“Running is alone time that let’s my brain unspool the tangles that build up over days”.
I entered 2020 with an aggressive goal to expand my running tourist role and travel to new locations for Rock N Roll Half marathon races. Started the year with a goal to run seven half marathons in the series along with a few local 5k and 10k races for speed work.
COVID-19 has turned the world upside down and we are still trying to get a handle on what normal daily actions look like now. FYI—I understand there are more important things in the world than me traveling America and running on city streets.
My last official race was a 5k on March 14, 2020 in Tallahassee. We were just getting a better understanding of how bad COVID-19 was at the time, but the event organizers took extra precautions but did not cancel the race. I remember the event was small with maybe 70 runners at the start line. We practiced physical distancing at the start line and gave everyone extra space just to be safe. There were no face masks present because the U.S. government told us there was nothing to worry about at that time. Now we know different, huh?
Fast forward to October 24, 2020 and I was back at a 5k starting line, but we all had on face masks. Physical distancing and masks were mandated to participate in this event. We could take the masks off once we began to run and had to put them back on once the race was over. Happy to report everyone complied and I felt safe while waiting my turn to start the race. The race organizers used a digital chip timer, so our times were synced based on our on-course performance instead of when we started. Example: I was the 60th runner to start but this did not impact where I placed because my time was synced directly to my performance not when I started.
I was extremely happy to be back on a race course with other people around. I love my training runs because I view running as my form of therapy but cannot make myself run fast without others around. It may be a mental block or simply a lack of motivation, but I run faster when other people are around. Think I just need to see people ahead of me to force myself to try to catch them.
I was able to slowly reel in runners during my 5k event. I wanted to post a good time but did not want to go out too fast and die a slow death on the backend of the race.
My first mile was a controlled 8:28 pace and I felt good with the pace. The second mile was a bit slower at 9:35 but still controlled considering I did no speed work or 5k training prior to showing up. Decided to maintain a level of control for the third mile and recorded 9:23 and felt comfortable at this pace. Finished with a little kick to see if I had anything left in the tank—crossed the finish line at 28:38 which is a minute slower than my race in March. To put that in context I was in full half marathon training mode in March so to run this fast without proper training is a good sign for me. May not be a good sign for my friends who run since we all know I can go faster. No pressure! 😊
I am happy with my performance and the ability to maintain my speed throughout the race. I went ahead and signed up for the OUC Half Marathon in Orlando on December 5, 2020. My original goal was to run in San Antonio in December, but COVID-19 has made an adjustment to my race schedule. The OUC race will have a staggered start and require face masks before and after the race. I feel comfortable with this process since I just completed a 5k with the same parameters. Looks like this is the new normal if we are going to see races again. It was not hard to practice physical distancing prior to racing so I will look for additional races to get my competitive fix again. Look forward to running in downtown Orlando again in December. Hope to catch up with friends while in town and enjoy being back in a great city.
So, I am racing again and enjoying every moment! Will not take racing for granted in this COVID-19 world.
What have you been able to do again safely in this COVID-19 world? What are you looking forward to?
Total miles in 2020: 982.77! 😊
“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they have a second”.