Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Last 40+ Miles

I ran 1502 miles in 2012.  After all those glorious runs and amazing races, today I am only thinking about the last 42 miles of my year.

After being sick three times in the month of December (an injury in Sept didn't help either), I found myself seriously strapped for miles to hit my year-end goal of 1500.  I pulled up my big girl panties and said, "I can do this."

It wasn't the way I had envisioned ending the year. I wanted a no pressure December to rest up both physically and mentally before I began serious training for my spring marathon. (Training schedule starts next Monday!)  I knew I could do the miles, but wondered if I'd be sacrificing a good start to January.

I found a way to maintain recovery AND nail the miles...
I unplugged.

No music. No watch.
No timing of any sort.
I just ran.
42 miles of sweet freedom over the course of seven days.

So many times I hear friends say, "I've lost my running mojo. I'm just not in it lately." My advice is always the same... unplug.  Honestly, it is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.  Let your mind and body fall in love with the run again... without any kind of expectation for "results". Run by feel.

Every runner begs for a Garmin, but if you're not careful, it can actually ruin your run mojo. I've been a Garmin holdout for years. In fact, I just broke down and purchased a Garmin Forerunner 110 a couple months ago. Yes, I ran for nearly 4 years without a GPS watch. Believe me when I say, it is not a necessity for running. A nice training tool, yes, but one that can become as addictive as crack.

So there I stood last Wednesday at the end of my first naked run in months (Naked is a slang term meaning no gadgets).  I had no idea how many miles I had just run. I didn't have a clue on my time. I stood in my driveway, staring at my wrist... looking for something to tell me it was a "good run".

In a second, I started laughing. Why do I need a watch to tell me it was a good run?  My heart was pumping well, my hair matted in sweat under my hat, and I was thirsty as hell. I felt as if I could fly! Yes indeed, it was a great run. And I didn't need any time, pace or distance report to tell me that.

Right then and there, I decided to finish off 2012 with that exuberant feeling (runner's high!) at the end of every single run. Talk about a glorious finish! Not only did I hit my mileage goal, but I did it happily without burnout. As the calendar flipped to January 1st, I thought I might be in need of a break... but instead, I couldn't wait to log the year's first miles... unplugged of course.

Do you ever run without your Garmin or a timing device?
My goal this year is to run naked at least once a week... even more in recovery weeks.


  1. I did this after a disappointing summer racing season as the heat just got me down repeatedly. I decided to run without my Garmin for a full month. It was glorious and I had a lot of fun getting back to my "roots" of enjoying the simplest things. Unplugging is something great to do, just to get back into the swing of things after any tough race or burnout.

  2. Yay on getting your goal! I haven't bought a Garmin for that reason of getting to obsessed over how I did and letting it control my mood post workout. I do find that I go without music at times and its a nice change and somedays I HAVE to have the music to pass the time.

  3. I actually run with out music a lot. I do have my iphone with imapmyrun going, but I really know how far certain things are from my house. I really love running on snow with out music, it is a wonderful sound!

  4. I run with out music no problem or Garmin but I do strap on my phone for the mileage logs. How do you know how many miles you've run without a GPS, at least when running an uncharted/unmarked route? That is if you're are trying to get in a certain amount of miles?

    1. Guess I should have mentioned that, huh?! I just map out my run afterward (with something like so that I can record the miles.

  5. My husband just bought me a fancy Garmin. Haven't had a chance to use it yet. Seems like December was just one bug after another. Now the temps are below 0 & the roads are pure ice. I've been using my phone to keep track of my miles. I have the sound off so I can't hear what the mile times are. Those are usually my best runs. So relaxing. My favorites are when my husband & I run together. We talk the whole time so our times are slower but the runs are so much fun. That is what keeps running fun for me.

  6. This is really interesting - I would never have thought of doing something like that. And I just bought a Garmin - I'm waiting for it to be shipped. Not sure how I'll do with it, but up until now, I've done a lot of treadmill running. I find when I do get outside (like today!), I love not staring at stats and just running.

  7. I wear a simple watch from Walmart with a stop watch. I will probably NEVER have a Garmin (other than my car one); they are just a bit pricey. And that's ok. I've done just fine without it. I have only done a few runs without headphones but I've enjoyed it. I should do a few more like that. I usually listen to books (I'm on Roots right now) and I love that or podcasts (Jillian Michaels and Focus on the Family are my favorites) so I don't get bored with music much. During races I listen to music so I don't talk through my whole book. :)

  8. Love your post! Often times I cover up my Garmin with masking tape because I look at it too much! I do like to have it for the data, but yes, it can take away from the true joy of running at times. Way to go with your year end!

  9. I don't have a garmin, imagine that!! I do run with my phone most of the time for safety, but it's usually in my bag. I like the surprise at the end of the run.

  10. This is great!! Since I am fairly new to running, I put pressure on myself to at least do as well as I did the day before, or the run before. I really love your idea! At least one run a week I will do "naked." Thanks so much for inspiring me! God bless you!

  11. That's great that you were able to do that! I haven't been using my Garmin lately, because the battery died and I haven't bought a new one yet. But I do run with my phone for Endomondo and music. I will try running 'naked' soon though!

  12. When I do run outside I always wear my Garmin. Baby steps for me. Maybe I'll do what Holly said about covering it up with masking tape.

  13. You are just a ball of sunshine! Love it and so exited to see ya in Eugene!

  14. I have been stuck without my watch on a few occasions but usually have my phone and so am able to track using it instead. I ended up doing Jingle Bell Hell this past year without my ipod because as I was walking out the door, I realized it was dead...that took a lot of drive for me to make it out the door. It made it harder for me to do the route, but I survived and now I know I can do it without music if I need to.

    Congrats on meeting your year goal, you are truly inspiring, especially to those of us that are trying to get back on the bandwagon.

  15. Very impressive mileage! After 20+ years running, still holding out on the garmin!

  16. Awesome mileage Jess! I'm with you on the Garmin thing - I leave mine at home whenever possible. I have friends who get so discouraged looking at their pace midrun that they run faster, get tired, and quit. It's a horrible way to run - all frustration, and no joy. Happy 2013!

  17. I'm a cyclist who runs only when something insane is happening, but I am wholly hooked on my Garmin (Edge 705). It use it on my "go fast" bike, my commuter, and if my son will ever give it back, my mountain bike. You are right about it being addictive. The times I've forgotten it on a commute, I've felt lost, mostly because I don't get to log the miles. If I'm on my go-fast bike, I'll stop and go get it. I don't use too many of the features, but if I can't "count" the miles, I somehow get bummed out, but once I'm riding, it's all good, until I get home and can't log the miles.


I appreciate your feedback and comments!