I love music.  Give me a good beat and my hips start moving, my feet start tapping, and if I know the lyrics there is very little that can stop me from singing along.  Given that information, it probably goes without saying that I have historically been an ear bud wearer during training AND racing.  Blasphemy – I know!  We’ve all seen it in the race details – “The use of portable listening devices is discouraged.”  My usual reaction, “Thanks for the information, I’ll turn the volume down…until I need my beats!”

Getting to listen to my music has always been one of the perks of running.  When I’m driving, I either listen to NPR (yes, I’m that kind of nerd), a Podcast or nothing when Alex has some random story to tell me, so running was my time to jam out.  Since the marathon, something has changed.

On marathon day, my wireless earbuds refused to connect to my phone when I tried playing my set playlist in Rhapsody so I had to go with a Pandora station.   Usually this works fine since I’ve done enough “thumbs up/thumbs down” in the past but to be honest I have no idea what I listened to that day.  The music was more of a distraction from the task at hand and if I hadn’t needed them to hear what Runkeeper was feeding me as far as average pace, I would have just thrown the headphones to my family on the first pass by.

Since the marathon I haven’t run with Runkeeper or my music – I have used my garmin though (I’m not an animal!).  Now running is my time for quiet, my time to enjoy the Fall foliage, and my time to really listen to my body and the voice in my head.

Listening to the voice in your head can be really scary.  It’s probably why, as a society, we do just about anything to avoid it and all our electronic devices are all too happy to help us.  I am DEFINITELY guilty of the “boredom phone check”.  Running without my phone to listen to music also means I can’t hear when someone texts me or calls.  Running is now REALLY my time.

My “reality” when it comes to running has definitely gone through lots of changes over the last 2 and half years.  I use phrases like, “I’m just going out for a quick 5.” and “Not long this weekend, just 8.” and “I did an easy tempo run today with only a couple miles of sub-8s.”  The Allison from 2 years ago would have rolled her eyes and thought I was a lunatic but that’s why change happens over time and when it does it’s more likely to stick.

If all the changes over the last 2 and half years have taught me anything it’s to avoid any proclamations, so I will.  This, however, doesn’t stop me from RECOMMENDING that you log a few miles without your music.  Steal some quiet time back for yourself that the world is constantly trying to steal from us.  You may surprise yourself and be a more focused runner for it.

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