It’s all kinds of shitty out. In fact, it’s not just shitty, it’s “shit-tay”. It’s pouring cats and dogs and, well, seeing as this is my final (and only) run this week prior to Sunday’s Around the Bay 30k event I don’t feel like I have the luxury to pussy out and stay home. The plan calls for a fartlek run of 6 x 2 minute hard intervals in descending order according to pace, so it’s inevitably going to be wet and miserable 11k slog desperately needing some ample tough guy tunes, so I’m drawing on the ‘Five Hundred Pounds‘ album by hard-nosed Canadiana rockers Big Sugar.
Led by Toronto’s subtle-guitar whiz Gordie Johnson, Big Sugar cover a dizzying number of bases on their second effort released in 1993. I was attending university and working at the ‘Moondance Cafe‘ in Waterloo, Ontario at the time of this album’s release and all the resident musicians that frequented the place were absolutely all goo-goo for this album. To this point and based on the bands burgeoning reputation as a live band, the album sold 10,000 copies solely by word of mouth before it even garnered any significant radio airplay. So, let’s just say that the musicians were definitely onto something here and I – ever the impressionable music aficionado – gleaned that interest between endless cups of coffee and ‘Po’ Boy’ sandwiches. After all, this album was on heavy rotation on the cafe stereo for about 4 months. What choice did I have?
The group kicks out the jams for a pair of mutant, acid blues in ‘Ride Like Hell‘ and ‘I’m A Ram‘, with a good ‘ol slow stoked blues number sandwiched between in ‘Standing Around Crying’. These numbers were perfect for getting my head into the game in the beginning stages of the run heading into the driving rain along Thunder Bay Rd.
Yup, this is gonna suck.
Up next to kick off the intervals officially there’s the hypnotic, National Steel groove on ‘Sugar In My Coffee‘ and steady chugging riff of ‘All Over Now‘. Johnson then wails out a lurching Tex-Mex riff for ‘AAA Aardvark Hotel‘, another blues-laden stomper ‘How Many Times‘, before totally fascinating with an open-prairie/R&B fusion on ‘Wild Ox Moan‘ to close out the last interval.
And true to form, the run sucked. It was cold, damp, shitty and I inevitably stomped the living bejesus out of about a zillion worms out and along MacDonald Rd. The treads of my Hoka’s are likely filled with worm guts. The intervals themselves – while still below a 4:30min/km pace for the most part, did not come easy. But I get ‘er done and I’ll take that as my major success today.