Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Listen to the Music

What the hell happend?  I know, and I appologize.  My intention was for this to be a every week blog, but "Life" sort of took over.  I had to work and pay the bills.  I won't guarantee a weekly entry, but I'll try.  Here's my latest attempt in sobriety.

I've learned one thing from this whole weight loss ordeal I'm putting myself through:  Everybody's a damn expert, then again, I think that qualifies for most things in life.  You buy a car or a laptop, invariably someone is going to tell you that you should have done this or should have bought that.  No different with exercise.  Man, I can't begin to tell you how many "gurus" have told me the proper technique for walking running, and even stretching.  Who knew?? 

Anyways, I was searching for something to motivate me when I first started running as I hadn't quite perfected my little breathing technique. The best advice came from an unlikely source.  I went so far as to get the nice running shoes...and associated running socks. I wasn't aware there was such a categorization for them.  You've got crew socks, ankle socks and yes...running socks.  Hey, a man has got to look good when he's sweating his ass off, if you know what I mean.   I got all that and even those nice "wick" breathing shirts that don't hold as much sweat as your regular garden variety, cotten T's...but I was lacking something. 

I typically mope around the house when I get frustrated, or as Claudia would tell you, "whine like a little girl" when something doesn't go my way.  After about 2 weeks of this she had finally had enough and hands me her IPOD that I had gotten her for Valentine's Day.  She said, "Take this and load it with your stupid music, go running and quit bothering me with your sniveling!!"  She has this way of making you feel infinitesimal on these occasions, she is a teacher after all, and you instantly realize how moronic you've been.

It was an eye opener.  It has become the one piece of exercise equipment that I just cant live without and was the "missing link" to my motivation; to this day I would be lost without it and I didn't need an expert to tell me what to get or what kind of music to put on it.  Had I been allowed to have one when I was in the Army, whew...I dare say my PT test runs would have been a little faster.  I just think having a little music when you work makes it a lot easier to handle.

I have always said that the U.S. Army was the perfect social Utopia where all walks of life could come together and generally get along.  Simply put, everyone was green or "camo" or today, "digital."  In eleven years of service I shared rooms with rednecks, Porta Ricans, Mexicans, blacks, real New Yorkers, a few "Southies,"(not rebels...Boston Irish) some Asian dude...I think he was actually Korean...and my first ever roommate was a Mandan Souix Indian from Nebraska that loved some Country Music.  Now, don't go getting crazy on me if your're somehow offended by my use of the word "brothers" in lieu of Blacks or African Americans( and as I review this, the "Asian dude" comment could be misconstrued also).  Seriously, how stupid do you sound when someone asks, "where have you been?"  If your response was I was hanging out in the barracks with the "Blacks" or  the "African Americans," then your an idiot.  "I was hanging out with the Brothers in the barracks!" which sounds more appropiate.  I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers, just telling a story. 

So what did I learn form the Brothers in the Barracks?  They have a certain smoothness that white people can't replicate.  Sorry, it's just a fact of life and it is more so in the music I heard in the barracks.  Not this new stuff "Hip Hop" or "rap."  I'm talking about the old school R&B and Soul artists such as Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Teddy Pendergrass, Stevie Wonder, Big 'Ole Barry White, Stylistics, Manhattans, Earth, Wind & Fire and Freddy Jackson.  I would throw Prince in there as R&B, but quite a few Brothers just didn't know how to categorize him and his music...if you know what I mean.  My wife, the self appointed "Queen of Soul" in our relationship, can be considered a "Motown" afficionado."  More on the lines of Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross and whenever we clean house and put the satellite music on the TV, it is the Motown Sound that we end up scrubbing floors to.  My all time favorite Motown song is "Papa was a Rolling Stone" by the Temptations and just happens to be the best song to do an exercise warm-up...it's about 6 minutes long.

Now, when I get to running I need something a little more up tempo and I usually revert to my Southern Rock & Roll roots.  I'm a self confessed Allman Brothers Junkie, but they are not "running" music.  A 20 minute version of "Tie Me to  the Whipping Post" is great for getting stuck in traffic but very annoying when the rubber meets the road.  I average about 30 minutes to run 3 miles, and somedays I do 4 miles, so that takes about 50 minutes with a cool down.  Without further ado, here is my top 10 favorite running songs that get me through a workout:

Fool in the Rain-Led Zepplin
Can't you Hear me Knocking-Rolling Stones
I ain't Got Nobody(That I can depend on...)-Santana
Eminence Front-The Who
Man in the Box-Alice in Chains
Jane Says-Jane's Addiction(Steel Drum Version)
Shoot the Thrill-AC/DC
Alone in the Dark-John Hiatt
Champagne Jam-Atlanta Rythm Section
Boom, Boom...Out got the Lights-Pat Travers

As an honorable mention, because I do use it most often when I cool down, is Stevie Ray Vaughn's "Little Wing.  Oh!...I love that song.  Now, as much as I would like to debate everyone over my selection, it is not open to interpretation...remember, it's my blog and I'm the expert on my music.  That's it for this week, keep on truck'in and make sure your IPOD is loaded and fully charged.


  1. I was wondering where you've been -- glad you're back. Funny, I agree with you on the social utopia that is the military. Take people who would never have associated with each other in the real world, give them a job in the military (and a common enemy -- most likely that idiot in their chain of command) and everyone becomes friends. It always amazes me.
    Glad you found some motivation for your workouts. Greg uses his ipod when he runs, too. The playlist is titled "Run Fat Boy." lol.

  2. Krista,
    The "common enemy" is so true when it comes to motivation in the military.

    There is a movie called "Run Fat Boy." Sorta, kinda funny love story set in London.