The Virtual Races on My Calendar

Y’all. I miss races.

When I moved to California, I was so excited to travel the state (nay, the whole coast!) to toe up at start lines. I’d say I probably run at least five or six races between moving here last May and when the world went into lockdown in March.

Pre-covid, I just didn’t see the point of virtual races. They weren’t for me.

In this covid world? Well, I’m addicted to signing up for them as I was for IRL races.

A chance for camaraderie (albeit virtual), the excitement of a race, and a medal I don’t have room for and a shirt I will never wear? BRING. IT. ON.

Here’s the virtual races I’ve signed up for…so far. It’s a mix of local ones gone virtual and ones that are just virtual.

Still I Run World Mental Health Day Virtual Race
This is the one nearest and dearest to my heart. Obviously, I am a huge mental health advocate—and future mental health professional! I’m also an ambassador for Still I Run, a nonprofit whose mission is to beat the stigma of mental health through running. For the race, you need to run between October 9-11. (You can listen to my interview with the founder, Sasha Wolff, on my now-defunct podcast.) Use code THEODORA2020 to get $5 off at signup.

Manhattan Beach 10K
Of the smattering of races I’ve done since moving to LA, this one is by far my favorite. I’ve done it twice, and I love how it feels like a hometown race even though it’s actually several thousand runners. (I think after NYC and NYRR races, anything will feel like a little hometown race to me.) The IRL course runs along the Greenbelt in Manhattan Beach, ending on The Strand and at the pier. It’s virtual this year, of course. Registration opened a few days ago, and you can run it between October 1-10. I’m getting back my running fitness and a 10K feels like a challenge right now, but I’m working on it. After years of kicking and screaming internally that my running isn’t what it used to be, I finally decided to start using intervals to make it approachable and enjoyable for me. I’m currently doing three minutes running: one minute walking, and it feels good.

Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run
This was another IRL race I LOVED (hi, I love Christmas) that I’m signing up for the virtual one. You have all of December to complete a 5K or 10K. I know the holidays will likely be weird this year, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to have my cookie swap, so I am going to run WITH BELLS ON. (Literally.)

Sloth Running Team Virtual 5K/10K
Does this one need further explanation?! Signing up because it looks hilarious, and my cousin and I are doing it “together” from 3,000 miles away from each other. You can run this one at any time.

I Run 2 Stay Classy Virtual Run
I haven’t hit register yet on this one but I’m pretty sure I have to. If you are a long-time reader, you know I am obsessssed with Will Ferrell and Anchorman. I definitely didn’t use it as a way to get guys back to my apartment in my early 20s. But I digress. This is absolutely a shirt I will actually wear. You can run this one at any time.

Oiselle Womxn Run the Vote
This one is super cool—it’s a virtual relay from Atlanta to D.C., raising money for Black Voters Matter, an organization dedicated to increasing power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities. Teams of 15-20 will cover a combined 680 miles—and there’s a gazillion activities that “count” towards the mileage.

What about you? Have you caught the virtual race bug?

There’s a Reason for Every Season

It has been so long that I felt an ah-ha moment that I wanted to go sit down and write about.

I have told my therapist that I have felt so blocked creatively since returning from treatment last year. “Blocked, or not comfortable being vulnerable?” asked that kind lady I pay to help me unravel my emotions.

Even before beginning school, I was trying to figure out how I wanted to show up in the world as myself in a way I never really had before, so afraid of what people would think of me. Writing in a way that was open but maybe not vulnerable. (Jordan had a great post on this.)

Since I started school, I’ve been thinking of how I want to show up online in the future as a therapist. I certainly want to bring some of my past experience in—that’s what led me here and will help me connect to clients—but be cognizant of boundaries and also recognize the expertise I am working to build. I’m not sure yet what that will look like. Also, if I’m being honest, I’m really afraid of cancel culture and being canceled for inadvertently saying something offensive that blows up. Branding-wise, I don’t know if writing on a site called Preppy Runner when I mostly write about mental health makes sense, or if I should start writing elsewhere.

gratuitous Lucy pic

As I walked sweet Lucy this morning, I saw a tri team’s truck. I started thinking “ooh! I want to work out with them! I want to get back to tris!” And then I saw surfers and thought “ooh! I want to surf!” And I also got a Peloton recently [my referral code is 8P95DZ and gets you $100 off the bike or treadmill, and in full disclosure, I get free gear!]. And my fave yoga teacher is starting to teach outside. And I’m working out with a trainer. And signed up for several virtual races (maybe I’ll do a separate post soon just talking about them)!

My immediate automatic negative thought was “ugh, why can’t you focus? You’ll never get better at any of those if you do #allthethings.”

And I immediately countered it with “There is a reason for every season.”

[Addressing automatic negative thoughts is a principle of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). I downloaded an app called Thought Diary that is really helpful for working through these. But not a substitute for therapy.]

Fitness-wise, this season of my life is just working out to feel good mentally and physically, to feel strong and capable. I want to be able to run a 10K comfortably this fall, but I have no time goals for it, I just want to feel happy running it. (And also, although I want to do all the workouts, I do know how to be cognizant of doing it safely and not overexercising. Exercising is too important to me to overexercise and risk injury.)

Writing-wise, I don’t have to have all the answers of where to write and what My Brand should be right now. And maybe more importantly, I don’t have to be baring my entire soul the way I used to. (This may sound at odds with what I said earlier about being vulnerable, but it’s also self-care of setting boundaries for myself about what I write about here, what I share with friends, and what I save for my therapist.) Maybe I’ve felt blocked because of the depth of what I used to share, feeling like I should always be sharing like that, but I have typically shared almost exclusively when my life is at a high or at a low, but it’s kind of just in the middle right now. (Which, also, is a little more boring to write about.)

My friend Kat, who has a site and podcast called How to Be Creative recommended the book Writing Down the Bones, and it is an amazing read for anyone—because we are all creative in some way—but especially writers. It’s really digestible. Each “chapter” is an essay of two to three pages, so I can just read it for a few minutes at a time. It’s helping me ditch some of that perfectionism of needing what I write to meet some internal high standard.

What season in life are you in right now?