In my 34 years of running (which now more resembles wobbling), I’ve completed well over 300 races. One constant links all those distances from a mile to a 50K (31.1 miles): My running watch. In the early years I sported a chronograph (Casio and Timex were favorites). In 2003, I stepped up to higher tech with a Garmin Forerunner, which uses GPS to more accurately figure one’s distance and mile splits.
Now I’ve had watches occasionally die or malfunction due to operator error (as in pushing the wrong button at the start and/or finish). But I’ve never neglected to actually wear a timepiece during a race.
Until yesterday. My Garmin Forerunner 110 was charged and ready to go as I attempted my third 13.1-miler this year (12th overall), the Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Half Marathon. Unfortunately, it wasn’t on my left wrist. Instead, it still was on the charger. At home.
As I parked my Honda Pilot near the race start, I realized my watch was missing. Then I had another I-should’ve-had-a-V8 moment: When I got ready earlier that morning, I neglected to use my asthma inhaler, which is standard operating procedure before long runs. Just like putting on my 110.
Fortunately, this final race of my seven-week tour of a trio of Houston-area halfs had spectacular running weather: 33 degrees at the start with no wind. What a welcome change from the Aramco Houston’s cold, wet misery and the USA Fit’s sweatfest! Definitely a running chamber of commerce day; no wonder it was my fastest time of the three (with me “fast” definitely is relative . . . and I do blame my relatives for my lousy running DNA). My breathing was fine until the last couple miles, but I never felt in distress.
Timingwise, I decided to use my iPhone 5’s stopwatch, clicking it when I crossed the start and the finish. However, I could’ve used the Nike+ app to track the entire distance and mile splits, because I was wearing my trusty companion Fooba, aka my Nike FuelBand. Unfortunately, I totally forget about it until I passed a fellow competitor and heard her phone say her split. At mile six.
I could’ve had a V8!
Despite my forgetfulness, this was as enjoyable a race as 13.1 miles can be. There were two bagpipers, a fellow who was blasting Beatles tunes outside a van, and the finishers’ goody bag featured a Hershey bar and Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies. What’s not to love?
Plus the finisher’s medal was shiny and huge! It’s a fine addition to my collection.
As for not wearing a watch, it felt kind of nice not being a slave to it. Still, I hope that next time I remember to look at my wrist before I leave the house for a race!