Thursday, September 22, 2005

On the joys of running in circles while listening to 80s hair bands ...

I saw a girl today at the gym who I'm fairly certain was genetically predisposed to go to Western, but obviously has had that dream thwarted. She was blonde -- very coifed, not a hair out of place -- and dressed in low-rider hip-hugging black sweats and matching tank top, both with purple piping; a pastel purple iPod mini on her arm; pale purple running shoes; and one of those South Pacific style bead belts that hangs fairly low around the waist. Seriously. I have no idea what was up with the belt. At first glance I figured she was done with her workout and on her way out, but no, she went an joined an aerobics group working out in one of the spaces divvied up in the middle of the track.

Remember that list I posted a ways back listing things I missed about London? This caricature, not so much.

So in the aftermath of my aborted run yesterday thanks to the iPod freezing up, I went a little longer than normal today -- actually just shy of an hour. It's kind of satisfying to see other people start their runs while you're already on the track, and then finish while you're still going strong. Ah, small pleasures.

So you may well ask: why did I not just do my run anyway yesterday, frozen iPod or no? Or maybe you're not asking that -- maybe you know as well as I just how excruciatingly boring running can be in the absence of two principal criteria: (1) Scenery; (2) Music. When I'm running outside, be it around Quidi Vidi or the Thames back in London, I find music obtrusive. I like those outdoor runs; I find them so contemplative, almost zen ... but I need to have something to look at. Conversely, when running indoors, either on the treadmill or the track, music is an absolute necessity to distract me from the crushing tedium of running in place or running in circles.

And not just any music will do! I need something upbeat, energizing, with a good rhythm. And a rousing refrain, something that makes you pick up speed without thinking. The iPod is the greatest invention ever for this, because it's so easy to make custom playlists that you can select based on mood. Some days it's cheesy retro and disco (top picks: Village People, Boney M, Dead or Alive), some days it's just loud and angry (Rage Against the Machine, baby!).

But there are some songs that are always good to run to, no matter what the mood. So, in no particular order:

Chris' Top 10 Running Songs

The Killers -- Somebody Told Me
Bon Jovi -- Livin' on a Prayer
Quiet Riot -- Come on Feel the Noise
Green Day -- American Idiot
U2 -- Out of Control
Weezer -- Buddy Holly
Boney M -- Rasputin
Rammstein -- Du Hast
Metallica -- Enter Sandman
Yakoo Boyz -- Scotland the Brave [techno with bagpipes!]

So, yes, a somewhat ecclectic list. But try it, and tell me afterward that each of these songs doesn't have a moment or two when you start sprinting in spite of yourself ...


Lesley said...

Ahh, the things I don't miss about Western, the trying too hard girls. You should have told her to send her picture in, I'm sure she'd get a full scholarship based on appearance. At least to a sorority...

I have to have a Destiny's Child song in my playlist when working out. It's oddly...empowering!

b said...

Great list. My alltime favourite running song is motley crue's 'kickstart my heart'. I think it would force me to run around the world if it somehow ended up on repeat.

Anonymous said...

I can proudly say I went to Fanshawe and was more concerned with furthering my career as a legal assistant and not with winning a barbie doll look a like contest.

Susan D said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I an a Newfie, living in Alberta....posted here with the RCMP, and haven't found my way back. I ran with MUN varsity just over 10 years ago.....I hope you are enjoying the Island!