Earlier today, I saw this article on how jogging outside with music is dangerous. I was already planning this post. That was good timing.
With the exception of two runs on the treadmill, I've gone over a month running without my iPod.
At first, it was because I couldn't hear the time and distance alerts from Rhody G. I am used to getting verbal feedback from Nike+ every 5 minutes. This is useful, particularly in the summer, because it reminds me to take a sip of water. So I set Rhody G to chirp every 5 minutes and every 1 mile. I am constantly chirping away.
But then I really started to like running with no music. I feel more approachable and more friendly. The two areas where I regularly run (a gravel walking/running path and a long bike path) are like social clubs. I nod hello or say good morning and usually get a nod or good morning back. I talk to people (like the lady last weekend who asked me why I put my arms up when I stopped running. I told her because I was done and I was practicing for races). I enjoy running into the regulars who I see every morning. I enjoy running early on the bike path when all you see are bikers and runners with hydration belts.
At times, it is a safety issue. I can hear cars more easily if I am on the road or crossing streets. The bikers on the bike path I use tend to be very quiet and very fast and don't really announce themselves. I can hear the bikers a bit better too.
I am more in tune with my thoughts. That's one of the reasons why I got back into running. I cannot tell you how many class lectures or dissertation ideas or tough emotional things got worked out on a run. Somehow running raised my emotional threshold and made the emotional things much easier to handle. I got lots of good thinking done out on runs. I miss just letting my mind wander.
Or I can focus more on running and my body. How am I feeling? Does anything hurt? Is this a comfortable pace? Do I need water?
I raced without the iPod and it was nice. Really fun too. I ran 12 miles alone without it. For a variety of reasons, it was one of the best runs I've had in a long time. I decided that I am going to run Rock N Roll Providence without the iPod.
I am surprised it took me this long to break free from my iPod. One of my best runs ever was in Vermont last fall. I thought my iPod was fully charged, but not so. It lasted 6 miles of a 12 mile run. And then it died. I briefly panicked, but then I realized there wasn't anything I could do. So I kept running. I found a babbling brook that I didn't know existed. I paid more attention to the fall leaves. I found a beautiful red barn framed by a pond, fall foliage, and mountains. The barn was so pretty that I went back later with my camera. I would have missed so much of that if I had been listening to my iPod.
So long, Pod Buddy. It's been real. We will meet again on the treadmill. And maaaybe on long runs later in the summer/early fall.