The dark mornings beckon once again, sunrise slipping further into the day as summer recedes. I went from running in the cool blue light of dawn to finding my way by streetlight. This is as it should be. I feel more at home in the dark, in the still cold air, the silent streets. I have a new companion in the mornings: Venus, whose brilliant, steady light hangs low in the eastern sky and greets me when I leave my house. She shines brightly even as the sunrise begins to lighten the horizon. Orion is there, too, coming up from the southeast. Orion, my winter friend, I will see you high overhead soon enough.
Fall is coming, its harbinger the string of unusually low nighttime temperatures we have had for the past week. Overnight lows dipped into the forties, which made for excellent running weather at 6:00 AM. I went out Monday in pants and a long-sleeved shirt; I could easily have added a hat and gloves to my outfit. I ran the mile to the track for my warm-up and once I arrived I did my intervals in lightless circles until the world brightened enough for me to read Garmy without backlighting. I did eight 400m repeats that day, hard and fast, aiming for a time between 1:30 and 1:35 for each. I failed on the first one (1:42) but found my feet after that and did the rest in 1:30-1:33, ending with a 1:32 average. It was highly satisfying.
Wednesday I delayed my 8 mile run to the afternoon and headed west with the sun glaring directly into my eyes. I discovered almost immediately that a particular song on my iPod is perfectly calibrated for me to run a 7:59 mile.
The Big Pink: "Dominos."
This song is my "My Girls" for the second half of the year. As "My Girls" and "Summertime Clothes" were for my winter/spring training for Cleveland, "Dominos" is for my summer/fall training for NYC. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this song. I've worn out the bytes with repeat plays in iTunes. Have I mentioned that I am obsessed with this song?
Also: The Horrors, "Sea Within A Sea." Another one that's getting extremely heavy rotation. TC said this song made him "want to drown" and I was all "oh honey you haven't heard anything yet." (Most of my music falls into a genre I affectionately call "depression rock." Not that I'm depressed, I guess I just prefer minor keys, darkly colored harmonies, and bleak subject matter.) "Sea Within A Sea" really takes off at the 3:40 mark, I think...
Just to prove that not all of my music is depression rock, here's another song which I've been wearing out lately: Taken By Trees, "Watch the Waves." See? Isn't that perky and happy? I was listening to this song on repeat while I wrote this post. It seemed appropriate. :)
And Grizzly Bear, "About Face," from Veckatimest, which has become one of my favorite albums of 2009. Also from Veckatimest, "Ready, Able," which is another truly awesome song but is more of the depression rock variety. I'm going to hear Grizzly Bear in concert at the end of the month and I'M SO EXCITED I MIGHT JUST PEE MY PANTS. I was similarly excited last Saturday to see one of my favorite bands, Great Lake Swimmers, live. I sighed and cried and sang my way through the concert and it totally made up for the disappointment of having the Depeche Mode concert canceled on me while I was on vacation. You know, the concert I bought a ticket for in March? The concert I organized my entire vacation around? The concert by my favorite band OF ALL TIME? Yeah, that one. To say I was upset would be the understatement of the decade.
Anyway. "Dominos" pushed me through the first mile of my run, and then I backed off because I didn't want to flame out too early. However, I was feeling so good as I cruised through miles 6 and 7 that when mile 8 rolled around I was like "let's turn this thing back up" and went back to "Dominos." Could I run a sub-8:00 mile as my last mile? To keep my feet turning over at the right speed I had to shorten my stride and increase my cadence, which had the curious effect of making my perceived effort decrease until I felt even better than I had during the previous few miles. I finished the run in high spirits with an 8:19/mile average. My running mojo, I has it!
I has it again last night at my RF501 group workout at the track in Dexter. 8 x 800m and I killed it. Eight good intervals, 3:33 average (7:06/mile pace) which is what I was mostly aiming for. Today is rest day and then tomorrow I have 14 miles on the schedule. Monday is the Mackinac Bridge Run up north. Busy, busy, busy...
My official participant handbook for the NYC Marathon arrived in the mail and HOLY CRAP that's a lot of information...EIGHT WEEKS TO GO!
I can't leave y'all without two more excellent examples of my beloved depression rock:
The XX, "Crystalised"
Papercuts, "Future Primitive"
Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!