05 December 2007


My father collects clothes. So much clothing does he own that he has a closet of his own, plus the entirety of a guest room closet and the storage area in their basement also has a rack full of clothes that are his alone.

DH collects movies. At last count, more than 250 films of every genre reside on shelves in our media room. Most on DVD, but some on VHS too. Although opposites attract, and we are opposite in many, many ways (politically, socially...I could go on) but we share some OCD tendencies, and there is an Excel spreadsheet list stored on his laptop and on mine that lists all of the movies. One worksheet has them listed alphabetically by title. The second worksheet lists them by genre.

For me, it is neither clothes nor movies, but music. When I was razzing my father a few weeks ago about the amount of clothing he owns, he took it stoically for a few minutes; then he asked how much music I own. Guilty as charged. The only proper answer to that question is LOTS.

I will listen to almost anything; from hip-hop to opera, alt-country, trip-hop, dance hall, pop, classic rock, folk, bluegrass. About the only thing I don't really like is country, but that's not a hard and fast rule.

I use iTunes to digitally store my music. When I got my new computer, I divided the hard drive, portioning off a section to dedicate to music storage. I keep increasing that section, because it keeps getting too close to being full.

I subscribe to a handful of free podcasts on iTunes, and one that I listen to faithfully is DJ Steveboy's Podrunner. I've written about Steve Boyette before; I discovered him on iTunes by searching for music to run to. Using words like awesome, amazingly talented, and unbelievable don't come close to doing justice to describing him. Subscribing to the podcast on iTunes means that whenever he uploads a new one, I get it automatically whenever I log in to iTunes. And he does these things weekly.

Some of the mixes I like more than others, of course. House and dance hall stuff can be annoying if it isn't your thing. But I have yet to find one that I don't like at all. He categorizes them based on number of beats per minute (bpm) which range from 130 to 170. I tend to use the slower end of the spectrum for my runs, as I'm not a world-class marathoner, but using the high speed ones sometimes kicks up my workout a bit.

I couldn't work out without music. I've been known to leave the gym if I don't have at least headphones with me; most of the cardio machines have headphone jacks so that you can watch TV, and without at least that, I just can't face more than about 3 minutes of cardio. I have forgotten the iPod from time to time, and as long as I can listen to something that is all right, but of course I'd rather have my own music.

I owe DJ Steve a debt of extreme gratitude. (Ooo, he blogs, too.) Without several of his more recent mixes, among them "Radiant Dark," "Beat Cathedral," and "Step Sequencer," I wouldn't have been able to get back in to the groove of running. I skipped about 2 weeks total of the gym as I've settled into the new job, 3 days here, 2 days there. Not going a few times makes it easier to not go at all. But then those numbers on the scale creep up, and I can't stay away from it, no matter how hard it is to drag my ass out of bed to get to the gym in the mornings.

I've claimed throughout this process that I don't like working out. And I don't, really. I don't like to sweat. I don't like being too hot. I don't like my clothes sticking to me when I'm done. I don't like that I think *I* sweat more profusely than other people. I used to say of running, when I was a teenager, "The only good thing about running is when you stop." But I don't really feel that way anymore.

When my time on the elliptical was winding down today, I felt so exhilarated, so energized, that I couldn't believe my time was up. I've been so cautious about running, with the shin splints causing me so much pain. I don't like not being able to run, but neither do I like the idea of stress fractures if I'm not careful. But since I didn't feel "done" today when my time was up on the elliptical, I ran a few times around the track, to the "Beat Cathedral" mix, feeling so strong.

It is so very hard for me to put into words how much 'feeling strong' signifies major change for me. I didn't use to be. Strong, that is. Running a few blocks to catch a bus in NYC would have had me gasping for air like a fish out of water. Carrying baskets of laundry up the stairs in our old apartment building had me heaving and panting. No longer.

In fact, I'm actually considering signing up for several upcoming 5 and 10 K races. I must be out of my mind.


John said...

It is a great feeling. Getting to that "strong" place changes so many things in your view of life. Go for the 5& 10K runs. They are a blast. I will be running a 1/2 marathon in Feb. Did this two years ago and had an unforgettable time. Nothing like spending a cold morning running with about 5000 of your closest friends. Congratulations on turning the whole body/diet/exercise thing around.



Lucy Arin said...

Wow, John! A half-marathon, I am really impressed. That's way awesome!

Maybe we both should shoot for the NYC marathon one day.....

John said...

I'm in. It'll give me an opportunity to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art among other things. Gotta' tell you though, I won't be spending a lot of time in NYC. There once before and had the distinct sense that there were way too many people in way too little space. I much prefer my quiet Mayberry.

Just let me know when you're ready to run.