It started with deciding to say yes to a challenge that felt impossibly out of reach, which led me to a beautiful city I’d never seen before and a finish line I never thought it would be possible for me to cross. A week later, I thought, I’ve come this far and learned so much about myself in the process—what if I kept going?

We leave on Friday for Eugene. The marathon is on Sunday. The marathon that I’m running in.

I pushed myself out the door a thousand times when I’d have given anything to stay home. I ran through wind and rain and dark night skies. I ran short, I ran medium, I eventually ran 21 seemingly endless miles, all in the name of preparing my body to endure 26.2. I spent money on tights and fuel belts and energy gels and music and hats and shoes. I got sidelined by painful injuries in my knee and hip and foot. I sometimes ran lonely; I always ran alone.

It’s been the hardest thing I have ever done, this training. A lot of it has been, in a word, miserable. I don’t know if I will ever want to do this sort of thing again.

But here I am, about to run a goddamned marathon. It’s not over yet, but I’ve put in the work to get this far and it is a nearly indescribable feeling. I read a quote once: “Out on the roads there is fitness and self-discovery and the persons we were destined to be.” I believe this is true. I believe these last several months of running have forever changed me. Or maybe just revealed what was there all along.

I’ll be thinking of you on Sunday, my friends, you who have helped me out so much with encouraging words and support from afar. Thank you for being such a positive presence in my life. Thank you for the kindnesses you’ve shown me and the advice you’ve shared. It makes a difference.

Now, assuming I don’t black out and die in a pool of my own vomit before I have a chance to make it past the audiobook section of my iPod and into the music, I need what can only be described as the World’s Most Epic Running Playlist, and here’s where you come in: what’s the one song that never fails to revive your flagging spirits, that you’d want piped into your head-holes to help stave off total physical collapse? The request line is OPEN.

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Marcie
Marcie
12 years ago

Thunderstruck by AC/DC
How far do you wanna go – Gloriana

the two songs couldn’t be more different, but I like them.

Kristen
12 years ago

“Swim” by Jack’s Mannequin. It’s not fast (it’s actually really slow) but it’s about just keeping it going no matter what.

Lucy
Lucy
12 years ago

I’m dating myself. “Love Island” by Fatboy Slim makes me kick it into high gear when jogging; I’m also inclined to throw in a dance move or two. I’m a sight for sore eyes when jogging, I tell ya.

Best of luck!!

kristylynne
kristylynne
12 years ago

My all-time fav song, ever:

She Sells Sanctuary (The Cult)

Marci
Marci
12 years ago

some great tracks! I second Underworld, (Born Slippy), but Push Upstairs is also good. Dare by Gorillaz.

Kick ass!!

wordygirl
12 years ago

My favourite workout track is “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. Great beat and perfect lyrics.

Knock ’em dead, Linda! I’m so proud of you and so grateful that you share these experiences with us. I’ll be thinking of you on Sunday!

robyn
12 years ago

I get bored quickly listening to the same running playlists over and over, but these are the songs I always come back to – they rarely fail to give me a little extra shot of adrenaline:

Never Gonna Come Back Down – BT. The version I have is from the soundtrack of the truly awful movie, ‘Bounce’ but there are some other more techno versions on iTunes – just make sure Mike Doughty is the vocalist. It’s just a wonderful, fascinatingly spastic song.

Beat Box – Matisyahu. I’m compelled to run faster to keep up with his voice.

My Delirium – Ladyhawke. I once ran an entire 5 mile race listening only to this song.

Tidal – Imogen Heap. It’s beautiful and ethereal while maintaining a good beat. The line, “do what you want, just how you like … nobody has to know” makes me want to take off. Listen all the way through – it transitions and gets more intense toward the end.

If you find that you run strongest at a certain cadence, there’s a great site that provides complete playlists of songs organized by genre and beats per minute: http://www.runningmusicmix.com/

I will be thinking of you on Sunday, Linda – when you’re hurting and feeling rough, remember how many of us are here cheering you on!

MRW
MRW
12 years ago

I have no music suggestions because I’m 40 and too embarrassed to share with at least 300 people what music I enjoy while running, but wanted to say good luck and good work sticking with the whole thing and seeing it through!

Heather
Heather
12 years ago

Linda – be strong and go!

Becoming Insane – Infected Mushroom

Suki
Suki
12 years ago

Jay Z- On to the next one
Stevie Wonder- Higher Ground and Supersticious
Janes Addiction or Porno for Pyros- pretty much anything
Gorillaz- pretty much anything
Britney- Womanizer
Deee-Lite- Groove is in the heart
Doobie Brothers- It keeps you running
Jamiroquai- Canned Heat, Feels just like it should, Virtual insanity
Queen- Another one bites the dust
Rick James- Super Freak

Trenches of Mommyhood
12 years ago

Can’t wait to hear about your experience! My LIFE GOAL is to run a marathon – I’m in awe of you.

Footloose by Kenny Loggins. Keeps me going, I swear. It totally has a perfect running beat!

marilyn
12 years ago

I don’t know if you’ve heard any Jens Lekman, but his song The Opposite of Hallelujah makes me grin and think running is kinda fun even when I was about to choke on my lungs a moment before.

I also love It’s All Gonna Break, by Broken Social Scene, despite the fact that the first thirty seconds are a little slower than I’d like.

I hope you have no disasters and it’s as life-affirming and awesome and hugely relieving when you’re done as you dream!

Amy
Amy
12 years ago

I will never have to endure a marathon, but these are a few of my current favorites when I do 5K. Best of wishes with the run!

Run this Town (Jay-Z)
TiK ToK (Ke$ha)
Goodbye (Kristina DeBarge)
Poker Face (Lady GaGa)
Say Hey (Michael Franti & Spearhead)
Pocketful of Sunshine (Natasha Beddingfield)
Better Day (Saving Jane)
Hey, Soul Sister (Train)
Kiss the Rain (Thriving Ivory)

Jennifer
Jennifer
12 years ago

Here’s a few from the playlist I used for my recent half:

One Week – Barenaked Ladies
Real Gone – Sheryl Crow
Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying – Fall Out Boy
Just a Girl – No Doubt
Lose Yourself – Eminem
The Distance – Cake
Won’t Back Down – Fuel
Mr. Brightside – The Killers
Here it Goes Again – OK Go
Dance, Dance – Fall Out Boy
Evenflow – Pearl Jam
Pump It – Black Eyed Peas
Hash Pipe – Weezer

Ashley
Ashley
12 years ago

Totally cheesy: Eye of The Tiger, preferably played by a college marching band. Anything played by a college marching band.

Stacy
12 years ago

Michelle Branch “Breathe”

ZestyJenny
12 years ago

Oldie but a goodie, but has anyone suggested Bombs over Baghdad by Outkast? That one always does it for me.

Jess
Jess
12 years ago

Good Luck Linda….I CAN NOT wait for your after-marathon post. Running one has always been my goal and you have TOTALLY inspired me as I read your posts (and re-read them) I read quite a few of the music suggestions, but feel oddly “out of the loop” since I hadn’t even heard of about 3/4 of the group. SOOOOOO, my list may be a little antiquated….but here it goes;
POD-Alive
Switchfoot – Meant to Live
Incubus – Pardon Me
Limp Bizkit – Rollin
U2 – Beautiful Day
As a post race bonus, I hope you share your race day playlist with us, I love finding new groups.music…
Good luck and Godspeed!

Diane
Diane
12 years ago

Eminem Lose Yourself is my go to song.

You are awesome and you are going to kick some marathon ass. Can’t wait to hear all about it.

Erika Peterson
12 years ago

Good luck at the marathon! I made the crazy leap of signing up for the Seattle Rock n’ Roll Marathon in June: http://petesspeaks.blogspot.com/2009/12/131-131-262.html

I find that “Stronger” by Kanye helps me up hills. I HATE hills. And now I don’t like the song because of it, but it still helps.

Melissa
Melissa
12 years ago

So this is a seriously cheesy choice but it always makes me smile Nelson – Love & Affection. I have loved it since high school and still keep it on my Ipod, much to my hubby’s chagrin. Good luck, you’ll do great!

elz
elz
12 years ago

Great Luck. I”m searching the comments to load up for my half this July.

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

At the risk of outing myself as a total loser, I will suggest “Stronger” by Britney Spears. Yep, that’s right. Britney Spears. Seriously though, best running song.

Also, have so much fun running. Crossing the finish line in a marathon is something you’ll never forget. You may cry. It’s okay. I did my first time, and I still can’t quite explain why. It’s just a big life moment.

Valria
12 years ago

I always have Fergalicious off Fergies Dutchess “album”

It has a good beat, and can easily get my feet back in rhythm but is entertaining enough to take my mind off the running for oh
4min 52 seconds.

I will be watching for the updates this weekend! Rock On!

Kristin
Kristin
12 years ago

Okay, gang – I have an obervation/question….WHY does everyone seem to apologize for the music they suggest?? Its really made me giggle – especially given that we are all “apologizing” over songs that are apparently fairly popular!

Its music – its meant to entertain, basically – why do we feel like it has to live up to some imaginary “standard”?

Interesting…… :)

M.A.
M.A.
12 years ago

George Michael, Too Funky (good for a warm up or a slow down for you, probably — I run really really SLOW)

Diana Ross, Ain’t no Mountain High (aging myself here)

A fun song a blogger sent me — called “You Promised me” by In-Grid (original version in french, “Tu Es Foutou”)

Eminem, Shake That (crude but the beat is consistent)

Don’t know if you’re a Michael Jackson fan, but I used to run (ha! jog — no, trot) to the entire Dangerous CD — the song Dangerous was awesome. (And long!)

Use your gut — if you don’t say “Oh, I love that song!” when you hear it, dump it. (My best homemade CD is called just that — “oh, I love that song” and I made it one night thinking “god, I hope no one ever finds this… because, seriously, Petula Clark followed by Eminem?! WTF!” but I made it entirely for ME and I do, in fact say, every. single. time: OH I LOVE THAT SONG!”

You should publish your list!

GOOD SKILL, DARLIN’!! You can do it. Look how far you’ve come already?!

Piece. o. cake.

shriek house
12 years ago

Ray of Light, Madonna.

Jill
Jill
12 years ago

I second the angry = energized sentiment! Prodigy- Smack my Bitch Up, House of Pain- Jump Around and almost anything Tupac get me hyped.

Good luck!

Stacy
Stacy
12 years ago

I’m not sure there are any songs left to suggest but as a long time follower I wanted to wish you all the best. And to tell you how proud I am of you for taking that extra step each day to get to where you are now! GOOD LUCK and Have fun!

perl
perl
12 years ago

I think the song suggestions have been pretty well covered but wanted to let you know this: if you feel the need to be swooned over and adored by your extensive Corvallis fan base (either pre or post marathon) please swing by and we’ll organize a parade or a keg party or something.

Brooke
12 years ago

Jimmy Eat World “The Middle.” Gets me through work outs and the car ride home after a bad day at work.

Good luck!

Lauren
Lauren
12 years ago

People have already recommended most of my favorites, but I just want to reiterate:

“‘Til I Collapse” by Eminem

If it doesn’t make you want to keep running through those last miles, nothing will. That being said, I know you’re going to kick ass! Sure it’s tough, but wait until you see that finish line. Truly an awesome experience!

Gemma
12 years ago

5.7.0.5. by city boy and funkytown by lipps inc. nice and jolly for those last few miles! :)

ELC
ELC
12 years ago

So late all my offerings will be repeats, except: Ode to Joy – Beethoven, especially the last 3 minutes or so of the one with the German Chorus.

hillary
12 years ago

One Pure Thought by Hot Chip and Knights of Cydonia by Muse (also Uprising, Hysteria, Far Away, New Born, and Politik by Muse. Muse is good.)

Jessica
Jessica
12 years ago

“Higher Ground” by Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Come Baby Come” by K7

Kick some ass! :)

twojams (Shannon)
twojams (Shannon)
12 years ago

“Here I Come” by The Roots

Rock the 26.2. Rooting for you!

kristiina
12 years ago

U2–In God’s Country….it’s inspirational, pumps you up, fast, etc…awesome!!

Can’t wait to hear how it goes :) Good Luck!

-k

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

OK, don’t laugh – “Tell Me” by P. Diddy and Christina Aguilera. Tell me you wouldn’t get pumped when you hear: “Do that shit, do that shit, DO IT.” Besides, the beat is awesome.

So excited for you. A marathon is BIG TIME.

Jenny (Bring A. Torch)
12 years ago

“Late in the Evening,” Paul Simon
“What How When Where (Why Who),” Ani d.
“The Great Defector,” Bell X-1
Just for fun, “Satan Is My Motor,” Cake
“Respect Yourself,” Sister Sledge

Good luck!

mrspooley
mrspooley
12 years ago

It may be hideous and cheesy but I can’t help bopping to Spice Up Your Life.

Erin
12 years ago

This is Why I’m Hot by Mims

WTF? by OK Go

Lolli Lolli by 3 Six Mafia

Break Your Heart by Taio Cruz

Dominos by Big Pink

Animal by Neon Trees

Something is Not Right With Me by Cold War Kids (for when you think you are crazy to be running a MARATHON!!!) :)

MotherGooseAmy
MotherGooseAmy
12 years ago

“Roll with the Changes” REO Speedwagon

Best Wishes. I’ll be thinking of you on Sunday and checking Twitter to see how you did!

Mama Ritchie
12 years ago

Jesus Christ. You’d have to run at least 3 marathons just to listen to all these music suggestions!

p.s. good luck out there ;)

Jenn Perryman
Jenn Perryman
12 years ago

Best of luck to you on Sunday! Your journey has been inspiring and I’m sure we all wish we could be there in person to cheer you on. No song suggestions, i’m not sure there are any left! Go, Linda- Go!

Jem
Jem
12 years ago

Despite the fact it’s not an uptempo song, I really wanted to write down the Velvet Underground – Sunday Morning. Then I considered your website name and the day you’re running and yup, it’s my choice. Congratulations already on training so hard. <3

Chelle
12 years ago

Okay…I didn’t have time to read through all of the replies. I wish you all the luck in the world! I am not a runner, but my dad is and it so happens that he lives in Eugene. As a matter of fact, I graduated from North Eugene High School. Sad…

My song suggestions are so stuck in the 80’s, but I love them so. They make me wanna dance. Here goes:
“Footloose” – Kenny Loggins
“Let’s Hear It for the Boy” – Deniece Williams
“Yes” – Merry Clayton
“(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
“Maniac” – Michael Sembello

Good luck!

Shannon O'Keefe
Shannon O'Keefe
12 years ago

“Right Now” by Van Halen
Good luck!

Danielle
Danielle
12 years ago

I am in awe!

Here is my suggestion:
“Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros – goosebumps! it’s about how resilient we were as kids – something we adults need to be reminded of. Kick some ass, Linda!

Penelopeinparis
12 years ago

“Fruta Fresca” by Carlos Vives. It is the awesome. It’s about shouting out your love to world. It is incredibly joyous. Congratulations on being kick ass!