Friday, August 30, 2013

Nerds on the Run

A few weeks ago, Matthew Inman posted a six part, autobiographical comic to his website, The Oatmeal. (If you are unfamiliar with the Oatmeal, it is a wonderful web comic site, full of truth, laughter and naughty words.) In this particular comic, Inman presented a very eloquent description of why he runs long distances.

See the whole comic here.
Reading that comic resonated with me in a major way. See, I used to be a runner in middle school and high school. However, after being forced to choose between participating in my high school's track team, whose season culminated in a trip to the state track meet in exotic Tacoma, Washington, and my high school's drama club, which was going to perform in Edinburgh, Scotland over the summer, I turned in my running shoes for stage makeup and a trip to Europe.

I haven't really run since then. I've tried from time to time, but could never really get back into it. I tried other things as well to stay in shape. I got gym memberships, lifted weights, ran on treadmills. I hated it. Gyms felt pointless. I always missed the sensation of running, but I was feeling too old and out of shape to get back into it.

Then I read that comic, and I thought... This. I need to do this. No more waiting. Time to beat the Blerch.

It was a sort of a perfect storm. I'm living right by my old high school, which is near a lake with a fairly flat 5k trail surrounding it. It is familiar territory. I used to run the lake during gym class and track in high school. I also finally had a pair of headphones that would stay in my ears while I ran. Finally, the comic served as a catalyst to get me out the door and on that trail.

I am on my fourth week of running twice a week.

When I run, I like to listen to music. It keeps me going. It distracts me from the creeping feelings of fatigue and the nagging voices in my head telling me it's okay to walk, or stop.

Being a nerd, I like to listen to NERDY music. I have two playlists that I have been running to. The less nerdy of the two is a mix of rock songs I like. It's got some Styx, some Nerf Herder, Jonathan Coulton, Flogging Molly, that sort of thing. This list works, because the songs have good beats to run to. Strong, but not too fast for a distance run.

The MORE nerdy of the two is mostly video game and fantasy soundtracks. These work for a different reason. The songs on this list are the epic soaring type that inevitably send a shiver up my spine. A little shot of endorphins to keep me moving. This list always starts with an orchestra playing the theme from the Legend of Zelda. I start my run imaging I'm Link booking across the open fields of Hyrule. Dorky, I know, but damn if it doesn't work. This list also has the Normandy theme from Mass Effect, the Battle music from the Chronicles of Narnia movie, the theme to the original Superman Movie... you get the picture. Again, the music that seems to work best is not necessarily the fastest stuff, but the songs that make me forget that my muscles are burning and my breath is wheezing and I still have half a lake to go.

Do any of you have workout playlists with this sort of nerdy music in them? Even if you don't, do you have any music that just makes you want to run? I built the playlists I'm using well before I started running again, and I've been meaning to refine them into the ultimate nerd running mix.

To put it another way, I'm looking for songs that might make me feel like this:


1 comment:

  1. If you're looking for epic, pulse-pounding inspiration Two Steps from Hell is all that and a bag of low sodium, fat-free chips (wouldn't want to give the Blerch an unfair advantage ;)

    Grooveshark it first to establish your playlist. I highly suggest "All the King's Horses" and "Dragonrider". And of course the Conan soundtrack

    btw, Damn you. As if spending all day in my pajamas, playing Skyrim, blogging, and drinking beer didn't make me feel lazy enough...

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