A few weeks ago, I met my Running Partner (RP) (yes, I totally stole that abbreviation from you Jon!) for our weekly long run. I stood in her driveway and finished donning my gear while my Garmin quickly found the satellites. I quickly slapped it on my wrist and pressed ’start’ as we headed out the driveway and down the street.
We were running a particularly hilly route, especially for the first half of the run. I forced myself to not look at the watch and just focused on getting up the hills. It was a cold, windy morning and we were chatting non-stop for mile after mile. Well, actually my RP was doing most of the chatting…I was nodding and grunting ‘uh huh’ while trying to not lose chunks of my lung as we pushed up the steep inclines.
Somewhere around mile 9-ish, my RP stopped for a quick break. As is customary whenever my feet stop moving, I pressed ’stop’ on my watch. I heard a beep and looked down at the display to see how we were doing. At that moment, my brain froze in utter confusion. The watch reported that we had been running for 7 seconds and had traversed a only a few feet.
My brain quickly unfroze in HORROR as I realized that the watch had never actually started when I pressed ’start’ in the driveway. However, much more interesting to note is the fact that I had never even looked at it until the run was almost over. The only reason I even knew that we were at the mile 9-ish mark is because it took 3 miles to finish the planned 12 mile route (now that the Garmin was actually STARTED). My RP didn’t wear a watch, so she had no data to share with me. I was completely data-less, for no good reason.
I. Never. Even. Looked. Can you believe it? I still cannot.
I am still in a state of shock because it just doesn’t seem feasible that I didn’t pay ANY attention. I am a number cruncher. I check my pace frequently. I love to download data from my Garmin and pour over the information in search of revealling patterns. I’m always hopeful to spot glimmers of improvement but most days, I am simply hoping to not be slower than than the previous run. On days when my Garmin has not been charged and ready to go, I have to wear a watch. I just HAVE to know details about my run. I feel restless, awkward, and uncomfortable when I am not able to somehow collect objective information. It’s unnerving to be data-less.
Sure, I could wax poetic about how I may be having a breakthrough in my running and I that I no longer feel constrained by the numbers on my wrist. Maybe a new path is being forged by this Running Chick, and I’ll be freed of the pressure to meet my own expectations.
Or maybe, I just need to remember to actually look at my watch when I press start, or else I’ll wind up in some therapist’s office, crying on the couch about feeling like a puzzle with a missing piece.