I’m an introvert that thrives in silence. If given a choice, I’ll choose a book by the lake over a rock concert any day. Until I started running. It was while running that I discovered the power of music – not so much the beat or the rhythm – but the power of words. Makes sense given I’m a writer (who welcomes any distraction to take away from the actual physical act of running).

Over the years, my playlists have vastly varied. I’ve danced to Disney tunes, teared up to country ballads, and got so engrossed in a podcast I didn’t realize I had literally quit moving. More than once, my husband has commented on how I could possibly pump myself up for a long run listening to love tunes.

If you are looking for heart thumping, adrenaline-packed picks, prepare to be disappointed. If you are looking for three must add playlist favorites that pack a gut and soul seeking moment, look no further.

Raising Hell by Kesha

Oh, if you couldn’t tell (oh well)
We can always find the trouble, we don’t need no help
Singing oh, mama raised me well (uh-huh)
But I don’t wanna go to Heaven without raising hell

The single most defining moment of my life is losing my mom to addiction and mental illness when I was 18. As heart breaking as it was, I’ve used that experience time and time again to dig deep and define life on my terms, even if it makes others uncomfortable. The first time I heard these lyrics, I could almost hear my mother telling me to give ‘em hell.

Hall of Fame by The Script

You can go the distance, you can run the mile
You can walk straight through hell with a smile
You can be a hero, you can get the gold
Breakin’ all the records they thought never could be broke (Yeah)

The number one reason I keep showing up to run is because I understand my why. My why isn’t to win races or finish in the top 10 percent. It is to finish and, if I’m lucky, to finish strong with all 10 toenails. I watched the summer Olympics in awe, amazed by the world’s fastest women coming together and run speeds I couldn’t even dream of accomplishing. At the same time, I wouldn’t trade my position at the back of the pack to be in their shoes. To me, this song is a constant reminder that there are many ways to win, based on what you define as the goal post.

You’re Welcome sung by Dwayne Johnson

Ok, ok, I see what’s happening here
You’re face to face with greatness, and it’s strange
You don’t even know how you feel
It’s adorable
Well, it’s nice to see that humans never change

A playlist isn’t complete with a bit of The Rock. I mean seriously, have you followed his Instagram account? I’m also the mom of an 8-year-old who had a short stint of loving Moana to death. That moment has long since passed, but these lyrics remain a constant on my runs. Why? Two reasons.

First, the catchiness of the tune is impossible to get out of my head.

I mean seriously…

More importantly, it simply triggers joy. I am reminded almost daily that my little boy is morphing into an independent person. As exciting and scary and fun as that is, I never want to forget the time where mom was queen—and I still hold that hallowed position in our house.

In other words, you may find me running down the streets of rural Wisconsin channeling my inner Rock enjoying a moment of greatness.

After all, in these trying times, we all need to feel like a hero occasionally, right?

What are your favorite tunes to run to and why?