How did you get into virtual running? Was COVID-19 a factor?
@RunstoppableMo: I’ve been running virtually since before COVID! I like finding unique challenges or fandom communities to join virtually through the common goal of running. I especially love when a race has a cool theme (I’m in a Doctor Who Running Club for this reason!) I enjoy the live race environment, though, but prefer to serve as photographer, capturing race day through my camera! I do have a medal and bib wall that I keep adding to, albeit virtual events!
@Unicorns.eat.pancakes: Before COVID, I ran a few virtuals if the medal/shirt/other swag was tempting enough. This year, I’ve completed 13 virtual runs…to date. Now I’m motivated if any of my running buddies are signing up for the same race. That’s how I discovered Run Project. I thought my British running buddy Nick needed an ah-mazing Texas shirt in his life, and what could be better than the Badass Texas one. I’ve since ran the Run Exotic and Too Hot to Handle, and I volunteered for the Melon Dash cheer station just this past weekend.
So, it seems like you both see virtuals as a positive thing, not just a work-around to get through COVID. For those of us who are skeptical, what’s the big deal?
@Unicorns.eat.pancakes: Virtual races bring the saying “You vs you” home. It’s easy to be competitive in a live race, but virtuals are where you really dig down into your grit and push yourself to finish–maybe PB, if that’s what you’re working on–but most importantly, have fun. Some of my friends have their kids cheering them along the “course” with signs, or waiting for them with a handmade finish line. As with everything in life, the virtual race experience is what you make it.
@RunstoppableMo: For me, virtual races are all about joining a bigger community of runners. I’ve met so many people both virtually and in person thanks to virtual running. That’s how I met Dani (@unicorns.eat.pancakes). We met when I posted a video about Run Exotic and she noticed we run the same neighborhood! Now we are real-life running buddies which wouldn’t have happened otherwise. At an in person race we might never have thought to walk up to each other and say hi even though it turns out we have a lot in common!
@Unicorns.eat.pancakes: According to the Myers-Brigg’s test, I’m an INFJ, so, while I crave deep connections with people, meeting new people can be a little stressful. The Charge Running App allowed me to meet runners on a virtual platform, some of whom have become such dear friends. For example, Canadian runner Joanne surprised me by running the Troubled Raccoon 24/7 in 24 hours with me. If she hadn’t been there to share in my joy and pain, I might not have completed the challenge in 24 hours!
Cultivating real-life friendships from these virtual runs has now encouraged me to stretch out of my comfort zone and connect with local runners, like Mo (@RunstoppableMo). I’m looking forward to the day I can join up with a local running group.
Have you always been a runner?
@RunstoppableMo: No way! I was the kid who cried in PE and hid under the bleachers during run-the-mile day. I was the tiny, uncoordinated, nerd you might say! I started running at age 32 because one of my friends is a runner and I kept seeing her post about it on Facebook. She goes on camping trips that feature a 5K and she opened my eyes to how all-inclusive the running community can be! Especially with virtual running, there is literally a race for everyone!
@Unicorns.eat.pancakes: I’ve always struggled with weight. Growing up, I was NOT an athletic girl. At 5’4″ and over 200 pounds in high school, I focused on academics to try to get a scholarship somewhere, so anything that looked remotely athletic took a back seat. Fast forward a few years. I’ve been running on and off since 2007, but in early 2018, I found myself pushing 200 pounds yet again. I wanted to try something different, so I joined a CrossFit box. I struggle-bussed with strength and gymnastics, but towards the end of that year, I found myself again wanting to focus on something I was kinda okay at: cardio. So, in November, I challenged myself to complete 12 5Ks in 12 months, which culminated in me winning my age group and PBing my 5K time in October of 2019. After that, I decided to do a 12 10Ks in 12 months challenge, but COVID’s put that on hold (I want to complete this with live runs), so, because I’m driven to improve, I’m now training to get a 50 minute 10K time in the fall.
Finally, what’s giving you life right now through COVID?
@Unicorns.eat.pancakes: During shelter-in-place, I discovered Maple Bacon’s chocolate chip pancakes, and they make finishing long runs on weekends so yummy.
@RunstoppableMo: Hmmm GT’s Kombucha and the Morning Ritual podcast. It’s good to find a bit of mindfulness in a time of chaos!