Running Old School

Every year, my running club hosts an annual event called the “Blue Ribbon Run.”  It’s an 8km race, but the concept is unique; at the start of the event, runners have to take off their watches and write down their predicted finishing time.  The winner of the event is not the fastest runner, but rather the runner that finishes the closest to their predicted time.  It’s a great way for all speeds and abilities to be involved, and the glory of a first-place finish is attainable for everyone.

But it’s funny how one can respond to running “old school.”

I’ve been a runner for as long as I can remember, and some of my fondest childhood memories take place at elementary school cross-country meets.  There was a time in my early twenties when I had the time and motivation to put in the hard work needed, that I was competitive at the half-marathon distance, collecting medals and podiums, prize money and personal bests along the way. 

This was before the days of activity-trackers capable of measuring the smallest changes in pace, the wrist-based heart rate, the accuracy of cadence counts.  This was back when running was simple and somewhat solo; no online logs for all to see, no comparison of training plans, no expectation other than to run as well as you could on the day.  My best guess at my pace used to be after my runs, when I would upload my route onto a mapping website, and then calculate my average splits based on my watch’s stop time.  Simple.  Easy.  Effective.

But somewhere along the way, I got roped into running with technology.  I stopped listening to my body and started watching my pace, my heart rate, my cadence.  I started grading my interval workouts by the times I hit rather than the feelings I felt.  I started uploading my workouts to online platforms, comparing myself to other runners, imposing pressures on myself that recreational athletes shouldn’t be feeling.

And then the Blue Ribbon Run rolls around again and serves as a yearly reminder to run for fun and fitness, friendships, and a feeling of accomplishment.  I came in 2nd place, only seven seconds slower than my predicted finishing time, and I left feeling confident in my training, my abilities, and most importantly, my love of running.  Simple.

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Dr. Ashley Worobec, Chiropractor and RockTape ambassador