Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Phantom of the 800s

The few of you that follow me on Twitter received an undetailed 140 character (or less) description of an unfortunate event at the track yesterday whilst doing some 800 meter intervals. Except, on my tweet, I didn’t use the word ‘whilst’. This is a problem I intend to correct on all future tweets whilst there is breath in my body.

The thing we all know about 800 intervals is that they can be grueling. As each one completes, you are that much closer to being done whilst also knowing that the next one will be more difficult to maintain pace than the previous. Your breathing will be more labored; your perceived effort will be higher. Real fuck with your mind shit. Do I really want to do these 800’s? Instead of six, how about five? Instead of 2:50 pace, how about 3:00 pace? Mentally, I start looking for an escape hatch to make things easier. In a way, I go through the five stages of grief during one 800 session:
  1. Denial – I’m not going to work this hard today
  2. Anger – WHY DO I HAVE TO DO THIS?
  3. Bargaining – Okay, I’ll do them but maybe only 4 intervals rather than 8.
  4. Depression – This sucks. Why does Beardsley hate me?
  5. Acceptance – Alright, I’m here. Might as well get it over with.
To distract all of these swirling emotions within, I ratchet up the ole iPod with some raucous RAWK music. Real ear bleeding stuff to get the heart pumping, legs churning, and mind fucked. I’m not a huge metalhead but I do dabble in a few headbangers to facilitate some speed work. I even had a playlist designed at one time for just such workouts. That playlist got deleted at some point during one of the never ending iTunes updates and has not been recreated. Since then, I tend to select an album or artist that I know can provide some adrenaline and hope that the record label required “power ballad” doesn’t pop up at some point.

That’s usually how I do things.

Yesterday, I decided to hit Shuffle and tempt the fate of the music overlords. Now, I know you are thinking ‘Nitmos, you are super cool and thus all of the music on your iPod would be Super Cool Approved also so what could go wrong?’ Thank you for thinking that and, largely, you are correct. However, it should be noted (as seen on my profile page), that I do hold a soft spot for garish show tunes. If you are surprised by this, you shouldn’t be. I recently used the word “garish” in a sentence. /deadgiveaway

It started out alright. My first few intervals had a nice smattering of 30 Seconds to Mars and Rage Against the Machine. I was off to a hot start. I knew I was cranking along when Linkin Park kicked in not once but back-to-back selections!! The home stretch was near.

But then some elongated silence. Did my iPod turn off? Battery drain? Seconds go by and…nothing.

Wait…not nothing. I hear something. What is that?

Nighttime sharpens
Heightens each sensation
Darkness stirs and
Wakes imagination

It started slowly, quietly and then built to a, well, sloooow show tune pace. Not something bouncy and Pirates of Penzancey. Nope, “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera instead. I’ve got 2000 songs on that iPod and THAT’S what is selected?!? Can a runner at least get some Joey Fatone up in here?

Now I’m as entangled in the torrid love triangle between Christine, Raoul and the Phantom as any normal red-blooded American. But in the middle of some 800 intervals, I care more about my own tortured soul rather than some damn fool with a half mask. But you can’t stop and change tunes in the middle of an 800 right? That’s got to be against some kind of runner code.

So, powered by the Original Cast Recording of the Phantom of the Opera, I completed my intervals. Somehow. I’m living testament that it can be done though it does not come with a recommendation.

And then Johnny Cash came on.

Clearly, I really have got to go over my iPod selections. At the very least, the lesson I learned the hard way for all of you is not to hit Shuffle whilst doing speed work. Too many things can go wrong. Anne Frank may be a Phan (or would have been, one assumes) but this runner is not. At least, not in this context.

In summary: Show tunes rule…but not during speed work.

Happy trails.


Viper said...

You're so fabulous. Glad you got those 800s in, twinkle toes.

Running In Boise said...

I know would have thrown some jazz hands in at the end.

Running Through Phoenix said...

What is THIS??!!? Give us Adam's Boston Race report!

Char said...

Please tell me that your Johnny Cash song was Burning Ring of Fire. That has to be my all time favourite after a sober rendition of it by my Dad accompanied by Sing Star. Funniest thing ever!

Jamoosh said...

I am leaning on you to get "whilst" back into the public consciousness. No pressure...

Ace said...

I think, "I dreamed a dream" works better for tempo runs. Or at least that's what other people say.

Jennifer Gibbons said...

I want some upbeat music when I run or practice. It keeps the adrenaline up and mellow doesn't work for me, at all. I love Johnny Cash's music. You have great taste in music as well.