Thursday, June 18, 2020

Running for Love

I left my house to meet people today. (GASP!)

I've been out of my house in the past few months, but not to meet people. It felt scandalous. Don't worry, we were appropriately distanced and masked. In fact, we met to run 3.1 miles and our different paces kept us out of sight of each other for most of the morning.

If you've been around a while, you could probably guess that I was running with my running pals Lyda and Heather.

Photo of me, Lyda, and Heather after the race. We are each sitting on a separate parking space curb.
Please excuse my giant head in the photo. It is difficult to take a proper socially distanced photo of three people.
It was not just any run, however. We met up to RACE.

Lyda had suggested we run the Run for Love Virtual 5K. The race benefited DC Frontrunners, which is "a running, walking, and social club serving Washington DC's LGBTQ+ community and their friends."
screenshot of a rainbow flag with the logos for Run for Love and the DC Frontrunners.
Hey! I'm friends with the DC LGBTQ+ community!
There's still time to run this race if you want. The race window closes on June 21. There's even an option to register for free—although if you do that, you should definitely make a donation.

It felt weird to ready myself for a race start after so long. (Remember that even before COVID-19, I was injured for several months.) I've done a couple other virtual 5Ks, but I did both of those by myself in my neighborhood. This was a big deal—getting up and prepped for a 10am start time! (We did have to push it back a couple of minutes for a last second porta-potty stop though.)

We had a wave start. It was self seeded based on the honor system. Heather went first, I went second, and Lyda went last. I kept track of Heather for about a third of a mile and then she was gooooone. We all have mileage watches, so we were running halfway out then turning around to come back. The first third of a mile was pretty consistently on a significant downhill, so that was nice. (There will be a callback to this important detail later.)

I would like to discuss the weather for a minute. It rained really hard last night. When I went up to bed at 10:30, it occurred to me that I might want to check the weather to see how heavily we were going to be rained on.
screenshot of the weather forecast. There are little lightning clouds until next Thursday.
Oh noooo.
I took that screenshot today, but it was pretty similar to last night's except last night there were only lightning clouds across the top. I almost texted Heather and Lyda to ask them if we were going to drown in the morning, but then I remembered that it was 10:30 at night and I decided to save my whining for the morning.

When I left the house it was raining. Not a lot, but it was definitely raining. By the time we were ready to race though, it was mostly just drizzling...and humid...oh, and pretty soon the sun did come out to heat things up a little. It was a great combination.

That said, this particular group of running buddies has a historically bad record with running weather, so we were not overly fazed. We're tough. Heather took this photo of me being tough on her way back when she passed me.
Photo of me running along a trail wearing mostly black. There is lots of green foliage behind me.
You can also see Lyda. She's that tiny orange dot.

Lyda had warned us to run a little past halfway so we wouldn't have to run UP the hill that we ran down at the start (told you there would be a callback). I cleverly checked my watch at the bottom of that hill and then did the math to figure out how much farther I would have to run to avoid said hill.

Heather was not so forward thinking. Yup. She had to run up that last hill. Bummer. I, however, had safely padded my out distance so my back distance left me without that particular challenge. Lyda, close on my heels, followed my lead and also avoided the hill, so I'm pretty much the hero of the Run for Love, Heather/Lyda/Jean edition.

I am happy that I am back running, but 3.1 miles is my current maximum, so I was getting tired for the last stretch. Remember when I used to run miles upon miles? One day I will again. Maybe. I'm building up slowly. I'd rather run shorter distances than hurt myself again. That was awful.

That said, I beat my last virtual 5K race time by a full minute, so I'm getting there!

Lyda had brought after-race snacks, so it was like a real race where you get snack food at the end. We were each provided with a bag of Doritos and a bottle of Diet Coke. (C'mon, you know you wish you raced with us.)

We sat (apart) and talked for a long time after. It was really nice. The run was great. But seeing my friends was even better.

Thanks, friends.

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