Covered Bridges Half Marathon 2020 – Virtual Edition!
2019 has not been my best year of racing. I had pain in my hips and back from the summer of 2019. I tried to stretch, foam rolling, weight training to focus on my hips, but nothing seemed to work. At the beginning of December, I took almost a week off. I hoped that not […]

Covered Bridges Half Marathon 2020 - the virtual race!

2019 has not been my best year of racing. I had pain in my hips and back from the summer of 2019. I tried to stretch, foam rolling, weight training to focus on my hips, but nothing seemed to work. At the beginning of December, I took almost a week off. I hoped that not teaching and being up most of the day would "fix" me. That was not the case.

Finally, I went to physiotherapy. The therapist explained that my pelvis had twisted out of place. This probably happened when I fell on the ice with my youngest son in December 2018. He broke his leg during that fall, so I ignored any pain I was feeling as I landed hard on my hip. A year of training, running and living out of place got me to the point where it hurt to sit, drive, stand, sleep or run. Much love and gratitude for the practice of physiotherapy Rehabilitation of the upper valley, where Mickaela was able to put me back in place, work my muscles, and basically fix me in two sessions.

Start of half marathon training on covered bridges

In March, I was able to move painlessly and was so thankful that I could run again. I had built my race slowly. the Covered Bridges Half Marathon the first Sunday in June was my goal. On March 10th my long run lasted up to 9 miles and I was feeling great. A week later, Vermont was in a state of emergency. Schools closed and my job closed as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. I kept running, training for the race I was sure would happen again - June was so far away.

We settled in our strange new existence. School was held at home. My partner Michael and I were not working. We took breaks to be parents and to be at home, taking turns running (me) and cycling (him). Following a training plan gave me a sense of normalcy and order. It was an anchor when I had no idea what the next day, week or month would bring.

Pandemic = no races

I knew before the CBHM staff made the announcement that the race would not be held in June. I had already received refunds from other races I signed up for. Runners whose races were scheduled for late summer and early fall found they had been called off. That day, I went out and performed my planned speed repetition workout. I decided to continue training for the Covered Bridge Half Marathon. It just seemed like to keep going with my plan, to keep that anchor in place.

Training when I had more time than usual meant logging more miles per week than I had in a long time. I could really focus on quality training. I incorporated races at the lactate threshold, practiced cadence and long races with a quick finish. It felt good and I felt like a good runner. In April I decided that I would still be at the start line of the CBHM on June 7th. I was determined to run the half marathon course by running against myself. It gave me new meaning to my race, with this virtual race invented on my calendar. I trained, I tapered off and I was ready.

The day of the CBHM virtual race is coming

I roped my partner Michael, Fran (my co-parent) and all of my children to be my support team. It meant that they were do not delighted that I was planning a start at 8 am for the "race". But they were all ready to go and we set off for the start at Suicide Six that morning. There was another runner there, warming up near the usual start line. It seemed so weird to me to press start on my watch and run. No gun, no ads, no crowds of nervous runners.

Race solo on the central covered deck of Woodstock VT while virtually performing CBHM 2020.

It was 55 degrees, cloudy and just ideal racing conditions. I got out too fast (I can never get rid of this error). However, I managed to step back a bit and settle into my rhythm. I had given Michael my scheduled times for landmarks along the way for encouragement and crew. At mile 5 I saw a group of runners approaching the 3 mile mark. I realized that there would be more than a handful of participants in the Covered Bridge Half Marathon in 2020.

Race virtually during the 2020 pandemic

What does racing look like without racing?

I was worried that running alone with few distractions and no running atmosphere would make it difficult to stay focused and maintain the pace I wanted. But I knew what the target pace was like when I was cool and tired, because I had practiced the running pace during training. It allowed me to adapt throughout. And I nailed it. I did the entire 13.1 miles with no real difficult parts. Alright, the hill at mile 8 really sucks, but I had run that hill (and worse) during training to get ready.

Surprise support

I had told Michael that I wanted to keep my race plans a secret. However, he had decided that a little more support from the crowd would go a long way! Starting at mile 7, I had surprise cheering sections from various friends he had gathered to keep me motivated. There were friends who cheered on the course, some even ran with me for a few miles. Friends were waiting at the end to congratulate me (I MISS HUGGING!). A creative supporter blasted “Eye of the Tiger” from his poster-decorated car. It was all I had told Michael I didn't want, but it turned out to be a wonderful surprise. The support has definitely helped me move forward and keep my pace throughout.

The virtual finish line of the half marathon!

Virtual results!

I finished in 1:54:29. I took 4 minutes less than last year, and it was my second fastest time on the CBHM course. My course file It was when I was constantly training to a goal of 1:45 for a full 7 months. I had also been in the best shape of my life. My virtual race was therefore a huge victory for me.

My support team for the race I virtually ran in 2020.
My amazing family / support team for the race!

My crew was waiting for me at the end, with water, snacks, and yes, there was a beer for me! We encouraged the runners who continued to appear in the home stretch over the next hour. It was so cool to see so many people having the same plan as me! There were probably a dozen of us who went on and ran this course solo. That night my adorable 5 year old told me the best part of her day was "the party after your run, mom!"

Celebrate the end of a virtual run

I know I am privileged to have something like this to use as a lens during this incredibly difficult time. But finishing it made me feel strong, accomplished and proud of my determination. I am so grateful to live in a place where I was able to easily run outside during this pandemic. I am also thankful that my body was repaired in time so that I could run regularly and train hard. Best of all was having a partner who supported me every step of the way, during training AND running.

Covered Bridges Half Marathon 2020 - The Virtual Race

I'm now focusing on CBHM 2021. I just hope we're in a non-socially distant world by then. I am already planning to crush it. 🙂

If you’ve never run before or you’ve had a long break from running, it can feel intimidating to get out there and hit the pavement. But if you get familiar with some basic information about course and follow a beginner’s schedule, you’ll be well on your way to starting a new course habit.

At your visit, share your course plan and goals with your doctor and have him/her assess your plan and any potential health issues. If you have had any previous injuries or issues, make sure your doctor is aware of them, and ask if he or she has any suggestions on how to prevent a recurrence.

Visit a specialty running store to get spécialiste advice on buying the right running shoes. An professionnel at the store will look at your feet, watch you run, and make recommendations based on your foot type and course style. If you already have course shoes that you like, but you’ve had them for a while, you may still need to get new ones. Running in worn-out course shoes can also lead to injury. You should replace them every 300 to 400 miles.

Beyond course shoes, you don’t need much more than some comfortable exercise clothes to get started. If you’re running outdoors, make sure you follow some basic tips for how to dress for hot weather running and cold weather running, so you stay safe and comfortable.

As your endurance improves and you start course longer, you may want to invest in some technical fabric running clothes and other basic running gear, such as a running belt, good course socks, and a running hat. Some runners also like to have a running watch to track their times and mètres.

Before you get started with running, get familiar with how to do the run/walk method. Most beginner runners start out using a run/walk technique because they don’t have the endurance or fitness to run for extended periods of time. The run/walk method involves course for a short partie and then taking a walk break. As you continue with a run/walk program, the goal is to extend the amount of time you’re running and reduce your walking time. Of course, some runners find walk breaks to be so beneficial that they continue taking them even as their résistance and fitness improves.

Before you start any course workout, though, you need to make sure you warm up properly. A good warm-up signals to your body that it will have to start working soon. By slowly raising your heart rate, the warm-up also helps minimize stress on your heart when you start your run. Start your runs with a brisk walk, followed by very easy jogging for a few minutes. You can also do some warm-up exercises. Always end your workout with a slow five-minute jog or walk to cool down. The cool-down allows your heart rate and blood pressure to fall gradually.

Use your breathing as your guide when course. You should be able to carry on a conversation while course, and your breathing shouldn’t be heavy. Don’t worry about your pace per mile—if you can pass the ' talk test ' and speak in complete sentences without gasping for air, then you’re moving at the right speed.

Make sure you’re breathing in through your nose and mouth, and breathing out through your mouth. Proper breathing and taking deep belly breaths will help you avoid annoying side stitches, or cramps in the abdomen area.

Drink water at the end of your workouts to rehydrate. If it’s hot and humid, you should also drink some water ( about four to six ounces ) halfway through your workouts. ​

Post-run is a great time to stretch and work on improving your flexibility because your groupes de muscles will be warmed up. It’s also a relaxing way to end a workout. Try some of these stretches that target particular areas that frequently get tight during and after course.


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