Aug 5, 2007

running with ipods


Yosemite Falls - I'm the ugly one

Today's run was simply fan-tabulous. I was a little concerned going into it because the effects of yesterday's 12-mile LSD were really being felt in my legs. As a result, I procrastinated. I started it only because I wanted to keep the streak going, otherwise I would have blown it off. I figured I'd only run a mile, maybe a mile and a half. So I ran away from Alex and Joey, who were at a playground, and at first it was really slow. My legs were tight. Then, a short hill really got the best of me, it felt like mt. everest. It was when I turned left onto a flat bicycle path when I started to feel a little better, and by the time I had circled around back to alex and joey (which was 1 mile, my original planned course), I decided to go up that hill again. It felt like an anthill the second time, and I turned right this time onto the bike path, not knowing exactly where it was going to lead me, because I was feeling very good. Ended up going all the way down into downtown ramsey before turning around and heading back towards the playground. Finished very strong, three times my original intended length. And at a pretty good pace (for me), too - sub-11 minute miles.

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Yesterday I linked a great article written by the guy in charge of the boston marathon, about running with music. Based on his observations, about 90% of the people who were on his running path the day he was watching were listing to some sort of MP3 player or other music-listening device. His results are consistent with another informal survey that I did during yesterday's 12-miler - almost everyone had some sort of music device, from the cheap radio-headphones-combo-with-a-dorky-antenna-sticking-out from the early-90s, to the ipod.

The problem with these things is that they're not liked by law-enforcement people, because people who are vulnerable to crime become more vulnerable. They're not particularly liked by emergency medical types as well, because being less aware of surroundings sometimes leads to unfortunate encounters with cars, bicycles, and wildlife. But both groups understand that most people understand the risk and take it anyway. I am one of those people.

The issue arises with a governing organization of runners - USA Track & Field. They've recently added a rule that events sanctioned by the USATF must ban headphones. Most major running events (including marathons) and a lot of minor ones are sanctioned by the USATF, and are therefore obligated to follow their rules. The official rule states that headphones and portable music players are considered aid, but Dave McGillivray in the article provides a little insight to another reason - insurance. You see, one of the benefits race directors receive when they get their event USATF-sanctioned is USATF insurance, which, as you can imagine, is quite important. Apparently, the underwriters of the insurance are requiring it.

Ok. I hate this rule with a violent passion, though I hated this rule a lot more before McGillivray's article clarified the reason (headphones might be considered aid, but who cares?) But, since rules are rules, since I want to run in USATF-sanctioned events, I've got to go along with them.

I used to be a part of the 90%-that-wears-headphones crowd, but now I'm not. It was great, it added a bit of intensity to my speed workouts, and it got me caught up in podcasts/sermons on the longer workouts. I feel, now that I run without one, that sometimes my workouts aren't as intense as they used to be. Yesterday's LSD got really long and even a little boring. But - and this is a big but - I'm still adjusting to the idea of not running with an ipod. You see, there was a lot missing from my workouts, and my longer runs were a lot more boring, when I first tried running without the music. But, as with anything, the more running I did without it, the more I got used to it's absence. And it's not bad now, really. Running without music can be boring, but it does give me a little time to think and be alone with myself. That's pretty cool, and sometimes I'm glad I've learned to do it that way. Other times, I'd rather have the iPod. But I definitely don't need it anymore.

Which may be the bottom line here- as much as I like running with an iPod, I don't want to be dependent on that iPod so I could run. It potentially adds another excuse to NOT run, and I don't need any more excuses. I need reasons to go out.

Of course, there are INCREDIBLE podcasts out there, designed for listening to while running! Phedippidations, which I've mentioned here, is an example. Podrunner, which plays music at x beats per minute so you can pick one according to the type of workout you intend to do, is another. I listen to these wishing that I was running.. but I really have no choice but to avoid relying on these.

Now, once I'm completely weened off the idea of running with music (which I pretty much am already), I might add it back in to my workouts on a limited basis.. maybe to listen to during speedwork, or maybe to listen to for the last hour of a 3-hour long run. The idea is to gain the benefit of having this device, without developing the dependency on it. We'll see.

9 consecutive days down, 12 to go. Log of today's run.