One of the most important parts of the entire fitness engagement that I am currently ensnared is: the playlist. My walks are usually in an industrial park or on random streets in West End Allentown. The naturally occurring soundtracks in these locations are not what I would call motivational and/or inspiring – especially in the industrial park. (The industrial park is also the least pedestrian friendly development this side of the suburbs.)
Music is a big part of my life. I just told Colin, my coworker, that my entire day was made yesterday by listening to Ellington at Newport in 1956. (Seriously you can hear the forerunners of Bop, Post-Bop, and Free Jazz in the improvisations on Big Band arrangements – it’s bonkers) I won’t drive two blocks without putting the right song on – even if my friends and/or dates sigh and/or become exasperated and/or begin to dislike me. But come on? Look at those clouds – I know the right song for those clouds – just give me a minute…
So, if I am that particular about two blocks – imagine how I must be about walking two miles especially with the soundtrack for those two miles being the driving force behind the determination needed to go faster and harder as the pain comes (also) faster and harder. I started my using the “Play all songs shuffled” command on my I Phone which Siri screws up every single time and makes me feel as if I have a speech impediment but Siri sucks and it isn’t me but still.
(This is my favorite song. Ever. ^)
My initial shuffle did not work. I listen to a good mix of music but the majority of the music on my phone was sad bastard folk music or spacey ambient. You cannot drive yourself, through pain, to walk vigorously for miles listening to Iron and Wine. It is not possible. I tried. So then I tried the workout playlists that are available on Spotify. The first one didn’t work for me because Sumner Avenue in the cold rain isn’t a dance party in Ibiza and I’m not really a dance party guy.
The hiphop one didn’t work because I think there is too much irony associated with sweating, huffing, and puffing my way through my walk and listening to some dude talk about drinking excessively, doing drugs excessively, and or other things excessively. All of which are likely more fun than my slog about West Allentown.
And then, Iron Maiden. This worked. I listened to a lot of Iron Maiden for a few weeks but I needed something else – something to push me when I really hit the shit.
Thor, Superman, and The Doctor came to my rescue.
I’m a nerd, always have been, always will be. I went to my emotional source point of entertainment and willing suspension of disbelief. And believe me – I tend to not believe that I am already 1.6 miles into a sweaty evening walk (yeah that’s right – 55 degrees is hot) when I am out there actually doing it. So, I made a Spotify playlist of superhero movie themes and science fiction themes.
I start out, slow and inspiring, with the Binary Sun track from Star Wars because I am ridding myself of the dark side and returning balance to the force. My fat ass is a Sith Lord, pretty much. The Marvel themes come next but I have Thor: The Dark World’s soundtrack featured prominently because – go listen to it. I am a Demigod from Asgard and I will prove myself worthy to wield Mjölnir.
At the highpoint of the walk, with endorphins pumping through me, I hit John Williams’s Superman Theme because I feel like the last son of Krypton at that moment, standing in the light, leading humanity to a brighter future or just me to a less doughy one.
After Superman, I am usually on the second phase of my walk. The worst part. The painful return to the point at which I started. (I always start and stop at the same place because I want the mapping app to have a complete circuit. Yep. Whatever.)
At this darkest moment, I play my ultimate workout song. Murray Gold’s “The Majestic Tale of a Madman In a Box” played by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. This is the epic version of the 11th Doctor’s main theme. (If this sounds foreign to you please click this hyperlink) The Doctor gets me home.
And now I have a workout mix.
This is the Majestic Tale of a Fatman on a Walk.