embracing the beat: running with music

The other day it was a gorgeous day. Kiddo and I spent a lot of time walking around the neighborhood with a friend and her daughter. Because it was such a great day out, I let napping go a bit. Unfortunately that makes for a crabby baby.

Despite Kiddo’s apparent crabbiness, Paul watched him while I took off on a run (that’s why he’s such a good husband). Lately, I’ve been running without a plan; just running for the sake of running. I love being outside and alone (even for 20 minutes), so recently, I haven’t cared about how far I’ve been going. This particular day wasn’t much different.

However, what made this run stand out from other runs was the first song on my playlist. It was Lady Gaga’s “Teeth” (In true Gaga fashion, the video is a bit weird, sorry about that). For some reason my iPhone was turned up to an ungodly high level, but when this particular song started playing I quit caring. If you listen to the song you’ll understand when I say the song has a very clear and distinct beat. Immediately, I was ready to run hard.

Listening to music while running is a highly debatable topic. Some people swear by it, others wouldn’t be caught dead wearing headphones on a run. I, personally, am torn. I find music encouraging and motivational. It can be dangerous (not only for your ears, but you can’t hear your surroundings), and it can actually hinder your running.

Marburg, Germany, where I lived for a semester during my Junior year.

That was actually my problem when I first tried running. I became serious about running in the summer of 2008. I had just come back from studying abroad in Germany and needed to shed a few pounds (I had been on a strict diet of Auflauf, Kirschwein, and Kinderschokolade). However, whenever I went running, I would come home completely worn out. I felt like I had been hit by a car. I couldn’t understand why, because every runner I had ever talked to never mentioned feeling so awful. Tired? Yes, but not this bad.

I soon discovered that I was working myself too hard. I had actually tried to start running in 2006, but I was experiencing the same feelings (like I had just been mugged and left for dead) and back then I had been quick to throw in the towel. I figured out that listening to music while running was actually hindering my experience.

When I started running, making it to this bridge and back home (about a mile or so) was my goal.

Rather than giving up for the second time, I decided to try running sans music. I left Gaga at home and really focused on running well. I realized that I wasn’t listening to my body enough because I couldn’t hear myself. I started focusing on breathing better and after some time I was able to add music back into my runs.

Now, I love listening to music while running and you will rarely find me without my iPhone. And there are days when I embrace the beat of each song. That is exactly what happened the other day. As soon as I heard “Teeth” I knew I was in for a hard run. The next song was by Nine Inch Nails, then two by Timberland, followed by Gorillas. Each song had a strong beat that I tried to match with each stride I took.

I think I ran a little over 2.5 miles in 27 minutes that day. I wasn’t really concerned about how far I went, or even how long it took, I just wanted allow the music to push me harder. It was probably one of my most favorite running experiences yet.

What’s your opinion on running with music? Do you embrace the beat, or is it better for you to run without the distraction?

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scandalizing your grandma

This past week we were in Arizona visiting Paul’s family. His grandma has a condo, so we flew down and met up with his parents and aunt and uncle there. It was really nice to see everyone because they live pretty far away and most of them hadn’t met Kiddo yet.

Overall, the trip was great; however, by the end of the trip I was ready to get back to my normal schedule (i.e. Kiddo must sleep in his own room). I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal to go back to sharing a room with him, but by the end of the trip I was starting to feel like I needed a vacation to recover from my vacation. It also didn’t help that he seemed to be teething (although, we have yet to see evidence of that). Oh, well…such is life with kids I guess.

Anywho…we spent the week catching up with family and doing a few excursions around town. I also got 3 runs in, which were awesome! The weather was perfect for running; mid 60s and sunny most days. The first day I ran the main loop of the condo park, which ended up being 3 miles. I decided to do the same route on my second run and 2 miles on my third day. I was pretty happy with that. On vacations in the past I would have skipped running altogether, but now it seems like that’s one of the best parts of vacation. It’s the only time I’m completely alone. Such is life with kids :)

The funny thing about running in the condo park were the reactions I received. I’m used to getting friendly nods of encouragement from other runners and walkers around my neighborhood. The condo park is more of a retirement community (there’s a minimum age requirement to live there), so my running was a bit of a strange event for most of the people there.

Being that I’m younger than all of the residents there by at least half the average age, I received a few stares as I ran along. What I found hilarious was the complete opposite reactions I received from the men vs. the women there. The men were very friendly (nodding and waving as I ran past), while the women would stick their noses up in the air and turn away from me, acting as if they had no idea I was there (but being really obvious about it). The only time I got a different reaction from men was when they were with their wives. Obviously, they couldn’t be checking out the “hot dish” running by with their wives around.

Not that I would say I’m anywhere near Gisele B√ľndchen level of attractiveness, I have been known to turn a head here or there (sorry to toot my own horn). That was a while ago, though, so it was nice to have a reminder…even if it was from someone who could be friends with my grandpa. I could be wrong, but I think that’s what happens when you have a baby – you’re willing to take whatever compliment from whoever is willing to give it :)

How about you? Have you ever received any strange reactions while running?

holiday running

I hope everyone has been having a great holiday season! I managed to get two runs in this week. We’re visiting family, so I had extra people to keep an eye on Kiddo while I went for a run. Normally I like to plan out my route before I leave the house, but I was actually looking forward to running without having a plan. Both runs only ended up being about 2 miles long, but they were enjoyable. It wasn’t really cold enough for it, but I got new running clothes, so I thought I’d try them out.

Kiddo got to experience his first real snow before we left home. He was an excellent traveler and slept most of the 4 hour ride. I sat in the back seat with him and I think that helped. We also brought the cat along with us, so we pretty much exploded into my parents house when we got there.

Paul and I actually had a chance to go out alone while my parents and sisters watched Kiddo. After getting lost downtown, we finally found an amazing Indian restaurant. Paul received a new camera lens for Christmas and wanted to take some pictures at night, so we walked around an area that I knew would be perfect. Anybody know where we went?

All in all, I’d say it was a pretty good ending to a pretty good year!