I’m switching up the usual Tuesday routine that begins with an early swim and an afternoon run, to run this morning and swim this evening in order to cater to some schedule changes at work. So now that I’ve had my breakfast cuddles with Tina the Cat, a cup o’ joe, and my prerequisite pre-run poop I’m hitting the road for a series of hard fartlek intervals ( 5 x 2 minutes HARD / 3 minutes easy plus 10 x 30 seconds HARD / 30 seconds easy) for a total of 10.17k of hard earning pavement. Today’s goal is to complete the second of my full-on Iron-mode fartlek workouts. To help accomplish that I’m going with the only other moe. album in my collection, ‘Tin Cans and Car Tires‘.
Released in 1996 and 0pening with a second-line drum roll, moe. fires into some ‘Frankenstein‘-style grunge in a song which is indeed ‘Stranger Than Fiction‘. Turning up the tempo, the boys seizure through the pizzica-lypso verses of ‘Spaz Medicine‘ before smoothing into the Hall & Oates soul vibe of ‘Nebraska‘ (which features a scatty solo by guitarist Al Schnier). ‘Head‘ is an appropriately cerebral R.E.M. drifter with a twangy down-home chorus, some clangy guitar, and a steady Zappa/Phish guitar jam break. Such are the elements moe. is known for, and on ‘Car/Tires‘ they are able to roll in their own vein while obeying the rules of the recording road.
‘Hi & Lo‘ is a bouncy ditty reminiscent of the Beatles, strolling (although there was no “strolling” today, well, none that felt like it anyway) down ‘Abbey Road‘ to a closing which bubbles up from the ‘Yellow Submarine‘. The longest and most jam-a-licious and run-friendly track on the album, ‘Plane Crash‘ compacts an entire bandwidth into one song. Opening with classical strings, the song pauses before creeping through a huge guitar line to a fully-keyed brass crasher. It certainly provides some awesome motivation through my chilly 3rd and 4th intervals.
What does it say about me that one my most inspired running tunes is about the fear of flying and crashing? I can’t really explain it but there’s just something about the opening lyrics that I can identify with:
“Up in the sky it’s bird it’s a plane
Yea it’s a plane
I’m not afraid to fly I’m not afraid
Yea I guess I’m afraid
Fear is a good thing
It teaches us humility
And it can keep us sane
So I’ll fly high if I have to
If I could I take the train”
Yes, it’s certainly tongue-in-cheek but it’s almost poignant too if you instead apply to something else other than planes. In my case, running. Whatever it is, it sure gives me that pick up n’ go.
‘Letter Home‘ offers some country relief from the musical mayhem, but the album gets a bit funky with the hard to decipher evolution of ‘Big World‘. ‘Again & Again‘ dips back into the easy roots feel, which is much the motif on this album, but breaks it up with a sudden chorus tempo charge. ‘It‘ was such a labor of love (or was it hate?) for the band, that they took the album title (but not much else) from it. ‘Happy Hour Hero‘ (which I used to think of my own personal life anthem) steps on Little Feat to get itself heard, arpeggiating into the closing cinematic vignette ‘Queen of the Rodeo‘, a clunky honky-tonker which confesses the band’s deepest realities; perfect for a subtle yet nifty warm down as I bring it back home again.
There was nothing overly triumphant about today’s run. In fact, I felt kind of flat. Maybe it was the fact I’m coming off a recovery day or maybe it was the extra bowl of chips I had before dinner last night. Whatever it was, I just didn’t feel much like suffering hence my pace is nothing to great excited about (I covered nearly half a kilometer less than I did on my last fartlek run in the same time – not to mention 10 seconds slower of a pace overall). I did successfully manage to accomplish the whole workout when just about ever nerve and bone in body wanted to pack it in and head for home with my tail between my legs, and I did manage to stay focused on a quick cadence over my pace in general, so I suppose that’s a positive too.
Today, I’ll take ’em where I can get ’em.