I like the fact that Alt J is different than other bands. I've never heard them on the radio. They definitely are not on America's Top 40. Alt J songs are a combination of instrumental and vocal, but I can't always tell what the vocalists are saying. The music is great for chilling and most of their songs help me relax. My favorite is called "Hunger of the Pine."
The music video for "Hunger of the Pine" was released this summer, but I only just watched it this past week. The video was nothing like I expected. It starts with a guy running through the woods. Arrows are flying all around him, whizzing past his body. He gets hit by one arrow, then another. But he keeps running! You won't ever guess what happens at the end!
Once a runner, always a runner. I used to run competitively in high school and college. Lately, my rock climbing and yoga have taken precedent, but the urge to run never really goes away. Ever since I moved into my new place (near the Huntington Metro) in August, I've been wanting to run across the across the Potomac River / Woodrow Wilson Bridge to the Capital Wheel at National Harbor, MD. Saturday afternoon, I finally decided to do it.
For once in my life I did not look on Google Maps to determine how far it was. However, I knew from driving that stretch of road many times that I might need a little extra something to keep me going. So I bought the new Alt J album (This Is All Yours) on Amazon, loaded it onto my ipod shuffle, and ran out the door.
It was a chilly fall day. Overcast. Windy. I don't remember which song played first, but I hadn't been able to exercise in a number of days so my body felt good and the song didn't matter. I ran east on Huntington Ave, turned left on Richmond Highway, and followed the pedestrian path to S Washington St to arrive at the bridge. As I started across, I saw other pedestrians wearing hats and gloves. I tucked my fingers into my long sleeve performance top and kept going. The view at the top of the bridge was spectacular, Washington DC in the distance and the wind drawing patterns on the water below. This was the farthest I had ever made it before. I kept going.
On the east side of the bridge, I followed the switch backs, up and over the steady stream of beltway traffic and then back down the other side to run parallel to the water's edge, the Ferris wheel drawing ever closer. I had listened to several Alt J songs at this point, maybe six or seven, but still hadn't heard "Hunger of the Pine." I was beginning to wonder when it would play. I considered shuffling ahead but changed my mind. I kept running.
I made it to the Capital Wheel at 34.23 minutes into my run
As I turned around, a gust of wind hit my chest and I realized that I had been running with the wind at my back since I left the bridge. I groaned internally, looking back at the path from where I came and thinking about my tired legs, my tight hips. Then my song started playing! Images of the guy running through the pine trees came flashing into my mind and instantly I was motivated again. I made a new goal: run negative splits to get home faster than it took me to run out.
I picked up the pace, charged up the switch-backs, breathing heavy as I thought "I'm the female rebel" to myself over and over. Each time the song ended, I clicked the button to restart. I probably listened to the song three or four times by the time I reached the top of the bridge.
Starting back down the other side, I felt my hips and calves getting tighter, the bottom of my feet pulsating from the abuse of feet pounding the concrete. I forced myself to stride out and take longer, lighter steps on the second half of the bridge, down the pedestrian path, left on Richmond Highway, right on Huntington, all the way to my front door.
I finished the run in 68 minutes.