For everything there is a season...
...and for every challenging circumstance, there is a solution.
As a runner, there are few things more frustrating than an injury. Often times, we can feel the injury gently knocking on the door, other times it comes crashing through the doorway.
The same goes for race cancellations. We've all had a few (or several) of those to face this year.
And then there's MY reality....
I have a favorite race, the DAM to DSM 20K,(formerly known as Dam to Dam) that I have run every year since 2008. It's the one race I look forward to the most every year, and all 12 years have rewarded me with many fond memories.
|All my Dam to Dam "babies," from 2008-2018|
|the 2019 medal, with the new name change|
Enter 2020, and all things COVID wreaked major havoc on all things racing. Races postponed (in hopes of better circumstances down the road), routes altered (to allow for fewer volunteers), and ultimately, most races having to either cancel or go virtual.
Such was the case for the 2020 DAM to DSM 20K.
Originally scheduled for May 30th, the D2D peeps postponed the race to September 5th with the hope that the COVID crisis would be less of a concern. I think it was in June when they elected to make it a double-loop of a 10K course (in town) instead of its usual point-to-point route (usually the race starts on the Saylorville Dam and ends in downtown Des Moines). This not only would have eliminated the need to bus all the racers out to the start line, but also would reduce their volunteer staff (thus fewer people, for better crowd control). Then, in late July, it was decided it was in everyone's best interest for the race to go virtual.
I totally understood these precautions, and I supported every decision that had to be made. Still, this was my favorite-est of favorite races. I loved the excitement on the bus ride over. I always snapped a pic of the faint Principal Tower (way off in the distance from the start line), and looked forward to seeing it get a little closer at each mile mark. Crossing over I-80, and waving to the honking cars below was a highlight. And conquering Memorial Hill (and seeing all the flags in remembrance of fallen Iowa heroes) gave me chills and a nasty lump in my throat.
Not having any of those landmarks would be major a buzzkill, so the altered looped route wasn't too enticing. It would have to do, though. After the race assumed virtual status, a local running group had planned an "unofficial" group run, on September 5th, to commemorate the day (on what would have been the looped 10K route). I had planned on joining said group run...until my stress fracture threw a wrench into my running.
|The swag was over-the-top: tech shirt, buff, key chain, reflective slap bracelet and medal|
Fortunately, the idea came to me to bike the 20K "virtual" race. Since the live D2D race wasn't happening, and the true D2D course wasn't being utilized anyways, the FOMO wasn't a factor. Besides, all of the swag had arrived. I wouldn't feel right hanging up the medal or wearing the event shirt without participating in some capacity.
So, at 5:45 a.m., on Friday morning, the hubby and I met up with Barb (my main running friend) and we set off on our own 20K (12.4 miles) adventure...on wheels.
It was a cool (52F) morning, but the wind was very mild. The sky was clear and we had the waning full moon to light our way (as well as our bike headlights) for the first few miles. It actually made me nostalgic for all those early-morning runs I'd been missing. Oddly, it just felt like the right thing to do. Not able to run (or walk) while my stress fracture heals, I do have my podiatrist's blessing to bike to my heart's content. Thank goodness!
We finished at 6:55 a.m. Although that 1:10 finish time would be a blatant D2D PR for me (LOL), I did not submit it on the race site (for obvious reasons).
Now, I have to acknowledge that D2D is a road race for runners, and not traditionally for cyclists. I don't plan on biking any more virtual races, nor am I endorsing it as an ideal option for everyone. My circumstances were not like any I've ever had, and since I didn't have the option to run (or even walk) this, biking truly was my only means of participating in a timely fashion. I love this event too much to just let it pass, even if it meant doing things unconventionally. Had this event gone on as planned, as a live race, I probably would have taken a DNS. Since everyone else was doing this virtually, it just made sense for me to participate as best I could. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. And, the reflective slap bracelet is a permanent fixture on my bike now, as a keepsake.
So, how's that for a plot twist, in terms of racing! As I said before, if 2020 can make its own rules, so can I. Desperate times and all that jazz.
Do you have a favorite race, that you've run numerous times? If so, how many times? If your circumstances didn't allow for you to run (or even walk) a race, would you consider biking it (virtually)?