“Once upon a time…” as one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs, “Once” offers. “Once upon a time”, I owned them all: Ten,Vs., and Vitology were all mine. Over the years multiple moves, carelessness, and nefarious dorm-mates ate away at my Pearl Jam collection not to mention other great staples of the 90s, like Live and Alice in Chains.
“Once upon a time” the songs of those bands, among others, pumped me up as I downed countless beers. Now I needed them all for my training for this half marathon, all hands on deck. Thanks to my twin brother and the USPS I now have all the tools that I need to get through all of this fucking running.
Today I had my first outdoor training run of the regimen – 3 miles. It was a balmy 45 degrees in Ithaca, overcast of course; it is March. I donned my lycra like Blue Man Group modeled blue top and Syracuse shorts. Over the top of the stretch was covered with a T-shirt as I still have a little too much jiggle to pull off the skin tight fabric and brave the dented Ithaca running trails. This was not merely a self-conscious issue, this was self preservation.
Suppose a fellow runner saw my extra love in the middle moving in an undesirable fashion and got sick on the trail. I had to come back that way as I was doing a loop. The last thing I needed while plodding on my Hume Cronynian pace was to have to hop over vomit that I helped create.
So I covered up. It was the right thing to do at this point. I will have my moment in the sun with only stretchy fabric between the me and the at-the-moment absentee warming rays.
I made it through the three miles, and amazingly enough as I turned home I was greeted by a spark, the at least for me elusive runner’s high. I know I could’ve cranked out another half mile, but I went with my standby of playing it safe while rationalizing that “discretion in the better part of valor.”
What accompanied my burst of energy was my current favorite R.E.M. tune, “Uberlin”. It was unconscious, it came on and my pace went from Hume Cronyn at the beginning of “Cocoon” to Mr. Cronyn post dip in the alien pool. It was not the only song that got me through the run. My brother’s care package of awesome tunes were there to help me maintain my running despite tasting the pain.
Here is the set list with some key lyrics that got me through it:
1. “Corduroy” by Pearl Jam:
I don’t want to take what you can give
I would rather starve than eat your bread
I would rather run but I cant walk
Guess I’ll lay alone just like before
2. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo
3. “I Alone” by Live
oh, now, we took it back too far,
only love can save us now,
all these riddles that you burn
all come runnin’ back to you,
all these rhythms that you hide
only love can save us now,
all these riddles that you burn yeah, yeah, yeah
4. “Once” by Pearl Jam
I admit it…what’s to say…yeah…
I’ll relive it…without pain…mmm…
Backseat lover on the side of the road
I got a bomb in my temple that is gonna explode
I got a sixteen gauge buried under my clothes, I pray…
Once upon a time I could CONTROL myself
Ooh, once upon a time I could LOSE myself, yeah…
5. “Regulate” – Warren G. (With Nate Dogg)
In honor of Nate Dogg…gone too soon.
6. “Why Go” – Pearl Jam
She seems to be stronger
But what they want her to be is weak
She could play, pretend
She could join the game, boy
She could be another clone
7. “Heaven” – Live
I don’t need no one to tell me about heaven
I look at my daughter, and I believe.
I don’t need no proof when it comes to God and truth
I can see the sunset and I perceive
8. “Not For You” – Pearl Jam
All that’s sacred comes from youth
Dedication, naive and true
With no power, nothing to do
I still remember, why don’t you…don’t you…
This is not for you
This is not for you
This is not for you
Oh, never was for you…fuck you…
9. “Dissident” – Pearl Jam
A dissident is here
Escape is never, the safest path
Oh, a dissident, a dissident is here
10. “Top” – Live
this is not helping me at all where did we get this plan?
that you could give to me what I might already have pyramids,
healing wires, a musician’s fame
I volunteered you my eyes
in place of facing me
oh Hitler, in a robe of truth
my emptiness has built your altar
and I’ve worshipped myself in you forever
11. “Leash” – Pearl Jam
troubled souls unite, we got ourselves tonight..
I am fuel, you are friends, we got the means to make amends
I am lost, i’m no guide, but i’m by your side
I am right by your side…
12. “Uberlin” – R.E.M.
I am flying on a star into a meteor tonight
I am flying on a star, a star, a star
I will make it through the day
And then the day becomes the night
I will make it through the night
I would not have been able to make it through the run without Eddie, Ed, Eminem, Warren G, Nate Dogg and of course R.E.M.. In the words of Professor John Keating: “Thank you boys”.
I survived the first three miles. Yesterday I completed the follow up two miles, on a cross-trainer. It was sweet relief to my aching joints. Let the good times stop rolling; I am due for another three miles tonight. In addition I am required for some weight work. I am going to need some good tunes to help me get through. As always diversity will be key and “good” is a relative term.
On the set list tonight:
Song 1 – “Lose Yourself” – Eminem – I can’t think of a song that pumps me up more. I know that my friend Joe Munley over at “The Altered States of Munley” used to listen to the song endlessly while writing a screenplay. It is that good. I plan on leading off with the song and cycling to it when I need a quick jolt…in other words it could end up on a loop.
Song 2 – “Long Black Veil” – Dave Matthews Band – This is my gateway version of the song and as such it is the one that I cling to. It is a nice contrast to the harshness of “Lose Yourself”. I expect that I will opt out of the song as it hits the 3 minute coda. At that point the song gets too mellow, even for me. Great song, check it out if you have not yet.
Song 3 – “Aeroplane” – Red Hot Chili Peppers – “I like pleasure spiked with pain and music is my aeroplane” – Amen, that will be plenty of the latter as I will be just over a mile into my journey. It boasts a killer bass line as do most songs by the Chili Peppers. Love this song.
Song 4 – “Half a World Away” – R.E.M. – One of my favorite bands, one of their best melancholy songs. It should mirror my muscles at the time, sad and tired – which my messed up mind finds inspiring.
Song 5 – “You and Your Heart” – Jack Johnson – Time to shake of the morose and get moving, I will rounding mile two at this point and I will need to stay positive to finish this.
Song 6 – “I Have the Touch” – Peter Gabriel – I rediscovered him last year and I cannot think of a song of his that I hate. This one is a nice upbeat 80′s synth track. It makes me feel like I am living through an 80′s montage. Don’t judge me, anything to distract from the pain.
Song 7 – “Are You Gonna Go My Way” – Lenny Kravitz – Great guitar track to take me home.
Song 8 – “Hurt” – Johnny Cash – Back to the well because I cannot think of a better song to limp across any of life’s finish to.
After the run I am obliged to lift, at least according to Hal Higdon. So I will to a mix, at that point I am not sure it will matter what I am listening to. Low weights and high reps will be the order of the day. That, and a healthy dose of Johnny Cash.