Runner's high

A friend from church gave me an old treadmill which she described apologetically as "state-of-the-art 1985."

“It’s as loud as a helicopter,” she warned, “but we just replaced the belt.”

Never mind that the belt is as narrow as a balance beam, get this -- the speed adjustment knob goes from turtle to rabbit.  I love that knob more than words can say.

What music pushes you from turtle to rabbit?  Long-time readers of this blog may remember my past attempts to run with classical music. I’ve gone through a Steve Reich phase and a Vivaldi phase.  But my newest playlist (which I threw together without much thought) is sans violins.  In fact . . .

The first track by Cake doesn’t even have a melody.   WXXI afternoon host Mona Seghatoleslami introduced me to this smirky, funk-pop song because it’s about a wacky morning DJ who calls everybody “dude.”  Every time I play it, it signals my body to start moving into turtle mode.   And I think, “If you get near a tune, dude, sing it!”

(Note: a few of these songs contain explicit lyrics that might bother some readers. )  

1. Comfort Eagle by Cake

2. Tik Tok by Benjamin Levin, Ke$ha & Lukasz Gottwald

From a brilliant, nuanced episode of Glee on teenage drinking, the next song is all about bad habits and bad choices. It’s exuberantly crude and infectious, and the principal is funny.  Don’t watch this if you have a sensitive stomach.

3. Firework by Tor Erik Hermansen, Mikkel Eriksen, Katy Perry, Sandy Wilhelm            

Last summer I had the privilege of emceeing a talent show at a county fair.  Six different contestants sang the same song by Katy Perry.  Fortunately for public safety, none of them did what she does in this video.

4. Blow by Allan Grigg, Benjamin Levin, Kesha Sebert, et al.

I first heard this song in an aerobics class, during a routine in which we were told to press our thighs together and hop up and down like impatient toddlers.  No mythological creatures were harmed in the making of the ridiculous video version of this song which I will not post in case my mother checks my blog.

5. We R Who We R by Ke$ha                          

This hammerhead shark of a tune contains colorful language and one of the worst rhymes in human history:  “You don’t wanna mess with us/Got Jesus on my neck-a-lace.”  Makes me laugh every time.

6. Deeper And Deeper by M. Ciccone/S. Pettibone/T. Shimkin              

Yay for Madonna! It was great seeing her at the Superbowl doing what she loves to do.  Madonna’s second single from her 1992 studio album Erotica is about the addictive nature of love. Plus it’s more than five minutes, long enough to prevent me from slipping back from rabbit to turtle mode.  Video? See #4.

7. God Is a DJ by P!nk

A great work-out song.  Video?  See #4.

8. Party In the U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus

Cooling down with Miley Cyrus is easy when your pituitary gland is firing all those endorphins. 

Looking back at this whole playlist, I was surprised to realize that with the exception of the tuneless funk band Cake, all the songs are by female artists. Maybe it’s the subconscious response to a new era at WXXI, in which all three full-time classical music hosts are women.   

So, what’s on your playlist?



Fela Kuti -- his songs are long but have the best running beat and this one reminds you to hydrate


I love that it's NINE MINUTES long & he's singing of water!

Webern & Venice Queen

I haven't been working out with music recently, but I used to have an mp3 player on shuffle while I'd use the elliptical machine. Strange things would always be coming up (note: while there may be some good classical music workout options, Webern String Quartets are not on that list!). Consider it:

One of my favorite songs that would come up is "Venice Queen" by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

It's a long song, with several different sections. The length of the song, and the variety, made the time go by more quickly (I think a lot of short songs make the workout seem longer!). I wonder if that would apply to some longer-form classical works too? Research must be done!

Those Webern String Quartet . . .

. . . are very good for hibernating frogs burrowed in the mud. The Red H's have more of a definite groove. And a nice, relaxed penguin pace, too. Thanks!