One of the first BibRave races I was able to get involved with was the Fargo Virtual Marathon, due to injury I opted for the 5k distance to play it safe. I have said countless times that virtual races are an amazing way to keep yourself motivated during the year of cancelled races, so adding this to my training calendar just made sense. Plus the odds of me ever running a race in Fargo are pretty slim, so getting Fargo race bling was also a big draw.
When I sign up for a virtual race first thing I do is select the date I will run it on the calendar, this is usually the actual date of the race, or the due by date for entering results. Having the race on my calendar makes it seem regular. Next I treat it just like a race day. I set out my race flat the night before, making sure to forget socks as always, and eat something spicy for dinner ( I am superstitious). I pick my start time, designate a course, decide what fuel I will have post race, and even try to hit the bed early. This helps get me in the mood to run the next day.
The next morning I go through all of the steps I usually would. Wake up (late) grab a fat coffee, chug water, try to get things moving, if you catch me. Again trying to keep that race day vibe. This time however I woke up not feeling it, at all. Since I am healing I am unable to run more than about 1-2 minutes at a time and keep my foot healthy, pushing any longer without a rest and the thing starts to burn. Plantar Faciitis is no joke. So I woke up, pouted a little bit and then decided to put my big girl pants on with my BibRave tank and get moving.
I decided to hit my favorite 3 mile loop from my house. It’s very fast, flat, and the scenery is never boring. It’s also a route where if I wasn’t feeling the run I would still have to finish the distance because once I am out I have to loop back to get home.
During a virtual race I like to play power music and really see what I can do. The thing about virtual races is, the race is virtual, but the achievement is real. After run/walking my 5k I am still uploading a time for all to see, as well as, getting to see how I rank with other virtual racers. Another aspect I focus on is that I have a course all to myself and so I am not needing to dodge other runners and so when I want to open up the throttle, there are no obstacles to go around. For the record, I am usually one of the obstacles.
While this was an in-person race that went virtual due to 2020, and not a seasoned virtual race there are a few things I would have liked to see done differently. There was not a lot of communications from the race regarding the event, none of those hype emails, I like hype emails. The other thing that is a little disappointing was not getting my race kit before race day. Virtual races are even more fun when you can take photos with your bling, maybe even a bib if provided and the race website said that it can take 6 weeks to get your goods. However, let me be clear, this is not me complaining about the race, I am sure that RDs in these scenarios are scrambling trying to get the logistics of all of this newness figured out. I always like to add my Yin and Yang to reviews so there it is.
In closing this was a fun experience, and soon I will have a race medal I might not otherwise get because again, I doubt we will travel to Fargo for a race. Virtual races get a lot of flack, I get it, the 7 days surrounding races are my favorite! Getting hyped up, the race expo, the race environment, post race, sleeping all day after…I miss all of it. However, I think if people look at them as viable challenges, and chances to perform, they will see that they aren’t all that bad. You know kind of like the middle row on a roller coaster, it isn’t the front row but still a good time. Plus if you are new to running, a shy runner, or someone looking to start running embrace the heck out of these virtual races!! There is no stress and clean bathrooms!!