Resilience through a pandemic: When races are canceled, running is not…

Happy Cinco De Mayo!  I have to admit, I got race withdrawals in late March and early April, because I had some planned races and planned pacing gigs, but they did not happen.  I got over it quickly, because I realize those are just de minimus problems compared to what others may be going through.  Still, it was not something to minimize.  Self-care is still important especially during these challenging times.  We are in a pandemic period at this time, so all races have been canceled.  The shelter-in-place order has been in effect since late March, where we need to stay in our homes and only leave for essential activities, which include grocery shopping and outdoor exercise.  Unfortunately parks in San Mateo County where I live also closed out to foot-traffic, so I only ran on roads near my home in my neighborhood.  I started drinking wine everyday, sometimes more than one glass a day.  I stopped running.  I worked a lot, our office mandated working from home.

As of today, the order is starting to ease up, our parks are now open provided we observe the 6 feet distance and wear a face covering.  My running friends created our small challenge: run a 5k a day for 5 days.  We signed up for virtual races one at a time.  This was to continue to challenge myself and help keep up with fitness and my well-being.

First. I signed up for the Aravaipa Strong Virtual Challenge, just the marathon distance since I have not been running.  I did 2- 3.1 mile runs, then 1- 20-mile long run (4x 5 mile loop).  That felt good but also difficult.

Next, I did the #YetiUltra24HourChallenge, where I ran 5 miles every 4 hours for 24 hours.  This required some planning.  I planned out routes near home, with the evening route being a 1-mile loop that I did 5 times.  I started at 4 pm on Friday (took off work early that day), then complete my run by Saturday afternoon.  It was very fulfilling.  I also realized this is a good training for night runs and endurance.  As I shared this experience on social media, a few of my other friends got interested, and suggested that we do a 1 mile run every hour for 24 hours!  This way even non-ultra-runners can do it.

Finally, I signed up recently for this long-term virtual race, called the Great Race Across Tennessee, where we will be running 1000km from now till end of August.  This will definitely keep me motivated to keep on training for the rest of this summer.

I think virtual challenges just saved me.  I have the same ‘high’ I get from racing live, physical races.  I sleep well again at night, and I am trying to minimize my wine-drinking.  Let’s see how long this will last…

Aravaipa Virtual Marathon over 3 days, but took 4 because of break in days…

Yeti 24 Hour Virtual Challenge

Virtual Race Across TN – still ongoing till August