27 April 2011


April is waning and suddenly it's less than two weeks until my rendezvous with the white blazes. I have been making some attempts to prepare, inasmuch as one or two ten-milers a week can prepare me for a thirty-miler (the probable answer: notsomuch). I think it is helping more mentally than physically--after all, the Art Loeb is nothing but prolonged steep uphills and prolonged steep downhills, my two favorite features of Pisgah. If nothing else, I can turn my brain to the right setting for that noise.

If I really want to rev my engine beforehand, I probably ought to read Born to Run for the third time--it never fails to ignite a temporary lust for long plodding miles of singletrack. That book does the same thing for me as really good DH videos, which may be indicative of the nature of each sport. Running is my cerebral, solitary retreat, while I like riding because it is adrenaline-pumping, sphincter-clenching, and delightfully social.

There may be nothing finer than a well-made DH video. I entertain no dreams of gravity racing but those films have universal mountain biking appeal. Something about the perfect integration of images and music elevates both to their maximum potential. For example, I watched Made the other evening. Long ago I had decided that Tegan and Sara wasn't really the band for me. But on this viewing of Made I noticed how perfectly the angry, plaintive rock of "The Con" meshed with some righteous shredding at Bromont, and I fell head over heels for it. That song has now been on repeat in my head for a week.

I love how a different perspective or context can completely alter and improve a song. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' first album always left me a bit cold because it seemed too simplistic and punky, but then I listened to a podcast that explained the song "Maps". It was a based on Karen O's disintegrating relationship and in the video her face shows unbearable pain. Another song that is now running through my brain nonstop.
Sometimes when someone I respect really likes a song or artist, I give it more time and consideration than I otherwise would. I recently downloaded the Sleigh Bells album because it got so much buzz last year. After a few plays I relegated it to the Meh pile as being too noisy and repetitive. Then it came up during an unintentional listening session with some friends, who all thought the album was great. It inspired in Rimmer this flawless gem of musical criticism: "The intro [to "Treats"] makes me want to set fire to a car, and the rest of the song makes me want to watch it burn."
Needless to say it's back on my playlist.

Forgive the tangents but this is what I was thinking about on my run today, through smothering humidity, cloudbursts, and the intoxicating smell of wet ferns. I never talk about music on this blog. It seems like a pretty personal and subjective pleasure, and similar to people who constantly label themselves "foodies", I think people who are deeply enamored with their own opinions about music are beyond annoying. But I think we all know what it's like to be really affected by something we're listening to, and that is why I feel okay talking about it.

23 April 2011

After Careful Consideration, The Two Most Important Reasons Why I Run In The Forest Instead Of In Town

1: I like to run without a shirt but am deeply self-conscious.

2: Peeing in the woods is on my list of top five favorite things to do in the whole world.

06 April 2011

Redefining Stupidity

my fast fit runner friend leah wandered into the bakery yesterday and casually threw down the gauntlet: 'i've got a free weekend in may and a few friends who want to run the whole art loeb. interested?'
well, yes. the art loeb is on my list of stuff i'd like to do in the next few years. but next month? ouch. she lobbed that terrifying tennis ball into my court and the only thing i could volley back was an, 'um, ok.'
it's haunting my thoughts now. the longest run i've ever done, on an insanely technical and demanding trail? sounds like...the shut-in. which, at (almost) two thirds the distance of the AL, destroyed me. however, a thirty mile group run/hike means less pressure and no entry fee to justify. there is a good chance i'll bail somewhere near gloucester gap or black balsam, so i can prepare for that likelihood. meanwhile, baker bill and i ran up bennett/buckwheat and down avery today and i felt positively spry. now my mind is buzzing with ways to prepare for the madness. laps of presley? repeats on coontree?
stay posted. i may opt out, or i may discover a secret wellspring of masochism that turns me into an ultra-endurance runner.
although the latter is unlikely.

note: leah has already survived it a couple of times, as has jbw and any number of other crazies. and i want to join their crazy ilk.