This morning kicked off another awesome double race weekend: Shark Tooth 10K today, Iron Girl Clearwater (1/2) tomorrow! I didn’t really have a race strategy for this back-to-back weekend, other than finishing strong and smiling…so this was certainly a nice surprise:
…but first, let’s back up a bit.
A few weeks ago. my friend Sara posted an article from Runner’s World called, “Run Your Fastest Race with the ‘Timeless Challenge’” – now, I’d definitely recommend checking the story out, but here’s the short of it: it claims that, with proper training/tuning, you can run your best race using your body as a guide, rather than your GPS watch. The prospect frankly freaked the heck out of me, but the only way to beat fear is to face it (right!!??) so I thought I’d give it a go, and this was the perfect opportunity.
The race was set to begin at 7:15, so I woke up at 5:30, got ready, and hit the road by 6:15. Although the race site was just about 20 minutes away, I was glad to arrive early and snag a great parking spot! (Note: I had picked up my bib on Thursday, but if I had’t had the chance to do so, race-day pickup was also available)
I hung out and relaxed in the car until about 7, then headed out to the staging area, where I ran into my friend Rob and a few of his friends. We run a similar pace, but I knew I wasn’t going to keep up with him today (he had been posting some rockin’ 5K times lately!) so I told him I’d see him at the finish!!
Before I knew it, we were OFF! The first big difference in not wearing a watch? No worrying about synching my watch just as I stepped on the timing mat, whoo! That was a plus 🙂
Now, this recap is going to feel a little “off” without splits posted, but – well, I don’t have any!! However, I did, as much as possible, work on keeping a really even pace over the 6.2 miles – with the exception of Mile 1 (since it was narrow and crowded). As far as the rest of the race went, I ran the entire time (didn’t feel the need to stop at any of the three water stations, thanks to the cool weather, and on account of I kind of had to pee from Mile 2 and beyond, hah) and didn’t feel “tired” until around Mile 6, as that last “.2” was on crumbly/gravel-y pavement and I was worried I’d wipe out there at the end. The hardest part really was not knowing “where” I was the whole race.
To be honest, when I pushed down the runway (the race took place at the Venice Airport Fairgrounds) I was a little bummed to see “49.xx” as my PR for the 10K (from 2012) is 48:01, and I know I am capable of a faster time, but I had to remind myself that I haven’t been training – I mean, this week was a 30K, and a 5K – just easy running since DONNA. With that in mind, I was stoked about that 49:14, watchless – in fact, the only disappointment I felt after I noshed on my post-race bagel was the fact that I had no splits to pore over 😉
As I made my way around to check out the booths around after the race, I saw Rob again (and a nice gal that said she read my blog! HI friend, I feel like a doofus that I didn’t ask your name/grab a pic…!!) and congratulated him on a great race (I think he came in at 46:XX), and he had some news for me…I took first in my AG! WHAT? That was definitely a cool surprise! Nothing beats finishing out AND opening up AG awards!
Now, I am still not 100 percent convinced that watchless is for me, but I can definitely see the benefits – but maybe I cheated a little because I did listen to music (I picked a 50 minute playlist, and so made it a minor goal to finish the race before the music was over.
This was definitely a fun race, and I’d consider running it again. It provided a lot of great scenery changes (and for this part of Florida, a surprising amount of terrain/elevation change) and besides the initial mile out of the fairground area, the course was spaced out well, and comfortable.
So, tomorrow…Iron Girl Half…so, goodnight!
Do you race tech-free?