"50% of running is half mental more than 90% of the time" - Charlie Engle, Ultrarunner
A little late this week with RWA, but computer difficulties have put a dent in the smoothness of my routine. Essentially, I couldn't connect to the Internet which was an integral part of delivering this piece of literary genius to you. I guess I could've delivered it to each of you door-to-door like the Pony Express and gotten in some real long runs this weekend. Well, if you're getting this, then obviously, things are honky-dory now.
Rules of the Road say don't do it...Most races say you'll be disqualified if caught doing it...but, the fact of the matter is that most days when I am running solo I run with my mp3 player. I know, I know, and I'll be the first to tell you that it is safer to be COMPLETELY aware of your surroundings when out sharing the road with cars or bikers or other runners. Running at 4:30 in the morning, believe me, I see the lights of cars long before I can hear them, but in the daytime, it's totally foolish to run on some highway tripping out to Mettalica and never hear that car bearing down on you, that biker yelling "on your left" as you drift to the left, or that other runner trying to do a time trial and doesn't want to waver one extra yard off a straight line. But, I must say, I've kind of gotten hooked to my primitive little player when I'm running alone, be it on some LONELY roads or even on the trail.
Never thought I would use one of these, but one day, my son passed along one of his old ones that had...get this...256 mb of memory. I was amazed - this thing the size of a Gu pack could hold maybe 50 songs. Who the heck would need that much memory in one of these? Prior to this, I would listen to my small radio. I would listen to music for a while, then switch to NPR or sports, or some other form of talking. But, I decided to give the mp3 player a shot and downloaded some favorite songs from CD's I had - goodness knows I wasn't going to spend money on itunes (whatever that was) for songs!
Well, that ancient relic (the mp3 player, not me) met it's demise in a drenching downpour during one long run and I was forced to buy another one - this time with 1GB of memory...FOUR TIMES AS MUCH!! I don't know that many songs! I don't think I've even HEARD that many songs, but it had a good price and that's the main thing when I'm in Best Buy and I'm trying to get out of there quick before some 18 year-old salesperson asks me what I'm looking for. "Well, I don't know, Sparky, because I haven't got the slightest idea how these new Walkmen work! Look, I have this much money and I want something VERY easy to use...Got it, young man?" And for Goodness sakes, please don't ask me what's on my "playlist". It borders from the hilarious to the embarrassing. I don't have polka, but how 'bout Barry Manilow...Gordon Lightfoot...John Denver...Celine Dion...Frank Sinatra...Celine Dion AND Frank Sinatra sing a duet...Patsy Cline...this list goes on and on like that. I even have a whole folder of just Japanese Taiko Drum music - fell in love with those giant drums after doing the Disney Marathon one year. Essentially, I have all kinds of music that is just the right musical motivation (or distraction) for me. No head-banging-kill-your-mother music...I have found that easy listening music is what my wandering mind needs on a long run. I don't need anything to help power me through a fast run because I just don't do those fast runs anymore. My runs are Mary Chapin Carpenter pace, not Megadeath pace. And yes, sorry to say, I do sing along!!
But, you know, I probably listen to music about only 20% of the time. Mostly I listen to podcasts when I run. I now even listen to podcasts in the car and hardly ever listen to the radio on my way to and from work. I have subscribed to a great list of podcasts on iTunes that automatically update new content. I listen to a couple of non-running pods like Car Talk (very funny), This American Life (interesting "60 Minutes" type stories), TED Talks (quick 10-15 minute talks by very smart people on a variety of topics), Football Weekly (no, not THAT football...this is an English podcast wrapping up the week's play in European Soccer), and The Moth (funny on-stage comic stand-up comedy). But, the majority of my favorites are endurance related. I get a chance to listen to great “articles” and interviews on a variety of running related topics. Some provide practical training and racing advice, some provide motivation, but mostly I enjoy the podcasts that are interview oriented. I've tried dozens of podcasts, but I don't have that much time to listen to all of them, so I've whittled them down to a few favorites. So, even though nobody has asked (well, except for a couple of people maybe) here are some good podcasts (totally in my opinion) that I listen to.
Remember, these are mostly long distance running oriented and in no particular order:
Endurance Planet (about 45-60 minutes long) – This site actually has several different podcasts and I generally listen to three: Ask the Ultrarunner, Ask the Doctor, and Sports Nutrition. They also have a "Multisport" cast that is mostly triathlon stuff.
The Competitors (about 45 minutes long) – Hosted by two long-time endurance athletes, They get interviews with top runners, triathletes and cyclists and have great insight into the sport. I don't think I've ever heard a bad interview on this site.
Low Country Ultras (30-45 minutes)- Just started listening. Done by 3 ultra guys in NC I believe. Focused on promoting the sport of Ultra Running on the East Coast by highlighting Ultra Races and some of the top runners East of the Mississippi.
Marathon Talk (75-90 minutes) - English podcast about, well, marathon talk
Talk Ultra (2:15- 2:40 long) - this podcast is WAY too long, expertly done by two well-known Ultrarunners. Comes out every 2 weeks or so, so you can split it up, or use it on one mighty long run.
Trail Runner Nation (45 minutes) and Ultrarunner podcast (45-60 minutes) are two of my top favorites. Both are highly entertaining because they don't believe in editing, love ultrarunning, love beer, and just have a good time with good guests.
So, there you have it. I bared my soul and admitted I'm plugged in when I go running (or driving, or flying, or...). So, next time you want to talk about some English ultra runner,soccer-playing, smart-guy, funny car mechanic, or talk about the best Barry Manilow songs, I'm ready for you!.
I may not hear you, but I will see you on the roads - AL
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