When we started the Couch-to-5K program, our runs were so short and alternated with walking that it wasn't really necessary to listen to music. Also, I have piercings inside of my ears (specifically my daith, you can look that up haha) which makes it impossible for me to wear earbuds without them falling out.
As we started working our way up in distance, from the half marathon to the marathon, I still never listened to music. I don't need it and it comes in handy that I am not dependent on it because of triathlons. It is against USAT rules to wear headphones of any kind during USAT-sanctioned events, including duathlons.
That doesn't mean that music doesn't have an impact on my life as an athlete. One benefit of not "being in my own world" during races is that I get to hear what is going on around me.
At the start of the Half at the Hamptons on Sunday, "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors was played. Whenever I hear this song from now on I will forever think of the race, and smile because I was there with so many friends.
I will always associate "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC with the Mount Desert Island Marathon because it was played at the start.
We wore these jackets on Sunday too
This isn't the only sport that I have done where it is almost impossible to listen to music. I was a swimmer growing up, from the time that I was 8 years old until I was a 20-year old college student.
I did listen to music while on the bus riding to swim meets and on the pool deck while waiting for my turn to swim for 19 minutes at the most (the 1,650). As I've already mentioned, rap was my genre of choice. You could usually catch me dancing behind the starting blocks before my race, unless it was States then I was all serious (maybe that's why I rarely did well at the end of the season, too serious).
One memory I have that includes music while swimming, is when I swam my fastest 500 free time of 5:31. Interestingly, it does not include a rap song. During the ENTIRE race, I had LeAnn Rimes' "Can't Fight the Moonlight" stuck in my head. Not even the entire song, maybe one or two lines over and over again. I can't hear that song and not think of that race.
There are other songs I hear that make me think of people, places, events and I can't help but smile when I hear them.