I’ll be toeing the start line of the Navy Air Force Half Marathon in a week and a half. This race completely snuck (is that a word?) up on me. Not in an I’m not ready for it kind of way – just in a I can’t believe mid-September is here already kind of way. I’ve been running like crazy and I’m more than ready for it distance-wise. In the last 8 weeks I’ve done 6 long runs in the range of 15-20 miles plus a 10-12 miler during the week each week.
I won’t lie though, I’m really nervous about pacing. While this isn’t a goal race necessarily, it’s a great chance to see where I’m at in my training, an opportunity for redemption after missing my goal at the Nike Women’s Half in D.C. earlier this year and it covers much of the same ground that I’ll have to face during Marine Corps Marathon in October. No doubt I can do the distance, but I’ve been embracing the long slow run concept and keeping my long runs a bit slower than my marathon goal pace to avoid injury/burnout and to mimic the amount of time I’ll be on my feet come race day. This worked great for me at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, but I still haven’t attempted it for a successful half or any full marathons, so despite all the expert advice, I’m still skeptical.
I’ve rattled off plenty of miles during other weekly runs at goal pace and my track workouts have me going at even faster paces, yet I won’t be totally convinced until I see the results on race day. I’m a big-time data recorder and religiously track my mile split times on my Garmin. I know it’s not completely accurate, but I’m also constantly looking at the current pace during races as well to make sure I stay on track. Even if I don’t look at the watch throughout my training runs, I often (over-) analyze each mile time and what it means after I’m done.
Based on my Garmin-centric, data-obsessed running personality I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually considering running the half without a watch. Shudder. I wonder if I just base things off of effort if I’ll be able to maintain my pace and get my goal without the obsessive time checking? I’ve also heard of people who go even faster because they don’t see a pace that should be too hard for them on the watch and slow down because of it. What if I just miss my goal time though? Will I be kicking myself for not wearing a watch? From what I can find on the website, it doesn’t look like this race will have pace groups, so I can’t just tag along with one of those and know my time without actually knowing my time.
I haven’t made a final decision on this yet, but am thinking it might be worth a shot. I’d love to hear from you all – have you ever raced without a watch? How’d it work for you? Even if you haven’t tried it, do you think it could be a good idea or a disastrous one? Comment away – should I Garmin or not??