I imagine that everyone who’s ever tried to run with stock iPod headphones knows what pain in the butt they are. Aside from being slightly too big to begin with, that shiny white plastic they’re made of slides out of a sweaty ear faster than Jay Leno can steal a talk show. I wasn’t even past light jogging before I knew I had to get something new.

One day I swung by a big name electronics store, looking for a new pair that would work better, but didn’t find anything that looked too appealing. I didn’t know what I was really looking for, I mean, I assumed athletic people needed to listen to music while they ran just like I did, so it stood to reason they’d already solved this problem, but if they had, I wasn’t finding it on the shelves.

When I got home, I hit up Google, and in less than 5 minutes I found myself with an incredible selection of ‘sport’ headphones of all shapes and sizes. Still not really knowing what I was looking for (and hating to spend money on something I might dislike) I was pretty reluctant to buy anything without being able to physically inspect them first – especially when every single set of headphones I checked had a mix of rave and terrible reviews. Eventually, I found myself coming back to the Sennheiser MX85 Sport Series again and again, so I figured I’d take a shot.

I’m really glad I did, because I think these things really rock. I’m not an audiofile, so I can’t speak intelligently to the sound quality, but I don’t have any complaints. What I can say, is that these things stay in your ears, even when you’re a big lumbering dude who has no idea how to run properly, and even when you drop your iPod shuffle while doing said lumbering. They stay in your ears, and they’re comfortable, and that’s exactly what I wanted. All in all, I couldn’t be happier with them.

It feels a little odd to be raving about a purchase I made months ago, and even odder still to think that this post about my headphones is twice as long as my post about my 5k. So odd in fact, that I almost didn’t write this out. For someone with steady employment, buying something in the $30 price range isn’t really an accomplishment, particularly when compared with running farther than you’ve ever ran before in your life, so what’s the big deal?

It might sound a bit silly, but buying those headphones was in investment in my health. I didn’t buy a home gym, or a treadmill, or some gimmick on tv telling myself that once I had it, I’d start using it to get healthy – I was already in the gym, doing the hard part, and when an opportunity to make an excuse not to go came up (“I need to get new headphones”), I refused to use it. Instead, I invested in the commitment I’d already made to myself and, in doing so, strengthened it.

So, when I say I love my headphones, I really do. Not because of how they sound, or because they don’t fall out, but because they serve as a reminder of how I’m slowly changing my life for the better.