Sunday, August 23, 2009

Long Runs Won't Be the Same

I did a long run this morning. The weather was great--low humidity and cool temperatures with a sunny sky. The grass trail was covered with heavy dew and the deer were still out in the "just post-dawn" light. Things were going well in my Vibram FiveFinger shoes...until my iPod switched to the next podcast...World Soccer Daily. In addition to loving long distance running, I love soccer. Unfortunately, the podcast began with a commentary from the co-hosts about how this was the last show. Ever. This podcast is a repeat of the 2-hour daily Sirius radio show. The show and podcast are among the most popular soccer shows in the country. It's been going strong for 7 years. What gives? Why the last show? How am I supposed to do my long runs without my favorite podcast?

It all began abut 5 months ago when co-host Steven Cohen gave his opinion about the Hillsborough disaster of 1989. It was a terrible day in English football history as 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death entering the stadium. This year was the 20th anniversary of the event. Around the time of the anniversary, Cohen stated his opinion that Liverpool fans (without tickets) were primarily to blame for the disaster. This didn't go over well with the Liverpool fans or the club. Controversy was stirred and nastiness ensued. Cohen was the subject of boycotts and threats. Lately his family, including his step-children, were the object of threats and intimidation. This was too much for Cohen and he decided to discontinue World Soccer Daily on Sirius Radio (and the associated podcast and web site). This is a major loss for the American soccer world. His show introduced many to the beautiful game. It educated listeners. Cohen's passion for the game was clear and contagious. He was an interesting and dedicated soccer fan and journalist. Cohen and the show will be missed. It's too bad that a group of narrow-minded Liverpool fans (with the club's support) have stooped so low. Boycotts are one thing, intimidation is another. The country has lost a fine show...and I have lost my long run training partner. Music only carries me so far--I need conversation, news, opinions...I need World Soccer Daily! My long runs won't be the same. I hope Cohen (and maybe the show?) resurface in the future.

In addition to losing my favorite podcast, my favorite weekly soccer show (Fox Football Fone-In) has been "updated" by replacing Steven Cohen with Eric Wynalda. Cohen was fired from the show for the same "Hillsborough disaster" comments that lead to the demise of the World Soccer Daily show. I'm sure Wynalda will do fine and he seems like an intelligent and appropriately opinionated co-host, but it won't be the same as Cohen and Webster from the FFF past.

World Soccer Daily and Fox Football Fone-In rekindled my love for the game. So much so that our last several pets were named after English teams: Chelsea, Barnsley, Wigan, Bolton, Derby, Preston, Burnley, Watford...and the new Humane Society degu named Scunthorpe! These names might not be familiar to local runners, but for English football fans they should be recognizable (Ian, you out there?).

So what do I do on my long runs now? If I'm running for 4 hours I want more than a series of 3 minute songs. I'm still a bit in shock, but I'll soon search the iTunes library for other soccer podcasts. Maybe I'll discover a hidden gem. Probably not. My long runs won't be the same.


Jerry Davison said...

Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti, 82 minutes, play twice, problem solved

Chris Ⓥ said...

Well put. Although that still only gets me under 3 hours of running playtime. :-)

I've noticed I run slower when I listen to podcasts versus music. When the tempo increases, so does my stride count. I need to keep myself under control in these long runs and races. Zeppelin is good for the last 30-45 minutes of an ultra.

Judy Tolliver said...

Same thing happened to me w/ the musical podcast "Ritmo Latino." I have all 5 years of the shows in iTunes, so that'll keep me busy relistening to stuff. When my iPod crapped out during Howl, it was really hard to stay focused. I bought a new one two days later.

Chris Ⓥ said...

I'm not even an Apple kind of guy, but I do love my iPod Shuffle. The thing is tiny and holds a ton of songs. And it's pretty cheap. I wish the battery lasted longer--it runs out during some longer ultras (50 miles, 100K, 100 milers). But for a run of 4-7 hours, it works really well.