Since the BAA 5K and Boston Marathon have been postponed, our former club president Dan Slattery came up with the idea of running virtual races this weekend.
He proposed either a half or a 5K.
I hi-jacked his idea and added these virtual races to the Melrose Running Club Racing Series. If we wait for real races we wont be running until July.
So I created the Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon and the Keep Your Distance 5K.
Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon 2020
I’ve been running about 10 miles a week, so running a half marathon seemed like a good idea.
I also thought it would be a good idea to run the Keep Your Distance 5K and then keep on running for another 13.1 miles. For a total of 16.2 miles.
It was not a good idea and I do not recommend this to anyone.
I’m under trained and well fed. Not what you need before taking on a half marathon.
I was smart enough to gather all of my gear the night before. I knew it would be in the 30’s when I left and in the 50’s when I returned. So I layered and wore gloves, winter hat and a neck gator or what ever you call those things!
I woke up around 6:00 AM and my phone said it was still 34°, so I rolled over for a snooze. Around 6:30 the temp was 36° and I knew it was time to go.
Out the Door You Go
My Garmin is a few years old and it took about ten minutes to lock onto satellites. It gets a little chilly standing around in shorts that long. But I was committed.
I planned to run the Keep Your Distance 5K and the Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon. The route I chose was a little over 15 miles so I ran down a side street to add some distance.
To do both races I needed to run 16.2 miles. I thought I could do it.
I’ve been averaging less than 10 miles per week, so this wasn’t the brightest idea.
I started running at 7:55 AM and thought I had started too late. The later you go out the more traffic there is.
Running through Medford Square I didn’t even have to wait for the lights.
I ran up High Street to Winthrop Circle and only had to contend with two cars!
I continued through West Medford toward The Mystic Valley Parkway.
When I hit 3.1 miles I stopped to take a selfie and paused my watch so I could count that distance.
Running The Virtual-ly Insane Half
The Mystic Valley Parkway is a nice run. On a Sunday there are usually many runners, cyclists and walkers. The breakdown lanes, or bike lanes, are wide most of the way.
There were more runners than I expected and fewer cyclists. Only about half the runners wore masks. I even saw three women running together without masks.
When I approached a runner or walker I’d pull up my neck gator. While an N95 mask is supposed to stop 95% of the bad stuff getting into your lungs, my thin neck warmer is probably an N5 filter.
Pulling it over my nose felt more like a fashion statement than actually doing something.
I’ve gone to the store in an N95 mask and it’s so hard to breathe I usually start sweating! Not a good thing to do in public these days!
There is no way that I could run in an N95 mask.
At about six miles The MVP takes a short jog onto Bacon Street and then a left back onto The MVP into Winchester.
When I stopped at 5K, my watch added a “lap” which added a virtual mile to my run.
I hit seven miles just as I turned onto Forrest Street by the Gingerbread Bakery. The next mile had 92 feet of elevation gain.
My left knee had begun to ache so I had to walk some of this.
At this point, my dreams of running 16.2 miles began to evaporate just like a PR on Marathon Monday.
After I crossed 93 I took a right onto Park Street. I should have continued down the road to Main Street. I always miss this turn when I run this course alone.
Park took me to North Border Road where I took a left onto Main Street in Stoneham. Not far down the road I passed Nicole Jacob.
Due to the pandemic and people not staying out of the woods and walking crowded trails, the Sheep Fold parking lot was closed.
I saw on the news that the DCR had closed some areas of The Middlesex Fells. I didn’t realize that they had closed the road from the Sheep Fold all the way down to Elm Street in Medford!
They were not fooling around either! There was a State Trooper in his car and a snowplow truck in the other lane. This was in addition to those steel fences they use on Marathon Monday.
As I ran down the empty road I began to venture into the middle of the road. Normally I would not dare to do this.
As I got to the turn onto Elm Street I saw Dan Slattery. We ran together for a bit but he took off on the hill!
When we got to the rotary by Flynn Rink He went left and I went right onto Highland Ave.
At this point I knew I was only going to get in the half. My knee hurt and my hips were tight. A sure sign of not enough training and stretching.
About half way down the avenue towards Fellsway East I walked and had a Honey Stinger cookie. So good! They need to be a little larger.
As I walked I saw a turkey standing in someone’s front walk gobbling away. Someone was standing in the doorway with the storm door closed. Not sure if the guy was amused or scared to leave his house! I was amused.
Finishing my Run
There wasn’t any traffic so I crossed The Fellsway and continued down Highland Ave into Malden. I still had hopes of adding on a little bit here and there to get me to 16.2.
I passed a few other runners and they all waved.
Just before Pleasant Street I hit 13 miles. I was going to get the half done at least!
I hit 14 miles running down Spring Street towards home. I thought about jogging a few side streets but things hurt too much. I thought maybe I could run the 5K on Monday if I don’t mess myself up too much on this run!
So I managed 14.52 miles in 2:28:55 with an elevation gain of 364 feet. On an easier course I may have managed the last 1.8 miles.
My first virtual race hurt just as much as any other race!
Run well my Friends and stay Healthy!