Run To Me Part 1

When, earlier this year, Posie started training for her first Marathon – which she will be running on Sunday in New York City – she did so with a portable CD player as her companion. Nothing wrong with that: I trained the same way for my first three Marathons, and I well remember setting out on four-hour runs with a couple of extra-long mix CDs tucked into the portable player’s pouch to save me from musical monotony.

But then I got an iPod, and my life changed overnight. Now I could esasily take music along with me not just when running, but skiing and biking too. And my choice was almost limitless. I could select from a full week’s worth – over 100 hours – of music. I could hit the ‘shuffle’ button and allow myself to be surprised. I could play an album I was suddenly in the mood for. Or, of course, I could listen to a mix of my own pre-sequencing.

…Which is what Posie had been doing. Absent an iPod but having come to grips with iTunes, she’d made a mix of her favorite running tracks (pun intended), burned it onto CD, and taken it out with her to spur her along. Every time. Whether it was too much work to burn and carry along another CD or she just couldn’t imagine a better set of tunes, I wasn’t sure. Either way, it was all that she ran to.

And so, at the end of May, I bought her an iPod for her birthday. A video iPod, no less, way lighter, cooler and flashier than my suddenly bulky and old-fashioned iPod. And her life, too, I assumed, would change overnight.

But it didn’t. Not at first. I sneaked a look at her iPod after a few weeks and saw that she had copied over her Running Mix from iTunes. And not much else. She was running with a lighter, more portable player that was less likely to suddenly run out of batteries than mine on a long run, but for all the variety of music, she may as well have still been running with a CD player.

Between us, we fixed that. We sat down one day, pulled out dozens of CDs (most of them by Underworld), ripped the tracks onto iTunes and deposited them onto her iPOd; we hooked that iPod up to my laptop and copied over hundreds more songs from my extensive iTunes Library; then we pulled out all the CDs I’ve filled with MP3s over the years and deposited yet more music on there. Finally, we dropped in some Podcasts full of new (and occasionally mixed) music. As her long runs increased over the summer – from two hours to three to four – she reported back on the fun of running to an almost limitless supply of music. The iPod is indeed, a life-changing tool.

Ultimately, however, all the music on her iPod was not enough to get Posie through her longest marathon training run. Four weeks ago, she set out to run 22 miles; at her pace, that meant six hours constant perambulation.

She was out on a flat rail-to-trail track 30 miles north of where we live, an ideal Marathon training ground for flatness, clement conditions, decent trail and lack of traffic – but at times monotonous beyond belief. And so I was not surprised to hear that, around four hours in, she grew totally bored of the music on the iPod. Nothing she was listening to excited her. Spinning the click wheel for fresh choices, it was then that she remembered she owned a Video iPod.

So she had a look at the Video Playlist and saw that I’d dumped on to her iPod the entire first episode of Lost, Series 2. I’d bought it from iTunes for $1.99 a year ago and, perhaps because of the poor quality when blown up to full screen size on my laptop, never got round to watching it. On the video iPod though, home movies and TV shows alike are presented with the kind of crystalline quality that once seemed only the domain of science fiction.

Watching a TV show while running on a gymnasium treadmill is one thing. Watching a TV show while running on a trail is another. But she did it. Posie returned home to say how much she’d enjoyed watching Lost and asking when we order the whole series. And so, if you’re out in New York City this weekend cheering on the marathoners and one of them blithely jogs past you, eyes affixed on her iPod, you’ll know: That’s my girl.

I wish I had a picture of Posie running while watching a TV show on her iPod. But of course, if she’d had company, she wouldn’t have needed the visual stimulation. I did, however, just receive this picture of myself nearing the end of the Escarpment Trail Run this past July. If you look closely you’ll see a figure in the background: that’s the volunteer strategically placed so we don’t run off the edge of the cliff. My raised arms were meant to signify some form of impending victory: they don’t look much like it from the photographer’s perspective.

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2 Comment(s)

  1. Posie

    3 November, 2006 at 7:39 am

    Ha ha, won’t be watching tv during the marathon.

  2. John Matthews

    3 November, 2006 at 8:02 am

    I know it’s only 45 minutes long and therefore obviously not designed for you marathon runners, but have you listened to the LCD Soundsystem Nike mix that James Murphy has put together for i-tunes whilst running?


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