My First Virtual 5k

The COVID-19 virus has had an impact on everyone and everything it seems. We’re reminded how uncertain and fragile life can be, yet at the same time each day is a gift. I am continuing to look at my ability to run as another gift in life. Running exercises not only my body, but also my brain.

I completed my first virtual 5k on Sunday. It was a mental battle, but I completed it.

Amidst this pandemic, I wanted to create a goal for myself: complete a 5k. Unfortunately, we’re not able to meet for any actual races at this time, so virtual races were my only option. Most have costs to them and come with medals, custom bibs, and other fun goodies. The only I completed Sunday was a no-frills race though.

The race I registered for was coordinated in Indianapolis. Though there were route maps available for those in the city, anyone who registered outside Indy could self-coordinate their run on their own… so I followed the route of the Lory’s Place 5k, an annual race in my area.

Following my Couch to 5k training program, I did 1:30 run/2:00 walk intervals for the extent of 3.21 miles. I finished in 48:24 with an average 15:06 pace. At first, when I sat in my car eating my post-run banana, I was berating myself for such a terrible time. How in the world could I have such a pace? How did I let myself lapse in my running so far that I’m back to Square One? Who am I to think I can succeed in this venture while my shins, glutes, lungs, etc. are all on fire? I’m crazy to think I can do a half marathon in only four months.

And then I mentally slapped myself. I had wrestled with my inner demons the entire run, almost quitting a handful of times. I could use the shin splints as an excuse. No one would even know I hadn’t reached my goal. Why did I set such a lofty goal of a 5k today anyways? I definitely wasn’t ready to run 3 miles.

Over and over again I mentally slapped myself while running. Cut it out! I got this! I am strong. I can do this.

And I did. I finished 3.21 miles in 48 minutes and 24 seconds. I finished 3.21 miles on sore legs barely able to lift my feet. I pushed myself to run every single interval, through the fatigue.

I. Am. Amazing.

This past Sunday I slayed my first virtual 5k.

Every weekend going forward I plan to rerun the Lory’s Place route and better my time. 48:24 is my baseline — and a good baseline for a beginner at that! I now have a starting point to grow. Not only am I proud of completing my first virtual race, but I’m extremely proud of myself for how I pulled the switch on my thoughts.

After my little inner battle, I posted about my run on Facebook. I publicly displayed my pace, time, and distance to friends and loved ones. And low and behold, no one replied with a laughing emoji or “Wow, you’re slow!” Instead, I received nothing but kudos and support.

It is comforting to know I had such a great support system… but it is even more comforting to know I have my own back.

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