Once upon a time, I used to run seven miles a day.
Not anymore, of course. I got tendonitis in my right ankle while training for a half marathon. It wasn't a freak accident; I was too lazy/cheap to buy new running shoes, and my legs gave out as my mileage increased. That put me out of commission for a few months, and I've never gotten back to that level again.
I still jog whenever I can, though, and I never go out without my trusty iPod. Running without music is like a cheesesteak without Cheez Whiz and onions; why even bother? So if you're looking to mix up a quick batch of tunes that'll get you through 27-or-so minutes, go no further. Here is a classic "Steve Cimino running playlist" that all ages, races and sexes can enjoy (although it will really only speak to white people between the ages of 21 and 29).
Annie Lennox - "Walking on Broken Glass" (0:00 to 4:13)
You'll want to start off your run with a little fire, which is precisely what Annie Lennox brings to the table. I know Kelly Hinde would agree with me. And the music video features John Malkovich! I know that doesn't help much when you're jogging, but it always makes me happy.
Passion Pit - "Little Secrets" (4:14 to 8:13)
The first time I heard Passion Pit was while wandering around the Newbury Comics in Harvard Square. I went up to the cashier and asked who this band, which was something I've never done before. I love this song in particular because parts of it sound like something from the Streets of Rage 2 soundtrack.
JoJo - "Too Little, Too Late" (8:14 to 11:49)
The first 90s pop tune on this playlist, and it's not the last. Save all your energy for the part at 2:40 where JoJo screams and kicks the final chorus into overdrive; you'll magically turn into The Flash.
REO Speedwagon - "Time for Me to Fly" (11:50 to 15:29)
The song I was listening to while officially driving out of Boston for the last time. REO Speedwagon's biggest hits are "Take It on the Run" and "Keep On Loving You," but "Time for Me to Fly" and "Roll with the Changes" are by far the band's best workout tracks. Keep that in mind.
The Band - "Ring Your Bell" (15:30 to 19:25)
One of The Band's funnest songs, along with "Ain't Got No Home"; no offense to Richard Manuel or Rick Danko, but I'm of the opinion that Levon Helm was The Band's best and most memorable singer.
Backstreet Boys - "Larger than Life" (19:26 to 23:19)
The best Backstreet Boys song...and that's saying something. This is also terrific for karaoke, so exercise your vocal cords and memorize lyrics while you run. Multitasking!
Bruce Springsteen - "Ain't Good Enough For You" (23:20 to 27:23)
Finally, a little Bruce to wrap things up. This is a new old song, off his outtakes album The Promise, but it's one of Bruce's bounciest tracks. Feel free to replace it with "So Young and In Love," " Be True" or even the 16-minute "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" from the Reunion Tour, if you can handle six or seven miles. And if you can't, well, don't blame this wonderful little playlist.