What We're Running for Sunday, July 19

Plus: What running a race (in person) in the summer of 2020 is like

Good Sunday morning, my friends! ☀️ I hope your 6-mile runs went well yesterday — if you’re not quite used to that distance, I hope you had a huge feeling of accomplishment. And if you’ve already been running that number or higher, I hope you had an amazing run.

As always, feel free to mix things up — I’m hearing from some of you all that the past couple of weeks have been challenging to get your runs in thanks to work schedules shifting, the summertime heat, and more. Don’t sweat it at all (pardon the pun!) — let’s make this work for you, rather than feeling guilty when we miss a run here and there.

You guys loved it a couple weeks ago when I shared one of these nature vignettes, so I thought I’d share another one I loved — a tour of the Florida Everglades in less than 2 minutes:

Something that’s been on my mind over the weekend is the surge in coronavirus cases we’re seeing, especially where I live in the South. Many of us have been reopening and returning to “normal” (whatever that is!); honestly, I’ve felt myself becoming more relaxed and less careful over the past few weeks.

I asked Carissa Liebowitz, whose wonderful writing you likely know well by now, to share with us what her recent experience was like running a real, honest-to-goodness in-person race where we live in Georgia.

Here’s what she said it was like:

“As a runner in my late 30s, I don’t consider myself to be in the particularly vulnerable category, but my habits are more out of the consideration of others. So I wrestled with the notion of signing up for a race in early July knowing that this was a completely selfish endeavor on my part.

It wasn’t like I needed to race. I had been lucky enough to do a few in-person races in early 2020 and I had completed a few virtual races on my own. The safest thing is to stay home.

That being said, I went rogue and decided to sign up for a 6-hour race put on by dear friends of mine, knowing both the size of the entrant pool and the ability to self-support. A whopping 12 people were starting at 9 p.m. on Friday night for the race. 

‘This was a good snapshot of what races will look like in the upcoming months if they are happening.’

Masks were strongly encouraged for packet pickup, which was located at a tent about 15 feet away from the aid station. It was such a small race, so it was easy to not worry about being in contact while standing in a line because there was no line!

I got my bib and race swag and then had the option to wear a red, yellow, or green wristband to denote how comfortable I was with the physical proximity of others. Red denoted to keep your distance, green was for those who were open to closeness, and yellow was somewhere in between. I chose yellow.

People had their tents spread out a little further than normal this year, giving everyone plenty of space when they needed to sit, take a break, refuel, etc. The event also hosts a 12 hour, 24 hour, and 48 hour race so there were people partaking from Friday at 9 a.m. to Sunday at 9 a.m. I knew the evening distance would be a little less popular and less exposed to the heat so I was hoping for a win-win with the 9 p.m. start time.

We spread out behind the timing mat for the start though it was a very small field. Within about 60 seconds of running, everyone was even more spaced out. I passed people and was passed throughout the race, but felt it was no different and maybe even less crowded than a weekend run at my nearby running park. 

‘They will have to have small fields with staggered start times. They will need to be as self-supported as possible.’ 

The race is fairly light with friends and family support during regular years so I knew that any extra people hanging out would be minimal anyway. Also, the 9 p.m. start really helped with keeping it far less people-y. 

I brought plenty of nutrition and hydration to try to self-support as much as possible, but I did end up stopping at the aid station twice for cups of ginger ale. In years past, in order to cut down on waste, runners were asked to bring their own cup to refill as much as possible.

However, this year, they had individual cups to cut down on contamination. Food was also served in individual cups instead of shared containers. They had a large sheet of plexiglass that separated the aid station workers from the runners which served as a reminder to minimize standing around in the shared space as much as possible. 

The race directors wore masks to hand out finisher medals to the few of us finishing at 3 a.m. Congregating at that time of night is pretty minimal in a normal year so I was happy to just pack up my gear and head out after I changed into dry clothes.

‘They will need to ask spectators to stay at home and for runners to not hang out before and after the race. And runners will have to be aware of all the things they need to do to minimize their risks.’ 

I know that I certainly increased my likelihood of catching or spreading Covid-19 rather than staying at home. But I do think this was a good snapshot of what races will look like in the upcoming months if they are happening.

They will have to have small fields with staggered start times. They will need to be as self-supported as possible. They will need to ask spectators to stay at home and for runners to not hang out before and after the race. And runners will have to be aware of all the things they need to do to minimize their risks if they choose to race. 

I still have a few races on my fall calendar that haven’t been cancelled yet, but it’s hard to say with the current situation what will happen with any of them. The ones that are more likely to happen are the local trail races that minimize both crowds and travel.

But, it’s hard to predict what’s in store for us in the second half of 2020 just as most of us would have never been able to predict what happened in the first half.” 

Our training miles this week

👉 If you’re a new member who’s just joined our group over the past week, welcome aboard! We’re training together for the Monterey Bay Half Marathon, which will be a virtual-only event this November.

You can find all the details about how we’re training over the next few months between now and race day (Saturday, Nov. 14) here in this issue of the newsletter.

Here’s our mileage for each day this week — we’ll repeat what we ran this past week, based on our 20-week training plan:

  • Sunday, July 19 — 2-3 miles

  • Tuesday, July 21 — 5 miles

  • Thursday, July 23 — 5 miles

  • Saturday, July 25 — 6 miles

  • Sunday, July 26 — 2-3 miles

Feel free to adjust these distances each day as you need to — double it, or halve it, whatever you need to do. You’ll have a cheering section here waiting for you when you’re done. 🙌

Hope you all have an awesome day and get out there for your 2 to 3 miles today — check back in later in the comments and let us all know how it goes. 👍

— Terrell

A song to run to today

Beautiful Day” from the album All That You Can’t Leave Behind by U2.

Want to hear all the songs we include in our newsletters? Listen to our full playlist on Spotify here, which contains 7 hours, 5 minutes of music to run to.

Words to run by

“Running! If there's any activity happier, more exhilarating, more nourishing to the imagination, I can't think what it might be. In running the mind flies with the body; the mysterious efflorescence of language seems to pulse in the brain, in rhythm with our feet and the swinging of our arms. Ideally, the runner who's a writer is running through the land- and cityscapes of her fiction, like a ghost in a real setting.”

Joyce Carol Oates