Saw a great double bill at the Happy Dog in Cleveland last night. First up was The Modulated Tones, who I wrote about a few days ago. The Pennsylvania duo easily lived up to my expectations, knocking out a scintilating set of Spacemen 3 meets The Jesus and Mary Chain fuzz rock featuring some otherworldly effects pedal wizardry. Next up was The Vacant Lots from Burlington, Vermont (see link above). Also a duo, the group was a bit more psych rock than The Modulated Tones, at times very Spacemen 3 meets Brian Jonestown Massacre. I like it that young bands are still flying the psych rock flag. Makes me want to get out more than I have lately.
Usually I only wear a watch to make sure I'm going fast enough on interval workouts or tempo runs, but I'm trying to keep my non-stress days at 70% of my current 5K fitness so I took out the watch today to make sure I wasn't going fast. 70% of 5:38 (the pace of my 5K race last month) equates to just a touch slower than 8:00 miles. Today I hit 8:05 pace give or take on my standard metro park out and back 10 miler. I was a little sore from Saturday's tempo but felt good and relaxed. Overdressed a bit by opting for tights in upper 40s temps but the compression felt good on my calves and quads so no complaints.
This has been my best week in about two months as far as health issues go. I've had zero stomach issues and haven't taken any meds. Hope this continues. My next race will be the Twinsburg Turkey Trot on November 12, which is a challenging 5 mile road/trail race. Two years ago I ran 29:34 when I was in 17:00/36:00 shape so it will be a good benchmark for me to see where I'm at.
If you're in Cleveland on Sunday night you might want to check out The Modulated Tones at Happy Dog. The young Pennsylvania duo, consisting of Kevin Berlin and Gina Kanter, take a page out of the Jesus and Mary Chain (see photo homage above!) and Spacemen 3 playbook and run with it. They're also savvy enough in their tastes to cover The Velvet Underground. Their minimalist fuzz-heavy psychedelic sound, complete with Bo Diddley style beats is a compelling enough reason to get this jaded scribe off his butt on a Sunday night, so you have no excuses! Check them out below:
Fall is definitely here in the Forest City. Today I ran 11 miles on a hilly out and back segment at the Rocky River metro park in 45-degree temps with drizzling rain throughout. Cold October rain? In any case, I felt pretty good. I averaged 7:48 pace going 7:55s out and 7:40ish back -- right where I usually am for easy/recovery efforts. My quads and calves are still a little stiff from the race, but I should be 100% by the weekend. Didn't see any other runners or cyclists out and about today, but I quite enjoyed the loneliness of the long distance runner feeling. Not really looking forward to another winter here, but I'll enjoy the last few months of fall before it kicks in.
My calves finally felt okay enough to shuffle so I headed out to Lakewood Park for a very easy recovery run, my first workout since Sunday's race. It took a while to get going (my first mile was like 9:15!!), but by the end of the run I was at my usual 7:45/8:00 easy day pace and feeling good (calves were only mildly tender). Tomorrow I head to the metro park and should probably be good for 8-10 easy miles. Depending on how that goes, I'll do a tempo workout on Saturday. With my current work schedule my 4-day rotation works best going Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday. I think my health issues are on the mend -- knock on wood. I've been taking a pricey probiotic for the past few days and that seems to have helped immensely. I've also started taking Vitamin D every day, which is supposed to be good for inflamation.
As far as debuts go, The Pale Saints' "Sight of You" from their 1989 EP Barging Into The Presence of God is one of the best. This song has everything a shoegaze fan could want: a slow build up leading to a sea of crashing guitars, melodic vocals, and the band was just really cool. The group was sort of a cross between the Stone Roses and Ride, but a bit weirder as evidenced by some of the B-sides, which can be found on the excellent Japanese compilation Mrs. Dolphin. The band's best release is their 1990 full-length The Comforts Of Madness, which contains "Sight of You" and ten more stone classics. The follow up from 1992, In Ribbons, is also excellent, but soon after vocalist Ian Masters left the group and the band released the sub par Slow Buildings in 1994 before calling it quits.
Pale Saints – The Comforts Of Madness
"Listen to your body" is an oft-heard phrase that is rarely heeded in running circles. We get so obsessed with our training logs and mileage targets that we're afraid to recover. So here I am two days after a hilly 10K and my calves are shot. I was limping around the office yesterday and still gimpy today so I'm just going to wait until I feel like I can run again. If you're too sore to walk much, why run? Lesson learned from ignoring my quad injury this Spring.
Pete Magill just published an excellent article about post-race recovery for masters runners in the new issue of Running Times. You can find it online here. As Pete puts it:
Most masters runners treat training as if it were a bank account.
We believe the more distance, tempo and interval work we can deposit into our training logs, the more we can withdraw come race day.
Only one problem: Our bodies aren't S&Ls. They're complex organisms. We don't "bank" workouts; instead, we use them to stimulate physiological adaptations that lead to better running performance. And these adaptations can occur only with proper recovery.
Yesterday I ran the Youngstown Peace Race for the first time since living in Ohio. I loved the course and really wish I was in better shape to take advantage of the perfect weather conditions. I really can't complain though. I ran 37:49 (6:05 pace) on the point-to-point course which ran through a beautiful metro park system before veering into downtown Youngstown for the last mile. Over the last few months I've had so many stomach issues that I was just happy to make it through the race feeling good (well, not good because 10Ks never feel good, but you know what I mean). I'm hoping I'm out of the woods now. I felt really good on race morning and as a precaution took an imodium an hour before the race and thankfully I had no issues. Age grade wise this performance is not as good as my recent 5K, which is not surprising since my training volume has been down from normal due to aforementioned health issues. Next up is the Twinsburg Turkey Trot 5 miler in three weeks. I did this two years ago and loved the course, which combines paved and woodchip trails. Very hilly early on but some nice quad busting downhills in the second half. A good cross country simulation. Workout wise I'll incorporate some longer long runs and some more tempo work into my program now that I'm feeling a bit better.
Today was an easy maintenance workout at Rocky River HS before Sunday's race. Did an easy 4 mile warm up on the track -- boring I know but the new surface feels really good -- followed by 8 x 200 with 200 jogs. I did the reps cut down style, starting at 5K effort and gradually working my way down. Splits were 43, 42, 41, 40, 40, 39, 39, 38. Felt good and the reps felt easy. My body's feeling good on every other day training at the moment and I don't feel like I'm losing any fitness. Once my stomach is back to 100% I may make some adjustments but weirdly enough with less volume and more intensity in my training right now, I'm feeling more athletic. I've also been doing push ups 3 days a week on the hundredpushups.com program. I finished Week 3 today and managed to get in 88 in 5 sets with 2:00 rest breaks between sets. Not too bad for a scrawny distance runner!
Did 10 miles yesterday in the metro park in total crap weather. Pouring rain, cold and the paths were kind of flooded in spots. Pretty much what I might expect to encounter at Club Nationals in Seattle in December! The pacing was similar to the run I did on Monday -- 8:00 pace out, a bit faster coming back. My body is just not agreeing with the meds I was on so I'm stopping them. Asacol is something you can stop cold turkey unlike Prednisone which requires tapering. The only thing that seems to work for settling my stomach right now is an Imodium now and then. I'll see what the specialist says in November. Feeling really good right now after being off the meds for a day, so hopefully I'll have a solid workout tomorrow before resting up for Sunday's 10K.
Though a huge cult favorite in the UK and amongst US indie kids during their late Eighties/ early Nineties existence, The Field Mice were way underrated. Because they were on Sarah Records they were dismissed as another 'twee' band by the UK press despite singles like "Sensitive," which sizzled with shimmering feedback as well as the likes of the House of Love and some of the other shoegazer bands of the time. Tracks like the hypnotic "It Isn't Forever," explored more experimental terrain, not unlike New Order, while introspective material such as "End Of The Affair" cut straight through the heart. Pretty Much everything you'd ever want by The Field Mice can be found on their excellent 1998 retrospective Where'd You Learn To Kiss That Way? (Spotify link to the full album below)
The Field Mice – Where'd You Learn To Kiss That Way?
The Sixties garage rock scene has been mined to death but it seems like there are a few Seventies sludge rock nuggets to be discovered in the rubble, like these cats from South Africa who were covering the likes of Black Sabbath, Donovan ("Season of the Witch") and King Crimson, amongst others. Their complete recordings can be found on a compilation called Time To Suck! Pretty mean looking bunch too - wonder if they were Hell's Angels on the side? If an extended wigout cover of Black Sabbath's iconic "War Pigs" is up your alley, investigate immediately. Some more Suck tunes can be found on YouTube.
This is one of my favorite workouts. Tough but a great confidence builder. Yesterday I went to the Rocky River track and after an easy two mile warm up, I ran twenty 400s at 10K race effort with 100 meter jogs for recovery trying not to take more than 40 seconds in between each rep. I managed to hit 87/88 for almost all of the reps with one or two at 86 or 89 depending on how the wind was. One half of the track was extremely windy, more so than usual at Rocky River. Someone needs to build a dome over that track! Anyway what I like about this workout is that it mimics a race, feeling easy early on because 400s aren't that long, but after a while the short recoveries catch up to you. My old coach, Pete Magill, likens this workout to putting your hand on a stove and just as it gets hot, pulling it away. If you can hold pace all the way and not slow down on your recoveries, it's a good indicator that you can hold this pace in a 8K/10K race. The entire workout adds up to 10K on the nose (25 laps). Based on the fact that I averaged 5:50ish pace for the reps I'm thinking that I should be able to run somewhere between 36:00 and 37:00 for 10K at the Peace Race on Sunday depending on the weather.
This mid-Nineties UK band had one great single and a lot of fluff as evidenced by their lackluster full-length Big Jet Rising. But, man, this single smokes! Someone needs to put out a Nineties Britpop version of Nuggets because like the Sixties garage rockers, so many of these English bands had a great single or two but not much else in their arsenal.
Normally, I just post my workouts on running2win.com (see link above), but I'm on a mission to blog more often, so here goes. Today was an easy maintenance run of sorts just to make sure I was recovered from a hard interval workout I did on Thursday. I wanted to run on the bridle paths in Mastick Woods but due to recent rains it would have been a total mudfest, so I opted for a hilly out and back stretch at Rocky River Reservation. The winds were pretty strong this morning (according to weather.com gusts of around 30mph) so that made things interesting in the first half of the run, which was mainly into the wind with some crosswinds. I tend to run my easy days at about 2:30 per mile slower than my 5K race pace and today was typical as I averaged 8:00 pace on the nose, doing the first half super slow (like 8:15s) and the second half @ 7:45. I've been on the Asacol meds for a few days now and they seem to be settling me though sometimes I kind of feel nauseous on them a bit. Peppermint tea seems to help. In terms of ulcerative colitis flare ups, all things considered this has been pretty minor compared to how sick I got when I was in college, so I'm trying to deal with this in a somewhat positive manner. I seem to be running well on every other day training and I'm thinking that my body was breaking down a bit from overtraining, so maybe this was a sign to ease back. On every other day training I recover much faster and can handle more volume on the stress days so that's not a bad thing. If I feel like I'm losing fitness I'm going to join a gym and hit the elyptical and/or stationary bike. Monday I'll be doing a stress workout, probably 16-20 x 400 @ 10K pace with 100 recoveries and then it will be just easy running before my 10K on 10/23.
Lumped in with the post-Oasis Britpop scene, Mansun's 1996 debut single "Take It Easy Chicken" is a snotty groove filled anthem that almost beats the Gallagher brothers at their own game. Originally known as Manson (after the infamous killer) the band quickly altered the spelling of their name to become a play on The Verve's stellar B-side "A Man Called Sun." I still have the self-released 7" as Manson - not sure if it's worth anything! The group would go on to release a killer debut album Attack Of The Grey Lantern and several solid followups before calling it quits. At their best, they held their own with Oasis, Verve etc. and kind of predate Kasabian, while some of the lesser material was a bit too retro in a Duran Duran kind of way for my liking.
Mansun: Attack of The Grey Lantern
These Austin, Texas youngsters have been around since 2005 or so, and though they have released a few EPs and singles, they only just got around to releasing their stunning debut album Colour Trip earlier this year on esteemed Canadian indie imprint Sonic Unyon Records. If you are a fan of mid-eighties UK noise pop, namely The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Primitives and early My Bloody Valentine (think "Strawberry Wine"), Colour Trip and the brand new early EPs and singles compilation Sparkler will be way up your alley. I've been playing these records nonstop. If you have Spotify, check out Colour Trip via the link below.
Ringo Deathstarr: Colour Trip
I'm at the point where I either need to stop this blog or update it a lot more often. The once every week or two updates aren't cutting it, so I'm going to make a real attempt to write something every day or two. Skyscraper Magazine seems to be on a hiatus so I'm itching to do more music reviews so those will be forthcoming. Thanks to spotify.com I've been discovering and re-discovering lots of awesome bands. I've been completely blown away by Austin, Texas youngsters Ringo Deathstarr who released their debut album earlier this year and just recently came out with a compilation of their old EPs and 7" singles. Both discs are available via Sonic Unyon Records and of course spotify, iTunes etc.
As for running, workouts are going okay though I've been struggling with some health issues, which will hopefully be resolved soon. To make a long story short when I was an aspiring college runner I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Basically, it's a more extreme form of IBS. It's mostly been in remission though this year I've had some flareups. Nothing extreme like I had when I was younger (i.e. internal bleeding) but I've been getting upset stomachs too often in workouts. I'm going to see a specialist in late November (god knows how long it would take if I didn't have good insurance) but for the meantime my family doctor has me on a medication for mild colitis called Asacol. This was pretty much the only thing that really worked for me in the past and I can tell after just two days on it that I'm feeling better. The gluten-free diet has been helping me a lot too. I used to get uncomfortable bloating feelings and bad indigestion but those two symptoms disappeared overnight after cutting out the gluten. Endurance sports are not easy on the system -- to be honest if I didn't run I don't think I'd notice anything. For the time being I've been running 4 days a week with bigger workouts on the days I run and full recovery (other than sets of pushups) on the non running days. I don't seem to be losing any fitness off of this based on workout times and my most recent 5K, so I'll roll with it unconventional or not.
It's been a while since I've updated this blog but my running is finally heading in a good direction fast. This past weekend I ran a 17:32 at the Nature's Bin 5K, which was my best race in a long, long time. Really happy with that as I was at 18:08 just 3 weeks ago. Also, the weather wasn't all that great. Mid 40's (which I don't mind) but rainy and very windy. I think the strength workouts I've been doing like the 8 mile tempos and the longer intervals have been working well for me. I've also been not afraid to take days off when necessary. It's harder to get out of shape than it is to get in shape so I'm finally learning to chill out and wait until I'm feeling ready to hit a hard workout instead of trying to cram them into a weekly schedule. The best advice Pete Magill ever gave me was, "It's not the workouts you can do that count, but rather the workouts you can recover from." Next up is the Youngstown Peace Race on October 23. I've never done this before but from what I hear it's a fast point to point course that is mainly run through a scenic metro park before finishing the last mile in not so scenic downtown Youngstown. This week I'll do a harder workout on Thursday most likely and a long trail run on Saturday. The week after that I'm off work so I'll try to nail a couple of tough workouts before easing up a bit before the race. After Youngstown I'll start doing more interval workouts on grass in my spikes to get ready for cross country.
Other than that, Skyscraper Magazine has been on a bit of a hiatus so I haven't written any music reviews in a while but some will spring up soon I hope. Best band I've listened to in a while is Ringo Deathstarr. Check them out!