The Seventh Day

On July 9, a virtual race began. It was a 10 day virtual race. That is, do as many miles as you can in ten days. Get a belt buckle if you get 100 miles. That was my goal, the belt buckle. I mapped out a schedule of how many miles to do each day, considering work days, in order to achieve 100 miles by the end of day nine. I had a real race, an in person non-virtual race, on day 9 from 6 pm to midnight. It would be great to polish off the 100 miles by running 26 of them at a real race. That is the set up.

Day 1 went real well. I got 19.8 miles which was 4.8 miles over schedule. On Day 2, I got 23.4 miles which was 8.4 miles over schedule. On day 3, I worked half the day and went for a walk in the afternoon and got 6.9 miles, which was 1.9 miles over schedule. That is 50 miles in 3 days. At which point, I made the mistake of checking the competition. I saw that I was in first place. Now, a different part of my brain kicked in. My goal shifted from the belt buckle to beating the other people in the race. Now really. It is a virtual race. What the other people are doing has nothing to do with me. By definition, you can’t win a virtual race. My brain seemed not to know the difference between virtual and real. Trying to beat others was stronger in my energy than trying to get to 100.

Day 4, 22.1 miles, 7.1 miles over schedule, intentionally wanting to stay ahead. Now I faced a dilemma. I was supposed to work day 5 and 6. That meant that I couldn’t throw another 20 miles on the board those days. So I got someone to take my shift on day 5 and I put up another 21.1 miles, 16.1 miles over schedule. This got me to 93.3 miles. The 100 mile goal is now a given. Belt buckle yay!

The night of day 5, I slept almost not at all. Then I got up a 3:30 am to go to my job. I was exhausted after work. I didn’t feel at all like going for a walk to get some miles to keep ahead in my virtual race. Day 6, working on feet but no running.

In the mean time, the weather for the actual race on Saturday night, day 9, looks superb. That is, not very hot with a slight chance of showers. It came to my mind that with perfect race conditions, I could do really well at the real race. But to do well, I’d need to recover from the virtual race. So, no miles got done on day 6. The 93 miles I got in 5 days had actually drained me and broke me.

Now it is day 7. I slept incredibly long and hard last night. I didn’t wake up until 8:30 am, That is really late. Today is rainy outside and I have absolutely no energy to go out and run, let alone run 20 miles in order to beat a virtual person. I haven’t checked the leader board for the virtual race since day 5. I no longer care if I am winning. My brain has somehow shifted it’s focus. I want to do well in the real race.

On the seventh day, God rested. So am I. No work and no running. I am now in recovery and preparing for the real race 3 days from now. How exciting.

Photo by Daniel Reche on

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