Friday, March 30, 2012

Detroit Rock City

I'm pulling down questions from the shelf,
I'm asking forgiveness
I ain't asking nobody but myself
-The Raconteurs

That is what I did on my run today.  But that isn't what I want to talk about.

I had some problems on my run today.  First problem - math.  I ran a little over 6 today.  I decided I would up my regular run from 4 to 5, but didn't leave the house with a clear plan on how to do it.  So I started running my 4 mile route and thought that by adding a whole lot to it that it would come out to 5. 

I also had a problem with a left turner who tried to run me over.  Luckily I did a sweet parkour move over the car.  By sweet parkour I mean that I stopped, waited for the car to pass, swore, and then continued on my way.  Note to self - fucko is way cooler when DeNiro says it than when I do.

Now that we got that out of the way - we can get on to the important stuff.  From Motor City (or more appropriately, Hockeytown), The Raconteurs contribute Broken Boy Soldier to the playlist.

This concludes our tour of the Original Six cities of the NHL.  Originally, I thought that for the Montreal run, I would make a playlist of only bands from these cities, but it is just too hard.  I can't have any constraints.  If I were good at running, then maybe I could follow some rules about the official playlist.  But, I'm not.  I need to be free to include anything that will help me get to the finish line, as you will see.  Anyway, I find this song inspriring (but I find the video creepy).

Gotta go.  Father son fantasy baseball draft today.  We are well prepared - I watched Moneyball this weekend.  If my son can handle the Jonah Hill role of knowing which players to pick, then I can handle the Brad Pitt part of eating in every scene.  I know - he does it to show how busy Billy Beane is - I do it cause I'm hungry from accidentally running too far.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dazed and Confused

It`d be a lot cooler if you did

I ran intervals in the real world today.  It was short and kinda awful.  When I run there are lots of times that I want to quit.  Almost always during the first 1/2 mile.  Then again at various points during the run.  One thing that I do is I try to figure out exactly why I want to quit.  Are my legs too weak to carry me?  Am I too mentally weak to go on?  Are my lungs unable to provide oxygen to the rest of my body?  If no body part steps up and claims the title of the weakest link, then we continue.  Today no such conversation was necessary.  Lungs.  On fire.  I stopped to catch my breath and thought ``should I quit`` and my mind answered in Wooderson`s voice.  Weird.  But I ignored his good advice and recovered and finished the workout.

Before my run I had just read the MLB season preview, so I`m sure Wooderson was in my subconscious because I think of Dazed and Confused every time I see Tim Lincecum.  Top 5 movie of all time.

Black clouds are behind me

I now can see ahead . . .
A brighter day is comin my way
yes tomorrow will be kinder.
- The Secret Sisters, Tomorrow Will Be Kinder (From the Hunger Games Soundtrack)

I bought this soundtrack on a whim, and it was the perfect soundtrack for my mountain meander yesterday.  I walked the whole 4.5 miles in a contemplative reverie.  It was still a good workout physically, but even better mentally and emotionally.  The mountain is good for that.  Plus, I was still fatigued from the Great Race of yesterday, even though I got my butt kicked.  I spent some time today recognizing that my problems are small in the grand scheme of things, and others have it so much harder on a fundamental level. 

I also went to the Hunger Games movie last night and it was good.  Really good.  Not great, but really good.  It kept me entertained and engaged the whole time and the cinematography was awesome (enter that into the SAT word cotest, please).  I thought the end was a bit rushed and the relationships not fully developed, but the premise is intriguing if not awful. 

Bf has talked me into going to the gym at lunch today, which I am loathe to do, but he said he's cooking dinner tonight so . . . nuff said.  I'm going. 

I know the present will not last
and tomorrow will be kinder

Monday, March 26, 2012

I'm sorry bout all the things

I said to you.
- buckcherry

So tonight I was doing my taxes on TurboTax and for the first time ever was asked if I benefitted from any Canadian retirement schemes.  I can only assume from this that Big Brother is reading this blog and knows I am conspiring with America's hat.  How concerned should I be?? 

Today I ran the mountain again (also last Wed, and then 2 pathetic road miles on Sat.  I've been remiss in my blogging).  I was in a bit of a hurry this time because I didn't want to be late picking K up from work (which yeah, is where I work but I begged out early because the mountain called).  Bf and I got to the top in about 30 min which was great time, and then I decided to go back the way we came because I thought it was shorter.  Bf didn't agree, so I suggested he go the back way and I go the front way and see who gets down first.  But, I said, I can't wait for you at the bottom, I have to go.  And he said, with a twinkle in his eye, neither can I.  It was so on. 

So I jogged back down confident in the wide margin I had on bf not only because I had the shorter route, but because I'm faster at running downhill (my knees are stronger than most due to the tendon of a Hungarian body builder I had implanted in my right knee).  I even walked a little on the home stretch when I rounded the bend and bf was nowhere in sight.  I trotted on over to the parking lot thinking I'd write in the dust on his back window to let him know I was gone. 

And there he was, waiting with a little grin on his face.  Dammit. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Playlist Update #5 (No, Not Mambo #5)

And since there's no one else around,
we let our hair grow long
and forget all we used to know,
then our skin gets thicker
from living out in the snow.
-Arcade Fire

Ok, so that isn't exactly true.  I'm trying to go get a haircut, the weather has been nice, and my skin remains as thin as it always has been.  But it's time to add a Montreal band to the playlist and it might as well be Arcade Fire.  Nieghborhood #1 (Tunnels) is now officially added to the playlist.  This band must be amazing, because in general, I would not put up with a band having four different songs called Neighborhood something or having so many parentheticals in the song titles.  I really don't want to be talking about a song and have to use air parentheses to tell someone the title.  But the sacrifices I make - I put up with that nonsense because I really like this band.  As always, here is the link
I also wonder if the USA could produce a band like this.  I know that the lead singer grew up in Texas, but I'm pretty sure it takes a great deal of socialized medicine and societial safety nets to allow an 8-piece indie rock band with a violin and a viola to achieve success.

Oh yeah - and I ran today.  Through the neighborhoods (worst segue ever).  I had a big run on my mind - starting the same as my normal "go-to" run, but then taking it North for a ways.  I struggled with the hill on Greenwood as I ran past the streetcar/train storage yard, but then I discovered the main thing the sport of running is missing - halftime.  I ran past a friend's house (in the hopes that he was standing in the street with a bottle of water for me), and he happened to be driving up (no water).  I talked to him for 5-10 minutes - which might seem like the perfect amount of time to allow lactic acid to build up in your legs, but also enough to make the back half of the run interesting again.  Or maybe it was his words of encouragement "stop running, quit doing healthy things".  Either way - I enjoyed the end of my run and can now book my longest run of this year - 7 miles.

Friday, March 23, 2012


They don't know nothing about redemption
They don't know nothing about recovery
-Against Me!

Today I returned to the scene of the crime.  No, I didn't drink some sewer water and then try to run down the Vegas strip.  Different crime.  A couple of weeks ago, I did a fit test on the elliptical machine and was told I was at the 20th percentile of my age group.  This is not something I can accept.  So I went back to the same gym with one thing on my mind -redemption (OK - 2 things - I was hoping to see Rumeal again, but no luck).  I went in with success defined - if I could get a result that I could spin as adequate, I would be happy - 50% would be fine.  60% would be overflowing with adequacity. 

But then something happened.  It was kind of like a Rocky movie.  I can even see the training montage.  Probably not enough actual training to fill the montage, so there would also be some footage of me eating a burger or sitting in front of the TV.  Anyway - I made it to the 90th percentile.  It also gave me some statistics on my lung capacity, which have to be entirely made up. 

My all-out assault on the elliptical machine meant that I had nothing left, so I lifted some weights and did something on the treadmill.  Then I found the astro-turf room and I flipped a giant tire a few times.  Not sure what any of that did for me, but I'm booking this one as a win.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bucket Full of Crazy

Ran 4 miles on the treadmill yesterday.  First 2 at my normal pace and then did 2 miles worth of intervals.  Pretty sweaty stuff it was. 

But more importantly - there's a lot on my mind.  I'm pretty sure that the only way to make sense of all the happenings in the NFL is to believe in the great conspiracy.   What does the league want most of all?  Manning vs. Manning in Archie's backyard for the Super Bowl.  So what do they do - 1) make sure Peyton lands in an AFC city.  2) make sure that New Orleans can't make it - think it's a coincidence that the home team has never made the Super Bowl?  Nope - the league clearly doesn't want it.  3) make sure the Jets are too busy dealing with internal turmoil to make it.  All done.  Now just wait for Tom Brady's wife to drive a wedge between him and his team.  Aaahhhhh.  It's all happening.  If I was Aaron Rodgers I would fake an injury before they come after him.

OK - maybe that is just a bunch of crazy.  What is equally crazy (but actually true) is that Brian Burke, the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, picked a fight with this guy

and is losing.  The man pictured above is Don Cherry and he is a Canadian icon.  He appears for about 4 minutes after the first period of Hockey Night in Canada (you thought we made up Football Night in America?  think again) and says all kinds of crazy jingoistic pro-Canadian stuff and then disappears until next week.  Their fight is not interesting, but it involves Cherry claiming (probably correctly) that Burke tried to get him fired.  Cherry can't be fired - he's as popular in Canada as Tim Tebow is in Denver.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Take these memories

That are haunting me
Of a paper man cut into shreds
By his own pair of scissors
- Papa Roach

Damn, I love that line.  The world is full of paper people who self destruct.  I wondered today on my mountain run if I will be one of them.  I listened to my "sad songs" playlist while I contemplated my life and career and was rather subdued.  But here's the thing:  as I've cleaned out drawers and files in the last couple weeks, I've uncovered a couple old books I started writing.  Its always something that has called to me, since I wrote my first book in fourth grade.  It was called "Spirit:  The Horse That Wouldn't Loose." Yeah, misspelled, but a page-turner nonetheless. 

I grabbed a trail map today and figured that our mountain run is 4.5 miles, so a pretty awesome workout.  Today I power walked up and ran down.  Its a real butt burner. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Late Update on Running and Playlist

Sorry I'm late, I was out spoiling my liver
-Alkaline Trio

Some catching up to do.  I ran? ellipticaled?  completed 2.5 miles on the elliptical machine on Wednesday.  Since my horrific elliptical fit test result I've decided to do some elliptical training and then take another go at it.  Maybe I am an elite athlete, but just not good at the elliptical machine.  Like Charles Barkley playing golf.  Or Carl Lewis singing the national anthem.  I like that idea better than the alternative.

Then I ran 5.4 in the real world on Thursday.  It wasn't a bad run.  But then I went out with some friends on Thursday night and we can just fast forward to today when I'm feeling good again. 

Feeling good enough to reveal song #4 on the official playlist.  That's right - add Cooking Wine by Alkaline Trio to the playlist.  For those of you playing at home who guessed the next location would be Chicago - congratulations.  For the rest of you who are not interested in this mysterious (or not so mysterious) six city tour - don't worry  It will be over soon and we can go on to something else, like guilty pleasures, or the perenials that make every playlist, or just random cool songs.

You can enjoy Cooking Wine here.  This song has a special place in my heart because it was my psych-up song for the fake interview I had for a promotion at my former workplace.  But that is a story for another day - or maybe another forum.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

He keeps a toothbrush at my place

As if I have the extra space.
- John Mayer

That line always makes me laugh. 

Today I walked one and ran one.  Did same on Monday, not much worthy of mention.  Getting ready for St Patty's day celebration, patron saint of green beer and whatnot.  Happy equinox all!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

All my instincts, they return

And the grand facade so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside
 - Peter Gabriel
I listened to a most awesome acoustic version of this song on a new playlist bf made for me on Tuesday when we ran the mountain.  And I mean, we ran.  A lot.  I really like working out with bf because he pushes me to do my best, and I sometimes don't like working out with him for the same reason.  We pushed up and down the mountain in 1:10.  We ran like holy hell almost all the way down.  Running down this mountain is like being on a roller coaster, twisting and turning over loose rocks and boulders, rock hopping at incredible speeds with no rails and knowing that if you misstep you'll be tumbling for a long time (as has happened before, mind you, but I wasn't going nearly as fast).  If you don't think about it and just go with gravity and the music pounding in your ears, its almost a religious experience.  The world converges around you and seems to make sense, and you just go with the forces of the universe directing your next step on the mountain and in life.  Hell sometimes you do fall, but if you listen to the swirl, you get back up to a view more beautiful than the one you would have seen if you'd kept on your current path. 


Tuesday, March 13, 2012


After all it was a great big world
With lots of places to run to
-Tom Petty

I ran outside today and went 3.5 miles.  I know this, because the site "map my run" told me.  This site is great.  You just draw on the map where you ran and it spits out how far you went.  And it believes anything you say.  If you tell it that you walked on water and ran across Lake Ontario, it won't blink.  My only problem is a small one - the site assumes that because I am running in a metric-speaking country that I would like my results in kilometers.  Not the case. So I have to make an extra click to get my results in miles - and sometimes I am fooled for a moment and then disappointed by reality.

I was able to run outside today because it was 15 degrees C.  I really don't know what that means.  While the metric system is intuitive on one level, it is also so foreign to me in terms of familiarity.  When I first moved here I watched the Buffalo weather just so I could get the temperature on the right scale (it turns out that watching the weather in another city isn't the best way to know what is happening in yours).  What is really interesting to me is that while all Canadians know the outside temperature and how far they ran or drove in metric, very few could cook or announce their height and weight in metric.  I talked to someone who moved into a new place and the thermostat was set in F and the oven in C and he didn't know how to use either one.  Also you might have more luck getting someone to tell you their weight in stones rather than kilograms.  I'm trying to think if this parallels the use of language - everyone I know can drop an F-bomb in French (I can too now) and get by in a conversation (I can't unless the conversation is about counting or breakfast ceareal) - but most people are pretty far from bilingual. 

Just a few observations that might be important if you want to pretend to be a Canadian while you are traveling.  Not that the world doesn't love Americans. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

MTL Playlist Update #3

Well I don't feel better
When I'm f***ing around
And I don't write better
When I'm stuck in the ground
So don't teach me a lesson
Cause I've already learned
- The Strokes

I had a training class today that lasted until about 1:00 and then I was done with work.  I got a slice of pizza,and went to the gym, but I wasn't really feeling great because I still hadn't really digested my lunch and  my hopes of free parking at this gym location were dashed.  But then things take a turn for the good.  I see a man in full-on Michigan Wolverines basketball gear including a Rumeal Robinson jersey.  Rumeal Robinson???  I'm not sure how someone decides to buy a Rumeal Robinson jersey, so I looked him up on Wikipedia to see if maybe he was coaching a youth team in Southwestern Ontario, but according to Wikipedia he is currently in prison for fraud.  Anyway, I kept my head on a swivel looking for a Loy Vaught jersey or a Jimmy King, but no luck.

Turns out the Strokes quote was bang on for my workout - I never felt better and I kinda just f***ed around.  I got on the elliptical machine and did a fit test which told me I was in the bottom 20% for my age group.  Then I moved to the spin bike.  I've never ridden a spin bike and it looks like a great workout, but I have a hard time making my schedule work with group exercise.  I'm going to be at the gym when I'm at the gym - I can't work around anyone else's schedule.  So this spin bike has a built in virtual trainer - perfect.  So I get on and the trainer (Dolph Lundgren's little brother) appears.  He's biking in front of a background that looks like every terrible powerpoint presentation you've ever seen.  I'm listiening to my iPod, so I have no idea what he is telling me, but he puts his hand out, palm up, and then squeezes his fingers together into a fist.  I assume Drago Jr. is telling me that if I don't go faster he will crush my testicles.  Ok - this guy seems like an effective motivator, I'll tune in - what else do you have to tell me?  So when I plug in he says "Gonna make you fit, gonna make you lean, now start dipping your left shoulder in rhythm".  What?  Start dancing on the spin bike?  In Scarborough?  No.  I'm pretty sure no one would do that.  I quickly went back to the iPod.

Then I continued my peripatetic (oh yeah, anthropomorphize that - the SAT word challenge is on) trip around the cardio section with a trip to the treadmill.  I f***ed around on there for a bit and then brought this workout to a close.  Oh yeah, as is well docuemted - I can't quite get it figured out to go to the gym.  I forgot my towel again.  So I could decide not to shower, but it's cold outside and I need to go to Staples to make copies of all my tax information.  So I went with plan B - showered and then used my sweaty shirt to dry off.  Pretty sure all I accomplished was to equal out my nastiness all over my body, but I did talk myself into believing I was clean.  Workout summary - 1 mile on the elliptical, 5 miles on the bike, and 2 miles on the treadmill - none of it expecially good.

And while it is probably time to wrap up this post - the rambling continues.  Song #3 is in the playlist.  Heart In A Cage by The Strokes.  You can enjoy it here.

And I never posted a link to Our 72 - here you go

OK - so we have Toronto (Tim Scott), Boston (Dropkick Murphys) and now New York -any idea where we go next?  I'll give you a hint - there's three more cities to visit for this part of the playlist.  Feel free to shout out the answer.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I wanna play that game tonight.

Can anyone guess the band behind that little 80's ditty?  Thas some authentic retro Hall n Oates for you, released same year as the basketball shoes I donned Sunday evening to whup some ass on bf.  Said bball shoes also sport the autographs of Byron Scott, mid-80's Laker, and Jay Humphries, former Phoenix Sun.  That's why I've kept them all these years, can you imagine what they would go for on eBay?  And the preteens hogging the court were clearly impressed while bf and I did some pregame suicides courtside while waiting for next game. 

Anyway, I started the game with some fancy ball handling while I relayed the story of a former guy I dated after college who wanted to play me one-on-one and whom I beat and never dated again because what self-respecting girl wants to date a guy she can beat in basketball?  Oh, it was on then.  It was a physical battle, bf all up in my grill till I accidentally threw an elbow at his head and he lost his glasses and went all Magic Johnson on me and then I tried to quit but he wouldn't let me.  Tempers flared, my friends, and ultimately bf pulled off the victory 11-8 but not before letting me score a few to assuage my ego.  I will say I had some serious lung burn during this contest, which totally counts for a couple miles. 

Today I did a run/walk 2 miles as lung burn has turned into a nasty chest cold.  Tomorrow we are shredding on the mountain, my boy and I, so should be good times.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Super Tuesday Super Run?

Oh, give us your vote
Give us your vote
If you know what's good for you
-Tokyo Police Club

I ran 4.25 miles on the treadmill this morning.  The treadmills at the gym have their own TV mounted on them and so I watched the Toronto version of headline news.  Or I should say, my TV was tuned in to headline news.  I spent some time watching the TV next to mine which was showing Scooby Doo.  I could have changed my channel, but that would be admitting that I wanted to watch Scooby more than stay informed about current events.  The only current events though were a very cursory mention of Super Tuesday and a lot of coverage of Oreo's 100th birthday.  The in-studio hosts had a package of regular oreos and a package of birthday cake oreos and the "young" male host (he must be 50, but he has frosted tips and two earrings) stacked 4 oreos vertically and took a bite out of all of them.  Probably the worst possible way to eat oreos.  Only a stoner like Shaggy could get behind this method.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Another awesome day

I did the 5 mi loop hike again this evening and it was so gorgeous out!  I didn't run as much as I did yesterday but still pushed.  I have to say my quads were barking at me when I started out and still are tonight. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Night Hike

Today I decided to "work from home," meaning returning a few emails while a screwed around, so I had a lot of energy for a hike when I set out around 5pm.  I decided I was going to go as far as I felt like it.  That might be to the end of the parking lot, or a mile in, or the whole loop.  As it turned out, I felt pretty good and attacked the whole loop.  I ran much of the first mile, debating whether or not to pass an older guy ahead of me who was walking fast, as I wanted to avoid him re-passing me, but I went for it.  I stopped, stunned, about a mile in at the sight of two big beautiful grey/brown deer grazing on the trees.  I've been hiking up there for several years and have never seen anything like it.  They were incredible!  I waved to the two guys behind me and pointed at the deer, because beauty like that just has to be shared.  I felt a little like I did last weekend when I read a poem during a writing seminar I attended that actually used the word anthropomorphism, which is a word bf and I discovered a couple months ago when he was looking for a label for my behavior (it means attributing human characteristics to animals, if you're interested).  It was the first and only time I have ever seen that word in print, and I took it as a sign that I was exactly where I needed to be.  I felt the same way about seeing the deer after having taken the day off and spent it writing - confirmation that I'm exactly where I need to be.  (And now you're wondering, what could possibly rhyme with anthropomorphism, right?)

Anyhoo, old dude did pass me again eventually, despite my best efforts, but he was there at the saddle to greet me with a smile while he enjoyed the view, and he thanked me for pointing out the deer.  He said he's been hiking these trails for 3 years and never seen anything like them.  I took advantage of his desire to "enjoy the scenery" and took off down the trail, and I ran most of the way down.  At one point I paused and looked behind me and, wait!  Old man running!  He was only a couple hundred yards behind me, damnit all.  So I took off again, resolute to reach the trail head ahead of him. But alas, he did pass me about a half mile before the end.  Tough old bird that was. 

I did the trail in about 1:20, which was pretty damn good.  I am beat now, and not altogether unashamed to admit that I've been in bed since 8:30 on this Friday night.  Cause that's how I roll.