I love music. Listening, playing and even studying music. I’m the guy at the concert with the scrunched up face, air playing every instrument on stage, sometimes all at once. My wife can’t stop looking at me instead of the band. Music is a big part of who I am. I get emotional from music, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
I also love to exercise to music. In the old days, when I was an avid weight-lifter (body-builder, actually) I would go to the gym with my bright yellow Sony Walkman cassette player, armed with my special lifting mix tapes (Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots). I couldn’t lift without it. Get to the gym and the batteries were dead? I headed home. No music? No training! I couldn’t deal with the yapping in my ear, the distractions of people who were there to do things other than train. And, the music made me work harder. It psyched me up. Pushing heavy things around takes motivation, and the music provided it.
So fast forward to recent times. Now I train armed with my tiny iPod and endless supply of music from my MP3 collection. I can have my music any time I want. Running, biking (only one ear if outside of course) and yes, swimming (see my last post) all are supported by tunes. Empire Marathon? I did my leg of the relay with Eminem, Janet Jackson, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jay-Z. It helps! And I know it. So I bring music with me when I train or race. EXCEPT AT IRONMAN! That’s right folks: Ironman does not allow music. At all. Not even on the run. The longest, hardest day of my life, and I’ll have to do the whole thing with only my own thoughts to keep me company. Scary, right? So the big question is: has anyone actually broken the rules and brought music to an Ironman? And if so, are they horrible people? Now, I’ve read hours of discussions about this, and there are clearly two lines of thought if we assume we are only talking about the run, and there are no safety issues: 1) Cheating is cheating. If you are not supposed to do it, then you should not. The rules are there for a reason. It is an unfair advantage for the person with music. OR 2) For us 14-hour-plus age groupers, who cares? Music will not add glycogen or muscle mass or any other physical thing that will help. 140.6 is 140.6 no matter what you are listening to. Music is not like not EPO for cyrin’ out loud!
Theoretically, a small iPod could be tucked up in a run hat with a single earpiece running to one side. It could be used to make that run just a little more enjoyable and fun. For a person like me, while it would not make me go any faster, it sure would make the day more enjoyable! So will I do it? No. Why not? Well, because you can’t. Its against the rules. And at the end of the day, the Ironman medal, which I will get, and Mike Reilly’s famous line, which I will hear, will not mean what it should if the rules were not followed.