I tried something today I haven't done in 5 years, I ran without my heart rate monitor on. When I started running I never wore it. Really at that point, I just wanted to get from point A to B back to A without dying, passing out, thorwing up, having an asthma attack or embarrassing myself in some really major way (which I have done more than once, by the way). I had no idea what a heart rate monitor was or why anyone would ever use it.
But then 5 years later I found myself pregnant with my first child and my doctor told me I could run as long as I kept my heart rate low enough. Thus, the search for a reliable heart rate monitor. I will admit it was weird at first and I found myself checking it quite regularly . . . say every minute or so. But over time, it became second nature to know it was there and to only check it when going up hills or doing something else that made me think maybe, just maybe, I should slow down from my already snails-pace. I always liked to track my miles also, so I ended up wearing my Polar watch/HR monitor along with an old-school, early-edition Garmin (which was huge, slow and bulky). A few years back I upgraded to a Garmin thanks to my wonderful husband who bought it for me for an anniversary gift. This was a great upgrade, allowing me to have my HR, mileage, pace, etc. available at all times. And so it came to be that I never went for a run without having all of that information at my fingertips.
Until today, when I realized about 30 seconds into my run that I had forgotten to put the HR strap on. I almost went home to get it but really, was it all that necessary? I'm happy to report that my run went fine. I tried to judge my effort by how I was feeling, which was a little difficult due to the heat, but overall it was a successful run. It felt kind of liberating to not have it, like I was in control of my run instead of the little computer attached to my wrist. I typically forgo other electronics (such as an iPod) while running, other than to carry my cell phone in case of emergency. And I think going forward I'm going to try to leave the HR strap at home a little more often.