Embracing the Pause – Virtual Events for the win

By now we have all been impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic in some shape or manner. Work, school, life, family, etc., nothing has escaped it’s touch. And while the reality that many of our races have been or will be cancelled/postponed, I’m not going to dwell on those feelings or bring up what events I’m missing. It is what it is and nothing I say will change that.

So what is this article about? Well, it’s about embracing the pause and doing what we can when we can. Right now race directors across the globe are coming up with a multitude of virtual events that you can participate in; either free or for a fee. And I think what the majority have now found is it’s not about finish times but having fun.

For example, I’ve participated in a virtual series (that I won’t name) and it was extremely evident that there is rampant cheating of times. Now who does this? What do you really gain? Another had multiple distances including a family challenge and sent out awards based on an event photo challenge. Another challenge I’ve taken on is a distance challenge, 1000K (it’s actually 1021,68 if you want to be honest by 8/31). That one got so many entries it has taken on a life of it’s own. I’m also signed up the the duathlon challenges available thru Sportstats. Even if my cheering section is just my cats :)

The later two did charge entry fees, with a portion going to charity. And when you think about it, it’s no different than paying for a race but you get the added bonus of staying in your own bed the night before.

Why do a virtual event, spend money and not have that atmosphere? I think the better question is why not, if you have the ability. Look it’s going to be a while before any of us get to race in the way we are accustomed to. And it may never go back to that. But virtual events give you something to look forward to, a goal. And if finishing time isn’t the issue, you get to actually enjoy the event and have fun with it. Maybe for the bike course you choose a hilly route you would never ride for a race. Or you join a zwift race or group workout or such. Join a zwift race series and find some competition if that’s what you crave. The key right now is finding some joy in training. Maybe you run on the local trails for the distance. Or somewhere new. With no finish lines and timekeepers, it’s up to you to generate that energy.

Not into the whole organized thing? Seek out those strava QOM/KOM’s. Or explore something new. Maybe you have a mountain bike that has been neglected. Or some hiking gear that you can dust off. Take the family. Go for a paddle. Camp in the yard and stage your own ultra. Chase the lightning bugs during a nighttime run. Not wanting to go out? Organize a zoom meet-up/challenge. The time to be creative and embrace the different is now.

Have fun and stay safe!