When my running obsession began, there was no such thing as an MP3 players. And the idea of running while holding a CD player or having a rather large box (aka cassette player/radio) attached to my hip was not appealing at all. Running was supposed to be about the activity and the experience shouldn’t be clouded just so you could have a nice beat to push you. Or so was my thinking at age 15.

Then a boyfriend gave me my first iPod and it forever changed they way I run. 

It didn’t take long for a dependence to build up. My iPod goes everywhere that I do. It’s always in my purse. I use it at work. At the coffee shop. In my car. At the grocery store. On my bike. And it accompanies me on every single one of my runs. 

Music is my favorite running partner. It pushes me. It encourages me. When a certain song flows from my little black machine through those white buds to my ear drums, my pace automatically picks up. My body naturally syncs with the beat of particular songs and I have absolutely no control of it. 

There are times that I think about going with out it, but I’d hate to risk boredom and begin to believe that I couldn’t possibly get through a run unless those magical tunes are pumping through my ears. That’s probably not true, but I’ve been too afraid to test that theory.

The other day, I woke up to birds chirping and the sun smiling. The wind was no where to be found, and after three days of glooming, cloudy weather, its absence was appreciated. I jumped out of bed, already predicting a good run. Ready for the greatness, I walked out of my apartment and realized that my iPod was dead. No, this couldn’t be. I need my music. This is supposed to be a good-run day and music has to be a part of it. It just has to.

I decided to stall 20 minutes, thinking my that would be enough charge time for a solid four miles. I was out the door with a barely energized device, hoping it would last. Around the one and half mile mark, the iPod died. I was still about three miles out, so there was nothing I could do. I would have to go with out.

Many times, I split my runs into legs and judge them by the direction of the wind, hills involved (if any), distance and the scenery. I kept telling myself that a certain stretch is going to be that much more difficult without music. Once I easily completed it, I assumed the next one would drag on with out a beat. Again, no problems. Before I knew it I was home. But, how did I do it?

I ran to my thoughts. I ran to the birds chirping and the passing cars. I kept myself occupied with stories and the treasures I passed. My pacw was still fast and the run still graceful. And music didn’t need to be the part of the equation.

Music is a great part of running, but it isn’t the run. I’m the run. And it’s liberating knowing that I’m not dependent on anything but myself to make running great.

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