What yanked my attention, as the 42 year-old Gen Xer began his speech, away from my iPad and surfing around a bevy of political Web sites breathlessly analyzing the convention's ebb and flow, was the riff he got into about what was on his iPod compared to that of his running mate, Mitt Romney (he's the one running for President, for those of you who weren't watching). Ryan noted that a lot of what his running mate seems to like was music often heard on elevators. There aren't a lot of elevators in Vermont, and the few we have don't tend to play a lot of background music, but I can tell you that being -- or liking -- "elevator music" isn't a good thing. Vapid. Derivative. Inoffensive warmed over soundtrack music from some forgotten movie designed to make you forget where you are.
Ryan, by contrast, noted that his iPod, went from "AC-DC to (Led) Zeppelin." Oh yeah. My kind of guy.
Which is important because as I noted in a
Don't get me wrong -- the other stuff is important too, and the weeks before the big event find me out on the road a lot more and watching my consumption of chocolate bars. But if you can't have a little fun with running, why bother?
Last year I was revisiting some of my old favorites from the 70s and 80s -- an era once widely scorned as the time of corporate rock and -- we'll only mention it once -- disco. Compared to the glory years of the 60s when real bands ruled, the following two decades produced a lot of junk. But I liked a lot of it anyway. So many of you commented on some of my pedestrian choices from last year that I thought I'd share where I'm going this year. Payback is sweet.
David Bowie's "Rebel, Rebel" gets things started. I heard the song on the radio a couple of weeks ago, and couldn't believe I'd never had it on one of my running playlists. That opening guitar riff kills. Talk about getting your heart rate elevated! Off we go.
Somewhere before Bonnet Street turns into Main Street and we cross over the now closed bridge and up the first of many inclines, Bowie will have given way to --you got it -- Led Zeppelin -- and "Immigrant Song." I got reconnected with this one when I saw the movie "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." I didn't particularly like the soundtrack version, but I remembered how much I enjoyed the track from the original album. Pounding. Driving. Jimmy Page at his best. As we head towards the library and the turn onto West Road, I'm channelling my inner Paul Ryan.
From there things get worse. This summer, I've been listening to a lot of music by one of the supergroups of the 1980's that I passed on at the time -- Journey. Yes, Journey. I've discovered them this year. "Don't Stop Believing," " Remember Me," "Ask the Lonely" and many others will be propelling me to Route 30.
After that, it's a mish mosh of stuff I like from Creedence Clearwater to Warren Zevon. I've tried rap, but not only can't I dance to it, I can't run to it either. Jay Z is cool, but it doesn't work for me as running music. That one by somebody or another that's titled "Bust a Move" really cooks, though. I might have to add that one to this year's set list. See? I'm not completely a dinosaur ..... Yet.
So if you're waiting at the finish line, I'll be the one lip synching my way to end of the course. That's if I have any energy left. Thirteen miles ain't for sissies, let me assure you.
And before I forget, a major shout-out to the organizers of the run is definitely in order. It's a lot of work to produce one of these things, and the folks who work the water stations, and get the race infrastructure set up are often overlooked. Great job, guys. This is one of my highlight moments of the year.
So --- what's on your iPod, especially if you're running the Maple Leaf? What am I missing?