Seattle runner
staying home

The runners with no races

Yesterday I was supposed to run race the Vancouver Marathon.

Obviously, the race was canceled about a month ago due to COVID-19.

I’ve had a lot of plans that have been postponed/canceled like Taylor Swift’s Loverfest concert and the Tokyo Summer Olympics just to name a few. But, this one hurt the most.

After nearly four years of having an ongoing knee injury, I was ready to take on a full marathon again. I had started training for this marathon in January, after creating a base in my fitness in the fall. I had found a new physical therapist who I really liked. Don’t worry, I had been taking baby steps. Last year I successfully trained and ran two half-marathons. This year I finally felt mentally ready to attempt another full marathon again — and to finally achieve that sub-4 hour time. (My personal record is 4 hours and 1 minute and 18 seconds, that I set in 2015 …)

Now none of that is within sight.

The Vancouver Marathon is also a special race for me because it was the very first marathon I ran 10 years ago, in memory of Natalie. Joanna and I ran the full marathon together in a downpour. We had fundraised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with Team In Training for cancer research.

I never thought I would run a full marathon again after that. I love running, but 26 miles of pavement pounding is … painful. Yet, 8 marathons and one big injury later, I’m here for more.

When the race announced it would be canceled, my best friend suggested I still continue to train and then on race day I could run a marathon in my neighborhood and she and her husband could set up cheer/aid stations for me. It was a good idea, but I just have a hard time training when there isn’t that concrete (public) goal race. I need the other runners around me to try to pick away and pass. I need the spectators cheering from the sidelines. I need a marked course that is blocked from traffic, and to not have to wait for street lights to change to green.

Seattle runner

I told myself I would keep running to stay in shape and possibly do a fall race. That was a month ago. I now run three to four times a week but my longest runs are only around five miles. Now with the looming reality that no fall races will even happen with this pandemic, I don’t know what to do.

I know I’m not the only runner feeling this way. And, I know that a lot of people are suffering for more “real” reasons than this.

I have been reading The Way of the Runner and in it, the author’s big race is canceled due to a huge snow storm.

I can’t quite banish my sense of disappointment. I never run in training quite like I do in a race. Something happens to me in that mass charge after the starting gun is fired. 

Exactly. His words couldn’t have come to me at a more fitting time.

There will be races in the future. We just don’t know when. We can wait.

So, I kind of linger between wanting to just sit at home and eat hot Cheetos, while also wanting to go on a long run and just clear my mind — and just be.

For now, I guess I can do both.

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