Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day…Run!

I’ve made a discovery this pandemic year: I love virtual runs!

I’ve been a runner since about 2005. Marathons, half-marathons and every other distance below that. But once I started rock climbing, in 2010, the running took second place. I can’t always make it to the runs because I’m out at a crag somewhere, or on a mountainside, or recovering from the previous day’s climb.

But this Covid year, everything is different. No climbing outdoors, no getting together with friends, no organized runs. But you can’t keep runners from running, any more than you can keep climbers from climbing….

So with trepidation, I signed up for my first ‘virtual run.’ I wasn’t sure what that meant. Did one just ‘run’ online? Did it involve fingers rather than feet? 

Surprise! You sign up, run the distance anywhere, any time, and send them your results. Simple! Easy to cheat, if that’s your thing. Virtual runs depend on honesty. The only one you would cheat is yourself. 

My ‘thing’, I’ve discovered, is goals. I’m a goal-setter, and goals keep me focused and accomplishing things. The goals here are the same, virtual or real. But for virtual runs, I don’t have to get up early. I don’t have to drive to the run or stand in line for the Porta-Potties. If it’s raining one day, I can run the next instead. I can run from my front door. All I have to do is send them a screen shot of my results. 

One downside makes it a bit harder to reach those goals: energy. Enthusiasm. Camaraderie. In a real road race, the energy you feel from all those other runners pounding the pavement or dirt all around you can help your performance immensely. It insinuates itself into your headspace and makes you better. Makes you run faster, or longer, or helps you do whatever it is that your body is saying you can’t do. There’s no substitute for that kind of shared energy.

Virtual runs, though, are the next best thing. And I love them!

Now if only there were such a thing as virtual rock climbing….

4 thoughts on “Happy Valentines Day!

  1. Hello Dierdre!
    First, I literally just finished reading The Sharp End Of Life. Truly inspiring! I can relate in some ways, especially from the mother-son aspect. My son (26) hikes and backpacks (thru-hikes). He and I have had a few adventures together which has allowed me a small glimpse of some of the terrain, trail conditions, and situations he has encountered. I’m thankful that I wasn’t aware of some as he was facing them. What small amount of experiences I have had in “his world” has opened my eyes to a whole new and different life than that in which I, myself, have been existing. I am a veteran teacher (18 years) and although I love sharing knowledge and guiding young minds in the areas of chemistry and physics, I feel like my life is stagnant. I’ve survived a few traumatic experiences, yet feel somewhat numb to life. I yearn for the soul fulfilling feelings that the trail and nature offers, the feeling of being “alive”. I felt the intensity of your experiences through your writing, and what I interpreted as that same desire to live life to the fullest after feeling like you had lost so much of yours to just existing. Fantastic book! Thank you for sharing your story!

    Second, there is a virtual challenge for the year called Run The Edge with the goal of running or walking 2021 miles in 2021. At age 50, I’ve embarked on this challenge for the year. Having no real prior running experience, I have walked (or hiked) the majority of the 427 miles I’ve completed thus far. I am gradually working in some running, but I’m finding that its tough on the knees, haha. I thought I’d share the name of the virtual challenge because that was the topic for your post. Perhaps you (or others) might be interested

    • Hi, Shannon — Wow, I thought I was being extreme to sign up to run El Camino de Santiago (in Spain) virtually this year! Good luck running 2021 miles!! Yes, it is hard on the knees….

  2. Salut D, I remember running the Valentine’s Run with you many years back! Your post brought back some nice memories. Glad you are staying active this winter and completed your first run. Congratulations!! A bientot…

    • Not my first — I’ve done several so far this year, including a marathon (in increments; see photo in this post). I love virtual races! I’m currently working on running el Camino de Santiago!

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