Running Like Hell (228th new thing).

December 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had been simultaneously dreading and looking forward to Day Two Hundred Twenty-Eight, the day I would run my first 5K. Actually, I had probably leaned a little more toward dread in the weeks leading up to it. I hadn’t been whole-heartedly embracing my Couch to 5K plan and by the the time the Run Like Hell Halloween-themed race came around, I was only at about week five (out of eight). Maybe even day one, week five, which is basically week four.

So race day loomed and I was barely running for more than five minutes at a time. Regardless, Patrick was super supportive and my friend Kallen was running as well, so we could be a trio of champions. I had originally (like six weeks earlier when I signed up for the 5K) set my time goal at under forty minutes. As each day passed I added a little more to that figure. On the actual day of the race I was just hoping I would finish before my play list ended. I mean, I could probably speed walk 3.1 miles in an hour, right?

It turns out, running a 5K wasn’t actually as difficult as I imagined. At the beginning the runners bottlenecked through the starting line so I did a strange jog/walk/stop for the first couple minutes until I could really let loose. My play list reverted to shuffle as soon as I moved my arms at all, so all my careful song planning went out the window. I ran at least the first mile nonstop, until I hit a hill and practically tripped over a woman bending over to tie her shoe in the middle of the race. The rest was a run/walk combo for me. I ran when an older woman in a poofy tutu came close to passing me (no way was I letting her beat me) and walked when I knew my face was redder than a beet (which was pretty much constantly).

The race ended in the cemetery, after jogging around what felt like dozens of different curves. I would speed up, thinking I was almost done only to round a corner and be confronted by yet another path lined by gravestones. That was kind of cruel of the race planners, I thought.

After what seemed like forever I caught sight of the finish line and struggled to plow through. I imagined myself tripping over a paving stone right at the end and failing to finish. That would be beyond embarrassing. More embarrassing than how red my race turned after so much exercise.

My official time was 39:12, but since we didn’t really get to the starting line until 2:00 minutes after the clock began, I completely believe that my real time is around 37:00. Which is pretty damn good for my first race. Kallen and I wrote down our “clock times” (as opposed to “real times”) and ended up in 423rd and 424th place. At least we weren’t last. Patrick, however, earned a respectable 121st place in the race. I think. You see, his handwriting is so terrible that when I looked up the results, based on his finish time and name and age, I could only assume the officials misread his surname. Or he’s living a lie. What do you think, Mr. Hu??

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My Running Playlist (227th new thing).

December 14, 2011 § 2 Comments

I was T minus one day from the culmination of my Couch to 5K program. In less than twenty-four hours I would be meeting a thousand others at Oakland Cemetery to participate in the “Run Like Hell” Halloween-themed 5K race. I wasn’t totally pumped about the upcoming experience, and I hadn’t even made it to the point where I was consistently running more than ten minutes at a time. In fact, I had actually only been jogging a couple times in the previous two weeks. Mostly because I was busy working, but also in part to an underlying element of laziness. If I failed to finish, I could always fall back on my lack of experience as an excuse. I needed to get pumped up for the next day’s activity. So I made a 5K playlist on Day Two Hundred Twenty-Seven.

Here it is.

  1. The New One for Reals – Matthew Reveles
  2. Animal – Miike Snow
  3. Ce jeu – Yelle
  4. Lahaha – Shugo Tokumaru
  5. Katey vs. Nobby – Galactic
  6. Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
  7. Atlas – Battles
  8. Daylight – Matt & Kim
  9. Tighten Up -The Black Keys
  10. Kids – MGMT
  11. Mile End – Pulp
  12. Parantheses – The Blow
  13. Rich Girls – The Virgins
  14. Psychic City – YACHT
  15. Zebra – Beach House

I figured it would be a good warm up – pump up – cool down transition. And it was long enough so that if running a 5K actually took me the hour plus that the music lasted, I would still be in good shape. Well, except for the fact that I could have probably walked a 5K in the same amount of time.

One Hundred Three. Art in the Cemetery.

July 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Earlier this year I purchased a Groupon for an Oakland Cemetery tour. They have all different themed excursions each weekend day throughout the year, from tours of the Jewish cemetery to Women in Oakland to the Leo Frank story. I decided to take the “Art and Architecture of Death” excursion, mostly because both Patrick and I had the evening off and that was the tour offered, so on Day One Hundred Three we decided to take the tour.

We met the group at the museum shop/bell tower just before the 6pm scheduled start. I was surprised to learn that Oakland is actually a City of Atlanta park. You can walk, jog, and even bring your dog to visit the 40 plus acre graveyard. Our guide began with a little history of the cemetery, and then we progressed to the first architectural example: a pyramid. Many of the statues and markers were reflections of the time period and the aesthetic influences of the era. The Grants (not of Grant Park, of Grant Field) who built this mausoleum were into Egyptian Revival.

We were also encouraged to look inside the free standing building where a small window lit the tombs. Many of the mausoleums included stained glass features and windows to allow light into their depths. We waited for several minutes as a tour group member took his time sticking his nose through the bars until his wife gently pulled him away. I was only able to get a quick glimpse. The cool air and soft light inside was beautiful.

As we walked along the brick paved path our leader pointed out the buried tombs with carved pillows at the head. Apparently Victorians were into figurative symbolism, letting the world know that this is where the dead laid their heads. Very subtle.

As we walked along, I noticed a few gravestone markers that looked much different than the previously seen Victorian style. These markers had a wooden or stone texture to their limbs. Our guide explained that after the neoclassical movement of the first markers we saw people started to look more to nature, peppering their carvings with natural material instead of ancient Greek or Egyptian symbols. And the headstones with a branch or limb cut off usually symbolized the death of a teenager or young person. Literally it was saying, “a life cut short.”

Children who died would have a gravestone with an angel protecting them.

There were also headstones with carvings of saints, some based on their profession.

The two most prominent mausoleums in Oakland were the partners who founded a major bank in Atlanta, which was then sold until it merged with Wachovia and now Wells Fargo. The Richards mausoleum holds the second highest point in the cemetery and looks like a mini mansion striking tall against the sky.

The Austells (of Austell, GA) purchased the highest land among the graves. Theirs is a testament to all different kinds of architecture, from Victorian symbolism to ancient Greek and Roman features.

The end of the tour found us walking by the Confederate cemetery while a small boy joined the group. He father trailed behind several hundred feet as the youngster interrupted our guide with crazy exclamations and an endless barrage of questions. The leader was becoming visibly annoyed (especially since the small child had not purchased a ticket to participate), but Patrick and I had a hard time stifling our chuckles. The boy was much more engaged than the rest of the group and his energy was refreshing. Finally his dad scooped him up and took him along a different path. Probably just in time.

In the late 1800’s families would go to church and then bring a picnic lunch to dine on the grave site of their passed loved ones, as though they were sharing a meal with those long gone. I don’t think I would care to lounge above a dead body, but there are plenty of green spaces for a nice afternoon chillout.

Overall the tour was quite enlightening. I would certainly recommend one of the outings to anyone visiting or living in the area. I would love to go back for the Leo Frank tour.

Seventy-Four. Singing on Graves.

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Day Seventy-Four was supposed to be the day of the Rapture, so Patrick and I headed to Oakland Cemetery for their new music festival, “Tunes from the Tombs.” I figured if people were going to be sucked up, this would be a cool place to see it. So Day Seventy-Four’s new activity (besides surviving a rapture) was to see music in a cemetery.

Smoke That City

Bare feet, Beer, and Burial Tombs

NOT a backrest

Confederacy

I found my gravestone

The Rapture

Where Am I?

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