I’m Running a Race Next Week, And I’m Totally Unprepared For It

Next week, I’m running my first relay-ish race since my Ragnar Trail Relay last fall! Womxn Run The Vote is a virtual race, and the majority of my teammates (our team name is Don’t Boo, Vote) are in other parts of the country, but it’s still a “real” race to me! 

So, A Virtual Race, Huh?

It’s funny because I almost never used to run virtual races before the pandemic. They didn’t feel “real” to me. I think it’s because you didn’t have the energy and excitement of crowds and supporters, and you usually received the medal before actually completing the race. As Michael Scott once said, “well, well, well, how the turntables…”

Now, virtual races are all I’ve got! In fact, some of these virtual races have encouraged me to run more than I think I would have if it weren’t for the races. Nonetheless, I have not been great about running recently.

runner stretching hamstrings

So, You’re Unprepared, Huh?

You betcha! I think? I was really good about running for the first half of the pandemic. I downloaded the Peloton app (add me! Flecksoflex), started regularly running their guided outdoor runs, and used this as my one escape during all of this chaos and staying at home. In fact, the outdoor runs are the main reason I’m even paying for the Peloton app! These guided runs helped me run faster, more frequently, and feel like I have someone to actually run with me – not a small thing for someone closer to the back of the pack than the middle of the pack. 
I was on a great running streak until something major happened: The gyms opened back up! I ended up teaching four classes a week, including back-to-back classes on Saturday. What does this mean? I needed to adjust! I hadn’t used an actual stationary bike in months, only my bike trainer, so I wanted to ease into it. That translated to a heck of a lot less running, virtual HIIT and barre classes, and a lot more cycling. 
I eventually got back into a running rhythm, thanks mostly to the Peloton Pelothon that took place over the course of a month, requiring me to complete an activity nearly every day. Of course, that ended and… well, here we are.
Now that my body has adjusted, I looked at my calendar and realized I had to run 34 miles over the course of 6 days next week. That might not sound like much to many of you, but I have been pretty horrible about running over the last month. I’m scratching my head trying to think about how I’m going to pull this one off, but, admittedly, this is not the first time I’ve been unprepared for a race. I really need to get my act together, huh?

So, What Now?

Well, I’m in it to win it! My close friends know that I’m fueled primarily by two forces: shame and competition. I don’t want to bring shame on my team of fierce ladies, and I also want to win (is that even a thing in this race? I don’t even know), so I’m doing it! 
The good news that I learned today is that I don’t actually have to run all 34 miles, but I probably will. Who knows? One thing that’s certain is that I definitely need to make sure I’m practicing plenty of yoga over the next week. I have not been great about strength training, and my yoga practice has been a little inconsistent over the last few weeks. My hip flexors are definitely upset with me, and they will be furious if I try to be slick and sneak in 34 miles on them! 

So, Some Parting Thoughts?

I’m maybe being a little dramatic (probably), but this is a great wake-up call for me going into the fall. I’m not sure what’s going to happen over the next few months. This year has been a dumpster fire after all. I mean, I watched Carole Baskin dance to “Eye of the Tiger” on Dancing With The Stars on Monday. I’ve never been a viewer of that show, nor did I know who Carole Baskin was before this year, so who knows what’s in store for us in these last few months.
One thing is for sure, though: Being prepared to run outdoors in the winter is going to be important for me. I am going to go absolutely bonkers if I can’t find ways to sneak in some outdoor time in the cold months!
Have you ever signed up for a race without thinking through how you were going to run it? Have you ever run a relay? Any advice for a slacker?

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