Saturday, October 1, 2011

Headphones or Not?

Racing is picking up here at our house lately.  The printer next to me is buzzing with confirmations for Mountain Mist 2012 (courtesy of my husband, who is downstairs registering us for our annual fun 50K!) and Chicago marathon confirmations have arrived via snail mail.  Once we are registered and confirmed for these events, they start to feel "real" to me. 

I've been thinking lately about a decision I made after reading the Chicago marathon confirmation packet.  Headphones are allowed in the race.  Headphones are allowed in the race!!!  At first, I was elated.  Distraction is so crucial to me during training.  I thrive with distraction.  At first, I was like, "Yes!!!!!!  I am totally bringing my music.  I'll use whatever I can to get my time!"

But then I thought more about it.  I have run 22 marathons without any music, sometimes without talking to another person the entire race.  I have also run many 50Ks without listening to any music.  I'm not afraid to let my mind wander to thoughts, to prayers, to songs, to splits.  I like following it on the twisty path it takes me as I run the marathon.  And I love the crowds cheering.  I love taking the whole event in---using all of my senses.  I want to be a part of the whole experience---the noises of the other runners, the cheering, the music, all of it.  I want this more than I want the benefit of being distracted by my music. 

So...I'm leaving my headphones at home.  The first of many little last minute race decisions that I will make this week---done!


  1. Funny, we were talking about this issue this morning...but specifically about how it cheeses me to see people wearing earphones in a race where they are prohibited. I like wearing them when I'm alone (well, I wear my iPhone strapped to my arm and play the music just loud enough for me to hear it on the external speaker) but I feel like I lose a big part of the experience when I have personal music in any kind of group type setting. ANYONE cheering gives me a burst of energy, way more than any song on my playlist would. At the same time, I might have a hard time not having music if it was allowed, at least in one ear! :D

  2. I enjoy having mine during a race (where it is allowed), but I have one of those little ipod shuffles and I can just tap it when I want to enjoy the experience of people cheering, aid stations, bands or music playing along the course, or talking with my fellow runners. I usually only want it at the end anyway when I need a little something for that extra push. In the race yesterday, there were so few people and the only contact I got most of the was was the aid stations. But they'd start cheering a long way off, so I'd always stop my music as soon as I saw them. It was so great! But Chicago will have SO much more going on and probably the whole way! So you'll probably have all the distraction and motivation from supporters that you need! Now I am thinking I want to do that marathon next year! ;)