The band played Saturday in Albany. 840 miles of driving. 26 hours without sleep. One rehearsal/One show. I convinced myself on the drive home that staying focused and positive while I was exhausted and horribly undernourished was perfect training for my long runs. The New York State Thruway is 120 miles of shitty. There are areas that look like they'd be great to run (Harriman and points North) but driving it is more mind numbing than driving in the fucking desert.
For me the whole process of playing shows is a miserable endurance test . It's a test without a payoff. I get no satisfaction from meeting most people. I still, after 20 years, have horrible stage fright that turns me into a difficult person to be around. I don't gain any pleasure onstage. The whole set feels like the last miles of a long run, and the toll on my body is absurd. We've never come close to breaking even financially in 20 years. I guess I should also mention that in the area where we were selling our merchandise on this particular night the club played the cd of the band whose singer my ex-wife married for 5 fucking hours and 19 minutes. I'm fucking serious. The SAME cd. Talk about karma. It was like an episode from The Twilight Zone. I have no fucking idea where some of the bruises on my body came from. Let's catalog some of them because they're kind of funny. Bruised right ankle: dropped a 32" TV on it last weekend. Right achilles/calf scraping: falling off stage (again). Bruised left ankle: keeping the heavy fucking cymbal case from hitting the ground when it fell out of the back of the van. Bruised right and left thighs: Maybe banging my guitar against them onstage??? Bruised right forearm: Could be anyone's guess. Here's the million dollar question that I got asked a number of times last night... If you hate it so much, why do you do it? I promote the band just enough that we can keep going into the recording studio (my happy place) and put out records. It's a necessary evil. The one saving grace is that I get to spend a bunch of hours with the guys in the band, which is always pretty fucking frightening/hysterical. I told them once that it would be more fun to just rent a van and drive around for 24 hours. Fuck playing shows, lets just drive around, make fun of each other, eat junk food, and drive recklessly. That would be awesome.
I cannot believe how fucking sore I am from the show this weekend. I feel like I got thrown from a moving car. I didn't run in the monsoon yesterday and opted for a nice 2 hour nap. I felt guilty but fuck it, I really needed the rest. I got my Garmin watch on Friday, fucked with it for about 20 minutes in the rain on Sunday and will be breaking it out for real tomorrow when I finally hit the road again. I have it set to show time/distance/heart rate/average pace. I'm going to stress test myself next week to find out what my true max heart rate is and then set up some zones to run in. Geek.
I'm in full tailspin mode right now. Slept 4 1/2 hours after work today rather than running. Haven't run in a full week. Feel like shit. Feel fucking old. Will hit the road Friday/Saturday. It's supposed to be about 70 degrees and sunny for the next few days. If I can't drag my lazy, shitty self outside in that kind of weather then something is horribly wrong. (Apparently something was wrong...).
Alright, so I couldn't really breathe. And I was coughing up some alien looking shit. And I hadn't run in 8 days. I finally put on some fucking shorts, and some fucking shoes, and the expensive fucking Garmin watch that I've owned for 8 fucking days without using it and I went for a fucking run. It was only 3 miles and I ran slower than lava but it was AWESOME. And yes, I do realize that I used the word 'fuck' 5 times in one sentence. I'm quite proud of it actually.
Since I was still hacking up what appeared to be pieces of lung this morning, I figured I'd go out for a walk and maybe find another place to run. I headed over to a place called Baxter Preserve. It's a space that's open to the public in the middle of some very fancy horse country. It's rained so much in the past week that even with the 2 or 3 days of sun and warmth we've had it was stilly very fucking soggy. It was foggy and a little bit cold but there was not a person in sight. Jackpot!!! The whole preserve is made up of rolling hills, single track, and stone walls. Trails head off in different directions and I tried to create a nice loop to run tomorrow or Friday. There was plenty of horse crap to dodge as well as some pretty marshy sections. My feet were soaked in the first few minutes and it made me realize, after wearing cheap old socks this morning, that the SmartWool socks I wore last time my feet got wet do an amazing job of keeping my feet warm and fairly dry. I'm still having a hard time finding my footing on very thin trails and I feel like I'm constantly rolling my ankles but I'm sure I'll turn into a jedi warrior as time goes on.
I'm pretty sure that after I run the Green Mountain Marathon that I'll never run on the road again. I've been pretty bummed out and irritated by some of the things I've read in Runners World and especially Running Times recently. I know that Running Times is geared toward people that compete but still, how about some compassion for those of us too fucking slow to race that still want to learn how to be faster? Every once in a while there's a comment about how "joggers" and walkers cheapen the sport, especially when it comes to the marathon. Here's a quote that appeared in the Jan/Feb issue of Running Times by Adrienne Wald, a cross country coach at The College Of New Rochelle : "It's a joke to run a marathon by walking every other mile or by finishing in six, seven, eight hours. It used to be that running a marathon was worth something-there used to be a pride in saying that you ran a marathon, but not anymore. Now it's 'How low is the bar?'." To the elite shitbags that make comments like these I have one thing to say to you... MY LIFE WOULD PROBABLY HAVE FUCKING KILLED YOU. I don't give a fuck how fast you can run, how many miles you put in per week, how you don't like runners that run for charities, or don't like people that have to walk during there marathons. Fuck you. No matter how fast you're able to run you cannot outrun mental illness, substance abuse, hunger, and the loss of almost everything you ever loved. Fuck you.
"When I was born, you waited
behind a pile of linen in the nursery,
and when we were alone, you lay down
on top of me, pressing
the bile of desolation into every pore,
And from that day on
everything under the sun and moon
made me sad."
Some of us run to quell our demons. Some of us only find peace in the few minutes/hours that we are alone on our runs. Some of us find that time meditative and an escape from the chaos and pain of the things we cannot outrun. I'm sorry if we get in your way. What has been drawing me to trail running, beside the nifty scenery, is what appears, at least from my outsiders perspective, to be a certain acceptance of anyone that laces up and runs their asses off. If that's the case then I've found my tribe. Up to this point I've kept this site shockingly positive but I found those comments so fucking irritating that I had to go on a little rant. I'm done. It's all puppies and daffodils from here on out. Really.
I'm running out of things to say. One of the reasons that I've always run back to the chaos and distress that has made up most of my life is that without it, I lose my creativity. Antonin Artaud once sad that "No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell". That's the path that I've followed. I always felt that it was better to incinerate myself yet be able to write and play music than to achieve some sort of balance and lose those two things. Quite a predicament... It almost feels like there's an inauthenticity to my existence when I'm not hanging on for dear life. Or is it that I don't think I deserve a life free from the wreckage of my past? Blah Blah Blah. There's no possibility that I'm gonna end up in a minivan wearing Dockers anytime soon but even this last 8 or 9 months of relative calm has me feeling kind of uncomfortable and ready to pull the chair out from under me.
I need contact lenses. I can't see my guitar strings without them, look like a tard with glasses on, and can't see roots/rocks and other scary stuff when I run unless I have something in my either near or in my eyeballs. Running trails with glasses on is a fucking disaster and will probably land me in the emergency room. I can either see too far ahead of me through the glasses, which is useless, or look at the roots and rocks that will eventually land me in the ER out of the bottom of my glasses, which is blurry and equally as useless.