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Music to my ears

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I’ve been running for some time without music. This wasn’t always the case. Every run (apart from M&MRC runs with Maria) I’d be plugged in to my iPod. I even went as far as to have music and that woman from Nike+ talking to me during marathon training. But then my Nike+ died after the full 26.2 miles and I think the loss might have affected my iPod. It started out on its own long, drawn out death as well.

That was 4 years ago. I tried using my iPod again during training for Cruce de los Andes last year, but then I figured that I wasn’t going to be plugged in while slogging it up a volcano with Maria and running in a very cold lake (which isn’t actually possible to do). It also turned out that my iPod was down to lasting about 34 minutes. It had become a 4-mile iPod and my runs were getting longer than that. It was shelved.

It has still moved everywhere with me and during this recent running hiatus while my heel heals (doctor’s appointment pending), it’s made another appearance. Instead of running, I’ve been walking; still taking advantage of the ups and downs this city has to offer, along with its shady and quiet parks. What happiness it is to stride out listening to those old tunes again.

On Monday’s walk, it got me thinking. Each song on my iPod (367 in total) has been there since 2006 when I moved to Buenos Aires. All those runs and training I did with the same voices, tunes, messages. And even now, I can hear a song from my iPod and know exactly where I was running when I listened to it on a run in Buenos Aires: moments in all those miles I did back in Argentina. I’m not joking.

Nelly and Kelly Rowland, Dilema: Running past the yacht club in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires.

Counting Crows, American Girls: Running into the Reserva Ecológica, Buenos Aires.

Shakira, Illegal: Running towards Avenida 9 de Julio along Calle Arenales, Buenos Aires.

Michael Jackson, Billy Jean: Crossing the bridge near the Floating Casino, Buenos Aires.

The Nike Human Race 2008

The Nike Human Race 2008

They say that smell is a powerful sense. One whiff can take us back decades. As my iPod’s power wanes to just four songs before going silent, I’m grateful that in even those 15 minutes, whatever comes on takes me back to a place where I did some of my favourite runs.

And where M&MRC was born.

Running boosts when you need them

So, Maria and I are both back into our groove and I just wanted to share three things which have boosted my running this week. They are simple things which came along and made running moments better. What have been yours?

ORANGE SURPRISES

My friend Jenny who lives in Spain, also runs and has followed our Cruce adventure with mountain lover envy sent me a wonderful package this week and inside was this delightful surprise for my feet.

I’ve already written about how wearing pro gear instead of pyjamas and someone else’s hand-me-downs makes you feel better when you’re out there. But there is nothing better than the feeling of running in something groovy that your friend saw and thought of you. And something orange. But that goes without saying.

SIMPLE SUNSHINE

We have officially turned the corner. Spring is here and we’re on British summer time: warmer and longer days full of garden time and barbecues. Martín my boyfriend said to me this week that when the sun comes out after winter, everyone seems to wake up and feel happier. It’s true.

And as the sun gets weaker in Maria’s part of the woods, so it gets stronger here in London (though we’re never reaching a humid Buenos Aires 40 degrees, mind!) and on a quiet morning with the sun already at the tops of the trees, there’s nothing better than hitting the pavements and parks, as I did yesterday.

RUN TO THE BEAT

I’ve lost my running music. OK, what I mean is I no longer run with it. My iPod is old and temperamental. It no longer likes to be swaddled next to my upper arm and bounce along with me, drowning out cars, lorries and (oops) bike horns. So, it’s just me and my thoughts alone and the sounds of the cars, birds and people. Yesterday I headed into a little wood to do some loops and squirrels were scuttling about as robins and larks sang their Saturday morning songs. Good tunes.

However, later, when was I was back on the road heading up a hill (it’s post Cruce so please read slope) a car pulled alongside me at a junction. SHA LA LA LA LA LA LA! Ah, the familiar beat of my song supreme Mr Jones. I don’t really miss my music; well, maybe the randomness of it which used to make me laugh as I was running when Mozart would suddenly come on. But at that moment, as I needed a push to bound me up the hill (slope), it was a fabulous kick.

Maybe I need to learn to run and sing at the same time; so I can still hear the birds and bike horns, but I also get my musical boost.

What gives you a boost when you’re out running? Share your thoughts with us.