Trying to be fit in the times of COVID19 has been a riddle. Gone are the usual weekly races and outdoor adventures. Then there’s the next best thing, Virtual Races.
The World Before COVID19
This was pretty much how I ended 2019. Taking a back seat from event organization and focusing on my personal goals. The thing is, while I’ve been advocating fitness, I wasn’t at my fittest. Races has been purely recreational for the past few years. The plan was to pursue my own A-Race with adequate training, preparation and mindset. That was the plan until COVID19 turned the whole world upside down. From the planned out-of-the-country hikes and races to being stuck at home. Funny, how you wanted to take a breather and the whole world joins you on the sidelines.
There’s always another way. For the first parts of the ECQ, it was stairs workout as we’re not allowed outdoors. While not part of the initial plan, I joined STAR WARS Virtual Run SEA 2020 just because their trophy looked so cool and it’s STAR WARS. When running outdoors was allowed, it was a trial and error process from the finding a comfortable pace with mask to finding a mask that I am comfortable with. By mid-June, I started logging in the miles.
At the same time, I was registered at World Vision Run for the 50K distance. World Vision is another advocacy I supported being a sponsor for several years now. I would usually go one to two runs a week on weekdays and a longer run on weekend. Before the month was over, I’m about done with my virtual runs. I had to keep runs short and slow as I was adjusting to running with masks and I still am, to this date.
STAR WARS and World Vision Virtual Runs were my way for a little bit of normalcy amid the stresses of the pandemic. It was a struggle to get started but slowly but surely I was logging in the mileage for the virtual runs.
3K and 5K were the norm and whenever I felt tired, I would walked it off or take a breather. It was just me trying to log in the mileage as much as I can. I was doing the same 1K loop around the neighborhood or try BGC or nearby areas wherein I could add in some elevation. I think one thing the community quarantine gave us is mental toughness. I could do the small loop all over again, which was already a luxury compared to doing 5 kilometers on purely stairs before.
I started enjoying the process of doing virtual runs. I always had this notion for anything to be sustainable, we should appreciate and enjoy the process. Then I had to look for new races going forward. I stumbled upon UTMB Run for the Planet that’s 50 kilometers with 2500 meters of elevation gain from the last week of July to the end of August.
50K would be doable in the time frame but 2500 meters is very difficult to complete on the flatter routes. So the plan was to do five 10 kilometer runs with about 500 meters of gain on weekends. I was able to log in the first 10K with elevation and then MECQ happened.
I was about to give up on the challenge as I still have to meet an additional 2000 meters of elevation gain. I then went back to the rules. As it turns out, when you can’t meet the elevation gain, you just have to add 1 kilometer of distance for every 100 meters of elevation. If I could complete around 70-75K, I can still meet the challenge.
Entering the month of August, I would have to cover around 60 kilometers of distance. My personal preference was to keep my runs within the 5 kilometer limit per run, which is within my comfort zone. In hindsight, it does look like a sound plan as it’s faster to recover on short distance runs and could easily fit in the schedule.
It’s also at this time that I was in my half-year result rush preparing for my board meeting mid-August. No matter how busy I get, I would reserve 5 pm as my run time doing the same loop all over again. I’m trying to get back to my no shit, no excuses-blue-collar mentality when it comes to running. I barely even noticed that I was already running 5 kilometers everyday.
From the initial plan of completing the challenge by the end of the month, I was in range to finishing it on the 15th of August with less than 9 kilometers left. It was raining that day so the plan was just to run the around 4 kilometers and leave the 5 kilometers for the next day. It was so fun running in the rain that after I hit the kilometer 4 distance, I wanted to run more and eventually finished more than 9 kilometers of distance to wrap up the challenge.
While I started the virtual runs as just a way to pass the time and for the loot, I rediscovered my love and passion for running. I also saw some progress as the start of the challenge had me just walking some of the distance and I had more solid runs on the latter part of the challenge. I’m still a work in progress but I’d like to say, Progress is PROGRESS.