October 29, 2014

Here are some words, its been a while

It wouldn't be accurate to say that I haven't written, exactly, although you've seen nothing here. I've spent as much - perhaps more - time than usual hunched over this laptop, trying to hammer out things that are not blog posts. But they are all deleted now. About which I am pleased. Or at least, not unhappy.

What are these things? Impressions. Tangents. I start with something or someone that strikes me and then go until I can't. And I don't save. Or I haven't, yet.

Joyce did this, more or less, and it always struck me as genius. Write things down, as they interest you. Words carry themselves forward, sometimes outpacing our expectations for them. Joyce carried with him a notebook, however, and thus of course did save everything, and incorporated much of it into his works. I am not Joyce, though, which is so absurd a thing to say that it simply must be said.

But while I don't save the words, I save the act. It's not undone. And that path now trod across my synapses perhaps brings me closer to something worth finding. Perhaps not. But the movement is worthwhile, just the same.

They say you never regret a run, and I find that to be true for reading and writing as well. Somewhat arbitrarily, I mandate for myself at least an hour of physical book reading a day, and as much time writing - or trying to. Add that to my hour or more of running, and you might get the impression that I don't get out much. You'd be correct. But it's good. And maybe "it" wouldn't be without these things, so, no regrets.

On the running front, I should note that I'm running a half marathon on Sunday. This race - the Kansas Half Marathon, April 2011 - was largely the impetus for my taking running somewhat more seriously, when I ran 1:33:27 on - and I can't say for sure - maybe 15 miles a week. I had fun, but if I'm being honest, the primary appeal was that I had stumbled upon a sport at which I was not immediately awful. I wanted to try and get something like "good", which has turned out to be quite the moving target, perpetually several minutes faster than whatever my best happens to be at that moment.

But - despite my occasional bitching, which might reasonably lead you to assume the opposite - I'm quite happy to chase the carrot, knowing full well that I can't possibly get it. The chase - and the exploration, of terrain both literal and metaphorical, that results - has become almost wholly the point.

(Still, I'd like to run a time I don't hate at the moment, even if I'll deem it too slow in 6 months.)

October 14, 2014

Good time

From Breaking Madden, the internet's best football videogame comedy series:
Running is awesome if you don't have access to a bicycle. Or maybe you do, but you want to see less of the world and have a bad time.
Sometimes it's nice to remember that this hobby is still a powerfully silly indulgence, to most. But powerfully silly is still powerful, in its way.

I run a lot, and my routes vary basically not at all. I run on a treadmill by choice several times a week even when the weather is perfect. It would, in short, be hard for a runner to see less of the world than I do, and yet I nearly always have a good time. Because, while I enjoy quality trail and mountain porn as much as the next person, the act of sustained bipedal self propulsion is itself so satisfying to me as to require no accompaniments, no additional stimuli.  

People ask how I don't get bored and I say there are three steps a second to focus on, which is almost too much action to process. Then there's all the shit in my head, which, well, that's irritating often enough, but never boring. 

I have not, to my knowledge, changed any minds. 

But there is a dog right now trying to wrestle with my foam roller, and that's ok. 

October 8, 2014

Springs eternal

My first and thus far only attempt at a road marathon was this spring, and it sucked.

Or rather, I sucked. And as such, it sucked. Let's not blame external factors when my inability to hold pace - or even to hold myself together - covers things nicely. Causation should be kept in the right order, and I fell apart. I ended up running, jogging, the sometimes even walking my way to like 3:25. (I honestly don't remember the exact time and I don't want to look it up.)

Talking about that with some folks today, and it struck me that I need to fix that. ("Need", yeah, I know.)

I'd like to jump in to Kansas City or Wichita this month but I haven't quite had the time to rebuild the fitness I had pre-injury or get my iron levels up above par. (That, sadly, takes months.) Also, I'm broke, and marathons are expensive. Cheap sport, yeah, but not free. So it goes. Injuries hurt fitness and the wallet, because medical bills are a bitch. Again, so it goes.

But spring is months away and has marathons of its own. Iron levels should be replete by then, and of course I'll keep training, because I'm a raging addict who does nothing but run, really. If I'm being honest, there is a part of me that hopes those two things act synergistically and produce something of a tangible "jump", rather than meager gains. Anecdotally, it does seem correcting anemia does that for some. But to be honest, not for others. While it certainly is wishful thinking on my part, wishes do sometimes come true. In any case, it's enough time to achieve the same fitness I had this spring, which - even if I'm not a step "faster" - should produce a much faster marathon time. (The calculators all swear I'm comfortably under three hours! But, I mean, fuck them.)

So here's my motivation then, which I've been missing, of late. It's based purely in negativity, sure, and people will say that's a bad thing. But it's worked for me in the past. To the extent that I've had success in running, it's almost always come from a desire to correct perceived failures. (That, and the fact that I simply enjoy the act. These do seem like contradictory notions. I know. It's strange.)

Light on specifics for now, of course. Hopefully by then I'll be unbroken - or less broke, relatively - and be able to pay someone/something to help with this. Training will emerge from random 70 mile weeks, and fitness will be gauged from real workouts and shorter races. I'll show up healthy, confident, focused, and ready to execute.

And then, I won't fuck it up. (Hopefully.)

October 5, 2014

Running this morning and a couple music things

Was going to race this Saturday, but slept in, saved my money. Felt good about it and ran about 10 at about 7 this morning with some folks. Not a "race effort" but enough to make me feel like something other than a lazy ass for doing neither race nor long run this weekend.

Thus, motivation to run (kind of a lot) remains very high. Feeling great. Feeling fit. However, motivation to race is still very low. I'm not sure what to say about that because I'm not sure how I feel about it. Fine? I guess. Certainly cheaper this way. And axiomatically, doing what I enjoy is enjoyable. So there is always that.

There is also this, a shamelessly theatrical - nobody really does the corpse paint/pretend satanic gimmick anymore - bit of blackened death metal that would make for excellent pre-race music, could I muster the desire.
The opening riff has been my favorite thing in music for a month or so now. The entire album, perhaps owing to the mainstream fame of the lead singer in his home country of Poland (he's dated a pop star and is a judge on their version of The Voice... which is amazing) is actually quite accessible and eminently listenable, at least as things called The Satanist go. Very well produced, with hooks, choruses, and such. Very much the antithesis of Behemoth's earlier black metal work in that regard, and yet a natural evolution if you've listened along the way.

Going more for a "back to a past that never quite existed" approach is XTRMST, which is the more famous half of AFI (the lead singer and guitar player), a band that was once a west coast punk outfit, but became briefly quite famous as a sort of glam/goth/rock hybrid. (Thank MTV2 and Guitar Hero for that, I suppose.) This is the straight edge hardcore band they never became, chaotic, chuggy, shouty, and harshly judgemental. (They really don't like meat or alcohol.) The entire album isn't out for a couple more weeks, but it too will probably make great pre-race music in the future.