One of the things I’ve come across as I have gotten more involved with the running community on social media is Virtual Running, I had never heard of this before and when I saw some of the bling you could add to your collection I was quite excited.
How does it work? You sign up online for a race you’d like to complete, pay your fee, do your distance, send in your evidence and wait for your medal to arrive. It can be run at any location to suit you even on the treadmill. There are plenty distances to choose from; 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, Marathon, 50 miles in the month, 100 miles in the month, something for everybody. You don’t have to run the distance all in one go either you can complete it over a number of days and activities, you don’t even have to run, you can jog or walk if you like! A percentage of your fee is usually donated to a charity as nominated by the organiser.
So over Christmas I visited the website virtualrunneruk.com and signed up for their New Year, New Unicorn 2018 virtual race, this involved running 10K during the month of January to claim the beautiful unicorn medal, with 20% of the entry fees going to Be Child Cancer Aware.
If you are a solo runner like me these virtual races are a great motivation and by interacting with the running community on social media you don’t have to feel alone. There are some lovely people out there who inspire, encourage and give great advice. It’s really great to see people sharing their adventures, achievements and their running selfies.
I wanted to do the whole 10k in one run I knew I was capable of this unfortunately I had been full of flu for almost 2 weeks which had hampered my efforts, there had also been heavy snow and terrible icy conditions which had brought a fear of injury if I headed out. It was the very last day to complete so it was now or never!
I headed out it was dark, windy and wet under foot. I’d done a double exercise class the night before, Kettlersize then Metafit, so I knew my calves would be hurting and I wasn’t wrong I was definitely feeling the burn.
I decided 1 mile in to change my route to keep my mind occupied because I was struggling already, I was sure I was more than 1 mile from home but Strava had other ideas. I headed out of town and towards a local pub and then had to double back when the street lights ran out to rejoin my usual route. I hit an incline at mile 2 and felt so bad but I seemed to recover well into the 3rd mile. This run was one of those mental battles of to and fro between not being sure you can carry on and then moments of relief when you feel ok and think ‘Hey I might just be able to do this!’ I had my headphones on and music playing yet I couldn’t recall any of the songs because my mind was so preoccupied with my current struggle.
I slowed up during the 4th and 5th mile there was a tough uphill effort against the wind and I got a stitch in my side I was telling myself not to stop and keep on going. The 6th mile was finally upon me and I knew I would finish the distance now I’d come this far. I took the flattest route back home now and there was a nice downhill section which was grassy and very slippy so I had to be careful not to fall flat on my butt.
It was such a relief to finish and I felt amazing after not wanting to head out at all. Straight home to send off my result and claim my medal!