I have attempted the run the year challenge for three years in a row. And, I have fallen short each time.
In 2018 I finished with 1800 miles—a new personal best and a good start. In 2019 I again set a personal best with 1801 miles but still a couple hundred below the goal.
In 2020 I was determined to run the year and run the miles. I was sick in January, so missed a few days at the first of the year, and was behind ever since.
The virtual runs offered during coronavirus lockdowns did not help. In fact I think the uncanceled runs, provided by the same people who created run the year, served as cross purposes. While racing in a number of events sounds like a good way to catch up on miles, the resting before and after a race creates a net negative affect. In 2020 I raced in over 30 virtual races. Both wanting to push myself, and to support the running community.
I sought to run these races with some integrity. Not every race was a PR, although I did set some of those. But I did not go out and simply jog a 5K or finish a marathon as a slow jog. I put out a real effort as if I was racing. Among these 30 events I ran about a half dozen marathons and ultras.
Every week the deficit for my running balance improved more and more. Soon it was in the single digits. With a week to go, I had less than 50 miles to run. I can remember thinking on Christmas Eve morning, if I wanted to, I could run this whole thing in one day. But that is not how the day would turn out.
A mile into the run I got hit head on by a car. The driver didn’t stop. I could see the headlights coming at me but it was too late to do anything about it. I flew in the air like a cartoon character and landed on my right side. The adrenaline initially masked the pain, but I soon realized my arm and leg were like Jell-O. Another attempt at running the year was finished. Another time I have fallen short.
I am lucky to be alive. I can remember details of the accident that I wish I didn’t. I am sad to have put the ones i love through this hell again. But as the tattoo on my clavicle reminds me, i will rise above.
2020 is a year that will go down in infamy historically… but, has been a remarkable year musically.
For the last several years I have put out a list of my top albums of the year. This year, I kept a list of all the new albums I listened to. Instead of limiting to a finite number of favorite albums, I ranked them all. This worked out to 366 albums, one for each day of the year.
Here are my favorite albums that came out in 2020. The year may have sucked, but the music was fantastic. Thanks to Henry Rollins and his KCRW Radio Show, Iggy Pop’s Iggy Confidential, NPRs All Songs Considered, and all the other music sites that help to keep it fresh.
What did you listen to in 2020?
2020 Albums of the Year
Spanish Love Songs, Brave Faces Everyone
Public Enemy, What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down
IDLES, Ultra Mono
Arca, KiCk i
Nick Cave, Idiot Prayer
clipping., Visions of Bodies Being Burned
Mac Miller, Circles
Run the Jewels, RTJ4
Sault, Untitled (Black Is)
Sarah Mary Chadwick, Please Daddy
Mark Lanegan, Straight Songs of Sorrow
Touche Amore, Lament
Tricky, Fall to Pieces
Eminem, Music to be Murdered By
Fontaines DC, A Hero’s Death
Juice WRLD, Legends Never Die
Drakeo the Ruler, Thank You for using GTL
Fantastic Negrito, Have you lost your mind yet?
Amnesia Scanner, Tearless
Jeff Rosenstock, No Dream
The Avalanches, We Will Always Love You
The Flaming Lips, American Head
Protomartyr, Ultimate Success Today
Perfume Genius, Set my heart on fire immediately
Quakers, II-The Next Wave
2nd Grade, Hit to Hit
Oh Sees, Panther Rotate
Oh Sees, Metamorphosed
Porridge Radio, Every Bad
Nothing, The Great Dismal
Grimes, This story is dedicated to all those cyberpunks
Bill Callahan, Gold Record
Cabaret Voltaire, Shadow of Fear
Alien Nosejob, Suddenly Everything is Twice as Loud
Princess Nokia, Everything Sucks
Princess Nokia, Everything Is Beautiful
Emel, The Tunis Diaries
Metz, Atlas Vending
Busta Rhymes, Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God
Bob Mould, Blue Hearts
Big Sean, Detroit 2
Juicy J, The Hustle Continues
Orville Peck, Show Pony
Son Lux, Tomorrows II
Son Lux, Tomorrows I
Oh Sees, Protean Threat
Cliquey Bitches, Scorpio Scorpio
J. Zunz, Hibiscus
Black Thought, Streams of Thought Volume 3
Shut it Down: Benefit for the movement for Black Lives
Arca, Riquiqui Bronze Instances
Drakeo the Ruler, We Know the Truth
Futuro, Os Segredos do Espaco e Tempo
Sufjan Stevens, The Ascension
Drive by truckers, The New OK
Logic, No Pressure
The Innocence Mission, See You Tomorrow
Le Butcherettes, Don’t Bleed
Magik Markers, 2020
Nerrves, We Were Too Late Anyway
Alien Nosejob, Once Again the Present Becomes the Past
Sleeper and Snake, Fresco Shed
Oneohtrix Point Never, Magic Oneohtrix Point Never
The Bug, In Blue
Pop Smoke, Shoot for the stars aim for the moon
Diet Cig, Do you wonder about me?
Svalbard, When I Die Will I Get Better?
Ustad Saami, Pakistan is for the Peaceful
Body Count, Carnivore
Neil Young, Homegrown
Helena Deland, Someone New
Chubby and the Gang, Speed Kills
Pup, This place sucks ass
Jehnny Beth, To Love is to Love
Floral Tattoo, You can never have a long enough head start
Moses Sumney, grae
Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon iii
J. S. Ondara, Folk n Roll Vol 1, Tales of Isolation
Adrianne Lenker, instrumentals
Soul Glo, Songs to Yeet at the Sun
Adrianne Lenker, songs
Bartees Strange, Live Forever
Pearl Jam, Gigaton
Waxahatchee, Saint Cloud
The Psychedelic Furs, Made of Rain
Dead lips, dead lips
The Waterboys, Good Luck, Seeker
Illuminati hotties, FREE I.H. This is not the one you’ve been waiting for
Ozzy Osbourne, Ordinary Man
AC/DC, Power Up
Good Sad Happy Bad, Shades
Mourn, Self Worth
Gorillaz, Song Machine Episode 6
Childish Gambino, 3.15.20
The Cravats, Hooraland
Little Simz, Drop 6
Anti-Flag, 20/20 Vision
Hamilton Leithauser, The Loves of your life
The Weekend, After Hours
Charli XCX, how I’m feeling now
Grimes, Miss Anthropocene
Undeath, Lesions of a Different Kind
Angel Olson, Whole New Mess
Avett Brothers, The Third Gleam
Death Valley Girls, Under the Spell of Joy
The Mountain Goats, Getting Into Knives
The Sea The Sea, Stumbling Home
Rina Sawayama, Sawayama
Deafbrick, Deafkids & Petbrick
Open Mike Eagle, Anime, Trauma, and Divorce
Jello Biafra & The Guantanomo School of Medicine, Tea Party Revenge Porn
Sleaford Mods, All That Glue
Eighth Blackbird, Singing in the Dead of Night
Phoebe Bridgers, Punisher
Rita Indiana, Mandinga Times
Miley Cyrus, Plastic Hearts
Fleet Foxes, Shore
Siti Muharam, Siti of Unguja
Damaged Bug, Bug on Yonkers
Bob Dylan, Rough and Ready Ways
The Strokes, The New Abnormal
Dizzee Rascal, E3 AF
Alan Vega, City
Seth Bogart, Men on the Verge of Nothing
Halsey, Manic: Or are you normal
Tori Amos, Christmastide
Tom Morello, Comandante
Black Eyed Peas, Translation
Bright Eyes, Down in the Weeds, Where the world once was
Elvis Costello, Hello Clockface
Juliana Barwick, Healing is a miracle
Code Orange, Underneath
Eminem, Music to be Murdered by Side B
Sightless Pit, Grave of a Dog
Nova Twins, Who are the girls?
Ian William Craig, Red Sun Through Smoke
Krust, The Edge of Everything
Taylor Swift, Evermore
David Bowie, ChangesNowBowie
Elliot Smith, Elliot Smith Expanded 25th Anniversary Edition
The White Stripes, Greatest Hits
Beastie Boys, Beastie Boys Music
Pylon, Pylon Box
David Bowie, Liveandwell.com
Pearl Jam, MTV Unplugged
Special Interest, The passion of
Fake Names, Fake Names
The Lawrence Arms, Skeleton Coast
Stay Inside, Viewing
Daniel Blumberg, On&On
No Home, F’ing Hell
Kath Bloom, Bye Bye These are the Days
Closedown, Bask in the Dancing Light
Dream Wife, So When You Gonna
A. Swayze & the Ghosts, Paid Salvation
L. A. Witch, Play with fire
Lafawndah, The Fifth Season
Same, Plastic Western
Mozzy, Beyond bulletproof
Permanent Residue, S/T Tape
Fossil Arm, In Bad Decline
Wednesday, I was trying to describe you to someone
The Cool Greenhouse, The Cool Greenhousefpo
Megan thee Stallion, Good News
Bree Runway, 200ANDEVA
Wayfarer, A Romance with Violence
Brigid Dawson and the Mother Network, Battle of Apes
Lucinda Williams, Good souls better angels
Songdog, A Happy Endin
Infant Island, Sepulcher
Deradoorian, Find the Sun
Sneaks, Happy Birthday
Alicia Keys, Alicia
Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist, Alfredo
Sad13, Haunted Painting
Frock Destroyers, Frock4Life
Green Day, Father of all
Fra Fra, Funeral Songs
The Suicide Machine, Revolution Spring
THICK, 5 Years Behind
Thundercat, It is what it is
Cold Beat, Mother
Roisin Murphy, Roisin Machine
Lucrecia Dalt, No Era Solida
21 Savage, Savage Mode II
King Princess, Cheap Queen
Speaker Music, Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry
Yaeji, What We Drew
Frail Hands, parted/departed/apart
Ora Cogan, , Bells in the Ruins
Apollo Brown and Che Noir, As God Intended
Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn, Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn
TORRES, Silver Tongue
Nas, King’s Disease
Boston Manner, Glue
Sam Prekop, Comma
Shackleton, Primal Forms
JARV IS…, Beyond the Pale
Wind Atlas, Arche-Fossil
Days and Daze, Show me the blueprints
Nine Inch Nails, Ghosts V
Nine Inch Nails, Ghosts VI
A. G. Cook, Apple
Bad Bunny, YHLQMDLG
Strike Anywhere, Nightmares of the West
Jake Blount, Spider Tales
dj blackpower, BLP2020 King of the Night
Travis, 10 Songs
Arrested Development, Don’t Fight Your Demons
Tame Impala, The Slow Rush
Brendan Benson, Dear Life
Adulkt Life, Book of Curses
The Beths, Jump Rope Gazers
Palm Reader, Sleepless
Loma, Don’t Shy Away
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou, May Our Chambers Be Full
Mr Bungle, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo
Soko, Feel Feelings
Numun, Voyage Au Soleil
KA, Descendents of Cain
Jay Electronica, A Written Testimony
Marilyn Manson, We Are Chaos
Crack Cloud, Pain Olympics
Wilma Archer, A Western Circular
Fossil Island, In Bad Decline
The Chats, High Risk Behavior
Sweeping Promises, Hunger for a way out
Nils Frahm, Empty
Yuja Wang, John Adams: Must the devil have all the good tunes?
Es, Less of Everything
Dua Lipa, Future Nostalgia
Paul McCartney, McCartney III
Kelly Lee Owens, Inner Song
Haley Williams, Petals for Armor
Car Seat Headrest, Making a door less open
FACS, Void Moments
JFDR, New Dreams
Lithics, Tower of age
Algiers, There is No Year
Nuvolascura. As we suffer from memory and imagination
Melenas, Dias Raros
Behemouth, A Forest
Michael Rother, Dreaming
Mutant Love, Revolution Redacted Pt. 1
Lady Gaga, Chromatica
Annie, Dark Hearts
Anjimile, Giver Taker
Hilary Woods, Birthmarks
Hook, Crashed My Car
The Bombpops, Death in Venice Beach
Inexorum, Moonlit Naviation
Soccer mommy, color theory
Cable Ties, Fair Enough
Alice Bag, Sister Dynamite
The Soft Pink Truth, Shall we go on sinning that grace May increase?
2020 may have been a crap year for wellness, concerts, health care workers, racial justice, weddings, coffee shops, graduations, sporting events, travel, and just about everything else, but it was a great year for music. Perhaps difficult times bring great art.
Here are my 100 favorite running songs that came out in 2020. These aren’t necessarily my 100 favorite songs of the year, but these are the ones that kept me moving.
Check out these songs. Whether you run, or not, these songs will put some pep in your step and help break the COVID blues.
1. Routine Pain, Spanish Love Songs 2. pink diamond, Charli XCX 3. might bang, might not, Little Simz 4. ooh la la (feat. Greg Nice & DJ Premier), Run The Jewels 5. Nonbinary, Arca 6. Savage Remix (feat. Beyoncé), Megan Thee Stallion 7. Serafina, BAMBARA 8. Deal Wiv It, Mura Masa & slowthai 9. Darkseid, Grimes & 潘PAN 10. Blue World, Mac Miller
11. Yah Yah (feat. Royce da 5’9″, Black Thought, Q-Tip & Denaun), Eminem 12. State of the Union (STFU), Public Enemy 13. War, IDLES 14. Pig Feet (feat. Kamasi Washington, G Perico & Daylyt), Terrace Martin & Denzel Curry 15. Got It On Me, Pop Smoke 16. Life Is Good (feat. Drake), Future 17. Say the Name, clipping. 18. My Wanderings in the Weary Land, The Waterboys 19. Yoga, 645AR 20. Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down, Anti-Flag 21. The Clap, The Chats 22. There Is No Year, Algiers 23. A Hero’s Death, Fontaines D.C. 24. American Crisis, Bob Mould 25. Strange Timez (feat. Robert Smith), Gorillaz 26. OUT FOR YOU, Le Butcherettes 27. Kawasaki Backflip, Dogleg 28. Blinding Lights, The Weeknd 29. Look Over Your Shoulder (feat. Kendrick Lamar), Busta Rhymes 30. Sweet, Porridge Radio 31. Boys on Stage, Soakie 32. I Just Want to Dance, Sault 33. Good Morning (feat. Pusha T, Swizz Beatz & Killer Mike), Black Thought 34. Come & Go, Juice WRLD & Marshmello
35. Broken Boy (feat. Iggy Pop), Cage the Elephant 36. The Difference (feat. Toro y Moi), Flume 37. Alert Level (Quarantined Mix), Ministry 38. AS Tearless (feat. Lalita), Amnesia Scanner 39. Hate this Pain, Tricky 40. Light Of Love, Florence + the Machine 41. Angel on the Road, X 42. Feign, Touché Amoré 43. Go!, L.A. Machina 44. You should be sad, Halsey 45. Nice to Meet Ya, Niall Horan 46. Exhale, Jónsi 47. Xxoplex, A. G. Cook 48. Television Sets, Alien Nosejob 49. All Lies, Sarah Mary Chadwick 50. Mandinga Times (feat. Kiko El Crazy), Rita Indiana 51. Shock Collar (feat. Dave Gahan), Humanist 52. Boomer, Bartees Strange 53. Joanna, Sevdaliza 54. House Arrest, Sofi Tukker & Gorgon City 55. Hope Hell High, The Flaming Lips, Deap Lips & Deap Vally 56. Good Morning (feat. Pusha T, Swizz Beatz & Killer Mike), Black Thought 57. Amen, Logic 58. Therefore I Am, Billie Eilish 59. Speed Kills, Chubby and The Gang 60. Sports!, Dream Wife 61. NO MAÑANA, Black Eyed Peas & El Alfa 62. Oh Yeah!, Green Day 63. Pakistan, Siti Muharam 64. BB (BODYBAG), slowthai 65. Never Slow, Bishop Nehru 66. I’m Not Getting Excited, The Beths 67. Armageddon’s Back in Town, Drive-By Truckers 68. Say Less, Nothing 69. Jolene, Lingua Ignota 70. Maker, Anjimile 71. Morrow, 070 Shake 72. Iron Cut, Gaika 73. Voodoo Child, Tom Morello 74. Oh No, The Revivalists 75. Sandcastles, Cable Ties 76. Guide for the Perplexed, Thomas Feiner 77. Good to Be Alive, Brendan Benson 78. On the Floor, Perfume Genius 79. Last Sniff (feat. MF DOOM), Wilma Archer 80. I’m Not Your Dog, Baxter Dury 81. Foam, Knot 82. Wonder, Lomelda 83. Long Road Home, Oneohtrix Point Never 84. Mmm (feat. Ragz Originale & BenjiFlow), Oscar #Worldpeace 85. Legends Never Die (with Shania Twain), Orville Peck & Shania Twain
86. Slightly Sophisticated, Sneaks 87. they told us it was hard, but they were wrong., Ela Minus 88. Four Seasons Medley: Four Seasons / Dark Ocean Waltz, Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn 89. Antigravity Love, Krust 90. Blitzkrieg Bop/Backseat Freestyle/Una, Grimes 91. Satan’s Combover, Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School of Medicine 92. KKK Tattoo, Regional Justice Center 93. ATM (feat. Missy Elliott), Bree Runway 94. Bad Decisions, The Strokes 95. montgomery forever, The Front Bottoms 96. Night Crawling (feat Billy Idol), Miley Cyrus 97. Sweatpants Spiderman, Open Mike Eagle 98. You Better Move, Lil Uzi Vert 99. Primed and Ready, Wire 100. Kingdom Of Ends, Róisín Murphy
When I ran my first marathon a decade ago, I rode to the start line with an elite athlete. I asked her for any advice she could offer. She said, after 20 miles, we all hurt. It doesn’t matter how accomplished or novice you are at running, everyone hurts after 20 miles. The challenge is to keep going despite the pain.
I went in to yesterday’s DrumRunMarathon knowing it would hurt long before 20 miles. For the last two months I have been limping on a strained tendon in my left foot. In the last week, I pulled my groin twice. The weather forecast was for a sunny, 90 degree day. This was not going to be an easy run. And yet I chose to run in to the pain anyway.
The DrumRunMarathon is my riding on the coattails of Greg “The Governor” Pearson who is a fitness professional and the drummer in the Church for All People’s praise band. For years, Gov has developed an annual tradition of drumming in front of the Statehouse for 24 hours, sharing a poem called “The Gift of Love” that speaks of how God first loved us, and using this as a fundraiser for the church. This year, I jumped in to his parade and ran as he drummed.
I ran in to my pain inspired by Gov who had been drumming in front of the Statehouse for eight hours before I showed up and still had 16 hours to go.
I ran in to the pain as I watched peaceful people get escorted away from “the people’s house” because of the color of their skin.
I ran in to the pain as my foot swelled. My sports medicine doc cleared me to run, and I ran a solid pace that I was really happy with for the first 18 miles. But with no thanks to Phidippides a marathon is 26.2 miles and I began to wonder if my sports medicine doc is too permission giving.
I ran in to the pain as the temperature reached 90 degrees. In the morning, there was not a cloud in the sky and by a dozen miles in I was soaked with sweat. But I did a better job of staying hydrated and taking S Caps than I had in previous races. Also, some afternoon clouds and breezes went a long way.
I ran in to the pain and finished 26.2 miles.
In the moment, pain can feel all encompassing. But two lessons of running are that it doesn’t always get worse and that pain is temporary. My 26th mile was one of the strongest and fastest miles that I ran all day. And, on this side of the finish line, we built new relationships and raised over $2,500 for the work of the United Methodist Church for All People who is seeking to building diverse relationships of mutuality with all people. You can always support this work at: https://www.4allpeople.org/give
The last few months have left us all with the question, what do you do when times are difficult?
What do you do when you can’t do the things that give you life?
What do you do when people are suffering?
Often, we can retreat and turn inward, or we can choose to walk in to the discomfort, embrace the pain, and overcome.
In a small way, that is what over 500 runners are doing this weekend around Columbus, Ohio. It is one hot weekend, but we are virtually running the Hilltop USA 5K, to benefit veteran’s organizations on the west side of Columbus. Although this race couldn’t happen in person, the support of the community was so great that it sold out and more spots were opened up.
Today I ran with Lisa Qualkenbush Dillahunt, who ran her own virtual race at the same time, leg 2 of the Columbus Running Company Grand Prix. We ran at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park, one of my favorite places, but the heat and humidity were not fun. I decided to wear my race shirt for the 5K, which was a soaked cotton mess by the end. Nonetheless, the miles clicked off quickly. Despite having a gimpy foot, and it being a hot day, we ran a solid run, faster than our goals. Nothing close to a PR of any kind, but we ran in to the heat and discomfort and overcame.
More importantly, this race has already raised over $3,000 to help veterans organizations. This will assist those heroes who walked in to truly difficult situations and overcame.
2020 has been a crap year by many measures–just ask the 9,859,738 families of people with confirmed cases of coronavirus or the 400 year echo of black voices crying out, I can’t breathe.
But from all this pain has come great art.
In my unprofessional opinion, here are my 100 favorite albums from the first half of 2020 and my 100 favorite running songs from the first half of the year. There has been so much good music this year, I still have a couple of dozens albums I am waiting to find time to listen to. There was been more good music than what would fit on this list. I don’t pretend to be an expert in any of this, but if you are looking for something good to listen to, this a good place to start:
Life is persistent. We live so often in fear of death. But the reality is that life is a strong force that finds a way. Our bodies do amazing work in combating viruses and bacteria and so many threats. Life is found around the world in places that we would call uninhabitable: from the bottom of the ocean to the most scorching desert. Life is a persistent force.
Today marks the end of the un-canceled racing series (although rumor has it something new may be coming). This series began with a six week series in March and a second six-weeks was added in May. During each of these rounds runners completed a 5K, 8K, 10K, 15K, half marathon, marathon, and ultra marathon.
Yesterday I completed the second round and full series of un-canceled with a marathon. I had hoped to finish the marathon in under five hours and for the first half of the run i was on track to do that.
At the halfway mark i stopped at a convenience store for a bathroom and water break. That put me a couple minutes behind pace, but i went right back to chipping away at it. However, as the miles moved in to the 20s, the temperature reached in to the 80s. A rule of thumb for running is that it feels 20 degrees hotter while running and heat has always been my nemesis.
In order to be safe, I knew I needed to make a second water stop and with the cloudless heat, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make up this time. But the goal for this was not the completion of a singular race, but the un-canceled series. I accepted that this would be how the day would end. I was able to run the next couple of miles well, but ended up run-walking miles 24 and 25, and straight out walked the last 1.2.
I did not finish the way I would’ve liked, but life persisted. I kept moving forward when it would’ve been easier to quit. Although this was one of the slowest marathon times I’ve ever run I was happy with my effort and the fact that I could finish.
Life does not give up easily. Since the start of the coronavirus I have now completed 18 virtual races. Yes, I know that is ridiculous, but it is ultimately a statement that life wins!
Perseverance is the theme for this week’s Un-Canceled run.
The theme of this blog is perseverance. I am not a fast runner, I am not a gifted athlete. I have an awkward body that often feels to me like it’s been cobbled together from spare parts. But the one thing I have is perseverance. I can keep going when it gets tough. I can keep my legs moving when I journey in to the pain cave.
Today I ran the Un-canceled2 8K run. I didn’t run at record-setting pace, but considering a week ago I ran a 50K, and that this is my 17th race since the start of the coronavirus, it was solid. I ran negative splits, with each mile faster than the one before. It was a good perseverance run.
However, when I think about perseverance, real perseverance isn’t in the runner who keeps going with sore legs, it is in the people around me who keep going with difficult lives.
The single mother, raising her kids, who is tired from working multiple jobs, but keeps going to support her family, is perseverance.
The person who wakes up every day with the weight of depression and keeps going is perseverance.
The protester who is tired from being on the streets for a week and a half and goes back out again, in to the heat, to build a more just society is perseverance.
Look around you. Who are the people you see that keep going when life is hard? There are a million examples of perseverance around us that can strengthen us when we feel weak.
I listen to a ridiculous amount of music and yet it is rare that an album stops me in my tracks. This weekend that has happened with Run the Jewels new album, RTJ4.
Last week I re-recorded my sermon on Saturday because it no longer seemed relevant to the quickly evolving national response to the murder of George Floyd. Yet, somehow, Run The Jewels released an album on Friday that sounds like they recorded it today.
The album powerfully grabs the listener with the opening track, “yankee and the brave”. The video for the next song, “ooh la la”, prophetically shows streets filled with protesters, as capitalism is set on fire, filmed at a time when social distancing was closely practiced. My favorite song on the album “walking in the snow” begins with the lyric:
And every day on evening news they feed you fear for free And you so numb you watch the cops choke out a man like me And ’til my voice goes from a shriek to whisper, “I can’t breathe”
Recorded before the killing of George Floyd, this lyric pointed to the murder of Eric Garner. And yet, the echo of so many black people who have cried out “I can’t breathe” illustrates the power of this album. Run the Jewels pointed to the racism and oppression that was already happening before it reached the current level of collective consciousness. As a result, Run the Jewels have provided the soundtrack for this moment. The same song powerfully proclaims, “Never forget in the story of Jesus, the hero was killed by the state.”
Without pause, the next song, JU$T, somehow hits even harder. Featuring Pharrell Williams and Zack de la Rocha, the folly of the things often seen as success are criticized as the chorus echoes, “Look at all these slave masters posing on your dollar.”
Throughout this album, Killer Mike and El-P play off each other masterfully. They complete each other’s sentences, often doing so with both a call to power and a sense of humor. The combination of these elements are reminiscent of the best of Public Enemy or Wu Tang who held together a serious message, but didn’t take themselves seriously. This return to an old school style makes the incredibly relevant messages even more accessible.
The album ends with an epic blues/jazz/spoken word style song, “a few words for the firing squad.” The most heartfelt song on the album is delivered from deep within the soul and ends with horns blazing and the lyrics:
Black child in America, the fact that I made it was magic Black and beautiful, the world broke my momma heart, and she died an addict God blessed me to redeem her in my thought, words and my actions Satisfaction for The Devil, g@ddammit, he’ll never ever have it This is for the do-gooders that the no-gooders used and then abused For the truth tellers tied to the whippin’ post, left beaten, battered, bruised For the ones whose body hung from a tree like a piece of strange fruit Go hard, last words to the firing squad was, “F— you too”
So much of this year in Ohio has been darkness. Not only the darkness of pandemic and racial tension, but dark skies and rain.
Today was a beautiful day. Not a cloud in the sky. But maybe I could’ve used some.
I set out this morning to run the Sugar Badger 50K. This run was supposed to take place this past weekend in Wisconsin. It would’ve been the inaugural run. But COVID happened.
Initially, I was going to run the virtual race in my favorite place to run, Delaware State Park. But as the theologian John Lennon said, life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. So I got up early (too early) this morning and ran around the city of Columbus.
It has been a tough week for Columbus. Just as coronavirus restrictions have begun to ease, the undercurrent of racial tension has emerged. Protesters have filled the streets calling for a new and better way to live in relationships, the dismantling of broken systems, and the end to police brutality.
Early this morning, when I started, Columbus was quiet. It was a cool and beautiful morning as I ran down tree lined trails. For the first half of the run, I stayed well on track to reach my goal of finishing under six hours. In fact, I ran the first few miles faster than needed and was able to use and build that cushion.
About 15 miles in I stopped at a gas station to rehydrate. The time waiting in line evaporated my cushion and after this stop my calves began to cramp. Nonetheless, for the next seven or eight miles I still stayed right around the necessary pace to break six hours.
The final eight miles were physically difficult. It was hard to run as my calves tightened. Walking became more regular. The cloudless day took its toll on me.
I finished in 6:11:26. I didn’t finish in the time I hoped, but still set a PR by 18 minutes. Not a bad day.
The theme for this week in the Un-cancelled series is community.
After today’s run, our church held an outdoor worship service to bless the staff and volunteers of the United Methodist Free Store, which will re-open tomorrow after being closed for the coronavirus.
For 21 years, the Free Store has brought diverse people together in a environment of acceptance and radical hospitality. In these challenging times of pandemic and systemic racism, we know that work is more important than ever before. We believe there has never been a better time to be the Church, and we remain committed to a South Side that is welcoming and supportive of ALL people.