Saturday, April 27, 2013

It's all about where you're going. No matter where you've been.

Ladies and gentlemen ... 47 Playlists for 47 Years.

2013 Playlist
Some Nights - fun.
My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up) - Fall Out Boy
Let Go - Calvin Harris Ft. Ne-Yo
I Will Wait - Mumford & Sons
Little Talks - Of Monsters and Men
Thrift Shop - Macklemore ft. Wanz
It's Time - Imagine Dragons
Troublemaker - Olly Murs ft. Flo Rida
Don't Stop The Party - Pitbull ft. TJR

This annual tradition, a compulsion, really, began in February 2007 to motivate my depressed, out-of-shape ass out of the house and into the snow to run. This was a few months after running my first marathon, and I was used to the admittedly sane notion that, short of a gym membership, you can't run in Cleveland during the winter.

However, I had been given cold weather gear, and basically had no excuse not to, and so creating one playlist from every year in my life was just the kind of novel idea that would give me an extra reason to get out and do it.

Most years I finish running these lists in May or even June. Last year, training for another marathon, running every other day, or every day, I finished the entire series in March. I am happy to have completed this year before the end of April.

Keeping these annual playlists, many of them over three hours long, saved in my iTunes, means I no longer spend a lot of time curating it. When I hear a song I think is good for running, I pop it into the list. I do this all year. I don't even think too much about it. It means that for, for the first third of any given year, I am not obsessing about what music I will listen to on my next run, it's just there.

Kids Warm-Up
Temperature: 53°
Distance: 2 miles (in 8 1/4 mile increments)

One-third of a year. So much has happened to all of us here since the beginning of 2013. My expectations for the year were high, with three scripts in some form of production, but if you know anything about me you know I do not stay high for very long. Since January, two have opened and closed, and me with no idea as to whether either have a future -- one not yet published, the other not yet finished.

Which brings us to today, when I received notice that Double Heart has been accepted in the 2013 NYC Fringe Festival.

Temperature: 51°
Climate: everything's cool.
Distance: 4 miles

Friday, April 26, 2013

Heartbeat? It's a lovebeat!

Pros and cons of running in the clown shoes:

You can't run heel-to-toe in zero drop shoes. You just can't, you would break your heels. As a result, in a continual and ongoing effort to hit the ground comfortable with the springy part of your sole, you are always lifting your toes.

This exercise is much like those that I had to do when plagued with shin splits, training for my first marathon. The front of my shins are strong and healthy.

What continues to hurt is my right heel. I wake every morning very stiff and sore, a pain which goes away, but it returns every morning. It does feel like what the girl described as her issue, playing soccer. But she has been taking PT and last Sunday played her first game in months, none the worse for wear.

I really need to ask her to teach me her stretching exercises, and then perform them with dedication the way she does.

Another issue, and I do not know whether this is good or bad, is that running in zero drop shoes is harder. It takes more effort. Keeping your toes up, that takes effort. You are not constantly hitting a raked platform to spring you forward, as with modern, traditional running shoes.

More calories expended is not necessarily something to complain about.

Temperature: 49°
Climate: cool & sunny. ideal.
Distance: 3.25 miles

1973 Playlist
Stuck In The Middle With You - Stealers Wheel
Higher Ground - Stevie Wonder
Jungle Boogie - Kool & The Gang
The Ballroom Blitz - The Sweet
The Jean Genie - David Bowie
Magic Carpet Ride - Steppenwolf
Bring On the Lucie (Freeda Peeple) * - John Lennon
Heartbeat (It's a Lovebeat) - The De Franco Family

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Just move your feet and you'll feel fine.

There was a time during the early 1980s when all these pop stars who had been around for a short while (as rock music had itself only been around a short while) but were still being promoted by the major labels (remember those) and their records were still bought in unconscionable number by their devoted Baby Boomer followers, that they began feeling ... old.

Or if not exactly old, then wistful, which in popular music, is worse. This was just prior to the advent of so-called "classic" rock stations, which gave eternal life to their back-catalog (and for a time generated interest in "Best Of" collections which are no longer necessary due to iTunes making it possible to get that one song you suddenly must have instead of all of them) when they still had to create new music that people would buy out of sheer habit.

So they searched their souls and realized life was better when they were young and poor instead of in their mid-30s and horribly rich. Hell, the Beatles started that when they recorded Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane and they were barely out of their mid-20s.

In 1983 Billy Joel released an entire fucking album dedicated to his long-dead childhood years. It was a trend which soft-rock porn stars like Phil Collins had already been moving into (You Can't Hurry Love, 1982) as well as Ray Davies and the Kinks with Come Dancing, which leads off this playlist.

Early 80s radio was pretty pretty schizophrenic, with stations like WMMS, which were used to playing popular rock music, confounded as to what that actually is. I think most well-adjusted people agree that, like pornography, you know good rock music when you see it.

Temperature: 72°
Climate: humid!
Distance: 5.6 miles

1983 Playlist
Come Dancing - The Kinks
Everyday People - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
The Walk - The Cure
No More Lies - Neil Schon and Jan Hammer
Owner of a Lonely Heart - Yes
Temptation - New Order
Church of the Poison Mind - Culture Club
Whenever You're On My Mind - Marshall Crenshaw
Don't Let Go - Wang Chung
Blue Monday - New Order
Major Tom (Coming Home) (161 bpm) - Peter Schilling
Don't Change (164 bpm) - INXS

However, Nineteen Eighty-Three? The year I turned fifteen? BEST. YEAR. EVER.

Monday, April 22, 2013

God knows where I'm going to.

And then a light switch went on, some time this morning during breakfast, like part of my brain opened up to show me something I had missed.

There was a span of time (it must have been brief) during my run yesterday, that I felt a great sense of calm and joy. There was no past and no future, just an ever-present now, when I was suddenly without care or worry. Not about time or children or work and health or anything. It was all all right. It would be all right.

I saw myself meditating. Investigating Buddhism. Breathing deeply. It felt very good.

Shortly after I forgot all about that. Later, carrying laundry upstairs from the basement I hit my head very hard and that really hurt.

Temperature: 48°
Climate: cool ... but I shouldn't have worn that jacket
Distance: 3.25 miles

1993 Playlist
None Of The Above - Duran Duran 
Jump Around - House of Pain
U Got Me Up - Dajae ft. Cajmere
None Of Your Business - Salt-N-Pepa
There's More To Life Than This - Björk
Hip Hop Hooray - Naughty By Nature
Jump They Say - David Bowie

Sunday, April 21, 2013

You may not believe in me, but I believe in you.

We believe the children are big enough to leave at home, on their own, if it is necessary to leave the house for a brief period of time. However, I do not believe I am big enough to leave them at home on their own.

It was agreed that it would be all right to have a run while they read books, did homework, had screen time, whatever. So I did. And I could not think, not for a moment. My brain was unable a jumble of sounds, pictures and haphazard ideas. The worst of which involved someone breaking into the house while I was out.

Everything was quiet and calm when I returned. The girl was still reading on the couch where I had left her, and the boy I found at the dining room table, treating himself to a third slice a bread slathered in ketchup and mustard.

Temperature: 42°
Climate: cool and bright
Distance: 3.25 miles

2003 Playlist
Comfortably Numb - Scissor Sisters
Milk Shake - Kelis
Go Brown - Kaada
Extraordinary - Liz Phair
Miss Independent (178 bpm) - Kelly Clarkson
Move Your Feet - Junior Senior
The Way You Move - OutKast

Saturday, April 20, 2013

On the upbeat.

"Every mile out there is a gift."
- Amby Burfoot

As it turns out, I will not be available to run the Earth Day 5K this Wednesday evening. I will also be unable to participate in this event, sponsored by Second Sole. It is not a race, it is a group run, and they will be selling shirts and stuff with all proceeds going to assist those affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy.

Climate: Snowed this morning, but the sun came out for me.
Distance: 3.25 miles

1978 Playlist
Who Are You? (155 bpm) - The Who
Jungle Love - Steve Miller Band
Double Vision - Foreigner
The Model - Kraftwerk
Next To You (172 bpm) - The Police
The Beat - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Shadow Dancing - Andy Gibb
Got To Be Real - Cheryl Lynn

Five more years in the 47 Playlists for 47 Years series ... what should I include for 2013?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Go out into the world.

There's not anything I can contribute to the responses to the tragedy at the Boston Marathon that has not already been said, better or worse, than anyone else. It's just horrible.

I will admit I was thinking recently, what's next? I mean, this week, I was wondering when the next event would occur. There have been so many, for so long. But this is not some kind of "new normal". These things have always happened.

Running on Tuesday morning, the morning after, heading down Taylor, listening to Let The Sunshine In, I was reminded that on April 25, 1971 -- 42 years ago next week -- someone threw an incendiary device at the entrance to the Hanna Theatre, which may or may not have had something to do with the production of Hair which was currently playing.

The year before that, someone (neither of these crimes were ever solved) blew up Rodin's The Thinker outside the Cleveland Museum of Art. These things have happened before. They will happen again. I realize the difference in these examples, of course, is that those targets were things, and not people. But they were hardly the only planned acts of violence of their era.

When an attack like this is perpetrated, the specifics of where it happens can be relevant, or not. The midnight showing of a violent superhero movie is a symbolic place to kill and maim a lot of people, or not. It is definitely a place to find a lot of people. Like a tall building. Like a school.

The assault at a sporting event, at the finish line of a race, makes it very visible, and deadly. Because it was a running race, however, and a marathon, makes it personal to me. There were those who asked if I were all right -- me, in particular, they wanted to know on the off chance I was there, or if I knew people who were, was I all right? I didn't even know how to respond to these queries. I couldn't. Yes, I'm fine, thank you. People think of me as one who runs marathons ... so, they asked me, I guess.

Following Hurricane Sandy, and the cancellation of the New York Marathon, I have had a plan to apply for those (presumably) few spaces available when the lottery opens later this month. First of all, I would like to run the NY Marathon again, but after the cancellation last November, this year's should be a uniquely amazing celebration.

But that was a natural disaster, not a terrorist attack. The desire to run the Boston Marathon has already been expressed by others I know, and I share it. I never considered Boston, never thought I might qualify. Then again, I never thought I could run a marathon at all, ever.

The reasoning is different, however. I was a toddler when people were chucking bombs to "protest" something or other. An anonymous, public act of terror is inflicted not to make a statement, but to make people afraid. Fear is the greatest device against freedom. Fear makes people flee the city, look sideways at those who look different, deny rights, carry weapons. Fear makes people hide, speak bitterly of others, and close off.

We will not fear. We live to go outside, into crowds, to be with others, unarmed, and unafraid. Because that is what live free or die actually means.

Temperature: 64°
Climate: balmy
Distance: 5.15 miles

1998 Playlist
Closing Time - Semisonic
Spybreak! - Propellerheads
Super Disco Breakin' - Beastie Boys
Sexy Boy - AIR
MMMBop - Hanson
One Week - Barenaked Ladies
Chair - Sister Soleil
Jump Jive An' Wail - Brian Setzer Orchestra
Metal Firecracker - Lucinda Williams
Sea of Heartbreak - Johnny Cash
Millennium - Robbie Williams

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

“Running is about finding your inner peace, and so is a life well lived.”
― Dean Karnazes

Temperature: 59°
Climate: perfect spring morning
Distance: 3.25 miles

1968 Playlist
America Is My Home, Pt. 1 - James Brown
Think - Aretha Franklin
Son of a Preacher Man - Dusty Springfield
These Days - Nico
Lady Madonna - The Beatles
Crossroads - Cream
I Will (alt. take) - The Beatles
Hurdy Gurdy Man - Donovan
Daydream Believer - The Monkees
Let The Sunshine In - "Hair" Original Broadway Recording

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I'm in effect, and you're not.

Warmest its been all day. The wife came home after a weekend away, she's putting the kids to sleep. I have been released.

Temperature: 52°
Climate: ideal, cool and dark
Distance:  5.15 miles

Sometimes ... sometimes I run really fast. I feel loose, my feet feel good, there are no pains, nothing odd, and the music inspires me to fly. Tonight was one of those nights. As long as I can, I will.

1988 Playlist
Birth, School, Work, Death - The Godfathers
Turn This Mutha Out - MC Hammer
Tropical Flesh Mandala (181 bpm) - Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians
Sister Madly (171 bpm) - Crowded House
It Takes Two - Rob Base and DJ E Z Rock
End of the Line (168 bpm) - Traveling Wilburys
Walk The Dinosaur - Was (Not Was)
Ana Ng - They Might Be Giants
Pop Song '89 (acoustic) - R.E.M.
Bonin' In The Boneyard - Fishbone
Kiss (Aon Mix) - The Art of Noise ft. Tom Jones

Spring, when a young man's thoughts turns to romance, and an old man's turns to when he was a young romantic.

Think I better dance now.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Use your muscle.


What is my relationship to food? This morning, following a performance at a medical conference, I looked over what was available from the continental breakfast in the lobby to make up for my scant meal prior to my arrival (which had been one apple and one banana.)

Coffee, yes. And juice -- which we do not normally have at home but makes for a nice, sweet, cold, shot of insulin when feeling down. Pastries, or danishes? No, thanks. I am hungry, but all that processed flour and sugar will just make me feel frayed and leave a bad taste in my mouth. Plain bagel with cream cheese please, that will be good. I will be running in an hour.

Good for you! Congratulations on making the right choice! Now, how do you explain your entirely pointless "need" last night to purchase a Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie® and scarf that down with little regard or memory? I mean, you thought about it, it was a thought, as carefully made as the one you made this morning that you are so proud of, who was that person and who is this?

Temperature: 41°  
Climate: crisp, cold
Distance: 3.25 miles

Inspired by my Medina colleague, I decided to run backwards today! Not literally, of course, just taking my traditional route, and running it in the opposite direction. I have done that once or twice in the past. There's one obvious reason I don't do this very often ... my daily 3 mile route goes pleasantly straight downhill for almost one half-mile. Taking that up, while not arduous, is taxing, and not what I want to do every single run.

It is refreshing, and interesting, to see the route from the other direction. It was more interesting, it felt longer -- which I did not expect -- taking longer to make the distance from point to point in more time than I would have thought it might. A good exercise, and one which served to confirm how comfortable and happy I am with my traditional route. It is right, it works, it satisfies.

At this point I am tempted to make a joke about having had a one-night stand last night to confirm many of the same things, but as the wife really is out of town this weekend, she might not think that's funny.

2008 Playlist
Hot N Cold - Katy Perry
Black & Gold - Sam Sparro
Just Dance - Lady Gaga ft. Colby O'Donis
Jai Ho - A.R. Rahman
Disturbia - Rihanna
Let Me See You - Girl Talk
Halo (159 bpm) - Beyoncé

"Running will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no running." - The Ruinous Ruminating Running Brothers.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Let's go, let's go, let's go, let's go.

Pugettia Gracilis
(This is not the muscle you are looking for.)

- Shut Up + Run 

These things are true. In the case of Sunday, that would include all five reasons.

There is a muscle on the outside of my thigh which flares up from time to time. Is that time Spring? I am not sure. I believe it is the posterior vastus lateralis muscle -- not the interior, gracilis muscle, that would be quite uncomfortable, especially if there were tiny sea crabs on it.

Temperature: 79°
Climate: warm
Distance: 3.25 miles

Nighttime run. Oh my, have I missed that.

1974 Playlist
Boogie On Reggae Woman - Stevie Wonder
Loose Booty - Sly & The Family Stone
Lady Marmalade - Labelle
Dancing Machine - The Jackson 5
Chameleon - Maynard Ferguson
Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo - Rick Derringer
Junior's Farm - Paul McCartney & Wings
Back in N.Y.C. - Genesis

The iPod strap I bought seven years ago is falling apart. In a world of planned obsolescence, I sometimes do pretty all right with things. Except my ankles. And my shins. And thighs. Any my house. Personal relationships. God. But that iPod strap has been great.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

I just want to fly.

Morning Boy Run
Temperature: 61°
Distance:  .85 miles

Very windy, and so was he. I don't mean he was windy, I mean he was winded. We ran about half without stopping, but it was a bit arduous with the wind, so we walked most of the rest of the block.

Temperature: 59°
Climate: just awesome.
Distance: 4 miles

First summery day of the spring, and I feel whiny, exhausted and depressed. But wait there's more, please allow me to elaborate. The exhaustion comes from finding it very difficult to sleep last night (which is the new normal) yet not awake enough to sit up and read, which would have been a much better way to spend my time.

Dreams, too, about alligators. Four of them. Never been pursued by any kind of large animal before, that's new, especially not four of them.

Anyway, the exhaustion sits in my eyes, which means it's real, and not just being lazy. The kind of weary that makes me sink to the floor. And yet ... beautiful day. Will running make me feel better or worse. Only one way to find out.

1994 Playlist
Get Ready For This - 2 Unlimited
Live Forever - Oasis
Buried At Sea (175 bpm) - MC 900 Ft Jesus
13 Steps Lead Down - Elvis Costello
Missing - Everything But the Girl
Bus To Beelzebub - Soul Coughing
I Do Not Want This - Nine Inch Nails
Come Out and Play (157 bpm) - The Offspring
Troubled Mind - Everything But the Girl

So, yeah. Nineteen Ninety-Four. Perfect. I know I am glad I ran. I do not know if that was good for me. With a day like today, sunny and cool and all the time in the world, I would have preferred a six mile run, but at the last turning I started to feel a tingling in my right shin. That's new. It's still there.

It is four in the afternoon on a Sunday when I do not feel I have contributed very much to this world. If I take a nap, which I feel like doing, then I may as well get a bumper sticker which reads I give up.

More on my wife: she drinks. [[sigh]]

Saturday, April 06, 2013

And running, running.

The wife and I were discussing exercise the other night. The fact is, I am ten times more likely to say, I would like to run now or at some specific point in the near future (and she will assent more than 99% of the time) than she is to say I would like to exercise now or attend a yoga class or anything along those lines.

Her time is carefully divided among work, writing, numerous social responsibilities, and the care of two children. But so is mine, and yet I have a need to ask for exercise time that she apparently does not. Does that make me selfish, or am finally (because this was not always the case) accustomed to making this request.

We do not watch TV. I mean, really. We don't. I am stating this as a fact. There are occasional viewings of Phineas and Ferb, and once a month we may watch a movie at home. Yesterday I once again heard the statistic that the average American watches five hours of TV a day. Really? Still? I mean, even now there's YouTube? No, five hours of television.

Surely it is not selfish for me to take 60 minutes every other day (okay, every third day) for physical exercise. And nor should it be for her. I know how I came to this place for me, from non-runner to running person. What she needs is to create this desire in herself.

Temperature: 36°
Climate: cool and overcast
Distance: 4 miles

Heading out, might have been a day for snow. On the final leg down Taylor, the clouds broke and the sun came through. I hope it stays a while.

2004 Playlist
Let's Get It Started [Spike Mix] - The Black Eyed Peas
Call On Me - Eric Prydz
Wake Me Up When September Ends - Green Day
Neon Human - Felix da Housecat
Chase Me - Hexstatic
Future Sightings - I Am The World Trade Center
Ohh La La - The Ditty Bops
L-L-Love - Astaire

"Awesome Thayer-Hansen! You're late!"

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Life kid drink from the box.

We ate 'em.
But we didn't like 'em.

Dining on the road: We spent two days on the road this weekend, that rare type of excursion where we stay at a hotel for more than one night. It's grubby kind of camping ... sure, there's a bar downstairs and someone cleans your room for you (or attempts to, in this case) but you're this sad, hobo family with your small, wrinkled selection of clothes hanging on the shower rod and sleeping two or three to a bed.

Then there's the food. Food at the zoo. Food at the restaurant. Food at the hotel. Food at another restaurant. Food at the hotel. Food at the hotel. Food at a restaurant.  There was a valiant attempt on this first morning to eat well (thanks for the encouragement, honey) but it's so easy to fall into the habit of getting what you waaaant, and then eating the entire serving. That's how that happens.

It is even more distressing to watch my son do the same thing, even after he has announced that he is full, he just keeps going. We're working on that. We're all working on that, together, because it's not just him. Now that I think of it, working with him could be what it takes to change my habits.

Temperature: 36°
Climate: bright, brisk and dry
Distance: 3.25 miles

So enthusiastic for the sunshine, I wore shorts and a doo-rag. Felt fine for a while, but now my legs sting and my ears hurt and I am very dizzy.

Oh my God. I am not dizzy because of the cold. I entirely forgot to eat lunch today.

1999 Playlist
Bodyrock - Moby
Futurama Theme - Danny Elfman
Kiss Me - Sixpence None the Richer
Bruce Lee - Underworld
Thank You (160 bpm) - Dido
Compression (175 bpm) - Everything but the Girl
Get Outta My Room (161 bpm) - The Donnas

Awkward runners.
I am the dandy.