Friday, July 6, 2007

So what if I can't hear the helicopters?

Have you seen this?

I don't know about you, but my MP3 player is a standard part of my gear when I run. Strapping it on my arm is part of my pre-run ritual. First I throw on the shorts and tank top, then I pull my hair into a ponytail. Next I put on my socks and lace up the running shoes. Slather a bit of sunscreen on my face (I skip the rest of my body) and strap on my MP3 player before grabbing my sunglasses and heading out the door.

Leaving the MP3 player at home just isn't an option.

I like running with music. It keeps my mind occupied and as a result the minutes tick by faster and the miles fly by. I've been left in silence a few times. Mostly when my batteries decide to die or, heaven forbid, I've been stupid and left my MP3 player at home, leaving me to log the miles on the treadmill to nowhere with no entertainment whatsoever.

Silence? Yeah it's not fun.

But apparently some of those Running Bigwigs feel the need to tell us what we can do. And they think MP3 players are evil and should be banned.

"Race directors cite safety as the overriding concern. Runners wearing headphones are less likely to respond to directions from course marshals. They can't hear faster runners approaching from behind or hear warnings about vehicles or potholes."

I'm glad you're trying to look out for my safety, but honestly. If there's a faster runner behind me? It's probably because they were late getting to the starting line. And the course? I'm guessing it's probably wide enough for two folks to run side by side and I like to think I run in a straight line. The potholes and vehicles? Well, I'm pretty used to vehicles. The street by my apartment is a state highway with no sidewalks. The cars try to kill me each and every time I run, but they haven't succeeded yet. Might have something to do with the fact that although I crank the volume on my tunes, it still allows me to hear the rumble of an approaching car.

And honestly, if runners at the Atlanta event can't hear the helicopters over their music, I think they have a bigger problem than a pair of headphones.

Since they're apparently confiscating headphones at the Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minn., I guess I'll never be running in that event. Because when I run, I need tunes. And tunes come from my MP3 player.

Right now, the fine folks at the Fox Cities Marathon just advise against it. Well, advise all you want, but come Sept. 23, you can bet I'll be at the starting line, with my headphones in tow.