Like many people who have a passion for running, I started at a pretty young age. I remember the day exactly that I wanted to start running. It wasn't because I ran and liked it; it was because I saw someone my age doing it and decided I could do it too. 
Competitive juices bubbled over that day and thus another runner was born. It took me a while to figure a few things out, after all, there were not a lot of people around my hometown for me to ask advice, so many things I had to figure out on my own. Pacing, breathing, to not go out with the leaders and crash. Eventually like many newbies, I settled into my own idea of what a runner was. Eventually, I even learned to not race other people. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to win and did, and it bothered me to lose, but not because someone beat me, more so because I didn't run what I thought I should have. 

    Clearly there is a point in a race where your training ends and your instinct takes over. Normally, PR's happen on days like this. Everyone wants to win. That is built in to our DNA. You don't have to train to be a competitor. 

    Early on I was given a watch. I remember a man stopping by my parents home to see my dad. He was wearing a Timex Ironman. The entire time he was there I stared at his watch. The watch I had was a far less sophisticated watch, so I was already thinking of an upgrade. I remember asking him about the watch before he left and even talking running for a bit. I can't help but recall how he seemed amazed that a kid my age was so curious about running. A couple of years later when I began to win a few races, we became good friends. Still, during that time I was only beginning to understand how to train.

    As my watch was upgraded, I started to log my runs and track progress. Even though I did not have exact distances measured out, I made mental notes of the time when I passed landmarks. I would even split the watch and kept a log of the splits. My watch became my training partner and I would often race the watch in training runs. As I looked back over a 6 month stretch once it occurred to me the burst I added into my runs to better my splits were helping my overall time tremendously. Not only was I still going out with the leaders in a 5K (old habits die hard) but I was able to stay with the pack longer and longer. One day, the tables flipped and they were trying to stay with me. 

     My watch became the one thing I used on a regular basis to keep me on track. Back then, there was no such thing as GPS watches. But the principle is still the same. If you put in the work and race the clock; sometimes you will amaze yourself.

    I have met various runners over the years who prefer to not train with a watch. We all have our own method. But for me, racing the watch, training against time became the method that worked best for me.

  Now I have 3 GPS watches, but anytime I am on the track, I still only use a Timex Ironman. Call me old fashion.