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Breaking up's not that hard to do

It's over. This time for good.

It started out with such promise. We worked together, had the same goals, the same aspirations. But somewhere, somehow, something went wrong. Long periods of silence. We just couldn't communicate anymore.

And just like that – it ended. My latest affair with an exercise add-on.

I fried my personal digital music device – for the second time in less than six months. So I'm going back to going mostly solo. Enjoying my workouts the way they were intended to be enjoyed – without the intrusion of music.

No Bruce Springsteen belting out "Born to Run" as I try to work my way up a long, steep hill. No Pat Benatar hitting me with her best shot as I punish my lungs by taking the pace up a notch or four. And definitely no "Eye of the Tiger" as I try to survive the last couple hundred metres of a two-hour run.

Nope, it's back to the sounds of my feet hitting the street, my heart thumping in my chest and cabbies cursing at me in eight languages as I get in the way of their rolling pauses before they nip right on a red light.

Yes, there are two firmly entrenched camps in this run with or without music debate. And, I'll admit, I have waffled in the past.

But I've come to the conclusion that I'd much rather be in tune with my surroundings than tuning in to tunes. Why pollute a perfectly natural experience with the unnatural sounds of music? With music blasting in your head, you'll never hear cyclists taking time out from their sacred war against road-hogging cars to curse you as they try to run you out of the bike lane.

Oh, these personal digital music devices have their place – but they're not built for heavy exercise. At least that's what the service person told me when I brought my just-fried device in.

"That model," she whispered, looking carefully around the crowded store, "doesn't tolerate sweat very well. We've had a lot of complaints."

As a veritable sweat-making machine, I have to ask why sell such a device with an add-on that turns it into a talking pedometer? Went through three of those, too, in the same six-month period. Got really tired of the thing's friendly female voice telling me "workout complete" when I had barely covered a block or two.

The technician happily – and immediately - replaced my fried personal digital music device. It was still covered by the original warranty. But I won't be taking it out for runs anymore. Well, not just yet.

Perhaps we'll ease back into some kind of relationship. Test the waters with a couple of short walks or a ride on the subway. But no promises, OK?

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