Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fat Man Running

Farrah and I set a goal in December that we would run a 10k this year. The obvious choice if you live in Colorado is the Bolder Boulder, an annual event attended by thousands. It’s a huge deal.

Up til now, the furthest I’ve ever ran without having to walk is 6 miles, which I did twice about 4 years ago. There was a path by our apartment in Sacramento that was exactly 3 miles. I got to where I was running it pretty regularly (about 3 times a week) and one night I still felt full of energy after doing it once so I ran it again. The next night I tried again and made it. The night after that I struggled to do the regular 3. At 6’8, 265, I’m not exactly built for this sort of thing.

Anyway, my running has dropped off the last 3 years. It’s mostly been replaced by racquetball or nothing at all. So, we are following a program Farrah found online, specifically structured for those training for the Bolder Boulder. If I were doing it to the letter, I would be running 5 times a week, but I’m doing more like 3. Plus, I was sick for about a month and am now playing catch up.

Initially, the plan was pretty easy. Walk 2 mins/run 1. It’s advanced over the weeks to today, where I ran for 15 mins straight. Sounded easy, but it wasn’t like I thought it would be. Or, walk 1/run 5. Still, I’m making progress, slowly. It still isn’t fun going to the gym and, while I’ve lost weight (about 20 lbs), that has mostly been due to my diet, I think. Plus, I’ve done most of my running on a treadmill at a pretty slow pace (between 5 and 6 mph or 10-12 min miles). Running on a track, which I did tonight, is harder.

People are often asking me to make them good running mixes, so I wanted to post my fave 15 running songs in the order that I would listen to them for maximum impact. My running playlist has like 45 songs, so if anyone wants more info, let me know.

Gary Wright – Love Is Alive This is the perfect first song if, like me, you start off with a minute or so of walking. By the time it gets to the chorus, you’re ready to burst. Believe it or not, this funky piece of soul from the 70s is by the same guy that did "Dream Weaver", the most unfunky song of all time. You would never know that if I hadn’t just told you.

James – Born Of Frustration Until recently, this was my very favorite song to run to. The Tarzan yelps and climactic finish are the perfect things to get your blood pumping. Plus, this song makes me want to direct a movie, just so I can play it over the perfect scene. It’s a classic.

Doves – Words This is a good one to set a pace to after you’ve gotten up and running. My feet tend to hit the ground to the down beat in almost perfect syncopation.

Fire Inc. – Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young This is the guilty pleasure of the bunch. All you need to know is that it’s written by Jim Steinham, the man behind Meat Loaf and classics by Air Supply (Making Love Out of Nothing At All) and Bonnie Tyler (Total Eclipse of the Heart). It’s of the same ilk. Sweeping and overdramatic, when the motorcycles rev around the 2 minute mark, you’ll be ready to kick it into high gear. This song is from the 80s movie, Streets Of Fire, which also spawned the ubiquitous hit, I Can Dream About You. (The album version is about 7 minutes. The single version in the link above is more like 5.)

Silverchair – Straight Lines A song made for running to, judging strictly by the pace and build up. Also, it was released last year, so it’s a good one to get your mind back out of the cheesey 80s song you just secretly loved.

Bob Mould – Shine Your Light (Love Hope) This is my new fave running song. It’s perfect for me. Rarely would I put a song on repeat and get as much out of it every time, but this is the exception. Backstory: Bob Mould is considered one of THE guitar gods, but a few years ago he decided he cared more about DJing and vowed not to make anymore rock albums. He lost most of his audience. So, the album this song comes from, Body Of Song, bridges the delta between these two sides of his personality. Unfortunately, I can't find any youtube links to it. Check it out on itunes or amazon or something.

Arcade Fire – Wake Up I’m a sucker for rock songs that sound like gospel tunes (I call it Rockspel). These guys are one of the most passionate bands out there. If you don’t know them already, this will convert you. Bit of trivia: a couple of the members were raised Mormon.

The Dears – Ticket To Immortality This song holds a special place in my heart because it reminds me of Georgia. Listen for the part at around 2:45 when, after repeating “The world is really gonna love you” lead singer Maury Lightburn says, ever-so-subtly and in a high falsetto, “I promise you. Just like I do”. The way he sings that one line is EXACTLY what I say to Georgia in my heart every day. The words are good, but his delivery makes them poignant.

Longwave – Wake Me When It’s Over This is sort of a chill out song. It isn’t slow, by any means, but it’s got an emotional weight to it. By this point in your run, it would be nice to tone down the blood pumping and let your mind wander. This is the soundtrack to that. Incidentally, this song may be my #1 track one ever. In other words, it's the first song on the album it came from.

Mark Ronson and Daniel Merriweather – Stop Me The next few go back to the blood pumping, but tone down the guitars and focus on the dance floor. This song was my pick for best song of last year. Plus, it’s a cover of a Smiths classic. You can’t go wrong.

Gorillaz – DARE Keeps the party going.

Duran Duran – Shelter Same. Not sure what this video is, but the song is playing in the background.

Mute Math – Typical The guitars return. I'm betting this one is most likely to become “your new favorite song”. Very cool video too.

Sleater-Kinney – Let’s Call It Love This one is a challenge. It’s 11 minutes of total gut-wrenching chaos. I call it “open wound” music because it’s unrelenting. Not in a metal kind of way, but in an out of control, pounding, merciless kind of way. If you dig it, you won’t notice the length.

Nick Cave – There She Goes My Beautiful World This is the one to take you over the finish line. After spending what energy you had left on the previous track, this one has so much spirit it practically lifts your listless legs for you. By the time you’re done, between the song and the exercise you will have had an exorcism and your spirit will be singing. The link looks like it's for some sort of Guitar Hero game, but I prefer it to the live versions that were out there.

There are plenty more. In fact, I just made my buddy Eric a great 80s mix to run to. Hope people get turned on to some of this stuff.


dish said...

The biggest effect a song had on my running was I Am a Tree by Guided By Voices. I was just starting out after not running for years and I put that on my walkman (remember cassettes?) and I was so pumped. It's such an energetic song that 6 blocks later, I was sucking wind and I had to walk home. So it's agood running song, but use it carefully ;)

AnnieB said...

I love this! First, I want to know you're diet...20 pounds!? You said/wrote it so non-chalantly! Second, I'm going to listen to every link and pretend I'm running and maybe someday...
10K! You Go Bro!

Jon Lamoreaux said...

I'll dl that GBV song tonight. Curious to hear that one too.

AnnieB said...

so I listened to them all...fave? Mute Math. Wanted to see what would happen in the "Tonight is What it means..." video. Did the concert chick and forlorn guy hook up? (lead singer looked like Diane Lane!) Love Silverchair-have a crush on his 'stache! Mmmm! Loved longwave and the Mark Ronson is a favorite! Loved the good beats throughout. Now you need to produce this...
(or at least make your sis a copy!)

Brooke and Jake said...

This sounds like me (Brooke, not Jake). I stop running or exercising when I got married and now I'm giving it another shot. My last jog I tried Le Tigre which I thought was a really good choice but didn't improve my distance. I just changed my clothes to go on a bike ride before I started reading your blog and your entry has inspired me to listen to Sleater-Kinney as I ride. What an excellent workout mix band. I'm going to have to check out the other links when I get back.