- When I signed up for this virtual race, I knew that running it would be a chore.
My suspicions were correct. I didn’t look forward to this as the days ticked by. I was somewhat relieved (but also quite alarmed) when I couldn’t run last week due to smoke. I almost lost my motivation to run yesterday after the gut punch that was RBG’s death.
- Because of the virtual nature of this event, I didn’t want to race. I didn’t even want to push. I’ve run many 26.2-ers “for fun” on my own. This would just be another one.
But what would be an “easy” pace? It’s been _many_ months since I’ve really put in real work. I’ve lost fitness. I’ve also lost a sense of _how_ much fitness I still have.
- The first few miles of this run ticked away pretty effortlessly. I stopped at traffic lights. I pulled up my mask as I passed the many people enjoying the Bay. Before I knew it, 7 miles had passed by.
- I was seriously worried about water on this run. It’s been months since I’ve run the Bay Trail. Would water fountains still work?
Luckily, out of 5 water fountains I passed by, 4 worked. I got water at the Berkeley Marina, Cesar Chavez Park, Point Isabel Dog Park, and the Shimada Friendship Park. (Notably this meant that I didn’t have water for the last 10+ miles — I was parched by the time I finished.)
- The middle miles between 7 and 18 went by just fine. After fiddling around with my pace for the first 7 miles, it seemed like 7:45 to 8:15/mile would be my (albeit wide) range today. This felt sustainable. The main (sad) thought in my mind during this section was the fact that my heart rate mostly stayed in Z3, while this time last year, it would’ve been in Z2. Oh well.
- The main scare happened probably around Mile 14, as I made my way around Costco. While my legs and feet _did_ start fatiguing, I experienced a momentary onslaught of pain and cramping pretty much everywhere I’ve had problems in the past: my right calf, my inner left knee, my left hamstring, my right foot.
This all went away as quickly as they showed up. It was as if my body was reminding me who’s really the boss.
- Despite the “easy” pace, the last 6.2 miles wasn’t easy. The joy of 26.2 miles, I guess. Actually, today, it was really the last 4 miles, and definitely the last 2.2 miles.
In short, during these closing miles, it occurred to me that if this were a _real_ marathon, it would take massive willpower and focus to move faster than I was already. Since I wasn’t moving very fast, this was a depressing thought.
I had to resist checking my watch every 0.01 miles (I let myself check every time I thought I’d moved 0.20 miles).
- There was no “finish line” at the end. No spectators, no cheers, no finish expo. Some guy asked me if I had just gotten out of soccer practice LOL.
But what did I expect? Virtual marathon or not, I would’ve come out for a long (or really long) run today anyway, given the precious window of good air. I don’t run for the kudos, I reminded myself. I don’t even necessarily run because I want to race.
- Now, it’s time for a nap. That’s one of the best things about a nice, long run: the guarantee of deeply satisfying rest. Maybe I’ll have more thoughts when I wake up…