Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hilltop U.S.A. 5K Race Report

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.

Rise above!

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Music of the Year (so far)

Looking Forward to new Music in 2020 - Northern Transmissions

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:

RUNNING SONGS OF THE YEAR (2020)img_0365

Listen to this playlist at: https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/2020-running-songs/pl.u-14Lmt8ZlaER

  1. Routine Pain, Spanish Love Songs
  2. might bang, might not, Little Simz
  3. pink diamond, Charli XCX
  4. Savage Remix (feat. Beyoncé), Megan Thee Stallion
  5. Deal Wiv It, Mura Masa & slowthai
  6. Blue World, Mac Miller
  7. Darkseid, Grimes & 潘PAN
  8. State of the Union (STFU), Public Enemy
  9. Yah Yah (feat. Royce da 5’9″, Black Thought, Q-Tip & Denaun), Eminem
  10. Pig Feet (feat. Kamasi Washington, G Perico & Daylyt), Terrace Martin & Denzel Curry
  11. Serafina, BAMBARA
  12. American Crisis, Bob Mould
  13. Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down, Anti-Flag
  14. OUT FOR YOU, Le Butcherettes
  15. Kawasaki Backflip, Dogleg
  16. Blinding Lights, The WeekndLife Is Good (song) - Wikipedia
  17. Life Is Good (feat. Drake), Future
  18. Sweet, Porridge Radio
  19. Boys on Stage, Soakie
  20. Broken Boy (feat. Iggy Pop), Cage the Elephant
  21. The Difference (feat. Toro y Moi), Flume
  22. Angel on the Road, X
  23. Alert Level (Quarantined Mix), Ministry
  24. You should be sad, Halsey
  25. Light Of Love, Florence + the Machine
  26. walking in the snow, Run The Jewels
  27. Gospel For a New Century, Yves Tumor
  28. AS Tearless (feat. Lalita), Amnesia Scanner
  29. Television Sets, Alien Nosejob
  30. Shock Collar (feat. Dave Gahan), Humanist
  31. En la Oscuridad, Xibalba
  32. Consider, Gouge Away
  33. Jolly F****r, Sleaford Mods
  34. Hope Hell High, The Flaming Lips, Deap Lips & Deap Vally
  35. NO MAÑANA, Black Eyed Peas & El Alfa
  36. Speed Kills, Chubby and The Gang
  37. Oh Yeah!, Green Day
  38. Nice to Meet Ya, Niall Horan
  39. BB (BODYBAG), slowthai
  40. ONLY, ZHU & Tinashe
  41. Never Slow, Bishop Nehru
  42. I’m Not Getting Excited, The Beths
  43. ATM, Too Free
  44. Something Wicked, Trash Talk & Kenny Beats
  45. Quick Escape, Pearl Jam
  46. This Is War, Five Finger Death Punch
  47. In the Doghouse, The Bombpops
  48. G-Flat Gumbo, Songdog
  49. All Lies, Sarah Mary Chadwick
  50. Armageddon’s Back in Town, Drive-By Truckers
  51. Here They Come, Hamilton LeithauserModus Vivendi (070 Shake album) - Wikipedia
  52. Morrow, 070 Shake
  53. Spark, Alice Bag
  54. Oh No, The Revivalists
  55. Guide for the Perplexed, Thomas Feiner
  56. Good to Be Alive, Brendan Benson
  57. On the Floor, Perfume Genius
  58. Isolation Blues (Blame It On The Pathogen), J.S. Ondara
  59. Last Sniff (feat. MF DOOM), Wilma Archer
  60. Funny Thing, Thundercat
  61. I’m Not Your Dog, Baxter Dury
  62. How Could You (feat. Joseph Talbot), Jehnny Beth
  63. Baby’s First Word, 2nd Grade
  64. Sour Candy, Lady Gaga & BLACKPINK
  65. Unspoken, Infant Island
  66. Never Ending Teeth, Afterbirth
  67. Twisted, Johanna Warren
  68. Chemical, Es
  69. Country Song, Fossil Arm
  70. I’m a Wreck, AWOLNATION
  71. Sandcastles, Cable Ties
  72. Exhale, Jónsi
  73. they told us it was hard, but they were wrong., Ela Minus
  74. No Time For Love Like Now, Michael Stipe & Big Red Machine
  75. Parallel Space (Conforce Remix), Forest Drive West
  76. Unwanted, Folian
  77. Runaway Dog, Retirement Party
  78. Four Seasons Medley: Four Seasons / Dark Ocean Waltz, Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn
  79. Amidinin Tad Adouniya, Tamikrest
  80. The Brothers Williams Said, The Innocence Mission
  81. Die without You, Dawn Richard
  82. they told us it was hard, but they were wrong. (Edit), Ela Minus
  83. It’s Cool, Four Year Strong
  84. Simmer, Hayley Williams
  85. One Good Day, Control Top
  86. Lockdown, Anderson .Paak
  87. KKK Tattoo, Regional Justice Center
  88. People, The 1975
  89. No Time To Die, Billie EilishBillie Eilish's No Time to Die Bond theme: a slow stomper that ...
  90. Cold Sweat, asia
  91. Cancelled, Attila
  92. Worry, Songhoy Blues
  93. Hands, Lithics
  94. You Better Move, Lil Uzi Vert
  95. Consider, Gouge Away
  96. Void Walker, FACS
  97. Spineless, Jools
  98. ringtone (feat. Charli XCX, Rico Nasty, Kero Kero Bonito) [remix], 100 gecs
  99. Beaten Down, Sharon Van Etten
  100. Shut It Down 2020, Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Best Albums of January 2020: Selena Gomez, Kesha, Halsey - Rolling ...

ALBUMS OF THE YEAR (2020)

  1. Spanish Love Songs, Brave Faces EveryoneSpanish Love Songs - Brave Faces Everyone LP + Slipmat Bundle ...
  2. Run the Jewels, RTJ4
  3. Sarah Mary Chadwick, Please Daddy
  4. Mac Miller, Circles
  5. Amnesia Scanner, Tearless
  6. Perfume Genius, Set my heart on fire immediately
  7. Moses Sumney, grae
  8. BAMBARA, Stray
  9. Jehnny Beth, To Love is to Love
  10. Floral Tattoo, You can never have a long enough head start
  11. Jeff Rosenstock, No Dream
  12. Halsey, Manic
  13. Porridge Radio, Every Bad
  14. Dogleg, Melee
  15. Humanist, Humanist
  16. The Innocence Mission, See You Tomorrow
  17. Le Butcherettes, Don’t Bleed
  18. Code Orange, Underneath
  19. Ian William Craig, Red Sun Through Smoke
  20. ChangesNowBowie, David Bowie
  21. Liveandwell.com, David Bowie
  22. 2nd Grade, Hit to Hit
  23. Waxahatchee, Saint Cloud
  24. Soakie, Soakie
  25. Diet Cig, Do you wonder about me?
  26. Chubby and the Gang, Speed Kills
  27. Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn, Wu Fei and Abigail Washburn
  28. Black Eyed Peas, Translation
  29. Same, Plastic Western
  30. Hamilton Leithauser, The Loves of your life
  31. Mozzy, Beyond bulletproof
  32. Permanent Residue, S/T Tape
  33. Fossil Arm, In Bad Decline
  34. Alien Nosejob, Suddenly Everything is Twice as Loud
  35. X, Alphabetland
  36. Coriky, Coriky
  37. Wednesday, I was trying to describe you to someone
  38. Brigid Dawson and the Mother Network, Battle of Apes
  39. Lucinda Williams, Good souls better angels
  40. Songdog, A Happy Endin
  41. Infant Island, SepulcherThe Quietus | Reviews | Fra Fra
  42. Fra Fra, Funeral Songs
  43. Midewife, Forever
  44. THICK, 5 Years Behind
  45. Thundercat, It is what it is
  46. Eminem, Music to be Murdered By
  47. Body Count, Carnivore
  48. Pearl Jam, Gigaton
  49. Yaeji, What We Drew
  50. Sleaford Mods, All That Glue
  51. Eighth Blackbird, Singing in the Dead of Night
  52. Childish Gambino, 3.15.20
  53. The Cravats, Hooraland
  54. Little Simz, Drop 6
  55. Anti-Flag, 20/20 Vision
  56. TORRES, Silver Tongue
  57. Nine Inch Nails, Ghosts V
  58. Nine Inch Nails, Ghosts VI
  59. Rita Sawayama, Sawayama
  60. Dead lips, dead lips
  61. Green Day, Father of all
  62. Brendan Benson, Dear Life
  63. KA, Descendents of Cain
  64. Jay Electronica, A Written TestimonyDescendants of Cain by Ka (Album, East Coast Hip Hop): Reviews ...
  65. Wilma Archer, A Western Circular
  66. The Weekend, After Hours
  67. Charli XCX, how I’m feeling now
  68. Grimes, Miss Anthropocene
  69. Fossil Island, In Bad Decline
  70. The Chats, High Risk Behavior
  71. Nils Frahm, Empty
  72. Yuja Wang, John Adams: Must the devil have all the good tunes?
  73. Es, Less of Everything
  74. Haley Williams, Petals for Armor
  75. Car Seat Headrest, Making a door less open
  76. FACS, Void Moments
  77. JFDR, New Dreams
  78. Same, Plastic Western
  79. Lithics, Tower of age
  80. Melenas, Dias Raros
  81. Behemouth, A Forest
  82. Mutant Love, Revolution Redacted Pt. 1
  83. Lady Gaga, Chromatica
  84. Hilary Woods, Birthmarks
  85. Hook, Crashed My Car
  86. The Bombpops, Death in Venice Beach
  87. Soccer mommy, color theory
  88. Cable Ties, Fair Enough
  89. Alice Bag, Sister Dynamite
  90. The Soft Pink Truth, Shall we go on sinning that grace May increase?
  91. Four Year Strong, Brain PainFolk Alley | Album Review: Ondara, 'Folk N' Roll, Vol 1: Tales of ...
  92. Lil Uzi Vert, Eternal Atake
  93. Ratboys, Printer’s Devil
  94. J. S. Ondara, Folk n Roll Vol 1, Tales of Isolation
  95. Hanerkop, remote
  96. Drive-by truckers, the unraveling
  97. Five Finger Death Punch, F8
  98. Megan thee Stallion, Suga
  99. The 1975, Notes on a Conditional Form
  100. Fiona Apple, Fetch the bolt cutters

 

 

Life Marathon, the last un-canceled run (for now)

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 8K, yet another un-canceled run

img_0484Perseverance 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 perseverance-8kkeeps 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.

protests_6.5-6_1Look 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.

Run the Album: RTJ4

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”

RTJ_Timothy-Saccenti2

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”

Sugar Badger 50K

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 img_0435ease, 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.

img_0436The 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.

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Joy 15K, yet another un-cancelled run

img_0365This morning marked my 14th virtual race since the onslaught of the coronavirus. For a person who normally runs about a dozen races a year, I have been hitting it hard. Up until now, I have run these races at race pace. I have gone out and run at full effort, the same as if I had a bib on my chest and a finish line to cross. I am beginning to feel the toll in my legs and am planning to virtually run the Sugar Badger 50K next Monday, so I took a different approach to this run.

The theme for this week is joy. I went out to run a 15K for the pure joy of it. I didn’t mailworry about the pace on my watch. I listened to a random collection of my favorite songs and when the beat was fast I kicked it up, when the songs slowed, I slowed. When Gary Clark Jr wailed on his guitar on “Got to Get Up” my feet hit the ground in time with the tempo. I enjoyed the rare treat of a sunny Ohio day and laughed off the dripping sweat from the high humidity. 

I have always been attracted to people who have a deep joy. Two of my heroes are the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. When they are together they are childish in their laughter. This is not a naive joy, but one that comes from having gone through tough hardships. The Dalai Lama has lived in exile from his own country and Desmond Tutu lived through apartheid. And yet, watch this video and count how many times they laugh. Their joy is infectious and life giving.

 

 

Kindness 10K, another un-cancelled run

One of the things I love about running is its simplicity.

There is no need for expensive equipment.

There is no complicated technique, it is just left foot, right foot, left foot.

There is no need to travel to distant places, there are a million great places to run outside your door.

There is no need for shirts or medals or bling. One of the opportunities of this moment is to run for the simple joy of running.

I have been embracing that opportunity full-on. Today was my 13th virtual race since the img_0346outbreak of the coronavirus. Less than a week ago I ran my second fastest marathon ever. Today, I went out seeking to run a 10K in under an hour. That is no record setting pace, but considering the heavy toll I have put on my body it was an aggressive goal. It has also been raining enough in Ohio to make ark building seem reasonable. Today, I ran on the Mudsock Trail that lived up to its name.  My new shoes and clean socks were soaked by the time I finished in a time of 59:02, almost a minute faster than my goal.

The weather was unseasonably cold and wet, the conditions difficult, and my legs tired. But all of that just made the accomplishment sweeter.

It is this same simplicity found in running that can be lived in life. The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying, “My religion is very simpleMy religion is kindness.” In order to love one another we don’t need complicated theologies, divisive denominations, or unachievable expectations. The simple act of showing kindness to others, ourselves, and all of creation is enough.

my-religion-is-very-simple-my-religion-is-kindness-35

Dreams: Un-cancelled half marathon

When I dreamed about the spring 2020 running season virtual races are not what i dreamed of. It seems very little in life the last few months has been the stuff that dreams are made of.

While the world around us is hurting and uncertain, it has been a remarkable running season. Just over a month ago I ran my strongest marathon. Less than two weeks ago I set a 50K PR by over 12 minutes. Today, in 92 percent humidity, I ran my second fastest half marathon ever. I have not done any speed training, I am not well rested, I did not train for this single event. In fact, I’ve run in a dozen virtual races in the last couple of months. Not the best recipe for success.

So how did this happen? Running after my dreams. This is the third year in a row I’ve been chasing the Run the Year goal. I haven’t hit the goal yet, but the increased miles have resulted in these strong runs.

The human body is an amazing thing. We are capable of so much more than we realize. Whatever you dream, you can achieve.

Note: here is the playlist I listened to while running, for those of you who enjoy a little gallows humor: https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/covid-half/pl.u-ay04sPV37MY