Rethinking the Watch

My lovely running sisters suggested that I get a running watch while training for Broad Street. Sarah, the most frequent runner, said it was the single most important training tool she had. Maureen even let me borrow her watch. What awesome ladies!

The first few runs w/ my “new” watch in tow were fab. It was nice knowing the exact time I ran instead of estimating from when I left the house to when I returned; which included a warm-up and cool-down, so was often a poor estimate. The watch supposedly has all these cool functions. My personal fave? The button you press to light the screen up when you’re running at night. That’s right; I scoffed off all those fancy functions (if by scoff you mean waste 20 minutes on some tutorial and then complain about how technology is stupid – but I did learn how to set the clock ahead an hour after daylight savings; huzzah!) I’ve been using the watch for all my runs lately and it was going swimmingly – until yesterday.

Yesterday was one of those days. Blah. So-so. Meh. You know what I’m talking about? Nothing necessarily goes to shit, or causes your indifferent attitude, but you just can’t work up to your usual good mood. It was a beautiful spring day, I had scheduled myself for a nice 5-miler after work, and a new episode of Parks and Recreation was on later that night. Seriously, it couldn’t have been better conditions. I just wasn’t feeling it.

On my walk home from the train, I saw some runners and gave myself a pep talk about how good I would feel when I was actually out there. I changed, slipped on the watch, and headed out the door. The run was nothing special. It wasn’t one of those wretched runs (thank God). It wasn’t an especially invigorating run. But I was proud of myself for getting out there. The last half mile I really found my stride and revved it up for a strong finish. I was a sweaty, panting mess at the end, but I was smiling. Until I checked the watch.

47 minutes. Not bad. Except that last time, I had done 5 miles in 46 minutes. My proud feelings of accomplishment went right out the window. I stomped through my cool-down walk, muttering angrily to myself (and probably looking like a total psycho for my neighbors).

And then I had a revelation. I hadn’t even wanted to go for this run. It was hot as shit (somehow the temperature, which had been cool and breezy all day, had decided to climb and reach its peak at 6 o’clock at night). And 47 minutes wasn’t even a bad time. I decided that after my training was over, my time w/ the watch would be, too.

I understand people want to know their mile time and have a goal to work toward every run. I see how you could become complacent w/out that watch to motivate your speed. But I had never cared about my time before the watch, and I’ll be damned if it’s going to make me feel bad about myself afterwards.

You know that cheesy quote “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”? I don’t care about the timestamp when I cross the finish line; getting there at all is triumph enough. And the road there is much more fun w/out that monitor on my wrist. Sorry watch; it’s not me, it’s you.


Anonymous said…
I think this is an awesome attitude! While later on you may want to work on speed, you shouldn't let it get you down right now. and 47mins is nothing to frown at. good job.

Sarah said…
47 minutes is still a lot faster than I am! You are doing great!
brigidmc12 said…
I'm trying to focus on that, rather than the time. Thanks, guys = )