Running With My Ears Open.


I like to think I go through this world with my eyes open. Taking in the beauty that is a chilly fall morning or an overcast sunset. But despite the beauty that my eyes are allowed to take in, I have never allowed myself to listen to the heartbeat of a run.

I love running with music.

Every training run starts with a selection of music that will propel me to completion. Great Big Sea, U2 and Eminem all compel my legs to push a little harder, to run a little longer.

That is, until today.

Well, actually, it started after doing the half-marathon in the Poconos. In an officially sanctioned race, you are not allowed to plug your ears with music.  You need to survive the half-marathon distance with just the sound of your gasping breath and the idling cars stuck in traffic.

I had to complete the 2 hours with no auditory help.

And I did.

Which prompted the question, do I need to run with music or have I reached a point of fitness that music isn’t the thing that makes my legs pump?

I used to think it was the thing that distracted me from remembering that I’m still running. I mean who can stop running when “SexyBack” is pumping in your ears?

Eventually, I could.

At a certain distance and certain decibel of pounding in my knees, even JT can’t keep me moving. So, what if I didn’t run with music? What if I was left to my will of dedication to continue?

So, I went out. Leaving the iPod at home, sitting alone, playing a mournful ballad quietly to itself.

The run left me open to say hi to those who I passed along the trail. The run left me open to hear the birds. The run left me open to hear my breath. The run left me open to hear the words of Coach Pinkney even more clearly in my head. I ran well. Steady and strong.

I’m conflicted, maybe I don’t need music. Maybe the Usher and Katy Perry can stay at home. Or maybe it adds to the experience?

To run with music, or not, that is the question. Thoughts?