When it comes to races, there are 2 types of runners... those who run with ipods and those who run without.
The Flying Pig is really a no ipod race, It's in the rules that you aren't supposed to run with one. (Yup, I know, I read that kind of stuff.) When I trained and ran for the 1/2 the whole thought of no ipod was not a big deal. I loved the crowds, the bands, the other runners talking, my friends and family cheering me on... the whole thing was amazing, kept me occupied and gave me a pretty awesome runner's high for close to the whole race. I couldn't stop smiling. In my training, the longest runs were around 8 and 10 miles, I ran them in the park and either had a friend with me or was really happy running through nature.
This year the full was a completely different experience. Training was hard, 8 miles quickly became my short run instead of long and getting through 14,16 and 20 mile runs took a combo of Lady Gaga and Black Eyed Peas. I quickly learned that after an hour, its usually your mind you are battling with (boredom) instead of your body and music can really help you get through it. My outlook really changed on the whole ipod issue. I wanted and needed the music and I knew that once I hit 15 miles.
I started a tug and pull... ipod or no? I felt guilty almost at the thought of running the race and not experiencing the race. It is what makes the race so special and what I love about it. It is why I endure months and months of hard training. It's the crowds, cheers, the medals and the tears of joy (or pain but hopefully the joy). I wanted both, so finally I decided that I was an in-betweener. I splurged on a snazzy ipod shuffle in pink (one that is small and clips to your shirt... amazing for runners), added my 5 hour Marathon playlist I had perfected to it and ran the race with one ear bud in and the other tucked into my sports bra. I was able to concentrate on the crowds when they were thick and in the final miles when I was fading, shuffling instead of running, cold from being soaked and so hungry all i could think of was cheeseburgers Lady Gaga came to my rescue and cheered me through a few miles herself.
I defintely can see both sides of the argument and while I love the feeling of running free from electronics and everyday "must haves" they are definitely a perk that can be used to get over the hills into the last stretch of the race. No matter what type of runner you are, make sure next time you run to take it all in wherever you are. (Well, unless you are running on the dreadmill...)