Your Race is Canceled--Now What?
Updated: Nov 17
Ever since COVID-19 reared its ugly head it seems as though every race from 5K to Spartan to Ironman has been canceled. The latest casualty was the annual San Antonio Rock n Roll Marathon, one of my absolute favorite events and one that I had already begun to train for in the hopes that just maybe.......
Whether it's your first event or you are a seasoned athlete, choosing to participate in a race of any distance is a commitment, and if that race is canceled or postponed it is natural to feel disappointed--especially if you've already invested a lot of time and energy into training. But how you handle the disappointment is where your power lives. You basically have two choices: you can hang up your running shoes and pout, or you can boss up and make the best of it. And while I'm not even going to pretend to sell you on the idea that a virtual race is as good as a real one (because seriously, it's just not) I am going to encourage you to not let it throw you off your game or keep you from pushing forward and reaching for those goals you've set. So here are a few tips for getting over your runner's low and getting on with your race so that when we are finally able to cross a real finish line together again, you'll be stronger both physically, and mentally. So on your mark.....get set.....and let's GO!
Don't Give Up Your Goal: If your goal was to complete a marathon on Dec. 6, and you've been training hard for months, then by gosh do it! You don't need an official event! If your goal was to run 13.1 in under 2 hours---set your timer and hit the road! Yes, it is harder without the energy and excitement of the crowd cheering you on, but download a kick-ass playlist, get a good night's sleep, and get up and take down your miles. You don't even necessarily need to map it out. Just start running and share your goal with family and friends, encouraging them to send you motivating texts and messages along your route, or to meet you at a designated "finish line," (from 6-feet away of course).
Join a Virtual Race: I know, I know. I roll my eyes too....lol! But honestly, for those of us who thrive on the adrenaline that comes from pushing yourself in a group environment, it can't hurt. Most virtual races have social media pages and online groups where you can motivate and encourage one another, share tips, and post results. Sync up your tracker with your virtual friends and hold each other accountable or engage in a little friendly competition. A virtual race can also help facilitate feelings of community and a "we're in this together," vibe that can help push you along when you need it most.
Celebrate Your Success: I'm not gonna' lie---I love a finisher medal! I have a small collection of them and each one represents something special to me---and that's the point. It's not the actual medal, but the memory or achievement associated with it. So treat yo'self! If you complete your race either alone or online, commemorate it with a new pair of running shoes, or that cute pair of tights you've had your eye on--- or chocolate----whatever works! Trust me, any race run in 2020 is a race worth remembering and celebrating.
Find the Silver Lining: This has literally been my motto all year--and some days it's harder than others. I think back to last year when I completed a half-Ironman. It was a huge goal I set for myself and I trained hard for 7 long months. If it had been canceled, I am the first to admit I would have thrown a Texas-sized fit before hosting one heck of a pity party. However, hindsight is 2020 (pun intended) and I now know that the skills, strengths, and physical and mental endurance I acquired through all that hard work are things that no one can take away from me--race or no race. The same is true for you. Have your fit if it makes you feel better (trust me I get it), but then get over it and get back on track. When we focus too much on the end result, we can easily lose sight of the important lessons we are learning along the way--both in races and in life. So find those silver linings, however well they may be hiding, and use them to remind you of why you started your journey in the first place. Then, when the time comes, you will be ready to race---smarter, better, and stronger than ever before. See you at the finish line!