Back in March, when this global pandemic started in the U.S., I was crushed when my 50K — the Big Buffalo 50 — was postponed. It was scheduled for March 21, and at the time, Memphis only had two COVID cases. We couldn't quite see the gravity of what was coming, so while I understood, the timing just felt so unfortunate. I ended up running 50K on March 21 by myself, on the race course. I never imaged my first 50K would be a self-supported adventure!
After training for half a year for that race, I needed something to make me feel better about that cancellation. That's when I learned about the Social Distancing Race from Marathon Training Academy, one of my favorite running podcasts. They organized this virtual, any-distance race to honor our "un-run races" of 2020. Paul and I signed up right away, and we decided to make the race a half-marathon. Participants in this virtual race choose their own distance and date, and a medal is shipped to your house. This past Saturday, we did it!
As always, I started race morning with a locally made Dave's Bagel. I usually spread them with hummus or nut butter, but I was out of hummus (and only had garlic/onion bagels, so nut butter was not an option!). I made a quick cashew cream cheese using a recipe in the No Meat Athlete Cookbook.
I planned a 13.1-mile course that took us on a tour of Memphis. We went from Crosstown to Downtown, past the Pyramid and Harbor Town.
We ran down Riverside drive through Tom Lee Park, along the Bluff Walk.
And we even worked Beale Street into the course since almost every downtown race includes a stroll down Beale.
It was a HOT day, and we got started pretty late (around 10:30 am). The last few miles were pretty rough. I took us down a very long stretch of non-shaded road along Madison Avenue, and we got a little sunburned. But we made it! I drew a finish line in our driveway.
After our run, I made us some giant protein smoothies. But one must always celebrate a race with post-race pizza. So a few hours later, we went to our friends Jen and Simon's house for a very socially distanced outdoor grilled pizza party. The crowd was small (three couples and two singles), and we spaced our chairs at least six feet apart. Jen cooked us vegan pizza on her grill (with her homemade cashew cheese!!), and we enjoyed some BYOB beers.
This pizza was phenomenal! And it felt so nice to safely be around people (and not just Paul!) again.