Running naked

I ran naked this weekend and it felt great.

Now don’t get the wrong idea. I wasn’t in my birthday suit!! Inspired in part by blooming, aromatic flowers in my community and my friend Cori, I decided to run watch-free this weekend.

Let me explain.

Spring finally arrived here in Rochester, NY, which means the lilacs are in bloom. Rochester’s climate is ideal for lilacs, and my county’s oldest park has more than 500 varieties and 1,200 lilac bushes on the slope in Highland Park. They smell amazing!

lilac3Lilacs in bloom! Pic by Chick Vic

When I headed out the door for a run this week, I found myself stopping repeatedly to smell the flowers. That’s right. I literally paused at each and every lilac bush along my route and shoved my nose into the buds.

After several 3-ish-mile loops on my road this week, I realized:
1. I really do love the scent of lilacs
2. I enjoyed pausing mid-run for a fun reason
3. I often out too much pressure on myself mid-run, to run on pace and not stop.

So. I decided Saturday morning to add another fun factor. I left my Garmin on the nightstand and went for a run.

Ahhh! I felt free! I ran until I felt like walking. Then I walked a for about a minute and continued on my way. I turned off on a side street I had never ventured down before. Then I stopped at another lilac bush and drank in the scent. By the time I got home, thoughts were whirling in my head.

What if I run my Sunday morning 10k race without my Garmin? How nice would that be? Heck – I could stop and smell the lilacs for the Lilac 10k!

So I did. When I headed out the door Sunday, I left my Garmin behind. A few running pals saw I was sans watch and offered to tell me the pace as we ran.

“No need,” I responded. “I’m going without a watch.”

“What?!” Running pal Ray answered. “No. That’s nuts. That would drive me crazy.”

Normally it would drive me mad as well. But not this week!

We reached Highland Park early since much of our group was running the 5k AND the 10k. Since I registered for the race Tuesday, I was fine running a mere 6.2 miles through Rochester and adjacent suburb Brighton. While the others ran, several of us explored lilac hill.

Soon enough, the rest of the crew was back and we lined up to race. Much of our group ran as part of Team Red, White and Blue, a group running to raise support and awareness for our veterans.

flag1Meet Mike, team organizer, who ran Sunday with an American flag.

I took off with Traci and Ray. And boy was the crowd thick! We weaved and bobbed for the first mile. Lots of people were running the popular 10k! Soon enough, we turned our first corner and hit our stride. Ray found his rhythm and pulled away. About a mile later, Traci moved ahead as well.

I cheered them along and settled in for my second half of the course, I ran through neighborhoods, up and down hills and smiled at cheering residents and fans. I thanked officers and volunteers as I ran along he course.

Soon enough, I rounded my last turn, pushed myself up a hill and set my sights on the finish line.

I spotted the clock as I crossed in the Low 59s. Instinctively, I looked at my wrist for my own time. Ha! No watch!

Overall, the experiment was a success. Yes, I started out too fast by keeping up with Ray. But would I have done the same if I’d worn my watch? Probably. Would knowing my pace change my race plan? Doubtful.

But I led the event and I actually liked not knowing how I fared. It was sort of like playing the lottery.

Last night, I finally looked up my race time – 58.16 – which over a minute slower than my 10K PR. I was completely fine with my showing and loved running naked.

I will admit, I don’t plan to run without my Garmin forĀ  a big race, but running naked was a nice change of pace.

lilac1From left: Katie, Traci, Ray, Vic and Aaron post-race.

Have you run without a watch or Garmin recently? Are you a slave to your pacesetter? What’s the silliest things you’ve done mid-run? Tell us in the comments!