I’ve been thinking a lot about running this week. There’s no big mystery why – my first 10k race is this weekend, and I’m looking forward to it, and I want to make sure I’m prepared. I went to Universal Studios today to see the course, thanks to my friend Chris who works there and showed me around on a golf cart, and apart from some minor undulations, there’s only 1 big, notable hill that I’ll have to run up (and down).
I’m feeling prepared. Today, my workout started with 5 minutes of warm-up on the arc trainer, then 35 minutes of weightlifting, and I ended it by going for a run. Even though I had an exhausting run the other day, when I kept upping the incline on the treadmill, I wanted to make sure I had completed a practice run on actual hills. So I ran around my old neighborhood in Burbank, which is built on the foothills of the Verdugo Mountains.
My route included a 7-block run up Olive Avenue (my old street), which was uphill the entire time, with an incline that got steeper and steeper. Here’s a view from the top of it. It may look like the street is flat in the foreground and ascends a big hill in the distance, but it’s actually the other way around:
I made it up that 7-block hill. It was tough and I was huffing and puffing, but I did it. Then I wound my way back down, and ended up passing a house that I love and had forgotten about. The house is a great example of storybook architecture, a playful, exaggerated variation of Tudor design with the goal of making the structure look like it came out of a fairy tale (see more pics of storybook design here). It was popular in southern California in the ’20s (Charlie Chaplin was a fan), although I’m not sure when this house was built. It’s not the sort of house I would ever want to live in, as I prefer more modern, less fussy environments, but I love this house because it’s so thoroughly and meticulously designed and maintained. Check out the whimsical details: the walls that weave bricks through rocks, the stucco that looks like it’s applied over stones, and there’s a turret! It’s quite unique, and if I were a little kid and it were a little dilapidated, I’d have no trouble imagining it to be the home of a child-eating witch:
In total, I ran 2.9 miles, in 32 minutes, which averages out to a MPH of 5.4 – and that includes half a block of walking after reaching the top of the hill to catch my breath. Time to update my running chart! My route:
I have a new go-to song on my iPod when I’m running. It’s called “Open Your Eyes,” by Snow Patrol. I got the song off of Sean Willson’s playlist. Sean is a fellow weight loss blogger (check out his blog, Learn Fitness, here) who went from 450 pounds to 250 pounds – incredible! I saw this song on his list, and realized I already had it in my iTunes, but never listened to it, because I’m not a huge Snow Patrol fan. I gave it another listen, and immediately added it to my workout playlist. A big thank-you goes out to Sean.
The vocals aren’t especially uptempo, but it has a dramatic build that I enjoy, and a chord progression that makes me push myself. You may be familiar with it – it was played on a slew of TV shows in 2007 and 2008, including ER and Grey’s Anatomy, and was a campaign song for Barack Obama in 2008.
Here’s the music video. It’s footage from a short French film made in the ’70s, and it’s one singular shot of the streets of Paris taken from a camera mounted to the fender of a car. That the video looks like a runner’s perspective is another reason why I’ve latched onto this song as much as I have! Check it out:
The main chorus of the song is this lyric, which is sung over and over again:
“Tell me that you’ll open your eyes.”
There are plenty of other lyrics that I haven’t bothered to learn, mainly because those seven words have really resonated. I interpret them as a message to myself, a reminder to open my eyes to all the great things that I’ve accomplished. I have a tendency to compound my struggles – if I have a bad day, I start thinking about all the other times, throughout my life, that things haven’t gone my way. When that starts happening, it’s time to open my eyes. I need to remind myself of the positives, because I don’t do it enough. I need to open my eyes to the fact that I’m intelligent, talented, and funny. That what I’ve achieved with my weight loss is extraordinary and life-extending, and that I share it – all of it – on this blog shows courage. That my family and friends love me no matter my weight, and that I have the capacity to recognize and share this love with the people in my life. And, most importantly, I must open my eyes and remind myself that I’m worthy of all of this, and all the good things that will come.
There is so much to see, isn’t there? What is there for you to see? Tell me that you’ll your eyes. And I’ll tell you that I’ll open mine.
Keep it up, David.