Lord Balls Hits Bottom?

Guest Post by SLF (Rob Cain)

When I suggested this topic to Mr. Balls, he turned it around and offered it as a guest blog.  I think when you’re desperate enough for a topic to confront the ways in which your wife loves you, you’ve started to hit bottom.  My guess is until the lottery, or at least until he knows he’s in, we’re not going to have too many blogs about his obsession.

Skinny Little Fart

Skinny Little Fart

So, the topic of the day is best songs for running.  I know the USATF wouldn’t approve of the subject, but let’s go for it anyway.  I’m one of those guys who runs by myself frequently and always listens to music when solo.  Oh, I know what I’m missing: the song of the wind, the mighty percussion of the crickets, the battering of the woodpeckers, and the yawn of the mighty puma as I pass by.  I’m sorry, but I love music.

So, I’m offering my five favorites in order.  I don’t think we want the blog responses (please let there be responses) listing every song that someone listened to from Foresthill to Auburn.  Please, no more than your top five.  Here are mine:

  1. LA Woman by the Doors.  The beat is exactly right for my running. And it’s over 7 minutes long.  Fantastic.
  2. Can’t Stop Running by Todd Rundgren.  Huge Todd fan here, and well, we can’t stop running can we?
  3. Tremble For My Beloved by Collective Soul.
  4. Are You Gonna Go My Way by Lenny Kravitz.
  5. The Call of the Ktula by Metallica (The version off the S & M disc (they played with the San Francisco Symphony.  Oh, and yes, I was at that concert).


  1. SLF, thanks for the guest post, I think. Don’t even know where to begin in my response. How about this story from 100 in the Hood. We’re driving up the 4WD road to the 44/85 mile aid station (Pin Heads Buttes). As many know, the estimated times for opening the aid stations were just a little off, so we’re scrambling like mad to get there and open the aid station before too many runners go by. We get up to the end of the road and can’t find the PCT. We spot something in the woods that looks like a runner and drive towards it. As we get closer, I can see that it is a runner so I honk the horn and yell out the window. No reaction from the runner. I get out of the truck and yell at the runner to stop, that we are the aid station. No response. Is he deaf? He continues running up the PCT away as I chase him and continue to yell at him. Absolutely no response from him. I’m now getting mad. I continue the chase. It is not until I get close enough to him to tap him on the shoulder that he notices me.

    WTF is wrong with you, dude? He was listening to his ipod. I think the USATF has it right with this one.

    • @Craig, Yeah, I know getting people’s attention can be a problem. On the occasional time I’m coming up one someone during a race (and I do mean occasional), it is a real pain to be attempting to converse with the person and after an attempt or two, realize they are totally zoned out. I have my volume such that I can hear someone talking to me, and take it down even lower when entering an aid station.
      Perhaps the dude on the PCT didn’t want to see or talk to you?

  2. I think it’s great that many runners can enjoy good music while running, and that it can motivate them during their run to do better, or just bliss out.

    Personally, though, I enjoy listening to nature, or talking with a fellow runner, or working through some other issue happening at home or at work, on trail runs.

    In races, I want to be fully concentrating on the trail, and where I am going.

    I am not as gifted as the folks who run the races and listen to tunes because, in this case, I am not good at doing two things at the same time.

    There also was an instance on the Angeles Crest this past August, coming down from Sam Merril, where I missed getting bit by a fairly large rattlesnake (6 to 8 feet?) by what seemed like mere centimeters.

    That kind of situation is really not a laughing matter.

    I am very happy I wasn’t listening to an ipod on that day, because hearing the snake’s rattle gave me the split second warning I needed to jump far enough out of the way to avoid getting bit, and being in a life threatening situation, pretty far away from any aid and in an area with no cell phone reception.

    Around 15 years ago, when living in Boulder CO, I loved wearing the walkman and listening to certain U2, REM, and other songs of the day, when running on a safer, “predatorless” suburban trail, along the Boulder Creek path, or up in the Mt. Sanitas or Gold Hill areas.

  3. If you don’t crank it-you can hear just about anything you want (including LB)-and sometimes it’s nice to crank it up when you don’t want to hear something (or someone). And it can definitely pick your ass up when you’re down. My five.
    1. Sometimes-Michael Franti
    2. That old pair of jeans-Fatboy Slim
    3. Peace, love, happiness-G Love
    4. Shook me all night long-ACDC
    5. Runnin’ down a dream-Tom Petty

    • @John P, Actually, John has very specific playlists. For example his one for the finish of Waldo is:

      Puking in the Heather by Boil in Lead

      Puking the Vowels by the appropriately named Mark Gross

      Puking Over by Stenchman

      Puking On a Pretty Girl by The Toilet Bowl Cleaners

      We Ain’t Leavin’ Till We’re Heavin’ (puking in the Parking Lot) by The Yard Dogs

  4. My first thought when I saw “Lord Balls hits bottom?” was that maybe you were getting into the porn business and how did that get through my spam filter anyway and was it with AJW, but then I was disappointed when it turned out to be 1) about only listening to music, and 2) finding out that you have country music tendencies. Is that allowed in Eugene?

    Now admittedly back in the day, I saw Willie, Kris Kristofferson, and Alabama, but I’m not sure I could run to all that stuff.

    And LB, I keep the volume low and always turn off when I enter the aid station. Most of the time I only wear one ear bud. The music? Rush, Phish, Pearl Jam, All Mighty Senators, some Lou Reed, Neil Young from his electric days, Radiators, etc. And I always replay the live version of “I’m the Man” by Joe Jackson, maybe of the line “I’ve got the trash if you’ve got the cash,” and any song that talks about trash and garbage is ok in my book!

  5. I am also a big music fan, but feel that listening to music while I run or ride my bike is akin to putting on acoustic blinders that keep out important auditory cues. No, listening to music while doing something should be reserved for much less important things like driving a car or sitting through long meetings.

    If I did listen to music while I ran, my top 5 might look something like this: 😉

    1. More Than a Feeling – Boston
    2. Oops!… I Did it Again – Britney Spears
    3. Sister Christian – Night Ranger
    4. My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, and I Don’t Love Jesus – Jimmy Buffet
    5. Apostrophe’ – Frank Zappa

  6. No ipod, no headphones, just a head full of music that plays over and over and over and over. Five for the trails,

    Ramble on- Zepplin
    Fire, water, burn- Bloodhound Gang
    Earth Mover- Southern Culture on the Skids
    Territorial Pissings- Nirvana
    Bring it on home- Zepplin

  7. this is an easy list.

    i usually start with a little vanilla ice, then i play a little tribute to tapeworm. This usually segways into thinking about cougars, so i dial up a little something about brian morrison’s man crush. which gets me thinking about selleck, but of course, selleck would never do anything fruity, so i settle on the hoff. i usually round out with DQ’s real favorite song. rumor is he does the dance when nobody is around.


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