This was my first virtual race, and a major race fail in so many ways. The original event (non-virtual) had to be canceled due to COVID-19 (sadness!). They still gave out finisher’s awards, though, so Jason and I both picked up those. I grabbed a coffee mug, leaving him to grab the pint glass so that we wouldn’t get two of the same thing, ha! And of course, while it wasn’t necessary for us to actually do the 5K, I was determined to do it virtually. And despite what I said in yesterday’s Sunday Coffee, I decided to run this race** yesterday morning. This is where so many things went wrong for me.
**My toe was fine, though. That’s about the only thing that went right!
One: The weather was god-awful. I woke up yesterday morning and looked at my weather app. While it was cloudy out, it wasn’t supposed to rain until afternoon. The temps were decent – high 60s – though the humidity was a horrendous 90%. It looked like it was going to rain. This is where I probably should have paid more attention to my instincts than to my weather app. But no. I geared up and headed out to my favorite hiking trails park. I joked to Jason that I’d probably be soaking wet by the end of the run.
It began raining on the way to the park. The park is literally five minutes’ drive away. I debated with myself – worth it to just get the 5K over with? Especially since it’s supposed to rain for the next two weeks straight? Or should I just turn around? I wanted to run this and not wait for a few weeks, and by the time I got to the park, the rain had stopped. I figured that a few sprinkles every once in awhile wouldn’t hurt.
Generally, that was true. But about halfway into the 5K, it began to pour on me. I had to be very careful with my steps, especially whenever I ran, to make sure I didn’t slip on mud, or slide on slick rocks. Water poured down my face from soaking-wet hair, and my skin was stuck all over with bits of oak pollen buds. It wasn’t pleasant. Around the two-mile mark, I could have quit and gone to my car (as I pass the entrance to the parking lot). The rain was insane by then. But I didn’t want to quit, not two miles in. I kept going as the mud got worse and parts of the path began to pool and flood.
Long story short: my joke came true, I did my virtual 5K in some of the worst possible conditions ever, and I was soaked through by the end. In a further twist of irony, afternoon/evening dawned with clear skies and lovely temps and no rain in sight.
Two: Thanks to another stupid decision, I ended up doing more than a 5K. I recently downloaded Map My Run. Previously, I’ve been using a bare-bones app called Run Log to track my distance and pace. Its GPS is fairly consistent, though a little low (especially on cloudy days), and it doesn’t track elevation or mile-splits. I also use my Fitbit for heart-rate and step data, but find that it’s often overzealous about distance. For example, the section of the park that I run for my mile timing is actually 1.07 miles long. Run Log says 1.05 to 1.06 depending on the day, and Fitbit says 1.1 or higher. These may not seem like huge differences, but they add up mile to mile. I thought Map My Run could do more for me, but as it turns out, its GPS is terrible. I should have tested it before using it for a race-5K.
In the end, I don’t know the exact distance that I went because I was using Map My Run primarily. I could tell something was wrong because the all-run mile split was much higher than normal (16:19 pace) and went much further than the 1.07-mile spot. In the end, MMR told me that I did 3.09 miles at an 18:11/mile pace. Contrasting that was Run Log, with 3.2 miles at a 17:42/mi pace, and Fitbit with 3.35 miles at a 16:52/mi pace. I’d personally guess that I walked/ran 3.25 miles in about 56 1/2 mins (each timer is slightly different due to turning them off one after another), putting me at a pace of ~17:23/mi. But I really don’t know, because my primary GPS was so wonky. (The data it gave was similarly messed up – sometimes I was going a 4-min-mile pace, sometimes a 33-min-mile pace; not to mention I started and finished in the same location but it says that I ended at an elevation 169 feet above where I started, etc.) So Map My Run is right out, and I’ll be trying RunKeeper next.
Three: This is actually a funny story. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I’d begun listening to the podcast Real Life Ghost Stories. I had an episode on while on this 5K, and right as I entered a dark corridor of trees with a malignant sky above me, the hosts began to play an audio of a possessed child. Hoax or not, it freaked me out and I kept jumping at birds and squirrels rustling in the woods. Plus I kept looking back over my shoulder to make sure no one was there. I’ve literally been to this park hundreds (if not thousands) of times over the last 15 years and have never once been spooked. Ha!
So there you go. My total fail of a virtual 5K. I have another virtual 5K coming up in April, a Run Across Morocco 5K that I’ve already received my package for. I plan to have tested out RunKeeper and any other apps prior to running that one. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish that one without so many FAILS. But on a brighter note, I got to cross out another square in my running bingo!