This weekend I ran the Michigan Wine Trail Half Marathon  'naked'.  What? Naked???? Well you know, without my Garmin! Now I bet you are even more shocked.  Funny that for so many of us runners, the thought of running without our trusty Garmin leaves us feeling, well, naked.  No pace, no time, no do we run without knowing every little piece of data? 

To completely confess, it wasn't by choice.  I have always wanted to run a half just by feel and leave the Garmin behind. I don't think I would ever have had the courage to do it but when I was 45 min away from home (and realized I had left it on the charger), I had to press on.  I don't think I have ever done a run over 5 miles without my Garmin.  I have been known to stand outside my house for 15 min waiting for those darn satellites! 

After a bit of a panic, I decided they would have timing on the course and I would use that as my guide.  Run most of the race based on my breathing and how my quads were holding up (this is a VERY hilly half marathon) and check in every few miles on time.  With the plan in place, I headed to wine country.  I arrived at the start with my sisters who were running their first 5k (more about that in another blog, VERY PROUD!) and met up with my friend Barb (who talked me into this half...all on the premise of a free wine glass and really cool medal).  We were surprised to find out there were less than 500 runners between both the 5k and the half marathon.  

After a few motivational "you got this and have a great race" from my sisters, I lined up at the start line and headed out with the small pack.  I hit the first mile, no clock, no time.  I watched everyone in front of me pass that sign and look down at their watches to check their time.  Mile two same thing.  By mile 7 as I hit a HUGE hill (no literally I had to look up at the hill to see it all!) there still hadn't been a clock to be found, I realized this whole race was going to be run based on simply how I felt.  I was tempted a few times to ask someone with a Garmin our pace or what time we were at BUT I am proud to say I did not.  

I had NO IDEA what my pace was I just knew I felt good, my IT Band and Achilles were holding up, and I was taking each hill one at a time.  By mile 11 I was wavering a bit, I think my pace slowed down a bit, but I honestly have no idea if it did. I decided to adopt the mantra "Run the mile you are in"  So I just thought about getting to mile 12.  Once I hit mile 12, I changed it to "You can do anything for 10 minutes!"  Funny how much of a mind game running can be!

I took the turn into the finish and saw the clock said 1:57 something.  I was shocked...really! My half PR was a 1:56:35.  So 2 years later on a TOUGH HILLY course I was almost beating my PR.  I ended up finishing in 1:57:07 and honestly didn't miss my Garmin at all!  Honestly leaving the 'details' behind, I was able to listen to my body and run what felt good.   I think I might have smiled more on this course than any other half and the best sisters were cheering me in at the finish.  One of them even took my medal from the volunteer and put it on me.  Really will be one of my best running memories ever!

Run Happy--Dr M

Dr. Misty McNeill
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D.P.M. - Founder of Prairie Path Foot and Ankle Clinic
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