Sep 21, 2008

When you tune in, what are you tuning out?

I like to run with my iPod. I'll admit that. I don't do it to keep me motivated, I do it so I can catch up on things that I have missed through out the week.

I listen to a lot of podcasts from sports and fitness to money management and entertainment. I listen to everything from Pheddipidations (a running podcast) to Fresh Air, an NPR podcast.   I have Miss Money, Vanguard's Investing Advice, and Car Talk. I listen to a lot of random things, but I enjoy it because I learn.

On today's run, I was 20 minutes and 20 seconds into the latest Pedippidations when it happened. My iPod froze. The screen was stuck at 20:20. No sound came out. IU could not pause, fast forward, rewind, or even go back to the menu. I could not reset it even. It was defunct. Dead. An expensive paperweight. And I, I was at mile 2.

So I stopped running and started shaking it. I jostled it. I tapped it. Then I realized that it is an iPod not an old mechanical toy. The laws of jostling and tapping do not apply here. This is the iPod generation - things just stop.

I decide that since Mike is behind me a quarter mile or so, and since he is doing 4 miles, not 10+ that I would run back to him, hand him my iPod and he can take it back to the car with him so I did not have to carry it another 10+ miles.

I run back, hand him the iPod, run/walk with him until he turns around then I head back out to finish my run without any auditory entertainment.


What the heck am I going to do? Since I was running solo, I liked having my little iPod on for company. When I run with people I run with a strict no iPod rule. We talk, chat, laugh, or just listen to each other breathe. But running alone... hmmph.

This ended up being a joy in itself. I forget that when you put those earphones on, you tune in the music but you also tune out the world. And had I had those earphones in and my podcasts going I never would have caught the glimpses into other peoples worlds that I was blessed with today.

First there were these two women walking, maybe early 20's if that. One in front of the other. The first one was heavy set but not remarkably unfit. The friend behind was taller and a little les heavy, but neither was really what I was call obese. Heh - This coming from a woman who at a size 10 standing 5'8" tall is classified as obese herself. The friend behind was trying to talk her out of Bariatric surgery. This girl was MAYBE 22 and she is considering going under the knife to help her lose weight. Hearing that little bit of the conversation reminded me that I was out here for a few purposes and not all of them are training related. I am running to get stronger and faster, but I also run to get my weight in check and keep it there. I run to burn calories. I run to meditate. I run for health - both physical and mental. I am grateful that I am able to run. I have two operational legs. I should use them. So I do. And I enjoy it.

As I was around mile 4 or so, I saw a gentleman stop and talk to a woman walking her golden retriever. He was telling her how he just last week had to put his dog down. He was getting emotional - but I could see his face light up as he talked about the fun times he had with his dog, and as I passed he was recounting some of her goofier but lovable traits. I smiled as I passed. Being out here so soon after loosing his beloved dog - and already he was able to keep her memory alive by sharing his life with her with a fellow dog lover. Now that is pretty cool.

I keep on trucking, and around mile 8 or so these two cyclists come up from behind me and all I catch are two words. Richard. Simmons. I have no clue what on earth that was about - but I laughed.

At mile 9 there was the pair of older ladies walking and talking. One was sharing how she was worried about her daughter as apparently she had just been dumped by her long term boyfriend, and she feared that her daughter would never find the one. When the other woman asked how old her daughter was... I laughed out loud at the response. She was 20. Really?

Individually none of these things really matter to me in that they are all just snippets and glimpses into other people's worlds. Other people's worries, joys, expectations. But collectively they made me think. Life is different for everyone, and what is right for me, may not be right for you. The thing that I worry about on a day to day basis may never even cross your mind once in your lifetime. The way I see the world may be completely the opposite of how you see it, and we both are right.

If I had my iPod functioning today - I would have completely missed this reminder. Some days it is good to just be an observer.  


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