A couple months ago, I stumbled across a virtual 5K called Race Across Morocco. I’d never signed up for a virtual race before and had no experience with that sort of thing. Since I had 5Ks planned and purchased for March and May, this virtual one in April seemed exactly what I needed. I hadn’t anticipated coronavirus or events being canceled, moved, or made virtual. Last month, I did the Shamrock Shuffle 5K as a virtual event and wasn’t particularly a fan of the “format” as you might call it. But still, I’d ordered and received my packet for Race Across Morocco, so I decided when it was cool out on Monday morning to just go for it.
I did this 5K once again at my local hiking trails. The problem with doing a 5K in that location is that there’s this one giant hill toward the summit. You either go up a very steep trail, or you go up a long, meandering, constantly uphill trail. When I walk these trails, I prefer to stay on the upward track as long as possible. If I’m going to run, though, I want to walk up the steep hill so I can have my running mostly downhill. Because running uphill sucks. This is the same location/route where I’ve been running full miles and slowly improving my time, but not the same park where I practice Couch to 5K (it has mostly level ground).
The morning was beautifully cool and I decided to push myself a bit. Honestly, it’s hard to know just how much of my difficulty during this 3.1 miles came from that extra push (which of course started by speed-walking up a giant hill in the first mile!) and how much came from a combination of prolonged insomnia and massive amounts of oak pollen in the air. Either way, I was breathing hard and the air felt thick even though the humidity was low. My legs hurt, feeling a bit battered and almost to-failure fatigue toward the end. I did run the entire second mile, and beat my current mile-PR by 24 seconds. It was still only a 15:07-minute-mile, but I’ll take it! The first time I ran a full mile since all this weight regain, it was almost a 17-min-mile, so that’s some major improvement!
Anyway, I finished the 5K in 51:47, or a 16:42/mi pace, with about half the race run, half walked. I opened up my medal afterwards and was excited to see and wear it. I was also excited to cross off my third running bingo square, labeled “international.” While I’d love to actually run an event in another country one day, I don’t want to bank on ever being flush enough to do so (puns intended), so a virtual international 5K will have to do!
I do look forward to real live 5Ks again one day!