I miss races. I miss the camaraderie. I miss the excitement and crowds of the start, the spreading out of the first mile until you start to identify your race “peers,” the spectators whether a scattered few or walls of support, the alternation of exhaustion and adrenaline at the finish. I miss gasping in relief when I come to a stop, cooling down and cheering on the people who finish after, chatting with new acquaintances, milling around where the results are posted. I really really miss the food, which is one of my main criteria for choosing races.
I “ran” the Girls on the Run virtual 5K in June, but it was a race I’d never done in person and the terms were pretty loosey-goosey so I didn’t really treat it like a race, just part of my Sunday long run (love the medal, though!) This one I took seriously – I ran it on the course as I remembered it (took a slightly alternate route, it turns out), and tried to pace myself exactly as I would for a real race, with 50-60% effort for the first few miles ramping up to all-out at the finish. 32:08, about right – I am definitely slowing a bit as I age. Last year I finished in 31:19. Very little to report since I was solo… the weather was overcast and not too hot, so that was nice, and the streets were empty because it was early. A distanced yoga class was taking place on the lawn in Childs Park, which looked like fun, and I saw a few other runners. I was proud of myself for staying mostly as focused as I would during a real race, so it was a decent experience – and of course it supports a good cause – but like many other pandemic-year substitutes, it’s a pale imitation of the real thing. Alas, I forgot they had suggested taking a selfie at the finish which they’d include in a livestream on 8/23 – oh well. I will very much enjoy the frozen yogurt when the coupon comes – I hope it will be GoBerry as usual!
edited to add: A big difference I forgot to mention with running now, of course, is the mask… although I often pull it down if there’s nobody around, I ran this whole race fully masked up to see how it went. It would have been fine except for how damp it gets (this is a two-layer handmade cotton mask – I tried running in a neoprene one and it was unbearable, but haven’t tried a standard medical mask). By the end the mask was actually wet and sticking to my face as I panted during the sprint. If I ever had to be masked for a long race, like a marathon or half-marathon, I’d bring several to swap out.