Listen to the Ali on the Run Show!
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On Garmin-Free Running
After the Las Vegas Half Marathon, I went on and on about how I was discouraged with racing. My brain wanted to go fast, but my legs couldn’t keep up. How dare they not work in perfect harmony, right? Rude.
I never lost my love for running — that wasn’t the problem. I friggin’ love running, pretty much always. The problem is that I have become too focused on numbers.
I always run with my watch on. Whether I’m doing speedwork, a long run or a recovery run, I’m constantly glancing down to analyze my pace, obsess over my splits and check my distance.
When I was marathon training, Coach Cane taught me that every run had a purpose — something that would ultimately make me stronger on race day.
But I’m not marathon training right now. I’m no longer half marathon training either. In fact, I currently have no monumental races on my calendar (this weekend’s Ted Corbitt 15K does not count).
This weekend I ran twice: 10 miles on Saturday and 5 miles on Sunday.
Saturday’s run was kind of brutal. I felt slow and sluggish. (Perhaps because you’re still recovering from last week’s race, Alison? Gosh you’re smart.)
I stopped a lot to shake out my legs and felt dehydrated. (Perhaps from the drinking the night before, Alison? And the night before that? Again, with the smartness. Way to go. Way to plan.) I wish Central Park had those temperature-resistant water fountains so they didn’t have to shut off my hydration supply in the winter.
I flew through my first few miles at a sub-8:00 pace, and then wondered why I was banging out 9:30s in my final mile. Positive splitting, even on a casual weekend run. I will never learn.
I didn’t really care that Saturday’s run wasn’t the speediest or most consistent. I just wanted to get out, enjoy the frigid weather and break a little sweat. So on that front: great success!
I wanted to do something different on Sunday, though. I didn’t want to care about how far I was running or how fast I was going.
And so, for the first time since long before I started training for the Hamptons Marathon, I ran without my watch.
The verdict? It was awesome. Totally freeing. Totally stressless.
I have no idea whether I was running 7:30 miles or 10:30 miles (though I’d guess it was closer to the latter). I only know that I ran 5 miles because I ran a familiar route in the park. But it was so nice not to care about how fast everything was happening.
I may make this a regular thing. I think some chilled-out runs would be good for me. So Garmin, I love you, and you’re very helpful, but maybe we need some time apart. Just for now. Just to see how it feels.
Other things that happened this weekend? I did a lot of holiday shopping. I’m making good progress on my various lists.
And if anyone wants to buy me a present this year, I obviously want this very practical and stylish llama hat:
Llamas are my favorite. Really. Someday I’ll have a bunch of them and we’ll have spitting contests. Bring your camels and we can all have a competition.
I’m very much in the holiday spirit these days. Last night Brian and I decorated a Christmas tree together.
We said we were going to decorate while listening to Christmas music, but somehow that turned into decorating while watching “Kourtney and Kim Take New York.” I’m very embarrassed to have just admitted that, but I also admitted to crying over the time I didn’t PR in Las Vegas, so I clearly have no shame.
And now it’s Monday and this week is going to be wonderful and crazy. Highlights include an event at 16 Handles tomorrow night, seeing the Book of Mormon on Broadway for the second time on Wednesday and a fun little holiday fiesta with friends on Sunday.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR RUNNING HABITS: Do you run with a watch or something to clock your speed and distance? If so, how often? And do you ever run naked, and by naked I mean without a watch or just, you know, naked? Because that would be interesting.