Running without a watch

The East Brunswick Road Races Event is one of my favorite race days for several reasons:

  1. The whole family can come along and take part in the Kids Pumpkin Dash, or the 1 mile fun run.
  2. The kids that do the dashes get a pumpkin and a table of paints to decorate it after their run.
  3. There are always lots of people I know there because it is organized by RVRR (this was the first year I have also volunteered).
  4. There is a 5k and a 10k – both start at the same time, and you can choose which one you are going to do, even as late as the 5k turnaround (there are two finishing chutes and you run into the one for the distance you covered).
  5. It’s a pleasant course – tree lined, country roads, although residential (they say it’s fairly flat “with rolling hills”, but it feels like the rolling hills dominate).
  6. The 5k/10k don’t start until 1pm, so no early Sunday morning alarm.

As I volunteered yesterday, all my race gear was packed in the car ready to change into. I helped set up the water stops, helped out for a while at registration, then headed over to see my kids run in the pumpkin dashes.

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It was then that I got ready for the race and realized I didn’t have my Garmin GPS watch with me. It didn’t bother me too much – firstly, I had no particular goal in mind and secondly, I’ve been trying not to look at it much during races this year. In previous years they’ve had a couple of people out on the course at the mile markers calling out the time so I thought I would at least have an idea of how I was doing. However, that didn’t happen this year.

After the start I soon settled into my rhythm and stuck with it despite the temptation to keep up with others – I suppose that’s another positive about this race; as the 5k starts at the same time you know there are some people who will be turning round before you, so in your mind (at least in mine anyway) there isn’t such a need to push hard at the start because you don’t always know who you’re up against. I suppose it could go the other way too if you’re inclined to try to keep up anyway, and then realize those you’ve been keeping up with are all doing the 5k.

It took a bit of getting used to not knowing my pace. I genuinely had no clue how well I was running all the way through. I was out on the road on my own for much of the time with a view of a couple of runners ahead who were pulling away at first, but after the turn it seemed as though I was gaining very slowly. I believe I paced myself well as I didn’t feel I was slowing a huge amount towards the end (although the last little hill hurt). There were times when I felt I might be pushing too hard so I eased off very slightly at those times – there’s definitely something to be said about just listening to what your body is telling you as this turned out to be a new best 10k time for me by a mere 3 seconds, but my previous fastest was on a flatter course, and comparing my time to the same race last year, I was 1 minute 22 seconds faster. Finishing time: 41:25.53 (full results here).

Overall I would definitely do this again (run without a watch that is), but I would really like to be able to look back at my mile splits to see whether I really did run it evenly. I may have to take the approach of taping over the watch screen, as I’ve seen that done before.

Thanks to Mahesha Chayapathi for these photos at the turnaround:

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ebrr2 ebrr3

Several hours after the run I had some pain in my knee – this is the first time that has happened to me. A huge part of me wants to blame my choice of shoe (whenever I’ve had problems before it’s been shoe related). I’m not sure what made me choose to run in my New Balance Minimus Road Zero when I have been so loyal to the Merrell Trail Glove 2 (and, on occasion, the Vibram Bikila) – it was probably just that I haven’t worn them much at all this year, but maybe that was a bad decision. Hopefully it’s not too bad – only 5 weeks until the Philadelphia Marathon, and this coming weekend is the hat-trick (5k, 10k, half marathon) at the Runner’s World Festival weekend.


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8 Responses to Running without a watch

  1. Kilt/Skirt/Skort says:

    And not a hint or a whisper about the running skirt (skort) !
    You look downright comfortable – good workout !

    • runnj says:

      It does seem pretty normal to me now so I pay it less attention, but I also want to leave more of the skirt-related stuff to my other blog (which I haven’t paid enough attention to). This was a new skirt and so far it’s my favorite.

  2. Congrats on the PR. I seem to be listening to my body more and it seems to be working. I have been amazed at how much my times have improved too. Oh, great skirt too!

    • runnj says:

      Thanks. I’ll definitely be running again without looking at the watch – it definitely seemed to work although it’s tough to compare (would it have made any difference – considering I have been generally getting faster this year anyway? Could I have looked at my watch towards the end and tried to push a bit harder to get a few extra seconds etc.?).

  3. cyn says:

    congrats on your PR — i just recently did my first two 10ks (all within the same week) — one without my running app — one with — i am definitely in need of knowing whats up at all times — but then again i might be OCD 🙂

    • runnj says:

      Wow, your first two in the same week! Nice! I really like to have the data to look at after. I really miss that I don’t have it from that race. I used to look all the time in runs and races, but do so less now. Maybe it’s just about getting used to how things feel.

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