The bibs are back, and I couldn't be happier!
Not everyone will share in the joy many runners are feeling. I get that. It's kind of a luxury we may have taken for granted prior to Covid.
But, alas, races are (slowly) making a comeback, and I'm pretty jacked.
I've done three races, so far, this spring. All have gone well and all have been fun. Even with the necessary Covid protocol and safety measures in place, crossing the start lines (and finish lines) left me relishing my reunion with racing.
Here are a few of my early return-to-racing takeaways:
The start lines are still exhilarating!
Granted those start lines looked different from what I'd been accustomed to. All of them had us spread out, instead of the usual shoulder-to-shoulder thing. Most of those lined up, though, were eager to cross the start line and run to their heart's content. After all, a less crowded start line beats not having a start line at all.
The Covid protocol/safety measures did not infringe on the racing experience.
At least for the three races I did, we did not have to wear a mask while running. We had to wear them prior to crossing the start line, and then immediately after finishing the race. As for the water stations, there were fewer than in "normal" times. There also were pre-filled cups that we had to grab ourselves (instead of having the cups handed to us). The staggered start times actually made that first mile much easier to navigate since there were fewer people to weave around and through.
The added warmth of a mask/face covering was nice for the pre-race.
By now, most of us are used to having our mouths and noses covered. In the Midwest, our temps are still more cold than warm, so that little extra cover was a perk prior to race time.
It (almost) felt like the past year had not happened.
So many race day things felt just like they'd always felt. The excitement of pinning on the race bib. The dynamic stretches (as the GPS signal registered on my watch). The travel to get to the race site (and making sure I'd remembered everything). The exchange of encouraging words among strangers. And all the feels of running with others running nearby. Passing and getting passed. I think I had a giddy smile on my face for the duration.
The thrill of crossing the finish line felt awesome.
Spotting the finish line, as I was making my way through the final mile, was just as euphoric...even without the usual finish line fanfare of the crowd. Since the field of runners was so spread out, there's a bit of mystery as to who was actually running. There could have been a few (or several) in my age group who started way ahead of me (or way behind). None of my races had award presentations, so everything was based on chip timing (not gun time), and all awards were to be mailed to the recipients. Myself, I kind of like not knowing such information until after the fact.
Bottom line, I'm happy to have my live races back! I feel quite fortunate to have gotten to experience three races this spring already. I don't have much else on the calendar at the moment, but will be starting my training for the Air Force Marathon in June. That race isn't until September 18th, but there's also the DAM to DSM 20K happening on September 4th (just as my taper commences). Already, things seem to be falling into a nice schedule LOL. Unlike regular years, though, there won't be as many races through the summer...and that's alright. Running perseveres, even when the races are on hold.
In case you missed them:
Leprechaun Chase (March 6th, Omaha, NE)
Chocoholic Frolic 5K (March 27, Iowa City, IA)
Drake Road Races Half Marathon (April 18th, Des Moines, IA)
Have you done any spring races so far? If so, did the Covid safety measures affect your race experience? Have you registered for any summer or fall races?
I'm linking this with Michelle, Renee, Darlene, Jenn and Zenaida for the Fit Five Friday Link-up.
By the way...are you following me on social media?
I bet it is exhilarating to be back on the start line! It will still be a while for me. The face masks do keep you warm in the winter time but come summer, I don't think we will want them on. Living vicariously through your racing for a few months!ReplyDelete
When I ran the Leprechaun Chase, I actually had tears in my eyes (and a nasty lump in my throat) for the first mile or so. Lots of emotions with the Covid crap and my stress fracture.Delete
I laughed when I read this.ReplyDelete
As you know I am racing. I feel safe. But will be glad when this is all over.
Amen to that! The racing for now (with all the safety measures) is fine, but it will be nice to get 100% back to normal (or even 90% normal).Delete
I bet it felt great to race again! I am looking forward to the day I race again, maybe this summer or if not then the fall. Suddenly I am so much more conscious of how much races cost, I think after being so aware of the cost of virtual races and only signing up for free or very low cost ones.ReplyDelete
Yes, races are expensive! I'm not sure I saved much money last year because I was registered for most of my 2020 races when Covid hit the fan. I think a lot of virtual races are pricy, too, but if they support a charity, I'll consider them.Delete
I haven't raced. It's still not calling to me.ReplyDelete
I'm glad that it's there for those that want it!
Since I typically do a lot of races, I'm over-the-moon happy. But, I can totally get not feeling much excitement this early. A lot could still happen...Delete
I love this! I'm embarking on my first COVID race and I'm so nervous about the experience! I'm glad you've had such great experiences.ReplyDelete
I bet you'll do great! Good luck!!!Delete
I agree! Post COVID racing solves the problem of a crowded start line and the congested first mile. Everything else is a welcome return to normal.ReplyDelete
As much as I love the excitement of the start line, I can't lie...the crowd of runners is a bit annoying. It was nice to not have to fight through numerous peeps in that first mile!Delete
Very similar post to Darlene's! While some of the procedures are different, the overall experience of running is the same. I have not signed up for any races, but I am hoping that soon I will.ReplyDelete
HA ha, I know ;-) Her and I were on the same wave length LOLDelete
It's great that your return to races has gone so smoothly! I'm looking forward to finally toeing line later this summer.ReplyDelete
I'm thankful I've had the opportunity to do a few races already. It's been a good test of my foot's recovery ;-)Delete
That's funny because I just wrote about my mini "identity crisis" over not signing up for any races. But every time I read a race recap, it makes me want to do one! I can see how lining up for a race again would be kind of symbolic- life returning (slowly but surely) to normal.ReplyDelete
It did feel like a return-to-life kind of thing. I usually do a lot of races, more for the fun & excitement than the potential "fast finishes," so it was a big reality-shift last year to not have any thing on the calendar.Delete
I look forward to when we can actually race here again, but not really counting on it this year.ReplyDelete
IT's fun to have the races slowly returning...I probably won't have a full summer of them, though. And, that's alright. The ones I do get to run will be that much more meaningful ;-)Delete
Isn't it just the best feeling! I'm so excited for you and I'm so glad you are able to get back to it! Sure things are different, but that's ok!ReplyDelete