Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'm so glad that you're mine.

Say what you want about Downton Abbey ... they taught more people about the very real danger of preeclampsia in one hour than I have in ten years.

Temperature: 66°
Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight:174.5 lbs.

The second 3rd Bass album is not very good. And that's all I have to say about that.

1991 Playlist
No Other Way - Blur
Real Real Real (The Real Dance Hall Mix) - Jesus Jones
Who? Where? Why? (The Chaos Mix) - Jesus Jones
Pop Goes the Weasel - 3rd Bass
Tall Trees - Crowded House
Hurry Down Doomsday (The Bugs Are Taking Over) - Elvis Costello
Baby Baby - Amy Grant

Twelve runs in the month of January. Not bad. Not great, but not too bad, all things considered.

Happy 10th birthday, baby.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Push until you can't and then demand more.

Water is for drinking. Everywhere else it is awful. My socks were soaked from the get-go, and now my heels have cursory blisters. Sigh.

Temperature: 39°
Climate: uneven, slushy dreck
Distance: 4 miles
Weight: 176.5 lbs.

Lyrics by Mayer Hawthorne can be memorized and repeated by your children.

2011 Playlist
The Walk - Mayer Hawthorne
OK - Beastie Boys
Ritual Union - Little Dragon
Determinate - Lemonade Mouth
The Creep - The Lonley Island
Midnight City - M83
You Make Me Feel ... - Cobra Starship ft. Sabi
Na Na Nothing - Mike Doughty
Makelloser Man - Mike Doughty
Blackout - Breathe Carolina
Blue Tip - The Cars
Stereo Hearts - Dude from Maroon 5 and a loop by Johnny Marr "Gym Class Heroes" (whatever.)
Lights - Ellie Goulding
Rolling In The Deep - Adele

Sing it, sister.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Well. I'm far behind.

"Better to get that run in now, and dream of the next warm front ... which should arrive in maybe two weeks." - 1/13/2013

Supposed to be in the fifties on Tuesday. Two weeks.

But boy howdy, today was a workout. Deep, uneven snow (SYDS) I had to dip into the street a few times where the traffic was thin but damn that is dangerous. It may thaw tomorrow, but that snow won't have anywhere to go fast.

Temperature: 27°
Climate: shovel your damn sidewalks
Distance: 4 miles
Route: To Parkside Blvd. and back.

1987 Playlist
What's The Matter Here? - 10,000 Maniacs
Good Times (157 bpm) - INXS ft. Jimmy Barnes
Big Love - Fleetwood Mac
Devil Inside (151 bpm) - INXS
Zydeco Gris Gris (179 bpm) - Beausoleil
Like The Weather - 10,000 Maniacs
Fear Is Never Boring - The Bears
The Perfect Girl - The Cure
New Sensation - INXS
Bad - Michael Jackson
Big Time [Extended Version] - Peter Gabriel

Friday, January 25, 2013

Wii Fit Plus

Suddenly encountering a former therapist in an unexpected locale can trigger flashbacks and trigger a reemergence of trauma.

Not that I would know of any of this, I think I just read it somewhere.

So winter came to the North Coast, and at the same time the commencement of tour rehearsals. I am disappointed not to get out more, but temperatures have remained below 20 degrees since Inauguration Day, sometimes in the single digits.

The past two years or more I have strapped my shoes on regardless and charged into the snow. But this is different. What started as muscle or tendon strain in my right ankle or shin has affected my calf muscle and into my thigh. While I believe I could successfully run in the ice and snow, I do not believe I could walk, anywhere, at any other time of day,

Not that non-running time has any value to me whatsoever. But I do need to go to work, feed children, and so on.

Yesterday morning I got up and my wife asked, "Why are you limping?" Seriously. She just noticed.

However, and this kills me, yes, I already mentioned this -- it was my ex-wife who reminded me that we have a Wii Fit in our house. We got it for the girl's birthday last January, but seriously, it was a family gift, one which did not interest me at all. Because, you know. I don't need that shit. I run.

Yeah, I have been using that thing every single day for over a week. It is awesome. My wife warned me not to use it just for the running program, but I don't even like to running program. Running in place is seriously tedious and uncomfortable. It's not natural, it's not how running works.

But the stretching exercises, hey, even the yoga exercises ... I think what I enjoy most about it is that I can stretch without anyone watching. Just what the wife calls the Wiiminatrix. I like to call her the Uncanny Valley Girl.

So, I have not been in the street, but I continue to exercise. It is not really worth logging here, the details, I mean. But I thought you might want to know.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I'll catch up to you one of these times, baby.

You're nocturnal, only come out at night.
- Duran Duran,  Nite Runner

Yes. That's what that means.

Tried using Wii Fit for my post-run cooldown yesterday. Not stretching after a run may be the key to all my life problems. Doing one rep of 30 knee bends after each run last winter seemed to help alleviate the pain in my shins, but doing the upper body workout is where I just lose momentum.

And you know, part of that is know what to do, which exercises to choose. After knee surgery, I was given a specific list of exercises which I followed with great fealty, because someone told me to. I follow orders. I would have made a good Nazi. Maybe that's why I find it so easy to follow the instructions of a kind, Aryan Wii personal trainer whose lips don't move.

Temperature: 30°
Climate: Oh, here it comes.
Distance: 3.25 miles

Received a Facebook post that it is deceptively cold out, due to high winds. Good Lord, he was right. Thanks, Karl! Freezing winds, light snow. Winter's comin'.

2007 Playlist
Nite Runner - Duran Duran ft. Justin Timerblake
Flathead - The Fratellis
Dashboard - Modest Mouse
Acceptable In The 80s - Calvin Harris
My Moon My Man - Feist
Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free - Zombie Zombie
Foundations * - Kate Nash

All Good Things (Come To An End) [Spanish Version] - Nelly Furtado

So, recently someone posted 99 Life Hacks To Make Life Easier (that's an ill phrase, a vile phrase, "life hacks to make life easier" is a vile phrase) which in many cases illustrate how to store shit you don't need in shit you don't throw away. I was thinking of making my own list of "life hacks" but they end up just sounding like "advice".

1. See those vegetables in your fridge? Eat them.
2. See that pile of discarded toilet paper tubes? Recycle them.
3. See that trick with the soda pop bottle? You really shouldn't buy soda pop.

And so on.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The music is calling.

I have a medal just like that. I get to keep mine.

Allow me to begin by stating clearly and without qualification that I have the best friends in the world. That includes my ex-wife.

Having reported my issues with backache and general need for cross-training, I received a number of extremely helpful suggestions ... all of which involve YOGA.

(takes a David Cross-like hesitant pause.)

Look, I never said yoga is fucking awful ...

(okay, back to me)

I did try yoga several years ago, and found it extremely painful and less than helpful. When I am at my most limber, when I can actually squat down, I cannot kneel, sitting on my calves for any length of time whatsoever.  My knees simply scream with pain. Always have. And that kept me away.

The wife has suggested chair yoga (or "cherry-yoga" which sounds tasty) but I have too much pride or that.

However, the ex did remember that we have wii fit, and that I might try that. And she's absolutely right, why didn't I think of that, in fact here's all kinds of crap I can do with that thing that I have never tried. Funny, I am not a video game guy, at least not any more.  After spending most of 1999 playing Duke Nukem I was just done, they bore the hell out of me. But getting off my ass and moving to a video game, that might be my ticket to upper-body work.

Also, Elaine referred me to a Feldenkrais workshop in Little Italy, geared specifically for runners and those interested in less-important athletic pursuits, which I could take advantage of that takes place in next week.

I really appreciate all of these suggestions, and promise to act on at least one of them. I do have great friends who care about my physical and mental well-being.

They are all women.

Temperature: 48°
Climate: windy
Distance: 3.25 miles

Now, this serious question ... in the 2006 NYC Marathon, can I now claim I beat Lance Armstrong, or does this mean he was never actually there?

1977 Playlist
I Feel Love - Donna Summer
Cretin Hop (186 bpm) - The Ramones
Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment - The Ramones
Swingtown - Steve Miller Band
Neat Neat Neat - The Damned
Sound and Vision - David Bowie
We Will Rock You (162 bpm) - Queen
Jungle Fever - The Chakachas
Second Hand News - Fleetwood Mac
Best of My Love - The Emotions

Rock, disco, funk and punk. No wonder we were so confused.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Get busy, child.

For Christmas, my wife got me a very special present; a memory foam mattress. Our king-sized futon had intrenched divots, no matter how you turned it, it was like sleeping in a ditch. My knees, my shins, my back were aching, every night. I could not sleep the night through without waking to take pain reliever.

The new mattress has been very helpful with my legs. The pain there is gone. But not so for my back. My wife believes it is because I do not couple running with upper-body weight training, and about that she is correct. I think so much about doing sit-ups, and working out with weights, that I can make myself believe that I actually have, but it is not true. I need to spend time each evening with the free-weights, at at the very least, stretching.

And so, here were are in January, no less than fifteen pounds overweight, and without the musculature to keep myself from standing and sitting like some kind of old man. I think I can make my way out of this. I hope I can.

Temperature: 36°
Climate: cool & dry
Distance: 3.75 miles

This morning the ex-wife tagged me on this great list, 20 Things No One Tells You About Running from the awesomely titled Shut Up + Run blog. These things are true, with this one exception:

1. Your feet will look like crap. Actually my feet did look bad for a long while, but now I treat them like little princesses and they are pretty and you will love them.

1997 Playlist
Winter Ceremony (Howie B Left Foot Mix) - Sacred Spirit
Turn It On - Sleater-Kinney
Busy Child - The Crystal Method
Piku - Chemical Brothers
Dig Your Own Hole - Chemical Brothers
Paranoid Android (164 bpm) - Radiohead 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Do the James Brown!

But then again, no. I was born in 1968. But I was conceived in 1967. And so this year, we reach back further. We will have 47 Playlists for 47 Years. Yes, we will.

1967 Playlist
Run, Run, Run - The Velvet Underground 
Tell Mama - Etta James
I Was Made To Love Her - Stevie Wonder
Cold Sweats, Pts. 1 & 2 - James Brown
Good Morning Good Morning  - The Beatles
Hip Hug-Her - Booker T. & The MGs
Big Boss Man - Elvis Presley
Memphis Soul Stew - King Curtis
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free - Nina Simone

That was an awesome playlist. More R&B, thank you. If Elvis had only concentrated on that exclusively, he'd be alive today.

"Run, Run, Run"? Not about running.

Temperature: 64°
Climate: very light rain
Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 180.5 lbs.

High today of 64°, with a low of 28°. Better to get that run in now, and dream of the next warm front ... which should arrive in maybe two weeks.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Gotta move ASAP.

Dockers Perspective Oxfords

Modern polish meets classic comfort with these smooth bike toe oxford men's dress shoes from Dockers, making them a smart addition to any guy's weekday routine.
  • Leather upper; rubber sole
  • Imported
  • Soft burnished upper leathers
  • Lightweight, outsole for extreme flexibility and comfort
  • Overflows with hate and sadness
  • Full-length cushioned footbed with gel heel pad for all-day comfort
  • Combined with Antichrist
Not long ago I went to a Famous Footwear to get decent-looking, cheap dress shoes. I picked up two variety of Docker Oxfords. They felt great, looked all right, and were deceptively spongy. All-day comfort! This wasn't terribly long ago, maybe a year and a half.

Well. These days it seems I cannot wear either pair without killing my ankles, or worse, causing shooting pain to flare through different bones in my feet. Thursday evening, leaving work, while carrying a large box, sporting the Dockers Gordon Cap Toe Oxfords, I found it precarious if not downright dangerous to walk down stairs because of the sudden, strange pain the erupted in surprising and varied areas of my feet, ankles and shins.

Yesterday the boy was bemoaning frugality. "Why do people always get the cheap thing, when they should be getting the best thing?"

In anticipation of my honeymoon (1999 version) I got a pair of leather walking shoes at Nordstrom. Big clunky soles, boxy, rounded toe. I wore those shoes out. After a repair or two (because yes, you can repair good shoes) I finally got rid of them in around 2007 and only then because my feet had gotten wider due to marathon training.

Yesterday I wore sneakers to work. My tendons were sore. But they were not shrieking.

Temperature: 55°
Climate: Wet pavement.
Distance: 3.25 miles

Yes, I believe the scientific community and their theories about global climate change. But that does not concern me when it comes to a freakishly warm weekend in January, there is always one of those. Often warmer than this. However, that doesn't change the fact that I do not hold out hope that there will be a lot of snow this month.

2002 Playlist
Rock Your Body - Justin Timberlake
Starry Eyed Surprise - Paul Oakenfold ft. Shifty ShellShock
Time After Time - Willie Nelson
8 Mile - Eminem
Spectral Mornings - Cornershop

This morning, before the boy had his first basketball game, we went to Shoe Carnival where I picked up a pair of sneaks from the clearance rack. He says they are awesome.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

I'm breathing, but it's become a chore.

The annual playlist runs plunges me back into the depths of my own history. The 1972 playlist, for example, made me think of the early-to-mid 1980s, which makes sense if you think of it.

I wasn't really listening to rock music when I was three. Get it?

However, as my wife has pointed out in her blog, we listen to a lot of Radio Disney. It is what the kids ask for, in the car at least, and we are nothing if not generous and flexible. But it does speak to our parenting style, and the benefits we receive from it.

First of all, I am only too happy to have Radio Disney on, not because if what it is, but what it is not. I would like to listen to the news, but my children do not need to hear reports on preliminary hearings on the Aurora, CO movie theater shooting.

I would like to listen to music, and though other stations play a wider variety of songs (though not much wider) the DJs on Radio Disney will never talk about RTA bus drivers slapping the shit out of mouthy whores, or the preliminary hearings on the Aurora, CO movie theater shooting.

My kids are not sheltered from the world. The opposite, in fact. The boy is seven, and has read more about the Navy Seals who assassinated Osama bin Laden than I have. These are books in his school, written for children. I have seen them, and I will not keep them from him just because they may upset me to know his is reading about violence. Better to get it from a book than from some twit like Rover.

Amusingly, when the girl first got into Radio Disney (2010) every song I heard was performed by a teenager. Lots of white, Canadian boys who rap, and girls whose name I recognized as stars from the Disney Channel. I assumed every single track they played was produced by a Disney/ABC subsidiary.

Even more shocking was when I resumed listening to the FM commercial pop stations, which I realized I had been entirely avoiding since the early 2000s. They were playing the exact same songs. Disney Is Top 40 Radio. Amazing. But I guess there isn't really anything surprising about that.

Temperature: 39°
Climate: safe as before
Distance: 3.25 miles

There is absolutely nothing comparable to arriving home after a run to find my wife, daughter and son, sitting in the living room, quietly reading.

1992 Playlist
Kiss That Frog - Peter Gabriel
Too Funky - George Michael
Happiness In Slavery - Nine Inch Nails
Constant Craving - k.d. lang
Seen The Doctor - Michael Penn
Something Good - Utah Saints
Steam [Oh, Oh, Let Off Steam mix dub] - Peter Gabriel

"This sounds horrible." (Thanks, Stephani.)

Sunday, January 06, 2013

He whom life can no longer surprise.

Respite from the freezing temps, which should last all week. I hope this means more running. I feel huge, and having to bundle up for work only exacerbates this feeling. But so much to do now, grant requests to be created, this morning I had some beautiful pictures pop into my head for a script I have been working on.

Facebook is my Achilles' Heel, but if it weren't that it would be something else. I get so mad at myself for looking at it which I should work working, writing, thinking, reading or playing, but it has its uses. Not least of which is to share the misery.

No, back up, not true. Facebook is where I am exceeding precious and clever. The misery is to be found here.

Temperature: 39°
Climate: Wet, crusty, clear and slushy.
Distance: 3.25 miles

In SHORTS, son.

Not usually do I have the opportunity to exchange pleasant words with other runners on the run. We are running away from each other, or towards each other, or on the opposite sides of the street. And besides ... how awkward, to be running next to someone you don't know. What is the etiquette?

However, I was at the top of my street, and happened upon another fellow at the light. He seemed in great cheer, taking a run with his dog. I had to take off my headphones.

He told me this was his first run in ten days -- that was when he and his wife had a baby! The sleep deprivation had been keeping him from running and it was really getting to him, but not to complain. He said he even felt a bit selfish taking a run, but I absolved him. Healthy body, healthy mind, they need him in top form.

That is my job. I absolve people.

1972 Playlist
I Wanna Be With You - The Raspberries
Virginia Plain - Roxy Music
Watched of the Skies - Genesis
Go All the Way - The Raspberries
Suffragette City - David Bowie
Burning Love - Elvis Presley
Reelin' in the Years - Steely Dan
Day After Day - Badfinger
Rocks Off - The Rolling Stones

Ladies and gentlemen ... Mr. Eric Carmen. CLEVELAND REPRESENT.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

He's a rebel and a runner.

I hate theater.

Running once every four days does not make me happy. Long days, short nights. Tired. Running is the anti-tired ... more running, less tired. Move.

Temperature: 36°
Climate: Scary.
Distance: 3.25 miles

Baby steps. Sure, it is only a bit above freezing, and for the first time in days -- another reason I have been abstaining, I am sure -- so those stretches of pavement that had been shoveled are nearly dry. Those that weren't (I have to admit, including mine) are chock o' block with crunchy snow and very, very slippery ice.

And yet. It's Nearly Africa down a well-cleared, little-traveled side-street. I remember what it is like to run.

1982 Playlist
We R In Control - Neil Young
New World Man (158 bpm) - Rush
Twilight Zone - Golden Earring
The Loved Ones - Elvis Costello
Mustapha Dance - The Clash
English Roundabout (174 bpm) - XTC
It's Nearly Africa - XTC
Melt the Guns (182 bpm) - XTC

Prevention is better than cure. Bad apples affecting the pure.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

I picked up every piece and landed on my feet.


In the year 2011 ... I logged >70 runs.

That was the lowest number of runs in a single year since I began running in earnest and keeping this blog over six years ago.

In the year 2012 ... I logged >130 runs. 

Not only does this number mean I ran almost twice as much as the previous year, it means I ran more this year that all other individuals years (including 2006 the year I trained for the NYC Marathon) with the exception of the year I took And Then You Die to the New York Fringe Festival. That does not mean I ran more in 2009, but there are a very large number of blog entries for that year, which were not all running-related, and so it is hard to tell without counting them all individually, which I will not do here.

What does this mean? It means as I move into the second half of my forty-fifth year on earth, that I have not slowed down. I will call that a good thing. It gives me hope for the new year. It makes me feel like I am taking care of myself, which believe me, makes it easier to take care of others.

Temperature: 25°
Pavement: Snow and ice, ankle-breaking surface
Distance: 3.25 miles

Happy New Year ... which means 46 Playlist for 46 Years.

2012 Playlist
United State of Pop 2012 (Shine Brighter) - DJ Earworm
Wide Awake (160 bpm) - Katy Perry
What Makes You Beautiful - One Direction
Starships - Nicki Minaj
All Your Gold - Bat For Lashes
Madness - Muse
Drive By - Train
Brokenhearted - Karmin
Five Seconds (177 bpm) - Twin Shadows

The new year, and suddenly -- cold, ice and snow. All well and good when you are taking your kids sledding. Running, not so much. And yet, we run, at night if we must. Not for nothing the fleece I bought this summer is YELLOW. Would not have been my first choice, fashionably speaking. But I will be hella more visible to traffic.

Back to traditional running shoes for the duration, I do not wish to break a leg. Part of zero drop's appeal is zero traction.

Shine brighter.