August 7, 2014

Rambling, Geeking

I like fantasy novels. Always have, and at this point, it's probably safe to assume that isn't changing. I was, as it happens, greatly amused that there's a "Goblin's Forest" on Longs Peak, which itself looked menacing, while shrouded in cloud and fog. I consider myself likely the only person to have won a 50 mile race and played several games of Magic: The Gathering in the same calendar year. I'm very proud of that - imagined - fact.

So, I'm excited that my favorite current fantasy author has a new book. It's his first that's categorized as.... young.... adult, however, and I don't consider myself one of those. But I did buy it, because the reviews are good, and categories are often no help at all.

This can be even more true in music, where one man's atmospheric black metal is another's progressive shoegaze with elements of blackened death. And both insist the other's taste is garbage. Still, I was excited for Wolves in the Throne Room's latest album, although I heard rumblings it was something of a departure from their usual, which I'll call American atmospheric black metal. You can listen below, and decide for yourself what you'd call it. Probably, you'll think it's disgusting, which is fine. I've listened to this album nearly every day for about two years now, so I'd obviously disagree. (I'm listening to it right now, actually. Second time today. Brilliant as ever.)

These different notions are fine. It's also fine when a band or artist decides they want to do something very different from their typical work. This in no way invalidates previous offerings, though some fans act otherwise. But for me, life goes on. Crash Love didn't ruin Open Your Eyes and Shut Your Mouth. Same band. Different sounds. One I vastly prefer, but so it goes.

With that preface, I really want to emphasize that WITTR's latest record doesn't color my opinion of the band's previous catalog, nor does it diminish my interest in what they'll do next. But I'd also like to say that I hate the album, after one listen. It's entirely ambient noise. Spacey, vibey, synth stuff. Which yes, is a thing. A valid thing. But not my thing. I'll listen again tomorrow. And then on, perhaps, when I'm playing chess.

Which I do like. Though I'm really awful. A better runner, I guess, and better than I thought I'd be at this moment. My Colorado efforts were good - if errant - and I completed 12 @ 7 flat in 94-degree heat this afternoon, able to pass the talk test the entire time. My fitness, such as it ever was, seems to have returned quickly.

Still, I'm not terribly motivated to do anything with it, other than enjoy not having a broken leg bone. Call it a base phase, if you want.

Related, Running Times posted an interesting article by Greg McMillan today, concerning the oft-debated merits of speedwork (VO2max, in their parlance) during the base phase. McMillan, being a Lydiard guy, is against it, though he advocates for a more Canova model of periodization in the article. Not to say he's wrong (for what it's worth - nothing - I actually agree with him, fundamentally), but his arguments are not really empirically proven. If there is any research on muscle pH and mitochondrial degradation - related to training intensity - I've never seen it, and he certainly never cites it. But then, he - like Lydiard - is a coach more than a scientist. And even the "science guys", like Magness, advocate a basically identical model. Train the opposites, work towards race pace specificity. It does make sense, but given that reading academic journals is my job, perhaps, I really like to see them used when science sounding terms are used somewhat haphazardly to build a case.

Not to say I received zero running related articles today. I did work on an article concerning blisters in ultrarunners for a podiatry journal. It was, to my mind, fascinating. The short version: Injiji was the only sock that seemed to help. No tapes, powders, creams, etc., did. The best predictors of blister freedom, however, were ultra experience and training volume. Something to that, probably.

By the way, yes, I realize this is basically four posts in one, and if you read this whole thing, I offer you either congratulations or my sympathy. It just so happens that the primary things about which I geek (fantasy lit, people screaming loudly with backing guitars/drums, and running) offered inspiration today. So a near perfect day, yes, but probably also a hint as to why I haven't had a date in a while. Somehow, a profound interest in hobbits, scary music, and blisters accomplishes this.

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