Sunday, February 07, 2016

Only the strong survive.

Last night was the annual Great Lakes Gala, held at the Hanna Theatre. After a number of my colleagues went to Parnell's, I had to leave at 1:00 AM but I imagine my coworkers closed the place. I hadn't even had much to drink, but I got very little sleep last night.

Woke at 7:30 AM on purpose to avoid a headache. In that endeavor I was successful. But I have spent the day a bit delirious.

It is fifty degrees in February, and it is a Sunday. I have to run.

Distance: 3.26 miles
Avg Pace: 7:47
Duration: 25:22
Route: Forest Hill Loop

Temperature: 50°
Climate: overcast and cool
Weight: 162.5 lbs. (+1.0)
Mood: tremulous

Yesterday The Current dedicated their Saturday morning Teenage Kicks program to the enduring legacy of "Kraut Rock." I'd never heard Can. But I'd heard of them.
I was there in 1968. I was there at the first Can show in Cologne. But I'm losing my edge. - LCD Soundsystem
There's, like, twenty bands I love that wouldn't exist without the song Mother Sky.

1969 Playlist
Mother Sky - Can
Go To The Mirror - The Who
Only The Strong Survive - Jerry Butler
Come Together - The Beatles
My Pledge of Love - The Joe Jeffrey Group
It's All Too Much - The Beatles

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Too fast for me.

Yesterday I stopped by the corner of West 3rd and Lakeside Ave., just to snap a photo of the Jesse Owens statue. Thousands no doubt walk past it before and after every Browns game, but otherwise it's not a corner anywhere near where I might find myself walking on a given day.

Knowing its location, I made a point of noticing it as we ran past during last year's Turkey Trot. The fact is, the patina on this seven-foot bronze statue appears deep gray and it is shaded by trees. It doesn't catch the eye of anyone driving past.

Located across street from the Justice Center, this piece was created by Cleveland Arts Prize recipient William M. McVey (1904-1995) in 1982.

It is perhaps surprising that this legendary Cleveland native, who achieved four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, has never been depicted in a big-budget Hollywood biopic. This may be for the best, for any film created in the last century would probably gloss over some of the more troubling aspects of the Jesse Owens story and just focus on his success and (supposed) humiliation of Hitler at the "Nazi" games.

Jeremy Schaap's book Triumph: The Untold Story of Jesse Owens and Hitler's Olympics lays out the conundrum which athletes like Owens faced when confronted with a popular sentiment that the US should not participate in the Berlin games. The question was, should we not boycott games held in a nation which has codified Antisemitism and bigotry?

The counter argument was how can the US pass judgement on Germany when she, too, is a nation of entrenched and legal racism, i.e. Jim Crow?

Then there is the argument that it was Owens' responsibility, as a man of color, to best the Nazis on their own turf. Finally, and no one could have known this at the time, the next two Olympics were fated not to happen due to World War II. If Jesse Owens had decided not to run in 1936, he would have been far past his prime in 1948. Today no one would remember who he is.

Jesse Owens is finally receiving the attention he deserves, in RACE, a film opening on February 19 and from the trailer it would appear that many of the issues posed in Schaap's compose the main narrative of this film.

My assumption is that the film will conclude with the athlete's moment of triumph in 1936 and not delve into his later years, through which he was unable to or in fact prevented from successfully capitalizing upon his victories, disappointments he attempted himself to articulate through somewhat clumsy memoirs like Blackthink and I Have Changed.

The Berlin Olympics were eighty years ago this summer, so too was the last time Cleveland hosted a national political convention - the Republican National Convention of 1936. This summer Republicans will once again convene in Cleveland, congregating mere blocks from the intersection of Lakeside and West 3rd. I hope our guests take a moment to visit the statue and to celebrate the triumph of this legendary Cleveland citizen.

After all, Jesse Owens was a Republican.

Stephan James is Jesse Owens in RACE

Distance: 3.38 miles
Avg Pace: 7:48
Duration: 26:18
Route: Boulevard Loop

Beautiful, sunshiny day. Brisk run around the neighborhood, past the boy's school. Definitely overdressed, I should have taken the sun into account, it may be below forty degrees but I was sweating.

Temperature: 39°
Climate: cool and sunny
Pavement: dry

Weight: 161.5 lbs. (-1.0)
Mood: anxious & grateful

1974 Playlist
Autobahn - Kraftwerk
Save the People from "Godspell"
Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo - Rick Derringer
You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
Boogie On Reggae Woman - Stevie Wonder
Chameleon - Maynard Ferguson

New York Times
Cleveland Arts Prize
FOCUS Features
Cleveland Centennial

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

I took a different path.

James A. Garfield Monument
Q: Where is President James A. Garfield buried?

If you answered Lakeview Cemetery, you would be wrong.

When I want a scenic if somewhat challenging five-to-six mile run, then I head for Lakeview. It does take two miles to get there and two miles back, but the mile or more I spend within its ancient stone walls are more than worth the effort.

Founded almost one hundred and fifty years ago, this most awesome Cleveland attraction is the final resting place of such legendary Cleveland personages as artist Victor Schreckengost, Mayor Carl Stokes, inventor Garrett Morgan and yes, President Garfield.

Only Garfield isn't technically buried. He and his wife Lucretia lie in state in the crypt of the Garfield Monument. The Monument, open April through November, the highest point the cemetery and the observation plaza provides a wonderful view.

Personally, when running though I often take a moment to visit the stones for former Safety Director Eliot Ness and comic book author and jazz critic Harvey Pekar, who was and is a quintessential Heights persona. These two grave sites are actually about ten paces from each other, across the road from Wade Pond.

Here is the thing though, if you enter the park from Mayfield in Cleveland Heights with plans to exit onto Euclid Avenue in East Cleveland, that's fine. It's downhill all the way. For this five miler, however, I take a lap around the monument, downhill and back up again. The "up" part can be pretty steep.

If I chose to run eight miles, I would head out the Euclid Avenue gate and turn left into the Uptown neighborhood, swing around MOCA and head up through Little Italy and back home.

Distance: 5.42 miles
Avg Pace: 7:47
Duration: 42:15
Route: Lakeview Cemetery

The wind and spitting rain just trying to cross Euclid Avenue after rehearsal last night was insane! Today the rain has subsided and it's like a windy spring day, but apparently winter is blowing in. I'm glad I got to take this morning run. Feeling strong, feeling good, feeling grateful.

Temperature: 55°
Climate: overcast and a bit blustery
Pavement: wet
Weight: 162.5 lbs. (+0.5)
Mood: positive

2004 Playlist
Whatshername - Green Day
Breathe Me - Sia
Laura - Scissor Sisters
Mike Mills * - AIR
Suddenly I See - KT Tunstall
As The Rush Comes - Motorcycle
Ohh La La  - The Ditty Bops
Fit But You Know It * - The Streets
Golden Touch - Razorlight
Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand
Short Skirts - Felix da Housecat

Lakeview Cemetery

Monday, February 01, 2016

Running away will never set you free.

Choosing to make a four mile run, I will often head around Lee Road to Cain Park. This is one of the things I love about living in Cleveland Heights, the fact that we have a public park which includes an amphitheater for live musical performances, and locally produced live theater.

Like most great endeavors, the park was conceived of by an educator, Heights High drama coach Dr. Dina Rees Evans. She started a theater company to present works in this park in the early 1930s, their inaugural effort was A Midsummer Night's Dream. 

Education, Shakespeare, Cleveland Heights. That's my life, too.

Last winter the boy was sidelined by an injury and all year (yes, even in deepest summer) how he missed out on sledding last year, at all. He's had the chance to do that twice so far this winter at the sledding hill in Cain Park, which is his favorite and always packed with sledders on snow days and even past sundown.

We shall see if he gets to do any more sledding this year. (sad trombone)

Distance: 4.05 miles
Avg Pace: 7:36
Duration: 30:52
Route: Cain Park Loop

One of the best things about Cain Park - from spring to fall - is the chance for a water break. They put away the water fountains during the winter for obvious reasons. The other great thing is that sledding hill. It makes for a steep incline to get out of the park and onto Taylor Road. Not everyone digs this, but training on it made it possible for me to crush Mile 21 in the Twin Cities last fall.

Temperature: 39°
Climate: cool and bright

Bit distressed a few weeks back to learn I had developed a new cavity. Had that filled today, feel a bit light headed, still can't feel my face. But I want OXYGEN.

Weight: 162 lbs. (-1.5)
Mood: good! woobly!

1984 Playlist
Blue Jean - David Bowie
Doctor! Doctor! - The Thompson Twins
Drive (167 bpm) - The Cars
Let's Go Crazy - Prince & The Revolution
I'm Free (Heaven Helps The Man) (160 bpm) - Kenny Loggins
Dropping Bombs On The White House - The Style Council
Born To Run (160 bpm) - Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Train Running Low on Soul Coal - XTC

That was a totally awesome playlist. No kidding, I was flying. However, I was also afraid I would swallow my tongue. I still cannot feel my tongue.

City of Cleveland Heights
Cain Park website

Sunday, January 31, 2016

You gotta be stronger.

Downtown from Forest Hill Park
Seventeen runs in the month of January. Not a record, but close to it. Last time I was training for a marathon. This year I am just trying to stay one step ahead ... of everything, really. Also, the weather has not been a hindrance.

Distance: 3.58 miles
Avg Pace: 7:58
Duration: 29:08
Route: Forest Hill Loop

It's a mile there and a mile back, but worth it to run a mile or so through Forest Hills Park. From Forest Hills Blvd. and Lee I run around Duck Pond (many geese, two ducks) and past a playground into the woods where I cross over the high stone bridge which connects East Cleveland to Cleveland Heights.

I take a right to Sled Hill which provides a hazy view of the city (see photo) before loping around past the Great Meadow and out of the park.

It's a gently sloping run, with a few inclines but they are short.

DID YOU KNOW ..? Forest Hill Park was once part of the estate of John D. Rockefeller, who deeded the land to both cities in 1936, eighty years ago. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Also: the park is Forest Hill, the boulevard that runs through it is Forest Hills. Just learned that. It is confusing.

Temperature: 54°
Climate: partly sunny
Pavement: dry

Yes, I am concerned about global climate change. But it is very difficult to feel anxious about the future on a sunny day in the mid-fifties. Running in shorts is so liberating when you have had several runs in long pants.

Man, my all-weather running pants are, like, twelve years old. I guess when you wear something twenty times a year, for a half-hour at a time, they last. They have, however, been washed more than most items of clothes I own.

Anyway. Today, shorts!

Weight: 163.5 lbs. (+1.0)
Mood: positive!

A word on the playlists; at the commencement of any calendar year I cycle through one playlist a run for every year I have been in the world, including conception. This year I am celebrating 50 Playlists for 50 Years: 1967 - 2016.

1994 Playlist
You Gotta Be - Des'ree
Ruiner - Nine Inch Nails
Cherry In Your Tree - XTC
December - Collective Soul
B-Boys Makin' With the Freak Freak - The Beastie Boys
Mr. Bitterness - Soul Coughing
Funk Dat - Sagat

Seguing from Ruiner to Cherry In Your Tree sprained my soul.

City of Cleveland Heights

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Come on, it's time to go.

It was a day much like today.
Only with snow.
This morning we rose early. It is the girl's thirteenth birthday, she was born the morning of January 30, 2003. She also has Science Olympiad at Solon High all day today so I made her a special birthday breakfast before she and the wife headed out.

I got up at 4:30 on a Saturday. And I have no head pain at all. So that's it. Sleeping in makes me hurt.

Distance: 3.58 miles
Route: Forest Hills Loop

Keep putting my shorts away for the season ... then taking them out again.

Beautiful, breezy and brisk.

Temperature: 52°
Climate: cool and overcast
Pavement: dry
Weight: 162.5 lbs. (-1.0)
Mood: good. anxious?

I’ll be tweeting at ‪#‎InTheCLE‬ for one week beginning this Sunday afternoon! So, I need to get out and do some stuff. Please feel free to suggest any arts and culture events you want me to consider checking out and commenting upon, and follow me @InTheCLE

2003 Playlist
Reality - David Bowie
Slow (Chemical Brothers Remix) - Kylie Minogue
It's My Life - No Doubt
An Area Big Enough To Do It In - Prophet Omega
Comfortably Numb (Original ATOC Extended Remix) - Scissor Sisters
You're So Damn Hot - OK Go
The Districy Sleeps Tonight - The Postal Service

Friday, January 29, 2016

I tried to run away.

The year I turned thirty, I was driving, chewing a candy bar, when I bit on something somewhat solid, like a nut. Making an unconscious investigation of my mouth, I was completely shocked and distressed to discover that my lower left first molar was partially absent.

I mean, half of it was just gone. The candy in my mouth was mostly gone, too, I had just swallowed it. What had happened? Had I swallowed part of my tooth, had it come to pieces? And what does this mean, would it start to hurt?

It did not hurt, I never hurt. The tooth was dead, and eventually I would have first a gold filling, then a proper, modern replacement, and then a third which I currently have.

But for the last few months before I turned thirty, I was suddenly caught in this existential awareness of the disintegration of my own physical self.

And then I turned thirty.

Distance: 3.35 miles
Avg Pace: 7:41
Duration: 25:40
Route: Four times around the block

During my fortieth year, my left knee blew up. I could not run, even walking became a pain. I wasn't sure if I would ever run again. A torn meniscus was the diagnosis, and surgery was scheduled. But first I passed my fortieth birthday again feel old, like I was at the end of something. That I was ageing.

And then I turned forty.

Since the surgery and subsequent recovery I have run two marathons and my knee does not presently trouble me at all.

I count myself lucky. I have done nothing particularly clever to avoid catastrophic injury and do not live in a manner designed to avoid the possibly unavoidable internal calamities. I eat less candy, very little soda pop, and brush and floss regularly, which is something I was previously very bad at.

And I exercise of course, and that is good.

Temperature: 25°
Climate: cool and overcast
Pavement: dusted with snow and a little icy

The doctor had recommended a colonoscopy. That was last March. I have put that off, an act which anyone might sympathize with. But I have one scheduled for this March. Also, I learned last week I have another cavity, which pissed me off but I will have that filled next week.

Running towards fifty, I expect to go through another crisis, and another bout of doubts and fears. What am I not doing that I am supposed to be doing of which I am entirely unaware?

Weight: 163.5 lbs. (+1.0)
Mood: good. what a week, huh?

2014 Playlist
Daffodils - Mark Ronson ft. Kevin Parker
Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating In The Future - Mike Doughty
Me and My Broken Heart - Rixton
Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
I'm Only Joking - KONGOS
She's Not Me - Jenny Lewis
Do You - Spoon