Racing Naked isn't nearly as sexy or frightening as it sounds, however, it is very liberating!
Going naked is tri speak for no watch. In general triathletes are very data driven. We wear sun dial size watches that tell us how far we have run, how fast we are running, what our heart rate is, our average pace, how long we have been running, the options for the display are many just don't ask us what time it is. During my runs I spend a lot of time looking at my watch, too much time. Running by heart rate means you need to keep your pace slow and even which is difficult in Houston heat and humidity, heaven forbid there is an elevation change.
Leading up to the Bridgeland sprint this weekend the store where I work had packet pick up during my shift both Friday and Saturday. This gave me the opportunity to speak with a lot of racers and a good percentage of them were first timers. Having done this race four times before I did my best to answer their questions and give them some tips to lessen their anxiety. My general spiel is '"read the information the race director has given you, nothing new on race day, get there early, thank the volunteers and smile for the cameras." I decided to take my own advice. I didn't have a computer on my bike and didn't wear my Garmin.
This was my first time racing Bridgeland in the age group category rather than Athena. The first year I took 2nd, the next two years I came in 4th and last year I got 3rd sharing the podium with a very good friend. The last 3 years I was looking to make the top three in my division and wondering where the other girls were on the course. Looking at my watch and being disappointed I wasn't running faster. This year I was racing age group feeling like a little fish in a much bigger pond competing against 58 women rather than the six 40 and over Athena's. I was less concerned with who was in front of me and who was going to catch me and more concerned with having a good time.
While visiting with my coach and friends after the race I told everyone I had a great race because I had a great time and felt good about how the morning went. It wasn't until I got home and looked at the results I realized I would have been the first Athena finisher for the first time ever. My time was seconds slower than last year and I know I could have pushed myself a little harder on the run but training for an Ironman left my legs heavy and sluggish. Arizona is my big picture. Bridgeland was a day to enjoy.