Under normal circumstances, this post would’ve included a recap of my 2020 Cleveland Marathon experience. The taperingish the week of, followed by running the Challenge Series on Saturday and Sunday.
But as we all know, things aren’t really normal right now. Races are cancelled. So this week, instead of running Cleveland, I had an ordinary running-by-myself week. Here’s what it looked like:
A highlight of my week? Having a Zoom happy hour with my fellow Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors. We were supposed to have an in-person dinner the Friday before race weekend, but as you can imagine, it got cancelled.
Even though the race was cancelled – running isn’t. I ran my own virtual race a few weeks ago. Even though it wasn’t this week, I wanted to share my Cleveland Marathon experience. Because it seemed only fitting to include it here, where and when it should’ve been.
My Cleveland race experience looked a little different this year. It started off one Thursday morning before work (from home). I set my alarm for 4:30, and was surprised at how dark it was when I got up. But shortly after I got up, I drank some water, had half an old Honeystinger and went outside in my neighborhood to run. The weather was a little cool and actually a little misty, but it cleared up as I ran.
I had no real planned route mapped out. Sure, I had planned a few neighborhoods I wanted to run through to get me to 13.1, but the way I got there was pretty much up in the air.
I ran slower than I’ve run the past few years. I was definitely disappointed in my time, but reminded myself that I didn’t really start training until the middle of March, after having the flu, so I should be proud to be able to run a half marathon with only a month or so of training.
No race crowds (or funny signs), but there was some nice chalk art!
The following day, I did my own 5k route. I ran it a little faster than my half pace, but still it was no race day pace at all. Plus, having to stop at red lights, cross the street to pass people, etc. made for an interesting race experience.
I’d never run a 5k the day after a half marathon. My legs were tired, but when I was done, I was so ecstatic to have completed my own VIRTUAL CLEVELAND MARATHON CHALLENGE.
What was different about the virtual race?
- The crowds. There were none. No people cheering me on, no fellow runners to motivate me. And nobody at the (imaginary) finish line. I didn’t even tell anyone I was running a half marathon that morning, and when I got home, everyone in my household was still asleep!
- The fuel. There were no planned water stops or gels or anything along the way. The day of the half, I felt the need for water at about an hour or so in, so I made sure to stop back home at around 8 miles, grab a drink (I had left a water bottle outside) and then finish up the half marathon.
- The entertainment. There were no bands along my course, of course 🙂 But, I did do something that i’ve never done on a race before — wear headphones! I actually listened to an audio book for part of the run, which I enjoyed.
- The course. Did I miss the typical Cleveland courses? Yes, indeed! I missed the downtown, Ohio City, and all over Cleveland route.
- The date. Being a virtual race, we were allowed to run it within a certain timeframe. So, I felt less pressure because if I didn’t finish it, I knew I could try to run it again another week. And I liked knowing I had the option!
Some questions for you:
- Do you have any virtual races coming up?
- What do you miss most about race season?