By Patrick Polomsky
“So what’s your pump-up song?” It’s a question I often receive from people referring to the song that I listen to when I’m in need of an additional push during a workout. There’s usually a surprised look on their face when I respond that I do not listen to music when I bike or run (or swim for that matter). Although, for the record, I previously started my workouts listening to R Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.” After finding out I don’t listen to music, the next question undoubtedly is
“what do you think about when you’re out there for that long?”
At first it, was a very difficult transition to exercise without music. Previously, I was in a hurry completing a mental checklist before heading out on a run – do I have my phone, wallet, keys, and gym bag. I worried about whether to hold my iPhone or keep it in my pocket to ensure my headphones wouldn’t get tangled or come loose.
Now I’m more at ease knowing all I need is my watch to keep track of time. I will admit that something felt “off” when I wasn’t hearing R Kelly’s voice to set my pace on a run, but I soon found I was really enjoying the silence. I started off focusing on my breathing or doing the math in my head as to how much farther I had to go. However, when people would ask what I think about for 3-4 hours, I really couldn’t pinpoint it. A three-hour bike ride is 12.5% of my day and I couldn’t even recall what I was thinking about.
Putting the obvious physical workout aside, I was sort of wasting a good mental opportunity.
I began to see this time as a great opportunity for self-reflection. In the past, I would get my daily prayer in at night before going to bed, but often I was too exhausted from the day and it became difficult to complete. I’ve also found that it’s easy for me to get wrapped up in the busyness of life. I have my phone attached at the hip with access to email, texts, and news alerts.
It’s a great feeling to just leave my phone behind and cut myself off from the world and focus on my relationship with God.
I no longer allow the emails, texts, or news alerts to be a distraction. This lets me to fully detach from the stresses of the day and take a step back for a more meaningful reflection. I’ve found that I need to have God in my life everyday. I’ve found that it helps with my patience in an otherwise very stressful world.
When I’m out there I feel as if I’m on a retreat and the focus is just God and me.
I’ve learned to appreciate God in the beautiful scenery and in the people I pass that send a friendly “Good Morning!” These are things that I may otherwise miss if I was only focused on listening to music or talking on the phone. When I started working up to longer distance runs and rides, nutrition became a very integral piece of the puzzle. Then I realized, just as
my body needs food, my soul need nourishment too.
My workouts have become so much more than just physical exercise.
I really believe that daily prayer sustains our relationship with God, and without it there really isn’t much of a relationship. A quote I read awhile back read: “How cool is it that the same God that created the mountains, oceans, and galaxies of stars looked at you and thought the world needed you too”. Why would I not want to have a relationship with God? I guess I’ve found going for solo runs or rides is a great way in continuing to build a relationship with Him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Patrick attended Xavier University where he earned a degree in Finance and Mathematics. In his free time he enjoys hanging out with friends and family, listening to music, and going for bike rides, swimming, and running. He recently completed a half-Ironman this summer and is training for a full-Ironman in the Fall. “The best part about the future is that it comes just one day at a time” – Abraham Lincoln