Saturday morning I awoke to a hot and humid day and decided to head out on my usual “long” run. I was shooting for close to an hour of running, and I knew it was going to be tough thanks to the recent demise of my Ipod. It met it’s untimely, watery death in a toilet bowl up at my in-laws’ cottage during vacation about a month ago. I tried Ipod CPR and every remedy I knew on it. I quickly dried it off with a towel and set it out to dry. When that didn’t work, I tried wrapping it in newspaper hoping the paper would absorb the excess water. Then, I stuffed it into a box of rice for 3 days as a last resort. When it STILL wouldn’t turn on, I knew I was doomed. I would have to continue my workouts, for now, music-less until the next Ipod sale came around.

My husband first bought me the Ipod as a gift about 2 years ago on my birthday. As a high school and collegiate runner, I always used to train with a teammate or more, so I never needed the motivation or music to keep my mind occupied. Once I left school and resorted to a lifetime of training alone, he thought it would be nice to have some music to help me get through my workouts. The Ipod became an instant hit; I couldn’t remember how I’d ever lived without it! Every run seemed to fly by, and I was no longer interrupted during my gym sessions by random talkers in the weight room thanks to the earphones crammed in my ears. I guess people decide to leave you alone once they realize you can’t hear what they’re gabbing about.

When the Ipod hit the toilet water, you can imagine how upset I was. How was I going to make it through those long runs alone ? How was I going to face the gym with all of those people who wanted to distract me from my workout with their constant stories about proper lifting technique and protein powders? It was a dark day indeed. Until last Saturday when I headed out for my first hour run without my Ipod.

As I headed down the street, instead of starting my run like I was a horse being shot out of gate at the Kentucky Derby, I actually started somewhat slowly and eased into the run. Without the adrenaline flowing through my body from Linkin Park yelling in my ears, I actually listened and gave it the proper warm up it desired. Feeling the pavement beneath my feet, each muscle and tendon below my waist stretched and awakened. Breathing deeply, I filled my lungs to capacity with the fresh air. As my run progressed, I realized I was paying more attention to my surroundings than I had in awhile. All of my senses became re-awakened. I could hear birds chirping songs in the tree branches above me. I could hear the perfect rhythm of my breathing as I took each step. I could see the beautiful, perfect rows of tall, green cornstalks as I ran past a farmer’s fields. I could smell the earthy scents of dirt and freshly mowed grass. I could taste the saltiness of my own sweat as it beaded down my face and collected on my lip.

Once I neared the last mile of my run, the feeling of lactic acid and fatigue started to settle into my well worn muscles. Instead of forcing every last ounce of energy out of my body, as I often did when I was attached to the Ipod, I listened to my body. Slowly, I eased off the accelerator and allowed my legs to relax and enjoy the last five minutes on the road. The last few steps home, I finished feeling strong rather than completely worn and beaten. The run had a story; a beginning, a middle, and an end. All the runs I had with my Ipod were rushed and fast. My mood was upbeat after realizing not only had I completed the run without the Ipod, I had actually enjoyed it! Dare I say I may have even enjoyed it more?

It has been a month since I accidentally killed my Ipod. I always thought I’d go right out and purchase another one as soon as I had the money to do so. Now that I’ve seen what my body and mind can do without the music though, I am hesitant to return to technology as a motivator. There are definitely days when I wish I had it there to help me through a tough run or as a distraction to keep my mind off of the physical fatigue. Yet, I realize without the Ipod there to distract me, I am enjoying the journey of my workouts more than just the end.

Today’s simplest pleasures:

1.) Never look at a workout as something to “just get through.” Feel blessed and proud that you have a strong body; enjoy every step that it takes you.

2.) Every so often, detach yourself from the headphones. By working out sans music, I guarantee your senses will be heightened; giving you more awareness of both your body and your surroundings.

3.) Every workout should have a beginning (warm up), a middle (steady to hard), and an end (cool down). It helps to break up the monotony of working out at one speed every day and prevents injury in the long run.