Altitude Sickness

Pain, trail running and playing at the Wine Fest

Given that I used to pop anti-inflammatory pills like candy when I was a fighter, I have assiduously avoided them since. I have weathered many injuries to my knees, back, neck, bruises, etc. without any sort of assistance, but this has been different…neck pain followed by sacral sprain followed by neck pain. I have once again become a regular of a chiropractor, and I have been doing something that I have not done in more than a decade.

When I had my ski accident a few years ago that dislocated all of my parts, I took five doses of ibuprofen, once each night for five nights, and did my best to manage the pain during the day. This time I have been doing a little trick I learned during my drinking career. I learned it from my dad, and I carried it on in my own style. I have been taking aspirin, and I have been chewing them, just like a good little hungover drunk. I have not, however, been washing them down with bad coffee. Surprisingly fast and effective.

I got out my first really big run this year, a 14-miler, Sherburne to Pico to Killington to Pico to Sherburne. I did some cross-tracking to make it longer (Pico spur up, Pico trails down to the hiking trail, then Pico trails up, hiking trail down), so there were sections of the trail that I ran four times.

I did it without food or water, so I got a little crampy when the temperature got up near 90, but it wasn’t too bad (it did make me fearful though, given last years’ cramping episode where I was stuck on my floor with legs that wouldn’t move for an hour or two, with a friend ministering to me with water and pickle juice). The cramped muscles were a little sore a few days later.
I did the whole thing without tripping on any roots or anything, I was sure-footed the whole time, but I also did it pretty slowly, averaging about 3.9 mph, including water and bathroom breaks.  Aside from having nipples that felt like I had nursed a litter of werewolves, I was fine. I went home and drank a gallon of water and ate the house.

The big news this week, though, was my first music gig in exactly a year. I took a little break after playing last year’s Killington Wine Festival, having become tired of the music industry. I get this way occasionally, I become fatigued of the Napoleon syndromes, and those who owe me money and never pay it back. Be that as it may, I put my big girl panties on and got back in the game.

For those of you who have never seen my act, I am a looper. I play mostly original acoustic music, and I use a very complicated array of effects, routing and sampling pedals to create a series of repeating music loops that cause me to sound like a full band by the end of any given song. I use guitar body percussion, rhythm guitar, upright bass, lead guitar, and three part harmonies.

This means that every time I play a song, I am playing/singing 8-10 parts, all of which that I have written. This is difficult at best when you are well-rehearsed, but when you have rehearsed two hours in a year, it is sort of like going down Mount Everest on Rollerskates while fighting a giant squid with a toothpick.

I guess that it looks rather effortless, because people often try to talk to me when I am in the middle of doing it, and it is all I can do to keep from screaming at them: “can’t you see that I”m just half a mistake away from making a complete fool of myself in front of all these people?” Needless to say it is not effortless. It is an endeavor of significant magnitude, requiring the use of both hands, both feet, my mouth, and several parallel processes of my brain. Plus, I have to smile. That part is the worst.
The great thing about performing an event like the Killington Wine Festival is that you are essentially invisible. You are the help. People can be enjoying themselves thoroughly, having a great time, digging the music, but they don’t really look like they are expecting much from you.  And that is one of the things that led to my success in re-entering the professional music world.  People were not looking at me expectantly, and when I made little mistakes, I am sure that no one could tell. If they could they were gracious about it.
My motto has always been: “Brady – thriving on the low expectations of others since 1970!!”
Needless to say, it went beautifully, the venue was gorgeous, and I was extremely grateful to the chamber for having me, and for all the help loading and unloading.

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