Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Statistically Speaking: Favs of '10

Let's put the lid on 2010 and start 2011 with a little music round up.  These are the top 3 songs, artists, and albums that I've listened to in 2010. Not all these songs and albums were released during that year, but I definitely discovered or in one case rediscovered them during the year. Just like last year 99% of what I've listened to throughout the year has been tracked by Last.fm just because I'm obsessive like that. All these were pulled from my stats. Let's get our round up on... 

Top 3 Songs

3. Champion - No Heaven
I picked up on this song through a game trailer, and it immediately brought me back to Moby's album Play of which I was a huge fan. It immediately went into heavy rotation on my running playlists. It's a fun song and has a great beat for running.

2. Sia - Clap Your Hands
I'm a sucker of Sia ever since they used her song Breathe for the final sequence of Six Feet Under. I'm sure it's out there on YouTube somewhere, but it probably won't mean as much to you if you didn't follow the show through the series. In the meantime check out her fun, quirky video for Clap Your Hands

1. Spoon - Got Nuffin
Another running playlist mainstay. The driving beat makes for a perfect running song. They are really a criminally under appreciated band. If you've seen Stranger Than Fiction or some episodes of Chuck you've heard them. They're music has that cinematic quality that works perfectly for a soundtrack. I know they are often the soundtrack for my life. 

Top 3 Artists

3. The Beatles
Yes, I was one of the people that got sucked into downloading the iTunes versions of some of the Beatles albums. So far it has been Revolver and Rubber Soul, and there will be more. I like the included album art, the documentaries and the new digital copies sound really good. So that means I have vinyl, cd's, and now digital. What else you got? I'll probably buy it. 

2. Spoon
Did I mention these guys were under appreciated? Check out Gimme Fiction, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, and their latest Transference. If you want to start with songs check out the previously mentioned song as well as The Underdog, I Summon You and My Mathematical Mind. 

1. Sia
See above.

Top 3 Albums

3. Spoon - Transference 
I think I've said enough about the band. They rock. I love them. Some of the highlights from Transference: Before Destruction (really sets the tone for album and really sums up their sound) The Mystery Zone, Written In Reverse, and of course Got Nuffin.

2. Florence + The Machine - Lungs
Great album. She uses a mix of rock and soul and one hell of a powerful voice to create a sound all her own. Check out Dog Days are Over, Kiss With A Fist, Drumming, and You've Got The Love for a taste.

1. The Seedy Seeds - Count The Days
Yay for The Seedy Seeds! Count The Days is actually a couple of years old, but whatever. My list, my rules, besides it's only been a few times in my life that a local act has really caught my attention let alone put out such a great album. City Beat described their sound as "Electronic Americana" which works as well as anything. Check out this album and their new EP Roll Deep on iTunes and definitely one of their live shows if you get the opportunity. You won't regret it.

That's it for 2010 kids. Here's to another great year and lots of great music. Just as a bonus here are some late year finds or releases that didn't get enough plays, but are definitely worth mention:
  • The Roots - How I Got Over
  • Cee Lo Green - The Lady Killer
  • Girl Talk - All Day

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Race 2010 (A late, late race report)

The Thanksgiving Day Race is always one of the most unpredictable races of the year in terms of weather. Maybe it's the second most unpredictable race. The first is the Heart Mini in March. In terms of sheer randomness of weather it really takes the cake. Thanksgiving comes in at a close second. It takes the cupcake. This year was no exception as we showed up to pouring rain and cold...no actually warm. What? That's right it was pretty warm for a rainy late November day. That's why I usually layer up to warm up and strip down as the race gets closer. Otherwise I end up doing a contortionist's act in my car trying to change outfits. That has happened...multiple times.

This year was much like last year as I came straight to the race from a 12 hour night shift. It's becoming my annual 10k on little to no sleep.  I can't really complain though, like most other night shifters my life has become a blur of work, naps, family and work. It's pretty amazing the conditions your body can learn to operate under. And with that in mind I've had to readjust my goals for the races. It's not going to be about running personal bests right now. It could be about that and will be again at some point, but for now it's got to be about more than that or I'll be very disappointed more often than not. Sort of like the Columbus Marathon.

For me it's about enjoying the run and seeing friends. It was an absolute victory on both those fronts. Saw a few people from Team in Training and the indomitable runner, cyclist, triathlete and ultra law student Melissa! Got a few photos along the way with my iPhone in its improvised waterproof case. Plastic wrap works like a charm, and it only blurs the camera slightly. As for the race?

The race was great. The rain let up to a drizzle as we were lining up and mostly stopped for the duration of the race. It was really quite awesome. Despite being tired I felt really, really good. I didn't micromanage my pace throughout the race. I just went with how I felt and everything worked out. Being carried along in a crowd of 10,000 other runners and walkers really encourages the A game. And it was brought. The only time I had any doubt or reservation was a bit after mile 4. I could feel the miles start to wear me down as the early race buzz was wearing off. It's at this point I just say to myself. I'll be done in under 15 minutes. I can do most anything for 15 minutes right? That little bit of suffering will be gone and the good feelings of accomplishment will last the rest of the day. Totally worth it. Plus there's pie when I get home! Bonus!

Even though I didn't concentrate on my pace throughout the race I couldn't help but see how I did afterwards. I was quite pleased.
Official Time: 44:14 Pace: 7:08 Overall: 534/10,757 Division: 47/563

Extra bonus! My 47th division place was enough to put me in the top 10% winning me this sweet award. This fun glass that I immediately cracked while washing in the sink. Doh!

It tastes like victory...and glass :-(

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The best camera is the one that's with you.

My new favorite past time is playing with photos in Picnik. It's inexpensive, easy to use, and best of all it's on the web. No fuss no muss. Girl, I'm gonna be lookin' soooo good in my photos. And if you're nice to me so will you. If not I can always zombify you.

Panographic Flower

Glassworks Remix Collage
Upper left was the original. The rest are the picniked results.

Capt. Duck McMasterson checks out the chicks.

Big time troubs. for daddy. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We win some, we lose some. We make people sing and dance for drinks...

happy to serve you

As of last night I'm officially back on the team. It's time to start fundraising again for Team in Training! After a two year break I've decided to run with team for the 2011 Flying Pig. It will be fun to get out with a new group and hopefully see some old friends again over the winter and spring for training. Game on people.

So, last night I was out for my first fundraising event at the Monday night Bengals/Steelers game. I've always avoided these fundraisers, because I heard they were sort of hit or miss as to being worth the amount of time and work for the money you receive. I figured Monday night football with Pittsburgh in town would be a sure fire win...for me, not so much for the Bengals unfortunately. If nothing else it would be a great opportunity to meet some of the team. It turned out to be a really fun time, and most likely really profitable to boot. There was a nice mix of people there training for Disney and for the spring Pig.

The highlight of the evening for me was watching and messing with the drunk people, and there were plenty to mess with there. My favorite line was, after getting their ID to look at them skeptically and say I'd need more proof of their age. Depending on their age range my common question and "proof" would be: "If you're really (insert age) what's your favorite Backstreet Boy? N'Sync member?" "Sing me a line from you're favorite Backstreet song?" to which several girls belted out lines from various songs. Hilarious. "I'm gonna need to see your hammer time." This also got the desired response. Awesome.

The evening was capped off watching a guy take the 10 sugars, 10 sweet and lows and five creamers he had just asked for and put every one of them in his coffee. Whoa dude. Stop...hammer time.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

It's that guy from Guitar Hero!

As Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young taught us through song it is important to teach your children well. Case in point: on Halloween it's very important your children are aware of their historical figures, pop icons and rock legends. When you are out with your kids, friends' kids and the like and you see this guy....

You don't want to be with the kid that yells out..."hey it's that guy from Guitar Hero!" or worse "it's Abraham Lincoln with a guitar!" Oh dear, sweet child o' mine. You're lucky Slash is an understanding guitar god with patience. Otherwise I would shred that ignorant grin right off your face. Believe me, it's so easy.

Don't cry, take them aside and embrace this teaching moment. Show them Paradise City, or welcome them to jungle because we got fun and games.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Run Like Hell Playlist

A heavy metal playlist for a rockin' run and party.

  • Symphony of Destruction - Megadeth
  • New Moon Rising - Wolfmother
  • Love Me On The Wild Side - Lady Sovereign Vs. Motley Crue
  • Hells Bells - AC/DC
  • Stacked Actors - Foo Fighters
  • Ace of Spades - Motorhead
  • Aerials - System of a Down
  • Wild Side - Motley Crue
  • Bulls on Parade - Rage Against The Machine
  • Don't Tread On Me - Metallica

Sunday, October 24, 2010

2010 Columbus Marathon Report

I've been considering for a week now how to look back at this race. My first attempt at writing about the race earlier this week turned into a whiny rant that will never see the light of day. It felt good to get it out though. It's been expelled out into the digital emptiness of the unpublished blog posts never to be seen again. As you can guess I was disappointed with the results of the race. The thing is I don't want to concentrate on what went wrong when so much went well, so let's break it down into three categories.

The Good

Let's start at the beginning. The start of the race, as I captured above on my iPhone, was awesome. This year we were broken up into corrals based on previous marathon times that were submitted while signing up for the race. My 3:34 and change finish 2 years ago earned me a spot in the second corral. This made it really easy to get right up with the 3:30 pace group at the start. Two years ago I got stuck way in the back of the pack and wasted a ton of energy trying to catch that group. This year I was able to get with my group and enjoy the start of the race without weaving around all the walkers and slower paced runners that decided to go to the front. Sweet.

We were off to a beautiful start on a wonderfully cool and clear morning. Within the first few miles I started my new feeding strategy: eat and drink early and often. I didn't make any changes in what I was eating before and during the race. I was just going to eat more of it. Peanut butter on bagels and bananas before the race and Gu and a Clif Bar to nibble on throughout the race. This strategy had worked well during my long runs and on race day. Basically I snacked my way through the first 20 miles of the race. I wanted to battle my tendency to run out of fuel by the end of the race and the tendency to run into cramps. It seemed to work! By the end I wasn't wasted and ravenous and the cramps never appeared.

As I warmed up over the course of the first half of the marathon it became clear that it was going to be a good race.  By mile 13 I was humming at a good pace and feeling really, really good. Everything was going exactly as planned, so it was time to lay back, keep my cool and not push the pace. It would be really easy for me to get excited and blow it all between miles 15 and 20. I set myself on cruise control, kept the 3:30 pace group in sight and enjoyed the morning. I decided to go no music, no head phones and just enjoy the morning and the crowd support. It was the best decision I made that morning.

It was at mile 21 that I had a breakthrough moment. It was just after mile 21 that I realized I had plenty of gas left to finish the race. I realized the dreaded cramps were not going to come. Everything I had planned was working, and my goal of a 3 hour and 30 minute marathon was within my grasp. I closed my eyes, smiled and let my legs carry me on at a steady, smooth pace.

The Bad

It was at mile 22 that I had a breakdown moment. Just after the mile 22 marker my right knee suddenly throbbed with an intense pain that seemed to start from the outside of my knee and shoot across it. I was forced to slow to a walk. This was not good. This was not a muscle pain. This was some sort of ligament pain. Oh no. This wasn't good at all. Suddenly the 4.2 miles left were beginning to look like a very long way. I  walked for a bit before attempting to run. It lasted about 100 yards until the pain grew to much to bear. Attempting to stretch only caused my other muscles to burst into cramps. Ugh.

My mind began to whirl as I realized the race was slipping through my fingers, and my plans were unwinding right before my eyes. I wondered if I did something wrong. Did I not stretch enough? Did I go out to fast? Was it that douche canoe that kicked the cone in front of me at mile 13 causing me to do the most awkward and painful hurdle I've ever done??? It was hard for me to accept the reality that 4 months of training 6 days a week had gotten me this far. Uuuuugh.

The Ugly

Was my mood after the race. I was in a foul state of mind as I hobbled, walked, jogged the last few miles to the finish line. I had a fake smile plastered on my face, which probably looked more like a grimace, as the wonderful crowd encouraged myself and the rest of the runners. I wanted to appreciate every word, but I was not feeling it. I didn't stick around after the race for any amount of time. All I could think was to get out of there asap.

In the week since the race I've had a lot of time to mull over how things went. The day after the race I came down with a flu that kept me in bed for a few days, so I really had time to mull over the race. It was like going through the stages of grief: shock & denial, pain & guilt, anger & bargaining, depression, anger, more depression. All that was on the first day. Things have turned around as time has passed. I'm happy with what was accomplished, and look forward to doing it again. Maybe soon.

Part of my recovery was getting out on Saturday to pace for part of  a race and cheer on a friend and fellow runner. It felt good, and she was awesome. More on that later. Let's watch the beginning again. That was fun.