Race Night

I have been a bit lax with my posts over the last week mainly due to being busy. Last night driving to my latest 10K race I dived back into the past with “Never Forget – The Ultimate Collection” by Take That.

You’ve got to love a bit of Take That when they were the original boy band; it’s just mainly catchy pop songs. Sure there are some ones that sound a bit manufactured like “It Only Takes a Minute Girl” with the rubbish sounding keyboards at the start; but in the main it’s pure sing-along pop just like “Everything Changes But You” and “Sure”. This collection was released to coincide with the announcement that the boys were reforming as a four piece; I’m sure this pushed up the sales.

I know listening to Take That may be a bit out of the norm compared to the other stuff I listen to but that’s how it goes. It was a good choice to put me in a good, upbeat mood for the race.

Lovely little course for the race tonight round near the Thames river and through a small local wildlife park; no tigers or lions chasing the runners just birds and smaller animals. I wasn’t planning on a PB or any fast run but still set off a solid steady pace for the first 5K. I followed what my GPS watch was telling me and tried to stick with a constant pace. Felt pretty good at half way and was surprised how many other runners seemed to falling off the pace from the heat. Maybe all those runs over the last few weeks in mad temperatures were paying off.

So the second half I decided to push on; gradually one K at a time building up the pace. By time I passed the 9K marker I felt I was flying and really finished strong. However I seem to still have something left in the tank and probably could have got faster over the whole race. Finding a good pace I can run at is always difficult for me but last night I thought it went pretty well.

Does everyone own a copy of this?

“I went for something from the past today out running; Gracelands” by Paul Simon.

Now this is not a great album to have when out running because the beat is a bit slow in places. However I really like the mixture of African beats with western pop.

Obviously this album was covered in controversy when it was first released. It was at the height of apartheid and was seen by some as violating the sanctions imposed on South Africa; working with people from South Africa even though they were the oppressed. There was a very good documentary on the making of the album to celebrate the 25 year anniversary which touched on these issues. Paul Simon said he knew of these problems at the time but wanted to give the African musicians an outlet.

However right or wrong this album has now become to be recognised as a classic. At the time its sound was very unique sounding like nothing else. It also acted as a spring-board for African music. It also seems to be one of those albums that loads of people own.

Two new things

Two new things when out running last night. Firstly a new CD I got recently; “Where You Stand” by Travis. Now this album isn’t actually that new as it came out at the end of last year but I’ve only just got it.

I haven’t been gripped my this album yet but it might be a grower. Travis had a 5 years break before this album so it’s not a surprise this wasn’t as big a hit as their earlier stuff. However they don’t see that bothered by that fact which is refreshing in the current celebrity world of today.

The other new thing was a new pair of running trainers. Although they aren’t really new because I get the same trainers every time. Years ago I went and had my feet assessed in a running shop using a treadmill and slow motion video camera; all very scientific. They suggested Asics GT2150 as my best fit; ever since then I just keep buying a new pair of the same ones. But the original GT2150 are hard to find so I’ve gradually made my way up through the series over the years to GT2170. My latest pair are GT2100 which are a little different but felt just as comfortable last night. The only difference was these new ones felt a little more bouncy which is expected because my old ones have certainly lost a bit of spring.

It’s hot here

Today I listened to something new from a favorite artist; “So Long, See You Tomorrow” by Bombay Bicycle Club.

A good little album although still on the mellow side compared to their debut which I love. This has an eastern feel to the music; quite Indian is some tracks. My pick of the tracks are “Carry Me” & “Feel”. I’m sure the album artwork has some message in it; maybe two people meeting up. The outer person appears to go through the night because the sun is replaced by the moon.

Looking forward to seeing them live at the Reading Festival this year but they overlap with the Arctic Monkeys who my son is mad to see. I might have to compromise with watching the start of one set and the end of the other.

The temperature has sky rocketed in the UK over the last week. This has made going out running very challenging as I hate running in the heat. I’ve got a 10K coming up next week so didn’t want to drop my mileage too much so I settled on a nice steady 6.5 miles. The problem was the route was straight out and straight back; most of it directly in line with the sun which helped to make me even hotter. I just concentrated on keeping a steady pace, not too fast, in an attempt to preserve energy; however the heat just sapped my energy. The last 1 mile was a mental battle to keep the pace going but I dug deep and got through it. I guess that is why we run regularly; when it starts to hurt we know deep down it’s not really hurting and there is still something left in the tank.

Tour de France tribute

Went out for a run today as the recent hot weather looked like it had eased. I decided to go for something in honour of the Tour de France which I’m watching at the moment live on the television. There was only one song I could think of “Tour de France” by Kraftwerk.

I used to do cycle racing during my teenage years so always keep an eye on the Tour de France each year. I think it is the pinnacle of sporting activity and fitness; these guys are super human. Although the sport has become tainted with the drugs problem over recent years.

I don’t actually own any Kraftwerk CDs; only cassettes that I never play. I first encountered them when I bought “Trans Europe Express” and listened to it on my Sony Walkman when doing a paper round as a kid. It was a couple of years after the original release. I found the music amazing because it was so original and like nothing else out there. These guys are undoubted pioneers and have influenced many bands that have followed; particularly in the 80s electro music scene. They even built some of their own electronic equipment in the early days because such instruments didn’t exist.

However I find it a bit odd that they are still playing live even though there is only one of the original members left. I guess the question is how good is it to see them live because their music is very precise and almost mathematical. Don’t get me wrong Kraftwerk and good but maybe just listening at home.

So I had a medley of Kraftwerk tracks that I’ve got off iTunes as individual tracks including:-

  • “The Model” from The Man Machine
  • “Autobahn”
  • “Europe Endless” 7 “Trans-Europe Express” from Trans-Europe Express

Working at home

Yesterday I worked at home which gave me the opportunity to have a feast of music during the day. I wanted to revisit some recent buys but first I started off with something new from my album collection. I picked “Pull the Pin” by Stereophonics.

This is a more rock album compared to the other Stereophonics albums up to this point. I really like it as it’s got some real catchy tracks like “My Friends” and “It Means Nothing”. But the vocals of Kelly Jones aren’t as rough and grizzly as some of their other works.

This album wasn’t such a commercial success compared to their previous outings and had a bit of a trashing by reviewers. Not really sure why everyone had such a downer on it. However this was the last Stereophonics album I bought so maybe deep down I though it was a change to far as well.

In the evening I watched a great documentary on BBC4 called “The Joy of the Guitar Riff“. It was very interesting picking out about 10 well-known guitar riffs over music history starting way back with Chuck Berry through to Seven Nation Army. BBC4 does have some great music documentaries on; at the moment they have a season focusing on guitar playing.

Inspired by the radio

Today’s choice was triggered by listening to 6 Music on the radio who played one of the tracks from this album; “Soul Mining” by The The. I say “on the radio” but I was listening to 6 Music via Freeview.

The track being played, “This is the Day”, was played because they were saying it is over 30 years since the album was first released !!! Now we’ve got the CD version and it was my wife who got this so I’m not sure if she got it when it was first released. To be honest I didn’t listen much to this album first time round so today it wasn’t that familiar. However what was strange was when I mentioned this to my wife she said I hated this album; I don’t remember this at all !!

Out running tonight it was unbelievably hot; the warmest day of the year so far.