Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A hymn called 'Faith and Misery'.


Several months of concentration and preparation culminated a week ago Monday with a rather stressful video recording session and as a result, all the tension I had been holding back hit me rather hard in my lower back. Like, really low, I don't usually have back pain that low. It has been a painful week.

Heat, cold, tiger balm massage, and lots of ibuprofen. Still hurts, even today. Snows are coming. Got to run.

Temperature: 45°
Distance: 3.25 miles

Dialogue while running:
BENAJMIN Shakespeare would have supported this war! Band of brothers, the Feast of Crispian an all that!
CLEMENT Crispin Crispian? The Battle of Agincourt?
BENJAMIN Yeh?
CLEMENT Agincourt was a war of convenience! We attacked them!
Holiday Run
Fairytale of NewYork - The Pogues Ft. Kirsty MacColl
The Little Drummer Boy - King of Clubs
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) - John Lennon & Yoko Ono
The Closing of the Year - Wendy & Lisa
Come On Home * - Everything But the Girl
O Come All Ye Faithful - Pomplamoose
Holiday - Green Day
My Favorite Things * - John Coletrane

And so it's 5:30 ... and what have you done?

Sunday, December 07, 2014

I'm in a mood for you, for running away.

Not me.
And bad mistakes ‒ I've made a few. There was a number of colleagues at school who announced they were planning a winter break journey to the Bahamas. This was in 1988, and of those who signed up to this unofficial field trip, there were one or two close enough to call friends. Also, traveling used to give me great anxiety. So I passed.

The fact that I would make close friends on the trip hadn't occurred to me. I spent that winter break at home in Bay Village, cold, alone, contemplating my own demise and just generally regretting every decision had ever made to that point.

However, part of me was in the Bahamas that miserable holiday break ... a mix-tape I had made for myself, which I gave as a present to those who were going. Legend has it they were very happy with my mix-tape, playing these same nineteen songs over and over again. Something else the kids today will never understand. 

Everything third song or so was followed by a brief sound bite from a movie or television program, lines like For God's Sake, Mrs. Robinson! - and - It's all right lads, I always poo before I get up. - and the ominous - (Wife) There's a young man here, he says he wants to use the telephone. (Writer) Well, I suppose you'd better let him in.

But the music was at the fore, of course. I found the original cassette I had made for myself and made this angst-ridden playlist for you.

Kael's Monster Mix (side one)
A Japanese Dream - The Cure
Close (To The Edit) - The Art of Noise
Thinkin' About Your Body - Bobby McFerrin
Sunday Papers - Joe Jackson
Balloon Man * - Robyn Hitchcock
How Soon Is Now - The Smiths
Perfect Kiss - New Order
The Ghost In You - The Psychedelic Furs
Nothing Looks The Same In The Light - Wham!

Temperature: 32°
Distance: 5.15 miles

Christ, was gloriously perfect morning. Crisp, clear and bright. Should have joined the Reindeer Run.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Light will keep your heart beating in the future.


The end of a four-day holiday weekend in Cleveland. The wife made a heritage bird for Thanksgiving, we saw the premiere of Clara & The Nutcracker at Talespinner Children's Theatre and took my brother and his family for a walk around the shiny, new downtown Cleveland.

Thursday evening, the most unusual thing, my arms hurt. I am not used to having such extreme soreness following something as brief as a five-mile race, and never so intensely in my arms. My only guess is that with the slushy, slippery pavement, I was holding a lot of tension in my arms in an attempt to keep my balance.

On Friday I am very happy to say my entire family pitched in and did a lot of cleaning up of the house, especially the downstairs. Today is the last day of November, and I have kids who really, really want to bring the Christmas decorations out of the attic, so I think I know what's going on today.

However, right now it is fifty-five degrees out. And we're not getting any better than that.

Temperature: 55°
Distance:3.25 miles

Also, my abdomen. Lots of upper body work in that race. Maybe this is the beginning of something good.

Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating In The Future Playlist
Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating In The Future * - Mike Doughty
Super Bon Bon - Soul Coughing
Soundtrack To Mary - Soul Coughing
Pompeii - Bastille
See a Little Light - Bob Mould
Don't Let's Start - They Might Be Giants
Vegetable - Mike Doughty
The New Pollution - Beck
Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People

Funky Gen-X Stylee. Haven't run eight times in November since 2009. Things feel good.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

2014 Cleveland Turkey Trot


These nights have been challenging. Fighting a cold, the kind of cold that hangs on, settles into my lungs and sinuses and just moves in for the duration. I have been a awake for long stretches the past several nights, either lying in bed or getting up to read. Our schedule has offered sane bedtimes, but it is difficult to say I have been getting enough rest.

We were to have spent the evening with my brother and his family from St. Paul, flying in to stay at my folks' place in Lakewood. But you know how air traffic was yesterday, the weather in the east clogging everything up. They got in a little late for an early dinner, and events conspired with me at work yesterday that made me feel much more comfortable at home with my immediate family, watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

Today, the storm has moved across the Midwest, and we have snow on the ground for the annual Turkey Trot. Okay then. No pseudoephedrine for me this morning, I would not want to dry out more than necessary. Also, too: passing out.

2014 Cleveland Turkey Trot
Distance: 5 miles
Start: 9:30 am
Temperature: 33°
Official Time: 41:20.99

That was a new experience. I met Chris and his nephew at the parking garage at Chester and 13th and then walked to the meeting place by the Free Stamp. Deciding what to wear was a challenge, and I had serious questions as we got closer to the lake and the winter winds.

Gear: zero drop shoes, socks, long pants, thermal shirt, hat, long-sleeved race tee

Nothing around my neck. Good thing, bad thing? Should I have worn my hoodie? As it turned out, I would not have changed a thing.

We met Jessica at the stamp, Patrick was still getting his bib in Public Hall. That was it for the Great Lakes contingent, but I was grateful for the motivation. I would never have signed up for this without it, and I am very glad I did. Besides, Jessica assured me the weather was twice as bad last year.

Running in snow and slush are not conditions for anyone's personal best, except perhaps for your personal best at the Turkey Trot. I was as cautious as anyone else heading down East Third towards the Stadium when the slush turned to snow on the pavement, and suddenly I remembered -- I train in this shit. I run in snow all the time.

However, no matter how fast I ran, no matter how hard I tried, I could not shake Chris Fornadel. I thought I lost him heading up East Ninth away from the Rock Hall, continuing east on Hamilton all the way to 36th Street on my own, but he reappeared as we headed back downtown along St. Clair.

I don't know who was pacing who.

Just kidding. By the time we crossed East Ninth I was keeping up with him. So that worked out pretty well.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Out and in.

All last week, half the family was ill. Just a cold, poorly timed with the fiercely inclement weather. I was fine every single day, until Friday night. That is just the way with me sometimes, I hang on until I am not needed, and then collapse. Yesterday was a complete waste of my time, either spent in bed or haunting the house, doing odd jobs because I could stand being in bed any more.

There's a 5-mile race on Thursday, Chris picked up my bib and shirt already, and a number of us from work are going to meet up before the run to take a picture or something. What has to happen between now and then is a lot, including editing kids' stories into scripts for radio, hosting one matinee of A Christmas Carol for Cleveland city school students on Tuesday and another, sensory friendly performance on Wednesday. It's a three-day work week with a month of work in it.

I'm sick. I should rest. But it's over 55 degrees and I have a race in four days.

Temperature: 57°
Distance: 2 miles

Red Right Hand Playlist
Red Right Hand - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Jockey Full of Bourbon * - Tom Waits
This Corrosion * - Sister of Mercy

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It's the memory of our betters that are keeping us on our feet.


Sound of Silver - LCD Soundsystem (2007)

Get Innocuous! 
Time to Get Away 
North American Scum 
Someone Great 
All My Friends 
Us v Them

James Murphy writes the soundtrack of my aging hipster bones.

Last week I finally used a birthday gift card to purchase three pair of new pants. All of them with a 33 inch waist.

Silly me, I don't have a 33 waist. I have a 34 inch waist. I can wear them, but they are snug. I did not do this on purpose. And yet, I have two choices. Return them and accept my fate, or work it.

Temperature: 36°
Distance: 4 miles
Pavement: Some clear, much crusty.
Gear: Shorts, short-sleeved-tee, windbreaker, knit gloves, fleece hat.

Obstacle course out there, but perfect weather. No wind, just a lot of hard work on the knees navigating sidewalks that were left unshoveled, sometimes dodging into the street. Kept to the large block route, taking some side roads to save my knees. My knees hurt. But in that good way, you know?

During the snows on Friday evening I used the Wii for the first time in almost a year. It's good for a warm-up, but not so great for aerobic work. Muscles have been stretched, but not really used. And running place really sucks.

Good news, though - I have run more times this November than any November since 2010. And it isn't even Thanksgiving!

Heights Citizen: I am sick of these kids walking the street like they own the place.
- Later -
Heights Citizen: Shovel the sidewalk? Fuck you, I rent.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Strange, the ones who want to win the race are usually the ones who fall behind.

Happy birthday, sir.
Received an email a few days ago from a work colleague, who is organizing a(n unofficial) company team for the Turkey Trot! Never run the Trot before, don't usually have the chance. Most often we are in Athens for Thanksgiving, last year we were in St. Paul. Who KNOWS when I will have this opportunity again!

That and I have been getting into a funk over not participating in any races, not since Girls On The Run last spring. A brisk, "turkey day" five-mile run around downtown sounds like a good time.

My buddy at work, the one who I am going to try and push into the CLE Half, has never run in any organized race. We shall take care of that.

Temperature: 68°
Distance: 3.25 miles
Climate: very light rain

One more in before the OMEGA BLOCK. Or whatever. Put that on a sweatshirt.

XTC Playlist
Happy Families
Statue of Liberty
Yacht Dance
Life Begins at the Hop
Funk Pop a Roll
Cockpit Dance Mix
This Is Pop