I’m the kind of person who lives by the clock. My alarm clock is always set to go off in the morning because I can’t wake up naturally in time to get to work; I check my cellphone constantly not to see if I’ve gotten any calls or texts, but so that I can keep tabs on what time it is; I don’t go anywhere without a watch on. Honestly, it’s possible that my obsession with time does more harm than good. I worry about not arriving to places on time. I can’t stand being delayed. When something takes longer than it should, it drives me nuts. Every time I start getting stressed about time passing, I wonder what it would be like not to worry about what time it is or how long something is taking. What would it feel like to have a break from thinking about time?
Today, I did a little experimenting in order to find out. Or, at least to get closer to finding out than I have been in the past. Yes, that’s right: today I ran without my Garmin. Nat’s response when I showed him my bare wrist before walking out the door? “It’s about time.” (Yuk Yuk.)
Around 4:45 pm today, it started raining. By the time I got home, it was still raining. A quick check of the weather forecast indicated that the rain was going to continue for quite some time. So even though I’d been meaning to run watch-less for some time, today’s wet conditions were really what made me decide to leave my Garmin behind since rain and the bezel do not play nicely together.
The experience was different immediately, since I didn’t have to wait to locate any satellites before heading off to run. Walking out the door of my building and just running without any kind of prelude felt weird, like I’d forgotten something really important. I even checked a few times to make sure I’d remembered to bring my keys because things felt so off-kilter. When I got to the stoplight I encounter on the way to Riverside Park, I caught myself instinctively moving to pause my watch. I ran a little over three miles, and the nagging feeling I had that something was missing never really went away.
But I wouldn’t say it wasn’t a refreshing feeling. I’ve been feeling a little bit nauseous all day, and it felt good to run according to how my body felt rather than how I felt I should be running based on what my watch was telling me. I don’t know what my pace was, and I don’t really care all that much. I’m not sure what my exact distance was, and I can honestly say that doesn’t really matter either. It wasn’t a miraculous experience that made me see everything in a new light, and notice things I’d never noticed before, but it made a big difference to have a slightly different perspective on things. I mean, even when I tell myself that I’m going running and my pace and distance don’t matter, I always end up getting hung up on it–having a device that gives you that information strapped to your wrist makes it hard not to. So not even having the option to look at my stats was pretty different from what I’m used to.
My goal is to try running Garmin-free at least once a week. I’m even thinking of doing my long run this week without it, and seeing how that feels. I think any time I can find a way to live a little less “by the clock”, it’s probably good.