Let me share what I've learned about ipods and exercise.
For anybody who’s younger than forty, you might not yet fully appreciate the value of these amazing little gizmos when you’re out on a run. You may still think ipods are for entertainment, or focus, or for motivation. You might actually spend time creating playlists and organizing songs in new ways to stay intellectually stimulated while you’re running. Well, just wait...things will change soon enough.
With age comes some new challenges. There will be a day when you’ll be out on a run, and something like a knee will fire off a message to your brain saying something about pain: “Dear brain, Please tell the motivation center that this guy's not as young as he used to be. I’m sending this pain message to tell you that this could be serious, and he’d better stop running.”
Then your brain sends out an APB to all the body parts at once: “Hey, various body parts: we’re looking for pain in any joint, muscle, bone, tissue, fiber, or basically anything else that would help convince this numbskull to stop running.”
A split second later, the ankles chime in....”you know, we weren’t going to say anything, but now that you mention it, we’re wondering if we might be on the verge of feeling something, too. Better safe than sorry.”
Then all at once, every other body part feels something they think they need to report to the pain center. “We’re not as young as we used to be, you know.” It’s like a whole choir of whiny voices trying to sing, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore.” Waaa.
And that’s precisely the moment your ipod becomes your new best friend. You can reach for the volume control and turn it up in your headphones ever so slightly, and that ipod will drown out all of your body’s pitiful pleas for a rest. My ipod playlists don’t change very often, but man, there are times when that volume control gets a good workout.
It’s not like I’m breaking the sound barrier out there when I run; it’s just a wee bit faster than jogging, I suppose. When I was at my heaviest weight and feeling the worst I wasn’t doing anything active. Low energy, back pain, joint pain...man, that was a bad day every day. I could easily find myself back there again if I don’t stay committed to some kind of exercise routine. I’ve learned that by running or riding regularly, I don’t have the low points in the middle of the day, and my joints don’t complain as much. Except of course during exercise.
Even then, these little bouts with discomfort during exercise don’t last very long. When they send those messages to the pain receptors in my brain, I’ve figured out that I can override them by focusing on a lyric or harmony that’s coming from a song I’ve got on my ipod. The problem usually resolves itself, and that momentary pain is gone.
Yesterday’s run in the rain was one of those days when I had to work through some of those owies in the first couple of miles. I kept running.
Then the ipod and I got the last laugh...at the very end of the run, the final tune that was playing: the “Hallelujah Chorus.”
Even my body had to admit, it felt pretty darn good at the end of the run.