As much as I enjoy listening to audio books on my long runs, I had to give up the practice. Running to narration is so pleasant, it’s like you’re not doing any work at all. Sort of. Actors with lovely voices tell me stories and I let my brain fade into worlds created by others, all the while shuffling along, unthinking.
I listened to The People of the Book and most of The Women before I had to surrender the voices. There’s no lack of fantastic reading material accessible from the library in all kinds of fun new mobile formats. I figured I was multi-tasking, even on my long runs. Sadly, the dulcet tones and plot lines slowed me down. They made my brain work too hard at following the story rather than the path. Initially I started using audio books because I was tired of my music and too lazy to find some new stuff. I would have to go back to music if I wanted to keep up the pace and focus on the whole physical part of running.
A simple visit to iTunes, search “podrunner” and I was back in action with some new tunes that didn’t make me crazy to hear on loop. Yet. I needed a change to keep me going. I found that I was both a little faster and having a little more fun out on the trails.
Change can be scary, and it can have larger implications. Music over audio books on a run is hardly a life altering decision. Switching meds as a treatment to depression is a totally different thing. I called my doctor’s office in tears, asking how long until I noticed the affects. Several calls back and forth and the dosage was changed, the timeline explained. All is on the upswing.
I could have waited it out, straddling the swamp, one foot on solid ground, one foot slipping deeper and faster. I could have continued to pretend I was fine. Actually, the fault lines in that little charade were as wide and deep—and obvious— as the Grand Canyon. I was not fine. I was falling. Fast.
As hard as it is to admit life is not that promised patch of roses, sinking into the void is much harder, much darker and a whole lot more terrifying. If I encourage others to get help—and I do—then I have to take my own advice. Look: it is easy, relatively, to find a solution, meds or no meds. Trained professionals are standing by, just waiting to help.
Audiobooks are great, but not on my long runs. I had to change it. My meds had been great; when they weren’t, something had to give. I don’t know the physiology or the chemistry. I just know that when something isn’t working, we do what it takes to change it, scaredypants or not.