The Virtual Race

Did you know that you can be a “virtual runner” is some races? This means you pay your race fee and you get your commemorative tee but you’re on the honor system to do the race on your own time in your own community. I changed my status to virtual a couple of days before the race when it dawned on me that it wouldn’t be possible to get a sitter that early in the morning and for me to drive about an hour to get there on time.

I did it. I ran a 10K without stopping. Last Sunday I ran this race:

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But get this. I haven’t gone for a run for a month prior due to a hip injury nor have I paid attention to what I’ve eaten. Also, right before I ran, I decided to have a couple of slices of leftover pizza and a brownie!

Isn’t that nuts? Who does that?

Apparently I do. Having that pizza gave me the strength to keep running nonstop for an hour and a half. Having that brownie was just something I threw in. What the hell, right? Why not?

This morning I ran with the moon. I woke up at five in the morning on accident and did not feel groggy (that’s what happens when you cut processed carbs and lay off sugar; more energy!). I folded two loads of laundry while music from the disco era played softly in the background. As soon as my alarm went off at six, I woke up the kids and let them know I was going for a run.

For me the first half-mile is the most difficult. It’s slightly painful but that is nothing compared to the battle in my head. It’s as if all of my insecurities and worries are fighting to the death: I’m far too heavy to be running like this or at all. I’m far too old to set these sorts of fitness goals and perhaps something less intense would be better for me. I can’t change my eating habits because I’m too addicted to sugar so why even bother? Why did I ever think I could run? Octogenerians literally run circles around me at these races.

See? Terrible, right? And that’s all I can remember. There is a far harsher monologue that doesn’t quit until my mind tires of it and I begin to concentrate on running. Mindful of every step. Mindful of every pound of the pavement as not to land wrong. Mindful of every breath.

This morning I ran with the stars still out, cell phone in hand to keep track of every lap to form what would be my new base run. The goal is no longer beating my time. The goal is now to just keep going.

The goal is not stopping.

This morning we kissed the three-digit weather goodbye, the cold breeze from the delta finally returning after a longer, later summer.

This morning I kissed the sun and orange skies.

It felt pretty goddamn good to run again.

Still hurts but hey… Just keep going, right?

This Sunday I’ve got a 5K and right now I am sitting in my car waiting for the sports store in downtown Sacramento to open so I can pick up my race packet.

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Only I can’t pick up my packet for another six hours! I checked my reminder email about the race again and yes, I am way too early.

But still, it feels pretty goddamn good.

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2 thoughts on “The Virtual Race

  1. You are going to have to tell me how you got into the mindset to run the 10k! I tell myself ALL the time that I’m going to get my lazy behind up and start exercising – specifically to run a marathon. Of course it’s only been just talk…in my head!

    • Set small goals but don’t be discouraged if you don’t achieve them; just make new goals. I set a goal to run four 5Ks in a series but missed the second one because I was still recovering from a really bad cold. I missed the third due to a funeral out of town. I would like to run the fourth in December but eh, I will (try to) keep training like I am. Only now do I realize that speed is not my goal but rather stamina to run longer and longer.

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