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The Power of Music

January 6, 2009

I don’t usually run with music. The reasons are varied. First of all, when I started, I discovered that my ears didn’t keep ear buds in them very well. I was running mostly on a treadmill at the time, so reading was just as easy as listening to music and I didn’t have much incentive to keep looking for workable ear buds, though I know now that options exist.

Soon after, I took to the roads, but this was around the time that the ruling authorites had decided that listening to music during races was incompatible with safety. I mostly agreed with them on a personal basis, and I made the decision not to get used to listening to music while I run.

I also have to confess that, as the mother of two young ‘uns, part of the reason I run is . . . well, to get silence. My kids talk. A lot. The last thing I need when I run is more noise.

I’ve run eighteen, even nineteen miles alone without any kind of musical accompaniment. But, on that twenty miler, tedium hit, suddenly and brutally, at mile sixteen, and I knew I’d have to start strategizing for the next really long run.

Now, it also happens that I’m coming off a truly bad week of running. I think it’s a combination of bad things–worn shoes, tired legs, overtraining. It’s also possible that I peaked for my season of racing: the half, the 5k, the 10k. I notice that I’m slower in training and maybe that’s just because I’m past my peak. That’s okay; I don’t mean to race my marathon so I don’t need to be fast, just steady.

But man, my motivation is shot. The last few runs, even in the first few miles, no, especially the first few miles, I’ve actually sat on the curb and thought about walking home.

Monday, I woke up with my pulse pounding in my left temple: pre-migraine. Took half of my migraine attack meds: 500mgs of lodine*. Started out and ever strike of my left foot felt like a jackhammer on my temple. Quarter of a mile in I just knew it wasn’t going to happen. Turned around and walked home. Because stubborness is both my best and worst asset as a runner, about a hundred yards out I thought I’d give it another try. Started running again and discovered that the lodine had kicked in. Set back out.

Now, I know better than to try anything new on a 20-mile long run, which is what’s on the schedule this week, so I figured I’d try carrying the ipod on a somewhat shorter run.

And yes, music helped the lacking motivation. I’m not sure that it helped my pace; I’m sure if it was tracked every 500 meters you’d find that it was all over the place. But I ran 9 yesterday, 10.5 today. Yesterday I still needed some walk breaks to stretch out some very sore calves, but today I did it straight out, no knee brace, rocking out, getting some very strange looks from passers-by.

I still think the ipods should be left home for race day. I saw too many runners ignore the “make a hole!” cries at the A1A Marathon in February of 2007. But for this week, when I’m struggling with my running, the music is helping me get through the training.

So I say, “Thank you for the music, for giving it to me!**”

*Lodine was part of my first neurologist’s genius prescription to deal with my migraine attacks. None of the triptan drugs alone worked to stop my migraine attacks (in fact they made my attacks worse; ugh!) so he prescribed a very small dose of a triptan, to be taken at the same time as this strong dose of lodine, an NSAID. Sometimes, if taken early enough, the lodine works alone. This was prescribed for me in early 2007, and the neurologist predicted that before long, such a combination would be on the market for migraine sufferers. Today, the drug Treximet has hit the market. It is a combination of a triptan and naproxen, also a NSAID.

**What, no one listens to Abba anymore? Honestly!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 6, 2009 6:07 am

    I need my tunes! But I thought that was a HSM reference. Sheesh! 😛

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