When I first started running in high school, I felt like I always needed music to get me going. I would carry my Walkman or later on Discman (stop laughing) in my hand as I slogged along for 3ish miles.
How could anyone ever run without music?
When I registered for my first ever half marathon, iPods/music were not allowed. If you were caught with it, automatic DQ. I panicked. How was I going to run 13.1 miles without music? I couldn’t stand the thought of hearing myself breathe heavily or my feet slapping the ground for 2 hours.
So what did I do? I wore an ear warmer headband (thankfully it was November and chilly) and tucked all the wires down my shirt so no one could see I had ear buds in.
Fast forward a few years and something switched. As I was training for my first half after my kids were born, I found that I didn’t need music to keep my mind entertained.
I had a gazillion and one thoughts going through my head to ponder.
I enjoyed listening to my breath.
I enjoyed hearing my foot falls.
I enjoyed quiet.
Of course I was a new mama to twins who was in desperate need for quiet and alone time. But I realized I didn’t need music to distract me. In fact, I didn’t need a distraction at all. What I needed to do was tune in to ME and to my surroundings.
I listened to my footfalls and made adjustments as needed. Was I heel striking? Am I shuffling my feet?
I listened to my breathing. Was I taking shallow breaths? Was it even?
I began to notice nature more. The dew on the grass. A sunrise. A ray of sunshine through the trees. The smell of a hot, humid summer day (even the not so good smell on garbage days!). The crunch of leaves with every step in the fall. The sound of birds chattering. The ga-rump of frogs. The rhythmic lull of the waves at the beach.
Sure I may have noticed these things before. But I was more wrapped up in the music streaming through my ear buds rather than the sounds and sights that were wrapped around me.
Once I left the music at home, I noticed a shift in my running. It no longer was something I had to do for weight management, vanity or because I needed to get in my exercise for the day.
It was the time and space where I could think uninterrupted. Where I could appreciate where I was and where I was going. I could lose myself and find myself all in the same run.
It was something I wanted to do just because it awakened my mind, body and spirit.
It made me take notice of me.
Do you run with music?
I will admit that I DO run with music on the treadmill. That is one place I could never go without unless I’m watching something on TV.
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