Over at the Runner's Lounge, Amy has thrown out a running blog topic I have lots of opinions on - running with music.
I really like to run with music when I am by myself. I don't often get to listen to music as I am not really into what is on the radio (so I am perpetually tuned into NPR, except for when Diane Rehm is on - to quote a guy in my running group "Her voice scares my cats"). I also don't drive much so it isn't worth it to keep the ipod in the car. I also can't work with music on because I have a bad singing along habit. So really, running is one of the few times I get to sit back and enjoy my music. I am particularly a big fan of bluegrass, Ben Folds, and They Might Be Giants for running music. I also sing along when I run, which probably means I am not working hard enough, but it also means I am pretty weird to an outside observer (as anyone who sings along to earphones is).
*Rant begins here*
Sometimes I don't run with music though. Like when I run with other people. Or I do trail runs. And some races. Ah, races. This is where the controversy lies, no? The anti-earphone crowd makes me mad. I think they are elitist. I have never met a 12-minute miler who has dissed on the earphone wearing crowd. I have heard lines about not being a serious runner if you listen to music while you run because you don't think about your running while you run. Uh, how many people actually think about their running the whole time they run? Now I am sure there are some that think about every step they take, but most people use the time to clear their mind and think about stuff. I don't see how running with music is any different.
Now, I don't need to wear earphones when I run. I find for 5ks, it is indeed more distracting that helpful, since that is a short concerted all-out effort (where I actually am thinking about running most of the time). I have run distances up to half-marathons without earphones. I turned on my music at Mile 23 of my marathon. I would have survived without it if I needed to, but it was a nice little boost at the end.
I think arguments that people become less aware of their surroundings is BS. Maybe on an open course, the race directors don't want the liability. I can understand that. But on closed course races? Honestly, how many people do you run past in a race who are so in the zone that they are barely paying attention anyway (especially in a marathon where some people's brains stop even functioning - ahem, Kori)? In all the races I have run, someone wearing earphones has never inconvenienced me (in a manner that resulted from listening to music). This is a made up problem, IMHO. Why not let people run the way they enjoy running?
The Twin Cities Marathon (which I was supposed to run, but got injured) established a no earphone rule, which just made me mad. For one thing, that should be advertised on the registration page - it's one thing if you have that rule, but it should be known for those people who don't want to run a marathon without their earphones so they can pick a different race. Then they went through and eliminated race results for anyone who had a picture taken with earphones on. Seriously. I would never sign up for that race again, just because I don't want to support that mentality. This mentality is also exhibited through their rigid 6 hour time limit, despite the sweltering conditions. Last year I had friends finishing an hour off their expected pace because of the heat - Kori and I passed lots of people who weren't going to make it and I imagine many of them were properly trained to come in well under six hours. Now I understand they have to open the streets, but they could keep the clock going at the finish line given the conditions of the day. I contrast this with the Rock and Roll Phoenix setup where inclusiveness was the name of the game.
Well, that's enough ranting for me for the day! Counter-rants are welcome - I'd actually like to hear a story of someone whose race was ruined because of someone else with earphones.
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