I’ve never been much of a virtual race person — I figure, if I pay an entry fee, why not get the full race experience?
But things have obviously changed. One of my favorite local races, the Run for the Zoo, was cancelled, so when they announced they would be doing a virtual race, my ears (eyes? legs?) perked up.
The Virtual Run for the Zoo goes like this: pay $10 (!!) and run a mile, 5K, 10K, or half-marathon between May 17 and May 24. Simple as that.
I like supporting great causes like the ABQ BioPark, and I like motivation to push the pace on my runs these days, so I forked over $10. I picked my “race day,” and I set my alarm to chime early enough to be done in time for our home’s morning flurry of activity.
Today was the day. I got up, shuffled around, started getting ready for my run. I heard a tap on the bathroom door, and there was my husband standing there.
Suddenly, everything changed. I had figured my run would be this quiet, private satisfaction thing, just me and the birds and slipping out of and into our back door.
Nope. Robin Hood had set the coffee timer, packed the diaper bag, filled water bottles, and set his own alarm.
He also made these:
DISCLAIMER: The race bib above is in no way affiliated with the Run for the Zoo. It is entirely a work of my husband’s imagination and artistic skills. He had a special inspiration for the race number, as noted on the back of the bib…
I was taken fully, completely by surprise.
We got ourselves ready, loaded the babies into the van, and drove to a spot conducive to minimal crowds and optimal running.
The fans weren’t entirely sure what was going on, but they were enthusiastic.
I did a brief warm-up trot to loosen up my legs…then it was time (because I felt like it) to get to the hastily but brilliantly engineered start line!
A quick countdown and tap of the watch and I was off. South for 1.55 miles (thank you Garmin!), and then straight back. I floated through the first mile. The second mile felt okay. The third mile definitely involved some teeth-gritting and Rocky channeling, but soon enough I was lunging towards that arch. Robin Hood was ringing a cowbell and putting shoes on the toddler. The finish line arch sadly didn’t withstand my breaking of the tape, but that’s okay.
I DID IT.
My goal was a postpartum 5K PR, which meant sub-26 minutes. I ran a 24:56. It was a morning of surprises.
Thank you, Robin Hood. Thank you, Run for the Zoo and ABQ BioPark.
Here’s to pushing yourself for a great cause.
And! If you want to participate in the Virtual Run for the Zoo, go here —you have until next Sunday (May 24)!