Saturday, March 24, 2018

My iPhone Loves Tori

Back when I was younger, it was all the rage to create mix tapes for other people. As with all trends, I completely missed it, but the idea was you would come up with a mix of songs that someone else might enjoy, burn it on a tape or CD, and give it to the other person. This was back in the days before Pandora, so getting a bunch of random music was nice, if probably a little illegal.

The big dog got a new backpack so he can carry his own water on runs. I got my own.

I think about those days occasionally when I'm running. The modern equivalent of a mix tape is a playlist. I find them a pain to set up (because I'm lazy -- just assume that is true for most statements I make). Usually I just convince myself that I can tell iTunes to just play random songs from my library. I own a lot of music. I've accidentally left it playing on my laptop, gone out for twelve hours, and come home to my computer still working its way through the things I added in the last twelve months. So it should be able to come up with a decent playlist while I'm running. But there's one problem.

My iPhone is in love with Tori Amos.

Now I quite like Tori Amos as well. I've been a fan for years. I think I only have the last couple albums on iTunes, but that's because I still have the older albums on CD somewhere. But Tori Amos' later albums, while excellent music, aren't really the greatest for running. The songs are slow and meandering and they are really long, so once they start you can't just power through the next couple minutes and hope the next song is a little more lively. Worse, once my phone hits one song it then decides to play a bunch more.

This was my last run:

Me: Okay, play random songs from the library. *starts running*
iPhone: Let's start with Taj Mahal "Celebrated Walkin' Blues"
Me: Ha ha, very funny. *Almost nine minutes of a song about walking goes by as I try to convince my body that it has, in fact, run before.*
iPhone: Have some Caiti Baker
Me: Fine.
iPhone: Have some Tori Amos
Me: ... okay, I guess. *five minutes of oboe*
iPhone: Have some more Tori Amos
Me: ... really?
iPhone: A little more Tori Amos
Me: ... you're kidding, right?
iPhone: And perhaps a little Tori Amos?
Me: *stops running and takes out phone, hits the random button again, starts running*
iPhone: Have some Sia then.
Me: Whew.
iPhone: But I think you should listen to Tori Amos now.

So on a 65 minute run, my "random" selection produced nearly 50 minutes of Tori Amos.

I'm going to create some playlists.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

A Map? What's That?

This morning started with perfect running weather -- mid-50's forecast for most of the day, cloudy, light wind, and no rain. The big dog and I hadn't been for a run all week so we suited up and headed out. Then we turned around and came back because I forgot the pepper spray, but eventually we were on the road.

My usual plan is to head south out of town and keep going in a straight line until I realize that coming back is going to take even longer because I'll be tired. Turning around at the emus will be roughly 10k. Turning around at the bridge leads to a run of about nine miles. The only problem with going straight out and straight back is that it gets a little boring going the same route every time. I've dealt with that in the past by just planning on going a little farther every time, but nine miles is about my limit right now.

However, with nine miles to play with, I should be able to do a loop around some of the fields on the county roads which are set up on a N-S, E-W grid. They aren't spaced very evenly, but most of them aren't too much more than a mile apart, so a loop would add somewhere around four miles or maybe a little less.

With that in mind I turned left when we passed the emus and we ran along a whole new road (new fields of green stuff that I couldn't identify!) then took another left at the next road. Now we were headed north again so we'd passed the halfway point which was good because my legs were starting to get really tired.

This county road had absolutely no traffic. There wasn't any shoulder, but not one car passed us and I thought I'd found the perfect route. Then after about a mile I saw this:

Oops. Turns out the county roads aren't as much of a grid as I thought they were. Or they are a grid with a few missing pieces. The thing is, though, that I could see the cross traffic in the distance and I wasn't wearing my glasses so it couldn't be too far off. Instead of turning around and retracing our steps I decided to go off-roading on the edge of the field until I came to the next road where we would go west and be back on track.

We jumped across an irrigation ditch and started our life of crime (trespassing). Running on uneven soft dirt turned out to be a good way to turn an ankle, so after a few minutes I  decided to walk. Naturally this was when the yellow crop-dusting plane flew over, but I think it was headed further out because it didn't dump a bunch of chemicals on us. We finally made it to the other road which turned out to have no shoulder, a fair amount of traffic, and rough asphalt. I kept having to stop running and move over with the big dog onto the sloping side of the ditch to let traffic go by.

We weren't even halfway down the road when suddenly the big dog stopped. I looked back and he's shaking and doing a "the road is lava and I don't want to put my feet on it" imitation. I fully expected to find thorns or bloody pads when I looked at his feet, but I saw nothing. I got him back across the irrigation ditch into the fields so I could figure out what was going on. He wasn't overheated. He didn't want to lie down and rest. We were six miles into the run, but he's in better shape than I am and has been training with me the entire time, so muscle pain shouldn't have been a factor but you never know.

While I was trying to figure out who I could call to come pick us up he started walking on the dirt in the right direction. We walked the three miles back and he didn't act lame or otherwise painful the entire time.

So... I don't know. If he doesn't seem sore tomorrow I guess I'll chalk it up to something on that road that bothered him. He had trouble stepping on certain textures when we first started agility, so maybe it was that. Or maybe the traffic freaked him out.

In any case that route gets a hard no in the future.