I did it.
I ran naked. Without a watch (get your heads out of the gutter, people!).
I fought every type-A-comfort-zone-I-like-doing-things-a-certain-way feeling in my body and took the plunge to run watchless for my final race of 2015. It was one of my favorite local races - a 10K followed by the kids fun run (and a cool-down mile).
I didn't know what to expect exactly going into the race. My goals were simple: to resist the watch, to run by feeling, and to finish strong. Due to the ongoing year of recovery post-surgery, added to the fact that I had run a full marathon just four weeks ago and had yet to run more than 4.5 miles continuously since Oct. 11, I knew a PR wasn't going to happen. That wasn't the real goal anyway. (but competitive me did want to run between 8:15-8:30 miles).
I started out too fast (as always - constantly working on that one!) but slowed down to a comfortable pace around Mile 1 and cruised with it until Mile 3. I had to dig deep between Miles 3-5 and took quick walk breaks for water and to strip off my hoodie.
To my surprise, I crossed the finish line in 50:52, just 2 minutes slower than my PR and right on track with where I normally run a 10K. I was pleased with my time and ecstatic that I was 1st place in my age group (30-34 yr olds).
I love, love, love local races. They're even better when I'm not coordinating them and can race them! :) It's so much fun how our great community of runners come out - it's like one big runner reunion, where we laugh, we embrace, and we enjoy the miles together.
My dear friend and fellow mama on the run, Jess, enjoyed the race 23 weeks pregnant with baby girl. It was a treat to see her as we haven't been able to run together much these last few months. Saturday mornings will be so sweet later this coming spring when we reunite and pound the pavement together post-delivery!
Following the 10K fun was the 1-mile kids fun run. I automatically signed Mackie up for the run as she enjoys running with her friends (see the cute pic of her and friend, Avery, below!), but Brax asked if he could race, too.
Brax is a bit different than Mackie when it comes to running. As in, he doesn't really run after about 100 yards. I remember helping Mackie out with pacing, but she usually would keep going in a run-walk pattern until the finish line. Brax? Well, the buddy gets all excited, runs 100 yards, and then stops. It takes a force of nature to have him keep walking - but of course, he gets upset if we don't include him in the race, so we go in with the mindset of finishing and trying to find fun games along the way to keep him occupied.
Daddy (the patient one) went alongside him and did the Coach Conkling on him to the finish line. What worked this morning? Orange juice and a shiny medal. Whatever it takes, little dude.... :)
Will I run naked again? Probably in a 5K next year. It would be a fun goal to do at least one race a year without a watch.
But I'd be lying if I didn't mention how sad it was to hear everyone else's "ding! ding!" of the Garmins as they passed mile markers. And I had to keep looking at the results because I forgot what time I actually ran the 10K in (mom brain!).
Now, though, I wrap up the 2015 race season feeling optimistic about 2016. These next few weeks will be spent freely running with no real plan in place. I love this time of year and the ability to move and celebrate health, wellness, and God's gift of running in my life - all while reflecting what I learned from this beautiful sport this year and moving ahead to next year.
Until then....happy running!