For the first year-plus of my running career (if you can call it that), I ran entirely without music. I enjoyed the sounds of my footsteps on the pavement, the birds, lawnmowers -- the general sounds of being outdoors.
Plus, living in a somewhat country area where people tended to drive way too fast for a road consisting mainly of hills and curves, I felt going music-free was in my best interest.
I needed to listen for oncoming traffic and be ready to dodge oncoming vehicles -- which I had to do on many occasions. And still do. (There's a reason teenagers and elderly drivers have a bad rep when it comes to driving!)
Last year, my brother got me an iPod shuffle for my birthday. And I was quickly hooked. It was the perfect little running buddy. So shiny and small, easily clipped to the waistband of my shorts. It kept me entertained for the longer runs by myself. It made me laugh when certain songs came on. It motivated me when I needed a boost.
Yesterday, I said good-bye to my shuffling buddy.
As I did the last preparations for my six-miler, I reached into my running bag. Immediately, I felt a damp towel. Not damp, downright wet. Soaking. Uh-oh.
A water bottle had leaked in the bag, which normally wouldn't be a big deal. But in the rush of getting from place-to-place on Sunday, I didn't bother to take my iPod out of the bag. It was tucked inside a Ziplock bag (unfortunately, an unzipped Ziplock), along with some GU, snacks, Band-Aids and other running necessities.
The iPod had literally been sitting in a bag full of water for a couple of days -- marinating. It was like iPod soup. I knew it wouldn't be good.
But, ever the optimist, with a slight glimmer of hope (but knowing it was a long-shot) I turned it on to see if it worked. Nothing. No big surprise.
I headed out for my six miles sans music. At first it was okay. I don't live in the country anymore, so I didn't hear those peaceful sounds I once enjoyed.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed taking in some new sounds -- even if I seemed to pass by an inordinate number of weirdos who felt compelled to yell at me from passing cars, doorsteps or sidewalks.
I chalk this up to the fact that I was running a new route through Manchester -- using my legs as transportation to make a trip from my comparative country-esque setting on the southside of the city to downtown. I passed through some neighborhoods I normally wouldn't frequent.
Mom's yelling at children, catcalls from creepy guys on the sides of the streets, sirens blaring, music thumping from passing cars, dogs growling and barking. Welcome to city running.
It was definitely a new experience -- and probably one I'll do again. It wasn't totally unenjoyable, and I felt a sense of accomplishment when I reached my destiniation.
Luckily this kind of running buddy is easily replaceable. Maybe next time I'll have some good ol' 80's hairband songs playing on a new iPod to help drown out some of the noise.
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