The naked runner

Today, I had one of those bizarre epiphanies.  The kind that leads you to a totally obvious conclusion.

Sometimes, when you’re running, less is more.

And although the wisdom certainly applies, I wasn’t thinking about clothing.  I’ve been tooling around in a sports bra for a couple of weeks now, actually.

I refuse to be encumbered by superfluous clothing when it’s over eighty degrees out.  And I don’t care who has to look at my flabby torso.

Anyway, no, this epiphany was related to the little gadget that’s been strapped to my wrist on almost every run for nearly a year now.

It started when I headed down to the little gym in my building tonight.  Because it was 95* outside.  And I planned to run on the treadmill.  Only to discover that all of the treadmills were occupied.

I side-eyed an empty elliptical for a fleeting moment before sighing and heading for the front door.  Watchless, Garmin-less, iPod-less.  (And shirtless, of course, as I stripped it off and tossed it in a corner of the lobby on my way out.)

Around the neighborhood in the sweltering heat I tooled.  For 30 minutes.  Ish.  I probably ran three miles and change.  Ish.

And you know what?  It was actually rather lovely.

If I’d had my Garmin, of course, I would have been constantly bemoaning my pace and gently berating myself for going so slowly.  Every step would have twinged with mild anxiety.  But today?  I just ran.

So, here’s the deal.  I’m packing my favorite little gadget away for a couple of months.

And I’m just going to run.

This doesn’t mean I’m not ever going to run hard if I happen to feel like it. (My ten-year-old Timex Ironman can clock a 400 on the track just fine.)  But as the temperature continues to rise and the crushing humidity settles in, I’m just going to run as much as I semi-comfortably can, without worrying about whether those runs are happening at a 7:45 or 8:45 or 9:45 pace.

Because I’ve been worrying about that for nearly a year, ever since I acquired the Garmin.  And…I need a little break.

This also doesn’t mean I’m not going to track my workouts and mileage.  I’m just changing the variable part of the equation for a little while.

Traditionally:

Instead, I’ll just run by time and then back into an approximate distance using an assumed pace.  Say, 9:00/mile.

I’m pretty sure this is how I tracked my runs for years, before the days of GPS and MapMyRun.  Less data is more.  Sure, it’s not going to be perfectly accurate, but who cares?  It’s not like the IRS is going to come audit my training log.

Anyway, yeah.  Pretty obvious stuff: you’re headed in to a mellow, base-building period.  And running in punishing conditions.  Why not leave the damn wrist-computer at home?

Thank you, douchebags who were walking on the treadmill in polos and boat shoes tonight, for helping me to realize this.

Oh, and bonus?  When I pick it back up after not playing with it for a while, my little Garmin will be a shiny new toy once again.

PS: Dear iPod, you’re on notice, too.  

Not because I have anything against running with music, but because I don’t want to sweat all over it and ruin it.  And also, you can’t run through sprinklers when you’re carrying an iPod.  And I live for running through sprinklers on hot summer runs.

While we’re at it, here are a couple of quick recaps that I’m a little behind on.

Vacation week rundown:

M: 4 easy (beach, barefoot, 40:15, 10:00 pace)
Tu: 3 easy (beach, barefoot, 31:00, 10:20 pace)
W: 3 easy + circuit training (beach, barefoot, 29:59, 9:59 pace)
Th: OFF
F: OFF
Sa: 4 easy (mostly road, 35:15, 8:48 pace)
Su: OFF

Total: 14 miles.  WOOHOO!  Well, I was on vacation.  Um, running on the beach is a serious workout, yo.

And adding May’s monthly stats to the pile ‘o fun:

May gets a huge MEH.  I had very few quality workouts (which is my own fault because…I just didn’t ever make it to the track or discipline myself to tempo it).  I ran a respectable 10K and a shitty (literally) half marathon.  Then I took several days off (needed).  And then I went on vacation.

Well, I guess that last part wasn’t so bad. :)

June, onward and upward.  And I’m running naked.  I’m practically one of those early explorers, scribbling complicated equations on maps and navigating by the stars.

I’ll bet they weren’t ready for this jelly, either.

31 responses to “The naked runner

  1. I could never ditch the ipod. I don’t own a Garmin so I don’t know what it’s like to run with one. Sounds like a pain in the ass though.

  2. OMG. It’s 80 degrees outside and 82 degrees in my apartment with the air conditioner on (what’s that all about?) at 5am – in Wisconsin. We do not deserve this. I suffer through -20 in the winter to have 70 degree summers, thank you very much. So yeah, prob a sports bra morning for me, too.

  3. I run my easy runs without my Garmin quite a bit. I rarely run with music because I’m nosy as hell and might miss something. (The gym is a different story. I want to block those people out.)

    I’ve been running in a sports bra since…I’m not even sure. March? April?

  4. I’ll be running naked (without my Nike+) for a while, I’m sure. I’m too annoyed with it to calibrate it. So yeah… My morning/evening runs around the new neighborhood will be naked… weee!

  5. I loved this post…I ran this morning without my garmin too and it was lovely since i wasn’t mad at myself the whole time for not running as fast as Kara Goucher. I’m leaving it at home for awhile too. Glad to know I”m not the only one!

  6. Your drawings are always are soooo cute! How long does it typically take you to crank one out?

  7. Running techno-free is fantastic, right? Glad the DB’s on the treadmills helped you to realize the freedom it brings :)
    You’re also a rockstar for running barefoot on the beach!

  8. Way to break free the chains of oppression, whitey!

    A Garmin-free summer sounds pretty good to me. At this point, mine is only pissing me off.

  9. I’m a huge fan of running sans Garmin and/or iPod…it kind of freaked me out at first but I quickly got the point where I prefer to run without them. Or at least, the Garmin-I have an iPod Shuffle so its easier to keep out of sweat/sprinkler/harm’s way. Yay for running naked!

  10. I leave the garmin at home for some of my runs (umm…like when I forget to charge it and it is dead). It is hard to believe I am so attached to it after not running with one for years. Kind of funny too. I never would have run up and down the block just to hit a nice round number before the garmin – I would just round up and call it a day.

  11. Sounds like a good plan to me… good luck! And good for you, for running in just your sports bra. You’re my hero. One day I’d like to do that. Except my pasty white tummy might scare off some runners.

  12. Beaches Runner

    That’s a long term plan. I agree with your sentiments but I feel most free as a runner when I make the decision on ‘game day’. Your sprinkler comments are a good point though and I have risked iPod disasters previously by both running in downpours, through sprinklers and hopping in the pool while it is still in your pocket after a run!

  13. Sweet freedom. Sounds like an excellent plan.

    I can’t give up all my gadgets, but I agree on getting rid of the Garmin. I swap it out for my HRM during the summer. I have the tendancy to run myself sick in the heat, and it helps me recognize where to stop before I get to that point.

    I enjoyed all the guest posts while you were gone. Glad you had a great vacation!

  14. +1 for running through sprinklers. One of the only good things about summer running. That and eating ice cream/Italian ice after a long sweaty run. Any good non-Garmin watch recommendations?

  15. I feel like the iPod keeps my legs moving, without music I don’t work. 14 miles on a tropical vacay is no joke.

  16. This is why I don’t even own a Garmin. I’m convinced it will make me hate running and go psychotic. Might be nice for races though so I would stop running mile one like I was shooting out of racing blocks. Enjoy your free summer! =).

  17. I can’t give up my Garmin. I like the data and I feel happy and carefree just fine with it there monitoring my vitals and my position in 3 dimensions.

    As for the other kind of running naked, only on the hottest of days last summer did my discomfort overcome my modesty. Of course, last year I was only willing to wear knee length gym shorts. After a winter of running in spandex and a spring of eagerly busting out actual new running shorts, I fear that temperature threshold may have dropped a degree or four.

  18. I applaud you for being willing to give up your Garmin for MONTHS at a time. When I run outside regularly, I try to run once a week without my Garmin just to take it easy. I’m so mentally attached to that thing though.

  19. Good call on giving up the Garmin! Sometimes I take it anyway but set the display so I only see time of day, or the menu. I like to have the data after the fact but I’ve trained myself to not pay attention to it during. It’s made a HUGE difference.

  20. I (accidentally) had to run on the beach last week because I was late to my volleyball game and it was seriously painful. I always run naked (let’s face it, I’m not a race runner, so no one really cares about my times)- it definitely makes it less stressful!

  21. That’s a lotta miles chica. Impressive fo’ sho. I try and run without my Garmin every once in a while. That little thing is pretty addicting though.

  22. zomg I sooooooooooooo hope your running log gets audited by the irs. Major LOLCoasters over here. Whoa.

    I like to ditch the watch on true recovery runs, b/c I’ve definitely got to the point where a recovery SHOULD be at this pace, so I think I secretly try to run that pace instead of just…duh… recovering. Good reminder. :)

  23. I recently ditched my Garmin for runs…I love it! At first it was annoying, but now I run on how I feel not what I think my pace should be.

    I still get speed work in (occasionally…) by strapping my Garmin to the back of the Y in my sports bra and putting it on repeat beeps…one beep fast, one beep recover, etc…

  24. your posts are on FIRE this week — as in, I really extra enjoy them, especially this one.

    I’ve never run in just a sports bra, for this reason: a cotton t-shirt works to wipe away sweat, and mostly…I lift the upper shoulder up to blow snot into. Yes, I am a pro at snot rockets, but sometimes the rocket doesn’t complete me. I guess I could just stuff tissue into my short pockets…

    I love the occasional no-ipod run. love it. no tangle of wires, no podcasts ending and having to stop to pick a new one.

    However, I almost always always run with the garmin (although I’ve only had one for 6 months), because I don’t have a simpler watch and I need it if only for the knowledge of TIME so I can get home at the precise time to not be late for work. I have a horrible inner-clock when it comes to running. I know runs can rock without it though, as thats the only way I ran for 10 years!

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  27. I’ve been catching up on your posts which is why I’m making a comment on a post that’s like a month old, but I wish I had read this earlier. You inspired me to ditch the iPhone AND I subjected the world to me in my pasty white skin running in a bra and shorts.

    I’ve never felt better about a run on an 88 degree day. I’m so glad I read this today.

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