Category Archives: Music EPs

Semper Fit Challenge 2020: The Road I Travelled

It has been a little more than 24 hours since I finished the (virtual) Marine Corps Marathon and completed the Semper Fit Challenge, which was completing the Historic Half-Marathon as well as the MCM in the same calendar year. AS I draw down the curtain on 2020, I want to recap my last two months and explain my extended absence on this blog.

First, I put a pause on blogging because I put an extended pause on training. I didn’t get back into serious training until September 13, a mere 42 days before the (scheduled) virtual MCM. I proposed an aggressive schedule for myself: running every other day until the MCM. One week would be Su-Tu-Th-Sa, the other week Mo-We-Fr, with long runs on Saturday. In retrospect this hurt me on some of the long runs because I was used to a We-Fr-Su running schedule, the long runs being on Sunday mornings.

The second reason I paused my blogging, while resuming the running, was because I wanted to show progress while I was training. I did complete runs of 13.1, 15, and 20 miles before yesterday’s MCM, but I also had a couple of aborts while attempting to run 15 and 18 miles. I had also put aside P90X for the year; with access to the gyms at my apartment complex restricted to appointment only, the only cross-training I did was riding my bicycle to and from work.

On the Mondays thru Fridays I alternated between 5 and 6 mile runs every other day. Rather than focus on the mundane runs, I will take a short look at the longer runs that defined my run-up to the virtual MCM.

Southeast Loop 10/Sept. 6: This was the longest run I had done since June. The stretch of Three Notch Rd/MD-234 was mostly uphill, and I thought that I did a pretty good job of maintaining my pace on this part of the run. My pace was 12:28, and I learned to live with it.

St. Mary’s City 13.1/Sept.19: The same route that I ran the virtual Historic Half, and the longest I had run in FIVE MONTHS. In retrospect, i was supposed to be running 20 miles and should have had a one or two (virtual?) half marathons under my belt by now. I finished eighteen minutes slower than the HH that day. Also the issues with MapMyRun began this week: the app was not verbally calling out my mile split times.

Sept. 24: Plot twist…and ankle twist. Today, while riding home from work, I slipped off my right pedal and spilled the bike, and twisted my right ankle in the process. Eventually the ankle would recover, but I would feel it in the weeks to come. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation…I would do none of this process and would pay for it later.

RTN 7 Walk 3/Sept.27: This was my first attempt at 15 miles. It was all sorts of dark out when I started (no moon), and as I was heading south down Three Notch/MD-235, I was struggling to find the turnoff to Route 489. I eventually did make the turn…and then I flat ran out of gas about 100 years down the road. My get-up-and-go just got up and went. I power-walked the rest of Route 489 to Point Lookout Road/MD-5, hoping to get a second wind. The restart never came, and at the foot of the Willow Road uphill, I ended the run. It should have been Run 7 Walk 3, but I was not in a good mood and couldn’t see straight.

For some reason, my smartphone dialed 911 just before I gave out on 489.

Three Point Mills 15/Oct. 3: THREE Notch Road, north to south, then POINT Lookout Road/MD-5, after running the 489, then Great MILLS Road/MD-246 after hitting the last intersection. The 246 had the most elevation changes, but I did manage to up the pace before heading into the home stretch on Willows Road. With the UCAN Hydrate in my system, I had gone 15 miles without needing a water break, and I still had not touched my spare GU. My thighs kind of flared up around mile 12, midday through the 246.

The week of Oct.11-17 was to be my most ambitious training week ever. I planned to run the Mt. Vernon Trail on the 11th, then run the Carl Henn Millennium Trail on the 17th.

Mt. Vernon Trail 6/Oct. 11: Ouch. I was anticipating a cold rainy run, so I put on a yellow thermal tee over my black tech shirt. The weather was dry and a bit warmer than expected. Maybe too warm because I flat out burned out two miles into the run. I just overheated and limped to the port-a-johns just outside the Reagan National Airport. After taking a No.2, then realizing the port-a-john I was in had no toilet paper (my what a lovely morning I was having), I limped back to the start of the trail.

PS: Next year I will stay at the Marriott just outside of the Rosslyn end of the trail instead of the Hilton at Arlington Courthouse.

Millennium Trail 20/Oct. 18: I was supposed to run this on Saturday instead of Sunday, but I got a serious case of nerves just before I was getting ready to stretch. This run was two laps of the 10.7 mile trail located in Rockville, MD. I remembered having to cut the run short just after Mile 16 last year, so I resolved to maintain a steady pace over the first lap, then gauge how to take the hills on the second lap. I did make it past mile 16 this year, by taking a power walk at the Thomas Wooton High School on the last serious uphill. The final pace (14:08) wasn’t that great, but I chalked it up to the constant elevation changes, and my lack of long mileage and conditioning (i.e. no running and no P90X) over the midsummer.

The weekend trips to Arlington, VA and Rockville were good chances for me to get out of town, even though only Rockville was more of a confidence boost before the MCM.

Epilogue

Not making the trip to Arlington for the MCM in-person was kind of a drag this year, and took away the anticipation of the event. The Runner’s Expo, the annual trip to the Marine Corps Museum, being found my Marine Friends, and the entire race day experience…the walk through the security gates and the longer walk to the starting corrals. Hearing the music and the public address announcers. Feeling the atmosphere with the other 40,000 runners while stretching out. V-22 Osprey flybys just before the run.

Hearing the starting howitzer going off at 0755. Shuffling towards the starting arch, then crossing under it and taking off, with adrenaline in your veins.

The Blue Mile at Mile 12. The long stretch from miles 14 thru 17, when you realize OMG I’m running a marathon!!! Realizing you’ve made it to the George Washington Bridge, with time to spare ( supposed to reach it by 1:00p.m. or get pulled off the course).

Crossing the bridge, and the near silence. So many people running on fumes and sheer determination.

Crossing into Rosslyn and the party in the streets, as you once again see the cheering crowds. Mile 24…two miles to go!

The Mile 25 and the highway that you started on so long ago is now the homestretch. The the final run up to the finish arch.

A United States Marine wrapping the finisher’s medal around your neck.

The Finisher’s Party and the celebration of the end of a long year of training.

Yeah…I kind of missed that this year.

Song of the Day: Closing Ceremonies

Presented without commentary or explanation, because I’m really not into Genius right now:

Bury Tomorrow/”Choke”

Orbit Culture/”The Shadowing”

The Revels/”Comanche”

MC5/”Kick Out The Jams”

Beatles/”Slow Down”

Baltimora/”Tarzan Boy”

Hugh Cromwell (Stranglers) and Mariachi Mexteca/’Golden Brown”

Van Halen/”Runnin’ With the Devil”

Night Ranger/”Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”

Crash Test Dummies/”Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”

Ghost/”Square Hammer”

MCM 2019/T-Minus 7: Ritual

Detailing the last workouts of my taper period for the Marine Corps Marathon

Friday morning:

Up at 0430 for a 0500 run. Actually, up at 0420 so i can put my contacts in.

I realize that my dayglo long-sleeve shirts are all in the dirty clothes hamper. However, my cell phone is charged, so I can use my MapMyRun app.

0440: I get dressed in a white compression tech shirt, covered by one of my long-sleeved tees from the St. Mary’s City Turkey Trot. Long black running tights. FlipBlet to hold house key and smartphone.

0445-0455: Full stretch, then out the door.

0540. Back after the run. HWY-5 run. The full moon was out, and I was glad I brought the long sleeves and the small gloves this morning. Pace was 11:19 for three miles. Nagging throbbing in my upper left thigh. Not connected to a groin muscle. Put some IcyHot on it after the run.

Saturday morning:

0415: Up before the 0430 alarm, again to put in the contacts. I’m getting better at this, because now it’s taking me about 3~5 minutes.

0445: Dressed in Starter basketball warm-up pants and another long-sleeve tee. Listen to some YouTube because 97.7 the Bay is getting on my nerves.

0455: Out the door for the short walk to the Apex Clubhouse to work out in their small but adequate workout center. I stopped going to the workout center in the clubhouse I call “the Valley” because the flatscreen TVs were all burned out. That was way back in early march, I think. I did peek in the windows of the Valley on my last intervals run and found that the TVs have long since been fixed.

0500: On deck at the Apex and stretching. Nobody but me on this dark and chilly Saturday morning. Last gym workout before the MCM; even though I dropped the weights about a month ago, I still focus on good form and working for speed not weight. I am actually sweating as I wrap up the last set of abdominal crunches…but am I not supposed to be sweating?

0530. Workout is done. TVs are turned off and so are the lights to the “gym.” It will be nice to sleep in on Saturday mornings for a while.

Sunday morning:

Last long run of the taper, and the training cycle, before next Sunday’s MCM.

0355: Out of the rack and on with the contacts.

0400: I grab a Greek yogurt for breakfast…that just happens to be 11 days past it’s due date. I open it up: no mold and no fouls smells, so I eat it. No banana or peanut butter, because it will be a very short run, at most an hour and twenty minutes. No Nuun  or Mio water this morning either.

0420: Get dressed; compression shirt, long-sleeve dayglo tech shirt, which is actually a base layer shirt, tights, handball cap. No FlipBlet today because my tights have side pockets.

0425: Bathroom break; do it now because there are no  bathroom stops on the run. Check that- there is a Donut Connection bakery on upper Shangri-La Drive, but no sense waiting so long.

0445: Full stretch.

0455: Out the door to Green meadow Lane, where I will start the Superwillow 6 miler. Light drizzle but not the rain that the weather called for.

0615: The run is done. For the third time this week, I finish just short of the running distance. Not sure if it’s me or the GPS on the app. First mile clocked at 11:04, and I knew that wasn’t gonna last. Hit 12:06 and 12:17 at Miles 4 and 5. Also, extending out to the end of Shangri-La didn’t add enough distance for MapMyRun to count it as six full miles. Ended at 5.97 mi.

The “rain” was mostly a drizzle until it sort of picked up as I headed down Willow Road towards Abberly Crest on the homestretch of the run. My hopes for finishing the taper schedule with a full moon was dashed by the rain on the forecast; however, there was moonlight, and enough to make a difference. So, that happened.

I need to make sure I have my knee sleeves for MCM next Sunday. Also, I could probably ise some KT tape on my left thigh.

…and just like that, the work is done. Three more logbook entries after this: a short run on Tuesday, the Ceremonial on Thursday, and then the MCM next Sunday.

Song of the Day:  (WARNING: repeat entries past this point!)

Traffic/”Dear Mr. Fantasy:” Yup, this is a repeat entry. Got it here because this was the last song I heard on YouTube before heading to the Apex yesterday. Also, thank God for Post-it Notes so i can remember to write stuff down and stick it on my computer somewhere. Steve Winwood was a pretty busy musician before he was able to legally drink.

Last of the Mohicans OST/”Promontory:” Heard this one after the workout yesterday, and I just had to include it. This was included on one of my YouTube lists and it just hit me when I wasn’t looking. The video is actually a remix of two different versions of the song from the movie soundtrack, plus an ending piece thrown in. AS far as running goes, it’s a nice piece to set a temp to.

Tommy James and the Shondells/”Draggin’ the Line:” Nothin’ but a good ol’-fashioned feel good song from the Sixties…thanks Genius.

Bill Withers/”Lean on Me:” Genius says, “a Black Nationalism anthem and as an educational song for little children.” I say, a good cool down song for a Sunday morning.

MCM 2019/T-Minus 14: Moon

macOS Catalina has not been kind this weekend; I couldn’t load YouTube or WordPress until I restarted my computer this morning while eating my pre-run breakfast.

The Marine Corps Marathon website may say different, but the actual calendar says today marks fourteen days and a Sunday wake-up call before the MCM.

Now that the admin stuff is taken care of, here we go…

 

On Friday I learned that there was going to be the first night of the full moon for October. As I got on the road for the eight mile Great Mills run, there it was. Oh, there was also some cloud cover, but not enough to completely obscure the moonlight.

As I passed the Bay Montessori School and the Mile 1 point, MapMyRun announced an 11:15 pace. I was feeling good this morning, but could I keep up that pace for 8 miles, let alone 26 miles come two week’s time? I did have some slowdowns at the climbs at Mile 3 and Mile 5, but I managed an 11:27 pace over the eight miles. This, also despite a headwind that hit me on the last serious uphill between Mile and Mile 6.

Yes, it’s a relatively shorter distance, but it was nice to just go out there and open up the strides today. For me, a 1 hour, 30-ish pace after 8 miles is a good thing; however, there is the question of keeping such a pace for the entire marathon. This year, though, I have generally hit the wall around Miles 16 through 18, about a mile before the end of each run.

My plan this year is to stay with the 12:30 pace group for the first eight miles, then take off if I feel good enough. The first eight miles on the MCM course have a major hill at the bridge at Mile 2~3, then one more slight upslope around Mile 8. This morning’s trek through Great Mills Road had more rolling hills, and I ran this after being back on the bike for three days this week.

I should hear some good news from the doctor about my diabetes this week; however, I just got off the scale and… 223??? Guess no Dress Blues for the Marine Corps Ball this year.

So even though I may be heavier than my ideal “fighting weight,” I don’t have any major health issues for the MCM. I will stick with the plan for now so I can try to have enough where I’m not hitting the wall in Georgetown, just before hitting the Fourteenth Street Bridge.

Song of the Day: Extended Play Album version:

Eric Johnson/”Cliffs of Dover:” When I was stationed at Iwakuni, Japan, the local Armed Forces Network radio station would play this as bumper music between their morning and afternoon radio shows, about 2:00 p.m. local Japan time. That’s when you knew the work day was almost over. Because Marine Corps Air Station and all, I believe someone thought this would be a cool counterpoint to the “Top Gun Theme.”

Devo/”Whip It:” I wonder how many videos from MTV’s early days would cause an outrage today…like this one from Devo. From Genius:

“According to the band, “Whip It” was inspired by the poems in Thomas Pynchon’s novel Gravity’s Rainbow.

“Gravity’s Rainbow is a satirical novel that describes humanity’s evolution as often regressive and lacking self-awareness. This also ties into their band name “Devo” standing de-evolution. A satire into the idea that our society is regressing.

“As it relates to Whip It, Devo is satirizing America’s insistence on violence and our lack of individuality.” Oh yeah…this video would be banned by MTV for sure.

Dr. Dog/”My Old Ways:” Like so many of my SOTD picks I cannot recall how or when I discovered these songs. I get a little misty about this one because it’s mostly about a guy who wants to turn his life around. Also, this was a song for a “Fear the Walking Dead” trailer? Welladay…
Loverboy/”Working for the Weekend:” Heard this on 97.7 The Bay during run prep this morning. MTV played this song (and damn near everything off Loverboy’s album Get Lucky) on an almost regularly-scheduled basis. But then again, the band were that damn good. That’s all I got (thanks for nothing, Genius), but this is the extended version of the MTV video.
Prince/”Let’s Go Crazy:” From Prince, via Genius: “Let’s Go Crazy’ was about God and Satan. I had to change those words up—the de-elevator was Satan in that song.… And ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ was God to me…stay happy, stay focused, and you can beat the de-elevator.” I picked the special dance mix for this SOTD because it was closest to the version played in the movie Purple Rain. Also, I hate it when radio stations play the short versions of “Crazy” and “When Doves Cry;” it just drives me nuts because so much of what made the song good was cut out.
Free/”All Right Now:” Heard this song as I was chasing into sweatpants after the run this morning. From Genius:

“The band was known previously for “…slow and medium paced blues songs..” and after a show in Durham –

“…When we got into the dressing room, it was obvious that we needed an uptempo number, a rocker to close our shows. All of sudden, the Inspiration struck (bass player Andy) Fraser, and he started bopping around singing ALL RIGHT NOW.”

Also, the second-ever single to be released in stereo in Great Britain (the first was David Bowie/”Space Oddity”).

 

 

 

 

MCM 2019/T-Minus 39: Roxette

Taking a break from the circuit cycle today. Slept in this morning, and I’m going shopping after this blog post.

My train of thought was “something something Scandinavian rock,” then something something Roxette,: and then it was like, “Hey I know four songs from Roxette, and I didn’t totally hate them, so I’ll do a Song of the Day post for the blog tonight.”

And so, as I take a brief respite from training, I present the Swedish pop duo Roxette for tonight’s Song of the Day quartet:

The Look:Okay the gent is Per Gessle on guitars and vocals, and the blonde with the funky hairdo is Marie Fredrikkson on vocals and keyboards, though I guess she can play guitar as the video suggests. Per and Marie were established artists in their native Sweden, and Marie once sang with Per’s band Gyllene Tider. Long story short, Per was working on a slow career after the demise of Gyllene Tilder’s attempt at a US tour, and Marie had sone some solo albums as well as some time backing per, when the manager of EMI suggested they record a song together. Although the song was successful only in Sweden, the duo only went up from there.

It Must Have Been Love: This song was originally recorded as a Christmas song, and after a bit of back and forth with the producers of the movie Pretty Woman (Julia Roberts/Richard here) and a quick editing of Christmas from the lyrics, it became a Number One hit in the US. Marie really does let go in this song, and kudos to her if she was overdubbed for the backing vocals as well.

Listen to Your Heart: Is this an actual concert or was it staged for the video? God only knows, but I think Per gets a little too footloose onstage, considering he’s not even the lead guitarist on this song (or at least the video). Per stated that he always preferred songs where Marie took the lead, and he can rightfully point to this one as Exhibit A.

Dangerous: Still a fun song, although not a No.1 like the other three (and “Joyride” was the fourth US No. 1 for Per and Marie). Whether you’d want ro run to it is up to you, but it’s still a pop song in a good way.

Roxette are still recording albums and touring to this day, after 33 years. 75 million records sold and four No. 1 hits in the US. They probably still have a fifth column of fans worldwide…nice work if you can get it.

MCM 2019/T-Minus 72: Sirius

The question for Saturday morning: How long will it take me to do 3 x 0.8 mi. intervals and then a reduced-weight circuit cycle? Can I get it done within an hour to an hour fifteen minutes? And can I do it with no adverse impact to my Sunday run?

I will answer that question Saturday morning, as I have postponed my intervals until then…but I DID get up and do my circuit cycle sets.

I need to buy more white sox; most every pair I have has a hole in the big toe area.

Okay, enough stalling. Here is the long overdue Song of the Day Extended Play MaxiCD!!!

(provided YouTube behaves this evening)

Cake/”Comfort Eagle:” From Snowskeeper on Genius.com:

“This song is about the music industry’s tactic of taking bands and shaping their sound into a product, using the spread and advertisement of an organized religion as an extended metaphor.

It also appears to be about the effects of corporations on society in general; the song makes references to “jungles of cardboard shanties and tents,” and to public figures declaring that democracy is a sham.”

Cake/”Long Line of Cars:”

Oh, look…YouTube is being a bitch again tonight.

Genius isn’t much help here, but I can tell you that when I used to drive home for the holidays, it would take no less than four hours to get out of the state of Maryland. And like any military installation, traffic is an absolute bitch and change trying to get on and off base during rush hour. If there’s rains or snow or an auto accident enroute…better get comfortable and make sure your CD player/Sirius XM is working.

Pearl Jam/”Crazy Mary:”

Heard this song live, and even though this isn’t the exact version I heard on Sirius/XM, I had to take a live version just to do the band justice.

To be honest, this song just struck me the right way during the one hour forty-five drive from Lexington park to Tyson’s Corner last Saturday. I was flipping through the XM stations and this one grabbed me and said “Whoa there cowboy!” Not one of PJ’s top ten live songs but a damn good jam session song.

Kiss/”War Machine:”

Gene Simmons out front and growling, Peter Criss bringing the thunder and Paul Stanley and Ace Frehly supplying the lightning. Classic Kiss, single or no single. If I were in charge of the next generation of Transformers movies, Kiss would be a part of the soundtracks.

Killers/”The Man:”

“I got gas in the tank
I got money in the bank
I got news for you baby, you’re looking at the man
I got skin in the game
I got a household name
I got news for you baby, you’re looking at the man”

The last song recorded for the album Wonderful Wonderful, the band admitted the song started just to have some fun. Lead singer Brandon Flowers, according to Genius, said that the lyrics were mostly about being in “a place of regret about who he was when the band started.”

Still, this was a damn good jam to discover on the drive to Virginia. I can NOT hear a song like this and not get jazzed up, or wish I was on a dance floor.

This blog post brought to you by Sirius XM…well, not officially. But I do recommend it when you’re renting a car and you don’t have any of your mixCDs handy.

Lifestyle 1989: The EP

Confession: I never made it out of the house today. All it did today was rain, and I didn’t;t feel like dealing with that today.

However, as promised, my Songs of the Day for my extended college basketball post today.

In 1989, I was in my first full year as  Marine. I was finishing up my A school at Naval Air Station Memphis in Millington, TN, then I headed to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC for my actual Military Operational Specialty training. I reported to MCAS Yuma, AZ on July 31 as my permanent duty station. I didn’t have a car so I didn’t;t go out that much, but as long as I had a walkman and a way to make tapes, I always had music.

MY SOTD Extended Play album comes from the Entertainment Weekly Greatest Hits 1989 collection. 1989 was a pretty good year…

Soul II Soul-“Back to Life:” Ahhh, Caron Wheeler and Jazzie B…where have you gone? A lonely music world needs you so bad. The original album version was sung a cappella by Caron, Not sure about the decision to add the music track, Not that I’m complaining.

Young MC-“Bust a Move:” With a slamming’, slapping’ bass line by Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers (or so the video tells me), this is yet another chapter in man’s ongoing quest for female companionship…or something.

Art of Noise w/Tom Jones-“Kiss:” There is a fascinating short story behind how art-house instrumental group AoN teamed up with Welsh superstar Tom Jones (italics borrowed from Memphis radio show hosts from my NAS Memphis days), but I don’t know it right now. They didn’t try to ape or outdo Prince; Art of Noise did what they do best and turned Tom Jones loose. That’s what’s new, pussycat, and it isn’t that unusual.

Michael Damian-“Rock On” Damian was starring on soap opera “The Young and the Restless” when he cut this cover of the David Essex 70s hit. This song was for the soundtrack of the movie “Dream a Little Dream,” starring 90s broheims Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. I actually enjoyed the movie, and I liked Damain’s version better than Davis Essex’s version; Michale had a little more snap and more bite to it.

Love and Rockets-“So Alive:” Because SEX, that’s why. Seriously, if you don’t get a LITTLE turned on by this song, then you’re missing something.

Fast facts from the album jacket:

  1. Soul II Soul member Nellee Hooper also produced hit singles for Madonna, U2, Tina Turner, and Bjork
  2. Marvin “M.C.” Young won a Grammy for Best New Rap Performance for “BaM” and co-wrote Tone-Loc’s “Funky Cold Medina.,” which also appears on this album.
  3. Tom Jones’ work with Art of Noise on “Kiss” garnered him his first Top 40 hit since 1977.
  4. Michael Damian Weir (full name) was a struggling young singer during his tenure on Y&R.
  5. Love and Rockets, formed by former members of the goth group Bauhaus (“Bela Lugosi’s Dead”), took their name from an underground (independent/alternate) comic book publisher. I do remember picking up a few issues, way back in the day. Not enough interest for me to buy any.

PS: Bauhaus lead singer Peter Murphy kept himself busy after Bauhaus folded, with a solo hit single in “Cuts You Up” and with the group Spacehog and “In the Meantime.”

Did Peter Murphy play bass for Bauhaus? Not sure.

Update: Bradley 63, Evansville 61. One down, two to go. Bonus track: “Fire on High” from Electric Light Orchestra was the bumper music for local NBC affiliate WEEK-TV, when they used to carry Bradley Braves basketball games…like the one I watched on TV thirty-seven years ago.”

The Music is Reversible, but Time is not. Turn Back, Turn Back, Turn Back, Turn Back!”