How I learned to stop worrying and love the run

Jesus, I can't believe that's the title of this post. Love the run? Seriously? Cause I fucking hated running. My whole life. Totally hated running. I thought runners were kind of bonkers. (I'm sorry lovely darling runners out there, I know I'm a total judgey asshole.) But I thought people who ran a lot, like miles and miles, especially marathons, I thought they were kind of a tiny bit self-deluded and masochistic. Mainly because every time I tried to run more than a mile I found myself thinking only these kinds of obsessive thoughts: “When is this going to end? I'm so bored. This is so painful. And boring. I can't think about anything else but when this is going to be over. How can anyone like doing this? So bored. Lungs hurt. I'd rather be smoking a cigarette.”

Then a couple years ago like an idiot I quit smoking. And then even more idiotically a year ago I started running. It was an attempt to get healthy. It was a bit of a stupid old-chestnut of a tired cliche of an eye-rolling Western stereotype: Get yourself divorced, discover health, start running. I did it. And shit, stupidly, I started to like it. Not right at first. I kind of just kept using that treadmill through the cold wintery months, trying to run away, far, fast, just trample all of those shitty emotions. Then suddenly it's kind of warm outside. And I'm running on trails. Running on trails! Trails! The way it used to be.

I grew up in New Mexico. Up in the Albuquerque foothills. I ran a lot of trails. My brother and I used to scamper around all those boulders and cactus and yucca looking for lizards and horned-toads and snakes and stuff. One awesome day we finally discovered that awesome secret place where the Kinghorn brothers kept their pornos hidden under those boards under the that circle of boulders. Holy shit. Don't tell Mom and Dad! Ever! Seriously! I'll punch you in the dick! And suddenly running up those steep slippery sweaty hills was so much more interesting. And suddenly I'm running outdoors again on trails, except this time in the Pennsylvania woods, and it's so fucking fun. Even though there's no pornos to run to. (Or maybe I'm still running for some grown-up version of porno? Sex? Really? Yes? No. No. Seriously. It's really different this time. I think.)

And suddenly I love running. Seriously, it feels really good. Especially on trails where you have to pick your footing really strategically while you're hopping logs and racing down stony ravines. It requires special concentration. And balance. Anticipating what could go wrong. Split-second refinements. Like snowboarding or skateboarding. Or heavy-petting. It's physically thrilling. There's risk involved. Wait, it is sexy! And on those days when I don't get to run a few miles, like when I'm waiting out an injury or traveling or it's raining, I get pretty bummed. I just want to be out there. And then suddenly a few months ago, I'm all “Why don't I just run one of those races that my ex is always running?” And shit, I'm suddenly a part of a team running my first race ever.

It's this Philadelphia tradition called the Broad Street Race. It's only ten miles. And it's straight down mother-fucking Broad Street and right past our mother-fucking house. And you run through these crazy eco-systems of economics and class. And people apparently line the street and yell encouragements and high-five you. Somewhere up in the ghetto, small bands of horn-playing African Americans come out and serenade the runners. It sounds fucking adorable. I can't wait. It's this Sunday. I'm gonna fucking crush it. If I don't shit my self with joy. And if my left knee holds out. And Trixie and Gottlock are part of the team. How delightful. Oh, and we're running for a good cause. The Gottlocks' son had infantile seizures (now resolved!). So we're raising money too. Lordy, it's just too much beauty.

I've been playing a lot of music too. In fact, I think that music has a lot to do with how much I like running. In fact, I'm not sure I'd enjoy the running torture much at all without cool songs playing. So maybe I'm still not a totally converted runner. But whatever, I don't really care. It just feels so good running with music on. I've decided to share some of the great songs I've been listening to these last couple months. The first mix is all new stuff. And it's a really visceral kick-ass mix. The second is full of old little gems that make for great running. Stupid stuff like the Rentals, Money Mark, GBV, Beulah, Bran Van, Throwing Muses, Apples in Stereo, and other awesome nostalgic indie pop. Running has made me filter music in a whole new different way. Besides craving old indie classics, I found myself suddenly more tolerant of big thumpy high-energy remixes of recent pop songs — but I'm still severely discriminating. So there are only a few of those on here. You may not like these mixes at all if you don't run. But I doubt that. Cause they're full of cool songs. So download these mixes if you happen to like music. Or the sensation of pleasure. Or of elation. And of feeling cool. Cause you will.

So wish me luck. And here, for your entertainment is a little 13 second video of yours-truly running a trail in New Mexico last week. (It was a bit windy, so the audio's super annoying. Turn it down.) But life's pretty fucking great. Come run with me someday. I'll be gentle. And we can still enjoy a drink and a smoke later that night. Running's kinda helped me come back around to all the delightful things in life. Judge away. I'm a runner now. But I still live well. Expansively well. Come join me lovelies!

Oh, and I thought it would be sweet to know if you racers out there had any special advice or song/s you always play during your race, something you'd like to tell me about. I'd love to hear it and include it on my player. Or a race day superstition? Please share!

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PS. The first song on the mix is called “Runner.” And another's called “Speed.” And “No.1 Against the Rush.” Get it? By the time the first mix ends, if I timed it right, I should be crossing the finish line. Woohoo! Triumphant instagram photo to follow!


9 responses to “How I learned to stop worrying and love the run”

  1. Farrell Fawcett says:

    Oh, Broad Street Mix – Part 1

    The playlist:

    (and thank you to Jason, Bryan, Nathan, Jeremy and Rachel for their exceptionally perfect running song contributions over the past few months)

    1.) Laura Stevenson – Runner
    2.) El Ten Eleven – I Like Van Halen Because my Sister Says they are Cool
    3.) Theme Park – Two Hours (RAC Mix)
    4.) Beach Fossils – Clash the Truth
    5.) Smith Westerns – Varsity
    6.) Young Galaxy – Pretty Boy (Peaking Lights Remix)
    7.) The Drums – Days
    8.) Best Coast – The Only Place
    9.) DWNTWN – Hungry Hearts
    10.) Vetiver – Wonder Why
    11.) Liars – No.1 Against the Rush
    12.) Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny
    13.) Ellie Goulding – Lights
    14.) Skrillex – With You, Friends
    15.) T-Pain – 5 O’Clock ft. Wiz Khalifa, Lily Allen (DWNTWN Remix)
    16.) Capital Cities – Safe and Sound
    17.) Cherub – Dosas and Mimosas (Noah Hyde Remix)
    18.) Imagine Dragons – It’s Time (Plastic People Remix)
    19.) Passion Pit – It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy
    20.) Small Black – Free at Dawn

  2. Farrell Fawcett says:

    Broad Street Race Mix – Part 2 (Go West!)

    1.) The Rentals – Please Let That Be You
    2.) Money Mark – Tomorrow Will Be Like Today
    3.) The Joy Formidable – Whirring (BRAHMS Mix)
    4.) Bran Van 3000 – Speed
    5.) Sky Ferreira – Lost in My Bedroom
    6.) Polly Scattergood – Other Too Endless
    7.) Lives of Angels – Imperial Motors
    8.) Handsome Furs – Repatriated
    9.) Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes – Home (RAC Remix)
    10.) Beulah – Ballad of The Lonely Argonaut
    11.) The Sea and Cake – Harps
    12.) Wild Light – California on My Mind
    13.) Wire – Outdoor Miner
    14.) Foxygen – No Destruction
    15.) El Ten Eleven – Marriage is the New Going Steady
    16.) Crystal Stilts – Dark Eyes
    17.) Bombay Bicycle Club – Shuffle
    18.) Throwing Muses – Not Too Soon
    19.) The Apples in Stereo – Rocket Pad
    20.) Letting Up Despite Great Faults – Teenage Tide
    21.) Guided by Voices – Flunky Minnows
    22.) Lotus Plaza – A Threaded Needle
    23.) Big K.R.I.T. – Moon & Stars (feat. Devin the Dud, Curren$y & Killa Kyleon
    24.) The Go! Team – Doing it Right
    25.) Sweet Daddy Floyd – I Just Can’t Help Myself

  3. Trixie says:

    Ha ha you like running now.

  4. Smearcase, Mr. says:

    Augh, the running people got Farrell!

  5. Smearcase, Mr. says:

    No, I kid. this is half terrifying, half inspirational. I have always found running maximally unpleasant but it’s good to hear it can be like heavy petting. (What could go wrong in heavy petting? Don’t dare say it only leads to trouble. Or bed-wetting.) Maybe I’ll take it up when we live somewhere temperate, though I think I’m going to have to pretend that I’m going to stumble upon some porn or it’ll be hard to go through with it.

    I wish I knew 1/10 of the bands you people know.

  6. T-Mo says:

    And, Smearcase, we wish we knew 1/10 the opera you know.

    Lovely and funny post, FF! I’ve always found running so incredibly boring and painful. I did run cross country one year in junior high. There were plenty of pretty trails as rewards (alas no porn), but ultimately they didn’t compensate for the burning pain in my lungs and legs. I switched to soccer.

    Thanks for the mixes!

  7. Bryan says:

    I loved this too, mostly to see you on the dark side, after so many years of trying to get you to run that loop from your place to Rittenhouse to the seaport, which I really miss. I stopped listening to music when I run, mostly because for the last few years I’d been taking Charlie with me and wanted to interact with him, but now that he’s grown out of that maybe I’ll start taking headphones again so I can listen to these. Years and years ago (in the gym in our bldg on Water St) I used to run on the treadmill to the last six minutes of “Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard” to force myself into a 6-minute mile and it was just about perfect. And of course I had a whole routine to this old warhorse. But I also liked to listen to really slow stuff when I ran too (surprise!) and one of my most glorious memories ever is of running across the BK bridge in a little bit of rain listening to Terry Riley’s In C. Kind of zones you out.

    So glad you posted this. Kick ass on your run.

  8. Farrell Fawcett says:

    Bryan, ah yes, that !!! song would be great for running. A 6 minute mile? Jesus. I’m working on it. Your Warhorse should also be on part of my running songs. I forgot about that. I’m gonna try Terry Riley too. There are times in my runs when I feel like something slow and hypnotizing.

    Tim, you’re welcome. And thank you for sympathizing with my sense of running’s boredom and pain.

    Mr. Smearcase, in answer to your “what could go wrong in heavy petting?” I think I was alluding mainly to the tragic possibility of it losing momentum, or god forbid, of it *ending*. The horror! But your bedwetting theorizing is really so good. Why aren’t you an analyst? You’re the best.

  9. Bryan says:

    Then make it be the last 7 minutes. The trick is to time the multiple climaxes of the track with the moments when you really need to keep pushing it to the finish line. The timing is crucial, so you don’t want to start at the beginning of the track unless you use it for warm up. I haven’t done that in years, though. I’ll have to try it again and see if it still holds up.