Syttende Mai 10 Mile Race

After Starved Rock Marathon I went through my usual post-race emotions and Googling of upcoming marathons. I even put some careful consideration into doing Green Bay Marathon the following weekend, my legs felt the best they ever have after a marathon. They felt so good that I did a bike ride on Monday and Tuesday averaging over 17 mph, which is speedy for me. After those two bike rides I felt settled and content post-marathon. I decided against the Green Bay Marathon so that I could continue to enjoy my quickly recovered legs and put energy into bike training for triathlon season.

Training last week:

Monday:  16 mile bike ride, 20 minutes of yoga, 10 minutes of core work.
Tuesday:  18 mile bike ride
Wednesday:  2,200 yard swim
Thursday:  1,800 yard swim with 6×50 on :50
Friday:  2 mile easy, test-the-legs run
Saturday:  Syttende Mai 10 mile race
Sunday:  3,000 yard swim with longer sets, 35 mile bike ride in 20 mph wind averaging 16+ mph.

The 10 mile race only happened because a friend could no longer run it and transferred her bib to me. With my marathon only being seven days prior I had zero expectations and even feared I might bonk by mile 6. My former coach from last fall put up a Throwback Thursday Instagram post about her Syttende Mai run in 2010 when she was new to running. She showed up to the race without a Garmin and wasn’t hyper focused on splits, and won the 20 mile race. Her point was that she wanted to get back to that person, running watchless and for the balance that running provides her in life.

It was a great post and inspired me to show up to the 10 mile race without my Garmin. I had it in my car, I looked at it, and tucked it back into my bag. No watch. Just run. Enjoy the miles, scenery and comradery of a small, local race.

When the gun went off I took off entirely too fast, but I was so cold pre-race waiting to start I just wanted to warm up ASAP! My incredible friend Mel saddled up alongside me within the first quarter mile. We ran stride for stride up and down the first couple of long, big country road hills. I had no idea how fast we were going, but it felt dangerously fast and I wisely pulled back and watched Mel fiercely disappear into the distance. That girl is strong AF and it was such a delight sharing the first mile or so with her.

It was foreign to be running a race without my Garmin and without mile markers. I had no clue how far or how fast I was moving. I had done this race in 2010 and remembered the approximate area that was mile five. Somewhere after that the course turned onto a long stretch of highway into an annoying headwind. This is where mental strength kicked in and I kept pushing on. After seeing coach Heidi and Andy from Ironworx Multisport on this long brutal stretch I kicked it up a notch—I think? There’s no data to prove it, but I felt stronger after seeing them anyway!

I run uncomfortably strong through the rest of the course, cringed up every last hill, and finished in 1:21:47, an 8:11 pace, placing 2ndin my age group.


Here’s how going watchless helped:

  • I wasn’t hyper focused on each split
  • Instant feedback didn’t cause me to run faster or slower
  • Instant feedback didn’t create any emotions to interfere with running
  • I had no expectations
  • I had no idea or expectation what my finish time might be
  • There were no last 3, 2, or 1 mile decisions on “If I can run XYZ for the last couple of miles I can finish in XYZ”
  • I gave it my all by feel

This semi spontaneous race boosted my confidence after last week’s marathon. I’m glad I did it, and excited to keep working hard in my training!




One comment

  1. You are SO fierce, strong, and brave!! I’m such a data lover that I’d probably run with my Garmin on and cover the face with tape. 😜 Cheers to an amazing race, a shiny new PR, and no expectations!! I can’t wait to see where you take yourself this year at IMWI!! 💪🏻❤️


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