August 29, 2009

I have just discovered Me First & The Gimme Gimmes. What a great punk band! They take well-known songs and crank up the tempo, add punk licks, and generally barf color-me-bad all over them. It is GREAT running music. I am going to have to get more.

5.15 miles done in an hour and two minutes.

The splits are generally accurate, disregarding 'mile 6'. The route is accurate. I slept way too late, and then took my time getting out the door, because it was raining. I did make sure to take Tylenol and some tea before I went. I should have taken water with me, but didn't - that didn't seem to impact my performance any, though.

The lungs held up pretty well in the clean, humid air. With the temp in the low 70s, I wasn't sweating too badly either. A very nice day for a run, generally speaking.

The legs are beginning to have problems. Aches and pains that take days to go away, if they go away at all. I have IT band pain, knee pain, and pain on both the tops and bottoms of my feet, but nothing severe. I made a point to stretch very well after today's run. I hope I can keep up the training, though discontinuing marathon training has crossed my mind. I must still keep up after the 5 borough challenge, though.
So many things go through my mind when I run. Today's thoughts orbited around three centers of gravity: Senator Kennedy's passing, Bob Dillon's All Along the Watchtower, and Steve Runner's sudden, if not surprising, love affair with barefoot running.

Ted Kennedy didn't have much impact on my life. I was only peripherally aware of who he was: a senator for some New England state; brother to two slain, beloved political icons; and implicated in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne. I'd become more aware of him as a powerful political force in recent years and have a hunch that it was his endorsement that propelled Obama to victory. I knew he was dying of brain cancer. That sucks, absolutely sucks, but he dealt with it nobly. He obviously left behind a legacy that few men ever could match and I wonder how many libraries, roads, and schools will be named after him. The new health care reform bills don't seem likely to pass at this point. Eventually the topic will come up again and America will figure out how to make sure everybody gets fair and decent health care - and probably it will be called the "Edward M. Kennedy Memorial Health Care Provision, Tort Reform, And Bridge Warning Signs Act of 2033".

Well, rest in peace, old man. You did a good job.

My podcast listening for today was Pheddip 202, all about Pavo Nurmi, whom I confess I'd never heard of. Fascinating history. But I was really interested in mail call, in which Steve responded to a people's emails challenging him on his latest thing: barefoot running (or, rather, running in sandals, water shoes, or barefoot - i.e.; without the support and cushioning of modern running shoes - and without the restrictions, either.) Very interesting episode with lots of food for thought. I don't think I'll be taking up the barefoot running craze, personally, but if someone is getting benefit from it, more power to 'em.

Finally, I looked up All Along The Watchtower. I don't have much familiarity with the song, but I was aware it was used to powerful effect in Battlestar Galactica. Bear McCreary's version was an amazing musical motif that drove the last two seasons of the show and was, in fact, the last piece of music, accompanying the last scene of the show. If you're not aware, BSG had a very strange ending. We'd long assumed the show was in the future, because the narration at the beginning tells us that we invented the robots, the robots (cylons) rebelled, bit battles, blah blah blah original series blah blah blah, and now we're this tiny little collection of humans trying to evade cylons who want to kill us all and find a new home at the same time. Best drama on TV. But the cyclons grew more advanced, found God, some broke away and formed an alliance with the humans, and in the last couple of episodes, we destroy the evil cylons and prophetic visions from a dying leader and someone we're not quite sure is a ghost or not, lead us to a new planet for a fresh start. This planet has only the earliest hominids on it and is obviously our present Earth. The series ENDS where our own history BEGINS. In fact, one of the characters, a child, is "Eve", the mitochondrial first homo sapiens, or something like that. It is all quite moving and jaw dropping and disturbing.

But to get to the point: I looked up All Along The Watchtower on wikipedia and then a site that explains all the lyrics. Dillon's lyrics are often derided as a songwriter reaching too far and just being jumbled, pretentious nonsense. I pretty much agree. But having gotten acquainted with the song - especially Hendrix's version - I can't deny the power of it and the chills that the ending gives. The ending is chronologically before the beginning.

Critic Christopher Rick's review is worded exactly right: "All Along the Watchtower" is an example of Dylan's audacity at manipulating chronological time: "at the conclusion of the last verse, it is as if the song bizarrely begins at last, and as if the myth began again."

Now keep in mind that Bear McCreary didn't pick up the song for BSG until the end of season THREE, yet the story ends EXACTLY as Watchtower does: it bizarrely begins at the last - and the myth begins again.

Listen, do your own research on this. I may be obsessed or crazy (I think not), but I see a powerful story whose genesis was 40 years before the telling of the tale - a story that will stand, in my lifetime, as one of the best ever told, a space odyssey so vivid and realistic as to compete with Robinson's Mars, Herbert's Dune, and even Asimov's Foundation.

Well, it's late and I hope to get up early for my run, so I guess I should make dinner, do therapy, and get to bed.


Michelle said...

Awesome post buddy! Really gives me stuff to ponder!

Be careful out there!!

Michelle said...

Me first and the gimme gimmes are awesome!

pengo said...

Woo! Did you just give away the ending to BSG? I have been taking my time working through the discs, and I think I stopped reading just when you mentioned the end of the series. SPOILER ALERT, dude!

However, I am totally jazzed the song plays a major part in the end of the show, and you have got me back off my ass to finish it.

Have you listened to XTC's version of WATCHTOWER? Takes repeated listening, but I do love it. And Hendrix?

You can skip U2's version. Really. It's okay.

John at Hella Sound said...

The barefoot thing... I don't know. I got some Vibrams, and I love running errands in them (on foot), but I'm not sold on the whole thing either. I would like to take them out on the track for some easy laps, but I can't imagine ever running on pavement with them.

Just found your blog, by the way. I love your layout! The typewriter typeface and the blinking cursor in the header--fantastic!

janderso said...

Thanks for the tip on Me First & the Gimme Gimmes...hadn't heard them before and listened to On a Jet Plane and Danny's Song. Good Stuff! Just a little too fast for most distance running at 210 beats per minute (bpm). If you are ever looking for more music to add to your ipod, I just recently posted a few playlists w/ over 7 hrs of music for runners based on their running pace. The songs have a faster bpm (140 - 190) so you don't subconsciously slow down to the beat of a song. It has a lot of alternative/indie bands, but also rock and some R&B... The Killers, Gorillaz, XTC, Kings of Leon, Kooks, Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Matchbox Twenty, Stones, The Police, even have some Bob Dylan! All songs are either inspirational, about running, or just fun. Check it out at: