It is official: All my planned races for 2020 have been cancelled. But that was to be expected given that we are still in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic, complete with the social distancing and self-isolation practices that go along with it.
However, just because it was expected doesn’t mean there isn’t a level of disappointment. After all, my running goals were a large part of my 2020 goals! Indeed, I was really starting to ramp up my running before the global health crisis and I was looking forward to my spring races. Even more exciting for me was that this year was to be my first year back to racing after breaking my ankle nearly four years ago.
People who know me well know that I am not generally happy about cancelled goals. If I say I’m going to do something, I (almost always) do it. That’s part of why I like to make declarations of my big running plans: To keep me motivated because I can’t be known as the person who says they’re going to achieve some great feat then doesn’t do it! (It’s an ego thing.)
And whilst I know that people would completely understand if I abandoned my running goals for the year, I can’t rationalise abandonment. I mean, I have the time to train. I have space to train. And, importantly, I have the good health to train. The only thing left is to put in the race miles.
Of course, there is a massive difference between running long distances in a race and running long distances at home. With the race comes support in the form of water and energy stops (and loos!) along the route. Race conditions also mean faster times because you’re caught up in the excitement of it all. And it means that you get the motivation to carry on from the crowds of people cheering you on as you go.
The last time I ran a solo race was back in 2011 when I ran the Inaugural Homeland Half. The race was planned after a friend bailed out on a formal race and I didn’t feel like making the long journey on my own. That race was meant as a training event ahead of my first marathon, and I still wanted to put in the miles. And so, my Daddy was my support team all along the course.
But without race support, I will have to figure out the best way to manage my hydration and energy. I will also have to rely 100% on my own motivation and stamina to keep me going because there won’t be anyone to cheer me on along the route. That means that I will have to find the power inside of myself to keep going. And that’s going to be quite challenging in itself!
For now, I am intending to do at least one full marathon in the autumn and at least two half marathons over the summer. I hope that I will find a bit of motivation to increase those numbers, especially as I feel that I managed OK on my recent 12-mile run.
To manage my hydration during the races, I will create routes that loop back by my cottage every 5-10 miles so that I can swap out water bottles (which I will leave along the fence line so that I can keep going). That will also give me the chance to use the loo if needed or to stop altogether if I end up injured. What I won’t have is photos of me running, but I can always take a selfie or two if needed.
Anyhow, this is life in a COVID19 world. Thankfully, I am generally quite easy-going and willing to be flexible, which means I am more willing and able to adapt to this crazy time we’re living in. But I do hope we can start to get back to some form of normal at some point. Not just because I want to run a “real” race, but because I really want to hug my parents!!
Stay tuned to find out how my 2020 races pan out!