Track Tracks: Drastic Fantastic

An entire album this time: Drastic Fantastic by K.T. Tunstall. I’ve pretty much stopped listening to the radio, since it’s full of people who can’t sing to save their lives. Tunstall is the real deal: a girl with a great set of pipes — and she knows how to use them. She can belt, or hold back, be brassy, be velvety, or get dirty when required.

Tunstall rocks out on “Little Favours,” a deceptively simple song with a minor verse-to-major chorus groove. Good production and sweeping harmonies make this a pure pleasure. Then you’ve got a song like “Hopeless,” which sounds totally different, and has her transforming her voice to fit the song’s retro feel: suddenly she’s Shirley Bassey with a lovely little Dinah Washington trill at the end of her lines. But, wait…where’s that country and western vibe coming from? It all works.

“Someday Soon” is the big single from this album, but frankly, her record company could have found four or five songs to fly out there as singles.

This album is catchy, catchy, catchy. You want to listen to these tunes over again to hear those hooks. And you find yourself humming them hours later…

With so much garbage on the radio — mediocre songs sung badly — Tunstall is a refreshing find. And as a surprise bonus, she’s playing in NYC in November. For a mere $27.50, I’ll be there…

Too busy to post. Busy running.

Well, I’m three months into my “build a big mileage base” program and I seem to have hit the point where I’m running lots of miles (for me), yet am not running them very fast. So it takes forever.

I’m up to 58 miles a week now, averaging about a 9:30 pace. I’ve thrown in some faster running here and there since it seems to help with weight loss efforts. But, still, between walking back and forth to the running path, showering and stretching, I’m putting in about 12 hours a week. It’s like having a part time job. With no pay. And lousy hours. And an expensive work wardrobe that wears out constantly.

The summer seems to have left us at last. But not before one last miserable weekend of heat and humidity. I ran in a race that weekend anyway, the South Nyack 10 Miler. I ran this race last year. My time improved marginally this year, 1:23:35 vs. 1:27:05. What irks me is I know I could have done better had it not been for the stupid weather. But, post-race, I recalled why I enjoy this race so much. They serve soft ice cream, ravioli and…wait for it…free beer. This year, they had what is a first for me: a “beer van”. This was a large van with a tap on one side (three actually), dispensing beer. I wonder if people ever pull up alongside it when it’s on the road and try to pour themselves a frosty brew…

Oh, well. I have lots of fall races ahead of me: the Westchester Half early next month, followed by a 5K in Iowa a week after that, and then the Harry Chapin 10K Run for Hunger a week after that. Then various and sundry turkey trots in November. I should have no trouble determining my fitness level when I go into marathon training in mid-November.

I’ve settled on a Pete Pfitzinger training plan from his book “Advanced Marathoning”. It’s an 18 week program that starts at 63 miles a week and tops out at 93. I think I’m going to use the plan pretty much as is (and adjust if I start to feel an injury coming on), although he seems to ignore hill workouts. So I’ll add those in, since Central Park has big hills on the north end, and I’ll need to fly up and down those twice in March.

I’ll have a comfortable base of 70-75 mpw going in, so I feel pretty good about being able to do it. So far, I’ve been injury- and pain-free, knock wood. And I’m about 15 pounds lighter, which helps. Nice weather, no injuries, and looking better in my underpants. I’m a happy runner these days.

I checked in on the NYRR site today, only to discover that the Norwegian Festival is scheduled for the day before the Westchester Half. Aside from the fact that I enjoy all things Norwegian, due to my weird Norwegian last name, I’d wanted to do Grete’s Gallop (and have some weird Norwegian food) but it looks like I screwed up on the timing. Maybe next year.

But in my trawlings I did discover that NYRR is going to be posting a series of videos entitled “Chasing Glory” — profiles of runners in the Men’s Olympic Trials in November — which takes place in Central Park the day before the NYC Marathon. They’ll have updates every weekday (new videos on Tuesdays and Thursdays, plus “insights” on Monday, Wednesday and Friday). See them here.