The half-marathon was yesterday. This post concerns the week leading up to the race, so I'll talk about that next week. Assuming I finished the race and/or did not die. Stay tuned! Here's this week's Spotify playlist.
Irish Car Bomb, Hot Rod Circuit
I didn't do much running this week because they say you're supposed to keep your legs fresh for your actual race. That never made much sense to me; I mean, I understand the virtue of fresh legs, but I don't understand why your legs wouldn't be just as fresh as any normal week of running.
I find incredible comfort in knowing on any given long run that within the past week I ran roughly one mile less than I plan on running that day. Obviously I'd like there to be some down time between when those two runs happen; my legs wouldn't be fresh on Sunday if I had run 11 miles on Saturday. My legs wouldn't be useful, forget fresh. But wait a couple days and I don't understand the concept of leg freshness.
Cold Night In Virginia, The Blacktop Cadence
Maybe it's a capital-R Runner thing; you guys want to get the personal record. The PR. "PR," listen to yourselves. You sound ridiculous. You are speaking in abbreviations. You like to exercise everything but your tongue? Don't want to over work your jaw while moving it to talk? YOU ARE LAZY, CAPITAL-R RUNNERS. Lazy. It's not even a particularly intricate phrase like, say, modus operandi or something. Just talk like a regular person and say "personal record." It's the words "personal" and "record" literally right after each other. It takes, like, three seconds. You want to have a fresh tongue? Start cursing.
Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don't, Brand New
Anyway, the personal record, I guess, is the reason for wanting to keep your legs fresh. How do I put myself in position to perform best for this specific race? This is admirable and for the capital-Rs out there, good on you and your fresh appendages; I hope it pans out. Having well-rested legs probably helps and at the very least I can't imagine it hurting your objective.
My goals are simpler: don't be last, don't let an old person pass me right before the finish line. I suppose even if I did finish last, I'd be OK with it—I mean, I still finished—the old person thing pisses me off, though. You and I both know you weren't running that fast the whole time. You emptied the tank late and artificially passed me to make yourself feel better, you dirty usurper.
Radio, Alkaline Trio
I ran 11 miles on Wednesday. That's all the running I did this week. I am writing this on a Thursday and I feel like if I had to run the race Friday, I'd be OK. The race is actually Saturday night (last night, as you're reading this) so I am not concerned at all. I feel like adrenaline does 75 percent of the work for these things anyway. Maybe it wears off the more you do, but I am anticipating powering through this thing without remembering most of it because I'll be all jacked up with anticipation.
I wanted to run 12 miles because of the whole one-mile-more thing I was talking about before (I know it's 13.1; we're rounding down), but I was gassed and miscalculated the distance. I was finishing up on a loop that I thought was 2.1 miles around, but was actually 1.2. That's how bad I am at judging distances. I look at this course that was 1.2 miles—it was basically the perimeter of a park, so I could see the whole thing—and thought to myself, yes, that is 2.1 miles and not at all essentially half of that. If it were me in that Into The Wild story where the guy eats the wrong kind of herbs and dies, I would get stuck wandering the woods at night away from camp because I saw a mountain in the distance and thought I could get water in time. I would then be eaten by bears. On Day 1.
Fury Of The Storm, DragonForce
I also decided, mid-run, to try this cross-country trail course in the park and it was a total disaster. It was actually the site of the first official race I ever ran, which was a few years ago now. I remembered that there was one really big hill in the beginning—and there was—but I must have forgotten that there were approximately 17 other giant hills behind it. The funny thing is, I decided to run the trail so I could eat up some mileage without having to run back home to my neighborhood which involves a shitload of hills.
The Birth And Death Of The Day, Explosions In The Sky
No matter where you go, if you leave the neighborhood it involves hills and if you try running so you finish back home—which is what I do, because why would you want to finish running 12 miles and then have walk further back home? Makes no sense—you have to end by going up these enormous hills. I figured I was doing something semi-admirable; I'd still be running up and down some hills, but it won't be at the tail end of the run. I'd get them out of the way and then have my wife pick me up when I was done.
Well, I had my wife pick me up, but those extra 97 hills I hadn't remembered really did me in. Add on to that the crushing realization that my pre-determined finish line was not actually my finish line because me no good distances and a stiff driving wind in my face, I called it at 11 miles.
Quarter Past, Fall Of Troy
I'm sitting on my flight to Florida using Delta's WiFi, which a.) you have to pay for and b.) is terrible and I just realized I forgot to sync my playlist from my desktop to my phone. I spent an inappropriate amount of time fine-tuning the playlist; listening, selecting, deselecting, listening and selecting again and I forgot to sync the stupid thing from iTunes to my phone. I had some deep cuts on there that I hadn't listened to in years and now I can't remember any of them.
Moonpies For Misfits, Hot Water Music
I know I had a Rage song from a Live and Rare album. Hadn't listened to that in probably a decade. I had them all specifically ordered and calculated for optimal brain-distractingness. Those songs, in that specific order were my fresh legs and now it's all borked. I can closely approximate it probably, but it won't be the same.
It's like if you've ever written anything and lost it without saving it. You know what you said, but you said it very specifically that first time and now that it's gone and anything that is not that exact version that you initially created is instantaneously worse because it was not first. You may have even poorly conveyed a very stupid idea in that now-lost thing you wrote and fixed it in the new version, but the new version will never be good enough. Like primogeniture, but for ideas.
(I Am) What I Am Not, Idlewild
I'm pretty sure my entire library is on my phone, so theoretically it won't be a problem and it is possible to get every song I had, but now I'll have to sit down and recreate it from my phone, which is not at all convenient. Quite honestly I don't even know if you can actually make playlists on the phone. I just assume you can. The whole point of this miserable column is to write about running through the spectrum of a music playlist and I forgot the playlist.
Gotta tell you, I'd much rather have forgotten the running part.
Let's Get Fucked Up And Die, Motion City Soundtrack
Getting a little turbulence right now. I am secretly such a wuss when it comes to flying. Whenever I fly or whenever I drive over bridges I immediately think about the worst possible outcomes and obsess over them. I don't say anything to anyone, but I just sit there, quietly losing my mind until I return to terra firma. My wife squeezes my hand and I just reassuringly laugh at her fear, oh lady, don't be silly. We're going to be fine; people fly all the time. What could possibly go wrong?
Helena, My Chemical Romance
So much! So much could go wrong and all I can think about is that this steel tube hurtling through the air is a miracle of engineering waiting to disappoint a whole lot of people. I am going to stop writing now because this is kind of weird. Like I've practically begged The Watchmaker to just reach out and flick the plane or something.
Anne You Will Sing, The Promise Ring
Epilogue: It's Sunday now. Hi. I made it. It was fun. Got super, super drunk afterwards, which I am really proud about. I'll have more next week but I just wanted to pass along that I told literally anyone who would listen about my playlist debacle and not a single one of them found it particularly interesting or debacle-y. Hashtag first world problems, I guess. I still think it was a trying situation for me. I spent at least a good hour putting that thing together for nothing. I could have used that hour for something really awesome like dicking around on the internet. Alas. Catch you next week.