10 June 2009

ipod-ing during a run

I changed into gym clothes today and was trying to think what routine I would like to do. Running on the treadmill is something I don't enjoy and lately, I have been trying all the other machines - cycling, rowing, funny exercises on a ball etc. I wasn't particularly enthused but saw no reason to not go so I stepped into the gym bracing for a divine intervention. As soon as I walked in my ears were assaulted with loud thumping music. On most days I can easily tune the music out but today I hightailed it out. Then I thought of a way to make my run outside interesting - I'll put on my own music!

I am not a big fan of listening to music on earphones mostly because growing up all the earphones I tried were too big to fit my head properly (I still have to stuff an old hand towel in my helmet back home for scooter riding so it fits snug) and required all manner of adjustment with hairbands etc to increase the width of my head for a proper listening experience. Since it required so much effort the whole walkman, mp3, ipod phase has had no impact on my life. A while back, actually a year ago, a sweet uncle presented my sister and I with an ipod each. In a cruel test of getting what I didn't want I accepted my gift and shoved it in my bag thinking this was a sign to get into the ipod thing and lo, behold, the earphones, they fit my ears. Not too big or too loud - finally a music experience I could enjoy. Well, it took me another year and my friend A to finally get some music on there that I liked. Its not that I don't like figuring out how technology works, just that I don't see any point using my brain for something I don't need. For a similar reason I did quite lousy on my GRE exams - couldn't be bothered to figure out the analytical section. Why did I care how things worked out and figure out a, b, c or d? Have to thank my then bf to actually get to me do any practice tests. Now if there was a problem with the fluorimeter or an annoying system error while I was collecting data, that, was a situation that called for the grey matter. That life though is past - I only use my massive intellect to format documents these days. Another post on that later.

Right, so I have the ipod and I have music I like. I am in running attire. I plug the ear phones in and start. It's weird to run without hearing your foot falling on the cement or the ground. I never tried running with music because I enjoy watching people: listening to snippets of conversations; sharing the happiness of two lovebirds in the park; also, like listening to birds singing and avoiding dog poo. And if this wasn't enough sensory overload I also have a tendency to slip into a world of daydreams. So, this experience was interesting. Suddenly, no foot falls but a music to go with all my observations. The traffic noice was quite annoying and I had to turn up the volume to listen to my music. I have a bit of music training and one thing I can't bear to hear is apaswara, out of tune music and traffic was creating the wrong harmony. In the park though, things were different. I ended up alternating between my day dreams and listening to the music. I was also running faster than normal (knees are protesting painfully now) and didn't need as many walk breaks. The strangest part was a stretch where due to construction they had laid down plastic pallets on the running path and I didn't realize how loud my foot fall was till a gentleman turned around to stare me down.

So, do I like running with music on? The thing is, I already knew the answer to this but I figured there was no point in not trying it; just to see how this experience was. It didn't cost me a dime and besides having to remember to charge the ipod there was little to do on the logistics side. I am happy I could run faster but in endurance running I wouldn't want to mess with my pace. Next, I am going to download some podcasts on here to see if listening to geeky science stuff (the magazine Cell has a podcast and is on youtube!) changes matters any bit. No more music though, me thinks. Hopefully figuring out how to get a podcast on to this metallic wonder will be easy!

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