IPod Nano 4G black crop
My humble running ipod is approaching its tenth anniversary. Before I had it for musical accompaniment, I made do with whatever songs I could huff and puff to*, invariably resorting to music from films from a misspent youth.

I was on an away-mission recently and I forgot to pack it for my travels. I still went for a run, and I noticed how loud my breathing was. It was loud enough that random citizens ahead of me would turn suddenly: they would visibly connect my appearance with whatever alarming noise they’d heard behind them, and relax. “It feels worse than it sounds,” I joked to one shell suit as I wheezed past. “I’m too tired to make trouble,” I gasped to an elderly couple holding onto each other.

When I write, I like to have some music playing. It’s a conduit away from the distractions of RealLife™, or a way of staying in the mood of the piece I’m working on. Over the years, I’ve pooh-poohed The Lovely Wife‘s occasional remarks about noises coming from the writing cave. But now that I think about it, it’s possible the music I’ve been cranking up might also have been a way to drown out my own noises of creation.

Not unlike how the ipod drowns out my wheezing when I’m out there trying to burn calories. It may be a little unnerving for those around me, whether at home or on the running trail, but it works for me, and I need all the help I can get.

* Yes: I’d be that wheezing bedraggled runner whose choked yet continuous breathless mumbling was supposed to be singing rather than the running commentary of a mental health system consumer.


In Ear

A hand-me-down ipod nano has been a welcome running companion for the last couple of years. The stock bud earphones that came with it have taken a bit of a beating what with sweat and whatever inclement weather, and the sound was becoming increasingly crackly and intermittently mono. So I bought some reasonably priced but appropriately sporting earphones –

Panasonic Sports Earphones

– that would a) be somewhat more resistant to its operating environment/s and b) not joggle out of my ears.

My first discovery about in-ear phones – personal information alert – was that my left and right ear canals require different sized silicone sleeves. My second discovery was the initially disconcerting amount of external sound that they block out.

My journey of discovery didn’t stop there. The following are a few other things I’ve observed with the new ‘phones on my runs:

  1.  the percussion I’m hearing for the very first time on a track might actually be my own laboured breathing through the ‘phones;

  2.  the bass line that’s a little out of sync with a song is probably my heart hammering away; and

  3.  my apologies to startled and bemused pedestrians and runners on my loop – I sometimes forget the effectiveness of the silicone sleeves and am wheeze-singing along to Whitney‘s Queen of the Night rather than lip-syncing.