What a Difference an iPod Makes

I used to run all my runs with the iPod. I love my music; I can listen to music 24/7. But since Space Coast (my old marathon) was not going to allow headphones, I have been doing 2-3 runs without iPod per week. Today was a day that was without. I've done 16-20 milers without iPods.

I started at 6:15am to beat the sun. Temps were great: 70F with 68% humidity. However, while I was running (well, shuffling at an almost walking pace) the humidity felt so much higher. My ankle, which you remember has been bothering me, was hurting through mile 6. I started considering just quitting at Mile 8 (the loop that would take me home) and rest the ankle, but by Mile 7 I said NO! I was so slow, I was behind pace by almost 5 minutes by then.

I got home, refilled the water bottle, took my second Crank gel (these things are great) and headed out. Oh, and I picked up my iPod. I needed all the help I could get.

As soon as I started the music, I got a second wind. I immediately ran on pace Mile 9. And the next mile, and the next, etc. I went back to my old self (Ms. Negative Splits) and every mile was faster than the other. By Mile 15, I was running sub-11mm and I was considering running an extra mile today. At Mile 16 I decided not to push it; the ankle had stopped hurting, but the other leg's piriformis had started hurting at the start of Mile 16 (most likely for compensating for the left ankle) and there was some pains shooting down my leg (usual with these). So, I stopped, happy, full of energy, and best of all, I ran so fast I made the 5 minutes and ran the whole run on pace (average).

Here are the splits and some thoughts on them:
Mile 1 - 13:26 (slow but the ankle was tight, best to finish the distance than time with this issue)
Mile 2 - 12:42 (OK, faster but feeling like crap)
Mile 3 - 12:49 (I really hope I'm not getting sick; I'm so tired)
Mile 4 - 12:41 (stopped to have a gel and to check the ankle; it hurt a tad but otherwise OK)
Mile 5 - 12:28 (OK, picking up the pace again. At the pace I'm going I should be on pace by Mile 30, LOL)
Mile 6 - 12:20 (ITB is flaring up because of the ankle; maybe I should just stop at 8 and recover)
Mile 7 - 12:10 (No quitting until you get home and assess the foot and see how you feel)
Mile 8 - 12:10 (Got home, had the second gel and decided to risk it and leave. But I need the iPod)
Mile 9 - 11:42 (See? iPod's helping. Ankle stops hurting)
Mile 10 - 11:41 (Not a huge improvement but I feel strong still)
Mile 11 - 11:25 (Now that's what I'm talking about)
Mile 12 - 11:14 (The sun starts to bother me but the temps are so good and chilly it's worth the effort; stop to take third Crank gel and to check the ankle)
Mile 13 - 11:09 (I feel strong, maybe I should do an extra mile)
Mile 14 - 11:00 (I have to stop at the house because I needed to use the bathroom, darn it. Drop the water bottle and take iPod only)
Mile 15 - 10:49 (I think a 17th mile is possible; I still feel strong)
Mile 16 - 10:48 (Piriformis starts hurting; I'm going to stop while I'm winning)

Not only did I finish on pace but I broke my last 16 miler's PR by almost 15 minutes. What a difference an iPod makes!

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