This Morning’s Virtual Run

The Stonington 600 is a running and walking event put on the by Island Community Center to promote health and wellness among residents of Deer Isle.  Yesterday we passed a sign announcing that, with COVID-19 and the interest in promoting social distancing, the event will be a “virtual run/walk.”  When I saw the sign, I thought:  “A virtual run?  Finally, a running event I’d be willing to participate in!”

Imagine my disappointment when I learned that, if you are participating in the Stonington 600 by running, the “virtual” nature of the event means that you are still supposed to actually run!  You’re just supposed to do your distance by yourself, running whatever course you wish during a three-day period, rather than being part of a group that runs the same course at the same time.

This approach doesn’t seem to fully embrace the “virtual” part of the concept.  So, this morning I am taking a virtual run around town.  In fact, I’m doing it right now.  I’ve left our house, trotted down the gravel path, and turned left to head down the hill.  I’m starting to feel loosened up as I turn left, so I pick up the pace on the short stretch of road and then head onto the main road, where I’ve got to keep an eye out for the over-sized pickups roaring past on their way to the lobster co-op.  By the time and turn right and head down the hill into town, I’m moving with a fluid, elegant pace.  I check my watch and realize that I’m making pretty good time this morning, which makes me feel good. 

I dash past the town hall and the Harbor Cafe and the hotels, then turn right to sprint down the hill toward the mail boat dock, turn left, then turn left again onto heartbreak hill.  I hate this part of the run!  I’m huffing and puffing as I head straight up the 30 degree incline.  Why don’t I run down this stupid hill, rather than up?  When I finally reach the Catholic Church, I’m laboring.  Feel the burn!  Then it’s back to the main road and down the hill to trot back through town again.  I’m back on pace and grateful that it’s a nice cool, clear morning, so I’m not getting overheated.  I check my virtual watch and take a swig of virtual water, and I’m on the home stretch.  I dodge some more trucks, turn left onto the road to the lobster co-op, and then charge up the final hill, with my legs feeling a little rubbery.  When I finally reach our place I towel off and revel in that runner’s afterglow.

Hey, that virtual run was pretty good!  Later today, I’m going to do some virtual power-lifting.

The Marathoner In The Family

Yesterday, Richard ran and finished his third marathon.  He’s now run marathons in Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, and San Antonio.

2013 San Antonio Rock n RollThis is all kind of strange to me, because I am not a runner.  In fact,  I’m more of an ambler.  I not only possess no meaningful athletic talent, I possess no meaningful athletic inclination, either.  I probably couldn’t run a half mile without collapsing by the side of the road, and Kish isn’t exactly out dashing around Columbus, either.

So how in the world did we end up with a son who has the determination and perseverance and stamina to run more than 26 miles at a pop — and train for it to boot? I frankly admit that I am awed at what Richard is doing.

So forgive me if I take a minute to say that I’m proud of my son, the marathoner.  Way to go, Richard!

26.2

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We proudly watched Richard run the Jacksonville Marathon today, on a muggy day that was densely fogged before the sunshine broke through to make for a hot last few miles. We tracked him as he progressed and cheered him on at mile 16, mile 18, mile 23, and then as he crossed the finish line on a high school track decorated with balloons.

It’s the first time I’ve watched a marathon, and it’s an amazing and impressive spectacle. I’ve got new respect for Richard, Mr. Jim McKeever, and other multiple-marathoners. I can’t imagine running 26.2 miles.