Running Unplugged. So many people have used this term to describe running without music or headphones. So I’m sure that whenever someone runs across this blog (which I’ll admit is not very often), their first thought is, “Hey, here’s some blog about a girl who doesn’t run with headphones. Now that’s original.”
Well, let me blow your mind.
It’s not true. I actually do run with headphones. At least as long as I can keep them in place. I listen to music. I listen to NPR news. (Really! I’m addicted to Iowa Public Radio.)
I even run with my (gasp!) iPhone.
But I swear I don’t text and run. Or email and run. Or Facebook and run. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that the phone gives me that little security blanket of knowledge that I could call someone in an emergency, I probably wouldn’t take it.
You see, for me, Running Unplugged is about getting away. Disconnecting myself from email, from Facebook, from Twitter. From work. From my kids. From the constant noise of the TV (I’m the only one in the house who prefers the big black box to be off.)
Running is my time to be alone with my thoughts. To just be me. To be off the grid, out of reach, if only for a while. Even with music or the radio, it’s like a meditation for me.
I’ve actually never raced a half marathon with headphones. I’ve had them with me, but always end up with them off, tucked into my sports bra. I like being with the other runners. I like having conversations with whoever is running next to me. And I love cheering on the runners around me and thanking the spectators. It keeps me going much more than a thumping bass beat ever would. And even on my training runs, the music is just the background. Sure, sometimes a mile will disappear while I’m listening to a song I really love, or a fascinating news story on Weekend Edition, but in the end, it doesn’t seem all that important.
What’s important to me is having that time alone to decompress. Without a child hanging on my legs, or the looming count of unread emails from work, I can just be me. And there aren’t a lot of times I can really do that.
(warning: electrical engineering reference)
Running allows me to reset my circuits so that I can be a better mom, better wife, and better person.
Sometimes you’ve got to unplug to reset.