About the time I became happy about short “long” runs and my half marathon schedule, I received notice that the Cowtown Marathon was allowing a virtual race option. I spent the better part of a workday trying to decide if I wanted to do the virtual marathon.
The first task was fitting into my schedule. It’s a lot easier for me to block out half a day for a race than an entire morning for training. My kids don’t call me when I’m at a race – or at least don’t expect me to answer for a while. 🙂
The second task was to decide if running 26 miles less than three weeks before my next half marathon would mess up my time. I had until the end of the month to complete it, but I was ready to be done with long runs and I needed my speed to come back for my shorter races. I also needed to drop the marathon weight gain, and that doesn’t happen when I fuel up for long runs. A fringe benefit to running 26.2 would be burning off more of those carbs I had loaded up on, even though a week late.
When I told my husband about it, he said “do it.” We had a family 5k that Saturday (March 7th) and I decided to work that into my virtual marathon. I would run as much as I could before the 5k, run the 5k, and then finish. I would not be carbo-loading. I would not push too hard, and I would take enough walk breaks so I could return to training the following week.
I had my plan.
After work Friday, I stopped to pick up race packets for the first annual Band on the Run 5K.
I was excited about this race for several reasons: local race, band fundraiser – saves us money as band parents, spaghetti dinner included with the registration, nice goody bags and family fun!
Then we headed to the spaghetti dinner/band concert. Yum. Carbs.
Saturday morning, I tried to start early. I wanted to be at least halfway done before the 5k.
For the 5k, my 12 year old wanted me to run with her. My husband (for his first 5k) would stay with our 9 year old. The band – including our 17 year old daughter – would play at the start/finish line and other band members would be at the water stop/halfway point. From experience I knew this 5k would have a lot of walk breaks, and that was okay! I won’t go through the entire list of ailments my daughter had through the 3.1 miles of the course, because I’m sure I was that way when I first started running. “Ow, there’s something in my shoe.” “My face is itchy.” Etc, etc…
I would negotiate our walk breaks. “Make it to the next cone and then we walk.” “Now to the stop sign.”
She would bargain. “No, let’s walk at the light pole.”
We came to the last turn with less than half a mile to go and I grabbed her hand. “Come on! We run all the way through. The band was playing for everyone that finished and it was great. These two finished before we did.
The best part was the awards ceremony. The little ones placed in their age groups (benefits of a small race) and so did my husband. Not bad for a first timer.
After that, they headed home and I set out for the second half of my virtual marathon. By then it was warming up and before I made it back to my neighborhood I had shed the headband and jacket. Then I trudged through the rest of my miles. I should’ve worn sunscreen – or my visor.
Running a marathon is hard. Running it in three stages like I did made the overall distance seem shorter, but the morning sure was long. But I got it done. I wasn’t wiped out like I normally am after a marathon, but my legs sure felt like they covered 26 miles. I may not have qualified as a Marathon Maniac this time, but I earned my Cowtown marathon medal and shirt.
Now on to my next race which is this Sunday – the Rock ‘n Roll Dallas half marathon with Team Chocolate Milk. I’m so excited about this race, and I know there will be chocolate milk at the finish! Yay!