I've used a lot of excuses to get out of exercising (inclement weather, no clean sports bras, Keeping up with the Kardashians is on), but an uncharged or malfunctioning iPod is probably my most favorite and overused excuse.
My iPod has four running playlists all carefully and purposefully designed to get me out the door and keep me running when I really don't feel like it. The songs pump me up, inspire me to run faster and longer, and just make the whole experience more enjoyable.
Without my iPod, without my friends (Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, Flo Rida) there to cheer me on with their melodies and lyrics, I'd prefer not to even go. If there's no music, it's as if God is saying, "better take it easy, today, Steph."
Well, Friday I decided to attempt my 5.5 mile run without the help of my friends, because Day 68's thing I've never done before was to run without music.
I took off down the street feeling naked without my headphones. But the first couple of miles were fine. I was enjoying the sunny, brisk weather and paying attention to things that are usually drowned out by the music. Birds chirping, dogs barking, my feet crunching the fall leaves and the pavement.
Once I reached the midway point, though, I stopped hearing the sounds of nature and started to hear another soundtrack. My mind is in constant overdrive, and without music to pay attention to, the only sounds I could hear were my thoughts, all of them, playing over and over in my head.
I thought about everything. Evvvvvverything. The ideas ranged from completely bizarre, like fantasizing about quitting my job to sail around the world, to downright crazy, analyzing conversations I'd had with people a week before. I made mental lists of bills I needed to pay, friends I want to catch up with, ideas for the blog. I admit it was nice to have my wheels turning when I was up and moving around and not when I was lying in bed ready to go to sleep. But I decided that if I plan on making this experiment a regular thing, I was going to need to bring a piece of paper and a pen.
The parts of the run that I find particularly difficult were made extra difficult without music because I could hear my labored breath and feel every muscle in my body. Plus, I didn't have my girl Rihanna telling me to "Please Don't Stop the Music." I was all on my own.
I made it home and was surprised to find that the run took more or less the same amount of time it does when I run with music. It definitely felt like it was longer.
I was pretty proud of myself, so I shared what I had done with some of my runner friends. They weren't not impressed. Apparently a lot of people run without music.
I'm not sure I'm going to make running with only my thoughts as a soundtrack a regular thing, but successful completion of this experiment means I have lost another excuse to not exercise.