Marathon next weekend. In total denial.

One reason I haven’t posted regulary is that I’ve been working so much. I’m nearing a major project milestone (launch of a Web site, and I’m managing all editorial content-related aspects). I clocked 68 hours last week. So I’ve been quite distracted, to say the least.

But I have gotten in some running. Last week was the second week of my pre-marathon taper. I ran 23 miles. This week I’ll probably only run about 10. They say that no conditioning you do in the two weeks before a marathon is going to help you; if anything, it will tire you out. So I plan to run today and tomorrow and then stay off my feet until Sunday.

Sunday.

I will be again racing 26.2 miles on Sunday. And I’ll be driving 7+ hours each way to do it.

I am in denial about this fact. And since this week promises to be as crazed as last week was workwise, I’ll continue to be in denial until I actually climb in the car on Saturday to make the trip north.

After this race, it will be a summer of base building. Lots of long, slow running to get myself up to a steady 50 miles a week. Then I’ll do the innaugural Hamptons Marathon, after which I’ll start training for next year’s More Marathon starting in early November. I haven’t mapped out my training plan yet. But what I am doing differently this time around is devoting several months (instead of several weeks) to base building, in hopes that this will help me avoid another shin-splint-filled training experience.

Track Track: Mr. Tambourine Man

You probably think I’m going to write about the famous William Shatner cover of this tune. But it is not to be. I’m talking about a live version of this song, found on the album “The Byrds Play Dylan” (it’s track 18 on the 2002 reissue).

I was in a nostalgic mood last week and decided to download some dusty relics. I went with this album along with “The Best of Buffalo Springfield” to keep me company on a 7 miler.

So. Back to this particular recording. I have always enjoyed the trippy sound of The Byrds, with their tortured high harmonies and chiming Rickenbacker guitars. This live version of the Dylan classic (and one of the Byrds’ biggest hits) starts out normally enough. You hear the first few twangy notes, the audience goes crazy with recognition, and the song swings into full form.

And then something odd happens. In your left ear, you begin to hear a raunchy, growly guitar come in, playing riffs in a counter tempo. It sounds as if someone has accidentally overlaid a single guitar track from some other song. The playing is so aggressive that it sounds almost punk. The effect is disconcerting, the sound anachronistic. It’s confusing.

Just as you’ve finally accepted that there was actually someone playing this on stage, the guitarist undergoes a rapid personality change. Suddenly, the playing sounds like…it sounds like…can it be true? It sounds like Chet Atkins! Bendy, sugary notes, fast fingering up and down the frets playing rockabilly, C&W bar fare. What the…?

That guitar is so distracting and so demented that it’s difficult to focus on any other aspect of the recording. It’s actually funny — like someone’s loony cousin slipped onstage to take over the show.

Now I find that I can’t listen to the standard version of this song. I have to listen to this one, because the studio version sounds so conventional by comparison.

Introducing Track Tracks

Boop! Boop! Boop!

I’m introducing a new, regular feature of this blog. Sort of like “today’s haiku” — but with music!

“Track tracks” will reveal a new or unearthed piece of music of interest. I run a lot, and I have an MP3 player (iRiver Clix) and an “all you can download” account with Rhapsody. So I listen to a lot of music. I sometimes come across a particulary good piece of music, or just an odd one. Since I’ve been so remiss in posting here, this may inspire me to post more often.

Yes, “Track Tracks” is a really awkward name. I don’t actually run on a track. I thought of calling the feature “Track Wax,” but that was even weirder. So I’ll stick with Track Tracks for now.

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