could I not have thought of that? Epic kick-ass song. Thanks

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