Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Workout Music

So I'm working with a health coach now, and as part of that I'm hitting the treadmill more regularly. So I've been working on my list of workout music, and the current playlist groups into three major categories:
  1. Songs that are Really Really Good for workouts. These tend to have very driving beats, and frequently have "audience participation". These are the ones you want as the timer hits 20 minutes, you've got 10 minutes to go, and you'd really like to slow the treadmill down to walking speed.
    • The Cup of Life by Ricky Martin. A prime example, possibly the best workout song ever. Combines a driving rhythm with inspirational audience participation ("Do you really want it?" "YEAH!").
    • All I Want by The Offspring. Two minutes of pure adrenaline.
    • Hoodoo Voodoo Doll by The Brian Setzer Orchestra.
    • What Is Rock and Time To Start by Blue Man Group.
    • Holiday by Green Day. I'm not really sure why this one works, but it does.
  2. Songs that are very good, but not quite at the same level as #1. Useful for running to, but don't give the same boost.
    • When I'm Up, When I Am King, and End of the World by Great Big Sea. Live versions on the first two, with both inspiring lyrics and a good beat, and the studio version of the third, with a really fast beat.
    • Delirious by ZZ Top.
    • Hyperactive by Thomas Dolby.
    • Knucklebones by David Lee Roth. You just can't go wrong with Steve Vai on guitars.
    • Rebel Yell by Billy Idol. I've found that the beat of this exactly matches my running cadence at 5 mph on the treadmill.
    • Your Attention by Blue Man Group.
    • Headlong by Queen. Not great as a mid-workout song, but really good as a starter song.
  3. Songs that...well, I thought they might work and put them on the list, but they'll probably get replaced when I find better alternatives.
    • Ballroom Blitz by Sweet.
    • Black Horse and the Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall
    • Start The Commotion by The Wiseguys
    • Way Down The Line by The Offspring. I was hoping the Crazy Taxi thing from All I Want would rub off, but apparently not.
    • Boom Boom Pow by Black-Eyed Peas.
Next, I need to find good replacements for the bottom list. I've had Fighter by Christina Aguilera recommended to me, but haven't tried it yet. I've also had it pointed out that Paint It, Black by the Rolling Stones has about the same beat as Rebel Yell, but I'm not sure if that's really a good inspiring workout song.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Today, I climbed Uetliberg.

Okay, not all the way. The S10 train goes up to a station near the top, but it's still a decent 15-minute hike up the hill to the hotel at the top.

So, when I was in Zurich last (in February), I had meant to get to Uetliberg, but on my last night, decided I needed to make sure I had presents for my family lined up rather than going up a mountain. So it didn't happen.

This time, I decided that it was my goal for Sunday. What I hadn't realized was how much climbing was involved from the station. The station is at 814m above sea level. The top of the mountain is at 871m. But I got up to the top, and realized that I wasn't done yet - there was an observation tower at the top. 30m more to go.

So I started climbing the tower. There are three intermediate platforms, one on each side, on the way up to the top platform. At the lowest platform, I was suddenly reminded that I'm afraid of heights. So I decided that stopping there was a good idea...and then decided that, okay, I can make it to the second platform.

So I went up to the second platform. I paused, convinced myself to stop here, and convinced myself to continue on. Up to the third platform. Only a few more flights of stairs to the top platform. And so, up.

The top platform is 900m above sea level. And it does, indeed, have an incredible view of not just Zurich, but also all the areas around it.

The way down was almost as white-knuckled as the way up, but I got back down successfully.

On the way back down to the train station, I found the start of a scale model of the solar system - the Sun, Mercury, and Venus. (Earth should have been nearby, but I believe it was in a different direction from where I went.)