This week was a hybrid, both musically and running...ly. I ran outside and inside on the treadmill. I've also mashed up a couple playlists here because I've been making smaller playlists throughout the week instead of one long one like I had been while training for the half-marathon. This is because I'm not running those long runs anymore because running long runs is harder than running short runs.
Your playlist is here; and away we go.
"First Time," Lifehouse
Let's get the ugly stuff out of the way right now: I love this song. It's cool if you don't, though. I'm sure you have your own song that you love that is an embarrassment to humanity so I don't feel too bad about admitting to mine. If you don't have one of those songs, you're either lying to the world or to yourself but you are for sure a liar. It's actually a liberating feeling. I just told a whole bunch of people that I liked a Lifehouse song and now nothing can ever get worse.
And I really do love it. I hadn't heard it in a long time and just randomly threw it on a playlist, forgot about it and then ran all happy for three minutes when it came on. I'm not sure if I was smiling because I was enjoying the song or if it was because I was laughing at myself for liking such a goofy song, but it served its purpose.
"Where The Streets Have No Name," U2
Before I forget, with respect to the subject of half-marathons, I just remembered something that kind of annoyed me. So, if you've ever run a race, you know you get like a goody bag. Like six-year-olds at a birthday party. And, like a six-year-old I am going to complain about mine.
There were shitty muffins and coupons and all that other crap; which, whatever, I gave to my wife. She loves that shit. What was not in the goody bag was a 13.1 sticker. Now, listen. I'm not saying I was going to put it on my car; that would be embarrassing. But I would have put it somewhere in my house or something. Or a garage, if I ever get to the station in life where one has a garage. I always assumed that's where people got them from. Oh, you just ran 13.1 miles? Here, have a sticker to prove it.
Now, either this particular race dropped the ball and didn't give out the stickers, or anyone can just go out and buy themselves a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker. That's problematic for a number of reasons, not the least of which, who in god's name is buying that sticker for themselves? I would have gladly accepted the sticker. I'm not going to go out and buy my own pat on the back, though. Have some pride, for chrissakes.
"Black," Pearl Jam
The beginning of the week was the calm before the remnants of the storm, I suppose, so I was able to get back outside and run. After all that rain last week, the trails I usually run through went through an incredible growth spurt. I imagine time-lapse footage would look something like that scene at the end of The Matrix when Neo becomes Neo and the whole apartment hallway pulses green and pushes out a bit and then bam!: huge, lush, jungle landscape in the middle of the Bronx. It's actually beautiful. It is so green and so dense, that you actually forget that you're walking a stone's throw away from the Major Deegan Expressway. Dense is the only way to put it; pathway sizes that were once perfectly acceptable for regular human beings to walk for now feel as though they've been made specifically for hobbits.
"The Great Decay," Cursive
And, of course, with all that dank greenery comes a shitload of pests. Spiders, mosquitos, squirrel-eating spider-mosquitos. You know how crazy you look when you just walk through a spider web? Imagine running through one and continuing to run/walk/spazz out while trying to get the spider web off you. On the whole, I consider myself to be a pretty rational and even-tempered person. My highs aren't too high and my lows I usually just pretend aren't there. But spider webs are the one thing that make me feel like I have the potential to go just straight up insane. Even if I get the spider web off me, what about the spider? I didn't see the spider, it could literally be anywh—what was that on my leg? Now every single sensation on my skin is because of the spider who is probably either dead or in some tree back by its broken home.
"Terrible Love," The National
The other thing I became obsessed with was wondering if I swallowed a bug. There are so many flying around and since you're out they're sweating they are drawn to you and your stupid ruddy face. So you're feeling around for invisible spider webs and swatting away flies and also, you know, breathing and all I can think about is swallowing a disgusting insect. Maybe it's an old wive's tale that flies poop whenever they land, but just the possibility of a fucking fly shitting in my mouth is enough to make my skin crawl.
"Helter Skelter," The Beatles
Or, maybe that's the spider. Fuck.
"Monkey Wrench," Foo Fighters
Wanna hear some shit? I know you do. My wife told me about this woman, Diane Van Deren, who had a small part of her right temporal lobe surgically removed because she suffered from seizures. An interesting side-effect is that when she runs—and, boy, does she ever run— she has no idea how long or how far she has been going. Here's neuropsychologist Dan Gerber with the money quote:
Gerber, who works at Craig Hospital, a rehabilitation hospital in Englewood, Colo., for people with brain or spinal-cord injuries, said that Van Deren “can go hours and hours and have no idea how long it’s been.” Her mind carries little dread for how far she is from the finish. She does not track her pace, even in training. Her gauge is the sound of her feet on the trail.
"Woe Is Me," The Walkmen
She runs multiple ultra marathons a year. Is that not the biggest load of bullshit you've ever read? I can't believe I hadn't heard about this on my own as some crazy sports scandal. The whole point of running is that it is hard to do because it feels hard to do and she's getting away with just running with "little dread for how far she is from the finish." That part where you feel like crying because you have [x] amount of miles left and you've been running for [x] amount of miles already? That's the worst part.
It's like if the T1000 came back to present day just to be a matador and not a time-travelling robot bent on murdering Edward Furlong. Or you're an actor and you get cast in the Biopic on your own life. Or if Yoko Ono's agent was deaf. You get the idea. So next time you're out there absolutely killing yourself and you look at your watch or phone or whatever it is you use to keep time/distance know that there is a lady out there cheating her way to not only multiple ultra marathon wins but even just her regular runs are not the worst things ever.
(Other parts of her life, that we take for granted, are fucked up, but this isn't an Other Parts Of Life That We Take For Granted column, so there.)
"I Still Remember," Bloc Party
I have a really thick, full head of hair. I only know this because every single barber or hairstylist I've ever gone to has always remarked "You have really thick hair." I don't, like, go around comparing the thickness of my hair to other people's hair so that I can then boast about the thickness of my own hair. I actually wish it wasn't so thick because it just adds to the sweating issue I was talking about the other day.