Saturday morning I was ready to go for a run. It was a sunny spring day after a week of rain and I was feeling the running mojo. The day was long in front of me and I was thinking 6 – 7 miles, which is pretty much my most epic distance.
The temperature has been increasing here and the sunny days are reaching a temperature classifiable as “hot,” particularly if you are exercising. One problem this has posed for me is that I need water on my runs longer than about 3 miles. I wasn’t opposed to trying a run with a small water bottle clutched in one hand, but this conflicted with what I normally hold in said hand: my iPod classic. (Running with an object in each hand just seemed dysfunctional; plus, how would I a. open the water bottle or b. adjust iPod volume?)
A solution appeared to present itself in a gift I gave Tim a few years ago: an iPod shuffle, the little kind that clips onto your sleeve. Tim doesn’t run with music and he almost never uses the iPod. (This has been a source of discussion.) He dug it up and said it was fine if I synced it to whatever music I wanted, so I put my running playlist on it, and with small water bottle in one hand, off I went.
All was well until a mile in. I’d just passed IKEA and entered Delftse Hout. I was midway through “Sing”* when the music just stopped. I thought I’d lowered the volume too much and began messing with the button. Then the realization hit me: why would an iPod that probably hasn’t been played in a year have any charge? Shoot.
This threw me into a serious conundrum, because I do. not. run. without music. The only reason I get through half my runs is because I’m distracted. It helps me set my pace, as through old marching band habits I tend to step to the beat (can’t run to syncopated tunes). It inspires me when I don’t think I can go any farther. And it lets my mind think about things besides how far it is to the next mile point, or home, or how much my side hurts.
I’m aware that in a lot of races, mp3 players are persona non grata, and I’ve often wondered how I could ever get through a marathon or half marathon if my music wasn’t allowed.
I kept running, when I realized the music had died. I didn’t want to waste my run. At first I tried picking up where the iPod had left off and “thinking” the songs in my head. This sort of worked, though I would get into a weird loop where I’d just be hearing the same thirty seconds of the song over and over again. Then I tried just taking in the sounds around me: birds, children, dogs trying to bite my ankles. You can’t run to birds.
Finally I envisioned myself saying I’d made it through all 6 miles with no music, and what a big accomplishment that would be! I regret to tell you that did not happen. I did 4 miles, which to be honest I’m kind of surprised about (gmaps pedometer just told me). Running is interesting. Two miles was for many months my standard run. On big days I’d do 3. Then I gradually worked up to around 6 for the 10k in March. Now 3 is my standard and on days I have more time or ambition I’ll do 5 or more.
There were other factors working against me today. One more was related to the temperature, and that is incorrect equipment. My warm-weather bottoms are black three-quarter yoga pants and they are way too heavy for high-temp running. So I was more overheated than I needed to be. Plus, I have never had seasonal allergies in the US, but there is something in the air here right now that is absolutely wrecking my nasal passages. I returned home after 4 miles a snotty, sweaty, music-less mess.
Alas. Can anyone give me tips on breaking the running-with-iPod addiction?
*Dear Glee: I have stopped watching you but I still listen to your music.