The chronicle of a lonely do-gooder family doctor who survived.

Monday, April 14, 2008

20 miles

So I am sitting here with a beer, 800 mg of ibuprofen, and a Vicodin -- the preferred cooldown regimen for us marathon athletes. I have successfully completed my peak training week with a 20 mile run today. It's all downhill from here as I taper my runs until the Vancouver Marathon on May 4.

Honestly, I believe I should get some kind of extra credit for doing this in Seattle. 6 months ago, I came up with a training schedule (largely lifted here) and entered it into my calendar and since then I haven't missed a single workout. I have run in rain. I have run in snow. I have run in hail. I have run in the dark. I have run hungover. I have run at 10 pm on a Friday night. I have run and run and run.

I spent weeks planning for today's run, testing out clothing, trying different routes, sucking down different kinds of energy gel on different schedules (Clif Shot with 25 mg caffeine taken at 1 hour, 2 hours, 2.5 hours, and 3 hours if you must know). I ate pasta all day yesterday and even skipped the beer during band practice. And all of that was almost for nothing -- I started hacking all night from a respiratory virus and I woke up with thunderstorms in the weather forecast. But I decided to tough it out and instead of running towards Woodinville on the Burke-Gilman, I decided I would run seven times around Green Lake. If I am going to get caught in a downpour I am not going to let it happen 10 miles from home.

To tell the truth, this has been an amazing experience. I really did not think I would get this far. To put it in perspective, I was a pack a day smoker through med school and was an occasional smoker until October 27, 2007. The farthest I had ever run was maybe 5 miles. I like beer and pizza and cheeseburgers more than any runner should. But today, I made it. 20 miles. Running. The only stops I made were to fill up my water bottle and to take off my jacket.

For me, running has always been about the music. I finally have become comfortable enough to run without music, but it is just so much more fun when your head is full of thumping techno or screaming guitar distortion. The problem is, with these super long runs I starting getting really bored. I tried listening to podcasts for a while. Tried not listening to anything for part of the run. Eventually, I discovered what works best for me is just putting a lot more work into the playlist. Today's playlist took me a couple of days to put together, but it really did the trick nicely.

1. Battle Without Honor or Humanity -- Tomoyasu Hotel
Remember, from Kill Bill? You gotta start big!

2. Battle Flag -- Lo Fidelity Allstars
3. Thunderstruck -- AC/DC
Hard to pick the best AC/DC song for running. I like this one for the riff that kicks in right after Brian Jones sings "I was shakin' at the knees, could I come again please? Yeah the ladies were too kind. You've been - thunderstruck" You know the riff.

4. The Ecstasy of Gold -- Ennio Morricone
5. Angel -- Massive Attack
6. Mama Said Knock You Out -- LL Cool J
I'm sure I hated this when it first came out. This is a hell of a work out song though.

7. Wake Up -- Rage Against the Machine
8. Carmina Burana:O Fortuna -- Boston Symphony
9. Valkyrie is Dying -- The Fucking Champs.
I knew one of these guys in college. Now they play complex distorted butt rock that occupies a space between Rush and The Boredoms. Kicks ass in small doses. Induces migraines in large amounts.

10. Cochise -- Audioslave
When I hear this I can't help but think of the greatest movie evar, Talledega Nights.

11. Right Here, Right Now -- Fatboy Slim
Right here. Right now. Right here. Right now. Right here. Right now...

12. Miserlou -- Dick Dale
The album version of this song features much more impressive guitar work than the Pulp Fiction version. Did you know Dick Dale is left handed? Like many left handed guitarists in the sixties unable to find lefty guitars, he would play a right handed guitar flipped over. However, unlike Hendrix or McCartney, Dick Dale didn't bother to restring the guitar for a lefty. That's right, Dick Dale, the King of the Surf Guitar, played guitar upside down. Without a pick. That's pretty bad ass.

13. Black Betty -- Ram Jam

That is all I have to say.

14. Fuckin' In the Bushes -- Oasis
15. Ace of Spades -- Motorhead

Ok, this isn't bad. 6 miles down. Feeling pretty good. Time to goo.

16. Welcome to the Jungle -- Guns N'Roses
17. Immigrant Song -- Led Zeppelin
You know, I think I may finally be over Zeppelin. Except for the fact that Mrs. Sour Puss hates it so you *know* this is gonna keep getting played at our house.

18. Son of a Disgruntled X-Postal Contemplates His Life While Getting Stoned Behind the Winn-Dixie While Listening to Metallica -- Alice Donut
Aside from having the most awesome song title ever, this song features two of the greatest metal guitar riffs in history, side by side. This song is the reason why I own a wah pedal. I just fucking love that sound.

19. Genesis -- Justice
20. Smack My Bitch Up -- Prodigy.
If someone had told me back in the early 90s when we were going to warehouse parties in San Fran that one day Prodigy, Aphex Twin, and Moby would be superstars I would have laughed. The scene seemed impervious to commercialization.

21. Bodies -- Drowning Pool
22. Without Me -- Eminem
23. Thunder Kiss '65 -- White Zombie
24. The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly -- Ennio Morricone
Come on, you know it's super cool.

25. Sabotage -- The Beastie Boys

Ok, 10 miles now. Starting to feel some pain and the rain is really coming down now. But I'm half way there now and if I did my original route I'd be turning around and heading home now, so that gives me a little lift.

26. World Destruction (Meltdown Mix) -- Afrika Bambaataa
27. Full Metal Jackoff -- Jello Biafra and D.O.A.
This is the best thing Jello Biafra ever did and that's saying something. Nothing kicks a run into high gear more than 14 minutes of righteous political ranting over thick muddy metal. Everyone thought Jello was a little paranoid back then but it's time he got some credit for being right. About. Everything.

28. Paranoid -- Black Sabbath

Four laps around Green Lake down, 3 to go. I am really starting to hurt now. Must keep remembering to drink. Time to goo again and maybe stretch out those quads.

29. Hanging Tree -- Bob Mould
30. Making Me Nervous -- Brad Sucks
This guy is a MeFite and his music is really great. His album is downloadable here.

31. Goin' Against Your Mind -- Built to Spill

Ok, pain subsiding now. Let's just ignore it and pick up the pace a bit. You know, there's not that many people who could come even this far and I just sailed past the half marathon mark.

32. Goofy's Concern -- Butthole Surfers
33. Comfort Eagle -- Cake
34. The History of Utah -- Camper Van Beethoven
35. (I Was Born In A) Laundromat -- Camper Van Beethoven
They were such a great band live. So glad I got to see them (twice) back in the day. Wish I could find those set lists I snagged at the shows.

36. Teen Angst -- Cracker

My friend goo has a real tattoo. She won't mind if I tell you. Goo. Goo. Goo. Time to goo. I am starting to get delirious.

37. This Is a Collective -- Consolidated
38. Consolidated -- Consolidated
This is the kind of music my friend Ben would make if he had learned to play an 808 instead of a bass.

39. Lose Yourself -- Eminem
40. Skankin' to the Beat -- Fishbone
You're skankin' to the east. You're skankin' to the west. You're skankin' with the rude girl with the really big breasts.

41. There Is a Mountain -- Donovan
I fully intend to cross the finish line in Vancouver with this silly song playing. I have no idea what it's about but I just love the line "First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is."

42. La Moda -- Ennio Morricone
43. Open Up Your Heart and Let the Sun Shine In -- Frente!

I just passed 18 miles, my longest run ever. Oh my god, I think I am going to do it!

44. Suspicious Minds -- Fine Young Cannibals
45. POWER SONG!!! I Fought the Law -- The Clash
46. Jay Wrestles the Boa Constrictor -- Groove Collective

Wow. I did it. Holy Shit. 20 miles. This is incredible.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Washington 43rd Legislative District Caucus

Awww man. I haven't had much time to post lately. Such is life. There are constantly things happening worth writing about so hopefully I'll get more up later. I blame work but also this marathon training thing. I tell you, running 10 miles in the evening after a 12 hour day ain't easy. I am really going to enjoy having my life back in May.

I did go to the 43rd Legislative District caucus this weekend. This was an experience. The regular caucuses that everyone knows about and hears reported in the news are really just the first step in the process. At the precinct caucuses two months ago I was elected a delegate (more like no one else wanted to do it actually) to the District caucus. There, you elect delegates to the congressional district caucus who then elect delegates to the national convention. I was curious about the whole process and this year there is a great deal of interest in going to the national convention since it is likely that the Democratic nominee is going to be chosen during the convention itself.

So you show up to your district caucus and sign in for your candidate and depending on who shows up and who changed their mind, the delegates to the next level are apportioned out and then elected by each campaign. After signing in, you sit in a big hall where the District chair reads the rules. Then a supporter for each candidate gives a speech. First, Obama's speaker took the podium. Ed Murray, the long time 43rd District Senator who is openly gay gave an impassioned speech that rallied the troops. He began with "My partner and I got engaged 2 decades ago. Won't you allow us to get married?" The place erupts in a standing ovation. I fucking love Seattle.

Dennis Kucinich was still on the ballot when Washington caucused and he actually had 2 delegates (out of about 1400) so he got a speech as well. One of his delegates bravely stood up and spoke fairly eloquently for 10 minutes about the party principles that Kucinich espoused and how his campaigns have shaped the races. Awesome.

Next up, Hillary. "Hillary Clinton's representative is still in transit and will be here shortly." Um, ok. "In the meantime, does anyone have any jokes?"

A few procedural questions were fielded from the floor. Suddenly a man walks down the aisle and the crowd erupts. "While we're still waiting for the Clinton representative, we have a special guest speaker. Please welcome the Honorable Jim McDermott." The congressman from Washington's 7th congressional district is wildly popular here and he routinely is re-elected with >80% of the vote. One of the few who spoke out against the war, he had a cameo in Fahrenheit 911.

He gives a speech about the amount of work that needs to be done to get the Democrats back in the White House and to start undoing the damage done in the last 8 years. He talks about how a spirited campaign is good for the Democrats. It keeps us in the news, debating our issues on our terms. "It's because we are all different. We have a diversity of views. We think differently. That's what makes us Democrats. If we all thought the same, we'd be Republicans."

After McDermott's done, the congregation is getting restless. Motions are made to move on without the Clinton speaker. Someone shouts "We all managed to wake up and get here on time!" This looks really bad for Hillary. Motions are made to let someone else speak. Finally, an hour half after the caucus starts, Hillary's representative is here. "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, from Los Angeles, Sean Astin."

You have got to be kidding me. 1400 people have been sitting here waiting for the Hillary Clinton campaign to fly in a Hollywood actor to speak for her? Don't get me wrong, Samwise is one of my favorite LOTR characters, but seriously? He proceeds to give some off-the-cuff remarks that don't really say anything about Hillary and includes small talk about his daughters and his trip up from L.A.

He's a nice enough guy, but could there be any more stark contrast between the two campaigns? I mean, a guy who really doesn't have much to say but has a ton of name recognition, flies in from 1500 miles away to speak to a crowd that is >80% Obama and includes people who have been organizing their communities and donating substantial portions of their time and money because they desperately need to believe in the future of their country. There are large numbers of people here who, for the first time in their lives, have decided to get involved in the process, neighbors who have resolved that there are things worth fighting for and a candidate who is worth their energy. And Clinton sends us an actor?

In the end, enough people either changed their vote or went from uncommitted (yes that's right, some precincts decided to send uncommitted delegates to the next level) that Obama actually picked up a delegate.

Next, the two campaigns split up to actually elect their alloted delegates. I signed up to run but their were 400 people running for 53 spots and there were some long time Obama volunteers running, armed with signs and campaign flyers (note to self: if you want to go to the next level you need to come prepared). All 400 of the people had the right to give a 30 second speech and when they decided to go alphabetically starting with the letter after my last name, I took that as a sign and happily crossed my name off the list. Did you know that it is party policy to have gender equality among the convention delegates? There were separate ballots for men and women and you had to vote for 26 of each. They also explicitly tell you to favor persons of color and persons with disabilities when you make your selection. Pretty cool.

I was really glad I went. I met a lot of interesting people and it was great to see how the process works. Would definitely attend again. Democracy is awesome and we need to make sure the forces of evil don't take it away from us.