Virtual events are a hot new trend in the racing world. I wholeheartedly support it and look forward to its continued growth.
So, what is this whole concept?
You sign up (shockingly, online) and are e-mailed or mailed a bib and whatever other goodies the race offers. (Some send the medals ahead of time, others only when you report your time).
You are given a start and end date to run your chosen distance. You then run it however you want during that time. Most of the longer races let you decide of you want to break up the race or not. The shorter races (5ks) typically say all mileage in one shot.
Again, I wholeheartedly support them for several reasons: It’s a fun event to get people out there working the pavement (or the treadmill, trail, etc). It’s also great for people who are frankly nervous about running/walking in an in-person race. You compete with who you want, even if it’s only yourself and I think that can really help people who don’t have the racing bug to find it.
I personally run them for several reasons: 1) motivation…. it gets my butt off the couch! 2) raise money for a cause 3) FLEXIBLE fun. My schedule is nutty so participating in a virtual race gives me some flexibility.
I’ve heard people gripe that it’s bad that it’s on the honor system, etc. but if you cheat, you’re really only cheating yourself. If you’re the guy whose buying medals instead of earning them (seriously?!?), you’re the one who has to live with that.
My one piece of advice is to look for the races that require some form of reporting-portals, mapmyrun, photos, etc. I think those types add a level of accountability and motivation.
Feel free to ask me any questions and I’d love to hear your impressions of the concept.
I ran a very fun and challenging race today, TAC Force Challenge. It was a great balance of physically challenging without being un-doable alone (my upper body strength usually leave me in a bad position for some obstacles). I was making pretty good time, having a crap ton of fun, and feeling pretty good about myself. I even tumbled down a hill with a few people (me on the bottom, unfortunately) and was still going strong.
Then I hit the cliff jump and my day got bad. I have a paralyzing fear of heights. This is actually a misnomer. I actually have a paralyzing fear of hitting hard things at a high rate of speed. I froze. I walked to the edge of that cliff 20 times. I watched 30+ people take the plunge. And I couldn’t do it. The obstacle staff was rooting me on. I knew there was no danger. Yet, I froze. Every muscle in my body shook in fear. I added at least 45 minutes to my time before I gave up and took the walk of shame down the hill. It was embarrassing at the time and it is even more embarrassing now when I see my result time. I feel shame – one feeling I am truly not used to feeling (hopefully because I don’t do shameful things, not just because I don’t feel shame ;))
I gave up and I am so disappointed in myself. I am trying to think of a time where I have just flat out gave up without trying and I really can’t.
I let my reptile mind take over my rational mind and I stinking gave up.
It tainted the rest of the race for me. I was just so disheartened….by myself. That’s an unsettling feeling; One I don’t ever want to feel again.
While I feel really bad about the situation (it is about a day later and I still feel like an idiot), I am going to take this as a learning experience. I am filing this feeling away and will pull it out the next time I ever consider quitting, especially without trying.
So, dear reader, here is where I ask for assistance. Do you have ways to train, both mentally and physically, to overcome primal fears? Please comment and let me know how you deal with your irrational fears.
I have a year to get over this and take on that cliff jump next year at TAC Force Challenge (oh, yeah, I will be back).
We all have trials…..conquer them like a warrior scholar.