Annotated Half-Marathon Shuffle

1:35:07 de facto mix time + 1:34:10 gun time + 1:33:24 chip time = how long I spent writing this

1. “Found Out”   Caribou

Generally, when I’m planning a race mix, I like to begin with a song that starts slow or low-key before really opening up and rocking the fuck out of it. This is because a) I want shift up gradual to make sure all my parts are in working order before I get to pace, and (moreso) b) the starting line is a always a clusterfuck and you’re not going to be able to go as fast as you want to right away. The MVPs of this are Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk,” Smog’s “No Dancing,” John Cale’s “Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend,” and MestVestP, “At Least That’s What You Said” by Wilco.

This time, though, I didn’t make an actual scheduled mix. Mostly out of two kinds of laziness. The former being: it takes a lot of time to pick and plot an hour and a half to two hours of music and I didn’t start doing it until 10pm the night before and figured I should get at least/most 5-and-a-half hours of sleep. The latter, that my training for this was sub-sub-par and I had really lost the edge I had back in September when I was breaking my goals for this (1:30:00) on 13.5 mile runs and considering (delusionally so) ‘what if: 80 minutes?’.

So this mix shuffled together from a 5 hour plus list of 86 songs. “Found Out” seemed suitably low-key to start with, and it matched well the not-yet-day, black-grey drizzle vibe that accompanied our start. Good pull, ipod shuffle!

Seriously– I completely did not take into account the fact that 7:15 AM in November (let alone 6:15 when I walked down) is still essentially The Night.

2. “Head Held High”   The Velvet Underground

A pick-up. At this point, still a wall of folks and can’t really run as fast as I’d like. The wall has dispersed some, but they’re not so spread out that it’s not rude to pass most of them. Trying to weave through the legs of the monorail to find room, as people are mostly trying to avoid running into twenty foot high concrete pillars, but the road has studs that demarcate the lanes’ end, so it’s even extra unappealing.

3. “New Orleans”   Silver Jews

Cryptic song for a weird-feel stretch– good pull, ipod shuffle! At this point we’re downtown, going through the completely empty financial district past the blocked off I-5 onramp into the ID into poverty.

4. “Never Going Back Again”   Fleetwood Mac

Actually just got this version (the original Rumours version) the night before. Had fallen in love with through the version on the Tusk-era Fleetwood Mac Live, which, like Tusk itself, is crazy indulgent. Lindsay stretches it out to four-plus minutes long, milking every line. The guitar feels a little less jangly, the tempo slower, and the vocals are more the focus (and real hammed up). It’s the superior take even if it is fucking ridiculous.

It’s more like this version but not exactly like this version.
“Byeeen down one tiiiime / beeeen down two tiiiimes / a-been-a-down-a-threee tiiimes / [pure rasp whisper] I’m never going back again”

That is a dude who knows how to play his guitar.

5. “Send In The Clouds”   Silver Jews

By this time the roads were clear enough so that I could pretty much run wherever. But, since I began back farther than I’d liked (there were too many people and it was impossible to move up), I was still having a tough time figuring how fast I should pace myself. Usually I try to do the people around me plus one (or two or), but the people around me were still going pretty slow.

No one has uploaded a video of “Send In The Clouds” yet (what? / every other American Water song is up…), so I chose “Self-Ignition” instead because it’s it’s B-Side and how many people have the “Send In The Clouds” single? A: I’m skeptical it actually even exists.

Not Even Drag City Can Give It To You (Even If You Have $)

6. “Y Control”   Yeah Yeah Yeahs

This is the point where I pick it up and start not just matching more-or-less the pace of the folks around me. By now we’re on I-90, on an elevated section of highway, and the rain is such that it is definitely going to be raining this whole time and we just have to deal with that. (I had noticed that during “Send In The Clouds,” actually).

So, yeah. Start running for real and not just jogging along. This is helped by two things. One: in a weird fever dream/not quite awake delusion, decide that there are Y-controllers and I will (finally) embrace my geneticals and be on their side. FINALLY. Two: see a girl who from behind looks exactly like an ex-girlfriend. I cannot let her beat me. I chase her down, check the face to make irrelevantly sure its not her (there is zero chance she is a) at this thing, and if so, b) not further back). It’s not and I am attracted to her, briefly, in the .6 seconds it takes to turn my head back around and never see her ever again.

These things might be related but, more likely, are all bloodhands on bodydeck nonsense. Which is to say none left for the brain; my thoughts and actions are fueled entirely by songs.

It’s a good feeling slash I have never seen this video and this video is awesome.

7. “Born Under A Bad Sign”   Moneybrother

And “Born Under A Bad Sign” is a good way to continue the aggression. Featured on the playlist of the last three or so races I did, it is from the Super soundtrack (great soundtrack, buy it; greater movie, see it) and is the darkest horse candidate for my favorite new old song of 2011. It’s basically designed to run to and has been a real pick-up each time it came up in a race playlist. This time was no exception, and, still on the bridge/overpass, started really snaking around folks, using the breakdown lane, sacrificing efficiency for the satisfaction of passing folks.  A li’l mouthblood = important.

8. “Where Is My Mind?”   Pixies

Skipped over “I’m Amazed” because it seemed too aggro for only 3 or 4 miles in. “Where Is My Mind?” came up next as we were headed into the (real long) tunnel and it was a perfect fit. One of the nice things about big races like this (the Seattle (half) Marathon) is that you get to run places where people don’t usually get to. I’ve always had a love of long tunnels, so this was a REAL TREAT for me, you guys. I had to capitalize that so it wouldn’t sound too lame.

Embarrassing Personal Revelation: I could have been at this show (above, Newport Folk Festival) but I was too much of an anxiety-ridden mess to try to get time off from my MOVIE THEATER JOB. Doing concessions, even. Not even tix. Concessions. 21 years old.

At least my cowardice saved me a sunburn?
And, frankly, having to hear a sort of crummy rendition of “Where Is My Mind”?
(It was a one-time-eve all-acoustic set is the thing).

Because I was acting like I was a Dumb Junior High Kid

9. “Tokyo Drifter Theme”   Tetsuya Watari

Or “Tokyo Nagaremono” if you’re nasty. You can get it here, as well as other mp3s ripped from Tokyo Drifter. If you haven’t seen it and you like awesome things you are doing yourself a disservice.

The official trailer doesn’t suitably celebrate how nuts this thing is. More (even) in a gorgeous set-piece sort of way than Branded To Kill style wackiness. More straight-faced, but still, weird white or three-color operas. Hit it, rock and roll version!



10. “Race For The Prize”   The Flaming Lips

And now we emerge from the tunnel and the sun has risen and it is a beautiful match of song to feeling. Partly true except the whole sun thing. There was no sun. Ever. It did seem slightly more day-like once out of the tunnel, though. Though, typing this now, that does sound like a pretty dumb thing to say.

11. “Think About Me”   Fleetwood Mac

I don’t entirely remember this song playing. From context it was between getting off of I-90 towards Leschi Park. I like it! (Note: in the live version online Chris McVie’s voice is not just husky but fat. They don’t sound like they are actually playing the right chords or instruments. The whole thing is sort of a shit show. Don’t track it down; don’t watch).

12. “The Card Cheat”   The Clash

Through Leschi Park, nice viewing Lake Washington. Here a note about two things:

1. I still can’t drink while running. What’s more, it wasn’t until near the end of the race that I realized that Gatorade and water come in recognizably different cups. The two times (well, three technically — see: later) I grabbed one of the water station cups I pulled Gatorade, which was not at all what I wanted. I still tried to sip it, but it mostly splashed on my face and made my hands sticky. Not really what I was after / Hot?
2. I sort of have to poop now (then).

13. “So Much For The Afterglow”   Everclear

That Everclear album is good you guys. Honest. They don’t deserve to be treated like Lit. Also this song is bomb to run to. 1997, team. C’mon!

Also Also: “Marcy Playground/Fastball/Everclear tour”

14. “Gigantic”   Pixies

At this point, and during “So Much For The Afterglow,” is where I hit the Soldiers Who Died portion of the race. Blue was the theme color, and blue-framed portraits of about 30 or 40 so (local?) soldiers who died in Afghanistan and Iraq lined the road overlooking either the lake or just trees.

After the portraits, an equal (I think) number of people were lined up holding American flags. I nodded at each flag-bearer and gave the last one a quick salute.

[Note: the nods are sort of an extension of a habit. Whenever there is someone on roadside applauding or cheering for me (‘me,’ here, being whoever passes by) I feel obliged to give them a little nod-bow. Back when I was healthier/pre-injury I think I may have also done a salute, but I was (rightfully) cockier back then] / “Death Metal?” + “Uh. I guess?” + “It’s fun”

I should say that when I saw them during the Doolittle tour three (two?) years ago they still had it. Like, Frank Black sounds almost as strong as Black Francis and that is real damn impressive for it being 20+ years later and for what he does with his voice. It’s not like Seattle was the first stop on the tour either.

Fucking anxiety.

15. “She Took All The Money”   Black Francis

Speaking of blue, this song is from his first full album (I’m pretty sure) under the Black Francis monicker, Bluefinger. It’s ok. This song is real catchy and reminds me of a song I used to sing in music class in elementary school. I’m pretty sure the similarities were that it was about someone who ‘take the money and run Venezuela,’ and that she had a Spanish name (and Black Francis sang a lot in Spanish on those first two Pixies albums).

Oh here it is. I guess Matilda could be a Spanish name?

Anyways, “She Took All The Money” used to get stuck in my head all the time back in 2007,8. I would catch myself singing it out loud to myself when walking around, or hanging out with friends. Once on a car trip I had it on the playlist and one of my friends sort of shit on it. How come? Sounds pretty undeniable to me.

Well, catchy at least.

16. “With Every Heartbeat”   Robyn (with Kleerup)

Now two more Best New Old Songs of 2011 in a row. Have listened to this one to the point where it stopped meaning so much (say, two – three months ago). But before that it meant So Much. Saw her in concert and, like almost every good show I’ve been to this year, the crowd kept it from being great. Sad.

17. “Burning Airlines Give You So Much More”   Brian Eno

The way two guitar parts create a third. Don’t remember this stretch quite so well, though, picking up on the previous poop comment. Between then and now, really had to poop pretty bad. Fortunately, each of the mile markers was posted to a portable toilet, so I had the opportunity, and for miles 6-8 I debated it. Luckily, the need went away by mile 9 / sometime around the next song or so. Sorry, Brian Eno.

18. “Schizophrenia”   Sonic Youth

I had this vhs when I was a kid. What a treat / afterwards I only wanted to jam things between my strings and the fretboard and beat the shit out of the neck. Thanks a lot, “I Love Her All The Time”!

Sister is the best. That apocalyptic sound is rill good for running. This, “White Kross,” “Tuff Gnarl,” “The First Two Minutes Or So Of Pipeline/Kill Time– I Guess That Would Be The ‘Pipeline’ Parts,” “Pacific Coast Highway,” it is a literal murderer’s row of runnable songs. As in, if you listen to all those songs in a row you will become a murderer and people will run from you.

At this point on Interlaken. I’ve been running up and down the park part for years now and had NO IDEA that it went all the way down to like 38th or something if you take that little tributary.

Favorite drums in the world now old drums. Real old.

19. “Soul Love (Live)”   David Bowie

The version I listened to is from the Stage album; it’s way better than whatever is happening here. Speaking of whatever is happening here, I’ve written about this song extensively in the past, sort of.

20. “Going Through the Motions (Live)”   Aimee Mann

At this point, realize I sort of am, though not in a bad way. Mechanical, going at a particular clip. Falling behind the furthest front I ever got (and won’t ever catch back up) but still passing people. The end of Interlaken!

21. “Drover”   Bill Callahan

… and now back on the street. Something about this wild, wild country and back onto the highway.

22. “Violet”   Hole

Tunnels right from “Drover” onto the highway. A good match. Props again, shuffle. Really wanted this song to provide an extra punch, but don’t think my body responded quite as I wanted. Sad. Raining harder now. Note the color of that guitar.

23. “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (Live)”   Elvis Costello

I remember the rain being the worst here. Still tunneled on I-5 by sound walls and such. The version I listened to is the live version that’s a B-side from the non-live version’s single. Check it out if you can find it (it’s collected on Singles, Volume 3)– it’s pretty ridiculous but also great. Real good Embrace The Rain music.

24. “The Impression That I Get”   The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Now emerging out and up onto Denny, I think. Or the top of the bottom of Captiol Hill, that ridge area, looking down on Downtown/Queen Anne, the final stretch laid out in front of you. Well-matched, a sort of pre-triumphant feeling.

25. “Heroes (Live)”   David Bowie

Also from Stage. That lower Denny part, going through ghost residential and trophy stores. Other places you’d never visit and getting real close. Thought it might carry me to the finish, but correctly guessed that this version is less than 7 and a half minutes. So…

26. “Why I Love You”   Jay-Z & Kanye West

Into the tunnel and onto Memorial Stadium field and right through the finish line. Earbuds slipping out constantly, from rain and sweat and, in this last straightaway, speed. Give up trying to hold them in. Only about a minute of this song, which, really, is plenty. Heard that in my head while sprinting the shit out of the last .1 mile. Two targets. Passed the lady in front of me no problem; caught all the way up to the guy and we were neck and neck a yard or two before the finish line. Heard him say ‘oh shit,’ and  he sped up a little. We laughed. IT WAS FUN.

I forget whether I beat him or not. It may have been a tie.

Now hot pixx of the aftermath:

The Relaxation Area Jazz Band

The veganism wasn't even the issue-- not enough cinnamon sweetness! Vegans can still have cinnamon, right?

I love a good sipping soup as much as the next guy, but chicken and rice is probably not the best. I have now drank rice!

Discussing strategy for next week's meet.

Some people (who are way slower than me) at the finish line!

After after, at Skillet, Delicious Cinnamon Roll

And done.

Nothing is more valuable than a medal that a line of ten people hand out by the fistful to every person who stumbles past

I forgot to come back to this-- after the soldier death section, there were two people handing out water. I grabbed one, was about to drink it, and then...

Gummi Bears instead! Adorable.


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