Seeing Atlanta, Georgia, would welcome an unusually cool weather on April 10, 2020, and will return to hot and most likely hotter following, I, in spite of the lingering pain in my right foot and knee, decided to take advantage of this rarity and registered for the virtual Coronavirus Relief Half Marathon, hosted by Virtual Strides. I hesitated to run another virtual race but recognized nobody would have the option to participate in a normal running event for the foreseeable future and also wanted to complete a race exclusive to the current COVID-19 pandemic to look back on down the line. The creative finisher’s medal depicting the coronavirus, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper certainly enticed me. Above all, my most recent embarrassing virtual half-marathon performance last month did not sit well with me and I needed to redeem myself just to feed my ego.

This time, I fueled properly as I do in a regular race and mentally prepared certain routes in my notoriously hilly neighborhood so that I do not accidentally trap myself on solely relentless hills again. I found the major contrast just from these minor adjustments, plus the drop of 20 degrees in temperature, between these two virtual races amusing; physically, the first unexpectedly became one of my toughest half marathons to date, while today’s felt to be one of the smoothest and easiest, so much so that I was tempted to go far beyond what I signed up for. I hit 13.1 miles in 1:58:40, but just in case of the minor inaccuracy of my Garmin, like I do in every virtual race, I kept running and concluded the adventure at 13.54 miles, with an elevation gain of 676 feet, in 2:03:00.6. In a typical race setting, I expect to finish a half marathon around 1:50:00 or under, but running my first comfortably sub-2:00:00 13.1 miles in a run done alone without the help of adrenaline rush felt like a milestone, especially adding the aforementioned injuries that began bothering me four miles in.

Happy Good Friday! Sunday is coming!