On Sunday, March 29th I did my second-ever virtual half marathon, just a week after my first. I had planned to run the Ann Arbor Marathon and Rock CF half marathons on back-to-back weekends but COVID-19 changed that. Rock CF automatically turned into a virtual race with no other options available. I understood and was okay with that since the purpose of the race is to raise money for cystic fibrosis. Because I had signed up for both races, I was a part of the “March Mitten Marathon Madness” challenge. I received a bonus medal for participating in both races.
By the middle of June I received my packet of Rock CF stuff in the mail. It included a long sleeve shirt, sticker, and medal.
I ran my half marathon the day the race would have taken place and got in the spirit a little bit by wearing my shirt from last year’s race. For most of the run it was actually a little too warm wearing a long sleeve shirt because it was sunny, humid, and the temps were in the low 50s. I had accounted for a cooler real-feel due to strong winds in the forecast, but that didn’t hit until I had five miles left.
I ran all-out for the previous weekend’s virtual half marathon and was just 20 seconds slower than my PR. I wasn’t going to try that again a week later for this run. Initially, I had signed up for both races to help me get through long runs as I trained for a 50K anyway, so I told myself that this one was just a typical training run.
I mapped out a course along some dirt roads where I knew I could stay socially-distanced from others. I saw a few people along the way but not many. I started at Stoney Creek High School in Rochester Hills, MI and ran most of the route in Oakland Township.
The dirt roads were scenic and pretty.
Some stretches were hilly which helped keep my pace disciplined. No attempts at racing this time.
I enjoyed the scenery but it was hard to think of this as anything other than a typical training run. That’s part of the reason virtual races don’t appeal to me.
I was thankful for the downhill stretch for the last few miles, especially since that’s when I had to start battling the wind. 1:51:23 was a solid time for a training run. My splits show how my pace varied depending on the hills.
Although doing this “race” felt pretty uneventful at the time that changed when I checked social media later. It was fun to see posts from a bunch of others about their runs. It connected everyone in a way and made it feel more special. We were all out there supporting Rock CF while doing a good workout. I enjoyed running the race around Grosse Ile in 2019 and hopefully I’ll get the chance to go back and do it the proper way again in the future.
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