Racing With and Without a Garmin

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Last week I ran a 5K on Thursday (Thanksgiving!) and on Saturday evening. On Thursday, I wore a watch and the course was very familiar to me, although the last mile is a pretty brutal uphill. Since I’ve been putting so much pressure on myself to run (or feeling guilty if I don’t run or even if I do end up running feeling lazy because I didn’t want to run), I decided to not really worry about my PR and to not push it too much. I just wanted to have fun.

It was freeeeezing cold and my toes and fingers started to hurt and eventually felt like blocks as I was running (I’ve got to invest in some running gloves…and maybe layer socks in my Vibrams??). I ran with my Garmin but I lost my signal right as the race started and I couldn’t get it for about a minute, so my timing and distance was off. And when I finished, I realized I missed my PR by 10 seconds. I was disappointed because I knew I could have beat my PR if I’d known I was that close. Oh well! 🙂

On Saturday, I went to McAdenville for the inaugural ChristmasTown USA 5K. The small town goes all out decorating homes and the public parks and such. I love that everyone hat lives there gets so into it – it makes it more special than a commercialized park, ya know? Anyway, the 5K ran through the town so runners could check out the lights too. I didn’t get any pictures of all the lights (whoops!) but you can check out a ton here. (That link also has info on visiting the town to see the lights; if you’re in the area, it’s such a fun Christmas activity!)

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I didn’t wear my Garmin because again, I just wanted to have fun, especially at a race like this one. I wasn’t expecting much out of my time anyway because I’d run the Turkey Strut two days before and the course was really hilly – the start across the bridge was the only time it was flat. We were always going up or down after that, and there were some long brutal hills. I didn’t have my Garmin but I knew I was running well and from what I could see as I was running, I was the first female.

I was finishing strong and really picked up speed with the downhill finish and then the course volunteers sent the four of us who were running together a way that I knew was wrong (John and I drove the course beforehand). I don’t know why they got it wrong because I found out later that the first four people (including John who was 3rd overall) had been sent the right way. Anyway, they sent us the wrong way so we ended up running extra distance, which those of us who went off course figured it probably added 90 seconds to our times. I still won first place overall female which was awesome, but I was really disappointed about my time and the extra distance because if I’d gone the correct way, I would have crushed my PR. My official time was 21:45. If you back off about 90 seconds, which I think was about the extra time I was on the course, I would have come in around 20:15 (average pace 6:31), which is almost a full minute faster than my previous PR. Sigh.

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I still had a blast running and it gave me a lot of confidence to really push myself on 5Ks. I’m also wondering how I could do on a 5K if I really got diligent about some speed work and leg strengthening exercises. I’m also considering running without my Garmin on 5Ks going forward. I constantly look at it while running and I think I overthink it and force myself to slow down, worrying that I’ll fade later. And I really should just be listening to my body like I did Saturday night. Or, it’s possible that I was so much faster because it was dark and I was distracted, or because I wasn’t stressed about my time. I often perform best at races that I don’t stress about! My half marathon PR happened at a race that I didn’t really train for or worry about. Just things to think about! 🙂

But the good thing is that both of these races gave me a little running spark back, which I desperately needed.

This is the picture at the awards ceremony. Can you tell that my face is frozen? 🙂

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Do you run races with or without your Garmin? What are your thoughts on psyching yourself out vs. not stressing and performing better? Do any of you experience that? 

[The first and last picture in this post are from one of the race photographers, Steve Rankin. Thanks for letting me use them Steve!]

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    8 responses to “Racing With and Without a Garmin”

    1. I usually always run races with my Garmin- I don’t know why I Just can’t break it. Typically I always have some huge goal which is probably why. One day I want to run a race without a goal, without a Garmin, and just see how I do!

    2. I don’t have a Garmin but I often use an app to track my runs. It’s so hard to not look at it every 5 seconds!

    3. Awesome job! I am SO impressed with your times. I know you wrote about how you got faster in an earlier post but your times seem so out of reach to me – what were your mile times when you first started running so I can know what kind of improvements I can expect?

      • When I started running, I ran between 9 – 10:15 min/miles depending on the distance. I never thought I’d run faster than an 8:30 min/mile, let alone in the 6s! You’ll be amazed by how much improvement you can make!

    4. I know what you mean 100%. I recently psyched myself out watching my time at the myrtle beach mini which resulted in a killer side stitch and having to walk some with about a mile left. At the turkey strut I only used my garmin to check my pace but never overall time. I ended up shaving off almost a minute of my personal course record for those hills. Might be my new plan going forward. Congrats on your races 🙂

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