Running to “The Crystal Method”

Over the years I’ve been running I’ve experimented with lots of different music during my workout. I’ve recently settled on what works best for me, and that turns out to be American electronic act The Crystal Method. My iPod shuffle now has several of their albums, with only a couple of dozen tracks from other artists to mix things up a bit.

TCM aren’t particularly avant garde. They make big, fat, electronic, funky, steady, dance rhythms. That is precisely what I need during a run: not too many lyrics, not too much variation within a song, nothing to distract me from the repetition of heaving one leg in front of the other. But it’s funky or rocky enough to feel properly musical too.

The band has recognised how suited their music is to exercise. A couple of years ago they made an album, Drive, that was expressly intended to be the soundtrack for a workout.

It works for me. Your mileage may vary.

The Crystal Method

“Run, Tim! RUN!” Photo of The Crystal Method from kainr via Creative Commons license

One perfectly offsetting the other

I went for a run yesterday morning, then in the afternoon made my regular annual purchase of new running shoes. I’m trying Nike’s Air Structure Triaxthis year.

Yesterday evening we also got together with the Neighbours for some food and drink, which resulted in me consuming an immense amount of barbequed sea bass and potato salad.

It’s all about balance.

On the plus side, we’ve located a pretty good fishmonger quite close to us. You can chuck a whole sea bass on the barbeque and cook it as-is, which really couldn’t be easier.

Run to you

Bad weather and a cold have kept me from running much in the last couple of weeks. I’m feeling better now, though, and the sun broke for a couple of hours this afternoon so I managed to get in 6.5 km today.

Fitness Challenge 2008

I ran last night for the first time in a few months, so I’m feeling that combination of great but sore. I needed to get back into it, though. Luckily, my workplace is holding a fitness challenge just as they did last year. Randomised teams of employees from across the globe count up all the kilometers they run, cycle, or whatever, to see who can do the most in four weeks. It’s a fun thing, but most importantly it’s a reason to get out there and do something.

Sunday is fun day

I did almost nothing on Saturday: just stayed at home and watched TV and ate and surfed the interweb. Sunday was different, though.

  • I went for a 5K run. Stopped at that because my knee is a little twitchy.
  • SWMNBN and I went to our local pub, The Red Lion, for a Sunday roast. I had the pork. It was good, and quite busy in there.
  • Did a little shopping. I got some new ski gloves, because my previous ones were years old and on their last legs.
  • Watched Uzak (aka Distant). This award-winning Turkish film of a couple years ago was austere, very quiet. It’s the familiar country mouse/city mouse story. Well-acted, and it shows a very real Istanbul. Don’t watch it if you’re sleepy, though.
  • Saw an amazing gig. Openers Auger Bane were a throwback to the metal years. Pretty clichéd, but they played it well, and their singer was quite good. But ohmigod, all-girl Zeppelin cover band Lez Zeppelinblew the roof off the Mean Fiddler like I never dreamed possible. They were loud and gorgeous and fun and rocked all the Zep classics. I was worried about how the musicianship would hold up, but I was pleasantly surprised. Special cred has to go to Steph Paynes on guitar and Helen Destroy (!) who BASHED THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF THOSE DRUMS JUST LIKE BONZO DID! They played (not in this order) “Whole Lotta Love”, “What Is and What Should Never Be”, “Moby Dick” (HUGE crowd reaction), “Immigrant Song”, “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”, “Black Dog”, “Rock and Roll”, “Going to California”, “The Song Remains the Same”, “Custard Pie”, and “Kashmir”. But the most incredible slab of brain-rending rock was when they played “Since I’ve Been Loving You”, “The Ocean”, and “Dazed and Confused” right in a row in the middle of the show. That  still makes me shake. Lez Zeppelin: great, great show.

Catch-up

Here’s a post to catch up on some of the things that have happened over the weekend. Other than the engagement, that is.

  • Films: I’ve seen Gothika (which was terrible) and The Fog of War(which was an excellent view into the life lessons of the former US Secretary of Defence).
  • Food: I’ve eaten at Gaucho (an excellent Argentinian steakhouse) andThe Horseshoe (a good gastropub that brews its own ale and serves a supreme bread-and-butter pudding), both in Hampstead.
  • Running: I’ve been doing 10km every other day, or 5km each day, for the last two weeks. The fitness challenge at work is keeping me at it. I didn’t go out today because I spent hours walking around London.
  • Visitors: SWMNBN’s brother-in-law was in town for work, but with a day to spare. I took the day off to hang with him. Carluccio’s for some breakfast. Then the Natural History Museum, a walk though Hyde Park, noodles and sushi, and a tour of Soho and Covent Garden. From here, we walked across the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern gallery, a ride on the slide exhibit, and a walk along the South Bank.

Run like the wind

I’m working from home today and went for a run at my lunch break (because I have my philosophy class tonight and so won’t be able to run then). It felt twice as hard as normal because we’re having terrible winds all over the UK. Luckily, it didn’t rain much.

Here’s what bugs my science mind, though. The park I run around is roughly circular, and the winds seem relatively unidirectional; therefore the amount of energy expended to run should be the same, since sometimes the wind will be hindering me and sometimes it will be helping me. It doesn’t ever feel that way, though. I just feel like I’m being battered all the time. Maybe that’s because it’s a very gusty wind, or because having trees on one side or the other on different sides of the park blocks the wind on one side only.

I was actually getting a bit worried whilst running. There were little branches coming down all the time in the strong wind. In one spot a 20-foot, coupla-hundred-pounds limb had come down earlier and lay right across the path.

Run Runaway

I went for a run this morning. It felt good.

I haven’t been running in the last few months, because of plantar’s fasciitis(inflammation wherea tendon meets my heel) in my left foot. However, stretches and the liberal use of anti-inflammatory tablets during skiing mean that I’m feeling fine again. To celebrate, I bought a pair of Nike Air Cesium running shoes yesterday, and ran today. No pain in my foot, yay!

This is important because next week I have to start counting my kilometers. I’m taking part in a work fitness challenge. Nearly 250 volunteering employees from around the globe have been put into random virtual teams to see who can rack up the most running, cycling, and swimming km. It’s a good excuse to get me back into running as quickly as possible.