As I recently mentioned, runners were not allowed to have headphones on during the Reach the Beach Relay. As one reader explained, the rules stated that our earbuds could have been strategically placed outside the ears - looped around a headband for example - but we couldn't have them sitting inside or covering our ears. Basically, it was important for us to be alert and, well, to be able to hear, while we were racing. It's a crazy, logistical, race, and I totally understand their reasoning behind this rule, but as someone who is motivated by music when running; not having it was a challenge. I tried setting mine up for the first two legs by wrapping them around my visor strap in the first leg and then again around my headlamp strap in leg two, but the volume level was minimal at best and I found myself fiddling with them too much. A couple miles in to my second leg I just gave up and turned off the music. This race was such an adventure; something totally new for me, with so much to think about, so I found I could (sort of) handle the lack of music. But, I cannot lie, there were moments, particularly on the hills at 2:30am when I could have used a little help from my favorite artists. So, naturally, I created a list of things to think about, work on or do when I don't have Nicki Minaj or Radiohead blasting in my ears during the next Reach the Beach Relay (or any other race where we can't listen to music). Here is what I came up with:
TOP 10 THINGS TO THINK ABOUT/DO/WORK ON WHEN I'M RUNNING & I CAN'T LISTEN TO MUSIC:
1. Start listening to my iPod ahead of time and get my favorite song going in my head. Then, when I head out to run, play it back in my head or sing it out loud, whatever it takes to get me pumped and keep me going.
2. Craft a letter to the Reach the Beach organization asking if we runners could possibly listen to music with ONE headphone on during the night run. Just one? I know, this is a stretch, but last Saturday night it was a solid 20 minute distraction.
3. Plan my 8 year old's birthday party - guest list, theme, favors and all.
4. Write out my children's potential Christmas list including items that can come from my husband and I, Santa, and our various family members that tend to ask for suggestions.
5. Think through what I need from the grocery store, including dinner ideas, for the following week. Perhaps this is a good week to try something new?
6. Think back on some of the artists/bands I haven't listened to in a long time and craft a playlist in my head so I can dig back into my library when I get home.
7. Chat with and encourage other runners. Not everyone is up for this, but during Reach the Beach, I found that most people were since we had so much time on the road and none of us had headphones covering our ears.
8. Plan my next vacation, with kids or without (not sure yet), that doesn't involve running or racing of any kind and where bagels and gatorade can not be purchased.
9. Write my next blog post. This one is a no-brainer.
10. Sit back, relax, breath, look, listen, take it all in and make the most of the moment.
And then, when you can listen to music....
Listen to this:
Wasted Away - Dum Dum Girls